(image courtesy Ken Wong, Bad Day LA concept artwork)
It seems that the rhetoric against video games is once again being cranked up by our friends in Washington. It must be campaign fundraising time again. Why else would senators like Hillary Clinton be out fanning the flames of controversy? Quoting an article I just read on MSNBC talking about Sen. Clinton:
She portrayed video games as part of what she called â€œthis overwhelming cultureâ€ which assaults children and teenagers with depraved images of violence and sex. She accused violent and pornographic video game makers of â€œstealing the innocence of our children.â€
The same article goes on to state Clinton’s goal of increasing the size of the Army:
â€œOur army is under unprecedented stress,â€ Clinton said. â€œWhen an army unit returns from service in Iraq or Afghanistan, it barely gets a breather before it begins training for its next deployment. This intense operation tempo is not only tough on soldiers and their families â€“ it also hurts the readiness of our Army and our entire armed forces.â€
Ok, so let me get this straight. On the one hand you’re concerned about exposing kids to fictional violence in video games, on the other your all for adding more kids* to the frontlines of a very real and very deadly war? The article mentions that Clinton wants to initiate a study into the long term effects of “Internet, i-Pods, and other electronic media on children.” Ha. How about studying the already existing reports of the long term effects of warfare on returning vets? (*Most new Army recruits are just old enough to buy M rated games and not yet old enough to drink liquor in most states.)
Don’t get me wrong on the war thing… I’m all for supporting our troops; I just think we should do it by bringing them home.
What really amazes me is that this false concern for the welfare of “our children” even works on anyone. Does no one out there realize that this is campaign fund-raising fodder? The article goes on to read, “…that Clinton led all senators in first-quarter campaign fundraising from 14 out of the top 50 industries ranked by campaign giving.”
This is about nothing but money to these people.
My only question is why do lawmakers continue to return to the topic of video games? This really mystifies me:
The New York Democrat said she was struck with â€œabsolute horrorâ€ when she read a report that the game had â€œpornographic content that can be unlocked by following instructions widely available on the Internet.â€
Ok, and dur. Has the Senator ever looked in her inbox? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I get something on the order of 50 emails a day enticing me to click on a link in order to enjoy all manner of smut and depravity. I don’t have to turn on my Playstation or Xbox for that! I mean, why view pornographic content that can “be unlocked by following instructions” when you can simply browse right to the real thing?
I once had lunch with famed porn star (some would say God) Ron Jeremy. He explained to me the porn industry concept of “whack factor”. This happened during a conversation where we were talking about whether a porn video game would actually be successful. Ron explained that “whack factor” is pretty much what it sounds like, the litmus test to whether something is “whackable”. The easier it is to whack to, the higher the whack factor, the more successful the thing will be. DVDs, the Internet, and plain ‘ol fashioned smut rags have a pretty high whack factor. They are simple, they work.
Video games? Critically low whack factor. Not worth all the trouble. Anyway, I don’t know a lot of people who are dexterous enough to manage a PS2 controller *and* their own joystick at the same time.
So sex acts in Grand Theft Auto? So what! It isn’t for whacking off to… I’ll tell you that much. If anything it is comedy. Adult comedy, I’ll grant you, but then it is an M rated game. Lets not even mention the fact that the content is contained in an *external* add-on pack!
So why do these people get their panties in such a bunch over violence and sexual content in video games? Why are they no longer attacking â€œrap musicâ€ or going after violent films? I have an ideaâ€¦
Could it be our marketing? I mean, these senators are definitely NOT playing these games. They certainly arenâ€™t allowing their own children to play them. Are they? So what are they responding to? I think it has a lot to do with the collective message that the games industry is sending out via their visual marketing.
What other entertainment industry these days so heavily features guns, tits, and â€œroughâ€ culture in their advertising? It isnâ€™t like the rap industry suddenly stopped putting out offensive records or Hollywood kowtowed to Washington. They just got smart in their marketing. You see anything to get upset about there? No, then move along.
It seems that for senators the video game whack factor is just too high. What was it Pac Man said? Wacka wacka?