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My Friday the 13th started out well enough, bright and early as I made breakfast and watched the news. Same as it ever was, the same nonsense we're all accustomed to these days. Today was to be a special day, because pre-orders for the Nintendo Wii (their latest game console) were to begin as soon as the mall opened. I'm a gamer geek at heart, and willing to admit it - I was going to arrive at the mall at 6:30 A.M., and wait patiently in line until I had that receipt in hand. I expected a big smile on my face, I expected the childish anticipation that carries over until the system is released.

I did not expect to encounter a Marine that had just returned from Iraq, with quite a bit to tell us consumers in line about exactly what was on his mind. I did not expect to have my life shocked into perspective.

Update: Thank you everyone for recommending this diary, to me it is such a powerful commentary on the "collateral damage" of war. It's time to stop the insanity.

Update 2: It seems like I failed to mention this, and it really changes the whole dynamic of the story - this was not a young man, rather one of middle-age. Just makes it that much more difficult. Also, there is no ironic twist where I was purchasing a war sim game - but I definitely didn't consider it after meeting this man. As a final added note, I'm getting a ton of questions about whether I actually bought the system - yes I did, I'd been there since early AM and the man left us just as fast as he showed up.

This is a bit long, but I don't care because this experience is staying with me forever.

---

I arrived at the mall at 6:30 or so, and spent a bit of time in my car watching the "mall-walkers" head inside while having my coffee. I'm assuming it's a widespread phenomena, but the mall opens in the early morning for those that want somewhere warm and quiet to walk. After about 20 minutes, I headed inside to join the line that was building up outside Electronics Boutique, all sorts of excited for my silly new toy. Those in line had the same glossed over look of excitement, and before long we were meeting each other and talking shop.

The mall-walkers have most likely included the activity in a morning routine, so a few were perplexed to see a line of young adults/parents building up outside of a shop. Some were curious about what was being released ("Are you guys in line for Britney Spears tickets?"), others laughed at our eagerness to purchase a piece of paper that allows us to buy more stuff later.

And then, there was him. A man walked by, and the person in front of me in line asked "Hey, did that guy just smell like booze?" I answered yes, as the scent was still lingering around after he passed. We traded a few glib remarks about what exactly would compel a drunk man to go to the mall so early in the morning to wander around. Ten minutes later or so, the man came back the other way and decided to inquire about our line.

"What's this all about?" The smell returned. Somebody told him about the Nintendo system, and how they're offering pre-orders, so on and so forth.

"Oh, you're buying those Nintendo tapes? You've got those ones that are all war.. I've been there. I've seen it." A few people were perplexed, but still curious about what the guy had to say.

"I'm a Marine, and I just got back from Iraq on.. what day is it, Friday? Monday, and I've been drinkin' since. Probably be drinkin' until I go back - not to Iraq, but back in."

The mood of the situation changed immediately. Toward the front of the line, there were myself and a few younger guys (I'm 22), and 4 people I assumed were parents pre-ordering the system for kids. Nobody knew what to do besides listen to this man, because it was awful clear he had something to say.

"This war is a mistake, it's all based on lies. We never found any weapons over there, men and women are being killed for no reason. It's a mistake and there's no reason for it." People were becoming noticeably uncomfortable, and I was hoping to high heaven that there weren't any nutty righties in the line that felt the need to "correct" this man. I initially had my doubts about what he was saying, but halfway through a repeated "I've been there.." his face jolted as if he had just realized what he was saying. This man was broken, and there was absolutely no reason for it. His voice cracked as he continued, and I fought off tears that hadn't materialized yet. People in the line did the best they could to encourage the man, and thank him for serving.. but nothing was going to help.

"You remember that, when you're playing your little tapes," the man said as he gestured playing around with a controller, "you remember that there are people really doing that. They're shooting and they're getting shot at." On that note, encouragements were repeated as the man decided to wander away from our line.

This was easily one of the most heartbreaking and frustrating moments in my life. I've been pissed off in general at those in charge because of incompetence on their part, but this was different - this man's life has been completely spent on a false war. The blank stare he had on filled me with anger, as I knew there was nothing I could do to help him through in the state that he was in.

Not only was it a moment of intense frustration, but also introspection - I was sitting in line for a fucking Nintendo while there are people dying for no reason. I'm programmed to buy the latest crap just because it's the latest crap, and play games that mock the reality of the horrifying environment of war. You can try your best to change the status quo sonny, but it's not gonna work - so fire up your Sony NintendoBox 2000 and shut the hell up.

From now on, I will never allow myself to lose the perspective I have gained from this experience. The future needs us, because those in charge aren't worried and the lives of those fighting for the freedoms we're losing are being squandered on greed.

IT MUST STOP.

Originally posted to cakestick on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 09:42 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Oh please. (140+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, Magenta, Kestrel, Angie in WA State, Dissento, lennywick, pb, Mikey, lanshark, jah4168, dburbach, lrhoke, cosbo, theboz, sacrelicious, Shockwave, rogun, LionelEHutz, CleverNickName, GayHillbilly, strandedlad, xynz, clone12, zenbowl, lawnorder, Carnacki, bam bam, nightsweat, alcorsu, Geotpf, strengthANDwisdom, housesella, Ashy Larry, brillig, ScantronPresident, srkp23, Loquatrix, b2witte, als10, Porfiry, mrblifil, vmibran, amanuensis, L0kI, MJB, Gonzophile, arkdem, celticshel, wader, suzq, NewDirection, DeadB0y, milton333, I like Ike, ArcXIX, Sychotic1, Catte Nappe, HollywoodOz, greenreflex, horsewithnoname, Dood Abides, nwprogressive, plymouth, ChaosMouse, thereisnospoon, Fabian, Treg, kingubu, bellevie, Rick Oliver, Elise, docangel, awesley, Ja of Anoroc, Sanada Yukimura, clammyc, crimsonscare, SoCalLiberal, grimc, terrypinder, Heartcutter, peteri2, Phil S 33, woobie, sodalis, dazed in pa, sbdenmon, bartman, Loboguara, danger durden, RiaD, milkmit, concordepa, LeftOverAmerica, esquimaux, Sanuk, dsteele2, Nightprowlkitty, PatsBard, mooshter, victoria2dc, urbannie, greenearth, Lollipops, KozmoD, Lashe, nilocjin, justalittlebitcrazy, FireCrow, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, buckeye blue, DKHOLLA, Democritus, pissedpatriot, Vengent, FrankieB, Gibbo, 73rd virgin, CarrieICL, TheArgus, beaukitty, Jemand von Niemand, bear83, darrkespur, pgm 01, lowellfield, serif, CenterLeft, Positronicus, lemming22, JeremyA, kath25, Crisitunity, Icarus Ascending, Oreo, MissPilkington, SBE, Brass Tacks, GeorgeXVIII, ecb

      I grew up on video games and I am perfectly capable of understanding the difference between game violence and real violence as is every other person I know.

      Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

      by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 09:45:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, (206+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arlam, Devilstower, nevsky42, Kestrel, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, Dissento, lennywick, lanshark, jah4168, alyosha, Tiparillo, cosbo, Rolfyboy6, theboz, Shockwave, LynChi, Xan, LionelEHutz, cotterperson, Sui Juris, OLinda, suswa, zenbowl, lawnorder, Carnacki, PanzerMensch, jancw, Geotpf, strengthANDwisdom, madhaus, geordie, rasbobbo, DaveV, housesella, mrsdbrown1, monkeybiz, joynow, bronte17, Dazy, mmacdDE, elveta, megs, ScantronPresident, srkp23, als10, stevej, Porfiry, mrblifil, vmibran, L0kI, Fe, MJB, splashy, arkdem, dmsilev, jted, rocketito, wader, suzq, webweaver, NewDirection, DeadB0y, ghostofaflea, I like Ike, GN1927, ArcXIX, Sychotic1, dnn, tabbycat in tenn, papercut, Mrcia, Eddie Haskell, Liberaljentaps, Dood Abides, nwprogressive, johne, plymouth, SanDiegoDem, eve, boran2, bibble, thereisnospoon, Timroff, Spam Spam Bacon Spam, rapala, SteveK, Fabian, 3goldens, bellevie, Elise, blueyedace2, docangel, awesley, baccaruda, LisaZ, Chinton, PBen, PsychoSavannah, Sanada Yukimura, clammyc, Cake or Death, thefos, Arken, buckeyedem08, marathon, IL dac, Heartcutter, eyama, ladybug53, annefrank, peteri2, Phil S 33, babatunde, paxpdx, aerdrie faenya, SundayHighway, Shotput8, paddykraska, wiscmass, sodalis, sbdenmon, JanL, psyched, Alan Arizona, danger durden, inanna9, ChuckInReno, begone, RiaD, milkmit, Nowhere Man, Mother Mags, taracar, ThaliaR, Appalachian Annie, LeftOverAmerica, esquimaux, trashablanca, Sanuk, dsteele2, chicagoblueohio, Nightprowlkitty, kraant, tarheelblue, vigilant meerkat, parallel man, virgomusic, Ellicatt, Sagittarius, urbannie, aphra behn, Tiny Wurlitzer, greenearth, Lollipops, blueoasis, robokos, birdbrain64, Lashe, nilocjin, condoleaser, justalittlebitcrazy, FireCrow, Pager, NewAmericanLeft, Uniter, Demena, droogie6655321, A Patriot for Kerry, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, buckeye blue, righteousbabe, Stripe, katasstrophy, Democritus, pissedpatriot, Vengent, Zoskie, FrankieB, Gibbo, RickBoston, kidneystones, 73rd virgin, theark, eastmt, beaukitty, bear83, darrkespur, pgm 01, marykk, Cronesense, PhantomFly, Positronicus, JeremyA, kath25, Crisitunity, ilex, lizpolaris, BlueInKansas, geejay, Icarus Ascending, Oreo, SBE, RudiB, GeorgeXVIII, ecb

        I'm in the same boat. Game violence alone has a slim chance of infecting youth. Environment, family, and social norms tend to exacerbate a kid's need to "escape" into a game.

        However, I look at the generation below mine and I just hope for the best.. they're knee deep in apathy and completely pacified from what I've seen.

        •  Exactly. (26+ / 0-)

          I mean the generation before us was raised on Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, not to mention endless superhero comic books and westerns, yet they expect us not to know the difference between fantasy and reality?

          Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

          by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:05:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hear you Arken (48+ / 0-)

            but I think the whole relationship between fantasy and reality has shifted for these younger generations. I'm really not convinced that the majority of them know how to process the difference between fact and fantasy. This combined with the accelerating deterioration of public education seems to have produced a generation that in the main has lost a critical edge. These observations are mainly based on my experience as a professor at what is thought to be a major research university.

            I'm not speaking directly to the issue of violent video-games and fleshly violence. I'm only commenting on the issue of the increasing blurring between reality and not-reality in our contemporary world. There is something different about these younger generations compared with younger generations of the past.

            •  An interesting point (16+ / 0-)

              But, I might suggest that a familiarity of the social history of parental paranoia would suggest that each generation acts as though changing times or technology has created something new under the sun, something uniquely destructive of society via the kids.  This may be the time, who knows?  I just think it's interesting that there's no truly new critique of what the kids are up to.

              No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

              by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:24:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  If that's true ... (14+ / 0-)

              I'm blaming the culture, not the video games.

              We've got kids growing up in a world where the media is obsessed with Parris Hilton and Angelina Jolee, and the dominant form of TV is reality TV shows, where people are put in artificial situations to see how they react.  There's very little intellectually challenging material out in the popular culture -- and I don't blame video games.  I blame pop culture.

              •  I think that they're all related (8+ / 0-)

                I don't think you can separate out video games from celebrity culture/popular culture, and they all work together on blurring the fact/fantasy divide. Especially now that you can be a celebrity without having done anything in particular to be celebrated!

                Studies have shown that video games are good for hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving--I'm not anti-video game or pop-culture. I do think that the ever-accelerating tempo of life and of popular entertainment has perhaps diminished the formative power of reading, however, and thus the requisite time and space required for reflection.

                At the same time, I'm aware that ever since the industrial revolution, critics have decried the negative effects of the increasing tempo of life on the democratic form. Still, I can't yet bring it into language, but there seems to be something different about the current crop of teenagers ...

                •  You got it wrong (12+ / 0-)

                  It's that heavy metal music. No wait, it's the rap music. Or it's the movies. Personally I think it's because kids don't know the value of a dollar. Did you know kids use curse words? And they don't work hard or study in school. And they drive too fast and dress badly. Those drugs are poisoning their minds. Hey, get off my lawn!

                  What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                  by strandedlad on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:34:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually (5+ / 0-)

                    I've been trying to make a point about the material difference between the technologized cultural forms that are dominant now vs. other "new-fangled" cultural forms in the past. I need to express it more clearly, perhaps, but basically I don't think this is just a new form of the same old thing.

                    •  I know, I was just having a little fun. But (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gkn, Coherent Viewpoint, SBE

                      You sort of remind me of -- and I mean this respectfully -- people who travel to other countries recognizing intellectually that foreign people are different but expecting those differences to be primarily stylistic, only to realize after a long period of interaction that foreign people are really foreign in very profound ways.

                      But if you want a serious response, I have a friend who is specializing in alternative teaching methods, using a variety of new media to impart information to students. We have had numerous conversations -- mostly in agreement -- over whether there is a quantitative difference in learning via something like a computer game or a homework set. Or researching using Google or by writing citations on 3 x 5 cards in the library. Obviously there is a qualitative difference. But in the end, if a student learns that 2 + 2 = 4, what is the difference if that knowledge came from flash cards or a fuzzy wuzzy children's video game character? Thos of us who have done both sometimes decry the loss of a certain potential shared intergenerational experience, but there will be new experiences in a new environment that we will not have had, a situation for which younger people may someday regard us with incredulous pity.

                      Media is immersive, yes. Technology is omnipresent. We will adapt, as we have since the Ice Age.

                      The main difference here is that younger people are immersed in media and develop skills instinctively that older people have to consciously learn. It can be good or bad, depending on the outcome, but it should be understood that it is inevitable.

                      Besides, we're getting smarter.

                      What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

                      by strandedlad on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:12:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, IQ scores are going up. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mataliandy, SBE

                        That might not be the same thing as getting smarter.

                      •  Many don't (0+ / 0-)

                        know that 2+2=4.  The general skill and knowledge level has dropped tremendously in the last 30-40 years and the shallow sophistication has increased .  Whether you're directly involved in education or responsible for hiring and supervising employees, you're very much aware of it.

                        The way one learns is affected by speed, stimuli, etc.  Patiently writing on cards is a different mental/neurological experience than web-surfing.  ditto for hand sectioning materials and drawing them in a lab notebook.  Or holding a book and making notations in the margins.  It takes time for things to sink in.  People learn better when many senses are involved.

                      •  Ex Adult Educator Here (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        strandedlad

                        The younger generations have problems with conceptualization and abstraction. Excellent rote memories, but if they run across a math problem that is not EXACTLY like one they were taught directly, they're lost. I tried to teach concepts rather than rules and facts, but it was often like the frames were different, so the ideas couldn't come across.  2 + 2 = 4, but they would never conceive of a^2 + B^2 = c^2 by themselves.

                        Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. - Lao Tzu

                        by FLDemJax on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 05:54:11 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  It's the Beatles (0+ / 0-)

                    and that damn long hair.

                    You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

                    by frostyinPA on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:07:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Well one thing's for sure (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bigjacbigjacbigjac

                    No matter what the cause of kids' attitudes today...it is a CERTAINTY that they are going to experience an adulthood very different from any preceding generation.

                    99.9% of them are going to be stone deaf.  Invest in Miracle Ear now!

                    Come to think of it, maybe that's why there are more and more booming cars with young people behind the wheel...perhaps the sound system HAS to be blasting just for them to hear it even though it vibrates the innards of everyone else within 100 yards.

                    "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man."- Capt. Gilbert, US Army Psychiatrist, at the conclusion of the Nuremberg trials.

                    by 417els on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 01:58:09 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  If you really think popular culture... (7+ / 0-)

                ...twenty years ago, or fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago, or two hundred years ago, was any better, you are deluding yourself.

                There's always been mindless entertainment, there will always be mindless entertainment.  Deal with it.

                •  Well, I dunno... (11+ / 0-)

                  I don't think that there were any 'games' until recently where you could pick up a prostitute, pay her, take her behind the bushes to bang her, kill her, and then take your money back.

                  That sort of 'mindless entertainment' is what is what is available now. A far cry from the 'mindless entertainment' of my youth.

                  I don't think that video games tweak the minds of all who play, but with shit like that....ya gotta figure it tweaks some.

                  Just sayin....

                  •  Zombies? Friday the 13th? (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Geotpf, Cake or Death, gkn, lemming22, SBE

                    I remember watching "wrestling" (what the hell was it called?  All Star Wrestling!!!!) when I was really little (30 years ago) and seeing the ring covered in blood.  I don't know if it was real or not, but it was brutal and bloody and horribly violent.  Slasher movies like Friday the 13th put sex and violence right together.  Like others have mentioned, lynching and murder and violence have been "entertainment" as long as humans have existed.  

                    Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

                    by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:48:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think there is a difference (4+ / 0-)

                      between someone watching a slasher movie and someone yelling, "Hey guys! Look! I screwed her and slashed her throat!" and having their friends respond, "Awesome!"

                      "Ain't but two sides to this world. Them that work and them that don't. You work, they don't. That's all you got to know about the enemy."

                      by motherlowman on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:30:51 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Also, (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mataliandy

                        I teach at a school that has a game design program, so I've seen this happen a lot.

                        "Ain't but two sides to this world. Them that work and them that don't. You work, they don't. That's all you got to know about the enemy."

                        by motherlowman on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:31:38 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Ummm... (4+ / 0-)

                        I've played that game (and I'm a 40-year old woman) and you can't "screw her and slash her throat". The sex happens in the car (the only way you can tell it's happening is that the car rocks) and yes, you can beat her up afterwards and take your money back--just like you can beat up nearly any character in the game for no apparent reason.

                        I've done it, I've watched it, and it hasn't ruined my life.

                        Oh, I've also made 2 women fall in love and make out in The Sims (the Linux version). THAT didn't warp me either...

                        "I must admit that I don't see a bright tomorrow; still, I must also confess that my hopes are fairly high"--Ass Ponys, "Fighter Pilot"

                        by oxymoron on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:02:20 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  in the sims 2 (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          bigjacbigjacbigjac

                          they actually have sex. Well they call it "woo hoo" but the Sims 2 is just rampant with all kinds of sexual situations.

                          in addition to the other rather mundane things that often make me wonder why the game series is so damn popular.

                          things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                          by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:32:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  I was going to argue (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mataliandy

                    that video games aren't necessarily dangerous, but I had forgotten about that one. There is a big difference between a kid like my son who plays Need for Speed because racing is fun, but still has lots of other interests, and a kid who plays that horrible game. Some of my students have played that game and enjoyed it, and you can see that there is something very wrong with the way they see the world.

                    However, there is much to be said for the way parents raise their kids in general. Parents who take an interest in their kids and what they are learning (and how they behave) generally don't let their kids play "Hooker Stomper II" or whatever it's called.

                    Any teacher who has been to more than a couple of parent-teacher conferences can tell you that kids really do pick up their system of values and their behavior from their parents.

                    "Ain't but two sides to this world. Them that work and them that don't. You work, they don't. That's all you got to know about the enemy."

                    by motherlowman on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:28:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SBE

                      [Re: GTA] Some of my students have played that game and enjoyed it, and you can see that there is something very wrong with the way they see the world.

                      Really?  A bunch of my friends and I played it in college, and we all enjoyed it.

                      Maybe for some people the game's about the violence, but it sure as hell wasn't for me.  I mean, the game wouldn't be playable minus the violence, but the violence is a means to an end, not an ends in and of itself.

            •  I disagree (13+ / 0-)

              As a member of the "younger generation" I am continually amazed at the audacity of the people my age - willing to stand up to authorities, be them police, teachers, or whoever for what we feel is just.  

