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This paper critiques violence in popular culture including the imagery that valorizes thuggish behavior. It provides a critical analysis of the idea of the thug, including racial and gender perspectives. It examines multiple sources for images of violence: in rap music, heavy metal music, video games, and film. It argues that violent culture provides models for violence that normalize violence, while stopping short of claiming a direct causal relation. It applies this framework to recent cases of mass shootings and other violent words and deeds.

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