From Message Received (GUMG ed. Greg Philo, Longman, 1999)

Children and Film / TV / Video Violence
(Greg Philo)

In the context of considerable public debate about the cultural influence on children of video, television and film, this chapter examines the responses of children to the film Pulp Fiction.

 A key issue is how the images, style and excitement generated by the film could overwhelm other possible responses to cruelty and killing. This was referred to by one child in her response to the question about how could someone who killed people be cool. She was initially perplexed by the question, and paused to think as she was answering. She replied:

 "The point of the film is to make them look cool and you just go along with that. If the point of the film had been to make them look violent and horrible then you'd have gone along with that. They dress them up and the way they walk - they dress them up in suits and ties to make them look cool - like I'm boss and I'm in control... The violence was disgusting. When he says 'Mmm. That is a tasty burger' and then he goes round and shoots everyone. But it was like, I'm trying to think of a word...camouflaged... by the other bits. "

Many of the children 'went along' with the film. We should perhaps not be so surprised at this. They understood, without adult pretence, that the logic of a culture based on power and control is that the most powerful and the most effective controllers had the most 'style' - and the ultimate expression of interpersonal control and style is the ability to dispose of other people. As one child wrote, "Jules would have more power if he shoots people."

The Mass Production of Ignorance
 (Greg Philo)

This paper examines key issues in the relationship between television news content and the manner in which audiences respond to it. In past research this relationship has been analysed from various theoretical perspectives. I think elements of each of these can add very importantly to a developed understanding of this issue. In making this case I will draw upon three major studies which were undertaken by the Media Group at Glasgow University that all focussed on news content and public understanding of the developing world.