I love it when I discover another gem on YouTube. Here is one such example- an daytime audience discussion show from 1985 on the effects of violent films on their audiences.
On one side was Michael Winner and on the other Mary Whitehouse. As we now know the whole ‘monkey see, monkey do’ theory was a load of old elitest tosh. Mary Whitehouse didn’t even watch the films she was campaigning against. The line of discussion by the MPs trying to ban violent films was ‘Well I can watch these films but have the intelligence and upbringing to know that it’s a film and not real. But if a car factory worker from Birmingham should see them…’ Pompous, patronising rubbish. Tory government, anyone?
The things that weren’t functioning in society under the Conservative Party were being blamed on popular entertainment and the fact that people could now watch these films in their own homes for the first time. People were rioting and being generally anti-social because they didn’t have jobs, had to live in some of the most rundown areas of the UK and because their lives were crap under the Tories. But hey, let’s ignore this and blame it all on The Evil Dead instead.
To read more about this period of lunacy read firstly this-
Video Violence by Martin Baker
and Video Violence and Children by Geoffrey Barlow and Alison Hill
People have spoken of a need for a new Mary Whitehouse- someone who will unflinchingly express their outrage when something in the media offends their more conservative sensibilities. I argue that this isn’t necessary- people now have the internet with which to vocalise what they find offensive. The internet has peeled back the new curtains of Middle England and given a voice to the armchair warriors of Britain. We have been exposed as a nation of Mary Whitehouses. A disturbing thought- especially when the word ‘ban’ seems to be the utmost on everybody’s lips still.