              However I do see some of what you see.  Our age group is divided between apathy and action, and it seems to largely fall within the lines of education.  The educated try to fix the world, the uneducated don't care.  They don't know why they should care, and labeling our entire generation "hopeless," is a very poor sign of hope indeed.

              •  Interesting (7+ / 0-)

                What I wonder about is the divide along educational lines that you mention. I teach at what is seen to be one of the best universities in the US, and for the most part my students seem woefully disengaged. There are always some extremely bright, engaged, questioning ones, but for the most part the undergraduates I teach are reproducers of the dominant ideology and not contesters or critics of it.

              •  Ah, the younger generation... (17+ / 0-)

                I'm 39.  When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, the Boomer generation above me was convinced that we were going to be the TV generation, the hollow-eyed mindless non-reading disaffected apathetic cynical latchkey kids.  Our music was lame, our political activism was pathetic, our educations were terrible, we had no spark, no drive, no creativity, no idealism, etc etc.  Meanwhile the economy was a nightmare, our parents were almost all divorced, the mass culture was crass, stupid, cynical and amoral, public schools were being closed and underfunded, Reagan thought ketchup was a school lunch vegetable, there was no war or draft to kick people into the streets, and I could go on quite a bit.  

                Time passed, now we're the grownups and I hear people my age and younger going on about the current teenagers.  But I can't say the teenagers and college students I meet seem any worse than we were on average, in some cases they amaze me with their drive and energy and idealism, I'm thrilled to see that because it inspires me all over again.  

                I think older people just love to worry about the younger generation carrying us all off to hell in a handbasket.  But in time, kids grow up, and no generation is a monolith.  Or hopeless!!

                And in a way, hasn't it almost always been true that the educated tend to be the ones trying to fix the world, who believe that they can, that it's a worthwhile project?  Nothing new there either, not really.  I'd love to see that change, but if kids have narrow horizons, I tend to look at the grownups who raised them - not just parents but the community, the culture, the schools, and etc.  No child is born uncurious and unambitious.

                "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

                by sarac on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:24:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm 40 - (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jules too, HillaryIsMyHomegirl, SBE

                  Great post.  Frankly, I think current teenagers are a hell of a lot more involved and motivated than our generation was.  The ones I know are great people who I am proud to know.

                  Not to give Gen-X a bad rap either.  I think, given what most of us had to deal with from our boomer parents (divorce and deficits!), we all turned out a hell of a lot better than anyone had any right to expect.

                  It's the way of older folks to worry about the younger.  Somehow, we all carry on.

              •  One of my favorite quotes (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Devilstower, jules too, Vengent, SBE

                Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannise their teachers.

                Note the author

                Socrates

                Republicans only care about republicans. Democrats care about the Republic.

                by beaukitty on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:58:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Not really. It's just your perception. (17+ / 0-)

              There is something different about these younger generations compared with younger generations of the past.

              "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for
              authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place
              of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their
              households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They
              contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties
              at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers. -Socrates

              "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

              by Loboguara on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:44:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  comic books, TV, rock n roll, videogames -- each (5+ / 0-)

              generation has had their "fantasy world" to dive into, and debate about the effects of this usually tends to the side that believes these diversions are harmless.

              The notion of one generation being apalled at the next is something of a cliche.

              "There's been a little complication with my complication"

              by dash888 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:58:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm suggesting that there (6+ / 0-)

                is a difference in kind and not just degree between present technologized forms of fantasy and communication and earlier cultural forms. There is increasing evidence that there are physiological effects on the developing brain from the incessant exposure to flickering light.

                Also, I'm not just saying "Oh, those darned kids and their new-fangled this and thats"--I have devoted my life to education ... I'm saying that the digital generation is not just the present avatar of youthful novelty, but that they are being reared in a culture unlike one we have ever known--this is a good and bad thing, like everything else, I suppose.

                •  Yes, and we're suggesting ... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SBE

                  that the difference in kind is no difference than the difference in kind for every other generation on the face of the planet.  How are flickering lights from video games different from flickering lights in TVs or flickering lights on movie screens?  (That gets us back to the 1930-40s at least.)

                  Every generation is faced with a difference in kind.  Maybe the net result is bad, maybe it's good -- I don't know.  But just as the 1960s Sexual Revolution was the natural result of forces in motion since the 1920s, the 2000s video games are just the products of a culture that's been developing since the 1970s-80s.

            •  Please... (12+ / 0-)

              ...if I hear one more diatribe against the "younger generations" and how stupid and apathetic we are and blah blah blah I think I'm going to vomit. If there is such an inability to discern between fact and fantasy among my generation, which there probably is, it isn't unique to my generation.

              If I recall, 18-24 year-olds were the only age group to vote for the candidate who understood reality from fantasy in 2004. So who's really lost touch with reality, then? I think we were a little bit ahead of the rest of the country on that one, eh? And don't give me low turnout, either. The people of questionable intelligence (of the boomer generation, I might add) who call themselves journalists these days reported on the low percentage of 18-24'ers in the total vote as if young people were completely AWOL in the election, but the percentage of this age group of the total vote was actually unchanged from recent history. Since turnout was up across the board, it stood to reason that turnout was up among youths as well. If there is a reason young people vote less reliably than they should, it is that young people's lives are constantly in flux and it is more difficult for young people to take the necessary steps to vote than someone who has lived in the same house on the same street for 10 years or more, for example. I'm not making excuses, believe me. I was very pissed at people I knew of my "generation" who didn't vote in 2004 because it was an inconvenience. But the circumstances of young people's lives are different, and I think that this fact, rather than young people being more apathetic than the population at large, is why the youth vote is not as great a political force to be reckoned with as, say, the wingnut vote, and especially the senior vote.

              If you're wondering where the youth outrage over the war is, look no further than the absence of the draft. My guess is, had we had an all-volunteer military during Vietnam the young baby boomers would have been just as apathetic as today's youth, and I'll bet we'd have been there a hell of a lot longer than we even were, because I kind of doubt the older generation at the time was the driving force behind the antiwar movement, although to be fair I don't really know because I wasn't born back then.

              In fact, I think the fact that public opinion has turned so far south so much more quickly against the Iraq war than against the Vietnam war reflects positively on  how much better-informed the country as a whole is today than it was back then, and that at least some of us learned the lesson of Vietnam.

              Now don't get me wrong, I think that there are forces trying to reverse the progress of education, shared prosperity, opportunity and justice for all and they have won some battles in recent years, but isn't it ironic that the wackiest Republicans in Congress and the President himself are all boomers? If the Boomers here want to fix blame for the current state of the country on a single "generation" they need simply look in the mirror. Shit, while we're sitting here casting aspersions on entire age groups, I'll get in on the action, too. From where I sit, it's my parents' generation, which didn't learn the lessons of Vietnam, who got us where we are today, and gave us media conglomeration, killed the fairness doctrine, and brought us the Orwellian "fair and balanced" coverage that is actually responsible for blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, not fucking video games!!!  

              Now from your experience as a professor, I'm sure it seems like college students these days have maybe lost the critical edge of which students back in the days of yore were supposedly possessed, but could that also be because college education is becoming more universal? Almost inevitably that will dumb down the value of a college education to some extent, but isn't it better if more kids are going to college today than in the past? I think so.

              Of course I'm oversimplifying things to a large extent, but it's amazing how many people my parents' age don't even realize how much they sound like their own parents railing against the counterculture of their younger days.

            •  The lines between fantasy and reality (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theboz, sagra

              I'm only commenting on the issue of the increasing blurring between reality and not-reality in our contemporary world. There is something different about these younger generations compared with younger generations of the past.

              I think I know what you're talking about, but I don't think video games have much to do with it. My own theory is that the explosion of advertising, marketing and instant gratification entertainment is raising a generation of spoiled kids with unrealistically high expectations. You see TV shows like 90210, Friends and the OC. High schoolers have cars, money, and enough free time for all kinds of antics. People in their 20's with regular jobs can afford an apartment in Manhattan. People look at their own lives and it doesn't measure up. Maybe this was always the case with teen movies from the 50's and 60's, but the trend is getting more extreme.

          •  There's a huge difference between (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tzt, bluewolverine, SassyFrass

            comic books (that require you to read) with flat, unanimated images, cartoons with very, very obvious unreal images, both of which are NOT interactive, and the video games of today.

            We have a game system in our student center. Sometimes when the kids are playing football games, I have to stop and really look before I know whether or not it's a REAL game.

            When you play war/shoot em up games with that level of realism, it has to do something to you.

            •  Thank you for your scientific opinion (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theboz, redstatewoes, lemming22, SBE

              Not.

              There's no proof that video games/movies/TV shows/comic books/music/books cause people to become something they aren't.  If a video game "causes" somebody to become a serial killer, they were unstable in any case and a million different things could have touched them off.

          •  I still pause in the air when I walk off a cliff (5+ / 0-)

            And then I make the mistake of looking down.

            Lucky I carry a picket sign with me everywhere I go that says "!"

            Osama bin Laden? Osama been livin' in Pakistan and the admin ain't done a damn thing about it.

            by nightsweat on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:42:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  don't know (5+ / 0-)

          this summer, when my seventh grader was looking for friends to hang out with, half of his friends were home alone playing video games every day.  This wasn't "escape" -- it struck me that this is now the norm of pre-adolescent behavior.  And these kids are good kids, athletes, with nice concerned parents.  

          Talk doesn't cook rice.

          by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:20:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Same problem here (19+ / 0-)

            My 8th grade son has trouble finding boys who are interested in doing anything besides playing computer or video games.  He likes to play, and he does find them addictive.  He plays them only on certain days of the week, and for very limited periods of time.  But he can't find kids to do the other things he likes to do.  He loves complex board games (Stratego, Risk, Heroscape) but they are out of favor;  other boys find them less interesting than computer/video games.  He works on a model train layout and enjoys making scenery for it.  No one else does this.  HE loves to play tennis, but it's hard to find someone to want to do it outside of the school tennis team.  He loves to go into the woods and do things like build bridges over small streams using wood that's lying around, and he's been very upset that all his attempts to put together a small group of his friends to do it have failed.  What they are now doing to "get together" is to play computer games online "together" in their separate houses.  THey form a team.  

            It's not so much the games themselves that I object to - although there are some awful ones that have been banned in our house - it's that other activities are eliminated in favor of them.  

            •  My insight (5+ / 0-)

              I'm 23 years old right now, and I heavily play computer games in my spare time at home (as opposed to watching TV).  Growing up us kids always enjoyed playing console games such as Nintendo and such, but we typically had groups of friends and we would always get together and do stuff outdoors.  Hide and seek type things at night, and during the day we always got a pickup game of some sport going it seemed like.  I honestly hope that your experiences are a-typical and that kids are still going outside and playing...just because some choose to play video games all the time, instead of watching tv (which was very prevelant too when growing up with some kids) isn't really a concern to me.  I think that if you want your kids to go out and play, you need to take the games away or limit their use.  Also getting them involved in organized sports, or some other organized hobbies or clubs would be a great start.

              To those who want to blame any and all problems on video games, you really ought to do some research on the difference between correlation, and cause/effect.  

            •  sure wish you lived near me! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ScientistMom in NY

              my son has a train too!  but I am in idaho....

              Talk doesn't cook rice.

              by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:58:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I second this (6+ / 0-)

              As a 27 year-old "old school" gamer, I've really seen the video game displace and nearly extinct the old board/pencil&paper gaming, and I miss it.  Of course, I'm sure there are people out there that would say Dungeons & Dragons was just as bad as World of Warcraft, but at least we were interacting with actual people in the same room...

            •  Sounds like my son! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ScientistMom in NY, sophiebrown, gkn

              Too bad you live in NY. We could have introduced them! We find the same exact issues here in our neck of the woods. I limit his computer time because I do feel its an escape from everything else and rather addictive entertainment. And I work in the computer gaming industry!

          •  As opposed to doing what? (31+ / 0-)

            We've created a very limited environment for pre-adolescents to live in.  They're living in the middle of suburbia -- the closest to nature they're going to get is their own backyard.  And, honestly, what is there for them to do?

            Look -- I'm a chemist.  If you go back and look at memorars of chemists from a few generations back, they talk about playing with chemicals in their basements as teenagers.  Even if you look at stuff from the '60s, there were chemistry sets with pretty mature material for them to play with.  These days, if you can find a chemistry set, it's basically just a bunch of dilute solutions of nontoxic chemicals and a few pH strips.  Anything else would be dangerous.  Hell, it's impossible to buy basic lab equipment online just because people fear they'll be helping to stock meth labs.

            And that sort of thing's happened all over.  What do you want them to do?  Catch frogs?  Collect (chloroformed) butterflies?  In a world where everything's inauthentic, what surprise is it that kids are turning to the most inauthentic thing available to them?

        •  Americans are conditioned for warmongering (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SBE

          via books, movies, videos, etc. On a recent C-Span broadcast was a panel of experts involved with "24", MC'd by Rush Limbaugh. The TV series began shortly before 911 and the producer was asked to explain its success. He replied they "just got lucky."  

          GOP = the gang that can't shoot straight.

          by annefrank on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:42:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The promo for the new Iwo Jima movie was on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vengent

          this morning as I was getting ready to take the kids to school.  My six year old stood, mesmorized.  I put my arm around his shoulder.  "That's what war looks like, sweetie.  It's cold, dirty, horrible.  People get hurt and some of them die."

          "Is that a real war?" he asked.

          "It's a movie about a real war.  The actors recreated the battle as best as they could."

          "Did some of them really die?" he asked.

          "No, because this was a movie. That's one thing they could not recreate."

          I'm not sure he understood completely, but some of it was sinking in.

        •  So - - (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SBE

          Did you put your money down or not?

      •  Respectfully, that argument doesn't cut it... (9+ / 0-)

        You are an "n of one" experiment.  Try the following google scholar search and read a couple of the review articles.  

        •  I've read them before. They are ridiculous. (30+ / 0-)

          20 years ago it was Dungeons and Dragons causing kids to do violent things. Before that, it was heavy metal music. Before that it was the hippies and their LSD and their pot. Before that it was listening to 'colored music'... etc., etc.

          The reason some children are violent has to do with their parents not raising them to understand that violence is bad. That's it.

          Bush wasn't raised on video games you know.

          Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

          by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:10:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Whatever... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zic, Dazy, 3goldens, bluewolverine, SassyFrass

            I guess you got your Ph.D. at "If it's OK for me, it's OK for everyone" school.  Guess I'll ask all of my alcoholic friends to go out and have a couple of beers with me.  Doesn't hurt me, shouldn't be a problem for them.

          •  did the games you played as a child (13+ / 0-)

            come anywhere close to the level of violence that exists in games today?  Were you allowed to play for hours every day?  How young were you when you started?    

            your "parents make bad kids" argument doesn't really do much for me.  I think in some respects, our culture makes bad parents.

            Talk doesn't cook rice.

            by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:17:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You know what, I'll tell you something... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Geotpf, Sanada Yukimura, Lashe, SBE

              Regardless of all that, there is a terrific parent in our midst here on DailyKos who is raising a really bright, intelligent and progressive-thinking son who also plays violent video games. I'm sure Maryscott O'Connor would agree with me that her child understands perfectly well the difference between fantasy and reality.

              Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

              by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:19:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh good. You're up to n of 2. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                3goldens, bluewolverine, lil love
              •  I think she's making a mistake. (3+ / 0-)

                And I would tell her if she asked.  There are a whole bunch of better uses for his time.

                Talk doesn't cook rice.

                by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:21:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sometimes it seems that my job as a parent (10+ / 0-)

                  boils down to protecting my kids from the worst aspect of the prevailing popular culture.  

                  •  Or at least (10+ / 0-)

                    teaching them to parse it for themselves.

                    I'm a high school English teacher, so it pains me to say this, but we live in a visual media world, and need to be teaching media literacy as vigorously as we teach text literacy.  

                    Critical thinking skills would also develop if we were showing kids at an early age how all media is a constuct, from their video games to their cereal commercials, and maybe later on they could apply these skills to their politics and reading between headlines and sound bites.

                    "A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit." -Greek proverb

                    by mrsdbrown1 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:42:14 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Absolutely. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mrsdbrown1, Vengent, SBE

                      It amazes me how some kids accept all information as true, no matter the source.  My older son is not like this; he has always been an original thinker (not that I get the credit for this; my younger son is not).  A trivial example comes to mind.  The other kids accept that Gatorade is a healthful drink that will improve sports performance.  I've told my older son that it is basically sugar water with some electrolytes, that it might be helpful in extreme situations but not for anything he is doing.  He liked the taste, but discovered that it made him feel worse if he drank it when playing sports.  He saw a Gatorade commercial, and told me about it.  He found it pseudo-scientific and was able to poke some holes in the information.  His friends, though, wouldn't listen to him, and continued to drink Gatorade, insisting that it was helping them play tennis better.

                      My older son and I have frequent conversations about politics and government.  He's very interested in what is going on, and loves to check facts (presented in debates or speeches, for example) against original sources.

                    •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      mrsdbrown1, SBE

                      Totally agree with the idea that everyone needs to become more savvy about media and political ads and other forms of flattery and seduction.  I'm not sure we need to burden children with it, but young adults need to be encouraged to be skeptical, to doubt, to question--EVERYTHING.  Our lives depend on it!  This war is an example of what can happen if you don't ask questions and demand answers and refuse to move or vote until you have the answers you need and you are convinced.  

                      •  Children are targets (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        sophiebrown, buckeye blue, SBE

                        Entire seminars are held in the marketing industry to discuss how to best accomplish early "branding" so that kids are hooked on a product name---Disney, McDonald's, you name it.  

                        Perhaps political issues are over most kids' heads, but they certainly can be taught-- and taught very young-- to question advertising and marketing.  Once they learn to do that, it's a logical leap as they grow up to question political and news marketing as well!

                        Like Scientist Mom said above, kids can start to think critically and investigate marketing claims very early on.  It goes a long way towards reducing the "buy-me-that's" if you get a child to stop and think, WHY do I want this?  Do I really need it?  Will something else work just as well?  Will the product do what it says it will do in the commercial?

                        "A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit." -Greek proverb

                        by mrsdbrown1 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:48:21 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Kids are certainly targets (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SBE

                          but I'm not sure it helps them grow to lay out all the evils of the adult world for them to see.  As things come up, you can drop hints (laugh at certain commercials, make remarks to show that you are not accepting everything that wiggles across the tv screen), but to a certain degree, I think it is best to go along with the child's own magical thinking tendencies.  I think you can let the kid guide you to some degree--everyone is different.  I know not everyone feels the same way about this, but I think at little fudge-factor for Santa Claus is okay.  There is a time and place for scales falling from the eyes.   Generally, I thnk by the time someone has reached adulthood, they are usually somewhat skeptical, and (I teach adults) I always love to give that last push to let them know it is okay, and maybe even a good idea not to simply eat up the gruel that is put on your plate.  It sometimes comes as a shock but it is usually more of a relief.

              •  you can't paint every child with (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DaveV, 3goldens, bluewolverine, Blissing

                the same brush. yes, some well adjusted kids can play violent games till the cows come home. they understand the difference. but for someone who is on the edge or who was raised differently. ultra violent games may influence their world view.

                •  So might violent movies. (10+ / 0-)

                  So might violent music.
                  So might violent role-playing games.

                  They all have gotten the blame in the past.

                  Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

                  by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:25:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  that's true (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    3goldens

                    every part of our enviroment may affect who we are.

                    •  So censor it all, eh? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SBE

                      No thank you.

                      Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

                      by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:33:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Waitaminute... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        DaveV, 3goldens, TheBookPolice, SassyFrass

                        Parents keeping their children away from things they think might damage the child is CENSORSHIP? Last I checked it was called parenting.

                        conscientious objector in the battle of the sexes.

                        by plymouth on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:13:10 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No, that is what I am saying. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Geekesque, SBE

                          Let the PARENTS be the ones to decide this, don't blame the games.

