The shooting at the Colorado movie theater this past weekend was an unspeakable tragedy. May the survivors and the families of all its victims soon find peace.
One of the lesser-important results of this tragedy will be a renewal of the debate over violence in entertainment. Had the shooting occurred at the debut of the Katy Perry movie that debate probably wouldn’t happen, but yes, it occurred at the debut of the latest Batman movie, and yes, that movie is very violent.
While superhero movies are certainly trivial affairs, if you do get drawn into a debate about their virtues and vices it’s best to go in with some knowledge. That’s why I highly recommend Gerard Jones’ excellent book, Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence. Jones is a veteran comic book writer with a serious interest in the debate over violence in entertainment. His book takes a scholarly look at the psychological research on this subject, and provides a convincing refutation of the overheated rhetoric on the dangers of violent entertainment. I really need to write an extensive review of this excellent book in my blog, but for now I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels a need to argue against the heated rhetoric you’re likely to see soon about movie violence.