Mental Illness, Not Movies

So now we get to the inevitable hand-wringing about violence in the media, in this case trying to tie the Virginia Tech massacre to Oldboy:

“The inspiration for perhaps the most inexplicable image in the set that Cho Seung-Hui mailed to NBC news on Monday may be a movie from South Korea that won the Gran [sic] Prix prize at Cannes Film Festival in 2004.”

The link is tenuous, and the assertion is utterly ridiculous. As Bob Cesca mocked:

“The lead character in Oldboy is Asian, which is weird and freaky because Oldboy is an Asian film and there are rarely any Asians in Asian movies. And ... the character appears to be grasping a hammer in the movie.”

But let’s say for the sake of argument that we found definitive proof that Cho Seung-Hui believed himself to be something akin to Oldboy’s protagonist. So what? All we’re doing by making that connection is adding obfuscation to what is already difficult to fathom: the unmotivated murders of more than 30 people.

Three days after the event, it seems increasingly clear that the shootings were the actions of a person with serious mental illness. Movies have nothing to do with it.

I think his post looks like Lara from Tomb Raider, really look at this:

I dunno. Maybe movies had everything to do with it. But the point is still good: If Cho was seriously unbalanced (and it looks like he was), then it doesn’t matter if movies sent him over the edge, or if Twinkies (or anything else in particular) did -- because it’s not going to tell us much about how movies (or Twinkies, etc.) affect most people.

Unless the point is to remove all risk from society, in which case good luck...

“Maybe movies had everything to do with it.”

How so?

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