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November 1, 2010 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Why the Supreme Court should rule that violent video games are free speech
posted by Artw (193 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was extremely disappointed that the link did not lead to a Flash-based first person shooter where you got to zap Antonin Scalia with a laser pistol.
posted by mightygodking at 8:22 PM on November 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Man I wish people would quit trying to use activist judges to make me parent my own kids.
posted by graventy at 8:23 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kids still buy video games?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:42 PM on November 1, 2010


Angry Birds makes ME SO ANGRY!!!!
posted by dirigibleman at 8:46 PM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I was too distracted by the phrase "friend-of-the-court brief." It's an amicus curiae brief, and to translate it into the closest English translation is to assume that your audience is moronic.

What's next? "Black Film" rather than "Film noir"? "Cute cut" rather than "filet mignon"?

Little foreign phrases spice up English prose and make it more interesting. Guess I'm just getting old and crotchety.
posted by explosion at 8:58 PM on November 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


Yes, I will be saying "cute cut" from now on, thank you.
posted by breath at 9:10 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, why has this been struck down so far while pornography and R movies are regulated?
posted by cmoj at 9:39 PM on November 1, 2010


That was the cute cut of opinion pieces.
posted by Defenestrator at 9:41 PM on November 1, 2010


and to translate it into the closest English translation is to assume that your audience is moronic.

What? No, it assumes your audience aren't all lawyers and that they may not know Latin. Neither one of which makes them morons.

Anyway, I agree with the column for the most part.

while pornography and R movies are regulated

Dunno about porn but R movies are regulated by the industry, voluntarily. There is no law behind them (I suppose unless individual communities and states have enacted such laws).
posted by IvoShandor at 9:45 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


cmoj: So, why has this been struck down so far while pornography and R movies are regulated?

Games are already regulated like R movies. The MPAA movie ratings don't have government backing behind them; they're strictly industry-based and work through voluntary retail participation. The current ESRB video game rating system works the same way. The proposed law seeks to regulate video games to an even harsher standard than R movies.
posted by PsychoKick at 9:52 PM on November 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


If the act of donating money to politicians counts as speech, then I guess selling a videogame has to.
posted by miyabo at 9:58 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since I express myself through the creation of video games, including violent ones, I'd like to know how government bureaucrats are supposed to divine the artistic value that a video game has for a 17-year-old. The man who spearheaded California's law, state Sen. Leland Yee, has not explained that. We've had no more clarity from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the bill into law.

For one, I think these violent games should be protected, but that those who make them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage. Sorry, I don't think the world is a better place because we have violent video games. And, I'm not in the least religious, nor am I conservative in political leanings. Too much popular media is just plain stupid, going for the easy "kill" - the "kill" being an appeal to parts of the brain that are "turned on" by violent and other kinds of sociopathic imagery. How many people are aware of the fact that a significant percentage of conferees at game conventions are cognitive scientists, or cognitive neuroscientists? Why? Because they know how to create immersion in games; they know how to make a person "want to be there". Violence is a part of that. Violence is a part of us, but we need not glorify it as entertainment. Just. Plain. Ignorant.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:00 PM on November 1, 2010


Dunno about porn but R movies are regulated by the industry, voluntarily.

The MPAA movie ratings don't have government backing behind them

Oh wow I didn't realize that. Tipper Gore has poisoned my mind!

Okay then, did they only self-regulate to avoid government control? I'm not sure if this is worse or better.
posted by cmoj at 10:00 PM on November 1, 2010


Reading this guy reminded me why I don't play most story-based video games. Writers in video games are just barely above the cusp of competence, and even that is a recent development.

That was just a painful read. He makes good points, but awkwardly, as if his mouth's full and he's spraying crumbs my way. "In Bioshock, you have a GOOD ending and a BAD ending. And so it teaches you morals." I mean, defending the writing in Bioshock is pretty shitty in the first place, seeing as the writing was substantially below the Dean Koontz Schlock Bar, but if you're going to defend it there are much more elegant ways of putting it, that maybe won't make you sound quite so much like an oversized child who wears t-shirts because the concept of buttoning still seems too difficult.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine about classical music. This guy was raised on classic rock, and has been working on an essay about a few Stravinsky pieces conducted by the esteemed Leonard Bernstein. He said that while he loves rock, he regrets that it's lost a certain elegance that the best classical music seems to take for granted. Whether or not it's because we look back at those pieces in retrospect and handpick the best, or if classical forms simply offer something that rock formats don't have, there's certainly something in classical music that's breathtaking the first time you discover it.

That's how I feel about the design of modern video games. There are video games that I think approach the sublime; some games have brought me to tears, or given me a day of quietly, somberly contemplating my life. But I grew up on novels and poetry, and the mightiest of VG writing staffs still doesn't come close to the subtlety evoked by relatively mediocre poets.

I think video games are going to reach heights no other medium's approached, but I'd bet against seeing that happen in the next two decades.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:10 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For one, I think these violent games should be protected, but that those who make them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage.

A Video Game Developer Registry? Are you fucking kidding me? You've got to be joking, seriously, like, dear god man, what the deuce. That is one of the most completely preposterous uses of tax dollars that has ever been conceived of in all of human history, congratulations on your achievement.
posted by mek at 10:22 PM on November 1, 2010 [28 favorites]


For one, I think these violent games should be protected, but that those who make them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage. Sorry, I don't think the world is a better place because we have violent video games. And, I'm not in the least religious, nor am I conservative in political leanings. [...] Violence is a part of that. Violence is a part of us, but we need not glorify it as entertainment. Just. Plain. Ignorant.

This is exactly how I feel about witch-hunts based on puritanical moralism -- too bad nobody else is on board to ban 'em.
posted by vorfeed at 10:23 PM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Okay then, did they only self-regulate to avoid government control?

I culled this from the references in the Wikipedia article. Apparently Jack Valenti felt that, "the mix of new social currents, the irresistible force of creators determined to make "their" films (full of wild candor, groused some social critics), and the possible intrusion of government into the movie arena demanded my immediate action."

The MPAA ratings system is an interesting story in and of itself.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:23 PM on November 1, 2010


I have played a lot of video-games in my life, and still I call bullshit when Greenburg says things like,"The exploration and self-discovery available through books and movies is magnified in video games by the power of interactivity," Books and video games are not analogous, and your opinion piece sucks if that's the analogy you use to make your point.
posted by seagull.apollo at 10:30 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For one, I think these violent games should be protected, but that those who make them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage. Sorry, I don't think the world is a better place because we have violent video game

Slow down there, Scarlet Letter.

I used to work in the games industry. Several of my friends still do. Saying you want to protect games and then create some kind of "violent game developer registry" is bullshit, and you are full of said bullshit. You have shown, in one briliant flash of Internet diarrhea, that you understand nothing about freedom of speech or what it means to protect it. You also have demonstrated that you do not understand the thing you mean to persecute. And believe my words, that is what you have proposed.

My neighbors have exactly zero right to know how I and my friends make a living. It's not their business, and they have nothing to do with it. It does not impact them in any way, regardless of what Nancy Grace might want them to believe, and if you think that I'm wrong, I'd like to see your research. I bet you haven't done any. I bet if you did, you couldn't find any that could hold up against the rest of us in this thread.

You don't have to think the world is better because of something you don't like. That means shit to me and anyone else who doesn't think exactly like you. Welcome to America, where we don't have to like what others do. What if other people didn't like what you do, and wanted to put YOU on a public registry?

We're not sex offenders, so please don't treat us like them.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:43 PM on November 1, 2010 [28 favorites]


i'll probably regret that post in the morning
posted by Mikey-San at 10:44 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


For one, I think these violent games should be protected, but that those who make them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage.

The sheer inanity of this comment is boggling my mind.

Just. Plain. Ignorant.

Indeed.
posted by kmz at 10:57 PM on November 1, 2010


This is exactly how I feel about witch-hunts based on puritanical moralism -- too bad nobody else is on board to ban 'em.

Puritanical Moralism? Nice try. it rather has everything to do with the fact that I don't like violent video games, and that they have no redeeming cultural value. Am I labeling you for your opinion? Nope. And guess what? I'm not a conservative; I lean left. You can trot out all the insulting euphemisms you want; the fact is that I defend the right of these games to be published, but I abhor the anonymity that so many producers of trash content enjoy, as they spew their trash into the minds on elementary school kids and others with impressionable minds. I'm weary of people hiding greedball cash grabs behind the First Amendment, and coming off as victims; just like I'm weary the occasional moronic musician that uses violence and misogyny to make a buck by playing their crap over the sacred beat. These are ignorant people - and the people who produce and distribute their crap are irresponsible in the extreme. I have a right to my standard, just like you do, yours. I want the American public to know the names and addresses of people who produce and distribute this stuff. Forget trying to legislate anything away; just let Americans know who the mind-fuckers are in our society - i.e those who prey on anti-social "art" to make a buck. Furthermore, my prediction is that American culture is headed for an interesting merger between liberal and conservative on issues like this, because it impacts everyone. So, go ahead and play away. Have fun. Just know that I and many others I know (most of them voted for Obama) are doing every little thing we can to stop mind-fuckers in their tracks, simply by letting their neighbors know who they are. What's wrong with that?

One last note: The First Amendment is a brilliant piece of work. We need it now, more than ever. That said, we don't need people who create and distribute trach for consumption by our children's minds. Would the world be worse off without violent and/or misogynistic video games? It's impossible to prove a negative, but my hunch says "no"
posted by Vibrissae at 10:58 PM on November 1, 2010


i'll probably regret that post in the morning

Don't feel too bad. It raised my ire as well, that someone who decried the sociopathic "thrill" of video games was essentially advocating a witch-hunt, perhaps the most sociopathic behavior in all of history.

/ newfangled video games don't hold a candle to the good old-fashioned lynch mentality.
posted by PsychoKick at 11:03 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every single major violent video game has a nice little thing called "credits" where people VOLUNTARILY have their names listed. Shocking! It's almost like they want credit for their hard work in creating something! Your right though, we better make sure THE AMERICAN PEOPLE know who created this stuff. FOR THE CHILDREN!
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:03 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


What? No, it assumes your audience aren't all lawyers and that they may not know Latin. Neither one of which makes them morons.

If your audience doesn't know what an amicus curiae brief is, calling it a "Friend-of-the-Court" brief isn't going to offer any more insight. "Filed a brief as an interested third party" would come closer, but it's still going to need a more thorough explanation before they'll know what's going on there.
posted by kafziel at 11:04 PM on November 1, 2010


For one, I think these violent games should be protected, but that those who make them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage. Sorry, I don't think the world is a better place because we have violent video games.

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED - Jack Thompson, Jr.
10 Troll Points: Express a ridiculous and poorly-informed opinion in an internet thread about video games.
posted by fearthehat at 11:04 PM on November 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


Okay then, did they only self-regulate to avoid government control?

To add to what IvoShandor said, see also the Hays Code.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 11:05 PM on November 1, 2010


I used to work in the games industry. Several of my friends still do. Saying you want to protect games and then create some kind of "violent game developer registry" is bullshit, and you are full of said bullshit. You have shown, in one briliant (sic) flash of Internet diarrhea, that you understand nothing about freedom of speech or what it means to protect it. You also have demonstrated that you do not understand the thing you mean to persecute. And believe my words, that is what you have proposed.

My neighbors have exactly zero right to know how I and my friends make a living. It's not their business, and they have nothing to do with it. It does not impact them in any way, regardless of what Nancy Grace might want them to believe, and if you think that I'm wrong, I'd like to see your research. I bet you haven't done any. I bet if you did, you couldn't find any that could hold up against the rest of us in this thread.

You don't have to think the world is better because of something you don't like. That means shit to me and anyone else who doesn't think exactly like you. Welcome to America, where we don't have to like what others do. What if other people didn't like what you do, and wanted to put YOU on a public registry?


Sorry you don't like my effort to let people know who distributes trash to the minds of their children, but that's my right, isn't it? And, that right is guaranteed by the First Amendment. So there - how do you like them apples? The reason I repeated your entire post, word-for-word, is that you're hopping mad about the very kind of thing that you claim to support. Here, let me quote you, again: You don't have to think the world is better because of something you don't like. That means shit to me and anyone else who doesn't think exactly like you. Welcome to America, where we don't have to like what others do..

You might want to re-read that, and think hard about what you're saying, instead of trying to hide behind the First Amendment. Sorry, I just don't dig watching 5-year-olds play games where body parts splatter over over the place after they've been shot up by an AK-47. Maybe that floats your boat. I don't think it's cool to distribute stuff like that. Deal with it.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:08 PM on November 1, 2010


Puritanical Moralism? Nice try. it rather has everything to do with the fact that A) I don't like violent video games, and that B) they have no redeeming cultural value.

