I found this poem in the Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1925. Violence in the media and its effect on viewers is certainly an old topic of conversation:

Just About It

by James J. Montague


In the days when the terrible, terrible Turk
Was whetting his scimitar, stropping his dirk
To land blows on the foes that about him arose,
To frighten or cripple or kill ‘em –
In those days of destruction he never had seen
A movie production portrayed on the screen,
So the raids he essayed and the part that he played
In war’s desolation he couldn’t have laid
To the dreadful American fillum.

When Attila left his Hungarian home
With his murderous hordes over Europe to roam,
And to seek to efface every vestige and trace
That savored of civilization -
When cities and peoples he rudely destroyed,
He knew next to nothing of Keaton or Lloyd,
So he couldn’t have said that he always saw red
Because of the films upon which he had fed
From the awful American nation.

Caligula ruled with a merciless hand,
A thing we confess that we can’t understand -
Unless with the pride that his power supplied
He may have perhaps been demented.
One cannot attribute his uncanny pranks
To what he had learned from the land of the Yanks,
For we know in the times that he practiced his crimes,
The movies, which capture our nickels and dimes
And quarters, had not been invented.

It is hard to account for tyrannical rule
In Moscow and Rome and Madrid and Stamboul,
‘Way back in the days when the cinema plays
Did not influence noble and peasant
To murder and rapine and evil untold,
Resulting from passions too little controlled -
Yet they shed so much gore in the ages of yore
Even more – than we’re shedding at present!

Categories Curious Old News, Cinema


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