Incredibly bone-headed liberal crap thought:
Head Shots, Jon Burgerman’s photographs of himself being ‘shot’ by actors on film posters, seem wide of the mark. It’s not the movies that kill people: guns do
As the film industry prepares to celebrate its achievements at the Oscars, an artist is offering an alternative take on Hollywoodland in a series of interventions at New York subway stations.
Jon Burgerman poses for photographs in front of the gun-toting stars on violent film posters. With generous dollops of red goo, he looks as if he has been shot in the head by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Craig. In one picture he’s even been hit by an elvish arrow fired from a Hobbit poster.
Burgerman says his “Head Shots” are a protest against the violent imagery put out by Hollywood: “There are quite regular occurrences of gun violence and tragedy around the country, yet we have these celebrated members of society on giant billboards holding weapons”. The photographs are not anything like as gory as they would be in real life – Burgerman’s surreal demonstrations of what it might look like if a movie star shot you from a poster are comic provocations rather than tragic extrapolations. But is his message about the dangerous power of the movies actually true?
America has a catastrophic problem with gun violence. Obama’s failure to get the gun law reform he wanted is the tragedy of his second term. Nor is Burgerman the first to blame Hollywood for helping to shape a lethal gun culture. Jim Carrey refused to publicise Kick-Ass 2 because he found its violence unacceptable after the Sandy Hook murders.
But this is all hopelessly beside the point. America’s gun fans are, I believe, fond of saying that guns don’t kill people, people do. But guns do kill people. They were invented for that purpose. Obviously murder can happen without them but a gun just makes it infinitely easier. Two people arguing without a gun are much less likely to kill each other than if there’s a gun in the house. And it’s obvious that a troubled individual can do far more harm with a gun than without.
It is obscene that such a large and powerful lobby in America refuses to accept these basic logical premises. To blame the film industry is a feeble distraction from the reality that Americans just have too many guns.
Movie posters don’t kill people: guns do. The fear that films promote violence is misconceived because it ignores the nature of art – a representation of the world is not a set of instructions for acting in the world. We are not robots and art cannot programme us.
Art has always dwelt on violence. The first great European poem is Homer’s Iliad, a gory account of the Trojan war: Homer glorifies heroic battle far more explicitly than any film ever would.