Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

July 31, 2008 -

When last we visited the conservative-themed Townhall.com, blogger Kevin McCullough was claiming that Mass Effect featured customizable sodomy. McCullough's comments (since deleted) were apparently noticed by Fox News, which led to the even more memorable Cooper Lawrence debacle.

Townhall.com has jumped back into the game-bashing business with a post by blogger-author-movie critic Michael Medved who asserts that Grand Theft Auto IV is making war on middle-class values. Whatever they are...

From Medved:

Despite demagogic and alarmist claims that a relentless “War on the Middle Class” has left ordinary Americans pummeled and powerless, middle income people still manage to find enough money to secure most of life’s true necessities – like the grotesquely violent and anti-authoritarian video game Grand Theft Auto IV, which shattered all sales records in its first week of release...

 

The stunning success of a game that glorifies guerilla warfare, murder, irresponsible driving, prostitution, cop-killing, international conspiracies and, of course, car theft highlights the real threat to the American Way of Life: it’s not the war on the middle class; it’s the war on middle class values... the decision by so many consumers of every age and income group to invest countless hours of time in the dark world of Grand Theft Auto IV nonetheless demonstrates a threat to American values.

As Nate Ralph notes at Wired Game|Life, since when did "anti-authoritarian" become a bad thing? Ultimately, Medved relates GTA IV as a threat to, well, just about everything:

The vibrant economy gives working Americans more choices than ever before. The decline of middle class values – saving, deferred gratification, reliability, self-control, family loyalty, respectability – makes it somewhat less likely that they will make the right choices to promote their health, happiness and long-term prosperity.

 


Comments

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

The stunning success of a game that glorifies guerilla warfare, murder, irresponsible driving, prostitution, cop-killing, international conspiracies and, of course, car theft highlights the real threat to the American Way of Life: it’s not the war on the middle class; it’s the war on middle class values...

Irresponsible driving is right! I can't count the number of times I've been blindsided by a car at an intersection because the AI doesn't check cross-traffic, or smashed into a car making a lane change without signalling appropriately... :P

He's right, of course. Appreciation of irony, satire, and sarcasm are not part of 'middle-class values'.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

That one jumped out at me too. Murder! Cop-killing! Irresponsible driving! Wait...what? Bad driving! Those monsters!

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Not to mention the sheer number of other games in which reckless driving plays a part.

Need for Speed - most games focus on street racing, and recent titles have made evading cops an objective.

Burnout - Every game is centered around crashing as many cars as you can, giving you bonuses and points for each crash caused. Reckless driving is also encouraged, with similar rewards given for each successful one. Most races take place in an urban environment.

The latest installment, Paradise, allows the player to tear through a busy city raising hell, with no law whatsoever stopping them, and a radio DJ telling them on public airwaves where the best races and stunt setups are located.

Project Gotham Racing - Points are awarded for doing stunts during a race. Points gained during a race often have a bearing on the outcome.

 

Oh, but nobody's going to play these games, because everybody's playing that EVIL game GTA IV!

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Those who make comments like those rarely have a sense of humor anyway.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I love how GP links the articles they reference.  You guys really know how to run your stuff very well.  I just wanted to give props to the people at GP for that. (I just wish FireFox spell check worked in the rich text editor, no biggie though.)

If I saw that Mass Effect article, I would have been all over that game trying to find out what part I was missing, because I really do not remember some of those features in that game.  It is equal to a PG-13 movie (aka titanic mixed with the Bourne Trilogy).

Now they have someone talking about a well known adult/mature game which I would love to see studies done by prison inmates on if they are more or less likely to cause actions in relation to these after playing the game.  If people use it for venting then it could easily calm someone more than it gets someone more aggressive.  (I agree with tests that some games make more aggressive, but not past the point of doing something they wouldn't already do or get aggressive about.  [Or in simple terms, cause and effect needs to be truly studied by a creditable group of people.])

Somehow these guys are trying to link this to a loss in middle class values though?  COME ON!  You know the rush and constant movement of our society is actually to blame in EVERY way on this.  Parents are not spending the time they should with their children, and children are running around doing whatever they want and getting any video game they ask for because their parents know they are not spending the time they should with their kids.

You can not blame the failure of parents on video games.  Hillary Clinton, Jack Thompson, Joe Lieberman, and many other politicians try to do this all of the time.  The amazing thing is, some of the voters are actually stupid enough to not only believe that, but also believe that some of these guys have made laws to help out after the industy already has a rating system, took steps to prevent kids from being able to buy adult games, and so on.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

What's worse, this guy doesn't even distinguish an age level whose values GTA4 would be considered a threat TO. As if adults are all of a sudden just as easy to manipulate as children.

Regardless of the fact that you still end up getting punished for the crimes you do in the game unless, like, you have cheats on or something. Then you're just having fun with a game.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

The vibrant economy gives working Americans more choices than ever before.

Vibrant economy? What vibrant economy? Our economy may still be going strong as compared to rock bottom, but by and large, times are tough.

The decline of middle class values – saving, deferred gratification, reliability, self-control, family loyalty, respectability – makes it somewhat less likely that they will make the right choices to promote their health, happiness and long-term prosperity.

Last I checked, those weren't exclusively, or definitively middle class values. Nor is GTA, or any other videogames making war on them. Huge corporations in general are (spending, instant gratification, acceptance of unreliability, and lack of self control help corporate bottom lines), but you can't really blame any one of them or one of their products for it.

-Gray17

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

So how many millions of copies did GTA IV sell? How many hundreds of millions of Americans live in this country? Yeah hardly the threat described.

I also love this. This is the funniest bit in the article:

The vibrant economy gives working Americans more choices than ever before.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I think all the sentence is very funny because:

1. It is bad to american work class to have more money.

2. There is a crisis in USA, so where is the "vibrant" economy?

3. It is bad for american work class to have CHOICES of any kind.

 

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

1. What?

2. No there isn't. The media blew the "recession" out of proportion. We haven't had a single quarter of negative growth. We've gotten near it, but never reached.

3. What?

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

It may not have been negative, but it is far from vibrant.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I agree. I still don't know what he's talking about on the other two points. Thoughts?

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

"Grand Theft Auto IV nonetheless demonstrates a threat to American values."

Eheh, no buddy, it apparently threatens YOUR values, or like others do you just assume we all have the same exact values?

"The stunning success of a game that glorifies guerilla warfare, murder, irresponsible driving, prostitution, cop-killing, international conspiracies and, of course, car theft"

Actually, since almost all of those get the police on you in game, and in increasing numbers the more you fight back, I fail to see this glorification you specify.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I love playing GTA IV, but the game is a obviously complete satire of anything of conservative value.  Who would've thought a bunch of pudgy pinko commies could make such an awesome game though?

 
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