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The Boston Globe



The violence pitch

In TV ads, mayhem sells anything and everything

It’s Sunday night. I’m channel surfing while waiting for “Mad Men” to begin. Here’s some of what I see: A man in a straitjacket, followed by several bloody images in quick succession. A voice intones, “You’ve carried out a number of murders.” It’s an ad for a TV show.

On another channel, a character in a show inspired by fairy tales announces to a woman, “I killed Rumpelstiltskin. I’m sated.” Her response: “I wish I could have been there, to see you stab the dark one.”

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