This comment is particularly awesome, because the "If A then B" which occurs here is precisely puritanical moralizing. You have taken a specific, qualitative response to something, generalized it, and imposed it on society as a whole. Your personal dislike becomes an ontological imperative. This process is what we call moralizing, and your particular dislikes are what we refer to as puritanical. Therefore, exactly one sentence after you deny doing so, you are engaged in puritanical moralizing. Nice try?
posted by mek at 11:09 PM on November 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


Sorry, I just don't dig watching 5-year-olds play games where body parts splatter over over the place after they've been shot up by an AK-47.

FFS. It's called parenting. The industry already has a ratings system but you think it's perfectly cool to invade someone's privacy and tell everyone about what they do because you don't like? Christ, what an asshole.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:11 PM on November 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Deal with it.

I think we fell for a troll.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:13 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If your audience doesn't know what an amicus curiae brief is, calling it a "Friend-of-the-Court" brief isn't going to offer any more insight. "Filed a brief as an interested third party" would come closer, but it's still going to need a more thorough explanation before they'll know what's going on there.

Grar, I forgot to reply to this above.

I get your point here but I'm just saying it's not really assuming they're morons. Regardless of the phrase used a quick google would reveal what a "friend of the court brief" or amicus curiae brief was. I think even "brief as an interested third party" would reveal that through a Google search. Either way I wasn't pointing out the level of insight provided, just that the wording used doesn't assume any particular quality about the audience other than they aren't lawyers and they don't know legal Latin phrases.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:16 PM on November 1, 2010


I think we fell for a troll.

Eh, don't feel too bad about that either. You know, Poe's Law.
posted by PsychoKick at 11:17 PM on November 1, 2010


10 Troll Points: Express a ridiculous and poorly-informed opinion in an internet thread about video games.

Ten more troll points back atcha' for being unable to deal with an opinion that sincerely differs from yours, then labeling that person a troll in an attempt to to shut that person down. Let's get back to the First Amendment. What I'm seeing in these last few remarks is a seeming intolerance of an opinion that differs widely from some. I would ask you to think about that, and refer your resulting meditation back to your defense of free speech. Think really hard about that.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:18 PM on November 1, 2010


Sorry you don't like my effort to let people know who distributes trash to the minds of their children, but that's my right, isn't it? And, that right is guaranteed by the First Amendment. So there - how do you like them apples?

Did you just argue that the first amendment justifies a totalitarian state? That the right to free speech includes government-mandated directories of people engaged in politically undesirable activities? Are you trying to make my head explode? Christ almighty, it's like when someone says "It Can't Happen Here" you take that as a challenge. American fascism? Yes We Can!

Joe Miller On Securing The Border: 'If East Germany Could, We Could'
posted by mek at 11:18 PM on November 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


The First Amendment is a brilliant piece of work. We need it now, more than ever. That said, we don't need people who create and distribute trach for consumption by our children's minds. Would the world be worse off without violent and/or misogynistic video games? It's impossible to prove a negative, but my hunch says "no"

That is an impressive turnaround, going from praising the First Amendment to arguing against its fundamental principle in three sentences.

Underlying the whole "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press" and "freedom of religion" thing is the idea that you don't get to just stand up, declare certain things to be trash - I'm guessing you meant to say trash - and that the world would be better off without them, and then enforce that opinion as a restriction against your neighbors. You don't get to dictate that about video games any more than you do about rap music, or rock and roll, or television, or books, or any of the hot button "this media is poisoning our children" topics that keep getting trotted out over the centuries by moralizing puritans.
posted by kafziel at 11:20 PM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seriously. Mindfuckers? You claim we need the first amendment but I don't think you understand it at all.

You don't like it? Then don't buy it. I don't think parents are indoctrinating their children with violent, backward ideologies from videogames.

Also the first amendment doesn't really have anything to do with people calling you a troll. It has a lot to do with creating registries to identify people whose ideas you don't like.
posted by polyhedron at 11:22 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And guess what? I'm not a conservative; I lean left.

Congratulations! You are an example of the rare (but not unknown) left-wing authoritarian. You don't have to be right-wing to want to regulate art.
posted by interrobang at 11:26 PM on November 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


The industry already has a ratings system but you think it's perfectly cool to invade someone's privacy and tell everyone about what they do because you don't like?

Curious; the name calling. And self-righteous name-calling at that. All because someone differs in opinion. Guess what? I don't like the fact that uncontrolled violent images reach my elementary kid's eyes, just because their parents think it's cool to buy their kid a violent video game. You don't agree. You think we should use the First Amendment as a means of protection to protect one's right to publish what I deem "trash". I agree with you. I also think that we should out anyone who publishes trash. You disagree. There is nothing illegal about letting the world know what "John Doe" does. For instance: "John Doe publishes games with the following images" (followed by graphic scenes of violence). In fact, it's a form of advertising. What's wrong with that. One would think that "artists" - who want the First Amendment to protect their creation of a violent video game - would defend the right of someone else to publish the fact they they are doing that.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:27 PM on November 1, 2010


Congratulations! You are an example of the rare (but not unknown) left-wing authoritarian.

Contrarily, one can assume that you think it's OK for a violent or extremely misogynistic video game to fall into the hands of a 5-year old, just because it's called "art"? I think that follows from your criticism of my position. Does that make you better than me, or vice-versa? I think it makes us different.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:31 PM on November 1, 2010


intolerance of an opinion that differs widely from some

You're allowed whatever opinion of violent video games you like. I like Gears of War. You probably don't. That's cool. It's also okay to call games like that "trash", and I won't even put up a fight about the "mind-fuckers" thing. (I think you're just being abrasive to stir up stuff in the thread, but that's not the point.)

You are not, however, going to find many people here that agree with you that game developers should all be on some kind of forced registration list. That's silly, reactionary, and doesn't do anything but persecute people whose completely legal work you don't like.

The industry has done a lot of work to classify its products and describe them in ways that help parents and guardians make informed decisions as to what content they'd like their children to absorb. It's not perfect, because it's a human system, and it will continue to improve. You can even help it improve by offering constructive criticism to the responsible parties. If that isn't enough for you, I'm afraid there's nothing anyone can do that will sate you except banning everything you don't like.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:31 PM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm weary of people hiding greedball cash grabs behind the First Amendment, and coming off as victims; just like I'm weary the occasional moronic musician that uses violence and misogyny to make a buck by playing their crap over the sacred beat. These are ignorant people - and the people who produce and distribute their crap are irresponsible in the extreme. I have a right to my standard, just like you do, yours. I want the American public to know the names and addresses of people who produce and distribute this stuff. Forget trying to legislate anything away; just let Americans know who the mind-fuckers are in our society - i.e those who prey on anti-social "art" to make a buck.

News flash: most creators and/or distributors of violent entertainment are neither anonymous nor hidden. They are actually right out in public selling their wares, often to children with their parents' permission. This suggests that "the American public" does not give two shits about "who the mind-fuckers are in our society". Quite the contrary, in fact: Americans love violent entertainment (it's sex we can't deal with!)

This would further suggest that your "interesting merger between liberal and conservative on issues like these" is a hilarious fantasy, one which will occur shortly after Americans rise up to demand the names and addresses of the people behind ketchup, baseball, and pickup trucks.
posted by vorfeed at 11:33 PM on November 1, 2010


Also the first amendment doesn't really have anything to do with people calling you a troll. It has a lot to do with creating registries to identify people whose ideas you don't like.

Perhaps I'm being misunderstood. I'm not talking about a taxpayer supported registry, but rather a voluntary registry, supported by private funds. I know at least two well-heeled, avid Obama supporters who want to do this. Neither one is religious, and neither one is authoritarian in the slightest. They're just fed up with "poseur art", and seeing their kids come home trying to repeat what they see on their friend's game consoles, and mouthing misogyny sung by ignorant fools who use the sacred beat to spew more ignorance.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:36 PM on November 1, 2010


There's nothing "voluntary" about putting someone else's name on a list.
posted by vorfeed at 11:38 PM on November 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


This suggests that "the American public" does not give two shits about "who the mind-fuckers are in our society". Quite the contrary, in fact: Americans love violent entertainment

Interesting assumption. Where's your poll? Not one parent I know agrees with you.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:39 PM on November 1, 2010


I do feel inclined to point out that who your kids hang out with is your responsibility. If you want to start a list of developers whose work offends you, go ahead. That doesn't really have anything to do with the topic so if you feel misunderstood, perhaps you should consider that you are barking up the wrong tree.

Why is the rating system inadequate?
posted by polyhedron at 11:40 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm being misunderstood. I'm not talking about a taxpayer supported registry, but rather a voluntary registry, supported by private funds.

We already have one of those, it is called THE INTERNET. It is a place where people (in theory) voluntarily register their personal information, and there is something called Google with which one may procure this information.

Unless you mean a team of volunteers who will catalogue those you deem unsavory, without the consent of those being documented. Those are called brownshirts.
posted by mek at 11:41 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with that.

Is this really your line in the sand? We can debate morality all over the place, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find people who would agree with you that this is an efficient usage of money. So many bigger battles to fight.
posted by seagull.apollo at 11:42 PM on November 1, 2010


Curious; the name calling. And self-righteous name-calling at that. All because someone differs in opinion.

Um, I don't think your self-righteous usage of the term "mind-fuckers" is helping.
posted by PsychoKick at 11:43 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd also like to add to everything I've said that I do not think sole responsibility lies on the shoulders of parents. That's not pragmatic. I think the industry has a responsibility to provide the right kinds of information and make this information clear in order to make it possible for parents to do what they feel is best for their children.

It isn't possible for mom to play every game her son plays or will play. That's just not going to happen. (My mom couldn't.) It's also not always possible to restrict video game time to the living room where everyone can see what's being played. But if a parent wishes to be involved in what his or her kid is playing, we (my former genre of employment, that is) have every responsibility to help them be involved.

This is a problem for reasonable humans to solve together, not a problem that is well-solved by "game offender" databases.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:44 PM on November 1, 2010


Oh, a private registry is soooooo much better. Hmm, websites with lists of people doing perfect legal but apparently "morally questionable" things, complete with home addresses. Why does that sound familiar?
posted by kmz at 11:45 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cant free speech be obscene too?
posted by kuatto at 11:48 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's nothing "voluntary" about putting someone else's name on a list.

It would be a list run by volunteers. I'm still having a hard time parsing the vitriol directed at this idea, which really is a free-speech idea, against the defense of violent video games by those who would use the First Amendment to permit the promulgation of violent video games in a way that permits a parent to expose their little kids to same. Anyway, further discussion is pretty much over from this end. Believe me, I know dozens of really liberal people who agree with this idea. I heard it floated on the veranda of a well-known person's home, at a Democratic (liberal) fund-raising party. I was surprised to hear the idea brought forward, but I can tell you that it really rang a bell with most of the people there - among them lots of recent college grads from liberal institutions. I like the idea because it uses the power of community to maintain community values. You may disagree, and think just the opposite, but that's America for you.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:48 PM on November 1, 2010


Perhaps I'm being misunderstood. I'm not talking about a taxpayer supported registry, but rather a voluntary registry

It's naive to think that an appreciable mass of designers and engineers are going to volunteer to be on a registry whose existence is predicated on "here is a list of people who are mind-fuckers who make trash, and here's where they live".
posted by Mikey-San at 11:50 PM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Would the world be worse off without violent and/or misogynistic video games? It's impossible to prove a negative, but my hunch says "no"

First they came for the violent, and I did not speak up, because I was not violent.

Then they came for the misogynists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a misogynist.

Now the only game I have left is Sudoku, and it has gotten really boring.
posted by 7segment at 11:50 PM on November 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


kmz, I deleted my snark about that but yeah, awfully familiar. By all the talk of neighbors and how every parent they know is viciously opposed to violent game devs, I think we can make a reasonable guess as to where vibrissae's fantasy leads.

That being said, this isn't about abortion or private registries, it's about an impendin Supreme Court ruling.
posted by polyhedron at 11:51 PM on November 1, 2010



Um, I don't think your self-righteous usage of the term "mind-fuckers" is helping


That wasn't directed at anyone on this thread, unless they make or distribute violent video games and support a parent's right to purchase said games for their children. By the way, there is a difference between self-righteousness and using a term as a rhetorical vehicle to make a point.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:52 PM on November 1, 2010


The lurkers liberals support me in email at fundraisers.
posted by kmz at 11:53 PM on November 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Believe me, I know dozens of really liberal people who agree with this idea.

This is not an argument. They're wrong, too.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:53 PM on November 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


You are a parent.

You are allowed to not buy games for your child, and to not allow your child to associate with other children who view media with which you disagree with. This is not a problem, and pretty much everyone will agree with this point! Your desire to have a 'registry' created for videogame makers is projecting your issues on other people.

