chapter  12
38 Pages

SIN CITY: VIOLENCE, SEX, DRUGS, AND GAMBLING

Entertainment has often been criticized for appealing to our baser instincts-sex, aggression, gambling, risk-taking. Indeed many of the most popular and profitable entertainment industries-music, TV and film, casinos-are fueled by these themes. Undoubtedly, the activities showcased in these diversions are not always ones that we would encourage people, particularly youngsters, to engage in as part of their regular daily activities, if at all. Thus, questions have been raised, on many fronts, regarding the potential impact these forms of entertainment may have on audiences and society at large. The understandable concern is that audiences will be inspired to imitate and overindulge or at least become more tolerant of immoral and unsafe behaviors that are depicted in many forms of entertainment. We have seen, for example, in Chapter 8 how concerns regarding gambling and violence, indecency and obscenity in films and on radio, television, and the Internet have led community leaders and activists to push for regulations, limitations, and in some cases outright bans on expression and activities that are considered questionable. Others, however, have fought such restrictions, arguing that entertaining diversions are just that, diversions: they serve not as a model for real life but as an escape, a release that may actually serve as a safer outlet for those “baser instincts” thereby reducing their manifestation in society.