Jacoby vs Rhodes

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In his essay, “A Desensitized Society Drenched in Sleaze, ” Jeff Jacoby argues that a sex and violence filled media has desensitized society by making extremely obscene actions almost a norm. According to Jacoby, entertainment through means of television, cinema, and music is so sex and violence drenched that this new generation we live in is accustomed to offensive behavior. Because of the boost of offensive actions in the media, people see such actions as normal to a point where we do not think such acts are offensive anymore as compared to society’s sensitive minds of the past. In addition, he believes that this media desensitizes and corrupts people and their actions, leading them to perform extremely violent, outrageous crimes and behavior. Jacoby concludes that we have grown jaded because “depravity becomes more and more tolerable because less and less scandalizes us” (667).

There has been disagreement with Jacoby’s argument since some believe the media isn’t responsible for violence at all. In his essay, “Hollow Claims about Violence,” Richard Rhodes argues that society isn’t really desensitized to violence and that all those claims are wrong. Rhodes addresses the reasons why these claims are false and why society shouldn’t listen to them. According to Rhodes, there is no direct link between exposure to violence in the media and violent behavior performed by people. Rhodes provides data from experiments and factual evidence that contain numbers and rates about homicides and violence in all parts of the world for all ages of society. Richard Rhodes concludes his argument with the fact that violence is actually declining in America, implying that Jacoby’s claim is wrong. Although Jacoby presents a valid argument, Rhodes does a better job in convincing the reader that Jacoby’s analysis is wrong through his effective use of factual evidence, recognizing flaws in opposing evidence, and use of a formal writing style.

Unlike Jacoby, Richard Rhodes provides...
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