Littleton is everywhere, even at a press junket devoted to George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
At a press conference, Lucas was asked to discuss movie violence in the wake of the shootings at Columbine high. Even though the Star Wars movies hardly qualify as the kind of fare that inspires scorn from those who believe the culture is far too bloody.
Lucas says his attitude toward big-screen violence remains largely unchanged. “The other films are pretty much the same in terms of the amount of drama, action and violence. My feeling is the key issue about violence in the media is the context in which it’s portrayed because we live in a violent world and always will live in a violent world… to deny that would be almost as dangerous as glorifying it and making it in that fashion. It really has more to do with context. I think that violence and hurting people for fun and for enjoyment is the central issue here. You have to fight for freedom. You sometimes have to fight for your rights. You have to fight for self-defense….”
Lucas says that fighting for causes is one thing, but he decries cynically motivated violence that results from mean-spirited assaults conducted for fun. He also says attention shouldn’t be focused on movies alone. “Personally, I think there’s a lot more of that going on in the news media then there is in my end of it. You exploit the tragedy and you glorify the perpetrators and at the same time there’s this kind of cynical attitude of tearing people down no matter who they are. There’s a bunch of mean-spiritedness and cynicism that sets up a kind of milieu in which it’s okay for you to make fun of people.”