No Right Answer: America's Greatest Obsession Ever

Firefilm

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America's Greatest Obsession Ever

Move over Sterling, it's our turn to throw lighter fluid on the internet! And what better way to do it than talk about sex and violence?

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Jan 12, 2012
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If you want lots of views, you should pick an edgier title like "Tits and/or Guns in America". The current title made me think it was going to be Beatlemania vs. Twilight or some other pop culture phenomenon.

Edit: Game of Thrones is a really good example for how sex and violence are intertwined.
Look at the torture of Theon Greyjoy. In the books, it doesn't take place in real time, and you never get a full description of what happens to him; you only see the aftereffects. In the show, they spend a lot of time breaking him, with lots of torture.

But what is the most memorable scene? It's the one with the prostitutes (or maybe just unethical women) where they strip Theon down, get him ready for sex, then stand aside to let Bolton cut off his genitals. As far as I remember, there was no such thing in the books (he just got castrated); they added naked ladies because they could. And while they usually cut away from most of the torture scenes after a bit of blood, the cameras lingered over the naked women (even after they had finished their job, they stayed in the background totally naked.

Violence is something that is present but seen as mostly wrong, while sex is front and centre whenever possible (see: Daenerys being gratuitiously naked when meeting the sellsword, rather than having any of the modesty present in the books).
 

FightingFurball

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Isn't it Food?
The eating habits of americans are certainly more damaging than sex or violence. I'm pretty sure stuff like butter on a stick is killing more people than gun violence...
 

Firefilm

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No drinking round? Dammit you ruined my opportunity to Quote Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. And since nobody won, I'm confused. I got a problem if I should fuck him or fight him.
<spoiler= America's Greatest Obsession>http://slimages.macys.com/is/image/MCY/products/6/optimized/263516_fpx.tif?$filterlrg$&wid=370
Thunderous Cacophony said:
If you want lots of views, you should pick an edgier title like "Tits and/or Guns in America". The current title made me think it was going to be Beatlemania vs. Twilight or some other pop culture phenomenon.
Yeah me to.
 

Firefilm

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I guess since the question is what are we most obsessed with, rather than what obsession is most damaging... yeah I'd still have to go with violence, between the two of them. We are so inundated with violent material it's become almost boring. There is a such thing as "routine" violence. Many movies are boring if the violence in them is not over the top enough. It's getting that way with pornography too, where the more outlandish porn is becoming more prominent, but that is still reserved to the internet, and even then you have to look for it (Albiet, not very hard). Violence is everywhere. Violence is so common place in our society, we can watch someone be gunned down in prime time television and yawn.

There isn't anything wrong with having sex or violence in our media, I enjoy both, but it does say something about us that a very large portion of our media is violent. And I'm not sure that it speaks well of us.
 

Scarim Coral

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Heh, I was wondering why Jessica Rabbit and Itchy and Scratchy got to do with American obession toward them!

As for the topic, I would side with violence and no, I ain't going to explain why since my answer would be steroytpical/ sterotyping.
 

Gizmo1990

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We in the UK don't like to talk about why americans suck. It's just that some of you make it so easy.

OT: As I am English I can only base my opinion of what I have seen in US tv/movies and read in books form US authors. So form my limited point of view I would say that violence is Americas Greatest Obsession.

That being said compared to Europe the US is extremly uptight about sex. You all seem to be terrified that if you show even the slightest hint of sex on tv then somehow all children, everywhere will see it and then immediately start having mass orgys. This leads to not showing it at all. Then you get cable shows like True blood and GoT that basicly have soft porn scenes. There is no middle ground. You can have sex on tv/in movies without it turning into porn.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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I think we should put disclaimers on our viewpoints.

Like personally, even though I'm a dude, I'm not highly sexual. I like it ok, but I can easily do other things with my time.

Now to the point of the matter; I would love people to classify what we are as humans. I mean if I merely mention the fact that as a classification, humans fall under 'animal'... people lose their minds. 'No, we're not animals! We're humans! How can you even say that?'

But we are animals. We have animal needs, even if we want to believe we're so civilized. We have a need for territory, we have hunger and entertainment needs, needs for survival, and yes... sexual needs. Expressing it, even 'obsessing' about it is not bad until you add one factor into it.

Violence.

Violence is also a basic animal response, but it's wholly a negative one. At the very, very, VERY benign end of violence... it's used to shame another and possibly to take his or her rank. Even playful violence is used to dominate another in some fashion.

Sex is mutual. It's freely given to another. Some aspects of sex we're not all comfortable with (whips and chains, orgies, etc), but as long as everyone is a willful participant, who is it hurting? The only time sex turns bad is when you do add violence, and then it becomes rape. It becomes taking from another, hurting them, and then dominating them for years to come... even when you left.

