Skip to main content

View Diary: NRA response: It's Hollywood, video games, and won't anyone think of the gun manufacturers? (473 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Because.... (10+ / 0-)

    Regulating "violence" in media is an entirely subjective measure. For example, the current FCC regulations on sex & language are absurd in their application towards broadcast television.

    Expanding those kinds of standards to violent content enters the ninth circle of Dante's Hell of absurdities. Would a game that showed a murder be an automatic "M" rating? Or could they have a murder if it was a stabbing, but not a shooting? What would be an acceptable amount of blood to be shown? Could a victim scream for two seconds but not five?

    Should a copy of the Grimms' Fairy Tales have an "M" rating & not be sold to children, since it depicts acts of torture, murder, and abuse? How about Shakespeare? Hamlet? Romeo & Juliet? Richard III? All of those are family friendly, aren't they?

    •  The industry is already regulating it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1
      Regulating "violence" in media is an entirely subjective measure.
      And yet, the MPAA, ESRB, and whoever does TV ratings already does regulate "violence" in media, insofar as they assign movies, TV shows, and video games ratings as to age appropriateness.

      And those ratings systems are already in that "Dante's Hell of absurdities," where certain amounts of blood, gore, violence net something an R rating instead of PG-13, and from what I understand those amounts are often oddly quantitative.

      So given that there's already a threshold, established by those various ratings organizations, what's the argument against lowering that threshold?

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:16:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Alright.... (6+ / 0-)
        So given that there's already a threshold, established by those various ratings organizations, what's the argument against lowering that threshold?
        I think that's the wrong way to look at this issue. My response is what exactly is the argument for lowering the threshold?

        To date there's no scientific proof that viewing media violence causes violent behavior (unlike the link between Cigarettes & Cancer). While there are studies that show increases in aggression, none of them can really take into account all possible environmental & genetic factors. And there have even been studies (here and here) that had the opposite result.

        From Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

        According to federal crime statistics, the rate of juvenile violent crime in the United States is at a 30-year low. Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. It's true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players. But young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure. The moral panic over violent video games is doubly harmful. It has led adult authorities to be more suspicious and hostile to many kids who already feel cut off from the system. It also misdirects energy away from eliminating the actual causes of youth violence and allows problems to continue to fester.
        •  I don't think it's about a specific link... (0+ / 0-)

          ...between violent media, as much as I think it's about our cultural mythology as a whole.

          We've always been a rather violent society, as the enslaved and lynched African-Americans, the butchered Native Americans, the women injured or killed by their domestic partners, the men beaten and killed for being gay, etc. would surely attest.

          And even if the mass media didn't cause that violence (as the violence predates the media), I think it's difficult to deny that the mass media perpetuates and reinforces it.

          So we have to think critically about what our media is doing to perpetuate and reinforce these cultural myths about violence—and, I think, envision what it would look like if our media started to shift to telling other myths instead.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:39:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why don't you just say.... (5+ / 0-)

            ....you don't like these games, and leave it at that? You have no scientific backing to go an inch further.

            Don't hunt around for excuses to impose your tastes on others. It gives liberals a bad name.

            "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

            by sagesource on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:44:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  exactly (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, sagesource

              That kind of behaviour is actually pretty conservative, its why cons cant accept the lgbt crowd. I understand that some people just don't like violent video games, but untill they can show some serious harm done by them, through scientific studies, they really should be laughed at and ignored. If video games really are such a big problem it should be easy to prove.

              "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

              by Mudderway on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:37:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I do like these games. (0+ / 0-)

              In fact, I quite enjoy some of them.

              I don't know where in my comment you got that I want to "impose my tastes" on others; I'm saying nothing of the sort. (While I do want the media industry to raise their standards for what they deem appropriate for children, that's a matter of tightening existing guidelines rather than creating new ones.)

              What I am saying is that I think we all need to think critically and engage in a critical conversation about the role played in our society by the myth of redemptive violence in our society—and ask ourselves what role the storytelling media play in promulgating and reinforcing that myth.

              "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

              by JamesGG on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:12:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We did the study. (0+ / 0-)

                It's called the youth violent crime rate since 1994, the year that Doom, the first mass-popular shooter, came out.

                The rate dropped, and then held steady. If anything, that suggests no significant effect from this new type of media. It certainly couldn't be cited to prove video games of any sort increase violence.

                Calling for "more studies" when there doesn't seem to be a problem to study is disingenuous, to say the least.

                "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

                by sagesource on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 10:54:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not calling for "more studies." (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm calling for an organic and holistic look at the culture as a whole—not just since 1994, but since before this country's founding.

