Why We Watch (1998)
Why We Watch is the first book to offer a careful look at why we are drawn to depictions of violence and why there is so large a market for violent entertainment. This arresting collection of essays examines the presence of violent imagery not just in contemporary America but across time, from classical antiquity to the present, and not only in film and television but in a fascinating array of cultural domains, including literature, religion, fairy tales, video games, children’s toys, photojournalism, and sports. Why We Watch addresses a crucial but rarely considered aspect of the media-violence problem: Why is violent imagery so prevalent? The distinguished contributors, hailing from fields such as anthropology, history, literary theory, psychology, communications, and film criticism, include Allen Guttmann, Vicki Goldberg, Maria Tatar, Joanne Cantor, J. Hoberman, Clark McCauley, Maurice Bloch, Dolf Zillmann, and the volume’s editor, Jeffrey Goldstein. Together, they aim to define what is distinctive about the culture of violence.