Evelyn Waugh - Letter to His Wife - 31st May 1942
No.3 Commando was very anxious to be chums with Lord Glasgow, so they offered to blow up an old tree stump for him and he was very grateful and said don't spoil the plantation of young trees near it because that is the apple of my eye and they said no of course not we can blow a tree down so it falls on a sixpence and Lord Glasgow said goodness you are clever and he asked them all to luncheon for the great explosion.
So Col. Durnford-Slater DSO said to his subaltern, have you put enough explosive in the tree?. Yes, sir, 75lbs. Is that enough? Yes sir I worked it out by mathematics it is exactly right. Well better put a bit more. Very good sir.
And when Col. D Slater DSO had had his port he sent for the subaltern and said subaltern better put a bit more explosive in that tree. I don't want to disappoint Lord Glasgow. Very good sir.
Then they all went out to see the explosion and Col. DS DSO said you will see that tree fall flat at just the angle where it will hurt no young trees and Lord Glasgow said goodness you are clever.
So soon they lit the fuse and waited for the explosion and presently the tree, instead of falling quietly sideways, rose 50 feet into the air taking with it 1/2 acre of soil and the whole young plantation.
And the subaltern said Sir, I made a mistake, it should have been 7 1/2 not 75. Lord Glasgow was so upset he walked in dead silence back to his castle and when they came to the turn of the drive in sight of his castle what should they find but that every pane of glass in the building was broken.
So Lord Glasgow gave a little cry and ran to hide his emotions in the lavatory and there when he pulled the plug the entire ceiling, loosened by the explosion, fell on his head.
This is quite true.
The problem with violent films and video games is that they do not contain real violence but a 'pornographic' imitation. In real violence the player would be bruised, mutilated or even killed and would see the ghastly effect that weapons have on the human body and people he / she cares about. I used to be in the British Army and I can promise you that real violence is deeply horrifying and frightening. It always involves the soldier / player getting injured in some way and is a great inoculation against violent urges and dreams. Even in a pub brawl you'll get hurt even if you 'win' often with broken knuckles or fingers and a lot of facial bruising. I vividly remember an SAS instructor in personal combat explaining that hand-to-hand fighting without a weapon seldom made sense particularly when you had more than one opponent or they were armed. His three steps in that case were:
Video Games and Films sell fantasy violence just as advertising sells fantasy romance and glamour. We know that Advertising works highly effectively to sell products and alter behaviour. It works on all of us, however little we care to acknowledge it. Adolescent males often have brains that are tortured by testosterone and fantasies of masculine power, significance and violence. Violent Games indulge those fantasies which is why they are so successful and in many cases it is very likely they have the same 'advertising' effect and lower the social taboos against violence or aggressive behaviour. I have young children and even though I run a software company (not games), I keep them well away from violent games and films and spend as much time as possible trying to make sure they get exposure to outdoor sport, real contact with friends and doses of high-culture.
"Lead us in a few words of silent prayer." -- Bill Peterson, former Houston Oiler football coach