My husband is a sweet and gentle man. He is not aggressive and doesn’t have a violent bone in his body. Yet he spends hours a day watching violence on TV, in movies and actively participating in it with video games. What is going on? His appetite for onscreen blood and gore is unfathomable and unsettling to me.

He says that it’s all make believe, that none of it is real. But my problem is that to me, it’s all way too realistic. I have no tolerance whatsoever for any kind of on screen blood and guts. I can’t even watch realistic operating room scenes on my TV medical shows. The sight of someone getting an injection makes me cringe, let alone someone being sliced and diced, even by a pretend doctor. I am a total wuss.

I may have become more sensitive as I get older. Or maybe it’s just that the entertainment industry has taken onscreen violence to another level. It’s more extreme and more gruesome these days. It’s also more graphic and much more realistic looking.

Onscreen violence used to be more suggested and less in your face. When someone got shot or hit on the head, they just fell down and maybe bled a little. Now, wounds are gaping, flesh is torn, internal organs are everywhere and blood is all over everything.

I can’t handle it. I could deal with pretending that someone’s hand was cut off. But in a recent episode of my favorite show, “Outlander”, the cutting off of the hand looked so real I almost lost my dinner. This is true everywhere in the mainstream now, not just on the military, underworld, superhero or shoot ‘em up shows.

There is so much fighting and brutality on TV and in movies. People seem to be more inhuman to each other, and also more creative in their violence. Torture is portrayed, again realistically, all the time. People don’t just shoot each other or stab each other, they use more inventive and sicker ways to inflict pain and suffering.

The world is portrayed these days as a much more brutal place. Man’s inhumanity to man is front and center and perverse sadists are everywhere you look. Many shows are very dark. They are dark in theme as well as lighting. I can tolerate some, like “The Blacklist” and “Blindspot.” But some — like “Gotham” — are over the top for me.

They portray the underside of life, the worst of the worst, the ugliest of the ugly. The public’s appetite for darkness, crime, and plain meanness seem boundless.

Close to half the shows my husband watches on TV, he watches without me. I can’t stomach them. If I did try to watch them, I think I’d be depressed and anxious all the time. I know there is horrible stuff going on out there. But I can’t focus on it or wallow in it. I can’t even bear to read stories about cruelty to animals or children. If I think about it, I become obsessed with awful images and I literally feel sick.

I need to spend most of my time dealing with the normal and the positive. I get enough angst from reading and watching the news. I don’t need to add to that by watching sadism and butchery as entertainment. There is enough crazy and destructive going on in the government, I don’t need to watch pretend craziness and destruction on television in my downtime.

Please let me keep some of my illusions about people having common sense and caring about each other. If I can’t keep some of these fantasies alive, I don’t think I’ll ever make it out of bed.

Categories: Ellin Curley, Entertainment, Photography, Technology, Television

Tags: , , , ,

33 replies

  1. I agree that getting used to blood and guts on tv and other media can make us expect more of the same in day-to-day life and to feel less sensitive to it. I recently watched all the old Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, and even twenty years ago, there was still all kinds of killing–obviously based on the concept of ‘slaying’ vampires and non-humans who looked very human a lot of the time. Since I watch no other tv, it really has made me much more likely to see that sort of badguys-everywhere than before I had watched it. I can’t even imagine watching mainstream tv or movies these days–there seems so little of interest to me there, and way too much badguy gore.


    • 20 years ago, I had no problem with Buffy and her band of vampire slayers. Something has changed – and I think it is both me AND the depiction of violence in the media.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can see that. For me, the line between ‘these are already dead beings’ makes a difference. I am just not a tv watcher, but hear a lot online about shows that just seem pointless and brutal, and it probably reflects society, the way pointless brutal rap and other media do. I can have alot of compassion, but don’t feel a need to watch carnage with no reason–and I’ve even been dead three times and am not squeamish or prissy about things. It seems to make people so desensitised. That seems to be a difference bewteen when I was younger and now–I am less willing to feel bad things and less wanting to feel them.


  2. I think we’ve been conditioned to view all the “blood and guts” in the media. But I also think there are still a lot of good and caring people out there too. Fear not Ellin.


    • I do believe that you can be a good caring, even gentle person, like my husband, and still like blood and guts on TV and in movies. I just worry about desensitising people, particularly children, to brutality in the real world. Half of our country seems to be oblivious to the suffering of others in our society or around the world. They only care about their own ethnic, religious and socioeconomic group. That is a form of desensitization and it scares me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think you have a good point about the desensitizing of children to all that cruelty, blood and guts. It can also happen to adults.


      • I’m not sure I know your husband, Ellin. I do know Tom Curley who becomes very agitated when the Oval Office squatter is discussed.

        As for me, I’m good. I have the wisdom and compassion that comes with 40 plus years as Teebee nooze mic holder.

        Whenever I see Donzo’s image, I remain placid for maybe :03 seconds and then, with some difficulty, I restrain myself from putting my feet through the TV monitor.


  3. Is this a husband thing I wonder – Cyberspouse loves watching television. Happily watches more news and intelligent discussions than me, enjoys good drama with me, but also loves the fact I spend a lot of time writing and here with fellow bloggers, so he can watch noisy and violent programmes by himself! In his 30 year career in the police he went to plenty of accidents and medical incidents, but never the scene of a bombing or terrible terrorist attack. How would the viewers of TV and film violence and gore react if they were confronted with it for real?


