Deconstruction is our Responsibility
Avoiding a Society of Victims
Films and television cover a wide variety of subjects. In the landscape of various directors and producers trying to offer a unique take on serious topics such as crime, we see countless numbers of film and television shows with unique backgrounds. They are all vessels of communication, a chance for people to offer unique commentary of different aspects of everyday life.
It’s absurd to think anyone would make a show to promote crime. It does not happen. There are numerous steps prior to successful release of film and television to prevent blatantly harmful and damaging material. At some point though, for the sake of unique expression, studios must trust the majority of consumers to deconstruct that which they have constructed and are releasing to mainstream media in a responsible manner. As consumers of popular culture and entertainment, we should take from it what we find useful, what appeals to us. As seen in popular subcultures such as Star Trek, people deconstruct Star Trek differently. Some people draw motivation for their careers, some people try to apply values and lessons in their lives, for some it just gives them a chance to devote their time to something they feel is worth their time.
Crime related television shows such as CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), have a simple premise, but can be deconstructed differently by people. Every episode, seemingly clever criminals are found to be guilty by a cunning team of forensic experts. The underlying message of course is that no matter what you do you cannot escape the law. The other side of the coin exists too, where someone were to carefully observe each episode in order to become a successful criminal and avoid capture. It would be ridiculous. The show is fictitious, hardly a training course for real life or real crime. The show is for entertainment. The overall message is obvious. If people were to deconstruct it beyond its face value, it can’t be helped. Anything could be a trigger, and it’s an irresponsible place to be in a world with so much media to consume.
Take for example the television show, Dexter. The show’s main protagonist is a serial killer, who only kills people who are deemed guilty in the eyes of the law. In a sense, the show almost asks its viewer to empathize with a criminal, to be invested in his survival. Do such shows encourage murdering or vigilante acts? Of course not. People deconstruct media differently. If all it took was a television show for some one to decide to become a murderer, there’s probably a multitude of other reasons he ended up there. People always notice what pushes people off the edge, failing to understand that there are numerous other factors which brought that person closer and closer to the edge prior to that.
We learn what is right and what is wrong outside of entertainment. It is what allows us to consume the various subject that are covered in film and television, it allows to us to deconstruct it in a responsible manner. It is entertainment, and nothing more, a vessel from the creator to tell a message, to provide commentary. If you deconstruct from entertainment something that the creator may not have intended, like anything, it’s an opinion, and how you feel about that opinion is really only up to you. Being victimized by popular culture is simply avoidable.