CRJS 480 MURDER MOVIES & COPYCAT CRIMES Course Introduction by 84zUP1l

VIEWS: 13 PAGES: 15

									J.B. Helfgott, PhD
Department of Criminal Justice
Seattle University
 Why does Newman think it’s important to decode the “language of
  violence” in popular movies?

 How does Newman define violence? Examples of movies
  displaying the two types of violence he identifies?

 What rationales are used to make violence “acceptable” in a
  movie? Can you think of movies where violence is presented as
  acceptable/unacceptable?


                                                        J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                        Department of Criminal Justice
                                                        Seattle University
 What is a “media loop?”


 Manning suggests that in the future media loops will
 be even more extreme “…complicated media loops,
 virtual and cyber realities, and forms of hypertext
 (arbitrarily linked text) by which we assemble our
 lives, selves, and imagery will become more common”
 (p. 38). Examples of more complex media looping?
 Impact of media loops on crime and justice issues?
                                            J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                            Department of Criminal Justice
                                            Seattle University
 The Beating of Reginald Denny



 Columbine Cafeteria Shootings



 9-11


 Other examples???



                                  J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                  Department of Criminal Justice
                                  Seattle University
Black asks (in thinking about the Hinckley/Taxi Driver and Chapman/Catcher
in the Rye cases), “What, in short, makes fiction even more powerful than
“reality” in shaping—and destroying—people’s lives?” (p. x).



                                                               J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                               Department of Criminal Justice
                                                               Seattle University
 Black says that in Western philosophy and culture “our
  customary experience of murder and other forms of
  violence is primarily aesthetic . . .”

 What does this mean?




                                                J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                Department of Criminal Justice
                                                Seattle University
 Murder is as much a “general cultural phenomenon”
 as it is a social, legal, or psychological problem and
 that it can be studied as a “morally neutral
 phenomenon” from an “aesthetic-critical” perspective
 in contrast to the traditional “moral-rational”
 perspective.

 What can be gained studying murder in this way?


                                           J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                           Department of Criminal Justice
                                           Seattle University
 Crime films reflect and shape our ideas.


 Crime films have traditionally made two simultaneous
  arguments:
   1) Criticism of some aspect of society
   2) Identification with a character who restores order


 Films made after 1970 reflect an alternative tradition
  that reject happy endings and show the social realities
  of crime and violence (or one might say, the aesthetics
  of violence)
                                                 J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                 Department of Criminal Justice
                                                 Seattle University
 Fragments of cultural information in our minds form
   themselves into cognitive schemata that we draw on to
   form assumptions, social norms, principles that guide
   and become scripts for our behavior and aggregate
   into larger mental structures or ideologies about how
   the world works.
“Movies are a source of cultural information, most of which simply rattles around in our
heads waiting to be called upon, but some of which feeds into our ideologies and other
mental schemata. The schemata in turn interact with the external world, where we
encounter new cultural phenomena (including new movies) that then feed back into our
schemata, usually reinforcing but sometimes disconfirming them” (Rafter, 2006, p. 11).

                                                                      J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                                      Department of Criminal Justice
                                                                      Seattle University
 Cultural criminology is well suited to explore the
  intersection of artistic and aesthetic dimensions of and
  crime, criminalization, social control.

 Cultural criminologists believe that the criminality and the
  criminalization of everyday life by the powerful are cultural
  enterprises and study “not only images but images of images,
  and infinite hall of mediated mirrors.”

 Cultural criminologists situate themselves as close to the
  action as possible to develop a “criminological verstehen” and
  ask:
    How do the symbols, signs, media mediated messages, and
     the “symbolic universe” shape public perception about
     crime, criminal justice policy, and criminal behavior?
                                                      J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                      Department of Criminal Justice
                                                      Seattle University
 One of the most controversial films of the 90s -
  linked to more copycat crimes than any other
  film.

 Associated with at least eight real-life murders
  and numerous other crimes including 1995
  robbery and murder spree by a young couple in
  Louisiana that resulted in a a civil suit that went
  to the Supreme Court in 2001.

 Fundamental features that may have contributed
  to copycats -- media looping of fact and fiction,
  multiple formats and cuts, fast pace, and visual
  style likened to MTV.
                                                        J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                        Department of Criminal Justice
                                                        Seattle University
 What messages does the film convey with respect to
  symbols, style, moral panic, serial killers, crime, the
  criminal justice system, etc. etc.?

 What about the film made it stand out so much (amidst
  so many other murder movies) to young would-be/to-
  be robbers/murderers, politicians, violent media
  watchdogs?




                                                 J.B. Helfgott, PhD
                                                 Department of Criminal Justice
                                                 Seattle University
 What is the “language of violence” in this film?

 What is the central function of this film? What does it do
  for the viewers? What general and specific messages does it
  send?

 How might the “cultural material” in this film make its way
  into someone’s cognitive script, schemata, ideology and
  who would be more likely to internalize or make use of this
  material and why?

 What type of crime film is this and where does it fit within
  the history of crime films?
•Very different film in
comparison with NBK

•Until 2001 was not
associated with any real-
life crimes

•What is the “language
of violence in this film?”

								
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