                          Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

                          by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:15:06 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That's not an either/or proposition though (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DaveV, Webster, TheBookPolice

                            A lot of the reason people make noise about the violence in videogames is to try to get other parents on board with restricting them. Both the parents AND the games can be responsible.

                            It's like Eddie Izzards says:
                            "People always say 'Guns don't kill people - people kill people'. But I think the gun HELPS!"

                            conscientious objector in the battle of the sexes.

                            by plymouth on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:34:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Problem with video game legislation (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SBE

                          Are M-rated video games more harmful to children than R-rated movies? You should consider that because all the video game legislation that's been passed (and struck down in courts) treat them more strictly than R-rated movies.

                          And you know what? Censorship is the issue. You can look at video games like any other form of media like music and film. They can be lots of things, everything from government propaganda to mindless entertainment to masterpieces of art, although the latter is rare in all media. Violence is not mutually exclusive with artistic value. Now the question is who gets to decide what's art? You want someone else to decide that? I agree with Arken that parents should decide what's appropriate for their kids, but the debate has moved beyond protecting kids to the point where there are chilling effects on all mature video games even though they're targeted at adults and mature teens, not children.

                          Unless someone can show that the interactivity of video games make them more dangerous than passive media like music and film, we need to have this debate in the context of all media decency. For some reason, lots of liberals who'd never dream of censoring TV and movies and who laugh at the PTC complaining about boobs on TV have declared open season on video games. Please have some perspective here.

                          •  Let me see if I understand this correctly... (0+ / 0-)

                            You think that ratings are a form of censorship?

                            conscientious objector in the battle of the sexes.

                            by plymouth on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:56:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not just ratings (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            Video game laws in Illinois, Minnesota, and Louisiana were overturned as unconstitutional. A similar law is being challenged in Oklahoma, and the court issued a preliminary injunction. If you read those laws carefully, they would have regulated video games more strictly than movies, music, and even hardcore pornography. If the anti-video game people were happy with just ratings we wouldn't be having this debate.

                  •  There's a slight difference though (4+ / 0-)

                    and it might be a crucial one.

                    When you're WATCHING those things, you're NOT the protagonist. You're NOT the one doing the violence.

                    In the video games, you are.

                •  You know what just hit me? (26+ / 0-)

                  Kids in the past didn't grow up with violent video games.  They grew up with violence.

                  White children in the South in the 1920s may very well have watched public lynchings -- or even participated in them.

                  A few generations back, people went to go watch public hangings as entertainment.  Hell, during the first battle of the Civil War, picnickers showed up at the edge of the battlefield, eager to watch the action.

                  Even today in the South, some children go hunting with their parents.  Which is more violent -- watching video games, or actually going out and shooting animals on your own?

                  Ultra violent video games may influence one or two people's world views, but that means that they need help, not that we need to get rid of video games.

                  •  Very well said. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TexH, lemming22, SBE

                    I could not have said it better.

                    Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

                    by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:36:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  when you shoot an animal (7+ / 0-)

                    you have a dead animal.  bleeding, in the flesh.  it does not "desensitize" you to death.  It sentitizes you to it.

                    when you shoot at a screen, there is a simulation of violent death.  with no consequences.  that's where the desentization comes in.

                    and those children who watched lynching in the 20's?  They became the lynchers of the 40's (or at least allowed the lynchers of the 40's to continued).  I don't think that's a past we should home to emulate.

                    Talk doesn't cook rice.

                    by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:41:19 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're contradicting yourself. (6+ / 0-)

                      If shooting an animal sensitizes you to violence, then so should lynching a human.  Except it doesn't, because you're trained not to empathize with either of them.

                      My point is, all cultures have an inherit level of violence to them.  The form of that violence differs, but kids are going to be exposed to it in one way or another.

                      I see this in the same way as I see people making arguements about how sexualized our society is, and how it's hurting our children.  What's the alternative?  The Victorian Era, where "ladies" were protected but young men visited brothels during lunch?  The sexual revolution of the 1920s, which sexualized and trivialized the gains that women had previously made?  The 1800s, where "good" women were respected but "fallen" women -- and women who had any suspicion cast upon them at all -- were stigmatized for life?

                      If you protect kids from video games, all you're going to do is encourage adolescent rebellion.  And that's always been the way things are.

                      •  when you shoot a deer (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hawksana, buddabelly, lemming22

                        you bring it home and lay it on the table and you cut out the innards and you eat that deer.  you don't empathize with it, but you respect it and you feel gratitude for it.  

                        At least, that's the way my husband used to hunt.  

                        You don't hate that deer, as you do in a lynching.  You don't kill out of anger or rage.  or to score points or get to the next level.

                        There are hundreds of miles between victorian repression and hypersexuality.  The appropriate healthy place is somewhere in between.  We can draw lines.  

                        What you say about protecting kids from video might lead to rebellion, I agree.  (Though I think a little rebellion is healthy and natural)  I am trying to draw a good line.  My son can play games at his friends.  Here, he has to find other ways to amuse himself, and he does pretty well so far.

                        Talk doesn't cook rice.

                        by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:14:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well (7+ / 0-)

                          that all depends.  I grew up around too many people who were totally desensitized to killing, would shoot at anything that moved in the woods, if they saw a snake swimming in a river or a songbird in a tree they would shoot at it.

                          And when I lived in a third world country, some kids used to torture little animals to death for fun and their parents just shrugged.

                          I think it does come back to how you are taught to view what you experience.  Just as a person can be raised to view their bodies as healthy and normal, or dirty and disgusting.  Personal experience is a big part of it, but I think that how you are told to interpret it by older people whom you respect is at least the other half.

                          "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

                          by sarac on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:31:50 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Did you shoot and torture people? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            sophiebrown

                            Of course not.  The content issue in these video games is human-on-human violence and debasement, not hunting.

                          •  You mistake my meaning. (0+ / 0-)

                            What I was trying to say is that experience(whether a game or reality) is only half of the picture - the other half is how you learn or are taught to interpret that experience.  

                            I was questioning the idea that real life violence is 'sensitizing' rather than 'desensitizing'.  I don't believe that's true at all, as that Iraq vet would probably be the first to say.

                            But this whole line of discussion is way off topic from the diarist's original intent, in any case.

                            "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

                            by sarac on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:33:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I just didn't get the hunting analogy (0+ / 0-)

                            vis-a-vis the content at issue, which was real humans being rewarded for slaying virtual humans.

                          •  Vs. real humans (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            being rewarded for slaying real animals?

                            I don't see how one can be wrong and the other can't be.

                  •  Even today in the South (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    plymouth, truong son traveler

                    some children go hunting with their parents...

                    In the northtoo... but it doesn't always turn them into murderers or vegetarians.

                    all of us are pupils in the eyes of God

                    by SassyFrass on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:55:43 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  "Getting Rid of Video Games" is a straw man (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    plymouth, gkn

                    We need to regulate them.  There are literally hundreds if not thousands of M-rated-for-graphic-violence video games that are readily available to minors -- not 16-17 years olds, but 8- and 9-year-olds.  The content of these "games", not to mention the hour-upon-hour manner with which they can be engaged, transcends the influence of the most violent cinematic and televised content.

                    The psychological impact of violent videogames on minors (whose brains, lemming and Arken, are not physiologically mature by any scientific measurement) has not been lost on US Army, who launched and have maintained for three years now America's Army.  How powerful a tool is violence in shaping young minds?  Well, let's see what their home page says:

                    Total Registered Players: 7,627,972
                    Completed Basic Training: 4,262,584
                    October Users: 106,572
                    Game Servers Online: 2,336

                    This site is designed and marketed to 12-17 year olds by your nation's military.

                    This is one site.  And the nature of its violence is less graphic than any of thousands of the M-rated games and sites that have been engaged by young people over the past half-dozen or so years.

                    I am really, truly sick to death of hearing about censorship when it comes to video games, especially violent ones.  Regulation of content access to psychologically and physiologically immature minors is not censorship.

                    I can't wait for the day when we slap MAJOR taxes on these games and redirect the monies to our floundering education sector.  Then, lemming and Arken, your game playing can have a positive impact on civil society, or at least remediate your inexplicable regard for child welfare in promoting their free distribution.

                    •  as posted above (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SBE

                      america's army is a pretty poor tool for recruitment IMO. you shoot some stuff but generally it's pretty dull.

                      things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                      by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:15:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If it's so bad, why have 7 million registered (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        plymouth

                        to play over the past three years?

                        And you don't shoot "stuff."  You shoot "people".

                        •  because shooters are the games that are in (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SBE

                          and they always have been.

                          and those same guys (and some girls) playing those games are also shooting people in Counterstrike, Half Life, Day of Defeat, Call to Honor, etc. etc. etc., all of which were wildly popular on my college campus. The majority of those people are not joining the military.

                          I am one to believe that this game has done very little to boost recruitment, at all.

                          And personally, I find shooters boring.

                          The games are regulated already btw. There's a ratings system like the movies.

                          things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                          by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:33:28 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not about "joining the military" (0+ / 0-)

                            and it's not about college students.  It's about minors engaging in simulated human-on-human violence, and being rewarded for honing their skills by engaging in the activity for extended periods of time.

                            And as a resident of the planet Earth, I am aware of the ratings system.

                          •  then parents (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            should be authoritarians like mine were and control what comes into their homes.

                            A lot of us grow weary of the steady Tipper Gore'ing of entertainment when the responsibility is really up to us.

                            things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                            by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:56:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Because its free. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          nilocjin, SBE

                          That has a lot to do with the saturation.

                          Now look at the number registered vs who completed even the very basics (you go through basic training before you can do the multi player stuff.)

                          Now, look at how many are actively playing.

                          That 7 million number is a grossly inflated, and hugely irrelevant number that is in no way a reflection of this game's impact on society.

                          •  yea (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            the basic training portion was just boring.  It isn't even close to what the reality is.

                            which was why I played the game once and found other things to do. If I wanted to shoot terrorists I can play Counterstrike.

                            things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                            by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:57:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Because it's free, (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SBE

                          IIRC.

                          People will play a lot of things if it's free.  Especially if you don't have the money to fund a Warcrack addiction.

                        •  The numbers are meaningless (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SBE

                          I've registered 3 times for that game and never played it for more than 60 minutes. I'll bet a lot of people had the same experience. The monthly figures and server counts are much more informative than the number of users registered.

                •  I don't believe that violent video games (7+ / 0-)

                  turn every child who plays them into a violent criminal.  I do think that exposing young children to violent images and allowing them to participate in imaginary violent scenarios destroys something inside them that I want to preserve in my children.  

                  But my objections to excessive video game playing concern more than just the content.  It's not good to spend too much time sitting in front of a screen.  I know how I, an adult, feel after sitting for hours in front of my computer, working and surfing the net.  I also know how I feel after (and during) taking a walk, playing Monopoly with my family, swimming, etc.  Why should it be any different for kids?

              •  Oh, please, Arken (5+ / 0-)

                MSOC has her problems, same as the rest of us.. I'm sure she would be embarrassed as hell at your invocation of  "Mary Scott the Infallible".

                Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.--Thomas Paine

                by peterborocanuck on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:25:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Isn't her son.... (0+ / 0-)

                Still kind of young????

                And, are you assuming they are violent because they are video games, or do you know for a fact that he is indeed playing "Doom".

                We are a gamer family (exept for hubby)but we don't own any games that I consider violent in a problematic way, especially for teenagers, but I would say most of them would be ok for younger kids.

                I suppose one could argue that pacman is violent, or even mario, but those aren't in the same league as the "doom" and "grand theft auto" type games, which I think are ok for young adults but think they should be avoided with younger teens.

                Still, most kids will do fine with them, but I do
                worry about kids being desensitized to realistic violence.

            •  I shudder to think (12+ / 0-)

              what you'd think of some of the D&D games I played in as a teenager.

              And yeah, having been a D&D player in the eighties, I'm siding with Arken on this one.

              Not only that, but our video game consoles are in the living room, our little one doesn't play a game we haven't played first, and the M-rated games (Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven and Devil May Cry) are mine.

              Yeah, it's possible to parent a good kid that plays video games/role-playing games/heavy metal music. And yeah, the fun's just starting.

              •  here!here! (8+ / 0-)

                to be honest i rather have my son play D&D than PS2 or an Xbox.

                at least an rpg help you learn rules, stimulate your imagination, start you on the road of critical thinking and learn the concept of your actions have consquences (good and bad).

                I can never understand why ppl give D&D a bad rap or gamers in general.

              •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pandora, Moody Loner, gkn, SBE

                And for those who think they can "shelter" their kids by not allowing these games...I can promise you, that if your child is interested, he/she has a friend who has all the games he/she wants to play.

                I'd rather have it in my home with discussions on what the game is and how the violence is pure fantasy.

                Behind your back, or with you and with discussion.

                I choose the latter.

                "Even a little dog can piss on a big building" - Jim Hightower

                by TexH on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:24:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I can discuss the games (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TexH, gkn

                  with my kid, and not have them in the house.  

                  The end result is that my kid spends a lot fewer hours playing video games, which is exactly what I want.

                  I don't think the "violence is pure fantasy" is the lesson I am trying to teach.  

                  I am trying to say: go out and do other things and don't stare at a console all day; it's not cool to spend all your energy shooting things; winning at a video game is not really a major accomplishment.....

                  Talk doesn't cook rice.

                  by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:49:10 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I never said (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sophiebrown, Moody Loner, SBE

                    I allowed it all day long.  Far from it.  We have a time limit to be sure.  My point was that if anyone thinks they can keep their kids from it, they are probably mistaken.

                    And for "violence is pure fantasy"--I didn't phrase that too well.  I just meant in the context of the game.  It actually has let us have really good discussions.

                    I, too, encourage them to go outdoors.  It's amazing how few kids are out there playing.  Mine ride their bikes to a big pond in the neighborhood or explore the field behind us and fish in the little creek there or in the pond.  (Though it was tough this summer due to the drought in Texas, the snakes were really bad at the pond this year.)

                    Balance is the key. (As with much in life, really)

                    "Even a little dog can piss on a big building" - Jim Hightower

                    by TexH on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:12:24 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  just had a huge argument with someone (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Moody Loner, chemicalresult, SBE

                who said D&D is why kids shoot up schools.

                He couldn't have been more wrong. I told him as much and more. And now we're no longer friends because of his asinine theory. And I've never played D&D or any other pen and paper role-playing game (though I do collect them, some of the sci-fi ones are really excellent in terms of creativity and even scientific accuracy.)

                things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:53:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wow.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SBE

                  That's really, really stretching it. Most of the kids I played D&D with in middle school are off to bigger and better things. No killing involved!

                  •  Most of the (0+ / 0-)

                    late-20s early-30s people I play with today are mostly homeowners with excellent jobs.  3 married, the rest wiht long term girlfriends.  So, from my sample size of 6, D&D = well adjusted productive members of society.

                •  I've been playing D&D for eight years (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Moody Loner

                  and I'm in my late thirties (check out the origins of my uid).

                  One thing I can say about D&D, as with any other social event, is it depends on who you play with.  I play with a mostly gay group, we're mostly in our thirties (some in twenties, one in early forties), and no sexism, sexual violence, homo/bi-phobia or other such crap is allowed.  It's not even an issue -- it never comes up, only when realizing that it's not an issue for us but for other gamers it is.  Many D&D games consist of mostly teenage boys, and I can guess right now that I wouldn't want to be anywhere near such a game.

                  When y'ain't got nothin', ya got nothin' to lose.

                  by aerdrie faenya on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:22:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You just reminded me of something (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Moody Loner, terrypinder, SBE

                What we used to do to our Barbies. I'm really embarassed thinking about it now, but we put them in all kinds of dangerous, violent situations, and even acted out rape (or almost-rape) scenarios with them. And I couldn't have been more than 9 or 10 at the time.

                This would have been in the mid-70's.

                "I must admit that I don't see a bright tomorrow; still, I must also confess that my hopes are fairly high"--Ass Ponys, "Fighter Pilot"

                by oxymoron on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:33:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Not any worse than movies (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SBE

              The 3D graphics in new games may be more realistic than the primitive games from the 80's, but they're not that different from action or horror movies from the time. I used to watch hours and hours of violent cartoons in the 70's (Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry), then hours and hours of violent action movies in the 80's. The first video game with graphic gore was maybe Mortal Kombat in the late 80's, over 15 years ago.

              I also don't think anyone is going to confuse video game fantasy with reality. The blood and gore might be comparable to an 80's action movie, very stylized, nothing approaching the guts of Saving Private Ryan. Plus, most shooter games let you carry six different weapons, thousands of rounds of ammo, and let you heal damage by picking up food or first aid kits. Please give the kids and gamers some credit here.

          •  BTW -- show me one controlled (0+ / 0-)

            clinical experiment that shows D&D or 'colored music' causes violence.  I showed you links to several controlled lab experiments with validated measurements.  You gave me strawmen in return.

              •  Thanks -- I appreciate the debate, but..,. (0+ / 0-)

                the studies you cite primarily are discussing the appeal of violence in music and movies, not the ability of violent musical and visual images to cause violence.  Only one (Hall-Hansen's commentary on the Johnson, Jackson and Gatto and Zillman articles) discusses a causal relationship.  Unfortunately, I don't have access to that journal, so I can't comment.  But these don't seem like controlled laboratory experiments.

                So, these associations in the literature you cite aren't really in the same league of research as, say, the Anderson meta-analysis of 54 separate experiments, that comes up in the scholar search I posted.  

                From that meta-analysis:

                Across the 33 independent tests of the relation between video-game violence and aggression, involving 3,033 participants, the average effect size was positive and significant, r+ = .19.  High video-game violence was definitely associated with heightened aggression (see Table 1).  Indeed this effect of violent video games on aggression is as strong as the effect of condom use on risk of HIV infection (Weller, 1993).

            •  I was in one of the "controlled experiments" (7+ / 0-)

              And it was clear to me that the experimenters were trying to muddy the waters between aggressive behaviour and violence.  They basically had me play a violent video game on a large immersive screen for about twenty minutes, and then sat me down at a computer where they explained that someone else was in another room.  I was told that we would play another game, one where we would have to click on a button as quickly as possible.  Before clicking the button, we would choose a number between one and ten.  The person who lost that round would get a loud noise through their speakers relative to the number that we picked.  

              Later, I found out that there was no other player and that the test was not designed to test reaction time, but to test aggressive behaviour of people who play 20 minutes of violent video games before hand versus people who played sports games versus people who played puzzle games.

        •  A militarized society is . . . (5+ / 0-)

          what a militarized society does.

        •  Many of your "citations" ar broken links or (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chemicalresult, SBE

          have irrelevant premises/conclusions relative to your apparent point.

          Other studies and analyses which appear more to this contextual point have either inconclusive statements relative to your assertion or act to help conflict with other studies/reviews.

          I tend to go with the following:

          http://retrospectacle.blogspot.com/...

          . . .

          I was pointed to an excellent review entitled Video games and real-life aggression: review of the literature by Dr. Lillian Bensley and Dr. Juliet Van Eenwyk, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2001.

          . . .

          Bensley and Eenwyk performed a meta-analysis comparing literature in three computerized databases (PsychInfo, ERIC, and MEDLINE). They selected for review studies that examined an association between video game-playing or violent video game-playing and measures of agression, hostility, and antisocial behavior.

          The results are wide-ranging and mostly inconclusive; for every study demonstrating agression following video game-playing, there is another study demonstration no correlation. The trend was clearer for the younger age-group though:

          Among young children (about aged 4–8 years), playing an aggressive video game caused increased aggression or aggressive play during free-play immediately after the video game in 3 of the 4 studies. For teenagers....it was not possible to determine whether video game violence affects aggressive behavior. Among college students, there is not consistent evidence that video game play affects aggression or hostility.

          In addition, J. L. Sherry conducted a meta-analysis and found that the overall effect of violent video games on aggression was small. . .

          Take home message?  Younger children (4-8 yrs) are most vunerable to violence in video games, but this effect dissapates by the time children mature to middle school age. This seems to mirror the importance of "learning by example" in younger children (they may identify with the game hero as a role model) as well as the solidification of reality and self, which has passed as the child enters adolescence. It is also important to note that these effects are seen in violent video games only, and not in "nonviolent" video games.