As for body image, I don't have a great one. Face or Body. I have admittedly compared myself to those men who are considered attractive and thought 'if I looked like that, maybe women would want me'... but I never felt as bad as when I got rejected by women. The rejection never registered with 'Oh, if I was sexier, she'd want me'. It always made me feel like I was just bad as a person.

I work out to feel better. I work out to try to reclaim some self esteem. But never to be sexy. Because I know sexy isn't finite. It isn't a definable thing that if everyone follows this, we'll all be sexy as well. One girl might think I was developed just to turn her on. A friend of hers stomachs the way I look because I'm nice. They might agree on everything else in life but my attractiveness. So why should I assume all anyone cares about is how ugly I am when even best friends don't share opinions about attractiveness?

Let's see.... sex is ok, violence never is, body image... I think that's it. Yeah, I discussed. Yay me.
 

synobal

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I'm just gonna come out and say it, I'm disappointed this wasn't about Jessica Rabbit VS Itchy and Scratchy.
 

BrotherRool

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I think sex is much more damaging than violence. The thing about violence is it's so extreme that we can't possibly entertain the reality of it. Apart from some very ill people, there isn't anyone who sees Jack Bauer snapping of people's fingers and eating eyeballs in the name of justice and would really be able to face the reality of that. So we zone it into fantasy in our head and the threat mostly goes away. The smaller more real and therefore awful aspects of violence because they actually happen and people actually suffer, we know to decry and we know to shame as a culture. We're happy to watch a good guy decapitate a wife beater in a revenge flick and strangely enough that is the right way round.

Whereas sex is a mainly positive thing and mainly in our reach. What our fantasies do is take us away from the wholesome reality of sex and increase burdens and demands and expectations that stop us from enjoying it in what it really is. Because TV sex is close enough to being true we don't have the same guards as we do with violence. Because people actually have sex other people feel ashamed of not having it, or pressured to have too much or too little. It destroys people's psyches and we've got studies that prove that the beauty of mainstream culture sex is preventing people from enjoying actual sex as much as they should be able to. We have slut-shaming and sexism and double standards and for a lot of that, sex is a real cause and the way it's portrayed reinforces our negative ideas.

So sex>violence, not in that we have a lot of sex, but we portray it in ways that make it harder for people to have healthy unpressured sexual relations with other people
 

Firefilm

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Self image is by and large concurrent with sexual identity. Sex is something that a healthy person will semi-regularly engage in. Violence is not. Thus, representations of sex in media tends to have a much larger effect on a person's actual actions than representations of violence. Case in point, sales of rope went through the roof at home depot after 50 shades of Mommy Porn came out.
 

DTWolfwood

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The fact the country goes crazy over every like bit of sex related news, my money is on Sex. We kind of treat violence as just the expected white noise in the background.
 

Mikeyfell

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Americans paint sex as some weird taboo: "Oh no! If a child ever finds out what a penis is they'll be ruined for life!"

And violence as okay

How many PG13 movies depict people hurting, murdering or torturing people? 90% of them?

How many PG13 movies show sex or nudity? Well there was like one boob in Titanic. That counts right?


I think they're both right (No Right Answer? More like Two Right Answers)

But in different ways

We're obsessed with hiding and obscuring sex until it's unrecognizable.
sex scenes usually go from making out to maybe a wide shot of a room, then it skips to one of them waking up fully clothed.

We're obsessed with violence in the opposite way, making almost pornographically graphic violence scenes with blood and death and satisfyingly impactful sound effects. It's a little creepy when you get right down to it.

In Game of Thrones ('Cause you brought it up) They're perfectly comfortable showing a knife enter an eye-socket and poke out the back of the skull with little bits of brain dribbling out of the holes.
And how do they show sex? They line the characters up in a way so all you see are boobs and faces. You don't see any penetration or... um... dripping, or anything nearly as graphic as the violence in Game of Thrones.
I think you see one penis in the whole first two seasons and maybe 3 vaginas if you freeze frame just right.
And I think on average they show one brutal graphic murder per episode with money-shot-esque closeups on the character's final moments.

Americans absolutely hate sex, they're obsessed with the consent of sex though. And that's almost more damaging because kids are going to grow up completely clueless about something every human being should do at least once, and idolizing something that no one should do unless they absolutely have to.
 

Firefilm

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Except it isn't my right to force my personal beliefs unto others. What a person does in their own time in the USA is their own business but let's just get one little fact out there.