If you find that difficult, you probably should have worked on the ideas with the whole parenting thing previous to starting.

Let's also get into the point where you feel someone should be on The List. What level of violence? Perhaps something like Halo (mostly violence against nonhuman creatures) would be considered the low bar? Or World of Warcraft, where there's the occational spurt, but no splatter on the ground and the bodies remain intact? Or maybe some of the Lego games? Or is Tetris, where blocks disappear, too violent when things disappear?

And then we can go to comic book artists. There's some icky comics out there.

And then authors. There's some really unpleasant horror books out there.

And once they're on the list, what then? What do we do to make sure people know?

I know. Let's make them wear coded armbands. That's work. Then we can make sure we know who works in video games.

Do you see? Do you understand why there's so much of an opinion you are a troll, Vibrissae? Once you make that list, there are always people out there who are more than happy to use it for their own purposes and find someone else to marginalize, to use as an enemy.

And if you say "that's stupid, it can't possibly happen in the US, we're better than that", you may want to look up what happened to Ringgold Wilmer Lardner Jr. and see what a demogogue with a list can do.
posted by mephron at 11:58 PM on November 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Vibrissae, if you want to make a list, do it. I don't know why you'd need well heeled backers to do so. $10/mo will get you adequate hosting. And you can host your blog too so you don't have to hijack threads to push your silly agenda.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should, but hell. Those guys worked hard, someone should read the credits.
posted by polyhedron at 11:59 PM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


. Anyway, further discussion is pretty much over from this end. Believe me, I know dozens of really liberal people who agree with this idea. I heard it floated on the veranda of a well-known person's home, at a Democratic (liberal) fund-raising party. I was surprised to hear the idea brought forward, but I can tell you that it really rang a bell with most of the people there - among them lots of recent college grads from liberal institutions. I like the idea because it uses the power of community to maintain community values.

Maybe people like that and people like you should be on a list.
posted by Snyder at 11:59 PM on November 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


By the way, there is a difference between self-righteousness and using a term as a rhetorical vehicle to make a point.

The two aren't mutually exclusive, and when found together it's often when the former is used to cloak the weakness of the latter.
posted by PsychoKick at 12:01 AM on November 2, 2010


Since I express myself through the creation of video games

Oh, okay, so you people to stop generalizing and focusing only on the negative aspects of other people’s professions and hobbies. I can dig it.

I am disheartened and a little perplexed to see my art and passion lumped in with cigarettes and booze.

Sigh.

I love video games. I agree, wholeheartedly, that the legislation frames video games only around its most negative, the dumb FPS gore-twitch based gameplay. But to see the perpetuation of this same, reductive ideal used to set his 'noble profession' of video game design apart from the nasty, brutish world of alcohol and cigarettes sounds like something out of the mouth of a homophobic civil rights activist that's completely unable to see that it's not the opinion that matters but rather the system of sensationalizing and politicizing rights operating behind it.
posted by dubusadus at 12:01 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think we can make a reasonable guess as to where vibrissae's fantasy leads.

Sounds ominous, at least from the point of view of someone who apparently implies a seeming defense of the right of parents to buy violent and misogynistic video games for their kids. I wonder where polyhedron's assumption leads. Don't you just love the First Amendment? Ironies really do abound - and some of those ironies amount to real blowback at those who trot out the First Amendment as a means to establishing their victimhood, no matter the long-term effects of their actions.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:02 AM on November 2, 2010


Interesting assumption. Where's your poll? Not one parent I know agrees with you.


It might help to, you know, look at the top grossing movies, the most popular tv shows. Things like that can show you how much violence is enjoyed in popular culture. I happen to know a good number of parents who enjoy watching violent movies, and playing violent games. Not everyone thinks like you.

To some extent, that last point? Think about that a bit. You're advocating a public-shaming list for people who make video games. People who are holding down perfectly legal jobs, creating perfectly legal products, and you want to shame them? Are there any other particular targets we should be looking at? Any other mindfuckers on your list? Where are you going to stop with this? And, lets say you manage to get this idea out there. Then someone says, hey, I don't like this, let's shame them too! Where does it stop?

As for the name calling, the troll commenting, well, hey, it's because I (and a good number of others commenting) am pretty astounded at what you're saying. It's so freaking hard to believe that someone is actually advocating publicly listing the names of people involved in creating video games that it's much, much easier to believe that you're trolling us.

People have different likes and dislikes. What you like is just fine for you, but it's way, way over the line to insist that what you think is bad should be unavailable or banned for everyone else.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:02 AM on November 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


By the way, there is a difference between self-righteousness and using a term as a rhetorical vehicle to make a point.

new:
The two aren't mutually exclusive, and when found together it's often when the former is used to cloak the weakness of the latter.


Often, but not always. And, how often? Dry assumptions masquerading as countervailing rhetoric don't have very long legs.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:05 AM on November 2, 2010


Ironies really do abound - and some of those ironies amount to real blowback at those who trot out the First Amendment as a means to establishing their victimhood, no matter the long-term effects of their actions.

Give us your name. Address too. You shouldn't hide behind a veil of anonymity.
posted by Snyder at 12:05 AM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


So, novelsmoviescomicsrocknrollvideogames. Obscenity or art?
posted by polyhedron at 12:09 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


"That wasn't directed at anyone on this thread, unless they make or distribute violent video games and support a parent's right to purchase said games for their children. By the way, there is a difference between self-righteousness and using a term as a rhetorical vehicle to make a point."

This is a rather disingenuous deflection. Whether people do or do not work in the games industry, I would submit that calling people 'mind-fuckers' and stating that volunteers (anti-game activists, presumably) should create a list of developers' addresses and personal details is going to create an atmosphere of considerable acrimony.

Please also consider that existing lists of people's personal details have led to violence and indeed murders by people who directly state that killing the listed is not wrong due to their occupation. I am not suggesting that you would either intimidate or attack members of the list - I have no way of knowing either way - but given an US public of over 300 million the risk that at least a few people would is high. Don't you think that members of a group undertaking legal work are entitled to privacy and protection from the risk of violence?
posted by jaduncan at 12:12 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't you just love the First Amendment? Ironies really do abound - and some of those ironies amount to real blowback at those who trot out the First Amendment as a means to establishing their victimhood, no matter the long-term effects of their actions.

Dude, enough with the persecution angle. No one here is oppressing you, it isn't an argument anyway, and you can't frame one around it. At least not here.

We're not telling you that you can't have an opinion about these games or their value to society. We're also not saying you don't have a right to an opinion about your registry idea. We're telling you that it's a terrible idea and doesn't really solve the problem (which has been nebulously defined, but that's a different point).

Down a notch, k? Cool. We have cookies in the back, try some. I think they're shortbread. yum
posted by Mikey-San at 12:13 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Those guys worked hard, someone should read the credits.

This is the best reply in the thread and everyone should recognize.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:18 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I missed this one upthread:

How many people are aware of the fact that a significant percentage of conferees at game conventions are cognitive scientists, or cognitive neuroscientists?

What percentage? Citation? Does the statistic include those who are there for the nefarious plot you describe versus those who are simply interested in how various kinds of interactive media affect the brain?
posted by Mikey-San at 12:22 AM on November 2, 2010


Um, I don't think your self-righteous usage of the term "mind-fuckers" is helping
That wasn't directed at anyone on this thread, unless they make or distribute violent video games and support a parent's right to purchase said games for their children.

Awesome.

"See, when I said [epithet] I didn't mean anyone here. Just the ones who are, and everyone who would support them."

Take it to your next NAACP meeting, gay rights parade, or church service!
posted by bjrubble at 12:22 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out what possible benefit posting people's home addresses would have. Sounds like an anti-abortion hit list to me.
posted by brundlefly at 12:22 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I'm trying to figure out what possible benefit posting people's home addresses would have. Sounds like an anti-abortion hit list to me."

It's a plot by the USPS. Sales of PO boxes have been down.
posted by jaduncan at 12:24 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It might help to, you know, look at the top grossing movies, the most popular tv shows. Things like that can show you how much violence is enjoyed in popular culture

So that's the rational for violent and misogynistic video games? As far as a "mindfuckers" list, it's starting to sound like a powerful meme. Let's see: how about the names of those who manufacture and advertise unhealthy food as healthy. Or, those who promise that "your house value will rise so fast you won't even have to worry about the fact that your mortgage is costing 70% of your current take-home pay"; or, those who distribute weapons around the world; or, those who are putting nanomaterials is makeup, with little testing.

Shame is undervalued in our culture. It used to be that the "Scarlet Letter" of disapproval had a purpose; you had to behave in a certain way, or else you got shamed. This is not to say that I agree with the values espoused in Hawthorne's novel. That said, shame as a community integrity technique seems to have gone by the wayside, so that we now (as one result) have certain people who are foisted on us by megaproducers and publishers as "cool", who are really toxic. (in my opinion). I'm not saying ban their works; on the contrary, protect them, but also protect the right of those who want to know who made those works. Shame is a powerful motivator, unless one is a sociopath.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:26 AM on November 2, 2010


This is a rather disingenuous deflection. Whether people do or do not work in the games industry, I would submit that calling people 'mind-fuckers' and stating that volunteers (anti-game activists, presumably) should create a list of developers' addresses and personal details is going to create an atmosphere of considerable acrimony.

And, it's about time. I'm off to look into this, further.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:30 AM on November 2, 2010


This is the best reply in the thread and everyone should recognize.

Out of context, maybe (I did work for a startup developer who made several "violent" games, if slaughtering incompetent AI and poor collision detection count.)

I wish things like this issue were as obvious to everyone as they seem to me. Video games are clearly creative expression. Sadly we are encumbered by a ridiculous concept of obscenity and must fight to protect what should be guaranteed to all. Does anyone know how the court is likely to rule?
posted by polyhedron at 12:31 AM on November 2, 2010


This is not to say that I agree with the values espoused in Hawthorne's novel.

Yes you do. You just differ in the details.
posted by brundlefly at 12:32 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


how about the names of those who manufacture and advertise unhealthy food as healt

This statement is a false equivalence. I am unaware of a large body of accepted research that definitively, qualitatively shows video game violence is a causal trigger for damage at either the individual or societal level. You keep speaking from authority, yet you lack any.

Shame is undervalued in our culture. It used to be that the "Scarlet Letter" of disapproval had a purpose; you had to behave in a certain way, or else you got shamed

Those who would impose their values and moralities upon others only define the deltas between themselves and behaviors they do not understand.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:36 AM on November 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


"This is a rather disingenuous deflection. Whether people do or do not work in the games industry, I would submit that calling people 'mind-fuckers' and stating that volunteers (anti-game activists, presumably) should create a list of developers' addresses and personal details is going to create an atmosphere of considerable acrimony.

And, it's about time. I'm off to look into this, further."

Wow. It's hard not to see this as an anti-game jihad, then. You don't wish to address the fact that previous lists have led directly to murders of those on the list as an issue? If you aren't trolling (and if you are, troll face is yours; this thread is now all about you) then you are effectively advocating violence by proxy. Some people are crazy and angry enough to do violent things, and to ignore the danger and responsibility for that danger is again disingenuous.
posted by jaduncan at 12:37 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shame is a powerful tool of the sociopath.
posted by polyhedron at 12:40 AM on November 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


One last thing: We know the names of those who are attempting to stop the proliferation of violent video games. No one is suggesting that they should come to harm. Same goes for those who develop violent video games. What's the problem? It's about taking responsibility for the output of one's work. What's wrong with taking responsibility - with owning up to "I did that", or I made that". I believe we need to be more proactive about what one poster (above) claims should be more truth in labeling. Instead of "this game contains violent language and violent behavior" we should see a a verbatim description of what violent scenes are in the in the game. This is probably my last post on this thread; some people disagree, but I and many other parents are damned sick and tired of seeing this stuff get into the hands of our kids and grandchildren, who are impressionable, and who themselves have a right to be free of the universal spewing of images that they find unsettling. "Rights" work both ways.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:42 AM on November 2, 2010


Shame is a powerful motivator, unless one is a sociopath.

I suppose that's why you're still here, even after many attempts to explain why, as an American, you should be ashamed of making social-engineering hit-lists.

we now (as one result) have certain people who are foisted on us by megaproducers and publishers as "cool", who are really toxic. (in my opinion). I'm not saying ban their works; on the contrary, protect them, but also protect the right of those who want to know who made those works.

