Many media pundits excused Hollywood's coarse content from inspiring the Aurora, Colo. shooting massacre.
Not Armond White.
The reliably contrarian critic points the finger at dehumanizing movies with morally dubious antiheroes for creating a culture that could produce a mass killer.
The Christopher Nolan Batman movies are not exactly life affirming, so why do pundits refuse to connect those films to last week’s Aurora, Colorado, massacre at the midnight showing of Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises? Instead, the problem of the films themselves has been swept away by a torrent of political distraction over gun control. After this clash of cinema and reality, have we forgotten that culture either dooms or defines us?
....For years now, we’ve all read movie reviews that justify a culture of death and destruction. Can we ever recover from movies’ spiritual decline over the past few decades? Standard praise for “dark,” “wicked,” “twisted,” “subversive,’ “transgressive” dramas or comedies has lowered film culture. Can we continue to pretend this has no effect? That it doesn’t influence the already deranged? That legislated gun control answers a spiritual and aesthetic crisis?
...Most critics today are too “sophisticated” to care about the effect cinema has on the world beyond the box-office. Inured to movie violence, they consider themselves saner than James Holmes; they no longer expect movies to “put the sting back in death” as Pauline Kael once said about Bonnie & Clyde. Hollywood, where is thy sting? In Aurora.