Gerard Jones’ Biased Evaluation of Violence in Media
In the essay “Violent Media Is Good for Kids”, Gerard Jones is arguing that violent media is more beneficial than harmful to children. In his essay, Jones explains how it is important for children to have a medium in which they can express their feelings in, instead of repressing them deep within themselves. Jones maintains that children need an outlet to release feelings that they tend to suffocate within themselves, because society has made rage and other feelings such as; power-hunger, fear, and greed seem as if they were atypical. Throughout the essay, Jones provides personal examples from his childhood, research he has conducted, and from his experience as a father, of times when violent media was beneficial. Although, Gerard Jones does a decent job in explaining the benefits of violent media, he is not very clear by what his definition of “violent media” means. Also, the fact that Jones’ is not arguing that violent media can possibly be a positive influence for your children, but the fact that violent media is a positive influence on all children, is where his argument begins to lose its persuasive effect.
Gerard Jones begins his essay by giving a personal example of how he as a kid, was helped by the introduction of violent media into his life. He starts of by talking about his childhood. More specifically, about how his family always expressed to him that violence was wrong and how he felt so alone and afraid, because he used to suffocate his deepest fears and desires under a “nice-boy” persona (199). Stating this in his essay appeals effectively to the reader’s in the form of pathos. Additionally, this helps in establishing his credibility to write on this subject with his readers.
Furthermore, Jones continues his use of pathos by telling stories of his son and how he has managed to overcome some of his fears using violent media. By using metaphors, Jones describes his son “transforming into a blood thirsty dinosaur to embolden himself for the plunge into preschool, a Power Ranger to muscle through a social competition in kindergarten” (199). Providing these examples and how his son has been empowered through the use of violent media lets the readers who are parents of young children reflect on how they have helped their kids overcome their fears. Jones’ use of pathos so far has been very convincing in proving that violent media can be beneficial to children. However, the fact that Jones’ is not arguing that violent media can possibly be a positive influence for your children, but the fact that violent media is positive to all children is where his argument loses its convincing effect.
Gerard Jones’ attempts to use ethos when he uses a quote from Dr. Moore “Children need violent entertainment in order to explore the inescapable feelings that they’ve been taught to deny, and to reintegrate those feelings into a more whole, more complex, more resilient selfhood” (200). However, this quote Jones uses is not anything he has not explained or said up to this point, it simply repeats what Jones said with the only difference being the use of fancy terminology. Dr. Moore seems like a credible and reliable source having spent years working with children and studying children’s use of violence to meet emotional needs. I feel as if statistics and facts were provided in Dr. Moore’s quote it would have effectively applied ethos and logos to this argument. The lack of these facts makes it feel as if Jones just put her quote in this essay as to say, “Someone with a Ph.D. agrees with me so I must be right.”
In conclusion, I feel Gerard Jones does an unsatisfactory job of arguing towards violent media. I say this because I feel his lack of facts and statistics hinder his ability to defend his argument. Jones mostly talks about individual experiences and how it helped him but fails to provide substantial evidence that would help persuade someone to agreeing with him. Another reason I feel it was unsatisfactory is because he leaves the definition of violence to the assumption of his readers. Is Jones just speaking of superhero violence, like when batman beats up the bad guys and justice is served or is it violence as its portrayed in video games like Grand Theft Auto where there is no limitation to what type of violence your character can afflict in his virtual world? The lacking definition of violence hinders Gerard Jones argument. Also, the fact that Gerard Jones is saying that violent media is a positive influence in children rather than saying it could be beneficial to children makes his argument lose its persuasive effect. Overall, the lack of facts, statistics and some sort of classification of violence hampers Gerard Jones argument towards violent media in my opinion.
Jones, Gerard. “Violent Media Is Good for Kids.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking and Argument, with Readings, 11th ed., edited by Sylvan Barnet, Hugo Bedau, and John O’Hara, Bedford, 2017, pp.199-202