Again, none of these people are remotely anonymous. "People who are foisted on us by megaproducers and publishers as 'cool'" aren't unknown, by definition, and neither are the megaproducers and publishers. Do you really think Lady Gaga had to smuggle the "Paparazzi" video out of her secret Interscope bunker, lest The American People discover her role in the creation of such violent entertainment?
posted by vorfeed at 12:46 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still looking for the harm here -- violent video games (and certainly video games are getting more realistic and more violent if games from 1990 and 2010 were compared) beget... a 40% drop in violent crime by minors? The raw data just doesn't support that there's some evil social ill caused by video games that must be stopped. Nearly all of the studies about video games have involved subjects 18 and older, looking for signs of 'aggression' which vary wildly to the point of ridiculousness. Any longitudinal studies can only rely on bad data collection. Then there's the whole causality/correlation thing, and the chicken/egg. Are violent people attracted to violent video games, or are they made violent by the video games? Here's the funny thing: detractors point to violent kids who shoot up schools, and say, "They played all these violent video games!" but at that age, find me a kid who *hasn't* played violent video games. It's sorta like saying every kid who has shot up a school has hair. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE OF THEM. Watch out for the kids with hair, people. YOU NEVER KNOW.

Maybe we should shave their heads. All kids, everywhere. It might help.

The internet has basically circumvented any pornography laws; there isn't a 12 year-old with access to a computer who doesn't understand how to use googleimages. What's to think that video game laws could possibly do any better? The unconstitutionality of the law should certainly be the first reason why the law should be overturned, but the ridiculousness of the government seeking to restrict content in an age where the content providers can't even restrict content seems a little naive and a whole lot of pointless blathering.

Also: Vibrissae, I suggest taking a step back from the computer and taking a deep breath. You aren't helping your cause. You've made your case and we know where you stand on the issue. Perhaps your energy would be put to better use putting into action the plans you've spoken of here.
posted by incessant at 12:46 AM on November 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


In fact, fuck this. I have reached my limit. You're advocating a policy that would almost certainly lead to repression, violence, and targeted killings whilst turning up and instantly threadshitting by calling members of this board mindfuckers, claiming that they need to be publicly shamed/endangered, then unbelievably claiming that people are being harsh by questioning you about that.

You're either trolling or being a complete asshole, frankly.
posted by jaduncan at 12:47 AM on November 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Quite the contrary, in fact: Americans love violent entertainment

Interesting assumption. Where's your poll? Not one parent I know agrees with you.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:39 PM


So that's the rational for violent and misogynistic video games?
posted by Vibrissae at 12:26 AM


Look, I was responding directly to your implication (based upon the group of parents you know) that Americans don't like violent entertainment.

As for shame as a powerful tool? Of what? Again, where do we stop? I mean, hey, let's go all the way back to Hawthorne, and we can slap labels on people who do bad things, or, better yet, the things we disagree with! It would be one thing for you to start at a reasonable point, with good intentions in mind, but still one that lead down a slippery slope. The problem is, you're already halfway down the hill, and claiming you're standing on (level) moral high ground.

Raise your own children, please. Leave the rest of us out of your parenting strategies.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:50 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those who would impose their values and moralities upon others only define the deltas between themselves and behaviors they do not understand.

And you're not doing that, right now? Go read the First Amendment. In fact, much of what I've seen in disagreement here is more about intolerance of another's felt opinion. It appears that it's OK to spew crap into the minds of 5-year-olds and then, like Ligget and Myers claim " that there is no evidence of blah blah blah. For your information, there is already evidence that multiple mediated media exposure to violent games does have negative impacts. That said, I am convinced from prior work in simulation that video games can also be a great boon to mankind. We need to start thinking about putting the latter meme to work in the video game industry, and consigning the crap to the equivalent of video porn shops, where little kids are forbidden, and anyone buying that crap for a little kid is liable for a penalty.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:52 AM on November 2, 2010


Leave the rest of us out of your parenting strategies.

The point is that we live in a world where your parenting strategy may harm my kid, because what you let your kid watch on playground break is extremely violent. (that's a hypothetical). So, we're talking here about a need to find new (maybe by returning to old) means to use things like shame to produce a result. Shame is a good thing; it's a human thing. Why would someone support violence in a video game, but be against shame? I wonder.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:55 AM on November 2, 2010


Video games never picked a fight with an innocent 10 year old me leading to a garage full of hormone & rage fueled teenagers ending with me on top of the other guy refusing to continue fighting because it was pointless.

Exept that last part. I just wanted to go home, we had Mortal Kombat on the Genesis (not the censored SNES version).
posted by polyhedron at 12:56 AM on November 2, 2010


Shame is just a tool to control people. We are better off without it.
posted by polyhedron at 12:58 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vibrissae, why do you keep talking about children? Children are not the primary demographic buying or even playing any sort of games, much less the violent ones you are worried about.

75% of game players are actually adults. Given the rating system and retailer policies, I expect that this percentage is much, much higher for players of violent video games. So why do you keep bringing up children as a reason to restrict a form of entertainment that is primarily for adults?

For the 25% of game players that are children, 93% of the time their parents are present when they purchase or rent a game. Do you believe yourself to be in the bottom 7% of parents when it comes to minding your kids' video game purchases?
posted by Jacqueline at 1:02 AM on November 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


Maybe it's because shame deals with values, and not everyone shares the same values? Not everyone has the same background. What's shameful to you is evidently much, much different than what's shameful to me. When you try to get your view of what's right and wrong applied to others (who, again, don't share your view), you're going to get a lot of people rejecting your idea.

I mean, come on, shame? How many different shame campaigns have there been? People still try to shame homosexuals, for god's sake! People try to shame others who have interracial marriages! You're wondering why people don't think shame is the answer?
posted by Ghidorah at 1:04 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"It's about taking responsibility for the output of one's work. What's wrong with taking responsibility - with owning up to "I did that", or I made that"."

They do. It's called the "credits."
posted by Jacqueline at 1:15 AM on November 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Why would someone support violence in a video game, but be against shame?"

To be absolutely clear: because video games don't seem to have large amounts of social harm attached to them. Even if they did, the correct response would be to legally regulate them. Set against this, listing/spreading details of members of 'undesirable' groups has historically almost invariably led to violence against those listed, including targeted political assassinations (see George Tiller in abortion provision, or the shooting of pornographer Larry Flynt). Shame almost always leads to exclusion, and exclusion leads to violence and victimisation being acceptable. Do you wish to address this issue at all, or are you just going to ignore it?
posted by jaduncan at 1:17 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I mean, come on, shame? How many different shame campaigns have there been? People still try to shame homosexuals, for god's sake! People try to shame others who have interracial marriages! You're wondering why people don't think shame is the answer?

I don't support shaming anyone for the things you listed, above. I do support shaming someone for public vandalism; for taking someone's property (up to a certain amount - how about getting a list of names and addresses of the people who caused the financial meltdown? - how is it that someone who got screwed by a greedy banker can be publicly humiliated by being forced out of her home, while the banker goes out to Sardi's three times a week?).

Shame, in my opinion, is underutilized. Many years ago, in San Francisco's Chinatown, Chinese kids who got in trouble with the law were often handed back over to the community. Why? Because shame was a powerful motivator for behavior change. We all owe a responsibility to others. What those responsibilities are, and how they play out, has been a subtext on this thread. I will try to ignore any snark sent my way on this thread, but warn that clever snark may be impossible to ignore. Or, let's take it to Metatalk. How does one do that?
posted by Vibrissae at 1:24 AM on November 2, 2010



Vibrissae: "
Sorry you don't like my effort to let people know who distributes trash to the minds of their children, but that's my right, isn't it? And, that right is guaranteed by the First Amendment. So there - how do you like them apples? The reason I repeated your entire post, word-for-word, is that you're hopping mad about the very kind of thing that you claim to support. Here, let me quote you, again: You don't have to think the world is better because of something you don't like. That means shit to me and anyone else who doesn't think exactly like you. Welcome to America, where we don't have to like what others do..

You might want to re-read that, and think hard about what you're saying, instead of trying to hide behind the First Amendment. Sorry, I just don't dig watching 5-year-olds play games where body parts splatter over over the place after they've been shot up by an AK-47. Maybe that floats your boat. I don't think it's cool to distribute stuff like that. Deal with it
"

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by ShawnStruck at 1:28 AM on November 2, 2010


Go read the First Amendment. In fact, much of what I've seen in disagreement here is more about intolerance of another's felt opinion.

It would appear you need to reread that amendment. It guarantees the right to voice your opinion, to freely speak, however you may choose to do so. What it doesn't do is guarantee that others have to tolerate your opinion, or that others have to even listen to your opinion. You damn well knew what the reaction on Metafilter would be to your Tipper Gore-fantasy. And you knew people here wouldn't be tolerant of it.

The First Amendment grants you the right to spout your stupid opinion, it grants me the right to call your opinion stupid, my calling your opinion stupid in no way further encumbers your right to voice future stupid opinions.

See also: Persecutory delusions
posted by IvoShandor at 1:28 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, good, we've got at least a partial listing of what's okay to shame and what isn't. It's okay to shame for vandalism and property theft. How about visiting a prositute? I mean, there's a whole bunch of people out there taking pictures of license plates? Is that okay? Well, how about adultery? Should we be shaming cheaters? Hmm. How about people who have sex before marriage? I mean, all of this is bad to someone. All of it is shameful to some person somewhere. Where does it end? And why the hell are you the arbiter of what's okay to shame someone for, and what's not?
posted by Ghidorah at 1:32 AM on November 2, 2010


For one, I think these beers should be protected, but that those who brew them should have their names and addresses made public so that their neighbors have some idea about how they pay the mortgage. Sorry, I don't think the world is a better place because we have beer. And, I'm not in the least religious, nor am I conservative in political leanings. Too much alcohol is just plain stupid, going for the easy "happy time" - the "happy time" being an appeal to parts of the brain that are "turned on" by the compound ethanol. How many people are aware of the fact that a significant percentage of attendees at brewery conventions are chemists*, or flavor scientists? Why? Because they know how to create good tasting beers; they know how to make a person get drunk experiencing "complex, transporting tastes". Intoxication is a part of that. Drugs are a part of us, but we need not glorify them as entertainment. Just. Plain. Ignorant.

*American Society of Brewing Chemists; I do feel like calling out that the original comment conflates immersion with escapism; one is desirable, the other isn't.

"Remember to take all things in moderation (even World of Warcraft!)."
--Loading screen in World of Warcraft
--after Petronius
posted by polymodus at 1:46 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like the idea because it uses the power of community to maintain community values.

No, watchlists generally create non-dynamic, self-selecting, non-democratic, conservative communities whose dysfunction will lead to their ultimate demise. I thought that was pretty obvious; these "recent college grads" clearly haven't learned a thing.
posted by polymodus at 1:55 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why don't you make a list of parents who buy violent video games for their kids instead?
I've worked in video game retail. Kids only get access to violent video games if their parents buy it for them. If your kids are playing violent video games it is because of your failure as a parent.
posted by minifigs at 2:02 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


NB: I am not actually advocating for a list of parents who buy their kids violent video games.
posted by minifigs at 2:03 AM on November 2, 2010


shame as a community integrity technique seems to have gone by the wayside

Perhaps you might like to examine the nature of a society with shame as a core motivator: the samurai of medieval Japan. The two sides of shame there were kiritsugomen - the legal right to kill anyone of a lower social class if you felt they had failed to show correct deference and thus shamed you with insolence - and seppuku, where if you were shamed by your actions to your superiors, you killed yourself and then had your best bud lop off your head before you made it worse by showing pain.

I'll take what we have, thanks, especially since chances are most of us would be peasants and merchants walking on eggshells in case some samurai with a hangover cut us apart because we weren't deferential enough to his headache.
posted by mephron at 2:08 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Vibrissae: "It used to be that the "Scarlet Letter" of disapproval had a purpose; you had to behave in a certain way, or else you got shamed."

You do realize that The Scarlet Letter was a cautionary tale, right? About the evils of labeling and shaming those you disagree with? It's never been a central part of American society, and the one time we really went there, McCarthyism, is infamous.

The closest parallel right now would be the sex offender registries, and the pure misery those things are causing is unspeakable.

This is the United States. You don't get to define and enforce 'community values' here easily, and only typically on things that are public. Gaming is not typically a public exhibition, and you have no more right to ban games you think are worthless than you do to burn books you think are dangerous. Asserting this right to control the thoughts of other citizens will do orders of magnitude more damage than the games ever could.
posted by Malor at 3:06 AM on November 2, 2010 [17 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea I would be so enraged by Vibrissae. I still have a knot in my throat from reading some of these comments.

Shame can be a very powerful thing. Making lists of people you disagree with can be a very powerful way of telling the world that you aren't mature enough to handle the natural diversity of people and opinions. It can also be an indicator of other insecurities you may have.

I hope, hope, hope that you are a forum troll looking to get some people motivated enough to vote against bigotry and hatred. Otherwise, if you really aren't a troll, I can only hope that you will change your mind someday.

