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The Expansionist
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Punishing Reckless Driving — Onscreen. Hollywood has been teaching people to drive irresponsibly from the very beginning of film and TV production on the West Coast. Hollywood teaches drivers to take their eyes off the road for extended periods, while driving, to talk to their passengers — even to the point of turning around to look at people in the backseat! Rarely, or never, is there any adverse consequence, in film or television, to taking your eyes off the road while driving. In the real world, looking elsewhere than straight ahead, be it rightward at the front-seat passenger or in the rearview mirror to talk to people in the backseat, often causes accidents, including multiply FATAL accidents.
Hollywood teaches people to speed; to drag race on public streets; to spin-out; to drive recklessly, as by passing in no-passing zones and "playing chicken"; to disregard alcohol intake; to smoke; to change CDs, tapes, or radio stations; to eat; to kiss; to put on makeup; to read; to text; and to do other things I can't think of right now, while driving. Hollywood productions normalize inexcusable, criminal recklessless. Only criminal punishments seem likely to stop such outrageous propaganda, that you can drive as carelessly and recklessly as you choose, without anything bad happening.
If such recklessness is not shown, in the filmic work at issue, to be dangerous — as by making it the cause of an accident, of any severity, in the movie or TV show — then Government must step in to punish such irresponsibility as actual incitement to recklessness. The very least that should happen is that every actor, director, writer, and producer responsible for such incitements should have their driver's license suspended. The length of that suspension should depend on the seriousness, and frequency, of the offense.
Every time a driver in film or TV is shown looking away from the road while the vehicle is in motion, simply to talk to someone s/he could and should perfectly well talk to while keeping eyes on the road, that actor's driver's license should be suspended for a month. If the driver looks away five times in the course of driving scenes, suspend his or her license for five months. And so on.
Reckless driving itself is punished. So, therefore, should encouragement to drive recklessly be punished, because it constitutes criminal activity, at least verging on depraved indifference to human life in that cars are very heavy and very dangerous when in uncontrolled motion. For that depraved indifference to human life in propagandizing irresponsibility behind the wheel, suspension of one's driving privilege is the very least society should impose, in an attempt to teach people that reckless driving is not harmless but can KILL.
Never dismiss the power of filmic media to affect behavior by saying, "It's fiction! Chill." The human brain does not instinctually know the difference between fiction and reality. If it looks real, it is real, to the core brain. We would not have survived as a species if we had to stop and think whether the lion charging us is real or imaginary.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,436 — for Israel.)

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