The Walking Dead
AMC’s gritty and gruesome apocalyptic hit “The Walking Dead” places the blood thirsty, agonized groans of zombies right in our living rooms. The show follows a small group of survivors in the midst of a zombie apocalypse that has decimated some seventy-five percent of the population. The cable series which first premiered in 2010 made no bones about its weekly offering of flesh-eating, blood-splattered gore. The opening sequence of the pilot episode features a virus-ridden little girl being thrust into the pavement when former sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) shoots a bullet into her skull as he struggles to ward off her flesh-hungry zombie attack. “The Walking Dead” has since amassed quite the following of fans who rave in equal parts about the show’s violent and spine-tingling special effects and its subtle commentary on hope and the human condition. Watching the hour-long gorefest in which infected men, woman and even children are repeatedly shown receiving violent and bloody blows to the head, one cannot help but wonder, is “The Walking Dead’s” portrayal of violence harmful in its appeal to debased human interests or does it ultimately provide a hopeful look at the human spirit trying to survive in a bleak world? One look at primetime’s lineup of this or that network’s violent flavor of the week and it is not a stretch to surmise that the populace has not come very far since the gladiatorial games of the ancient Romans. From a macro perspective, humans love gratuitous violence. The media is inundated with copious images of cold killings and moral depravity that serve no other purpose but to shock the masses. Violence tends to equate to ratings, which in turn leads to the exposure of more violence. Studies have shown, however, that continued and prolonged exposure to horrific images, like those in “The Walking Dead”, is not necessarily without consequence. According to researchers Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman in the...
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