Finally, please realize that your child will most likely come across a movie glorifying violence, a gory show on television, a misogynistic song, a pornographic magazine, or a decidedly adult comic book before he or she ever plays a video game as violent as you fear. And I can assure you that my first experiences with obscene material were in black in white, as plain text in the books I was reading, and my mind made them much more vivid and personal than anything I would experience after that.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 3:24 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't even know what I'm doing responding to this nonsense, but Vibrissae, what you are missing is anything approaching a fact to back up what you are talking about. Just catchphrases and well-heeled Democrats, as if that has anything to do with anything.

Here's one for you: no study has ever shown any change in behaviour in a child more than ten minutes after playing a video game. There is no evidence to support what you are talking about. What you are advocating is putting people's lives in danger based on a hunch.
posted by dudekiller at 3:55 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Vibrissae, can we have your name, address, and place of work to place on a list of "People who wish to control society by making stupid lists"? If not, why not? If so, are you prepared to post it in the thread? If not, why not? You believe that social shame should be used to control people you disagree with the morals of. Are you prepared for this to be used on you? If not, why not? Because your methods are a lot more dangerous than any destruction of pixels.

And IME (I'm a Brit), video games have ratings on the box. And will not be sold to children who are under that age. But parents buy them for them anyway. Why are you blaming the designers for designing games marketted to adults rather than the parents for buying 15 or 18 rated games for 5 year olds? Would you think the same if the parents bought a copy of Saw for their kids to watch? If not, why not?
posted by Francis at 4:00 AM on November 2, 2010


Man, why the fuck do you people keep engaging Vibrissae? Another MeFi post that *could* have generated some discussion instead becomes a "Fight With The Thread Babysitting Troll" Derail. Awesome.

You guys should know better by now.
posted by absalom at 5:05 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course, if it's a violent video game that's funded by anonymous corporate donors and the gameplay consists mainly of providing second amendment remedies to legislation that breaks against those donors, I suppose that would be OK.

In other words, dirty corporate money to buy elections = free speech; video games = WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!

Personally I think my children will be much better off living in a society where they may come into contact with violent video games as opposed to a society where their only career option is military service.

Shorter version: Real violence=patriotism; fantasy violence = child abuse.
posted by Mister_A at 5:15 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


One last thing: We know the names of those who are attempting to stop the proliferation of violent video games.

We do? We haven't gotten a response from you yet about your name. And your address. (I don't know where Jack Thompson lives and I don't care to know. Do you?)
posted by kmz at 5:23 AM on November 2, 2010


The only videogames that should be against the law are those half-baked, unfinished, glitch laden games that get released without proper testing and quality assurance.

Why yes, Fallout New Vegas did kill my Xbox with its constant crashing. Does my bitterness show? I wonder if I should be thankful that I only got 5 hours in before its constant freezing put a bullet in the back of my wheezing console's brain. At least that way, I got to avoid all the bugged quests that wouldn't allow players to finish the game.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:28 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Back in the day there was a video game that involved cowboys raping Indians.

Not saying it shouldn't have been permitted under law, but perhaps even the most militant here would argue that it was a case for shame?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:42 AM on November 2, 2010


Fallout New Vegas did kill my Xbox with its constant crashing
The next Fallout game is relatively high on my to-play list; however there's other things like "Dragon Age" and "finally find time to finish Assassin's Creed 1" that will probably absorb all my sparse game-playing hours for the foreseeable future. It's good to know that I can think "sour grapes" about not getting to play everything right away.

Why is this on-topic for this thread, you ask? Simple: it's about the children.

Don't doubt my sincerity when I agree that video games, including violent video games, can be powerful and thought-provoking forms of art. But do we have to make every form of art available for children to purchase without parental assistance?

I'm responsible for teaching my baby daughter (and any siblings to come) right from wrong, which may be harder when the competing messages are being selected for popularity rather than ethical value. I'm responsible for making sure my daughter isn't exposed to anything she's not mature enough to handle, and making it harder for her to seek out such exposure without talking to me first will limit my ability to foster that maturity.

And most importantly, she is responsible for me falling years behind in my opportunities to play awesome video games. Every diaper changed, every late night at work worrying about paying for her college, represents moments or hours that could have been spent gaming. Don't I get a chance for payback? Why should she get to blow away any more mutants and raiders before I do?!?

Disclaimer: the bold yellow phrase "don't doubt my sincerity" applies to the linked comment, not so much to the current one...
posted by roystgnr at 6:05 AM on November 2, 2010


I don't like the fact that uncontrolled violent images reach my elementary kid's eyes, just because their parents think it's cool to buy their kid a violent video game.

Well, sure, we all wish you were a better parent.
posted by box at 6:06 AM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It appears that it's OK to spew crap into the minds of 5-year-olds...

It appears that you wish to use the But Think of The Children rhetorical device. If so, do you recognize that by far the biggest danger that threatens the minds of children in our society is the possibility of their being pulverized in motor vehicle crashes?

Given this, why are you concerned with the debated and unproven effects of video games, when there is a clear and unambiguous danger to children's minds that is an unarguable threat? Surely you should be creating a list of designers of fast cars and road-building commodities executives, instead? Or are you motives actually far less noble than you seem to wish to present?
posted by normy at 6:27 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


First, they came for my video games...
posted by andreaazure at 6:33 AM on November 2, 2010


Sorry you don't like my effort to let people know who distributes trash to the minds of their children, but that's my right, isn't it?

Troll or no, I can't resist.

Hi. I don't play video games (unless Angry Birds counts). But I used to be a researcher for an organization that tracks book bannings/attempted bannings in public school classrooms and libraries. It was my job to take calls from teachers and principals when a parent objected to a book on a reading list or in the school library. These books were things like Huckleberry Finn and Heather Has Two Mommies, Catcher in the Rye. The parents who wanted these books pulled didn't just want their own kids to not read them, they didn't want anybody's kids to read them. Your arguments are, almost word-for-word, exactly what theirs were (and are, in all likelihood).

So, you know, congratulations.
posted by rtha at 6:35 AM on November 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


If your child is spending hours on Grand Theft Auto and you don't think that's appropriate, YOU ARE A BAD PARENT.

Don't let your kid hang out with kids who are allowed to play M-Rated games. Check up on your kid periodically and make sure they're not doing things you don't approve of. Keep your kid home if that is just too goddamn hard and/or scary.

Just for the record, video game rating have been around for YEARS. If someone's kid is getting their hands on violent video games, you have exactly the same tools available to you as with movies and porn: TALK TO THE PARENTS OF THE KIDS YOUR KID HANGS OUT WITH.

Yes, sometimes kids see movies they aren't supposed to. Yes, sometimes someone sneaks a peak at a playboy. No, this hasn't been a big enough deal that we need to re-write the first amendment or make "hit lists" of people who produce this content.
posted by ®@ at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2010


Also, I'm still waiting for Vibrissae to post their personal information.
posted by ®@ at 7:13 AM on November 2, 2010


I think it's fine to be concerned with the media that your kid consumes. Kids need a while to develop the skill of distinguishing fantasy from reality. Even if they don't try to literally reenact the games, they might assume that the games represent something about the way the world works, since a number of games try very hard to do that.

I think it's fine to be concerned with the media that other parents' kids consume. It's compassionate to want those kids to have good childhoods. They're not your responsibility, so there's only so much you can do, but showing concern is nice.

If you think a kid you are familiar with is playing games that are inappropriate for them, you should get in touch with their parents and discuss the matter with them. Perhaps you can help them parent their kid. If so, good on you.

One of the ways that parents teach kids how to distinguish fantasy from reality is to start them on the types of fantasies that are most obviously unreal, like old-style comic book superheroes, and gradually introduce them to grittier fantasies that have more bearing on real life, like The Dark Knight. There is an expectation that this progression will proceed in pace with the kid's age, which is why video games are rated based on age (the T rating being more like Spider-Man and the M rating being more like recent Batman). But kids are individuals, they grow and learn at different rates in different areas, and certain kids learn how to deal with Batman younger than others. I think those particular kids should be allowed to watch The Dark Knight, because it's a good film, they would like it, and it wouldn't hurt them.

Judging when a kid is ready for The Dark Knight is a complicated business. You need to observe how they deal with the fantasies they are presently allowed, and use that to make an educated guess as to how they would respond to new fantasies. This requires a lot of time spent around the kid, just watching them. It's normally the parents who do this, although I suppose you could hire a therapist to do it if you think you would be bad at making that judgment.

Laws can't make that sort of judgment. I don't see any controversy about that in this thread, so I won't argue the point.

In general, people who haven't observed the kids in question for a long time have no basis on which to decide what media they should be allowed. Close examination of Vibrissae's argument reveals that they haven't said anything about how to decide what a particular kid should be allowed to play, so I won't argue that either.

Instead, Vibrissae is arguing that people who make violent games should be on some kind of list so they can be "held accountable" for what they make.

This won't have any effect on what the kids' parents allow the kids to view, so it seems to be beside the point of protecting children. I suppose that Vibrissae might want to protect children by preventing the media that might skew their ideas from existing in the first place, but this seems like a needlessly roundabout way of protecting kids. Aren't we concerned about what they see and play? The fact that there exist some games that kids should not play doesn't seem relevant. Let adults play those games.

I'm an adult, and I enjoy playing first-person shooters in order to let off some steam. I think I'm good enough at distinguishing reality from fantasy that shooting people on the internet won't make me any more violent anywhere else.

Shaming people who make games like that would probably result in fewer of them being made. This could kinda sorta help kids if you believe that they are too exposed to that sort of thing, but again, it seems like a needlessly indirect way of going about protecting them--why not put more pressure on parents to pay closer attention to what their kid plays?

The only reason I can think of why it might be better to shame developers than to shame bad parents is if the objective is to stop trashy video games from existing.

I suppose Vibrissae might want that, because they said that these games have "no redeeming cultural value".

If your objective is to make it so people play more games that add value to culture, that's great, I support that, so go buy Epic Mickey when it comes out and support people doing cool innovative things in gaming.

If your objective is just to wipe out something you dislike... that surely doesn't add anything of value to culture, either. You're just erasing a product that some people enjoy that you don't appreciate. And you're not even doing a very good job of protecting kids.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:58 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It always amazes me to see this kind of thing happen.

Video game makers have an internal ratings system, with both a broad and a specific indication of what one can expect to see in the game. Pretty much every game company voluntarily takes part in this.

Those labels are not only on the games themselves, but on advertisements and on every reputable review.

Video game retailers generally will not sell certain games (rated above a certain age group) to minors. This has picked up a lot of steam in recent years, to the point where kids now get carded, or won't have a game sold to them without an adult present.

Somewhere down the road, an elementary-schooler somehow comes into possession of a game - these cost anywhere between fifty to sixty dollars. They got that money without the parent knowing, they got the game without the parent knowing - or, more likely, with the parent knowing since more likely than not the game wouldn't have been sold to an unaccompanied minor - and then the refrain comes: "Why isn't someone doing something to keep these violent games away from my kid?"

Yes, there is a weak link in the chain. You might not be pleased to learn where it is.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:28 AM on November 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


This has been a fantastically entertaining thread all around, but my favorite part was when Vibrissae implied that getting a cognitive science PhD was a way to get a glamorous job in the video game industry. Prospective grad students: this is not the case.

...but if anyone would like to pay me to say cognitive science buzzwords and play video games, feel free to prove me wrong.
posted by IjonTichy at 8:33 AM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Vibrissae : it rather has everything to do with the fact that I don't like violent video games, and that they have no redeeming cultural value.

Presumably that means that you feel that other forms of media do have cultural value? Movies for instance? Because your broad brush puts Red Dead Redemption on the bad side of a line and Human Centipede on the good strictly because of format.
posted by quin at 8:42 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The internet does this already. Moby Games Dev Profile - Richard Garriott - Credits at the end.

Also, I let this go in the last thread, but Game Devs do not hire scientists to figure out what mechanics make people 'addicted' to games. *eyeroll* Developers have the same motivation as other entertainment producers, they want to make things fun and entertaining.
posted by jopreacher at 8:47 AM on November 2, 2010


...and who themselves have a right to be free of the universal spewing of images that they find unsettling. "Rights" work both ways.

I believe this is called "not buying video games."
posted by reductiondesign at 8:56 AM on November 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Bad parent makes good troll, news at 11.

That's some free speech for you.
posted by breezeway at 9:12 AM on November 2, 2010


images that they find unsettling

And what if your neighbor finds your image unsettling? What rights does he or she have to prevent you from appearing outside your house?
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:07 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It used to be that the "Scarlet Letter" of disapproval had a purpose; you had to behave in a certain way, or else you got shamed.

