Violence: creeping, graphic, ubiquitous, and ... acceptable? In lieu of sex?
And therein lies a perplexing problem: sex vs. violence. (Please note that this comment is made in view of US social attitudes.) Sex is definitively proscribed for young audiences; there's not much argument there. Ref: the MPAA film ratings. What is far less defined is the level of violence acceptable in the US: video games, films, comics, etc. Mutilation, decapitation, evisceration -- all seem to be acceptable content as long as no "naughty bits" are exposed.
Sadly, we're even creeping into a previously unacceptable area where video clips of people being shot dead are prime-time news fodder; will this lead to a new reality entertainment genre?
(Wife & I made a special effort to attend a movie showing of The Big Short last week. Wife was horrified to see the incredibly violent content of the "Coming Attractions" previews, all rated for young audiences. We've not been to a theater for several years; it rather crept up on us.
So (yes, there's a point in here somewhere): One chapter I'm working on will (maybe) include a news clip from an Associated Press story describing in brief but starkly graphic detail an incident in which 129 children in South Sudan were killed in the most horrific manner possible over a period of three weeks.
The point of the inclusion at the beginning of the chapter is to establish plot justification for the remainder of the chapter.
It seems impossible to shock & awe modern audiences; we've become so inured to suffering and death that nothing seems too extreme.
And ... what level of violence is appropriate for teenage readers? Pre-teen readers? For Finestories as opposed to StoriesOnline?
So ... what say you?