Written by PTC | Published January 20, 2015
But Academy members seem to be paying attention to the criticism that Eastwood and star/producer Bradley Cooper shouldn’t be celebrating a man who wrote that killing hundreds of Iraqis was “fun.” “He seems like he may be a sociopath,” one Academy member told TheWrap, adding he had not yet seen the film but had read the article, which is being passed around.That seems like pretty harsh criticism of a story about a member of the U.S. military. But even if you accept the premise that Chris Kyle was a “sociopath,” how would that make him any different from many of the lead characters that appear on television night after night? Did the same critics wring their hands about the drug dealing, meth-creating Walter White of “Breaking Bad?” Have these critics not seen the impact of the sociopathic Hannibal Lecter on the eponymous show on NBC? What about the serial killer Dexter, which aired for years on Showtime and even CBS for a time? Were these critics not around when “Sons of Anarchy” featured some of the most intense violence and graphic sex ever put on television? My point is not to defend American Sniper or the life of Chris Kyle. It is to highlight the very simple fact that media content does indeed have an impact on its audience. That’s the very purpose of creating art, but with that opportunity comes responsibility. The entertainment industry does a lousy job of accepting responsibility for the material that it produces and distributes, so why is it only now, in this context that we hear concerns from within Hollywood about the impact of the material it produces? Hollywood cannot have it both ways. It is intellectually dishonest to decry the impact of one film for its violence and “glorification of a killer” while streaming enormous amounts of violent content into every living room in the country. If Hollywood moguls are going to trash a film like American Sniper for “glorifying violence,” then they have every right to do so. But where is the similar concern about the overwhelming amount of violence on television, night after night? If Chris Kyle was a “sociopath,” then where is Hollywood’s concern about shows like “Hannibal” and “Dexter?” You’ll be hard pressed to find it.