NABOKV-L post 0011841, Mon, 12 Sep 2005 08:20:33 -0700

Re: Fwd: Hiding in Plain Sight?

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Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2005 06:41:21 -0400
From: Jay Livingston <>
Reply-To: Jay Livingston <>
Subject: Re: Fwd: Hiding in Plain Sight?
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum

Carolyn asks:

" Do you know anything about Centerwall? Odd name."
Jay Livingston answers:

Odd, but not easily forgotten. I was surprised when I read it, for I remembered
from my days in the academic criminology biz.

In 1993, the neo-conservative journal "The Public Interest" published an article
by Centerwall in which he argued that television was responsible for much of the
violence in the modern world. There, or perhaps in another iteration of the
same ideas and data, he claimed that children's exposure to TV accounted for
something like half the murders in the U.S.

The quality of the data wasn't the sort that would hold up well to scholarly
criticism (but then again, Irving Kristol never let the lack of good evidence
get in the way of a neo-con ideological statement), and I doubt that many
criminologists take Centerwall seriously. The link with his bit on VN, aside
from a willingness to publish conclusions based on flimsy evidence, seems to be
a certain conventional moralism, a Michael-Medvedlike tendency to wring hands
over the threats to our moral and physical security lurking in popular culture.

Jay Livingston

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