1/17/13

In defense of Video Games & Hollywood

1/17/13
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Played by millions. Surprisingly, pixelated bullets have not caused an epidemic of murderous sociopaths pillaging their way accross rivers of blood.

The blaming of violence on video games (particulary violent, first person shooter games), and violent hollywood films is getting ridiculous.

This is coming from the left and the right, and although it tends to get political, it's actually less about politics and more about ignorance.

Who you ask is pointing the finger at games and film? Old people. Stupid old people who don't know what MMORPG means, are no longer entertained by violent films, and couldn't figure out how to turn on an Xbox to save their life.

If this sounds mind-numbingly familiar to you, it's because we've all had this discussion before. Remember the outrage and controversy over the game Grand Theft Auto? Yeah, it turned out that it was just a video game, not a mass-recruitment for MS13.

There has been an explosion of video games, especially violent video games just in the last decade. And thanks to improving technology, these games are looking more realistic every day.  You would think, even if the violent video games flooding American homes in the last decade had a shred of influence on physical violence, our crime rate would reflect that. After all, millions of kids and adults alike, play these games on a daily basis. But no, violent crime is going down.

There are even benefits from playing video games.



Movies. We all love movies. Except for some (old) people.

Apparently movies, just like video games, are turning our kids' brains to mush, except the part where it turns them into highly efficient killing machines. You would think with such rhetoric being repeated ad nauseam, Hollywood does a better job of training soldiers than our own military. I don't really want to test that theory, but if killing needs to be done, I'm still pretty sure professional soldiers would do a better job of it.

[You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. Now you must go buy lots of guns and indiscriminately shoot people]

I agree violence can be done poorly in movies. Gratuitous, excessive violence is really just poor film-making especially when it doesn't advance the plot. But it can be done well; even disgusting, bloody, horrific violence can be tasteful in the right context.  And it serves a valuable purpose.  There is not only the action to get one's attention, but emotion, suspense, and consequences that tell a part of a larger story; many times without the violence it would make the film a lot less interesting.

Imagine Saving Private Ryan, only nobody gets shot. D-Day happened of course, but it was summarized by narration. Or maybe people get shot, but there's no blood, and nobody gets blown to pieces. Now there's a lot less suspense, and while the consequences are technically the same, they are significantly less dramatic. In the end you get a crappier, less realistic movie.

But there is no real, hard proof that violence in media increases violence in society. I mean, television, film, games, especially violence in media really didn't take off until say, the 80s (that's when it was ubiquitious). And now there's the internet with more free media violence available than ever before.

Yet global violence is down, even warfare.


Unfortunately, stupid old people run the government, and they like to make rules for the rest of us, even if those rules have no scientific basis, or a snowflake's chance in hell of working. But hey, if it makes a few old people feel better, we all should be grateful to suffer for them. Or we can tell them to stop fucking with our freedom.

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