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Joel Stein on Videogame Porn
January 31, 2006 7:13 PM   Subscribe

One week after publicly declaring his lack of support for our troops, LA Times columnist & professional nerd humorist Joel Stein comes out in favor of Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee mod, which has recently been the focus of a lawsuit brought by the city of Los Angeles against Rockstar Games, the makers of GTA. "Because if these teen computer geniuses are given the opportunity to unlock a video-game sex scene, then they'll be just one step away from breaking the code that allows them to type dirty words into Google."
posted by jonson (17 comments total)

 
He's got a point.
posted by youarenothere at 7:20 PM on January 31, 2006


And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to premember to throw a parade afterward.

I never liked Stein before, but that's pretty awesome. What are liberals afraid of, exactly, that they have to take every opportunity to fellate the people in our armed forces? To listen to the leftists around me, you'd think it was Dick Cheney who was out killing civillians. Well, guess what-- it isn't. It's these troops that the American left loves 'til it hurts who are doing it. Definitely, you should hate the tyrant (and the people who are actually making the decisions for him). But you should hate the grunts who turn the cogs to keep the machine running, too.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:24 PM on January 31, 2006


Personally I think he's a decently amusing writer, and his recent move to aggressive, contrarian stands makes him all the more amusing to me.
posted by jonson at 7:37 PM on January 31, 2006


But you have to admit -- the man loves his porn. This has got to be the sixth column I've read of his where porn takes center stage.
posted by frogan at 7:39 PM on January 31, 2006


Agressive, contrarian stands are the new Muzak. Stein thinks he's on a roll after a little bit of buzz about the troops piece, and he'll probably be casting about for audacious, scandalous things to say for the next little while.
posted by slatternus at 8:32 PM on January 31, 2006


But you should hate the grunts who turn the cogs to keep the machine running, too.

well, that would be every last stinking one of us who pays taxes.

stein is a wuss.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:34 PM on January 31, 2006


Yeah. I think it's safe to say we can dislike those who voluntarily help that machine continue running. Sorry if you're one of them, or something.

I'm not 'anti-troop,' necessarily, just 'anti-stupid.' Then again, as a concept I do have large issues with the military--but those are philosophical and not pragmatic, obviously, for this stage of humanity.

I wouldn't lambast all the troops since a lot of them do oppose the war--then again...many did sign up with this idealistic notion of 'fighting for one's country.'
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 9:21 PM on January 31, 2006


Interesting. I knew it was cowardly not to say what I believe, but apparently it's also cowardly not to say what Joel Stein believes. I'll make a note.

(I know this thread is supposed to be about Hot Coffee and censorship and all that crap, but come on, is there anyone here who supports this lawsuit? Anyone at all? Is this really even an issue among anyone who's the slightest bit informed? Can we move on yet?)
posted by Simon! at 9:42 PM on January 31, 2006


Agressive, contrarian stands are the new Muzak. Stein thinks he's on a roll after a little bit of buzz about the troops piece, and he'll probably be casting about for audacious, scandalous things to say for the next little while.

I tend to agree, especially with comments like (and I'm paraphrasing because the link isn't working and I'm too lazy to figure it out) "No one joins the military to defend the U.S. against Mexico or Canada." (Hasn't anyone else played Fortress America?!?) or...what exactly? It's easy to be snarky. Duh.

OK, Joel, are you advocating isolationism? (becaue, ya' know, there's at least one reeeally bad historical prescedent for that.) You're not following Michael Ian Black anymore. Try harder.
posted by Cyrano at 10:52 PM on January 31, 2006


But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

Bingo.

I don't support the troops. In fact, I say "fuck the troops". The troops in Iraq are part of an illegal invading army. Would I be expected to support the German troops occupying France in WW2? I support the poor Iraqi citizens who have to live in hellish conditions thanks to the war.
posted by salmacis at 12:53 AM on February 1, 2006


Cyrano wrote "OK, Joel, are you advocating isolationism? (becaue, ya" know, there's at least one reeeally bad historical prescedent for that.)"