                  As I wrote in a different comment here, this nation has been bathed in the myth of redemptive violence from the get-go—and it's been enslaved or lynched African-Americans, slaughtered Native Americans, battered women, bashed gay men, and others who were declared Others by our rhetorics about whiteness, masculinity, and Americanism who have historically found themselves on the receiving end.

                  I'm not pining for some kind of halcyon era of the bloodless TV Western where the guy in the white hat always shoots the guy in the black hat in the climactic pistol showdown.

                  I'm suggesting that the TV Western, along with all kinds of movies and video games and TV shows and books before and since (well, the video games all "since," as there weren't any video games in the era of the TV Western), promotes a set of cultural myths.

                  These cultural myths combine in a toxic way with the availability of guns in our culture, with something peculiar about the attitudes of Americans, with the stresses and strains of late industrial capitalism, and with our broken mental health system to produce a society that not only has these kinds of mass shootings far too often, but where our notions of whiteness, masculinity, and Americanness are violently enforced in other ways both broad (wars of choice), local (domestic violence and gay-bashing) and subtle (bullying and verbal abuse).

                  And I think that, broadly, is what we need to look at critically, and ask ourselves if there's a better way.

                  "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                  by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:27:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You have two elements then.... (0+ / 0-)

                    ....like an explosive. Culture and guns.

                    It's difficult to control guns, but it's even more difficult to control culture. Work on the easier side first, maybe?

                    Perhaps without realizing it, you're embracing a conservative solution. Conservatives, as George Orwell pointed out, are always calling for a change of heart rather than a change of material circumstances. And the reason they do is that they know full well the change of heart isn't likely to happen, and so the status quo will go on and on -- but they have the luxury of lamenting it.

                    "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

                    by sagesource on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:20:09 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm calling for both. (0+ / 0-)

                      Note that I've agreed with our need for better gun control laws. I don't disagree in the slightest that material circumstances need to change.

                      But I also think our attitudes need to change, because the problems with the myth of redemptive violence go way beyond anything that will be impacted by gun control laws.

                      Gun control doesn't protect the high-schooler who's bullied with fists or words for being gay. It doesn't protect the woman whose husband beats her up. It doesn't protect those in far-off countries who suffer when we engage in wars of choice because the opponents of those wars were cast as "wimps."

                      There are material changes we can make to our laws that will improve all of those situations, but we also need to do some soul-searching as a nation to ask why those situations are part of our national landscape in the first place.

                      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                      by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:44:54 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly - it's bad enough the MPAA has what (6+ / 0-)

      I like to call the "three fucks rule" where using the word "fuck" more than three times is an automatic R rating (For example, Planes, Trains and Automobiles - a PG movie without the rental car scene).

      I'm not saying PTA should be PG, but the automatic R is a bit excessive. PG-13 is fine. I know I used worse language at 13.

      I don't want the same standards being applied to violence in movies and video games. The entire piece of work needs to be evaluated. Violence in a completely fictional movie needs to be treated differently than violence in an accurate, historical film. Otherwise something like the Abraham Lincoln movie that just came out might get an R rating simply because of the scene where he gets assassinated (do they even show it in the movie? Haven't seen it yet) when in reality, it probably does not deserve an R.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:26:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the spoiler alert :-) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SilentBrook, gramofsam1

        Why did you tell me how Lincoln ends? I was hoping to be surprised by the movie!

        But on the whole, I don't disagree that we could use a more robust and descriptive ratings system for movies, TV, video games, etc. that goes beyond simply "age appropriateness" to getting at describing what's actually there so that parents can make their own decisions about what's appropriate.

        But I also think that part of that equation is that we shouldn't dismiss the effect that even fantasy violence can have on the formation of the mind, particularly when that violence is practiced by the "good guys"—people we're told we should identify with and should want to emulate—and presented as something that is good and wholesome rather than something that is regrettable and that leaves scars long after the deed itself is done.

        I think that in addition to more robust and organic ratings, we need to lower the threshold of what forms and acts of violence we deem appropriate for what point in the person's emotional development, whether that's an industry standard or a parental standard or both (I prefer both).

        I think this incident should not only incite us to change our gun laws (which need changing) and improve our structures for helping the mentally ill (which need improvement), but also to think critically about the role played by our mediated myths of violence in the perpetuation of violent acts throughout our culture, from wars to mass murder to domestic violence to bullying to verbal abuse.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:34:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You haven't shown any effect. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, salamanderempress

          Which launches all your proposals into the realm of fantasy.

          If you can't explain why Canadians, Australians, and Japanese aren't inspired to violence by video games, you have absolutely no right to assume Americans are so inspired. You're working off your "gut feelings" here, and forgetting that the most important fact about guts is that they are full of shit.

          Just say you don't like them -- which is a statement of feeling that doesn't need justification -- and leave it at that.

          "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

          by sagesource on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:47:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site