Someone apparently never read the book. Or read it but didn't understand it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:13 AM on November 2, 2010


Where do people get the impression that the First Amendment guarantees a right to not be offended?
posted by brundlefly at 10:25 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just more evidence to support my theory that middle-class white children are the greatest threat to our freedoms.
posted by yerfatma at 10:45 AM on November 2, 2010


I decided this was definitely trolling when he said "I heard it floated on the veranda of a well-known person's home, at a Democratic (liberal) fund-raising party." That line is just... it has to be trolling!
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:08 AM on November 2, 2010


Metafilter: I'll probably regret that post in the morning.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 11:15 AM on November 2, 2010


I was too distracted by the phrase "friend-of-the-court brief." It's an amicus curiae brief, and to translate it into the closest English translation is to assume that your audience is moronic.

I'm sorry but that's just ignorant. Referring to an amicus curiae with the English phrase "friend-of-the-court brief" has been common for as long as I can remember. Here's a straightforward use of the term in an academic law book written in 1985.
posted by straight at 11:42 AM on November 2, 2010


Even ABA Journal uses the phrase without scare quotes.
posted by straight at 11:50 AM on November 2, 2010


This thread provides ample proof of the continuing necessity of the 1st amendment (to protect the greater good from the witch hunters in all of us).

Does anyone have insight into why the court accepted the case this time around? To extend protection, in the most forceful and undeniable of terms, to electronic forms of expression, right? Right?
posted by dust of the stars at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2010


Metafilter: ignorant fools who use the sacred beat to spew more ignorance.
posted by Scoo at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


How many bumper stickers do you suppose Vibrissae has on his/her car? I'm guessing 12.
posted by Scoo at 12:18 PM on November 2, 2010


Shame is a good thing; it's a human thing. Why would someone support violence in a video game, but be against shame? I wonder.

You do realize one of those is a video game- where no actual human beings are harmed- whereas the other takes place in real life, with real human beings directly affected by your actions? Right?
posted by jmd82 at 12:35 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kids still buy video games?

It's really the only digital content you still need to buy, isn't it?

The MPAA ratings system is an interesting story in and of itself.

Highly recommend This Film is Not Yet Rated. Great documentary.

And guess what? I'm not a conservative; I lean left.

Congratulations! You are an example of the rare (but not unknown) left-wing authoritarian. You don't have to be right-wing to want to regulate art.


No. "Lean left" means "Blue Dog" i.e. conservative voter. This was when I first suspected V's troll was darn subtle. He or she is playing Leland Yee.

Great troll, though. The article was sorta all over the place, so there wasn't a whole lot there, imo. You livened things up I guess.

Shame is just a tool to control people. We are better off without it.

Amen. I think the constant referrals to it are what made me realize V was pulling off a pretty good troll. Again, kudos.

Man, why the fuck do you people keep engaging Vibrissae? Another MeFi post that *could* have generated some discussion instead becomes a "Fight With The Thread Babysitting Troll" Derail. Awesome.

This thread had little chance anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:19 PM on November 2, 2010



Shame is just a tool to control people. We are better off without it.


You think? Seems to me there's a lot of call for shame in the blue when certain oxes are being gored. Not a lot of sympathy for any kind of racism or homophobia or insensitivity to women or any number of other things I'm sure you can think of that are legal but widely frowned upon.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:47 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


ESA confident its case was heard in Supreme Court argument
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on November 2, 2010


Seems to me there's a lot of call for shame in the blue when certain oxes are being gored.

Nobody holds a monopoly on public shaming and scapegoating. But I would like to see some examples?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:03 PM on November 2, 2010


Shame is an emotion, not an action. Shame is caused by one's own actions. It cannot be forced upon a person externally, and any effort to do so (via denigration, degradation, humiliation, and the like) will instill within the subject not remorse, but vengeance.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:06 PM on November 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meta-ish
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on November 2, 2010


But I would like to see some examples?

You kidding? On metafilter? Hell, this very post is rife with a pretty public call out of vibrissae.

Shame is an emotion, not an action. Shame is caused by one's own actions. It cannot be forced upon a person externally, and any effort to do so (via denigration, degradation, humiliation, and the like) will instill within the subject not remorse, but vengeance..

It's a transitive verb. Thus, an action. Among other things.

And I don't know about you, but I've had my share of public shamings that have instilled me with remorse rather than vengeance. Maybe I felt a surge of vengeance, but if a fair cop and I'm honest with myself - remorse. Hard lessons, but there it is.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:32 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hello, I am a gamer.

I've done terrible things. I've assassinated politicians for money. I've watched people burn alive as their screams filled my ears. I've used a chainsaw in unconventional ways.

I murdered Robot Hitler.

In video games, I've intentionally let people die of starvation, I've killed hookers after having sex with them, run over old ladies in stolen vehicles. I've cut heads off with various swords, stabbed people to death. I've even used weapons of mass destruction to murder entire cities.

I've instituted slavery, and then made my slaves build pyramids next to the Statue of Liberty. I've unleashed plagues, caused natural disasters, and caused global nuclear winter.

I've bankrupted cities and even entire nations.

I'm also a father of two, with a steady job and absolutely no criminal record. I have been a devout member of my faith my entire life. I regularly donate to charity. I do volunteer work. I'm an informed voter. By all accounts I'm a pretty average person.

And I try really hard to be a good parent. I'm not going to give my sons access to material that they aren't old enough to handle. And I trust their friends' parents to do the same. But even if they do encounter something above their paygrade when they're not at home, they'll know how to deal with it. Because I'm teaching them to be responsible and thoughtful. I'm teaching them to be principled, and I'm doing my best to be an example to them. I don't view mature content when they're around, and I take ownership of all my actions.

Actually, when they're around, I do my best to not do anything that would distract me from being their father, spending time doing what they want to do. When the kids are up, that is not the time to watch TV or play games. That's the time to be with them. Build a fort, draw pictures, play a hide and seek. And when they're older and they express the inevitable interest in video games or TV, I'll be right there with them to experience it, to take part in it. And when they're even older and they don't want their goofy old man around while they experience life, well that's OK too, because I'll have been there for them for as long as they've needed, and they'll always know where to find me, and they'll always remember what I taught them, and above all, they'll always know that I trust them to make good choices.

I will not ask the government to help me be a better parent, because that invariably means it would be a detriment to someone else's freedom. I'll be a better parent simply by trying, and because it's my job.
posted by jnrussell at 2:47 PM on November 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


I actually feel pretty bad about torching that forest in Minecraft the other day. My name should probably be on a list somewhere or something.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on November 2, 2010


SO IT WAS YOU!

*accusing finger*
posted by brundlefly at 2:50 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think maybe there are some different definitions of "shame" being used here.

Hell, this very post is rife with a pretty public call out of vibrissae.

Responding to comments on a public message board is hardly public shaming.

If someone were calling out vibrissae here based on her comments in another thread, yes, I would call that public shaming. But when she comes in and does it herself, well.

There's a difference telling someone that their opinion is wrong or downright evil and shaming them in public.

It seems like all the attempts to "shame" vibrissae were attempts to let him know how it feels to be publicly shamed.

Publicly shaming someone is to put his or her supposedly wrong deeds on view for everyone with the purpose of treating that person badly.

Publicly shaming vibrissae would require going to her neighborhood, taking her picture, associating that picture with her words here, and then spreading that information to everyone in his or her neighborhood: "Hey, you see this lady? She wants to ban your favorite video games."

That's public shaming. Responding to his comments rationally is not.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:52 PM on November 2, 2010


*accusing finger*

Single player. I still feel bad.

DAMN YOU NOTCH AND YOUR INSANE SPAWN-RATE, YOU MADE ME DO IT!
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on November 2, 2010


This thread has put me into a shame spiral.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:02 PM on November 2, 2010


I still feel bad.

I keep a chest full of baby trees. Whenever I go on a every-thing-must-now-die-in-a-cleansing-fire-bwahahaha arson kick, I just make sure I replant a day or so later.

Don't feel bad. Sometimes the world needs to burn.

Just make sure you fix it when you're done.
posted by quin at 3:08 PM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've instituted slavery, and then made my slaves build pyramids next to the Statue of Liberty.

I always feel guilty about the whip. And wars of aggression. But I needed the iron.
posted by Zed at 3:21 PM on November 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


True, true... Still, I'd not torched things on such a scale before.

it was glorious. And terrible... But glorious.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on November 2, 2010


You kidding? On metafilter? Hell, this very post is rife with a pretty public call out of vibrissae.

This is not the same as shaming. Callouts, arguments, and responses to someone's comments (all 18 of them) are not the same as shaming.

Which, in any case, Vibrissae seems to think is underutilized.
posted by rtha at 3:39 PM on November 2, 2010


This article pretty well sold me. I was for the law on the basis that parents should be able count on retailers to help them control the media intake of their children. If my kid wants some video game that is really violent but I know my kid can handle it, I can alway buy it for them or come with them when they make the purchase. The fact that the law basically strips free speech protection from video games really bugs me.

I understand that some games are trash from an artistic perspective and have gory violence for the sake of violence but the "Saw" series is basically the same thing and it enjoys the same protection that good movies do. Even the worst violent video game is at least as good "Saw" right?
posted by VTX at 5:07 PM on November 2, 2010


Even the worst violent video game is at least as good "Saw" right?

I don't know. I'm not at all a fan of the "Saw" franchise, but there are much worse movies out there. :)
posted by brundlefly at 5:31 PM on November 2, 2010


Would the world be worse off without violent and/or misogynistic video games? It's impossible to prove a negative, but my hunch says "no" -Vibrissae

Did you not read the article? Did you notice the study cited at the end?

"Make-believe violence appears to have many benefits for minors, such as relieving stress, releasing anger and helping children cope with difficult feelings such as powerlessness and fear of real violence. A recent Texas A&M International study shows that violent games could actually reduce violent tendencies and could be used as a therapy tool for teens and young adults."

Your sex-offender communist jew violent video game developer shame list might only start as that but this is America, the crazies will escalate things until someone gets killed. There is no other reason to for a list like this to exist. Just because YOU don't see anything socially redeeming about violent video games doesn't mean no body does. This is why the First Amendment exists, it doesn't matter if ALL video games are socially redeeming or if any of them are. If they CAN contribute, they are protected no matter what you think.

Parents only need to know if the game their kid is playing is violent they don't need to know or make judgments about the people that made it. The current ratings system give parents all the information they need to make those decisions.

I remember one year when we had Thanksgiving at our house. My brother and I were in the basement showing my two cousins how to play "Mortal Combat" on the Genisis (my parents got it for me for my birthday). I was 12, my brother 9, my cousins were 10 and 11. When their mother found out what we were playing she asked, "Is that the one where you can rip out someone's spine?"

"Yeah."

"I want you kids to stop playing that right now!"

I just shook my head but my brother was really confused, he asked my mom, and this is the exact quote, "They know they aren't real people right?"

Do you even play video games? Have you even tried to understand? Granted, some games are pure violence glorifying play grounds to work out sadistic fantasies but some of the most violent things I seen in games have had a deep emotional effect on me. I played through the campaign in Modern Warfare 2 and I and Ghost (a computer controlled character who has fought by my side through most of the games missions) survived the last onslaught of enemy troops. My commanding officer, the man who has been giving me my mission briefings show up on the ground. Suddenly he pulls out his sidearm and shoots Ghost in the chest and then me. I can see his men start to pour gasoline on Ghost while he struggles for his rifle. The feeling of betrayal is palpable and I'm pissed at my CO but I realize that the guys with the gas can are coming for me next. As they pull out the lighter I'm shouting at my screen, "Goddammit man he's still alive!"

After that scene, I had to take a break. My heart was beating fast and I was sad. The only thing that has come as close to giving me the same kind of deep emotional response was when Will Smith's character had to choke his dog to death in "I am Legend" but to fair, hurting dogs always gets to me.

Was it horrifically violent? Yes. Does it deserve the same protection that a similar scene in a movie gets? Yes.

If your five-year-old can (or wants to play a game like that for that long) even get that far in the game, its pretty clear that we're not dealing with a normal five-year-old but I think most teens could handle a scene like that so long as they can separate reality from fiction and that is a decision best left up to their parents.
posted by VTX at 6:30 PM on November 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Vibrissae aren't a troll, they're certainly a crank. (My name is Legion?) And they should apologize to all cats.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:50 PM on November 2, 2010


Wow, a little sad I missed this earlier. The persons responding to Vibrissae's arguments as if they're about videogames are kind of missing the point. The argument is that Vibrissae has some sort of authority to deem some things "trash" and other things "art" and the creators of "trash" shall be publicly listed as such. Far broader than videogames - although the form their argument takes actually makes a far more compelling argument than the article in the OP, in that it's an object example of the other side. When you decide to ignore the 1st amendment "for the children," then this is what you get: some sort of arbitrary arbiter (or committee of arbiters) whittling away speech, bit by bit, to keep our children safe. A registry of this sort would obviously have an intensely chilling effect on all art. Is my poem trash? Is my story trash? If I get this published, will I be published on the Trash Registry? Will I be able to keep my day job if this homemade YouTube video gets big? And so on. To most of us, this is obvious madness, but to some in our country - even some "on the left," free speech just isn't worth the trouble. Vibrissae - even if they're merely an inventive troll - is an useful reminder of that.

