September 27, 2007, - 4:55 pm

“It’s Just a Movie” . . . Or Is It?: Kids, Smoking, Terrorism, Film, and Planes

By Debbie Schlussel
Whenever I write about Hollywood movies sympathizing with terrorists or hitting the moviegoer over the head with some other far-left cause or political point of view, I generally get one or two e-mails or comments saying, “Lighten up. It’s just a movie.”

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Movies Proven to Harmfully Influence Kids

Problem is, many ignorant moviegoers are influenced by what’s in the movies. They take it as truth. That’s the case with Abu Spielberg’s “Munich” and “Amistad“–both of which were fictional and lie-filled–and Oliver Stone’s many conspiracy theory cinematic screeds. After “JFK,” a lot of Americans believed Stone’s fanciful conspiracy theories about JFK’s murder, despite the facts which controvert what he put on film. Even liberal former ABC reporter Sam Donaldson shook his head at the movie.
Now, there’s more evidence to back up my constant irked status with regard to the revisionism and lies put out by Hollywood. A study conducted by Susanne Tanski, James Sargent, and other researchers at Dartmouth Medical School shows movies influence kids. They emulate what they see. The study is in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
The study focused on smoking, but I don’t think smoking is unique in the constant set of behaviors and viewpoints inculcated into movie-viewing kids’ minds.
The researchers counted the number of smoking scenes in 532 box office hits over the past five years. Then, they surveyed 6,522 kids aged ten to 14 about which of those movies they’d seen as well as about their smoking habits. Then, they resurveyed the kids 8, 16, and 24 months later.
The study found a direct correlation between the number of smoking scenes watched and the chances of becoming a habitual smoker. Those who’d seen the most such scenes were twice as likely to end up addicted to smoking as those who’d seen the fewest. This was constant in all social and economic groups of kids.
Again, smoking is not unique to learned behavior from the movies. If kids see enough scenes that tell us that extremist Muslims are innocent victims of a “backlash” or, worse, that terrorists have justified grievances which are legitimate grounds for attacks on innocent Americans, then they will ultimately believe it.
Just like smoking, it’s harmful to your children’s health. And America’s health.
It’s not “just a movie.” It’s a prescription for disaster.
And the movies’ influence on America in general is no secret. Those who claim it’s just a movie have to answer why companies spend millions for product placement onscreen. If we weren’t influenced by what we saw, they’d be wasting their money.
Then, there’s another issue that intersects with the faulty “it’s only a movie” philosophy.
A number of parents are upset that in-flight movies are often R-rated, complete with graphic violence, nudity, and obscenities. That led Reps. Heath Shuler and Walter Jones, both of North Carolina, to introduce the Family Friendly Flights Act. It would mandate that airlines have certain sections on planes that are “kid-friendly zones” where such movies would not be shown.
Although I generally side with parents on these issues, I have a problem with Congress micromanaging airlines in this way. On the other hand, since so many airlines asked for government help and bail-outs after 9/11, they’ve given themselves over to more government supervision. I believe in the marketplace, and I think if enough parents raised objections, airlines would do this on their own, instead of having Congress tell them how to do it.
I think this issue will be resolved as more and more airlines introduce personal video monitors on each seatback. Until then, I can’t argue with the fact that exposure to such movies influences kids unfavorably. And parents stuck with them blaring on a screen onboard a plane thousands of feet in the sky can’t exactly walk out.
Kids and other sponge-like Americans are impressionable, and they learn behaviors and viewpoints from movies, which they ultimately emulate. The smoking study makes that point in spades.
It’s not “just a movie.”

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6 Responses

Dear Debbie;
No offense, but there is nothing new here.
When I was a boy, if my little friends, and I would go to the show, and see a war movie, we would go home, and play “army”. Americans vs Germans.
“Bang, bang”! “Your dead”! “No”! “I’m only wounded”!
If we saw a “cowboy” movie, we would go home and play, “cowboys, and indians”.
“Bang, bang your dead”! “No I’m only wounded”!
So it stands to reason that if little Johnny, or Mary see someone smoking, or drinking booze, or a wife being beaten up by her husband, in a movie, or at home, they might think that it is perfectly O.K. to do these things.
So this stupid study, was a big waste of time, and money.
Why you mean to tell me that little kids are impressionable, and that they tend to imitate what they see grown-ups doing??? WOW!!! Who woulda thunk it??
Sincerely;
EJO

EJO on September 27, 2007 at 8:03 pm

I wouldn’t worry too much about this. The film industry is dying. They’re now relying on remakes and bringing back classic cartoon shows and comic book characters to the movies to make cash. The only thing original coming out is a bunch of crazy left wing propaganda, and those movies are bombing.
Recently, a video game made more money in one day than Spiderman 3 made in three days. Why is that? Could it be that the video game industry hasn’t been infiltrated by those left wing lunatics? Could it be that many of these games are made by the Japanese why don’t hold such insane views? I wonder…

Jose on September 27, 2007 at 11:03 pm

Of course, they get the same drivel at school. It’s up to the parents to set them straight. If you are 15 years old today, you probably have little or no memory of 9/11. Not to mention you’ve been told that Bush, Cheney, and the Neocons (ie, Jews) did it.
That said, most movies these days make far more money overseas than here. In fact, most movies today are made explicitly for overseas audiences. So, the far-left Hollywood tilt dovetails nicely with rapid anti-Americansim and anti-Semitism abroad.

sonomaca on September 28, 2007 at 1:51 am

That recent videogame happens to be Halo 3, which I now own.

Squirrel3D on September 28, 2007 at 8:21 am

Jose — The film industry is not dying. Like many other industries it is evolving into other forms. It is the large studios who are struggling, but there are more films out now by more people than ever before, thanks to technology. More films are free, and the studios definition of profitable may not exactly be ours — thus, I’d take that with a grain of salt.
Overall, I agree with Debbie, and quite frankly it is all the more reason to get more good, ethical, responsible people involved in the industry. It’s such an amazing opportunity to influence for good, and if we back away from being a part of it, someone else will use it to influence for their own ends. There are lots of job opportunities in the industry, and you no longer have to exclusively work from L.A. There are also lots of conservatives out there who could really use our support and elbow grease to turn the tide. I would recommend reading “Behind the Screen” by Lewerenz & Nicolosi — it will give you hope and insight.

Numenorean on September 28, 2007 at 11:14 am

I grew up in the 70′s, and I was a Flaming Liberal by age 17. I got ALL my information from M*A*S*H, All In The Family, Lou Grant(particularly subversive), Maude, Good Times, Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, NBC ABC CBS Nightly News, and Hollywood movies. They intentionally BRAINWASHED us youngsters.
It’s amazing how directly proportionate the relationship is between a young person’s lack of knowledge and the certainty with which they believe it. The less I knew what I was talking about, the more adamant I was.

steve ventry on September 29, 2007 at 1:28 pm

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