A question of morality: A few thoughts on the fetishism of violence in the media

The fetishism surrounding violence in the media often creates an uncomfortable landscape which forces us to question our moral status. Media surrounding violent events such as 9/11 are discussed by Daniel O’Gorman when he suggests:

While Islamic terrorism might be seen to enact more manifest violence than US-style capitalism…the drive within each to privilege fundamental detail over the nuanced complexities of world history is necessarily conductive to a reinforcement of arbitrarily delineated – and mutually antagonistic – categories of collective identity.

As O’Gorman suggests, media appears to select specific aspects of violence to emphasise and thus can control the subsequent stereotypes that arise. They are turning reality in fantasy, fiction. By manipulating real life like this they are reducing traumatic experience into mere images on a screen. They force us to confront the abject, or should I say their newly edited abject. Consequently, in this instance, the fundamental ideas within Capitalism and Islamic terrorism are lost due to the media’s stronger focus on violence. The collective identities that O’Gorman suggests are being made manifest suggests each country has created antagonising communities to be associated with, that repel in ideology but mirror in their desires for nationalism. This refuses cultural homogenization and instead separates communities of people, who associate with the same national identity. Media is encouraging this global cultural heterogenization for monetary gain.

Is this moral?




  1. Well, this really is one of the BIG ones! I won’t write much lest I roll into a rant … in a parallel world, I despair of the damage over-simplification can do. Just think of Brexit! It’s horrible to see how complex and hugely important issues are reduced to triviality. The issues you pinpoint are even more important … and morality leads the field. Long live nuanced complexity! Alas, perhaps only among friends. Perhaps morality can only survive there.

    1. I completely agree! It’s crazy that people have the nerve to do it to be honest. I can’t imagine myself ever feeling confident enough to detach myself from the issue and write like so many people do – ignoring the feelings of so many people.

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