Something which struck me recently during a water cooler-esque discussion at work was just how popular some violent forms of entertainment are, and conversely just how much I don't like those forms of entertainment.
My colleagues at work think it is odd that I've never seen The Godfather. I've heard Bill Simmons say on a podcast that people who haven't seen The Wire shouldn't own a television. I've also looked through Grantland's list of Oscar travesties and saw a mass of predominantly-violent films that have seemingly been shunned.
So my question is this, do we really have to like violent things?
I can't remember a point where I liked violent action. I had a grim fascination with the Zapruder film when I first saw it at around the age of 13, but I don't wish to see it any more. I've never seen an episode of The Wire, because I've always veered towards lighter entertainment and sport in my free time. And besides, what do I really need to know about the drug trade in Baltimore?
One of the more serious programmes I love is Mad Men, and that was created by Matt Weiner, who used to work on The Sopranos. Number of episodes of I've ever seen of The Sopranos? That's right, zero. Here's what I know about The Sopranos: it's Mafia-based and violent. Maybe that's exceptionally ignorant because I've never seen it, but I really don't want to see it. I don't think it could compare with the sharp dialogue and intricate character development I see in Mad Men.
Going back to Grantland's list of Oscar travesties, one of the ones they pointed to was Forrest Gump winning best picture over Pulp Fiction. I've seen both films, and certainly wouldn't want to see Pulp Fiction again. From a more critical point of view, I thought the film was a mish-mash of storylines which didn't really tie in all that well. With the exception of some scene-stealing intimidation by Samuel L. Jackson I don't think of Pulp Fiction with much affection. Conversely Forrest Gump has a fantastic storyline, some wonderfully creative characters and some genuinely touching moments. For me it isn't a discussion between the two.
Does this make me a bad person? I hope not. Does it make me a person of questionable taste? Possibly, but I think that things other than my taste in films and entertainment has shown this prior to now.
In addition to my natural distaste of violence is my increasing lack of free time as I get older. Given that it is more precious now, I'm less inclined than ever to spend it on taking a chance on watching something I don't think I would like. Add in that I'm likely to want to spend that time relaxing with something a bit lighter (typically sitcoms) or something I'm more passionate about (yes, that almost certainly means sport), and I think you can see why these programmes and films pass me by. And if that makes me a bad person, then so be it. Unlike some of the characters in these programmes and films I don't think my actions will kill me.