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Channel Surfing a Big Wave of TV Violence

May 13, 1999|ART BUCHWALD

I want you to know what I do best is surf the channels on television. I can sit in front of the set and in one minute examine every show on the air.

The reason I bring it up is that there is a controversy raging as to how much damage the TV shows can do to young brains. What is wrong with the debate is that no one is discussing what it does to grown-up minds.

The other night I was surfing, and the first program I hit was a man throttling a lady on the roof of an empty warehouse. The attacker was wearing a ski mask and didn't seem to be a friend to the woman.

I pushed the clicker. A dozen gang members were in a parking lot, firing submachine guns at each other. As if this weren't enough, one group poured gasoline on the other and set their opponents on fire.

I was hoping to find some less violent action, so I hit the clicker again. I saw our planes bombing Belgrade. I would have stayed with it, but I'd seen it before.

The next click found me in the jungle with a crazed snake attacking an innocent baby. I asked myself, "What has Mother Nature come to?"

The thing that surprised me was how many women heavies are involved in TV violence. They had the weapons and they had the time. The only difference between the male and female shooters was that the women hid their Colt .38s in their brassieres.

I surfed to a sports channel only to find a hockey game with both teams beating the hell out of each other. The only nonviolent television on that night was wrestling, because everyone knows it is not for real.

Does TV cause people to do violent things? I don't think so. Shooting another person is something someone will do whether he sees it on the tube or not.

Crimes of violence cannot be blamed on Hollywood. When you see someone pushed out a window and he goes splat on the sidewalk, "That's Entertainment."

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