          . . .

          I also tend to find the observations in, "Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter" to be rather sensible and parallel the experiences and effects in my life and those of my peers.

          It also happens that I was taught the difference between immense wars created with my friends and hundreds of little green, plastic soldiers and what was the effect in reality in knowing some of our disabled war veteran relatives.  Lessons like that - including my mother trying to make stringent points about the violence in "Ultraman" shows which I thought were pretty cool (effects and concept-wise) as a kid, made the notion between simulated violent situations and reality quite apparent as I and grew up.

          Parenting and cultural conditioning does play an immense and necessary part in helping kids tease reality and consequence from gaming.  I feel that it is actually quite crucial to ensuring kids grow up with a culturally-relevant view of what are actual uses and effects of violence in the real world vs. fantasy, and should not be discounted so blithely.

          So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way.

          by wader on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:16:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not video games per se (11+ / 0-)

        but that as a culture, we're busy with the virtual, the violent, and the inane -- all of which helps block out the real death and injury that's taking place so we can keep our fingers in our ears while singing "La-la-la, I can't hear you." It's a vicious cycle.

        Cakestick's encounter (always assuming it's true) was a breakdown in the machine. It's simply not enough to say "Thank you for your service" while we close our eyes to  PSTD, VA underfunding, and the many needs of veterans.

        Thanks for this story, Cakestick.

      •  I'd have to agree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bluewolverine, Arken, SBE

        Everyone should be allowed to play the games they want.  And that doesn't make people more violent.  I think it may just give violent people more excuses for bad behavior.  I'm against censorship.  However, I think though that we have to acknowledge that proliferation of war computer and nintendo games do have an impact on war.  That's why I beleive that wars should be filmed on tv.

      •  I think the greater point being made is (13+ / 0-)

        that the poor vet was asking "You guys actually think this kind of thing is fun?"

        As is, want to see reality in your games, look here:

        Penny Arcade on War Gaming

      •  The lesson here isn't about understanding the dif (3+ / 0-)

        The lesson here isn't about understanding the difference, in my opinion, it is about this:

        NOT  tuning out the real world;

        I'm programmed to buy the latest crap just because it's the latest crap, and play games that mock the reality of the horrifying environment of war. You can try your best to change the status quo sonny, but it's not gonna work - so fire up your Sony NintendoBox 2000 and shut the hell up.

        How do we change things so that gamers, or flyfishers, or bowling league organizers, or the rest of the vast majority, do not tend to immerse themselves in  distractions and circuses?

        How do we keep the majority engaged in steering our collective course? Because we desperately do need that. Good luck,  Rick
        .
        .

        .
        .
        http://www.grassrootsrising.us

      •  Is University of Chicago (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DaveV

        a good enough source for ya?

        http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/...

        Not everyone is affected the same.  However, if you had been affected, how would you know?  What do you have to compare it with.  There isn't a part of you that didn't experience it that feels different, right?

        Here I go again, but....just because you're fine, doesn't mean other people will be, right?

        Point?  Know your kids personality.  Every  one of us is different.

        •  That's why there are ratings (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SBE

          If you are a child, you should not be allowed to play violent video games.  The study you linked to discusses violent video games played by children, which completely invalidates the study since the majority of people who play video games are adults, and of the maybe 10% of players who are children, the majority of them do not play violent games.  However, you still have idiotic parents going out and buying Grand Theft Auto for their kids, and it's just as big of a problem as if they went out and bought Hustler for their kid too.

      •  for most supporters of this war (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sophiebrown, SBE

        there is no appreciable difference btwn the thrilling spectacle of shock and awe as packaged and sold by the Bush admin and these war games. Ads for the Army on TV are hard to distinguish visually from ads for those games.
        There may be no correlation between gaming and violent behavior on an individual level, but that doesn't mean that this spectacularization of war hasn't desensitized  Americans to war, torture, etc.
        I think that is what the diarist is talking about.

      •  Yeah - well we've got a generation coming up (0+ / 0-)

        that are developing rickets - yeah!  RICKETS because they park their fat asses in front of the video games and never go outside and get Vitamin D.They don't run, they don't jump, they don't paly and raise hell - they sit in the dark and push the joystick.

        When (and if) they do go outside - they're slathered with sun-block, partially negating the benefits of sunshine.  Vitamin D from the sun may well prevent more cancer than it causes.

        A generation of obese, passive gamers.  Perfect fodder for herding into the pens when the Soylent Green Harvest begins.

        "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

        by bobdevo on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:38:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  plus... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SBE

        ...not all video game players play military or bloody games.  

        I also grew up on games and have had no urge to murder anyone or go off and fight a war, and for the most part I have no problems functioning in reality (at least no more than most people anyway).

        My youngest brother, well...that's another story. I mentioned to him there might be a draft and he was like "eh...whatever.  it's all the same."  He's a total game junkie.

        If a democrat demands accountability in the Capital and no one covers it, does he make a sound?

        by DawnG on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:21:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ditto (0+ / 0-)

        -9.13, -7.79 Adolescent Mooncalves Unite!

        by L0kI on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:16:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SBE

        i play shooter games all the time.  Doesn't mean I think war is cool.  It ain't.

        Ever wish there were One Big Wiki-Style Clearinghouse for all the GOP Scandals? Well now there is.

        by thereisnospoon on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:22:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The real danger from video games (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Bulldog Manifesto

        Crating killing machines instead of soldiers:

        Killing in cold blood is not a natural act, Lt. Col. David Grossman says. But it can be taught.

        The former psychology professor at West Point and Army Ranger says killing is so unnatural that many soldiers let themselves be killed rather than shoot the enemy. As recently as World War II, a study found that only 15% of soldiers could bring themselves to shoot an exposed enemy. Many fired over enemies’ heads or simply pretended to fire. But, once the military recognized the problem, it fixed it. The military disoriented soldiers by brutalizing them. It taught soldiers to enjoy violence. It programmed them to react to threats instantly, without thinking. In the Vietnam War, nearly 90% of soldiers were willing to shoot to kill, Grossman says.

        This link is to a very interesting article about violence and media (including games).  It seems that the upshot is: if you're relatively psychologically healthy violent games and other media are not a problem, but for those who are likely to be adversely affected by the violence, they are being trained to kill more effectively.

        From one soldier:

        "The very first time I fired my rifle, I was scared. I had never shot my gun before at an actual person. But once I pulled the trigger, that was it, I never hesitated. All I saw was the street where the RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] came from, and I just fired in that direction, maybe 20 rounds at most, and it felt like I was playing 'Ghost Recon' at home. ... I've always had access to a shooter game. Ever since I could pick up a controller. ... And over there in Iraq, I think playing those games helped. It kept me on my toes. It taught me what to do and what not to do."

        -- Sean Crippen, 22, a National Guard sergeant who found his Xbox training useful in Iraq. As reported by San Jose Mercury news.

        Shut It Down Now!
        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

        by mataliandy on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:44:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe every other person YOU know... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but I promise you, there are so many jackasses that dont "know the difference".  And there are more than that who might "know the difference", yet even though they "know the difference", those games have an effect on their soul and psyche in ways that are truly unconscious.

    •  Or the make-up addictions (59+ / 0-)

      that make teenage girls think make-up is important for self-worth, or the sports-car addictions that make 30-something white men buy Mustangs?

      Products exist to be sold. Markets are made, there is no demand in nature for electronic games or sports cars. So long as there are corporations who must generate "growth" to maintain an investor base, there will be "new releases" and product lines to maintain and more to the point to continue to create new markets, which will then be advertised heavily using all of the tricks (making consumers feel insecure, unfashionable, left behind, as though they're missing out on something wonderful, providing escapism, etc.) and reproduced as images of "popular culture" in order to maintain and grow sales.

      The "video game addictions" of which you speak are generated by capitalism and the need of every company everywhere to maintain endless growth or suffer ultimate collapse. You won't get people to stop buying stupid things until you remove the mechanism for society that demands that new things continually be made and a way found to sell them in order that economic growth can be maintained and collapse avoided.

      •  I can't rate you high enough (14+ / 0-)

        It always comes back to the almighty dollar, and this upcoming generation that's just leaving high school is attacked by the marketing beast at every moment. Myspace? Myspace in itself is a phenomenon that turns each single person into their own celebrity, provides an ability to live a life separate of the one where you have two legs and speak.

        I could go on for ages about how harmful that site will be for society over the long-term.

        •  The old woman in me is compelled (11+ / 0-)

          to ask:  Did you stay in line and buy the game or did you go reflect on what you had learned?

          You make a living by what you get and a life by what you give. W. Churchill

          by Cronesense on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:12:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It was the logical social conclusion, (18+ / 0-)

          really. Once advertising is so pervasive that it becomes difficult to notice is due to the crowding of the visual and auditory field (i.e. the difficulty in noticing any one ad or product type over another in a material sea of consumer goods and marketing), the next logical step is MySpace and "me" marketing.

          By organizing marketing increasingly around the definition of personal identity, every individual (esp. young people who have bought it entirely) becomes their own walking advertisement, and the act of relating socially becomes the act of marketing the products that one has been tricked into incorporating into identity.

          Kids today are out there fighting for their "individuality," only that "individuality" is (they don't realize) the set of products whose manufacturers (and investors) they are helping to enrich. There has been some of this tendency for decades, but only in the last couple of decades have we reached the point at which every aspect of a young person's life: toys, hobby, education, music, art, hair, favorite foods, friends, etc., etc., etc. is immediately representative of a rationally and intentionally engineered brand name (complete with logo, ethos, catchphrases, "values" systems ascribed to company, etc.) and credited with specific measures of social value amongst peers.

          The more products can be tied to personal identity and the foundations of social interaction, the more we will descend into a world (already sadly shallow) in which there is no "actual" friendship or set of social relations, but rather all social relations are actually just manifestations of underlying market relations. Anyone who says that the Marxian model is dead or that Marx was wrong about capitalism has clearly not been paying attention.

          And meanwhile, on other shores, we will continue to drive the military-industrial complex which is a stabilizing force on the unpredictability of consumer markets and leverage it to "Americanize" (read: increase market size and thus growth potential in) other (or "emerging") nations that are weaker than us.

          We have reached the point at which children play, soldiers die, and teachers teach in order to enrich investors. But the growth can't go on forever: the planet is only so big.

          •  I think you ought to diary this argument. (10+ / 0-)

            There's a distinct relationship between our mindless consumerism and our mindless militarism, neither of which will be cured until we see them for what they are.

            That, or like you say, the planet burps us up and out.

            •  I'd love to take credit for it, (10+ / 0-)

              but it's actually not a new idea.

              The investors of every multinational (in investor meetings, financial publication, etc.) are out there routinely salivating for the development of new markets.

              Iraq, when the war began, was just seen as another of these and the level of drool was and is disgusting. Africa, the middle east, the pacific rim: they are all growth markets to investors, and of course one of the great underlying mechanisms of our foreign policy is that many Americans are investors in one way or another, they all want their funds or their stocks to do well, and the companies that these represent are all competing with one another to develop the biggest markets and consumer bases possible, which means global expansion and "developing" new markets.

              All of America had a "subconscious" economic interest in the Iraq war, which is one of the reasons it was probably so easy to launch. A coalition of states isn't what was important for permission, rather a coalition of industry had to be assembled that was large enough that the vested interest in Iraq war became the critical factor. The military-industrial complex alone is big enough to account for much of this, and when you add to that civilian ifrastructure and service companies, transportation and communications, and the innumerable other industries involved in a war effort today, the calculation is simple: enough companies expected to see a return for their investors (whether this percolated up through financial markets, military contracts, service contracts, the consumer sector's expectation of expansion, etc.) that the war became justified to/by the same sector of society that also runs the public communications infrastructure (media, press, market making).

              In a very real way, the locus of democracy has shifted from the vote to the investment dollar. Note that even candidates know that the avenue to victory is financial support and a good relationship with business. Business is not something that exists unto itself, that relationship to business that candidates are fostering and that we complain about is really a relationship to the investors on behalf of whom these businesses are lobbying... i.e. us and our mutual funds and our desire for great rates from our banks and our desire for our own employer to do well so that we can have a big bonus and a raise and a better benefits package, etc.

              It is, basically, capitalism and the idea isn't mine but is fairly classic Marx and Marxian scholarship. If being is dependent on capital, then we will all begin to serve capital. Capital, basically, comes to dominate us, because capital doing well is more important to our well being than anything we ourselves can do.

              It is the "chicken" game of global capitalism by which we complain about the politicians being beholden to dollars and spcial interests even as we want our own dollars and special interests to serve us well, which is why we invest the way we invest, donate the way we donate, and continue to work our job.

              The question is: can we as a species overcome this selfish, myopic nature (I want my investments to do well, and I pretend not to notice that this means that yours will have to do worse) before we destroy the planet and ourselves?

              •  You're smart and awesome (0+ / 0-)

                If you haven't seen this Noam Chomsky clip yet, you really should - powerful statement, small duration.

                http://www.youtube.com/...

                •  Thank you. :-) (7+ / 0-)

                  Noam is one of the good guys, definitely.

                  What always gets me, even on DKos, is how hard it is for all of us to step outside of the myths that Noam mentions in this piece. It's hard for many people to see the validity of what much of the left is saying, and one of the reasons for that is (I believe) that it's tough to question assumptions when you've spent your entire life believing that they weren't assumptions, but rather edicts of God, or at least the natural order of things (see another poster in this thread about the natural existence of video games. Clearly this is someone born after video games were invented...)

                  The most powerful of these, as Noam correctly points out here, is the mistaken Smithian assumption that the pursuit of individual (or membership group) gain leads to ultimate social good. After thousands of years of written history and innumerable "classics" on fallen empires of the ages, somehow this idea keeps popping up.

                  I suspect it's becasue ultimately it's very seductive: if greed and narcicissm can be called social goods, then you can have everything you ever wanted and not feel guilty about it.

                  Capitalism just manages to build a clever machine that makes greed and narcicissm appear to work this way. The only problem is that (as Chomsky points out), the machine is not self-contained. Around the back of the capitalism machine is the Magog of history who keeps the machine operational only by feeding raw material (emerging markets, disadvantaged peoples, natural resources) into it while from another hidden chute on the rear pours garbage and toxic waste.

          •  Some are seeing the possibilities (6+ / 0-)

            The Army, at least, is already using video games as a recruiting tool.

            I'm guilty of using war video games--I prefer the "Medal of Honor" series--as a stress release, but the young Marine in the story has a good point. We don't think about how these games glorify war without really showing the cost.

            Thanks for the diary. I'm going to have a son in a couple of months, and I'm starting to think about these things more deeply these days.

            "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." --Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers In A Dangerous

            by AustinCynic on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:23:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Personal Celebrity MySpace and DailyKos (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cakestick, SBE

          Myspace in itself is a phenomenon that turns each single person into their own celebrity, provides an ability to live a life separate of the one where you have two legs and speak.

          I think I could substitute "DailyKos" for "MySpace" in that sentence and it would be just as true. Look at the frontpagers, the superstars who get a recommended diary almost every time they post by default... Do you think this site is similarly harmful?

          conscientious objector in the battle of the sexes.

          by plymouth on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:23:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

            I got boisterous about it one day, because I kept seeing the same names popping up over and over. There are a ton, a TON of awesome diaries I've seen that just get buried in all the nonsense. People have to get off their high horse and build a crowd of eye-to-eye agreement instead.

          •  Frontpagers, schmuntpagers... (0+ / 0-)
            who cares...can't recco a story...can only recco diaries. And rate comments.

            The diaries are the meat...the stories are the guideposts to diaries that contain comments...it's the witty, insightful comments that keep'em coming back.

            Stories and diaries provide the framework for dicussion.

            Frontpagers? Glorified secretaries.

            But necessary glorified secretaries...

            People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

            by rgilly on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:19:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  please (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pb, Sanada Yukimura, Arken, SBE

        please, video games is a hobby, a yes hobbies and use of imagination are VERY natural for humans. Video games are not unlike fictional books or movies, they are to entertain.  Entertainment has been around for as long as humans have.

        mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

        by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:17:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what does playing video games (5+ / 0-)

          have to do with imagination? it creates everything for you. you don't need an imagination to play video games.

        •  Yes, but video games have not (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stiela, melo, chemicalresult, rrheard

          and the motives for developing them were not related to moral or social needs, they were related to market forces, the same market forces that continue to sustain them and drive their expansion.

          There is a difference between playing tin can soccer on an empty lot with friends and buying video games en masse: the one arises spontaneously from social interaction and the need for entertainment, the other is invented, exists, and can continue to exist at all only in a world dominated by consumerism and with an existing corporate investment and marketing infrastructure.

          To put it more simply, unless you are prepared to make a teleological assertion about video games, video games exist because someone invented them in the hopes of making a profit, then started advertising them as great things not to be missed to people who were otherwise unaware of them, and they are now driven to greater and greater extremes in order to try to sell new games to the players that they have constructed who would otherwise not bother to replace old games that are "fun enough."

          There's a reason that games have to do something new and interesting with each generation, and that reason is that otherwise these goods are far more durable than to have to be replaced or renewed once every couple of years.

          There are a limited number of things that they can do to drive the market:

          1. Make games increasingly more materially realistic
          1. Develop new and interesting plot/story lines
          1. Make games increasingly less materially realistic and more surreal

          Of these options, (1) is relatively expensive and requires immense research and development costs, relying heavily on the science gains of the computing industry. (2) and (3) are relatively cheap and easy to accomplish simply by taking existing archetypes (the murder story, the war story, etc.) and exaggerating them more and more with each generation.

          The point is that if games didn't get more something with each new release, nobody would bother to buy new games rather than play their existing games. That would kill growth. Nintento and Sony would die if every existing customer said "okay, my games are good enough, I never need to buy another Nintendo product again." (As an aside, that would be in keeping with the traditional "hobby" mentality you point out: enjoyment of the activity, rather than pursuit of goods.)

          So Sony, Nintendo, etc. all do what they can to make each generation of video games different and more engaging of the senses (audivisual as well as cognitive) than the last. The easiest way to do this is a gradual increase in volume levels and visual stimulation (cutscenes, rapid motion, intense colors) along with a gradual increase in content that is likely to be cognitively jarring or adrenaline-producing (often by appealing to instinct, i.e. killing, fear of death, sex: things that are biologically implicated and thus more difficult for us to not be moved by).

          But it all comes down to: new games are made because Nintendo and Sony want to sell new games. New games are bought because Nintendo and Sony are making new games.

          To attribute to this phenomenon some kind of a priori or teleological importance in the grand scheme of the universe is silly. Video games are not God.

          •  of course (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Perdurabo, chemicalresult, SBE

            of course video games are not god? what the hell are you talking about.

            Do some research the first video game was created by research students on some of the large university mainframes back in the late 60s early 70s. Space Wars was the first.  Also if you follow the history of games, many of the first games were made out of simple passion for the hobby, making money was secondary. Richard Garriot comes to mind among many others.
            Even today, many games are produced by the sheer love for gaming. There are game mods made by fans which millions love and play in which noone makes a dime.  

            Video Gaming is a HOBBY, what is not to get about that.  Yes big companies now make big money on this hobby because so many people thanks to technology enjoy it.

            Also if you knew the first thing of the hobby , you would know that it is technology that drives this market, from the first time someone fired up Pong and atari adventure, you always thought ( wow , if they could just do so and so with this) ,  and until technology catches up to our imagination people in this HOBBY will keep chasing the latest technology with the hopes that their expectations are becoming closer to being met.

            For you to think that these companies came on the scene, and brainwashed us into liking this form of entertainment is naive and almost comical.  Do some research before you spout such nonsense.  The hobby and passion came well before the money did.

            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:42:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Listen, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              stiela, chemicalresult, rrheard

              you can argue about this until you're blue in the face, but it's very simple:

              These students who invented video games as a hobby (and at that point no doubt it was one)... did they bring these video games to the masses in the absence of markets, corporations, and advertisements?

