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27 August 2012

Music, Violence, and Causality

I've been meaning to post on this for quite some time and just haven't gotten around to it. It's also been a crazy-busy day so here is just a quick quibble to get you thinking. After the shooting at the Sikh temple, I noticed this headline: Wisconsin Killer Fed and Was Fueled by Hate-Driven Music. This seems to be yet another example of how journalists regularly confuse correlation and causation. We give media and pop culture too much credit. "Artertainment" is almost always a reflection of our culture rather than an independent influence. More accurately, the relationship is probably circular, with the music originating as an expression of a counterculture's ideology, being consumed by like-minded people, and reinforcing latent beliefs for wouldbe members.

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