Attractions of Violent Entertainment' Men and Boys Like It More

Excerpt from :

Goldstein, Jeffrey 1999 'The Attractions of Violent Entertainment', Media Psychology, vol.1, no.3, pp. 271-282.

The core idea of this article is that majority of researchers only concern themselves with effects of violence in mass media, neglecting the question of why the audience is attracted to violent entertainment in the first place. The author describes the attractions of violent entertainment, based on a project supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (HFG).

This article fits into a lot of different categories on violence such as the violence in movies and video games. There is plenty of literature that dives into this subject matter but appears to tackle this subject matter. Other articles makes the point at that violence is basically the foundation of a lot of films, TV movies, and not to mention even action series. To take it even further, violence is repeatedly identical with "action." For the reason that screenwriters, directors and producers utilize violence regularly and in countless ways, how do we start to identify the differences in places such as the media violence? Literature reviews point out things like how are people able to figure out if a shootout or fist fight is a lot or not? This article fits into the category of understanding that there is a simple method to the depiction of violence in TV, video and movies. In the wider world of research and higher knowledge, this article fits into category of sociology. For instance, the sociological aspect of it explores how society deals with violence on television movies and series and how the community deals with this as a whole. The sociology category focuses on the fact that many violent images are seen in movies and on television on an everyday daily basis, and yet not the merely cause, are a strong subsidizing issue. There are those in the sociology fried that believe the point-of-view from which the audience opinions the violence differs straight with the method the scene affects them as a society. The sociologist come from a point-of-view a film's perspective defines the audience's response.


The article follows a simple structure following off with a brief abstract that basically make the point that the authors do consider why violence is such a noticeable characteristic of entertainment that attracts them. The abstract is very brief but the authors to a good job in letting the audiences or the readers know exactly what they are about to dive into. The next thing in the introduction. However. There is no heading that exactly says "introduction" but it is obvious they are setting the tone of the paper by having gripping first sentences that explain that if detective or any other type of violent entertainment rouses "criminal leanings" has been extensively talked about and studied. The whole entire paragraph does set the tone of the thesis statement which tells us exactly what the readers are about to get into with the rest of the article. The next thing is the first header which talked about the attractiveness of the entertainment. Goldstein first heading is right on point and gives the reader the first argument of the article. It make the point that the attractions of violent entertainment are many and varied. It offers something for nearly everyone (pp. 272).

The next part is the second heading which goes directly into the audiences that are involved with it is difficult to think of a group of people that is not in some way an audience for violent imagery. Goldstein argues how people consume violent images, talk about violence, read about it, and write scientific articles about it (pp. 273). In this section he really does make sure that the reader understands that it is hard to think of a crowd of individuals that is not in some way an audience for violent descriptions. This heading does a good job with staying on point by explaining how people are consuming violent images, talking about violence, reading about it, and writing scientific articles in regards to it.

The next section is the part that delves in to the 'why' factor. It make the point how people can make the choice of what they want to watch when it comes down to violent movies and television series. This heading is a good one because it brings together good details especially when it makes the point that people are able to choose the degree of emotional content and anger with which they are most relaxed, just as they do when choosing music to listen to (pp. 274). The next heading is a very informational heading because it brings the reader into identity. The author did a good job here with stating that a person is what they basically watch. If they watch horror then they will exhibit this type of behaviour. Goldstein even went into detail by explain the different types of movies that had impact on people that caused them to go out and do harm in this section.

The next section basically talks about the thrill and the excitement of watching violent on television and the movies. The heading points out the fact that people are thrill seekers and enjoy seeking a lot of thrill in dark movies that have a lot of bloodshed and violence. Goldstein makes the point that people are just reckless. The next section talks about when violence gets to the point where it is not really accepted. In other words, enough is enough. Goldstein does a good job up under this heading making his argument that studies show using bloody films that viewers found decidedly unappealing, violent portrayals can be disturbing, disgusting, and depressing, but these effects are insufficient to deter some viewers (pp. 277). The section was very too the point. The author talked about the collaboration the context of violent images themselves and the circumstances in which they are experienced play a critical role in their plea.


The author used a lot of informational style in his writing. The article has very informative writing and it also brings in material that educates the readers by communicating straightforward information and facts, but never opinions that are personal. This article, for instance, is an example of informative writing because Goldstein for example mentions the negative emotions that can be mixed with positive ones. He even went on to the point by using the movie Steel Magnolias which is a movie that justifies his argument about mixed and positive emotions. The author showed detailed in explaining that the movie was directly related to the degree of sadness experienced all through the film.


The author argument was basically that violent entertainment is placed in historical and social contexts, demonstrating that its appeal varies with the times. The author went on to prove his argument by mentioning that although violent entertainment is among the most frequent topics of study and controversy concerning the media, it is not the most popular genre (pp. 272). Goldstein even uses other points to justify his argument by stating that "numerous individuals seem attracted to, or at least not wholly repelled by, violent imagery, but there may be a small audience that actually demands violent images in its entertainment" (pp. 272).

Other details to support the argument involves the author talking about how violence is being marketed and becoming a more booming business bringing in tons of money. This is making the argument clear that as periods have gone by, people have been demanding more and more violent movies. Because there has been such a huge demand for movies that show violence over time movies have been created to appeal more towards boys and men. Goldstein supports this argument by stating the point that it is "boys and young men who play with toy guns, fill soccer stadia every Saturday, watch Faces of Death, and embrace Beavis and Butthead" (pp. 273). As is it varies with time, entertainment is seen as a money making business. Goldstein talks about how people are consuming intense imageries, and making a big deal about violence, reading about it, and then writing methodological articles about it. The author makes the point that boys and men are the most avid consumers, which are the target market.


The author uses a lot of evidence to support his argument. For instance, he uses Japan violent comic books to stress his point how violence is in cartoon form and how that has spreaded over time. In Japan, both men and women read "Manga," extraordinarily gruesome comic books that feature extreme violence. Goldstein mentions that the Great Railway Bazaac Paul Theroux picks up a fat comic book left by a girl seated next to him on a train in Japan. "The comic strips showed decapitations, cannibalism, and people bristling with arrows like Saint Sebastian . . . . The girl returned to her seat and, so help me God, serenely returned to the distressing comic." (pp. 272). This shows how people were drawn into the violence…

Sources Used in Document:


Cantor, J. (., 1998. Children's attraction to violent television programming. In J.Goldstein (Ed.), Why we watch: The attractions of violent entertainment. New York: Oxford University Press.

Goldstein, J., 2009. The Attractions of Violent. Media Psychology, 34(7), pp. 271-282. .

Guttmann, A., 2008. The appeal of violent sports. In J. Goldstein (Ed.), Why we watch: The attractions of violent entertainment. New York: Oxford.

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