    • My husband worked in TV news for 40 years. Once he got to see unaired footage of a real life suicide by gun to the head. He said he had never seen anything like it and hoped never to again. He said it was qualitatively different than what you see on TV. But I think it’s still unhealthy to see images, however unrealistic, of violence and mayhem on a daily basis.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ellin, Tommy and I have seen our share of brutality and violence — myriad gruesome, mutilated bodies. Daily — for most of those 40 plus years. You never get used to it. Never! You do learn how to live with it and NOT take it home for collateral domestic violence.

        We’ve also seen crooked Pols and their coat holders – in all levels of government – from the high and mighty to the low lifes on our urban mean streets.

        What we haven’t seen until now — is the likes of the White House Squatter whose lack of ethics, integrity and complete indifference to the welfare of people, including his loyal base diminishes all of us. .-It boggles the minds of those of us who felt assured we’d seen the worst of people and what damage they can wreak..


  4. Unfortunately, today it seems, violence brings the money in. Let’s bring back more comedy shows like Laugh-In, Carol Burnette, and the likes of them. There’s enough violence on our streets and in the news. We don’t need it in the form of so-called entertainment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish there was more upbeat entertainment on TV and in movies, but I think there is more and more of an audience for more and more graphic violence. SHows are made because they anticipte a large audience. So we have to convince producers and directors that what we really want is more light hearted comedy and music shows, like in past decades.


  5. Just quickly coming back. I hope I haven’t offended YOU, Ellin, as I’m totally in the same boat as you. My heart is still beating triple speed from just having to look at the photos – I abhor any form of violence, and I’d probably rather wish for a quick death than hurting anybody or anything. So please don’t take this as a critic of you – as some said already, it must be a man thing.
    Luckily for me, Hero Husband is so NOT into that kind of viewing/and he doesn’t do games. I’m really, really glad.


    • I cover my eyes through many scenes of violence. I cover my eyes if I anticipate a violent scene coming up. I have no stomach or tolerance anymore, even for graphic doctor shows, which now make you watch what is actually goiing on on the operating table, instead of just showing the faces of the doctors working on the patient.


  6. I have just finished vomitting after reading this post and ‚force feeding‘ of the pics. How can Anybody conceive all of this and anybody buy and watch or ‚game‘ them? It’s beyond me and I only wish I hadn’t seen this.
    I certainly can’t understand your gentle husband… Have you asked him?
    I always say I‘d be useless in any war. I‘d spill my guts within 30“ of interrogation, such is my horror of physical violence.


    • I think men see “through” the visual effects and they don’t see it as realistic, but as “makeup.” Garry doesn’t like it, but he also doesn’t like doing anything that gets his hands dirty and I think it’s part of his personal pattern. I like the detective part of cop shows and if they never show a single mangled corpse, I’m thrilled by it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Both my sons play computer and TV games and many of them are quite violent. In the past I limited the violence but my oldest is 17 now so he does have to make his own choices now. They are well aware that this is fantasy and not real. To be honest, man is a very violent creature. If you look back on the history of mankind, man is actually a much more mellow and kinder creature now than in the past. Think of the Vikings, the Romans, the Normans and even, more recently, World wars 1 and 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if you control what they see at home you have no idea what teenagers see round friends’ houses. You think they are out playing in the park and it turns out they watched an 18 film round their friend’s uncle’s house!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, Janet. I had a most unfortunate incident with one of my boys at a friend’s house when he was younger. The friend was the youngest of four children and had a bother in his late teens. I was very upset because I am always so careful about where my kids go and with whom.

        Liked by 1 person

    • That is a good point. Our society as a whole is more compassionate and less violent and brutal than societies of the past. We don’t have Inquisitions or Crusades and we don’t invade and torture neighboring peoples as much for sport and political and economic gain as we used to. We do have economic safety nets in the USA for most of our people that keep us from the level and quantity of poverty that other countries have. And all this despite years of violence in our entertainment.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Seems violence in movies and TV is unavoidable these days. I much prefer the old days when the gore was merely suggested, and the acting was better.


  9. I know just how you feel. I can’t bear to watch anything gory or violent. David loved CSI. I liked the problem solving but I couldn’t often watch it with him because the detail was just too graphic for me. He watched a lot of TV but if he was watching something gory, excessively violent or shows where animals are hurt I couldn’t stay in the room.
    Someone told me that as I liked The West Wing I would enjoy House of Cards. In the first ten minutes, the lead character despatched an injured dog and not in a compassionate way. I never watched the show again. I did like the British House of Cards which was entirely different. I don’t even like watching cartoon violence. It used to be silly but now there is so much casual bloodletting. I find it gross.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always found cartoons to be overly violent too! They made me uncomfortable. It didn’t help that after falling off a cliff, the character just bounced up again, totally uninjured.That even made it worse because there were no consequences to the violence and aggression.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Too much violence and gore gets me leaving the couch in front of the TV. But my hubby like to watch it too. No idea why!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a male “Hunter Gatherer” thing…..

      Liked by 2 people

      • Could be. But gruesome nevertheless.


      • I understand men having evolutionary programming for hunting and providing for their families, but most violence in today’s ‘entertainment’ is gratuitous or for some motive other than putting food on the table. I also get that men have a higher tolerance for violence and women are evolutionarily speaking, more nurturing and thus have a lower tolerance. I gues that’s why there is a whole ‘chick flick’ genre of movies directed at women. I just wish there was more of it.


  11. I have the same problem. Fortunately, Garry doesn’t like gory stuff either, so when the show gets to be too much, we stop watching it. We gave up watching “The Yorkshire Vet” because IT was too gory. Realistic. Too realistic for us.


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