When it comes to the majority of sex and violence when a person complains about the obsession or has a talking point about how it is bad. Said sex and violence occurs in a FICTIONAL setting. Something of the surreal and honestly doesn't hurt anyone.

Okay you think violence is a problem? then explain to me why crime, violent crime specifically has continuously gone down in our society. You think sex is a problem? Okay explain to me why people are having less children and waiting until their mid to late THIRTIES to have children today.

This is really what worries me about this generation is that guys like No Right Answer here have gotten caught up with the rhetoric but yet not actually look hard at their own personal, everyday life and ask if the people around them are really as obsessed with real violence and real sex as much as they think. Or if they are simply obsessed with fictional violence and fictional sex. Especially when said fictional content is meant to be viewed by individuals who have grown up and can understand the distinction between fiction and non-fiction.
 

Firefilm

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synobal said:
I'm just gonna come out and say it, I'm disappointed this wasn't about Jessica Rabbit VS Itchy and Scratchy.
Fun fact about Jessica Rabbit, her boobs were purposefully animated to react in the opposite way normal boobs would. So when boobs would normally shift down, hers would shift up and vice versa.
 

el_kabong

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For the question - which is America most obsessed with? Sex. Now, I think that violence is definitely the more pervasive of the two. Violence is institutionalized by the media, but not reinforced by society at large. Violence is punished when applied to the real world. However, sex (see also: attraction) benefits the individual who wields it in our society. It's reinforced not only through the media, but also through real-world application.

http://www.businessinsider.com/attractive-people-are-more-successful-2012-9

In addition to the point above, I also wanted to point out that obsession (IMO) works two ways. In America's case, we're not only obsessed with the act of sex in our daily lives, but also obsessed with controlling it. Marriage laws, sodomy laws, and the like only serve the purpose of dictating who is acceptable to have sex with (on an extremely fundamental level). As noted by other posters, on the media level, there are also much more restrictions in regards to sex than violence in regards to the outcry from parents that will happen if their kids are exposed to it. Obsessing over stopping sex is still an obsession with sex.
 

RTR

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It's impressive when you think about how long have both sex and violence have been around in entertainment, starting with books and moving on to movies, television, etc. When it comes right down to it, I'd have to stand on the side that says that sex is the bigger obsession. However, there are certain levels to both of these topics that I think produce different reactions from people, particularly when it comes down to their level of acceptance of their presence in entertainment. For a long time, it has been more or less acceptable for all manner of entertainments to have some form of violence. Not necessarily very explicit violence, but violence nonetheless. IRL, the stuff that The Three Stooges do to each other is terrible stuff, but it's presented in a very over-the-top and cartoony sort of way that you don't feel bad for the characters. The very concept of slapstick comedy is based on some form of violence happening to someone else and making the audience laugh at it. Of course, extreme cases of violence can also be presented in a very gratifying manner that produces a, for a lack of a better word, positive reaction from the audience.
However, when it comes to sex, there always seems to be a stronger gut reaction from people. I think there's an important distinction to be made between "sex" and "sexuality". Any form of entertainment can feature sexuality, even if it's something as simple as an attraction to someone else, but the actual act of sex, or just the discussion of it, is reserved for people over a certain age.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the presence of violence in entertainment seems to have less "restrictions" than sex, particularly in entertainment, so whenever sex is brought up, it produces a bigger interest in people, one way or another. While both concepts are thrown around today in popular culture with reckless disregard, sex seems to have a higher barrier of access. You can find a form of violence anywhere, regardless of how mild or extreme it is, so I think that's why people tend to make a bigger deal about sex.
 

Callate

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Oh, we're plenty screwed up about both. But I worry more about violence- and in particular, about the idea of violence as a way to solve problems. Go to any news site, and in any comment section on a report on international affairs you can inevitably find someone who thinks that "nuke 'em 'til they glow" is the alpha and omega of world relations; cannot understand why America would possibly "take shit" from anyone, sees everything that goes on between nations as some kind of pissing match where honor is far more important that thousands of deaths or centuries of violence-inducing bitterness.

And then, on a more personal level, we start getting "stand your ground" laws and your god-given right to bring a concealed weapon into a hospital or a church- because it's more important to "win" than for everyone to walk away.

We write our own legends, and we're still deeply enamored with our image as righteous rebels and self-sustaining, no-nonsense cowboys. I think we need to start subverting that.
 

bluepotatosack

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I will say that it is far more acceptable to show violence in American media than actual sex. Ads don't use sex to sell anything, they use titillation. It may be tangentially related to actual sexual behavior, but it's a sort of warped vision of it. Take it away Mr. Zappa.


I can't get the timecode to work, but the relevant part starts at 3:25.