Were you shocked by the level of cruelty and violence in Game of Thrones and the Squid Game?
As production companies seek outdo each other by creating more and more shockingly disturbing and violent content, it’s time that for the sake of a healthy society that we stop supporting the creation of excessively violent TV shows.
Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama TV series created by HBO, and by the time its final season aired, according to TIME magazine, it was the most popular TV show in the world, airing in more than 170 countries. Game of Thrones is a show about nine noble families who fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient undead enemy returns after being dormant for a millennia.
Game of Thrones became popular by capitalizing on the same ancient fantasy theme as Lord of the Rings, but it added an unseen level of cruelty and violence between the characters. From pushing children out of tower windows for witnessing incest, to repeated uncensored rape of various young girls, gory murders of an entire wedding party, to the most intricate levels of cruelty, scheming and betrayal between family members, Game of Thrones sought to shock viewers and to profit off of showing them a level of evil they’d never seen before.
Netflix’s Squid Game, which was released more recently, was the most viewed show in Netflix’s history, with 1.65 billion hours viewed in its first 28 days. The Squid Game is a show about a secret contest where 456 players, all of whom are in deep financial hardship, risk their lives to play a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win a ₩45.6 billion prize.
The show is survival game, similar to lord of the flies, but it promotes unbelievably cruelty and murder, with each contestant being eliminated by a gunshot to the head or by falling from a 50ft+ bridge. It has side deals of slain contestants being chopped apart to sell organs for money, and each episode is devoted to dramatizing the betrayal of kindness and friendship, as friends within the show must kill and deceive each other to survive.
Together these two are the most watched shows in history, and their foundations are on selling the most inhumane evil ever witnessed on a TV screen. Viewers reported feelings of excitement for wanting to see the next episode after viewing, but they also reported feelings of depression, unhappiness, emptiness and less emotional tolerance after having witnessed such levels of cruelty and violence in each episode.
With this recent increase in violent programming, violent rhetoric and deeply disturbing content on TV, are we noticing a negative effect on society?
While it’s difficult to perfectly pin a precise cause and effect on what causes violence in society, we do understand an important piece of advice from holocaust survivors: that violent rhetoric and language leads to actual violent events. But one thing we have noticed, is that there are also several examples of today’s society becoming more violent.
In America during the past five years alone, there have been nearly double the amount of mass shootings.
Wars have started in Ukraine and also in Israel, at a time when people are still exhausted from the pandemic, and for the first time in recent history, there have been threats of using nuclear weapons. Producers seeking a profit were quick to create movies like Oppenheimer, which put nuclear weapons on the forefront of movie screens as Russia was threatening the use of nuclear weapons. One thing society needs to get clear on is that they are not nuclear weapons; they are extinction weapons. A nuclear war would likely end in the extinction of the known world, and if anything or anyone remained, it would never be the same. It’s important to remember that a nuclear war is one that cannot be won, and must never be fought.
These horribly violent shows, Game of Thrones and the Squid Game, were watched by billions of people online around the world, by both average citizens and by world leaders. While movies and TV series are viewed as entertainment, they are also an education system, exposing people to new ideas and desensitizing them to different levels of cruelty and violence.
There is also a percentage of the population which seeks to copy and emulate the villians in certain movies. The Joker character in the Batman movies, for example, depicted a deeply troubled man who was moved to commit mass killings, and has inspired multiple people in the real world to copy his example. In Colorado, a young man dressed in the Joker’s colors went to a premiere of the Batman movie with a machine gun and shot 70 people. In Japan, a young man dressed in a Joker costume boarded a train, stabbed 17 people and lit fire to the train. Excessively violent TV shows absolutely play a role in inspiring real life cruelty and violence in a percentage of viewers, and we need to make an effort to prevent it.
TV used to be more peaceful, regulated and civilized
Past generations made a serious effort to prevent violence and even swear words on TV, which as superficial as it seems, these generations lived through WWII and saw the actual results and horrors of war, unlike the generation that exists today, who have known mainly peace and prosperity.
It’s possible to create a safe and kind atmosphere on TV
A beautiful example of someone using television for kindness was Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers opposed the Vietnam war, and he did not like the violence he saw in children’s cartoons as well, as he thought that even cartoon violence was raising children to become violent adults. Seemingly harmless episodes of Bugs Bunny vs Elmer Fudd or Tom vs Jerry using weapons to hurt each other deeply troubled him, so he decided that the best way he could help prevent violence in the world, and even wars, was to create loving content to help inspire children to be kind.
Another beautiful example is Boss Ross. Before painting “happy little trees” and inspiring the world with his gentle and accepting attitude while painting, Bob Ross was a drill sergeant in the air force. After years of yelling and preparing people for war, he decided that he wanted to do something to make a peaceful difference in the world, so he gave us his beautiful hippie style of peaceful painting.
So what can we do to reduce violence on TV and in the world?
It’s important first to not support movies or TV shows which sell unbelievable cruelty and violence for profit, as they are making the world a more violent place and are encouraging violence to happen.
Second, we can call production studios and let them know how we really feel. Call and email companies like HBO and Netflix and tell them that you will no longer support them because they are trying their best to popularize violence, cruelty, and to sell evil to the world. Ask for more content focused on kindness, that helps make the world a better place.
Let’s make a peaceful and kind world together by making goodness and kindness popular on TV, and prevent the education systems of cruelty, violence and evil which exist far too much in today’s morally unregulated Television atmosphere. Letting go of excessively violent TV and taking steps towards a more peaceful world is a beautiful thing.
You are Loved.