              No?

              Can you conceive of any way in which they could have created a PlayStation 2 without markets, corporations, and advertisements?

              Again, NO.

              You honestly seem to believe in the teleological view: that video games are emblematic of some kind of "progress of mankind" and were thus destined eventually to arise and end up in every household, without the need for someone to manufacture and sell them. That is the God view: video games are ordained by God.

              If you do not believe this, then you have to ask yourself how it came to be that there are hundreds of millions of game consoles out there when just thirty years ago there were zero.

              And the answer is very, very simple:

              From the hobby that these students engaged in, corporations saw a profit opporunity. They developed a product, a manufacturing infrastructure, a range of goods, distribution schemes, advertising markets, and built a consumer base for the products from nothing.

              Who paid for the advertising? Who paid for the factories? Who footed the bill for the construction of "video game" as a concept in the public consciousness and for the distribution of such products? And what was the motive of whomever did this?

              You can either think that they did this in order to make money or that they did this in order to adhere to some moral track for the development of a better world.

              But the smart money is on "video games are made to sell." Period.

              •  you have (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                khereva, SBE

                you have no clue, the hobby, passion and fun came first.  Yes companies have capitalized it, but FUN , finding things FUN is a human emotion.  If it wasn't this game thing it would be something else. That is what hobbies are, its fun human passions that are not life and death events.

                Video games are made to sell because a demand for them came to be.  

                You honestly seem to believe in the teleological view: that video games are emblematic of some kind of "progress of mankind" and were thus destined eventually to arise and end up in every household,

                and in some way yes, video games are the result of mans natural progress. Computers are a very real part of our species evolution, and finding fun ways to utilize certain new abilites is very natural for humans.

                If you don't think computers and humans and evolution are tie together, you have some reading to do, it is very likely that compuetrs is going to play a HUGE roll into what our species evolves to next.

                mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:02:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Read carefully: (4+ / 0-)

                  "If it wasn't this game thing it would be something else."

                  YES, but (and this is what you keep sidestepping) why THIS GAME THING and not "something else?"

                  THIS GAME THING is incredibly difficult to invent and sustain. It requires hundreds of thousands of man hours in research and development dollars, boatloads of petroleum for the plastics and toxic chemicals for the manufacture of ICs and circuit boards, a distribution channel of factories, trucks, highways, retail stores. It requires thousands of hours of art direction, product packaging and design, it requires an electricity infrastructure and and a service infrastructure, as well as a base for ongoing development to provide new media for the primary product.

                  I do not dispute at all that humans enjoy entertainment.

                  That has nothing to do with my point. There was a time (I was alive during this time) when there were no video games. There was no mass uprising of stricken people around the world saying "We feel the utter lack of video games in our souls! PLEASE, won't someone invent video games?!"

                  When they first hit the market, they were seen as odd, curious, boring, geeky, useless. Perhaps they were also fun to those who tried them. But it took a great amount of effort and hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars to design and manufacture millions of consoles and then to convince a skeptical public to buy and learn to enjoy them. And if you don't think they had to "learn" how to use video game consoles, you clearly weren't alive at the time!

                  All of this happening is not random chance. Video games succeeded because someone (and not just players, because there were almost no players at first) wanted them to succeed and spent a lot of money to ensure that they did. Who was this someone? The companies and investors that believed that someday they could profit from them.

                  •  they (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    khereva, SBE

                    they happened because they were a by product of our species computer age.   We built cpmouters as an evolutionary tool and expansion of our minds and HEY they can be made to play fun games TOO.

                    Man go learn your game history, you really have no clue what you are talking about here.

                    mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                    by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:19:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Again, (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stiela, rrheard

                      Game history is all of ~30 years long, the computer age slightly longer. And you might be surprised if you knew the degree to which I was involved in it.

                      Computers and video games both were invented by people, like you and I. If you had ever sketched out a circuit on a transparency, then impressed it onto a copper plate negative solution and a UV light before dropping it into a vat of sulpheric acid to make your own circuit boards and build your own computers and operating systems from scratch, you'd know this.

                      Computers and video games are not eternal categories. They were invented. Invetors have motives. Motives drive history. One of the biggest motives throughout history is material gain. Just becaues you enjoy video games does not mean that they were invented just for you.

                      Please, just examine your life. Read a little history and a little philosophy. Realize that what IS does not exist through some special and divine privelege, but rather simply because of the actions of the people in previous epochs.

                      And your actions now determine what will happen in future epochs. Cause and effect. It's very scientific.

                  •  History of video games (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pissedpatriot, SBE

                    The companies and investors that believed that someday they could profit from them.

                    It may not seem like it now, but video games didn't get started as a corporate invention funded by investors. It was hobbyists and tinkerers creating from scratch where there was no market before.

                    By the early 80's arcade video games and home video games like the Atari 2600 were already commercialized, but computer games were very much a hobbyist's market. Games were simple enough that one guy or a small team could make something worth selling. I really think you underestimate the hacker's spirit. It's a natural human urge to tinker with things, everything from the first stone tools, to blacksmiths, to electronics and computers. Just like music, art, and writing, hackers will program computers because they want to, with or without corporate investors to bankroll them.

                    The big-budget productions you see today are another story. They're about as complex to produce as a Hollywood movie.

                •  And P.S. with regard to computers and all of this (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  stiela, rrheard

                  Your thinking is fuzzy.

                  Compare these two statements:

                  "Computers as we know them today were destined to exist because of the inevitability of progress."

                  "Computers as we know them today are going to play a huge roll in what our species evolves into next."

                  These are not the same statement. The first is teleological, i.e. it presupposes the existence of God or some intelligence or guiding "force" behind history.

                  The second concerns itself only with what already is. "What we have now will affect what we have later."

                  There has been rather a lot of damage done throughout history as the result of the teleological view (i.e. whatever happens in history is part of the destiny that leads us toward an improved future). It is (even for most religious folk) seen to be a dangerous fallacy.

                  I have done rather a lot of reading, by the way. In fact, I also have six computing and technology books on the market today. But what I'd suggest you read is Voltaire's satirization of Leibniz when he suggested that what we have is:

                  "the best of all possible worlds."

                  •  your all (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SBE

                    your all caught up in god nonsense. Listen computers may well be just an evoltionary extension and tool that are just a natural stage of our brain. Without a doubt our brain and physical body will begin to merge in the coming centuries.

                    PS. Evolution does not have anything to do with god, god has really no place in this discussion.  Man was building his first computers ( abacusses (sp)) well before capitalism and modern markets.

                    Gaming is just a natural by product of of our computer evolution.

                    mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                    by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:24:42 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I am not caught up in God at all, (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stiela, rrheard

                      it's just that you keep sying things like this:

                      "Gaming is just a natural by product of of our computer evolution."

                      Who decided it to be so? Why gaming and semiconductor computers? Why not space racing and organic computers? You have fallen into the trap (as I suggested) of seeing this world as the only possible world. It must be so, you argue, because that is progress, and progress has its own trajectory a priori.

                      Call it what you want, God or "the natural order," you continue to appeal to destiny. Whether you think this destiny comes from God or nature, you remove human agency (and thus responsibility) from the equation, ensure your own domination (because why should one argue with destiny?), and appeal to the same ephemeral authority that the Republicans appeal to.

                      •  why (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SBE

                        Who decided it to be so? Why gaming and semiconductor computers? Why not space racing and organic computers?

                        why not because science and discover and invention follow along a pretty linear path. One can not event the TV until electricity and the phyiscs of waves etc are understood.  Technology does not "jump around" it builds on itself.

                        mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                        by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:38:21 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  and as for (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SBE

                          Who decided it to be so?

                          who said anyone or thing had to decide, if you study invention,most of mankinds inventions are brought about by happenstance and luck.

                          mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                          by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:44:52 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Good grief, (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela, rrheard

                            you're right. So long as "Sony launches $100m ad campaign for PlayStation" is the same as "luck."

                            Hint: The first step in changing the world is realizing that you can and that others routinely do.

                            Hint 2: "Happenstance" and "luck" are just synonyms for "God." Please see my earlier posts.

                          •  if sony (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            if sony didn't exist, there would still be gamers, gamers don't need a company pushing the hobby. People do it, and create it, and GIVE it away, even now.

                            "Happenstance" and "luck" are just synonyms for "God." Please see my earlier posts.

                            no they are not. Luck is being in the right place at the right time with the right tools and intelligence to take advantage of the opportunity presenting itself. God does not have to have anything to do with that, action= reaction it is what drives the uiverse, and allows for luck.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:03:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course they do, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela

                            there is a great deal of free software in the world and Linux has proven that the model works.

                            But it's a straw man that you're constructing:

                            How many free-as-in-speech-and-beer-alike video game consoles are out there in average consumers hands? (Hint: zero.) What is the ratio of free consoles vs. the hundreds of millions of commercial consoles and games? (Hint: zero.)

                            You pretend that Sony and Nintendo have nothing to do with the success of video games by referring to college kids in CS departments, only a small percentage of whom make their own games (I know, I was there) that don't appear in the marketplcae anyway, and who form an infantesimal and unimportant (to the consumer marketplace that is at issue here) component of society in the first place.

                            And you're wrong. Luck is not action=reaction, those are deterministic. You used luck as a way that things are decided when people are not deciding them. If you don't want to call it God, fine. You can pick your own words if that one makes you uncomfortable. But it is still a teleological or destiny-centric belief system that you are embracing, one that justifies everything that has happened as the "will of the universe" (since you don't like "the will of God").

                            In short: it's still religious and faith-based, this view that you have of how things happen, whatever form your God takes.

                          •  nope (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            nope the destiny-centric drive I am saying is survival and physics.  You act as if man has free will, well within a rule set he does but the rule set limits and drives and creates odds.

                            If you don't believe me,  go jump over the moon, I am waiting........  just because you decide as a human want to do something doesn't mean that is the end of the discussion. There are many many variables in play.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:29:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  EXACTLY. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela

                            "There are many many variables in play."

                            And these determine what happens. It is not a case of "what is destined to happen will happen anyway.

                            By the way, your false dichotomy is again emblematic of your desire to find God. Your argument seems to be that because I can't jump over the moon, humans can't effect the marketplace, "luck" rules the day, and a billion video game consoles would be in homes even if no corporation had ever seen a profit potential in, built, and sold them.

                            It simply does not follow.

                        •  And at every stage of that path, (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          stiela, rrheard

                          someone was making decisions to affect history. It was not traveling along a pre-laid track of its own accord.

                          The fact that you personally did not make these decisions does in no way alter the fact that history is the collection of the decisions and actions of mankind, including Sony, Nintendo, and their customers.

                          •  noone (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            no one decided to become a hairless ape on the floating rock. Our innate evolution, our innate wants and needs as an animal on this planet are all preset and in being so, the die were caste.

                            Yes maybe western civilization didn't NEED to come around, but the mere fact that western civilization and its mindset and technology gave those who followed it a big advantage with weapons to kill those that oppose it, pretty much states that the odds favored it.

                            So as a person in this species, go decide to find zero piont energy, or decide to leave the free world and live in the jungle, or find the cause of cancer, fact is, huamnity is a river and the current is strong,  just because a few people get out of the river doesn't mean it doesn't stop flowing once it started.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:11:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Missing the trees for the forest. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela, rrheard

                            Just because a few people get out of the river doesn't mean it doesn't stop flowing once it started.

                            The "river" is nothing but a collection of the people.

                            Western civilization came around. There is no point in arguing about it, it's here. That is entirely different from saying that its coming around was cosmically inevitable and did not at all depend on the actions of those that brought it around, that all of mankind could have gone out and laid around in the fields and modernity would have happened of its own accord without the need for Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, or Henry Ford to do anything at all.

                          •  if (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, or Henry Ford

                            if it was Bacon, Newton, Ford, it would of been Jones, Smith, and Chevy.  People are just a reflection and product of the larger environment.  How many times has invention been worked on by diferent people all over the world?  almost aways,  science is the same way, almost always there are peers working on the same ideas. Humans are products of their environment,and thus they are heavily influenced and guided by what already is.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:34:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Your argument is simply positivistic (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela

                            and normative. I'm sorry, but you can't prove this:

                            if it was[sic] Bacon, Newton, Ford, it would of been Jones, Smith, and Chevy.

                            a) You cannot offer any evidence that this is the case, nor will you ever be able to. Your argument is that history is destined to do what it does, and that no matter who you replace or what decisions you make, you can't and couldn't have altered it. Simply put, it is not a scientific belief in any way.

                            b) This is indeed a classic teleological view of history.

                            This is, in short, your faith and belief in God (even if you claim not to believe in God, you do, whether you realize it or not) and little more.

                          •  and (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela, SBE

                            That is entirely different from saying that its coming around was cosmically inevitable and did not at all depend on the actions

                            I am not saying that it was destined, just the fact that it had the odds in its favor since it followed along the path of least resistance in so much that it had the advantage over its competitors since it could kill them (evolution showing it driving force once again)

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:38:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  your (0+ / 0-)

                    you think I am fuzzy because I guess I have not brought my piont across clearly since neither of these two statements reflect my position.

                    "Computers as we know them today are going to play a huge roll in what our species evolves into next."

                     it does not mean

                    it presupposes the existence of God or some intelligence or guiding "force" behind history.

                     

                    unless you think evolution and survial of a species is some kind of "guiding force", which it most certainly is.  Survival and making use of your surrounding to increase your likelyhood of said survival is what the animal kingdom is all about.  Computers really is just a very intelligent use in order to further our species and survival.
                    Abbacusses, math,science  and the opposable thumb pretty much show us that computers were indeed in the cards for our species at some piont.

                    mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                    by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:35:43 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are confusing (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stiela, rrheard

                      the guiding force with the direction it takes. I mentioned those two positions in my post because those are the two positions that you took, treating them as equivalent. They are not.

                      Evolution is indeed a guiding force, yes.

                      HOWEVER, it does not guide with a goal or destiny beyond immediate survivability in mind. It is entirely contingent upon the circumstances of the present and near future, not on a grand truth of "perfect being" that history will reach in time. For example, if there are no video games yet, then in order to sell video games you must first tell people what a video game is and why they might want one, otherwise nobody will buy any and the product (and companies that support it) will die. This takes advertising dollars. And this process is indeed a kind of social evolution. This was the state of affairs at one time in recent history. Do not confuse the circumstnace that video games did not disappear with a notion that the could not have because that would have subverted the progress of history. Because to posit the inevitable moral progress of history is to justify Hitler, Stalin, capitalism, Iraq, and, yes, to subject yourself to the will of God, even if this point is a little beyond you.

                      Do not make the mistake (which you have made) of supposing that whatever evolution produces is inevitable because that is the best way of producing it or (to return to Voltaire vis-a-vis Liebniz) this is the "best of all possible worlds."

                      To make that assumption is to grossly misread evolution (and as someone with a degree in anthropology, I know evolution well). In fact, the notion that "things are the way they are because they could not have been anything else" is the fundamental position of intelligent design, not evolution.

                      Evolution is a mechanism, not a set of goals.

                      Video games are a product designed for the marketplace, not an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of human history.

                      •  first (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SBE

                        first off I disagree with your assumption

                        HOWEVER, it does not guide with a goal or destiny beyond immediate survivability in mind.

                        Yes surviability is utmost, but the propagation of the species is also instilled. Evolution, the entire process is all about getting bigger, faster, stronger, and most of all adaptable to the environment. Man's inquizative nature is one of the reason we are still here, and it is this same nature that has lead us to invention.

                        Evolution is a mechanism, not a set of goals.

                        propagation and survivalability of a species is a goal within the makeup of each species

                        Video games are a product designed for the marketplace, not an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of human history

                        again, NO THEY were not invented intially for the marketplace, they were created by people using computers for science and military applications, they games were made as a fun pass time among the scientist.  Eevn throughout the 70's most games were made for fun not Profit.  Even today if you know anything about mods, people spend thousads of hours making free games for everyone else to play for FREE.

                        not an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of human history.

                        well I think evolution coupled with our brain, math, science, the opposable thumb, and our will to survive naturally leads to computing, and with or innate quest for fun, leads to gaming as a by product of computing

                        mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                        by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:59:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You have evolution entirely wrong. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          stiela, rrheard

                          Yes surviability is utmost, but the propagation of the species is also instilled. Evolution, the entire process is all about getting bigger, faster, stronger

                          It is not "instilled," it is mechanical. Evolution in humans (notice that this account is specific to humans fertility and lifespans) has a bias toward fertile reproduction of the zero generation with a slight accounting for the nuturing potential of the zero generation as it acts on the two generation as well, thus providing a slightly higher potential for its successful reproduction to fertile term. Evolution is about the survivability to fertile age of children and (to a much lesser extent) grandchildren of the subject. Nothing else, nothing more.

                          It is categorically NOT about getting bigger, faster, or stronger, and the fact that you would argue this is disappointing and shows that even on DKos there is some seriously bad science knowledge around. "Bigger, faster, or stronger" are, once again, your own value judgments about what you think is "progress," in much the same way that you have been arguing about the rest of history.

                          again, NO THEY were not invented intially for the marketplace, they were created by people using computers for science and military applications, they games were made as a fun pass time among the scientist

                          And you will notice that it is NOT the Army or MIT that is selling PlayStation 2 through military and academic channels. Instead, it is Sony and Nintendo, who have investors, that are selling systems at the Best Buy. At the same time, "Resident Evil" on a consumer TV is NOT AT ALL the same thing as a game of "dunnet" in Emacs or a game of Space Wars on a vector-addressed tube display, and to suggest otherwise is... well, I'll let people form their own opinions. The CS kids are still playing their own games in hardware lab and software design lab. That's a hobby. But the quarters were never going to MIT, they were being pumped into Pac-Man. There is nothing else I need to say here, I can't make the difference any more clear to you and on this point you and I will just disagree.

                          I'll leave it to our audience to draw their own opinions.

                          •  so (0+ / 0-)

                            Evolution, the entire process is all about getting bigger, faster, stronger

                            so you are saying the female does not look to the largest and strongest male to reproduce, huh? thats a new one to me. Nature always favors the strong over the weak and thus propagates bigger, stronger, faster memeber of the species in the quest to allow a species to survive, thrive, and propagate.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:20:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, she doesn't. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela, rrheard

                            Sorry. She looks to the male that is most likely to help her to bring offspring to reproductive age. In some species this is bigger or faster or stronger (rarely all three), but in other species it may have to do with beak length, texture of skin, color of exterior, scent or shape of bodily substructures, being smaller (to fit more readily into hiding or feeding spaces or to consume fewer resources from a limited resource pool, etc.)

                            Like I said, "bigger, faster, stronger" is just your (may I say it, very Republican) veiw of what should in your own eyes be best for the teleological progress of history.

                            But it has little to do with evolution and natural selection. Otherwise, insects would have gone extinct long ago in favor of humans and anteaters, or would all be 14 feet long, smarter than Einstein, and stronger than forklifts, having had millions of years longer than us to evolve.

                          •  never (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            But it has little to do with evolution and natural selection. Otherwise, insects would have gone extinct long ago in favor of humans and anteaters, or would all be 14 feet long, smarter than Einstein, and stronger than forklifts, having had millions of years longer than us to evolve

                            never said evolution worked fast, said that females look to males to give their offspring an advantage, to be as good, healthy, and strong as that species needs to survive and thrive.

                            In some species this is bigger, or faster, or stronger, the drive to mate with the best is there, even if you wish to try to deny it.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:42:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, they really don't. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela

                            Females are by and large are not sitting around thinking (even in human society) about the surival of the species. Natural selection is good about taking care of such things without having to resort to consciousness.

                            Mate selection does have a biological basis, but it is not "bigger, or faster, or stronger," or is it even "best" (which is again a value statement).

                            Statistically (NOT individually) natural selection tends to guarantee a mate selection mechanism that maximizes fertility of the 1 generation (offspring of the offspring of the subject). Nothing less, nothing more. Not only this, but mate selection in natural selection suffers from a certain amount of latency, i.e. mate selection is based on the selection (i.e. environmentally-induced culling) of previous generations, but does not account in any way for the actual circumstances of the environment surrounding the current (i.e. mating, subject) generation. Like us (see the rest of this thread), evolution can't "see" the future, only the past.

