by David Wong

“So there was a mass shooting during a Batman movie and, goddamn it, it turned out the killer owned a Batman mask and called himself ‘The Joker.’  By now, several talking heads have come to the conclusion that the movie somehow triggered the massacre, or whatever.  You know the game at this point–sadly, we’ve seen this whole cycle play out more than once.

“As always, this knee-jerk reaction by old, scared talking heads will predictably result in most of our audience scoffing and saying that movies can’t influence people to do anything, because movies are make-believe and every non-crazy member of the audience knows how to separate fact from fiction.

“Well, the thing is . . . that is equally wrong.  But not for the reason the talking heads think.”

I wouldn’t typically cross-post to something from Cracked (though I am strangely addicted to reading its articles at odd hours of the morning), but I have been very interested, since reading this book,  in the effect that media (particularly passive media, such as television and movies) have on our behavior and perceptions of the world, and this article sums it up in a concise, easily understandable way.