Another editorial on violent media has made its way to the Internet by way of Sandiego.com's Pop Goes The Culture Blog.
While the author admits he has not played video games since the days of Pong and Atari, he makes some interesting points about music, movies, talk radio, and video games.
First he talks about how the media claims that the Tucson, Arizona killer "got fired up listening to angry talk radio programs." He calls this "incredibly silly logic" and believes that people who listen "to Rush Limbaugh – and you yell at the radio, or you call in and agree with him" it gives you an outlet to express your anger.
Next, he talks about music and the repeated calls to ban it. He recalls a teenage friend whose mother wanted him to get rid of all of his rock albums because they contained satanic music if you played them backwards. Fast-forward to the 80's when a few teenagers killed themselves after listening to heavy metal (Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne). He points out that, in the absence of metal, perhaps these teens would have killed themselves after listening to Sonny and Cher or classical music. Would politicians want to ban this music too, he ponders.
Next he talks about Mafia II and the talk in Europe about banning the game. That talk comes from Sonia Alfano, whose father was a Sicilian journalist that was killed by the mafia. He compares Mafia II to a scene in the 40-Year-Old virgin where one of the main character's odd dates drives drunk:
Just imagine sitting in the theatre, as everyone laughs wildly at that scene – and you lost a family member to a drunk driver. Should the studio have considered that before keeping the scene? Absolutely not. We’d end up with no movies, songs, or video games.
While he takes a long time to get to it, his point is that if we ban everything we think is offensive or even dangerous, we ended up with nothing. Consumers and parents in particular can make those decisions with their wallets, not by having politicians inch us further into a nanny state where every form of media is a trigger, and therefore too dangerous for us or our children to have access to.
Here is how he ends his column:
If video game makers are pulling in millions, they aren’t going to change things; but it’s one of the few things adults do have control over. You can decide what video games they bring into the house.
If you feel Mafia II is violent and you don’t like the language, don’t buy it. If your family was killed by the mafia, well…you probably represent .0005% of the population. I’m sorry for your loss, but the world doesn’t revolve around not offending your family.