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Unit Eight Reading Selection One

2012-04-13  依尔夏提江

Unit Eight

Reading Selection One:
Meanwhile on MTV, They're Shooting Up Classrooms

By Marilyn Duff

  Boy enters classroom, turns to face classmates, begins to raise hand slowly. Kids sitting in rows cower and shield faces. Sounds and flashes suggest automatic weapon fire. Blood spatters kids' foreheads, hands, shirt-fronts. Heavy metal soundtrack grinds to silence and the TV screen goes black—followed by a commercial for McDonald's Big Mac.T
  A violent TV episode? By any measure. Will it be labeled as such when the networks' new policy goes into effect this fall?* No. Why? Because this is rock video on cable channel MTV and it does not meet the qualifications for labeling.* It's not a network prime time show or a drama.* It's "kids' music."T
  Yet kids are showing up at school in alarming numbers with guns packed next to their sandwiches.* From September to May, every single week, a child somewhere in the United States fired a gun in a classroom or schoolyard—often killing somebody else's child.T
  Why then, when violent television's relationship to violent behavior is such a hot topic, do we only hear about labeling prime time network films and dramas? Rock-video violence is more deadly because it is fashioned by youth for the appetites of youth.* It taps the most advanced visual and audio techniques to grab the teenager's eye and weaves in anger and explicit rebellion against schools, parents and police.* And MTV, the number one exhibitor of rock videos, now reaches 57.3 million homes in the United States (231 million worldwide) seven days a week, around the clock.T
  I first saw Pearl Jam's "Jeremy"—the video described above—on MTV at 10 A.M. on a July morning in 1992 when millions of kids were home on summer vacation and many of their parents were probably at work. It continued to play on MTV around the clock all summer and into the fall, repeating as recently as Monday, July 5 of this year in prime time on "The Top 30 of MTV's Top 200 Hits Ever."T
  And "Jeremy" is by no means an isolated example of violent videos aimed at the channel's youthful audience. References to guns, threatening gun gestures, and violence are recurring themes in such MTV videos as Dr. Dre's current rap hit "Dre Day."T
  In Naughty by Nature's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," a kid takes a crowbar to a car window. In Aerosmith's "Livin' on the Edge (You Cant's Help Yourself)" uniformed school girls on roller skates bash parked cars with hockey sticks; two boys break a windshield and steal a car for a joyride; and a boy reaches into his schoolbag where a gun is clearly visible, chooses a candy stick instead. He aims it playfully at his friend.T
  Why, then, can't parents just take responsibility and monitor their kids' music?T
  First, because the whole process is incredibly time-consuming and frustrating. Not all videos are offensive, and the high-tech graphics and special effects are often brilliant. But the subtlety with which violence is interspersed makes it necessary to do a great deal of legwork and watch MTV in large blocks of time, something adults may not have.* T
  In some cases, it's the lyrics which shock. Record makers at one time agreed to display lyrics so that parents could easily access them. But the industry has made a mockery of the process by packaging the lyrics on folded inserts inside wrapped cassettes or CDs where they're inaccessible until the album is safely purchased.* Even then they're often printed so small that they're unreadable without magnification.T
  In other cases, lyrics may be fine, but the accompanying visuals are violent. The current recording of the old standard "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You," by UB40, is lovely. But the video uses parts of the film "Sliver," with graphic scenes of seminude Sharon Stone being threatened by a pursuer.T
  Second, parents can switch the channel, await the technology to block it or cancel cable entirely. But this is no solution either because their kid can still see it next door or down the street, and he may still catch a bullet fired in the classroom by a kid whose parents didn't care what he watched.T
  Third, MTV, in anticipation of eventual outrage from parents and civic groups, has built pre-emptive defenses into its young viewers.* Ever since the U.S. senate hearing of 1985 MTV's youthful audience has been repeatedly warned that parents and watchdog groups may seek controls. "I want my MTV!" is the rallying cry, and many a parent has already experienced their teenager's outrage at any discussion or questioning of MTV's content.T
  Thus, MTV is seemingly immune to criticism, able to stand outside of any debate on TV violence,* while its profit margin is supported by an ever-expanding audience and ad revenues from corporate giants like McDonald's, Time-Warner and Coca Cola.T
  The na?ve senators and parents who grasped eagerly at the solution of labeling "violent TV" should spend a weekend immersed in this most offensive channel. Then, the next time they hear "you can't take kids' music away from them," they'll at least be able to define the term "kids' music."T


Pearl Jam

cower: 畏缩,退缩
shield: 防护
spatter: 泼,溅,洒
exhibitor: 提供者; 展出者
crowbar: 铁橇
bash: 猛撞
hockey: 曲棍球
lyric: 歌词


  

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