What precedent is that?
posted by Eideteker at 3:10 AM on February 1, 2006


What, does no one watch Michael Moore movies anymore? What about the troops who joined the forces because there was no other viable job available to them, and the army promised to pay for their education?
posted by Hildegarde at 7:31 AM on February 1, 2006


“But you should hate the grunts who turn the cogs to keep the machine running, too.” -posted by Mayor Curley

Hate? Indeed. So, gonna act on that hate?

“I support the poor Iraqi citizens who have to live in hellish conditions thanks to the war.” -posted by salmacis

Why don’t you go over and help them out?
Why didn’t you help them when Saddam was oppressing them?
Or wasn’t Saddam oppressing them?
What form would your help take? That is - under Saddam or now?

I’m just asking questions.

I don’t support the war, Bush, republicans (currently, and not in the forseable future), neo-cons, 9/11 hype, etc.

/naturally some folks will ignore this statement and go into ‘illegal war’ tirades, castigate me as a ‘neo-con’ chickenhawk, buzz, buzz, buzz, etc.

And furthermore I wholeheartedly support Stein’s position.

“...we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.”

So, should I assume those of you who ‘hate’ the troops think returning troops should not be given any of those things?
Execution perhaps for crimes against humanity?
Exile? Prison? Tit for Tat? (that is: bomb out their houses, kill their families, etc - obviously we can’t suit each servicemember’s crime to their situation, so general bombings, etc.). Deportation? Amputate their limbs?

Who do we get to execute that policy if we’re not doing it ourselves? The cops? Other servicemembers?

Or is my assumption wrong?

Again - just questions.

I neither got, nor sought any ‘parade’ when I came home. I have not ‘profited’ from my military service (socially, etc. - training doesn’t go away). I don’t ‘celebrate’ it other than in the comeraderie of my fellow veterans. My medals/patches/insignia sit in a footlocker in my closet. I’ve thrown away my uniforms. I don’t show off the scars on my leg nor complain about the pain when it gets cold. I am not ashamed of my service, but I don’t glorify myself publically. I’ve been involved in things you might find morally repugnant. But I've learned from my experiances and I'm far far more unlikely to send young men into war because I've been there.

Am I too, hated?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2006


Present company excepted on this point since no one is arguing it, but I’ve often heard some folks on the left argue that kids in the inner cities deal drugs because of their poor economic situations. Minorites are oppressed and socioeconomic pressures lead them into alternative or underground economies, etc.
I’m wondering if that understanding is also given to minorities who because of those situations join the military.
Or is it just the white males that are unworthy of compassion?

More of an address of a pastiche of thought than any sort of assertion on my part.

To my mind one complex situation with a variety of motives and yielding some individuals worthy of respect and others worthy of scorn is much like any other.

Why ‘troops’ as a group deserve such derision when (no one here has asserted it, but for sake of example) drug dealers are simply victims of circumstance is beyond me.

Arguments in favor of clemancy for reformed but convicted murders on death row comes to mind.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 AM on February 1, 2006


/closer to topic :
I liked Stein’s column on the hot coffee mod.
Some things are so self-evidently dumb (such as prosecuting the makers of GTA) they deserve ridicule.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:23 AM on February 1, 2006


How is Stein a "nerd humorist"? I always thought he was a celebrity gossip columnist.

I thought the part where he writes that the 17-year-old GTA player he talked to hasn't unlocked the sex scene, but does like to use the game to simulate chasing women with a baseball bat, was quite telling. Something of a non sequitur to mention those things together, unless it goes without saying that violence against women is a sexual turn-on. It's one thing to think that taking legal action against the game company is the height of stupidity, but Stein appears to think that there's nothing wrong with conflating sex and violence.
posted by transona5 at 12:30 PM on February 1, 2006


I think his point is that it's possible to do morally reprehensible things in the game *without* having to hack the code. The animations for beating people in GTA are much more "realistic" than the Hot Coffee animations are.

Also, I had no idea there was a video game rating just for 17-year-olds. Now *that's* ridiculous.
posted by ddf at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2006


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