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Henry Bacon

Bioculturalist approach can be fruitfully employed to explain why fictional violence is such an integral part of both our art and entertainment. In any cultural context aggression related biological traits are controlled and shaped in order to ensure both the internal order and the security of a community. William Flesch has argued that his process is guided by the tendency to admire altruistic punishers, who without self-interest assume the task of punishing evildoers. Spectators of such actions tend to react to it emotionally, both spontaneously and via reflection, thus giving the experience both an emotional and a meta-emotional aspect. This plays an important role in relating to the ways in which resorting to violence is justified in mainstream films. This scenario has a strong emotional appeal, even if the spectator would deplore such means in real life contexts. This discrepancy emerges even more strongly in the revenge scenario, which in a fictional context can appear satisfying and empowering despite the moral qualms the spectator might have concerning the ethics of revenge. Because of the deeply ingrained cult of individuality and doubts about the efficacy of government in maintaining law and order, these narrative patterns have developed especially strongly within American popular culture. However, judging by the worldwide success of such films, their appeal is nonetheless quite universal.

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Wyatt Moss-Wellington

ethics. Consider another counterexample: the vigilante film. Vigilante and social cleansing cinema deemphasizes metaphysical upset in favor of a simple moral dilemma. I am thinking less of unambiguously pro-vengeance movies like Death Wish (Michael

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Brendan Rooney, Hanna Kubicka, Carl Plantinga, James Kendrick, and Johannes Riis

of “perverse allegiance” to a monstrous character (39–41). He uses the Western genre with the iconic figure of Clint Eastwood as one of its primary totems to discuss Americans’ ambivalent attitudes toward law and order and the appeal of vigilantes (41

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Dan Flory

about feeling racially threatened by its depiction of revenge-seeking Mexican immigrants angered by discriminatory US border policies and the self-appointed vigilantes who zealously enforce them (see Flory 2013a ). The detailed, value-laden, nonwhite

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Malcolm Turvey

Holmes), Alfred responds that Wayne's actions as Batman cannot be “personal,” otherwise he is just a “vigilante.” Alfred's complaint relates to a larger moral question raised repeatedly by the film about Batman's motivations. Is he merely a vigilante