The article in the OP, on the other hand, is pretty useless.
posted by kavasa at 9:45 PM on November 2, 2010


Publicly shaming vibrissae would require going to her neighborhood, taking her picture, associating that picture with her words here, and then spreading that information to everyone in his or her neighborhood: "Hey, you see this lady? She wants to ban your favorite video games.".

And it appears some here would like to. But if you want to say call outs on metafilter by definition is not shaming, fine. That was never my main point.

Publicly shaming someone is to put his or her supposedly wrong deeds on view for everyone with the purpose of treating that person badly.

Or for changing that persons perspective and behavior. Which was my main point and one I insist is valid. The law is sometimes too little or too late.

Had the new friends of those two Rutgers freshmen come down like a ton of bricks and said they out to be ashamed of broadcasting someone's private make out session, Tyler Clementi might be alive today. The new friends who said nothing ought to be ashamed of themselves.

MBA students are given ethics classes not in order to skirt the law but because they apparently need to be told that it is shameful to, say, fire people in the middle of a great recession when their company is making money, or designing and selling financial they know are going to lose the clients' money. People who do so ought be ashamed of themselves. (And frankly it is shameful that such classes are even necessary.)

Senator McCarthy, "have you no shame' sir?" Maybe he and Roy Cohn didn't, but enough of their erstwhile supporters and friends in the senate did. Had they not, they ought to have been ashamed of themselves.

To say that shame is just a tool to control people and that we are better off without it is just silly. Not shameworthy in itself, but deserving serious reconsideration rather than knee jerk amens.

(For the purposes of this post- I have never played or much seen the kind of video game in question and have no dog in that fight. I was responding to a general excess of opinion here. Quick rule - if you can't tell your grandmother what you're doing, you might - mind you I said might - want to reconsider doing it. Pretty simple, really.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:55 AM on November 3, 2010


Since my position on shame seems to be under attack, let me clarify.

Shame is a base social emotion. People can feel ashamed about anything. Think about some things people may feel ashamed of -- not having the right brand of clothes, closeted homosexuality, murder.

Shame precludes the rational process of understanding your actions. A person is shamed by the beliefs instilled by their community.

The emotion you seek is remorse, but shame is often an impediment to remorse. Shame often impedes rehabilitation. Shame will not teach you why your actions were (or weren't) wrong. It will only confirm the (mostly irrational) beliefs of those around you.

Shame is not necessary for a functional society and we would do well to move beyond it.
posted by polyhedron at 7:48 AM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


And IndigoJones, you espouse the effectiveness of shame as a means of social control while ignoring its numerous pitfalls. Was it not shame that led Tyler Clementi to kill himself?
posted by polyhedron at 7:51 AM on November 3, 2010


It's a darned shame that there is no shame among mature adults who think it OK to expose little kids to violent and misogynistic video games. That's the point. I John Doe wants to write a violent novel, his name is on it; not so true with a video game (how many people scroll through credits?). We didn't ban cigarettes; we didn't ban porn, but we found ways to limit the exposure of same to little kids. This has been an interesting thread, further reinforcing my belief that the video game industry needs to be put on notice that when authoring and/or producing violent and misogynistic material, something(s) need to be done to limit the exposure of same to little kids. We live in a new world, where simple parental control at home is not enough. For instance, the other day, a kid at my son's middle school was brought in to the principle's office for listening to and sharing with others music that promoted violent behavior and spoke of women as whores. There is an overt and public policy against that sort of thing. They took the kids DS2 away (the machine he was using to view and share). Good for them! I am 100% in agreement with that action. That kid was told (it's a public school) that if he ever brought that music back on campus again he would be immediately sent home. His parents were brought in to discuss the matter. Good for that school! Word spread about that incident and kids were talking about it. Shame can work in good ways. I say "good for that school", and *shame* on anyone who doesn't think it appropriate to limit the exposure of such material to kids under 12.. Anyone who disagrees with the latter is permitted to do so; that goes without saying. That said, anyone who doesn't take every precaution to keep this stuff out of the hands of little kids is irresponsible, in the extreme. Again, shame cuts both ways - communities have to decide on accepted standards of morality and civic action. Shame is present in every culture, and it's shame that can (and is) used to control all kinds of behavior. The argument here is that shame should not be used as a weapon against those who promulgate (specifically, as authors/distributors/producers) extreme violence and sexual misogyny in video games. I disagree.

As distributed digital technologies become ever more pervasive, the fact that any one person - no matter age - can gain access to the most horrific images is something that parents everywhere are going to have to deal with. We are still in a time when we don't know what the long-term effects of that kind of exposure will be. There is a difference between simply viewing a violent image and immersing oneself in an environment where one becomes an active agent of mayhem. That may be fine for a teenager, but I don't think it's fine for a little kid. So, our society, I believe, needs to become every more vigilant about those who don't care how they make cash. I count those who make and distribute violent and misogynistic imagery in video games, without signing on to strict rules about how that material will be distributed, so as to prevent access by little kids (under 12). I think shame can be used as a vehicle to make people think, just as shame has evolved to make homophobes think twice about attacking someone because of their sexual preference. Again, shame cuts both ways. Mores adapt. And, in the case of the easy distribution and viewing of video games, we will adapt. It won't be long before it's possible to create algorithms that will keep a game machine from viewing certain material. I think that's a good thing. It also won't be long before culture catches up to the rapid development of distributed content to put in place controls that keep this stuff out of the hands and minds of little kids and other vulnerable persons.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:11 AM on November 3, 2010


Shame is an ineffective means of social control with many unintended consequences. We have the means to encourage behavior we support and discourage deleterious actions. It's called education and it works.

Shame is an ineffective tool with far too many negative and unpredictable side effects to be the basis of a modern, rational approach to social control. Sure, it can stop people from doing things you don't like. It can also be the reason people engage in unsavory activities.

Public school, and not the Internet or violent games (to which I had unfettered access when I was quite young), is where I was exposed to violence, curse words, pornography, and sexual humiliation. The problem isn't availability, it's a culture obsessed with demeaning the people we disagree with.
posted by polyhedron at 9:29 AM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a darned shame that there is no shame among mature adults who think it OK to expose little kids to violent and misogynistic video games.

1. Games for mature audiences are clearly labeled as such.
2. Little kids don't buy their own video games.
3. Parents are a thing.

If 3 does 2 despite 1, how is that my problem? Why should I be ashamed? Should freedom of expression be thrown out the window simply because some parents are incompetent?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:31 AM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The case has now been argued and a transcript (PDF) can be found online at the Court's website.

An excerpt::
JUSTICE SCALIA: What's a deviant -- a deviant, violent video game? As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?
MR. MORAZZINI: Yes, Your Honor. Deviant would be departing from established norms.
JUSTICE SCALIA: There are established norms of violence?
MR. MORAZZINI: Well, I think if we look back -
JUSTICE SCALIA: Some of the Grimm's fairy tales are quite grim, to tell you the truth.
MR. MORAZZINI: Agreed, Your Honor. But the level of violence -
JUSTICE SCALIA: Are they okay? Are you going to ban them, too?
MR. MORAZZINI: Not at all, Your Honor.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: What's the difference? mean, if you are supposing a category of violent materials dangerous to children, then how do you cut it off at video games? What about films? What about comic books? Grimm's fairy tales?
posted by cjelli at 9:43 AM on November 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think shame can be used as a vehicle to make people think,

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that you think it's a better idea to shame the content producers than the parents who refuse to adequately monitor their children. The content is going to exist, it's is produced for adults and it has a system in place designed to prevent it from getting into the hands of people younger than it is meant for.

Would you demand that distillers give up their private information if a 9 year old got access to a six pack of beer and got himself sick? Would you demand that adult film stars give out their addresses if a nine year old saw their naughty pictures on the web?

I'll agree that more can be done to refine the ratings system, but at some point people have to take responsibility for their children.
posted by quin at 10:05 AM on November 3, 2010


I John Doe wants to write a violent novel, his name is on it; not so true with a video game (how many people scroll through credits?).

It isn't like video game developers take strides to hide the fact that they made the game. In many cases, there is a simple option in the main menu to view the credits. You don't have to play through to the end of the game. If you want to see who made it, you can. Heck, you don't even have to own the game, you have internet access. Check out the wikipedia entry on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune which I'm playing right now. See that panel on the right? That is everyone who made the game. It took me all of 5 seconds. If you want the information you can find it. These people aren't hiding, they aren't ashamed and they shouldn't be. They don't want little kids playing games they shouldn't THAT'S WHY THEY HAVE A RATING SYSTEM!

Even if I agreed that what they were doing was shameful and even if I thought that publicly shaming the developers were a good idea, I STILL wouldn't think it a good idea to create list because it won't stop at shaming. Some crazy person or maybe just some parent who's kid was shot at school and wrongly blames video games for it to use it as an excuse for violence.

And hey, I've got news for you, digital distribution works for all media types. It's way easier for little kids to accidentally find porn than it is for them to download a violent video game not to mention movies and books.

Is anyone else reminded of the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" here?

Don't blame the developers, schools, society, or parents. BLAME CANADA!
posted by VTX at 11:04 AM on November 3, 2010


This has been an interesting thread, further reinforcing my belief that the video game industry needs to be put on notice that when authoring and/or producing violent and misogynistic material, something(s) need to be done to limit the exposure of same to little kids.

This has been a really shitty thread, but it did further reinforce my belief that anyone who uses the phrase "put on notice" can safely be ignored.

Honestly, I was sure you were an insincere troll, but I dunno. If you are, you're really good at it. And committed.

I simply can't believe you're really worried about violent video games when it comes to protecting children, and that the best way you think to do that is to publicly chastise game developers. It's just too nutty. I'm sorry.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:32 AM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


eh, Vibrissae is a pretty cool guy. Puts people's names on lists and doesn't afraid of anything.
posted by panboi at 2:07 PM on November 3, 2010


And IndigoJones, you espouse the effectiveness of shame as a means of social control while ignoring its numerous pitfalls. Was it not shame that led Tyler Clementi to kill himself?

Red herring and you know it. Of course he should have been made more welcome in the world. Shaming the roommate before the video streaming and verbal abuse just might have helped. Hell, a small fraction of the outraged on the Mefi post before the fact just might have stopped the roommate cold.

And as the numerous pitfalls are well articulated above, of course I ignored them. They've been well represented. But to adopt the absolutist notion that all social control shame is plain silly. Or at best, ill considered

Would you have the law be our only means of social control or would you have no social control whatsoever? Have you honestly never once in your life started down a path you knew in the back of your mind was a bad idea but been pulled from the brink by a sharp word by someone you respect? It would show either an astonishingly well lived life or a touch of sociopathy.

Shame is Law Lite. At it's best, it is a relatively benign way of keeping normal people with normal flaws and faults from going too far into areas where civil or criminal law has to be called in. It is one way we turn children into adults. You ignore that good side of it at your peril.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:54 PM on November 3, 2010


We have the means to encourage behavior we support and discourage deleterious actions. It's called education and it works.

Well....
posted by IndigoJones at 3:05 PM on November 3, 2010


The problem with shame, though, is that it's dependent on a sense of morality, which is entirely subjective. In order to feel shame, a person must transgress their own moral code.

"Shame on you for behaving contrary to my personal belief system!" Yeah, sorry, that's not really how stuff works. Basically, what that boils down to is, "Shame on you for not believing what I believe!"

There's a word for that. It's called bigotry.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:48 PM on November 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


They took the kids DS2 away ... That kid was told (it's a public school) that if he ever brought that music back on campus again he would be immediately sent home. His parents were brought in to discuss the matter.