                            There are many cases in the record in which evolution across small periods of time led to extinction over larger periods of time as species adapted to temporally local changes in circumstance only to be "blindsided" and suffer an extinction event when the immediate envrionment returned to more typical states.

                            Neither video games nor evolution are or ever were about fulfilling some ideal, new-and-improved future. Sorry to burst your bubble.

                          •  never (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            Neither video games nor evolution are or ever were about fulfilling some ideal, new-and-improved future. Sorry to burst your bubble.

                            never thought it was about making an ideal perfect future, I am saying that the mere fact that animals all look to the healthy ideal mate first in order to get healthy offspring creates a byproduct of a more healthy species population. Species look to create a healthy thriving offspring.  

                            That is the driving force as I see it.  I am not saying a female tiger mates with the alpha male with the idea of creating super tiger, I am saying that the instinct of a female to create an offspring which thrives if only for the next generation, is still a driving force albeit a very slight one,it's still there.

                            I really don't think we are very far apart on this, I have enjoyed the discussion but I need to get back to team of knuckleheads.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:06:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Me too, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            pissedpatriot

                            thanks for the chat. I can't imagine how productive I could be if it weren't for DKos. D'oh!

                          •  And I should also mention (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stiela, rrheard

                            that mate selection (i.e. what the female "chooses") is one of the weakest submechanisms of natural selection. Most species will choose to mate with anything of the same species rather than mate with nothing at all at the end of the day.

                            If there's a huge selection of mates then mating selection becomes an issue, and in some "picky" species its an issue (and these are, not coincidentally, not doing well in many endangered species survival programs), but by and large it's the survival of offspring to reproduction in their own right that wins the day.

                            Nature is harsh and is happy to kill off those who aren't up to it long before it comes down to a question of developing strong mate selection preferences as a tendency as the result of selection.

                          •  again weak (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SBE

                            so of course a female will mate with anyone of not given a choice, that's no arguement, that's an excuse.  The fact remains, given a choice, the female will look to a certain male with features it desires to help its offspring thrive. This is what I am saying, don't you want your kids to be better than you? aren't you a animal of this kingdom.  Why wouldn't you want a sick kid if its just a numbers game.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:45:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  One fine debate (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            melo

                            Dear Mr. or Ms. Nobody at All,

                            I have no idea what your education level is beyond a degree in anthropology, but as a recent law school grad I can unequivocally comment that you are missing your calling--as an attorney.  That was by far the fastest most well constructed arguement I've ever been privileged to witness and it is only sad that young "pissedpatriot" missed the the vast majority of the well reasoned points you made.  Wow.

                          •  i understand (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FireCrow, SBE

                            I understand the pionts, I just don't agree with them 100%

                            yes mankind has choices and our society is a product of these choices, my piont is that not all decisions are made in a vaccumm, Many variables shaped and created odds that favored some more likely outcomes than other.  If you want to call that god, I call it the universe.  
                            If man lived on Antartica and the poles shifted and it became a frozen wasteland, well guess what, man decision whether to stay there or not has pretty much just been made up for him.

                            mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                            by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:56:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks, I'm glad I'm intelligible. :-) (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FireCrow, chemicalresult

                            I've done a little bit of everything over the years (I was a computer engineer back when computers were guaranteed NOT to get you laid), but these days I'm working toward a Ph.D. in social thought.

                            So I guess I'm sort of a cross between a computer geek, an overburdened case worker, a leftie activist, and a pipe-smoking philosopher.

                            I have to admit that I did, for a while, think about law, but that would have meant actual livable income so naturally I couldn't do it. ;-)

                          •  I don't mean to insert myself (0+ / 0-)

                            into a civil and thought-provoking (!) debate, but I had to speak up aout a useful book. Its title is "Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation," by British biologist Olivia Judson, and it is a very good, very entertaining non-biologist-accessible explanation of mate selection and other misunderstood quandaries.

                            I especially recommend it to pissedpatriot as it exploded my "better, faster, stronger" ideas of evolution handily. But it was so entertaining I would recommend it to anyone!

            •  gonna have to agree here..... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SBE

              Richard Garriot is a prime example of getting into the "hobby/Roleplaying" aspect of the trade for pleasure and for love of suspending reality for sheer enjoyment and entertainment over corporate profits (until he sold Ultima Online to Electronic Arts, who gutted the game in favor of a corporate bottom line...bastards)

              Additionally, the technology drives mostly graphics and game mechanics (which add to the experience) rather than the genre. So the issue is genre, not technology.

              Games of the "War" genre(which is what is being discussed here I think) are being played everyday, 24/7/365 by people all over the world online and in real life(paintball comes immediately to mind) So until we, as the human race, are able to completely slough off our base warrior tendencies, then IMO video games of this type are most assuredly a more appropriate way of channeling that aggression....Cause doing it IRL is a crappy option.  

              "Eat flaming death fascist media pigs" - The Firesign Theatre

              by Perdurabo on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:04:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  disagree on the plot and story lines. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stiela, Cake or Death

            There is a tiny minority of games that allow much plot branching at all.  Fallout and Fallout 2 allow for a wide variety of player characters and plots and what you do in game has a lot of impact on your game world.  Those type of games require a lot more development time and testing than games which have one main plot.

            And... the high replay value of games with a lot of in game freedom is actually counterproductive to a game industry that would rather sell you a game that you play for a couple hundred hours and then discard in favor of a newer game.

            We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

            by Fabian on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:44:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  oh brother (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Arken, SBE

              oh brother another one who played a game once? Fallout and Fallout 2? have you played a game this decade?
              My god branched story lines are everywhere, and as for game freedom, have you not played or seen any of the GTAs and all the wanna be's. Game freedom is where the entire hobby is moving.

              As for replay value, comapnies give out there code so players can continue to make the game themselves, Games like Neverwinter Nights are all about building and creating your own worlds. Let's not get into MOGS that another whole new bigger beast.

              mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

              by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:52:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Games have to run on my PC. (0+ / 0-)

                I have no game consoles at all.  Especially not with the "Buy the newest version!" sales pitch every holiday season.  So I'm stuck with PC games only, no online games, no networked games.  A few games have smart, funny plots.  The rest of them have a main sequence of goals with a bunch of optional side plots, much of which doesn't impact game play significantly.  I have started to replay some games, but gave up.  I'd seen that movie already.

                Besides, Fallout and Fallout 2 have the best intros I've ever seen.  Sometimes I'll sit and let them play again just for the sheer entertainment value.  I love high production values.

                We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

                by Fabian on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:05:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                  When I bought my PS2, I waited until 2001 and the price was down under $200...no way I'm paying $400+ for a game console when they'll slash and burn the prices within a year!

                  It is amazing how much can be accomplished when you don't care who gets the credit - Harry Truman
                  PoliticalCompass Scale: -2.13, -2.97

                  by floundericiousMI on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:14:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, but there are some plot (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Arken, SBE

              And a lot of games allow you to alter the story depending on what you choose.  I'm going to go back to the old school with these, but System Shock 2, changes depending on various factors.  Shogo, drastically changed depending on your responses to certain situations.  The first time I played the game, it took me 3 days to finish it.  The second time around, I chose different options and finised the game in 4 hours.  Thief changes too, but that game sucked.  I haven't really played many FPSs since I've had kids, but not all FPS games are like Half Life or Sin.  

              Black by popular demand!

              by fabooj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:01:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  System Shock 2 is old school? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Fabian, SBE

                Okay, time to go retire my copy of Zork I.

                Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

                by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:10:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In gaming years (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jules too, Fabian, Arken, FireCrow, SBE

                  I'm going to say yes.  To me, anything older than 5 years gets dumped into the 'old school' category.  You don't really want to hear my detailed categorization for games.  It makes me look like a complete dork.

                  Black by popular demand!

                  by fabooj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:20:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My version of old school (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SBE

                    is that I can't play it on my current OS.  The truly painful thing is that my husband bought a few games that never made it onto the computer before OS changed (how many?) years ago.  So they sit, in the closet, never played.

                    One game that was highly rated turned out to be another "kill things, level up and get better stuff....so you can kill more things" game.   Initially exciting, but after a while it was just something I did to kill time - like playing solitaire.

                    We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

                    by Fabian on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:38:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  heh (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Fabian, SBE

                      i discovered an abandonware site and half the games do not run on my machine. I shriek every time. it sux.

                      things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                      by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:50:09 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  They aren't all worth it. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SBE

                        We got a new verion of A Bard's Tale(a bad PC transport from a game console) and it came with the original games, which I remembered fondly.  I installed the first one(so tiny!) and tried to play it.  Ah, the good old days of carefully hand mapping every square and random encounters.  I decided I didn't want to relive the "good old days" badly enough.  Perhaps my kids will understand the thrill of 'Zork' but I doubt they'll understand the attraction hand mapping and the allure of random encounters.

                        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

                        by Fabian on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:52:10 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  fabooj dork? (0+ / 0-)

                    Nevahhhh!  :D

            •  Well, true. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fabian, SBE

              But you do have to interact with a lot of games in order to advance the story.

              I think this criticism is just too widely applicable. Books generally don't allow much plot branching, either, but there is still interaction and thought involved in reading one. I find that to be the case with some games.

      •  'This is not my beautiful house...' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sophiebrown

        This is not my beautiful wife..." as David Byrne sang.

      •  Six blades! Revolutionary! Six! Really! (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cakestick, chemicalresult
    •  I am with you (11+ / 0-)

      I know there are game fans here who would disagree.  but it breaks my heart to see all my son's twelve year old friend lose themselves in violent videogames.  How can the act of blowing people away -- repeatedly -- be a neutral developmental experience?  I am sure some handle it fine.  But it really makes me worry.

      Talk doesn't cook rice.

      by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:13:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a huge biz (6+ / 0-)

        writing videogames to train soldiers.

        The marine's comments on people doing it for real are real.

        •  Every time this gets raised here at dKos . . . (12+ / 0-)

          the gamers come out of the woodwork to say bleat that these things have no effect. It's worse than the Israel Palestine thing.

          Wish it were otherwise. I think it's profoundly liberal to ask hard questions of violence in all its forms.

          •  See, I'm not even a gamer anymore. (5+ / 0-)

            I have an XBox I used for the media center. I just think that blaming media, especially one of the most interesting and creative new forms of media out there today, for the world's problems is just moronic. As I said, Bush wasn't raised on video games.

            Cheney wasn't raised on video games.

            Hannity wasn't raised on video games.

            It doesn't take video games to make you a psychopathic fuck.

            Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

            by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:33:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Arken, I've spent a lot of time (3+ / 0-)

              writing about people in the military.

              A lot of time talking to them.

              Talking to them about what they do on their down time, what the did before they went in.

              You obviously recognize that war games are a potential recruiting tool. They're a recruiting tool, a training tool. Hell, they give guys the directions to repair blackhawks in the field in x-box format. It's the single most pervasive form of entertainment for soldiers on active duty; the military recognizes that. So where do you think most of these volunteers got the idea that it might be cool to enlist?

              Sorry I seemed to have shat on your diary, but this guy knew what he was talking about, and you only half listened. The irony of that, I'm sorry to say, delighted me.

              •  So they are all gamers. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dadafountain, SBE

                How do you think the military recruited before video games? I don't see your point. The military has always been able to recruit people, even during unpopular wars like Vietnam, people voluntarily signed up for service.

                The reason why most people in the military today are gamers is because most people around that age are gamers.

                Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

                by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:41:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Contemporary FPSers... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SBE
                  like Battlefield 2 (reprised from Battlefield 1942, Vietnam...) are the abstraction of tactical, squad based, platoon-centric combat...before technology could provide the "twitch" aspect it was all cardboard pieces on hex maps with dice...and before that sandtables with wooden pieces with infantry/cav/arty symbols...

                  Abstractions...ain't the real thing. But give people a model of what "a reality" may be like.

                  We're hardwired for abstractions to resemble reality. And observable reality to devolve to abstractions.

                  The biggest gamer geeks are not the people playing the PC/platforms, its the rules lawyers that groove on stuff like Advanced Squad Leader...but the military sees the use of all these abstractions to improve their core competencies.

                  Defeating an enemy in a battle space.

                  People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

                  by rgilly on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:44:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  oh my god (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mrkvica, Whiskey Sam, grimc, Arken, SBE

                So where do you think most of these volunteers got the idea that it might be cool to enlist?

                oh my god, it's called using the same most tried and true method man has used to con young men into doing old rich men's binding since the onset of the city state, its called PATRIOTISM.

                mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

                by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:05:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  as a good libby (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sophiebrown

            I see both sides...I'm trying to ride the fence but would be hypocritical not to point out my years o' Ms. Pacman and playing H2 with my brother online (he's 2500 miles away)..yet, there is that more insidious side...

            Reenacting war in video games

            "...and they'd call that science. And no one would believe it." (Colbert)

            by lookingglass on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:42:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  reminds me of a book... (4+ / 0-)

          Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.  I read that book (and its sequels) 20 years ago and the premise chills me still. All the more so now because I am sure we are closer to making it real.

          See you in Chicago!

          by brillig on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:30:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  to be honest (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SBE

          having played "America's Army" when it first came out, I really don't see how it will be a successful recruiting tool.

          I actually found it boring.

          things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

          by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:01:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  12 year old boys have been playing war (17+ / 0-)

        for as long as there've been twelve year old boys.  Good or bad, it seems almost innate.  Remember cap pistols?  The only downside to video games by comparison is the lack of any physical effort.

        No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

        by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:18:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not like cap guns (0+ / 0-)

          Used to shoot imaginary bad guys or your friends.  These games allow you to use heavy weapons against really nasty guys and depict a gruesome death when you hit the target.  

          Talk doesn't cook rice.

          by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:24:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What do you suppose we were imagining (11+ / 0-)

            when we played war?  Kids are pretty sinister, really.

            This sounds so dated, but my mother was adamantly against militaristic toys and shows (it was the Vietnam era), and I was forbidden from watching Gunsmoke in particular I remember.  As my mother explained, it was because every problem was solved with violence.  Instead I was showered with educational toys and books and I don't regret that as I'm sure it helped with the intellectual development, but, nevertheless, by the end of the '70's I had worn my mother down, and my favorite toy was a plastic M-60 machine gun with a belt of plastic bullets that scrolled through the gun in an endless loop when you pulled the trigger.  I can't explain it, but there it is.  

            The main thing that would keep your boy's relationship with violence under control would be to talk about it with him, in a non-judgmental way.  Ask him what he's doing in that particular game, etc.    

            No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

            by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:39:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  actually (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ScientistMom in NY

              my son is very, very competitive and very into sports.  but he has never been violent and very seldom plays violent games.  Oh, and he never watched violent tv as a young kid, and never played violent video games.

              So I have to say that putting a limit on violent games and programs was the method I used to keep my son's relationship with violence under control.

              Talk doesn't cook rice.

              by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:47:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey, you know your son better than me (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sophiebrown, SBE

                I can only speculate based on what me and my friends did, and what we didn't let our parents know about.  Results may differ.  

                No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

                by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:55:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  my own experience is actually similar (0+ / 0-)

                  to yours.

                  I grew up in the sixties and lived in front of the tv too.  And I turned out ok too, just like you.  

                  I'm no expert, and I really don't want to talk in sweeping generalities.  

                  but as a mom, the prevalence of the video addiction really worries me.  I am afraid that it will have consequences for the kids growing up now.  But we won't know until it's too late for a lot them.

                  Some of these kids are really fragile.  A kid down the street -- twelve -- told my son he tried to commit suicide last week.  I am feeling pretty shellshocked right now....

                  Talk doesn't cook rice.

                  by sophiebrown on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:05:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have the "luxury" (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    melo, sophiebrown

                    of not having to worry about any particular member of the next generation, so kudos to you for raising what sounds like a decent kid in this day and age.  12 is too young to be thinking about suicide; as to the cause, we can only guess.  I do know what seems to me in retrospect to have been the best esteem builder for me, regardless of the hours regrettably spent drooling away in front of the tube, was the extended family I was born into, and the fact that I was always being engaged by adults, from my earliest memories of going fishing with my great-grandmother (a real angling wiz) to talking politics with my granddad long before I had anything interesting to say to being and feeling a part of a group, a family, instead of the "Lord of the Flies" universe I suspect a lot of kids live in today with absentee parents and schools modeled on factories.  It's almost as if we have enlisted machines to entertain our kids, and then we blame the machines for not teaching our kids how to be human.    

                    No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

                    by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:20:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  and that how it should be (0+ / 0-)

                the final line is what the parent find acceptable. I would include all adults.. but sometimes relatives buy ill advised games, just so the child wont feel bad or left out or whatever..

            •  My mom did this too (5+ / 0-)

              And was worn down when she found me using those nonviolent toys as "guns", etc.  Walk up with a microphone or a plastic dinosaur and go "bang, I got you!" enough times and they give up real fast.

              Not a violent person.  Certainly didn't sign up for iraq.  It's anecdotal but I can at least say it's in harmony with all the other anecdotes I know.

              •  Your comment made me laugh - so true! n/t (0+ / 0-)

                No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

                by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:22:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  lol (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                crimsonscare, Cake or Death, SBE

                we only had blocks and legos. And "Action Figures," usually Star Trek.

                our favorite games were Independence Day (the movie), Earthquake, Asteroid (using pillows, still a personal favorite), Volcano (blankets were lava), Godzilla, and Giant Stomping Monster.

                we had PC games, but only strategy/simulation games. And trust me, Civlization is not a non-violent game. I generally play it to this day pretty brutally.

                and none of us grew up to be violent people.

                What I think people are missing in the argument is that many kids are able to distinguish reality from fantasy. Video games do not make people more violent.

                things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

                by terrypinder on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:40:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Speaking of Civilization (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SBE

                  ...5th grade me managed to convince the teacher that it was "edutainment".  As a result we could walk back to the computer lab if we finished assignments early and tell off that nuclear-armed Emperor Gandhi but good. One of my proudest moments, and the one brief time in elementary school i achieved any sort of popularity, heh.

              •  I had a boss who described that. (0+ / 0-)

                He and his wife banned toy guns, so the kid walked around picking up every random stick and using them as guns anyway.

                I am of the opinion that some level of fantasy violence is healthy for children. People are violent animals, and there is learning and empowerment involved in "fighting the bad guys." Now, of course, parents need to monitor and determine the appropriate limits on that kind of play for their individual children.

            •  my own recollections (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              April Follies, Gator Keyfitz

              When I was a kid Aunt Barbara was adamant about my younger cousin not playing with militaristic toys. No plastic tommy guns, no water pistols, no toy soldiers, no GI Joe. It worked for awhile. One day my aunt took away a plastic gun my cousin found at my grandmother's house. Half an hour later she came back outside and he had another toy gun...made out of a stick. She gave up, figuring that if she took the stick away he would just use his thumb and index finger as a pistol.

              I realize this is just another dumb anecdote, but I do think it shows that when it comes to children modelling violent behavior there is something at work that goes far beyond what sorts of toys they have: be they a plastic M-60, a rubber sword, or an Xbox.

              •  My own coping mechanism/civil disobedience (5+ / 0-)

                Was using the art supplies with which I was lavished to create extremely violent "war pictures."  Explosions, viscera flying, heads lopped off.  To look at them, you would have been convinced that I was going to grow up to be a psychopath instead of a guy who sweeps spiders and palmetto bugs out of my house instead of killing them.

                No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

                by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:33:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  My kids, when little, built guns outta Legos (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joe Bob, Gator Keyfitz, SBE

                every stick was a sword or a gun.  They have a couple dozen swords, toy and real (the real ones hang on the wall as decoration).  We figured it was a losing proposition to forbid weapons, and my kids are not violent, and don't want to use real weapons at all.  Plus the fact that their dad is army gives them a really solid understanding of video games versus real war...

                Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

                by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:01:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Pine branch M1s and BARs... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jules too, Gator Keyfitz, SBE
              and hard green pine cones as grenades...in 1970's Texas.

              It was our Ardennes...

              People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

              by rgilly on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:51:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  If you think a game might make you violent... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Arken, SBE

            ...then what you're proclaiming is your own psyche's issues. Not that of the gamers, not that of the kids.

            You're afraid that YOU might be violent.

            And it's unfair to project that onto other people who are better-adjusted and know the difference between fantasy and reality.

            "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

            by Loboguara on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:46:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't the basic action the same? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sophiebrown, bluewolverine, Arken, SBE

            You're still pulling a trigger and attacking a target. The focus is the same.

            And furthermore, people don't need toy guns or video games to focus their mind's hatred and anger toward any living target.

            Isn't there something in the New Testament somewhere about, (paraphrasing) "if you hate a man in your heart, you have killed him."

            I think that'll be the first and last time I quote the Bible in a Dkos forum.

            "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"

            by droogie6655321 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:56:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Totally... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pb, Gator Keyfitz, SBE

          I was listeing to a great NPR issue regarding this same topic. The guy was a pop-culture historian, who responded to the idea that pop-culture is getting more and more violent through the years, by actually looking at what kids were watching. If you compare a show like Gunsmoke or any other weekly western of yore to anything on today, you find that the actual level of violence is lower in most respects, but on the other hand, tends to be more graphic. The crux of the issue is still simple: Parents control the vast majority of levers of power in their kids' worlds, they can onyl spend so much time at other peoples' houses, otherwise it is a responsibility to engage your child in a manner which leads to them having the mental capacity to make the distinction between fantasy and reality.

          "Pray to God, but row away from the rocks." --H.S.T

          by Third Eye Open on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:30:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right, it's SOOO much more violent now... (6+ / 0-)

            Not like back when cockfighting was a legal and popular sport.

            Not like back when Muhammad Ali was every boy's hero because he punched really well.

            Not like back when pro wrestling was actually on prime time network TV.

            Oh, and no kids ever had toy guns and shot each other back then either, right?

            Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

            by Arken on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:35:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I just mentioned Gunsmoke above -- hilarious! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Third Eye Open, SBE

            It must have been regarded as a pretty dangerous show!  I'm sure I had my first erotic reverie contemplating Miss Kitty (don't tell my mom I managed to watch it at my grandmother's).  

            No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

            by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:42:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I try not to involve myself in this debate, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            April Follies, Arken, Third Eye Open

            but as likely as it is that increased violence in games leads to increased violence in peopl, it's equally likely that it has dampened their reactions to violence also. Now whether or not that results in indifference when it comes to being violent, or a lessened need to use violence to prove oneself, or a penchant for running rampant with automatic weapons is another story.

            Basically, the effect of video game violence on the individual is just that, individual effect. That's my viewpoint anyway, I can play lots of violent video games and can promise that I won't up and explode in a rage.

            •  But what about... (5+ / 0-)

              That silly Ketamitsu (sp??) game, I sometimes wake up late at night and hage the overwhelming urge to roll all the items in my house into a large ball...my roomy is suing for damages, and her cat will never be the same

              BTW<thanks for the heads up on the Wii, I totally forgot it was coming out...one more thing to make me forget we are inching closer and closer to an autocratic government, bent of hegemonic...ohhhh, something shiny...</p>

              "Pray to God, but row away from the rocks." --H.S.T

              by Third Eye Open on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:04:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you are lucky... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cake or Death, SBE

                You just roll stuff up (and why is that game so much fun?  It's so weird...)  I flashed back to Burnout the other day while driving and was plotting how to smack into other cars...

                Nongamers..The whole point of Burnout is to crash into and make other cars crash... it is ridiculously fun, just not good to play for an hour and then go driving, as I found out...

                Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

                by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:23:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  weirdness... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jules too, SBE

                  I have no clue why that damn game is so fun...i think it's the cheesiness of the father character, and the fact that everytime you play it, you notice something you missed in your previous game...plus what can be more fun than rolling an entire planet up?

                  I empathise with your burnout problem...thats why I don't listen to RATM while playing hockey

                  "Pray to God, but row away from the rocks." --H.S.T

                  by Third Eye Open on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:36:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  totally disagree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              April Follies, chemicalresult

              Totally disagree, while maybe the more graphic violence will desensitize people somewhat, it will at least bring them to a more accurate portrayal of their actions.  To me watching old western where people got shot and just rolled over and died with no blood scene is alot more dangerous.

              I think if we showed kids people screaming for the mom, their guts falling out, the smell of them shitting and pissing themselves, the better. The quicker we show people the real conciquence of these actions the better off we will be.  Maybe if we portray violence as it really s, it will cease to be cool, because in reality violence is NOT COOL, and any sane person who has expereinced it will realize it.

              mr republican, is that a flag in your pocket or are you just glad to see my son?

              by pissedpatriot on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:11:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I laugh when it's all rated G. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SBE

            Because if it's from the glorious and innocent '50s or '60s, there's no way it could have anything inappropriate for the youngest of children.

      •  There are other games out there (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pb, mmacdDE, sophiebrown, Arken, chemicalresult, SBE

        that are not based on volience...

        This is what i find interesting. I'm a gamer.. but i have never played any type of war games.. they bore me. I play mostly sport or rpg type games.. and i ahve a fwe puzzle games like Mario party.. (which bugs the hell out of me that a 10 yrd olf can master a complex controler while an adult struggles.. its vastly amusing to)

        So think about it this way.. could it be the flash ad posted nearly every promoting a certain genre of game while the rest are buried. A parent shouldn't have to by a volient game for thier child or any other repsonible adult, regardless of the impending temper tanturm from said child. There are alot of parties involed in this desicion process and it is not fair to lay it all on the game or the game producers.

    •  WTF? (23+ / 0-)

      Have I lost my fucking mind?  I thought the real first step is to ensure we have leadership that respects human life, understands and respects the role of the military and generally has a goddamned clue.

      Addressing "video game addiction" would be somewhere around step #587.

      "The people have spoken. The Bastards." -- Mo Udall

      by Dissento on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:16:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry but (14+ / 0-)

      video game addiction to me is the same as having too much time on your hands.  Do I have a romance novel addiction?  Does my mom have a produce preserving addiction?  Is my husband addicted to lying on the couch with his dog?

      A good first step would be replacing the assholes that call themselves our Congress with people who can see the forest for the trees and will support the issues for the right reasons, not because they think a particular issue will get them re-elected.

      Don't look at what someone says they will do in the future; look at what they have done in the past and what they are doing now. Judge Joe Brown

      by dazed in pa on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:22:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Meh. Games don't make people violent. (15+ / 0-)

      I love video games.

      I know they have desensitized me to violence. I've probably killed a million simulated humans, some quite gruesomely.

      But then, so has endless violence on TV, movies, in books, in music, in sports.

      I work with guns, and have a gun, but I know its highly improbable I'd ever have cause to use it.

      I'm pretty sure I could kill without hesitation in reality, having done it so many times on a screen.

      I love violence. I love UFC and boxing and the many minor combat sports you might catch on ESPN 2.

      Yet I am not violent. I've been in maybe six fights in my entire life, and none since college.
      In several threatening situations since, I've been able to talk down or otherwise diffuse the problems.

      And violence is so much more prevalent in other cultures that don't have a lot of TV, or video games.

      We are the most violent of cultures that do have those things. Europe and Canada and Australia and japan and south Korea have huge gaming and TV cultures, but are much less violent than the US.

      Its not the video games. Its how people are raised, and more importantly, how afraid they are, and how much they are taught to disdain other people.

      Keep the video games. Stop the fear and hate and intolerance.

    •  David Cross (22+ / 0-)

      "What was the name of that video game that the Nazis played before they invaded Poland?"

    •  Couldn't agree more (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zic

      Well said!

      Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -8.75 / -6.10

      by Alegre on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:38:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you're right. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye BattleCry, zic, Harper, Arken

      It WOULD be a good first step; this mess we call life is a multi-pronged situation -- ain't no one solution to ANY of our problems -- but steps like the one you mention are essential to the ultimate solution.

      These problems are vast and complex, like a disease for which you need to take a cocktail of medicines, not just one pill.

      The glorification, glamourisation and addiction thereto in this video game experience of war -- they DO matter. I'm not oversimplifying - not saying it's the CAUSE. I'm saying it's symptomatic.

      Anyway. I'm kind of blown away by this story, so I'm just going to fade away and let it sink in some more...

      •  The interesting thing that I find (3+ / 0-)

        is that a large, large percentage of video game addictions are a result of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), and you can see it in anybody that has turned one of them into a direct extension of their mind. How much gold do I have? How many people like me now? The game becomes a simple I/O system for the mind, as the player becomes gradually more reclusive.

        I have a lot of friends that play them, and I used to play a lot before I realized what the system is - it's crack. Hell, even in line today I was given an ad brochure that had a splash page: "World of Warcraft, $xx.xx! Oh but wait check it out, there's a two week trial for $1.99!

        That, my friends, is how you sell drugs - not games. The games that provide not just an escape from life, but a complete alternative society, are the ones that are the most dangerous.

    •  what I took from it (0+ / 0-)

      ...was this was cakewalks AwAkEnInG to reality (or perhaps reawakening(?))

      Look, I think about this stuff every day even while I'm out recreatin' and stuff.

      OBL's game plan of bleeding us out man by man (woman by woman), dollar by dollar, drop by drop is working perfectly.  Why, when he gave us his playbook?  Stooping to their level with torture...Gah!

      Drives me crazy that we do it on communist islands...it's going on right now, y'know?

      I'm not going to schralp this guys consumer habits, gaming, (sheesh, seen the cost of movies/shows/--thank god for midterm gas prices~merry xmas~) or whaever....I'm sure the marketing firms have more data than you or I or anyone else cares to know on any of us....

      "...and they'd call that science. And no one would believe it." (Colbert)

      by lookingglass on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:11:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh please..... (3+ / 0-)

      My son has every nintendo console that has ever come out and I suppose I'll have to go do the preorder thing to ensure he gets his Christmas present.

      NONE of the games he plays are gratuitously violent,
      in the way games like "Doom" and war like games are.

      He is 17 and his favorite game is Super Smash Brothers.

      One reason we like the nintendo systems is that the games are more family friendly and to the best of my knowledge there aren't as many overtly violent games available for nintendo as there are for playstation and x-box.

      Just because someone is into games doesn't mean they are into realistic, violent games.

      Parents should refuse to buy those for their kids.

      •  Umm... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cake or Death, SBE

        the point of Super Smash Brothers is to beat the crap out of each other.  So it's not exactly a non-violent game...

        My kids have every sort of game platform and all kinds of games.  My husband and I have set limits, we play the games with the kids, and we have not seen any change in their behavior since they started playing the more violent games.

        Parents should know what their kids are playing.

        Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

        by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:32:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah..... (0+ / 0-)

          Its cartoon violence, it is not realistic in the least and I don't have a problem with it.

          It doesn't begin to compare with games like "Doom" which are much more realistic and feature blood spurting from shot victims.

          You could make an argument that "pac-man" is "violent" but to compare it, or smash bros. with gratuitously, realistically violent games is ridiculous.

          •  It's a game where the point is to beat (0+ / 0-)

            the shit out of every other character.  Cartoon or not, it is violent.  Not every shooter game has blood and guts and gore.  Lots of them are no more violent than Super Smash Brothers...they are all games where the whole point is to physically dominate, shoot, throw or otherwise injure your opponents.

            Sorry.  I cannot and will not be agreeing with you on this one.  I would not have let my kids play Super Smash Brothers when they were little, just like they couldn't play Doom or those fighting games or any of those violent shooters.

            Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

            by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:24:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lrhoke

        I was waiting for someone to point out that Nintendo is the most kid-friendly and non-violent of all the video game consoles. Does anyone else see the irony of this diary devolving into a video game violence debate when the story was about buying the new Nintendo console?

    •  This is silly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SBE

      Kids thought war was cool long before video games, or computers, or anything like that.  

      Cowboys and Indians, after all.

      Or the Avalon Hill board games that I loved as a teen.

      I knew a family that decided to give their kids no violent toys whatsoever.  Onc Christmas, they give the kids a huge collection of plaastic farm animals and wooden blocks.  Christmas day, the kids are having a war, pigs vs. cows.

      Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

      by plf515 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:35:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  so anyone who plays video games is (3+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      jules too, chemicalresult, SBE
      Hidden by:
      zic

      an addict? Which are you, troll or idiot? Not that you can't be both.

      I've played video games since they first existed. In fact, I once worked at Atari Games as an electronics engineering tech. I've never had any particular difficulty in differentiating between fantasy violence and the real thing, and I've never had any difficulty in prioritizing my time so that video games interfered with the rest of what I have to do.

      It's you that "ain't cool".

      Though I'd like to thank you for reminding me of something. I found a video arcade emulator (MAME) for the Linux OS, and I really need to burn it and a stack of games to a liveCD so I can play a few things I haven't seen in the last 20 years. I really don't spend enough time doing things just for fun.

      "Just for fun" things are part of making life worth living, not going around looking for other people's recreational activities that must be stopped.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:01:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You resorted to name calling, so I trolled you. (0+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
        alizard

        Go ahead and check, I think it's maybe the third one I've handed out since I got here.

        And read my post, I simply suggested that there might be a link between boys addicted to war games and enlisting in the military; I did not attack gaming in general. I attacked addiction; as the first comment, it seemed pertinent since the diarist did not seem to get the irony of his diary.

        FYI, I'm a writer. I've interviewed hundreds of folks on active duty, dozens of businesses making products for those active duty people, including guys out to get rich selling x-box and nintendo software to the military. A big part of their sales pitch is that the men and women in the field already know the platforms. And I know way too many boys who've spent thier hs years gaming instead of learning, where the military is one of few viable career options.

        So go call someone else names, 'cause I think my comment struck too close to home. You sound like an alcoholic denying he's got a problem. This whole friggin thread sounds that way.

        •  the only problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SBE

          is inside your mind, and since I'm not Dr. Frist, I'm not going to try to diagnose it by remote control.

          Suggesting that I'm addicted to something I've been too busy to do in the last couple of months tells me a lot more about you than it is about me.

          Apparently, you have the fixed delusion that anyone who engages in recreational activities you disapprove of is "an addict". People like you can't be cured, only exposed as nutcases.

          I write for money myself these days.

          The biggest difference between us is that anything I write described as factual probably is. Since I mainly write Linux tutorials these days, this is probably a good thing.

          You obviously have completely confused fact with the phantoms within what passes for your mind. Have you considered FoxNews? There's a place for people like you over there.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 09:14:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  have a doughnut (0+ / 0-)

      for misusing the troll rating process.

      A troll rating isn't supposed to be awarded just because you can't come up with substantive arguments against what I had to say.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 04:00:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish I could still troll-rate. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zic, SBE

      I don't even play first-person shooters, either.

      Sometimes the jokes write themselves. Sometimes they run for President.

      by Sixfortyfive on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 04:41:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A compelling story. (7+ / 0-)

    "You don't know the REAL Homer--it's all burping and neglect!" -- Bart Simpson

    by Pandoras Box on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 09:44:56 AM PDT

    •  It IS a compelling story.... (9+ / 0-)

      ...and it's not about the historical signifigance or comparison of the impact of violence in Tom & Jerry cartoons as opposed to battle video games.

      To me, this diary is about a moment of stark and raw recognition -- that of the personal impact to another human forced to fight a war of lies.  

      It is a diary that shows us but one ruined life.  And for what?

      Thank you cakestick for sharing your moment.

      "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." --LJ Peter (-8.25/-7.18)

      by Hells Bells on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:22:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well said. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hells Bells

        "You don't know the REAL Homer--it's all burping and neglect!" -- Bart Simpson

        by Pandoras Box on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:28:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes well said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hells Bells

        I think it's sad that this devolved into a debate about violent video games, but the story to take away is that while we're entertaining ourselves with bread and circuses, this Marine went to fight a war of lies and came back broken. I understand if a war-themed video game might be personal for this Marine, but it's bread and circuses all the same.

        Remember the music video for System of a Down's BYOB? Send the poor to war while we enjoy the party here.

  •  Thanks for this story (10+ / 0-)

    Heartbreaking.  

    Talk about "reality TV"...

    Yes, there are still FEMINISTS on Daily Kos! Join the fabulous Supervixens every Thurs. night.

    by hrh on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 09:45:22 AM PDT

  •  thanks for sharing the story.. (9+ / 0-)

    and pardon my french, but fuck not asking someone to being the 'last to die for a mistake'!!!  what about the first...the fifth....the ninety-seventh or the two thousand fiftieth???  

    indeed, IT MUST STOP...

    "Its hard for me to make peace with people that hate pancakes but I'll try." ~NJwlss

    by 73rd virgin on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 09:52:21 AM PDT

  •  And he's going back in? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    srkp23

    I assume back to an assignment US-side.
    That poor poor man...

  •  THANK YOU - for showing - THE sad TRUTH (4+ / 0-)

    Anyone who has had a family member go to war, either in past conflicts or current (I've had family member in all)....

    never forget - and are changed forever.
    WAR never leaves their minds - yet Govt. and the VA leaves them as fast as possible.

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE - don't support Nintendo WAR C-R-A-P.  You are being conditioned, whatever you watch.  

    YOUR CHOICE.

    "We Americans have no commission from God to police the world."

    • Benjamin Harrison, address to Congress, 1888

  •  Wow. Um... (12+ / 0-)

    That was a little eerie.

    Even in Tulsa, a relatively small city in Oklahoma (where I live), there are derelict people walking around downtown who are crushed and ruined by Vietnam. I'm sure it must be even worse in larger cities.

    Now that some of our men and women are coming home, I can only hope they'll have something of their former lives waiting for them. But with as far as their deployements have been stretched, the probability of that shrinks smaller and smaller.

    We've got to do something to take care of these people. Ending this war is a good start, but for many (like this man), the damage has been done.

    I don't pray often, but I will pray that we treat this generation of veterans better than those that came before.

    "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"

    by droogie6655321 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:10:38 AM PDT

  •  I'll bet this is just the beginning (25+ / 0-)

    Because they armed forces are stretched so thin, and peopel are being forced into three tours of duty, we haven't seen many people actually returning yet, at least not compared to what we will see eventually. I'm glad they have something to say, and I'm glad people listen. I will NOT be glad when they get frustrated that while their own lives are wrecked, nobody over here seems to be bothered much by it, and I will start being afraid when it turns out that all those cuts to the VA included critical psychiatric services. You don't go to a war and not need help when you get back, That is a myth, and perpetuating it (as Bush and the Chicken hawks who haven't been) means having people in serious pain desperately trying to make sense of all the killing they have seen and done, and that they feel it is all they're good for.

    I had a friend who got this way being a commando in the First Golf War, he never got over it, he got hammered all the time, and talked about killing people. It is fucked up. It took a lot of friends and help to try to pul him back.

    You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

    by dnamj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:11:48 AM PDT

    •  Talks of killing people (4+ / 0-)

      My friend's husband got back from Iraq earlier this year, and sometimes he's pretty stable, but usually he isn't.  He jokes about it, saying he's like a drunk cross between the grandpa on Soap and John Goodman's character in The Big Lebowski.  He's trying to get help with the drinking, but it's been really hard.  He used to be a tweaker before he joined and he's scared that if he stops drinking he'll go back to drugs.  But mainly, he's worried about his 3 daughters seeing him like this.  They've sent the girls to grandma's a few months ago but nothing seems to be changing.  My friend is ready to leave him and he seems to be almost willing to let her go.

      Black by popular demand!

      by fabooj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:17:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not surprised (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sagittarius

        I get freaked out just listening to the news. If I got forced to go kill people I'm sure I would not be fit for civilian society afterwards. That is one reason they even GET people to do multiple tours, when people get back they are so messed up that the only place that makes sense anymore is the battlefield. Convenient huh?

