Thanks for all the violence |

Thanks for all the violence

Matt Zalaznick
Vail, Colorado CO

I feel like an 8-year-old boy, and the message I get from television is: Guns are harmless, but the mere glimpse of a breast has the nuclear tonnage to destroy society.

The message I get is that the homicidal violence of gun battles ” both real and fictional ” are no more severe than the bruising, but non-deadly violence of professional football.

Over the last few weekends watching the NFL playoffs ” which I have done pretty devotedly since I was 8 ” I’ve felt barraged, almost assaulted, by FOX’s commercials for the wildly popular show “24” and the cold-blooded, gun-toting, death-threatening, “I’m-gonna-blow-your-head-off”-hollering character of its star, Kiefer Sutherland.

I’ve never watched “24” but this is not to say I’m one of those elitists who brags about not owning a television. I own three, including a flat-screen HDTV. I have digital cable, a digital video recorder, seven HBO channels and I think “The Office,” both the British and American versions, is the best TV show in the history of TV shows.

And I have no problem with televised violence ” I was hooked on coverage of the invasion of Iraq and have been a diehard viewer of “The Sopranos” (before it got sappy) and “Deadwood.”

The “Sopranos” commercials aired during football games are pretty tame compared to the brutality depicted on the show itself. Not so with “24” ” those don’t hold anything back. But football is a kid’s sport and lots of kids watch it ” mostly little boys ” and all these ultra-violent “24” commercials shown in between touchdown drives are a bit dangerous.

Without a parent to explain the difference ” and even the best parents can’t keep track of all the messages kids get from the media; and a lot of kids don’t have parents who understand the difference themselves ” a little boy could easily conflate the fun and games of football with the killing and explosions on “24.”

I don’t think “24” should be taken off the air or any of its murders censored, and I certainly don’t think there should be any laws governing the content of commercials,

I just wish FOX ” home of those moral crusaders Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly ” would be a little more responsible and think about who’s watching its Sunday football telecasts.

This hazardous conflation perpetuates this Greatest of American Myths that guns are toys that don’t really kill people ” that guns are simply recreational devices only used to bag elk or tools to defend the American Way by offing unquestionably insidious TV terrorists.

Those cherishers of life and safety in the NRA must wet their pants every time Kiefer shoves his gun in someone’s face in between field goals.

They can probably hear the juveniles clicking the safetys off their parents’ poorly hidden guns.

And I can’t help but think this myth of harmless firearms is one reason Americans allowed themselves to be conned so easily into supporting the war in Iraq.

The evil genius of the administration’s “embed” program was to make the invasion look like just another drama ” with W. as the furiously red-white-and-blue Jack Bauer ” for the countless channel-surfing Americans who didn’t know anybody “over there.”

And there’s nary a scandal about Kiefer threatening to fill someone full of lead after a punt, but when Janet Jackson’s breast makes a split-second appearance amidst fireworks and thunderous music and dancers, the self-appointed guardians of the country’s morals lose their minds.

And the myth written in this weirdness is that a black woman’s bare body is more lethal than Kiefer’s handgun. Kid should be afraid of boobs, but not bazookas, right?

But one headline you never read is the following: 12-year-old boy accidentally shoots and kills 8-year-old brother with breast he found under his father’s bed.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or Check out his blog at

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