June 27, 2013 – Wild Goose Festival’s Gareth Higgins on Voices of Peace

Voices of Peace Talk Radio Call-in Show with Wild Goose Festival’s Gareth Higgins

Wild Goose Founder and Film Critic Gareth Higgins Discusses the Culture of Violence in Hollywood’s Hottest Movies

Do violent movies make people more violent? Do any movies in the theater this summer challenge the myth of heroic violence? Can a Christian festival with a whimsical title “Wild Goose” help foster peace? Adam Ericksen, Bob Koehler and Suzanne Ross engaged with movie critic and peace activist Gareth Higgins for a lively discussion of these and other questions of violence in entertainment.

Gareth is a northern Irish writer and activist, now based in North Carolina. He is Executive Director of the Wild Goose Festival (www.wildgoosefestival.org), blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.wordpress.com, and reviews films at www.thefilmtalk.com.

For a sample of Gareth’s perspective on movie violence and its impact on the broader culture, here’s an excerpt from an article he posted in response to the Aurora, Colorado shootings at a screening of Dark Knight Rising last year. He tries to move the conversation off of “superficial talking points… movies are either blamed for everything (in puritanical quarters), or responsibility denied (in liberal ones).” He continues:


… we could benefit from recognizing that the relationship between storytelling and the formation of human identity is crucial – we ‘curate’ our identities based on how we interpret our memories: so we manifest ourselves as victims, or heroes, or whatever depending on how we feel about the past…Movies matter in this regard because they are the dominant form of narrative fiction in our culture – there is probably no leisure activity regularly participated in by a wider social cohort than watching movies; the stories told in cinema contribute to shaping the limits of what the audience considers possible. So it’s the movies’ ‘fault’ when they uncritically repeat the myth that violence against others brings order out of chaos. This, of course, is not how it works in life, but most violent movies suggest that killing isn’t just morally acceptable, but genuinely good; and the impact on victim and perpetrator alike is ignored, or forgotten in an instant.


Gareth is a thoughtful commentator on the culture of violence and has some great ideas for how movie makers can use their art to challenge the myth of good violence.

Here’s a recording of the show for your listening pleasure. Or download it here.

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