Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s hard-line anti-gun regulation architect, unleashed a blistering attack on Hollywood today (Dec. 21) for what he called the “filthiest form of pornography.” Will Hollywood fight back and lead the campaign against assault weapons?
The tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., have generated the strongest outcry for a ban on assault weapons in two decades. But the NRA has signaled it will not take the campaign lying down.
It what critics are calling a monumental game of blame-shifting, LaPierre scored “blood-soaked films” and video games for the nation’s violence-prone culture.
“There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Splatterhouse,” he said.
As for Hollywood, he cited such films as as 2000′s “American Psycho” and 1994’s “Natural Born Killers” for glorifying violence by deranged loners. (Apparently, he hasn’t been to the movies in a while.)
Of course, his solution to gun violence is more guns. He advocates putting armed guards in schools and other public places under the proviso, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
So far reaction in Hollywood has been mixed. The Motion Picture Association of America, which rates films for violence and sexual content, has already vowed to crack down and ramp up censorship. Wrong move.
Studios are cowering and postponing premieres and changing movie scenes that may parallel mass shootings. Even radio stations are engaging in self-censorship. Ke$ha’s pop song “Die Young,” has fallen off playlists, simply because of its title. Both are classic over-reactions.
Whether Hollywood has the balls to play hardball with the NRA remains to be seen. But already some are taking a stand. In an opinion piece in deadline.com, writer Mike Fleming Jr. slammed the NRA’s stance as “an assault on our intelligence.”
“Why is it that in 2008, for instance, there were 12,000 gun homicides in the U.S., compared with 42 in Great Britain and 11 in Japan, where kids are watching the same films and playing the same games,” he asked. “What’s different is the rigorous constrictions those countries place on firearm ownership, down to buying bullets.”
The NRA has always succeeded in blocking meaningful legislation because of its campaign contributions, its ability to rally members to vote for pro-gun lawmakers and its Second Amendment legal wrangling. If Hollywood unites behind new gun-control legislation, it can be a powerful persuasive force as the debate heats up. It will take celebrity involvement and more to counter the NRA’s copious campaign contributions in Washington.
Is Hollywood up to it?
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