See, that's the system. There are rules in place. And they're working just fine. That's not an example of shame, that's an example of behavior that crosses a defined line, and steps taken to correct the behavior, and prevent similar behavior in the future. Shame, in this case, has no place. If the principal is lecturing the parents, trying to make them feel bad about their child's taste in music, the parents are likely to get defensive. Instead, most likely, the principal asked them if they knew what little Timmy was listening to, and suggested that they be a bit more active in their parenting. Trying to shame Timmy, or the parents would be completely counter-productive. Instead, since, y'know, it's a school, they can use the incident as a chance to educate the people involved. Help Timmy to understand why it's pretty much not okay to tell women that they're whores, or to walk around public places shouting obscenties, or encourage the community's parents to step up their parenting, that's the goal. Shame makes people (at least the shamed ones) stop talking, stop learning. They withdraw, and you lose your chance to reach them.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:50 PM on November 3, 2010


Some good comments about shame, but I would argue that rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior are two sides of the same coin. Both actions are called for in shaping behavior, and if you don't agree, then you are bucking up against a lot of very good research in cognitive neuroscience. "IndigoJones" said it all.

btw, I am all over the "parent responsibility" thing, but we don't live in the time of Grimm anymore; we live in a time where *everything* is mediated over networks, and *everyone* has access to that network. New mores are called for; why shoudl I relinquish common decency to some game producer who is whoring technology and human capital to appeal to the lowest common denominator, for a buck. New standards of decency are called for; new methods of surveillance will be called for (and if you don't believe that, just ask Bill Joy). And lest you read more into that than I intend, I do believe that when we finally do get to the world of universal surveillance (and we will), the difference between a democratic, open culture and a closed, authoritarian culture will be complete, transparent access to the goals and results of surveillance, on demand, by democratic citizens.

I do not have a problem with someone creating a violent video game, but I *do* have a problem with that game getting to the eyes of a little kid. I don't think enough is being done to change that. I am very unhappy with the passive-aggressive position taken by game distribution companies - i.e. let's wait and see what the courts will do, and then we'll do what they say (even as they lobby policy makers to forbid marginalizing violent and misogynistic content).

Further, I don't buy the slippery slope argument. You can't shout "fire" in a theatre, but you can shout expletives at a political rally. Common sense can prevail, and does prevail, in an Open Society. Rules evolve, and with the rush of technology pushing hard on community mores, I think we're going to see more limitations put on certain aspects of distribution of content that badly violate most community norms. and btw, please give human beings credit for being able to make fine distinctions that make sense, instead of bringing up the Inquisition to make your point.

As for shaming anyone for not believing what I believe; that's true and not-true. Game developers, producers and distributors who want to distribute what in my opinion is harmful ti small kids need to be FAR more proactive about voluntarily seeing to it that little kids have a really hard time getting hold of that content. They need to figure it out, instead of waiting and passively raking in the $$$, while whole generations of small minds are polluted by violent images and misogyny.

Last, does anyone really believe that games are not going to be far, far bigger than they are today - and distributed with much more ease, in more modalities than they are today? Well, if not, I have a bridge to sell you. We had better start getting a grip on unrestricted access to certain kinds of content. We had better start thinking hard about how community norms are important, and how the fast introduction of new norms can badly disrupt the healthy evolution of culture. Heck, I've played violent video games, and I've enjoyed pron, but I don't want them on the playground. We need to find a way to fix that. Education is one way, but it's not going to be enough, because social institutions almost always lag in adjustment to the speed of technology.

Maybe my idea about a "list of names" is not a good idea; maybe it is. I'm trying it out for size, here, in a place that would argue most heartily against it. Thanks for informing me and sharing about the "meme of the blue" re: this topic. I will take that all into consideration as I look into this further. Good evening...
posted by Vibrissae at 10:00 PM on November 3, 2010


[comment remix]

New mores are called for: We need to find a way to fix that. I don't want them on the playground. new norms can badly disrupt the healthy evolution of culture. Common sense can prevail, and does prevail, in an Open Society. Further, I don't buy the slippery slope argument. Please give human beings credit for being able to make fine distinctions that make sense. Heck, I've played violent video games, and I've enjoyed pron. Both actions are called for in shaping behavior, and if you don't agree, then you are bucking up against a lot of very good research in cognitive neuroscience. I will take that all into consideration as I look into this further. Good evening...
posted by mek at 10:30 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vibrissae, this was a magnificent bit of trolling you did here, truly top shelf. That you were able to get people to engage with you after you floated the idea of a Video Game Developer Registry, which clearly shows you are not in touch with reality, was a work of art. So, bravo! I'll be watching out for you in future threads!
posted by mlis at 10:37 PM on November 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Game developers, producers and distributors who want to distribute what in my opinion is harmful ti small kids...

Whether something harms children is not a matter of opinion. Cite some research.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2010


Bleach and drain cleaners are definatly harmful to small kids. Name and shame! Name and shame!
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Game developers, producers and distributors who want to distribute what in my opinion is harmful ti small kids...

Even if it was, the developers don't target little kids for violent video games. That is why you don't see games featuring "Little Nemo" or similar characters beating up hookers.

The average American gamer is 34.

If you want to make a violent video game sell, you target 34 year olds. The things that appeal to me (I'm 30) simply don't appeal to little kids.

Here are some other interesting facts from that link:

8. Eighty-two percent of all games sold in 2009 were rated "E" for Everyone, "T" for Teen, or "E10+" for Everyone 10+.

9. Parents who have children under 18 with a gaming console in the home are present when games are purchased or rented 93 percent of the time.

10. Sixty-four percent of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives.


Whether something harms children is not a matter of opinion. Cite some research.

There is, in fact, research that comes to the opposite conclusion.
posted by VTX at 1:08 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]



There is, in fact, research that comes to the opposite conclusion.


Please note that this research focused on young adults, not small children. The latter is my primary concern.

The average American gamer is 34.

Please note that nearly 100% of 6-year-olds are gamers

Whether something harms children is not a matter of opinion. Cite some research.

Here it is, and there's a lot more like it.

Someone just above claimed I was out of touch with reality; that's what people said about Bob Guccione and Hugh Hefner. That's the other side of the coin, here. I want to see the violent and misogynistic games on a high shelf, with covers blocked and warnings all over them; I want to see all game machines *easily* programmed so parents can lock their kids out of this stuff. I want more stringent punishment for developers/producers/distributors who don't do everything in their power to make the above happen. Don't wait for Congress; do the right thing and keep harmful games out of the hands and minds of little kids.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:27 PM on November 4, 2010


You're missing the point. The average gamer is 34, therefore, the game is marketed at 34 year-olds. How many violent games does your six-year old want to play? Have you asked them?

You also missed (among so many other things) that "parents who have children under 18 with a gaming console in the home are present when games are purchased or rented 93 percent of the time." If kids are buying violent video games, almost all of their parents know about it. If your six-year-old manages to buy a game via digital distribution without your credit card, then he is a genius and you've got bigger fish to fry.

I don't know why I'm still arguing with you. Its obvious that you won't change your mind despite the fact that you keep harping on the same few arguments despite the fact that everyone here has picked every single one of them apart.

It doesn't even matter, I don't need to change your mind. Thank goodness the supreme court doesn't ask you about stuff like this. People like you are the reason the 1st amendment exists. I've been hearing this same non-sense since "Mortal Combat" came out in 1992. If you can't keep violent video games out of your kid's hands, then you are simply a failure as a parent.

The supreme court will make its decision and then, one way or another, I won't have to listen to any of this crap anymore.

I'm done.
posted by VTX at 8:24 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love that Mortal Kombat not having fucked up their clerks for life will likely play a significant role in the outcome of the supreme court case.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:46 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


People like you are the reason the 1st amendment exists.

Rather, it appears to be the other way around. Just like you can't yell "fire" in a theatre", your "freedom" should not easily enable a little kid's mind to get screwed over. I wonder how many little kid's minds you're willing to screw over to have your "freedom". There is responsibility with freedom (you try reading Emerson, Thoreau, Jefferson, or even instead of a gamer mag, sometime), something that many here don't seem to understand, or else are so blinded by their faux libertarian instincts that they don't quite get that society is a cooperative affair, with simple mores that establish cohesion. It's arguments like yours that

Further, it appears that you don't have kids whose friend's irresponsible parents let them have that crap, and then see it distributed on the playground, at sleepovers, etc. Why? Because it sits side-by-side on the shelf next to the decent stuff. You appear to have a very hard time understanding the power of

parents who have children under 18 with a gaming console in the home are present when games are purchased or rented 93 percent of the time."

You seem to have missed the fact that not all parents are on the playground, or with their kids right after school - go out, ask around, and get educated about the way things really are. Try breaking away from your game console for a few minutes. You also seem to have missed the fact that 100% of 6-year-olds are gamers. Does that tell you something about potential exposure. Look, the research is there. Also, small minds are now, for the first time, being exposed to this stuff in large amounts. IN addition to nascent studies on this stuff, showing negative results in small children, we don't know what the longer term effects will be.

So, in closing, put the violent and misogynistic games in a wrapper, like Penthouse. Put it up where you have to be of age to view it (teens will find a way), and keep the crap out of the eyes and minds of little kids. As for parenting, I think you also might want to consider that parenting requires different skills today than even 10 years ago. Happy gaming.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:49 AM on November 5, 2010


Fine, one more post.

Rather, it appears to be the other way around. Just like you can't yell "fire" in a theatre", your "freedom" should not easily enable a little kid's mind to get screwed over.

This is easy. I ask myself, is the way I want to express myself likely to hurt anyone? Lets see, we've established that six-year-olds don't want to play violent games, the developers don't want six-year-old kids to play these games, the average game is marketed to and designed to appeal to 34 year-olds, and the vast majority of parents are controlling what their six-year-olds play. No one is getting harmed and they aren't likely to harm anyone that means that no one gets to limit it. Anyone who doesn't get that, doesn't understand the first amendment.

Further, it appears that you don't have kids whose friend's irresponsible parents let them have that crap, and then see it distributed on the playground, at sleepovers, etc. Why? Because it sits side-by-side on the shelf next to the decent stuff.

If the problem is the irresponsible parents buying these games for their kids, how would this law help that? The irresponsible parents you describe are still going to buy their kids violent games and the kids are still going to bring it to the playground. You six-year-old isn't getting himself to the store on his own and he isn't buying stuff online without a credit card. My guess is that the 7% of parents who aren't there when their under eighteen-year-old buys games have kids who are 16-18 since those are the kids that would be most able to get themselves to the store on their own. If their kids can't handle violent imagery by then, they have bigger problems.

I wonder how many little kid's minds you're willing to screw over to have your "freedom".

You'd better believe that I won't allow my kids to view and violent images or any other questionable content until I'm sure they can handle it the same way my parents did for me.
posted by VTX at 6:20 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


As for parenting, I think you also might want to consider that parenting requires different skills today than even 10 years ago.

Really? Because the complaints you're making - about how media that you see as dangerous can be available to your children via their friends - are exactly the same as the ones the parents who wanted Catcher in the Rye etc. pulled from libraries. Those are the kinds of objections I was dealing with in the research job in 1991. You can say that Catcher has artistic merit blah blah but the parents who don't want anyone to read it don't think so. They think it's destructive trash. You probably think your opinion should outweigh theirs.

You also seem to have missed the fact that 100% of 6-year-olds are gamers.

And you seem to (deliberately?) miss the fact that 100% of 6-year-olds are not playing Super Violent Murder Smash Up Car Crash Rapist IV. I made that up.

What you still haven't explained, as far as I can tell, is who decides which games go on The List. What counts as violent and/or misogynistic? Who decides? You? Why?

I do not have a problem with someone creating a violent video game, but I *do* have a problem with that game getting to the eyes of a little kid.


And publishing the names and addresses of the creators of the game would solve this how, exactly? Let's say you don't buy Super Violent Murder Smash Up Car Crash Rapist IV, but your kid's friend's parents do, so they can play it themselves (because they are adults). Your kid and his friend find the game and play it while the parents are out or aren't paying attention. How would knowing who and where the developers are solve this problem?
posted by rtha at 6:27 AM on November 5, 2010


Come on, Vibrissae. You are trying to take an action that is contrary to the prevailing social mores on metafilter. You believe that making lists of such people by their real name and address is an appropriate sanction. Post your real name and address so we can have that on a list. Or does this sanction not apply to you? Is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?
posted by Francis at 7:43 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


you can't yell "fire" in a theatre

You keep saying this. FYI, it's bullshit.

First of all, it's generally used to argue against speech that presents a clear and present danger--an outmoded concept that has since been whittled down to directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action. Doesn't apply to video games. May apply to vigilante hit-lists like the one you're advocating.

"You can't shout fire in a crowded theatre" is a misquote of a hypothetical scenario used in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s opinion in the 1919 (Red Scare!) SCOTUS case of Schenck v. United States regarding the distribution of pamphlets opposing the military draft during WWI. The ruling was overturned in 1969--though, interestingly, not because of a case involving draft dodgers, but rather a Klansman announcing a Klan rally. Go figure.

It is not now and has never been illegal to shout "fire" in a crowded theatre. What's more, it probably wouldn't even be dangerous to do so nowadays, since all modern theatres adhere to strict fire codes that include an abundance of clearly marked fire exits.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


your "freedom" should not easily enable a little kid's mind to get screwed over.

Fire in a theater is pretty straightforward. This, not so much.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:13 AM on November 5, 2010


Wow. Whotta thread.
posted by agregoli at 7:04 PM on November 8, 2010


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