        You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

        by dnamj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:10:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Multiple tours (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nobody at all

          I wondered about that.  My friend's brother was sent in 2003 then after, I think, about 8 mos. when he came back, he said he was definitely not going to reenlist.  After coming back, he had issues with everyone and she said he thought going back would be best, since he felt he could no longer function at home.  They tried sending him out here to LA for a bit, but that didn't really help.  Her parents even sent him on a month long Carribean vacation, but she just emailed us last week to tell us he's reenlisted.  

          Black by popular demand!

          by fabooj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:17:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's sick (3+ / 0-)

            It's making me think that they have no intention of rehabilitating people to rejoin civil society, they will just keep them over there until they're dead or maimed.

            I can not imagine a more evil system.

            You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

            by dnamj on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:30:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  When you deal with (0+ / 0-)

            a simplistic life, kill or be killed, long enough, it takes on a life of its own.  You don't really have to make decisions except based on keeping yourself alive.  Should I wear this dress or these shoes?  Who gives a rats ass.  It's not like a decision between an extra canteen of water or two more clips of ammo.

            Suddenly you are being asked to make decisions about things that to most people are just everyday decisions, but to someone with PTSD seem ridiculous.  They are operating on an entirely different plane.  Small things become magnified out of all reason.

            Readjusting to civilian life, especially one in which nobody seems to think anything is different, because it isn't any different to them, is very hard without a support base.

            That's why so many end up re-enlisting.  They hate the job, but it is a comfort blanket.  The people around them understand them, and a lot of the decisions are made for them.

            It's hard to put into words...it's more of a feeling.

  •  The cost that compounds over time (15+ / 0-)

    The young man will not be the same parent, spouse, employee, neighbor, and citizen that he could have been without the trauma of being an occupier in an unjust war.  The fabric of our society is damaged when our young are brutalized by participating in brutalizing.

  •  Consumer experience (3+ / 0-)

    I would say this is a life experience.  

    What part of the country you in (city)?

    "What would the Democrats do? First off, we'd tell the truth."

    by egarratt on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:12:56 AM PDT

  •  Why does that soldier hate 'Merka? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, adigal, bluewolverine, Raptor, SBE

    By god, send him back! By talking to people in a line just doing their patriotic duty buying consumer crap they don't need, he's ensuring the terrorists win!

    "No, I don't want to respond to him. He's at 20 percent in the polls. No one listens to him. He has no credibility. It's ridiculous." - Joe Biden on the VP

    by The Lighthouse Keeper on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:13:38 AM PDT

  •  Reminds me of when I was a kid and JFK was shot (6+ / 0-)

    The next day after Kennedy was shot, my mother sat my brither and me down in the kitchen and sais we were no longer allowed to play with guns.  No more "cowboys and indians."  No more "cops and robbers."  No more guns.  Period.

    And she took them all away and disposed of them.

    We appealed to our dad to no avail.  He told us he would teach us about guns when we were old enough to go hunting with him. (And he did.) But he told us guns were not toys.  And he said toy guns were not good toys.

    We understood that it was connected to the President getting shot, but we still couldn't figure out why our toy rifles and pistols were okay one day and not okay the next.

    But that was the end of them.  Never got another one.

  •  ok weird, last night I thought about games & war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    potownman

    as I was shopping it struck how so many kids we're glibly attracted to and playing violent video games.  It seems to set them up as war is 'fun or exciting' but would they really think that if they we're on the front line.  Really getting shot at, really feely scared to die, really getting angry and rage at every Iraqi innocent or not, really not knowing what to expect just by petting a dog or giving a kid candy?  It's all really happening, to very real people in very real and violent ways and by a government, in our name, with members that have said, THEY DON'T CARE WHAT IRAQIIS THINK OR THE MID-EAST FOR THAT MATTER.  to all our peril.

    •  The Iraqis have been completely dehumanized (8+ / 0-)

      whether by these games we're talking about or by the anonymous death tolls we hear.  Just a buncha "commas."  Before getting blown up, they thought, felt, had ideas for their futures just like any one of us. When the news media actually does manage to show some poor dead middle-eastern person in the street, I tell myself, maybe that person wanted to be an artist.  Maybe that person was bringing his wife flowers.  Maybe that woman just found out she was going to have a baby.  It's all heartbreaking.  

    •  War games have been around as long as mankind (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Radlein, gaspare, SBE

      My generation played nintendo and had toy guns, the generation before that just toy guns and cowboys and indians.  Children mocking adults goes back even further, including war.


      The difference though, is that video games are for adults for the most part.  The average age of a gamer is in the 30's at this point.  More game systems are purchased for adults than for children.  However, Nintendo is more of a kid's device, so they tend to have safer games like Mario and Animal Crossing.  Nothing nearly as violent as PS2 or XBox games.

    •  If I was a game programmer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chemicalresult

      I'd develop a game that could be handed out free to teenagers, like the US military does with "America's Army" or whatever it's called...but it can only be played once. You play it, you die...but when you reload it to play again, a message comes up: "In real war, there are no replays" or something like that, along with the websites of some good peace organizations.

      Might get the message out better than protests...

      -- "...the worst Presidency since James Buchanan..." -- KO, 9/25/06

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:06:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It has been done. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Radlein, chemicalresult, SBE

        I do not know about 'war' games or most MMORPG's, but there have been a few computer games that will give you the option of playing 'for keeps' as it were.  Where, after achieving level XX and customizing your stuff, one fatal mistake will mean that this character of your's is not playable anymore.

        The only game that I am certain of allowing this is Diablo (both versions.)

        'Pundit' is a Latin term for 'Concern Troll'.

        by linnen on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:46:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Final death. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SBE

          It's a standard in roguelike games (of which Diablo is a poor clone).  Roguelikes are rather like RPGs, except with a lot more randomization and less of a focus on character development as compared to exploring your settings and surviving.  They are also, almost always, freeware or shareware -- AFAIK, there's very little real commercial development in the field.

          Google "Nethack" if you're interested -- it's the real giant in the field.

      •  I will send it to her. (0+ / 0-)

        Get ready, people.  She and I have been saying this for 2 years.  You, too, will have an encounter with the face of PTSD in the near future.

        The walking wounded are among us, invisable, forgotten, and denied by first by the VA - then their friends - then their families - then themselves.

        Ilona and I talked last night.  She is working on the last two pages of her book on PTSD this weekend.

        Cakestick - at 22 you will be around a lot longer than I.  Please don't make the mistake I made nearly 40 years ago.  

        I was a Viet Nam Veteran - technically.  I was in Saigon, Than son Huet, and Pleiku.  But the war was all around me.  I was never shot at, never had a weapon, and never had any reason for one.

        Over there I learned that we were on the wrong side, for the wrong reasons, fighting for the wrong people.  So did almost everyone else.  Because my life was never at risk [as far as I knew] when I returned home I was able to leave it all behind.  I thought.

        I did what I could to stop it - not much - and got on with life.  

        However, a few years later some Viet Nam Vets surfaced with problems that seemed to be flaws in character. I was wrong and kept on with my life.

        I mean those guys were drunks, druggies, and frick'in crazy.  They were a nuisence and a mess.

        Those were the guys who took bullets I could have caught but did't.  Those were the guys who took incoming when I took a shower.  Those were the guys who fought for me when I didn't have to.  Those were the guys upon whom I turned my back.

        Cakestick - don't  turn  your  back  on  them.  Please.

        If you ever see that middle-aged man again, approach him from the front - never from behind.  Get his attention - do not touch him and don't try to shake his hand.  

        Just say, "sir, I met you once before. You said something that haunts me and I would like to talk with you about it. Could I have a few minutes of your time?"

        Then say, "could I show you something I wrote about you?  It is in my wallet." [Do not reach for your wallet first.  Never, never surprise this man.]

        Then pull out a copy of you diary.

        Here's what your diary will mean to him: He is real.  He was heard.  He was appreciated.  He has made an impact on someone.  He is alive.

        Then, ask to meet him for coffee - not a drink - in the next day or two. You pick the place and time.  When you meet, let him pick the seats.

        Then, say this, "Can you tell me about it?"  All you need to do is listen.  That is your most important task.  Just listen.

        Do that, and you will have helped someone come all the way home.

        I took the time to write this here and now because it is important for everyone to know - and because, in a way you asked.

        Thank you for that - and thank you for the diary.  Ilona will be proud of you.

        John Laesch - soooo much better than the other guy

        by llbear on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:58:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  and let the holiday shopping madness begin... (5+ / 0-)

    this year instead of feeding the corporate coffers, volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen over Thanksgiving or Christmas.  there is no better gift than seeing the look of gratitude on a homeless vet's face on a cold lonely holiday as you pile up a big plate of hot food topped with a friendly smile.

  •  So... (6+ / 0-)

    did you stay in line after he left?

  •  So did you still get the WII pre-order slip? (7+ / 0-)

    I only ask because I had a similar experience when lining up to buy an adult toy (no not that kind) and in the end I left the line and went home empty handed.

    This wasn't a veteran, just a horribly sad homeless woman and her children.

    It is so difficult to keep one's perspective in our consumerist society though, proven by the predictable fact that a few weeks later I went back out and bought the toy.

    .
    .
    .
    We are all atheists about most of the gods that society has ever believed in - some of us just go one god further
    -- Richard Dawkin

    by deafmetal on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:20:11 AM PDT

    •  I've got it in hand (7+ / 0-)

      There were about 30 people lined up when I was there. When I walked out after purchasing the pre-order, I almost banged my head on the half open security gate because I was just staring blankly at it.. thinking "This is no longer as exciting."

      As easy as it is to hate the capitalism machine, it's almost impossible in our society to avoid or put a dent in it. Sad, but all too true.

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cakestick

        As easy as it is to hate the capitalism machine, it's almost impossible in our society to avoid or put a dent in it.

        It's also hard to stop the war machine, but people try.  Don't give up and don't give in.  There are things worth struggling for.

      •  As Mother Teresa said: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PanzerMensch

        "One can do no great things, just small things with great love."

        Walking away from that store might not have have made much of a difference, but it would have made a difference.

        I'm just sayin', is all.  The more people say "There's nothing I can do", the more nothing ever gets done.

        Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. - New Testament

        by Mehitabel9 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:21:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's tempting to ask... (6+ / 0-)

    ...why don't our troops support the troops???

    But it's more sobering to reflect on the fact that BushCo's lies are aimed at a smaller and smaller group of people as time goes on.  The Marines and the troops know the truth.  Certainly our generals know the truth.  The Iraqis know the truth.  Most of our fellow citizens, it seems, suspect the truth even if they don't actually know it.  And pretty much every nation outside this one knows the truth.

    The only people who don't know the truth seem to be in the administration.

    Christ, that's no way to run so much as a dinner party, much less a government!

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:20:29 AM PDT

  •  Last night I was cheated at the KFC (4+ / 0-)

    I ordered a variety bucket plus two extra orders of flavored wings.  However, they only gave me a third of my variety bucket.  Why didn't I check?  I don't know.  I usually do but I guess I was just in such a rush last night.  It's no big deal.

    Now as for your diary, yeah I know the feeling.  Here I am complaining about not getting my KFC order or dealing with stupid people working for the cable/internet company when there are real people with real problems out there.  Sometimes I think that these nintendo games and computer games that give a war set up are actually detrimental to the anti war effort and beneficial to Bush and people like him.  We like playing war games and we don't realize that the real world is not Command and Conquer (I haven't played that game in like 8 or 9 years).  There are real men and women who actually have to go and fight these wars.  People die and are injured and that's just on the American side.  There's been a lot of Iraqi suffering as well.  

    But don't feel too badly.  You may like playing war games but you understand the reality of war and what goes on.  You can reach out and feel that veteran's pain.  So it's not all bad.  It remind me of the night my friend and I went out to dinner and we had some leftover crab cakes (my friend ordered and then did not eat them) and we gave them to a homeless guy.

  •  Change the Course (0+ / 0-)

    "I believe that withdrawal is now the more prudent option." Kay Bailey Hutchinson - (1993)

    by George on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:21:21 AM PDT

  •  So did you still by the war game? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    17. Ne5

    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

    by Spud1 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:22:59 AM PDT

    •  I wasn't getting one, (8+ / 0-)

      I actually didn't have a game in mind when I went. Needless to say, I decided to purchase Super Mario Galaxy as opposed to Call of Duty 3.

      Call of Duty.. what duty are they being called to these days?

      Bomb dodger?

      Democracy Salesperson?

      War Machine Geartooth?

      Target?

      •  Yeah, I don't play any. Generational thing. I'm (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mxwll, potownman, joyful

        from the D&D rolling the dice era, laying out dungeons on graph paper.

        17. Ne5

        In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

        by Spud1 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:50:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  which reminds me (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pondite, Spud1, Mxwll, potownman, joyful, SBE

          i need to pick up a new pad of graph paper

          Gaming session this weekend LOL

          •  holy cow (0+ / 0-)

            I remember the summer of 1978 hanging around Fascination Corner in the Southglenn mall outside Denver, watching the junior high and high-school kids play Dungeons and Dragons.  Bought some Steve Jackson games like OGRE and GEV.  Lots and lots of graph paper...

            Loyalty comes from love of good government, not fear of a bad one. Justice Hugo Black.

            by Pondite on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:00:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I remember that place (0+ / 0-)

              I used to go to Southglenn Mall in '78...it was the only decent mall for miles and miles in the southwest Denver metro area.  I remember walking past that store all the time...but never, ever went in (I think my brothers did though).  No, I was in Casual Corner trying on jeans so tight I had to lie down to put them on...the highwaisted ones that literally could bring a tear to your eye once you got them zipped up.  Ouch, what the female will do for fashion...

            •  heh (0+ / 0-)

              some how wind up being the map maker.. im getting up there in years where i cna remember every twist and turn the DM throws at us in a crawl... LOL

      •  heh. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Radlein, Cali Scribe, SBE

        You know, I'm the same way, I love my video games, but I have no real interest in those war simulation games. However, judging by the anti-videogame comments above, it sounds like we'd better start playing all the war games if they ever bring back the draft*--after all, I wouldn't want to get shot in Iraq while looking for the fire flower power up or something! Sheesh.


        • Hopefully I'm too old for that already, but you never know...
        •  Well... (0+ / 0-)
          I'm a late boomer and I spent my day searching for a copy of Leisure Suit Larry for windows.

          On the serious side and actually relevant to this thread, I just finished "Chasing Ghosts - A Soldier's Fight For America From Baghdad to Washington" by Paul Reickhoff. It's a real eye opener.

  •  Driving home on the freeway (7+ / 0-)

    I passed a convoy in their Striker armored vehicles and made eye contact with young troops probably headed off to Iraq.  We exchanged thumbs up signs, and I felt tears in my eyes. So damned sad to think of what awaits them.

  •  Did you buy it? (3+ / 0-)

    Several others have asked too...  

    It's very hard to break the consumer addiction, and if you still bought it, don't feel too terrible...  we've all got our vices, and it's good to see that you recognize yours.   Nobody can be perfect, so don't let anyone here guilt you into thinking you should be.

    Very interesting story.  I feel terrible for that poor Marine.  He obviously needs some serious help, and our country is failing him.  When he needs to drink heavily to numb the pain, and then wander around a mall, he has a lot to work through, and it's clear that he doesn't have that help.

    •  He was generalizing about war games, (2+ / 0-)

      I avoid them to begin with.

    •  One of the things (6+ / 0-)

      he surely needed to do was try and tell his story...try and tell the people in line that it was so fucking crazy to come back from a war and be faced with people who's immediate problem, what got them up early in the morning, was the importance of buying a new video game.

      I'm pretty sure he found it surreal.

      'Coming home' from a war is just the beginning of putting the puzzle pieces together of a deconstructing experience.

      Financial decisions are ethical decisions.

      by trinityfly on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:35:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I'm pretty sure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trinityfly

        he'd seen the news reports of all the evidence of the lies to get us into the war.  And, as you say, the most important thing to seemingly all Americans is to keep on keeping on.

        "60% of American Oppose the War", he sees in a headline.  And yet, what he sees at the mall completely contradicts that statement.

        He goes to Iraq and lives with nothing, hearig all the while that Americans oppose the war.  And yet, he comes to see no one doing anything to stop it.

        He gave up every comfort he had, and comes home to see people with extraneous comforts.

        He fought for the "mythical" American way of life, only to learn that it's basically going to the mall to get anything you want any time you want.

        And he saw people die, and comes home to see peopel spending good money on games that simulate those experiences, but the people playing them won't sign up and sacrifice as he did.

        No wonder he was drunk.  I would stay drunk too.

  •  Don't Worry - Be Happy! (4+ / 0-)

    good thing mall security didn't get wind of this malcontent-- they would have escorted him outta the mall in one minute flat.

    after all, we can't have people protesting the war while people are just trying to buy stuff.

    remember-- Chimpy said to go out and buy stuff two days after 9/11.

    "Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice." Spinoza

    by Superpole on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:33:05 AM PDT

  •  Your "AHA" moment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    potownman, Sagittarius

    I was sitting in line for a fucking Nintendo while there are people dying for no reason. I'm programmed to buy the latest crap just because it's the latest crap, and play games that mock the reality of the horrifying environment of war.

    Good for you.  I hope you never forget this heartbreaking experience.  During the VietNam war, the Weather Underground touted the phrase, "Bring the War Home," a an effort to wake up Americans and force them to SEE what war really looks like, feels like, smells like... and how bad it hurts.  Sounds like you got a real up-close taste of the cost of war.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  •  Did you buy the game? Will you still play it? (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't read through all the comments but you never said in your diary whether you went ahead and bought that game.

    Did this experience turn you off from violent, war-related video games altogether?  Or will you still play them?

    Just wondering because hubby (in his late 30s) still like to play computer games.  More strategy than shoot-em-up, but still.

    Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -8.75 / -6.10

    by Alegre on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:37:34 AM PDT

    •  See numerous comments above... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SBE

      ...s/he wasn't buying a war game.

      Clark... Edwards.. Feingold. Pick any 2 and win the prize!

      by BleedingKnuckleLiberal on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:09:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not curious enough I guess (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SBE

        I receommended this daiary for what the diarist intially wrote.  I'm disgusted that a few people chose to turn this into a flame-war over the merits (or lack there of) of video games.  I'm emmbarrassed that I left my one comment before I saw what others had turned this diary into.

        Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -8.75 / -6.10

        by Alegre on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:45:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've only run into one returning Iraq vet. (6+ / 0-)

    He was the sort that actually lived for the fighting...and the Iraq War broke his body and mind, as well.

    Then the Army kicked him to the curb. Thanks for serving multiple tours...now scram.

    Somewhere out there, George Washington is wondering why he even bothered.

    by cskendrick on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:37:40 AM PDT

  •  And who followed that Marine to make sure he's ok (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sayitaintso

    I know that not everyone is capable of dealing with someone in a stressed mental state, but when you see a fellow human being in that much need, please try to do something for them.  I don't care if they are a soldier or not, when you are approached by someone telling you all that, they are asking for help.

    If you don't want to do it yourself, call the police to pick them up and get them some help.  If the person is a sservicemember, consider inviting them to a local VFW hall, where they are bound to run into veterans who will recognize their need and hopefully point them towards resources that can assist.

    •  Nobody. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      calichick, SBE

      I understand that people that are in this bad of shape should be taken care of, but I have a personal rule that tells me not to mess with somebody that's drunk in general, no less one that's drunk that early in the morning in a mall.

      As much as I would've liked to lend a hand, he was in no condition to be reasoned with.

      •  Unfortunate. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cakestick

        I understand that most people don't want to get involved, and especially not to put themselves at risk for a stranger.  But it's not especially risky or time consuming to get a hold of a cop, or even mall security, to step in and make sure the guy doesn't hurt himself or others.

        Please understand, I'm not trying to tell you what you should have done.  Given the situation, and the emotional impact, I think your reaction was understandable.  But I am trying to give you something to think about, so should you find yourself in a situation like that again, you may be able to lend a helping hand to a fellow human being.  

  •  How Sad (18+ / 0-)

    I just found this diary and I have to say I'm disgusted that a beautiful piece like this has been turned in to a <bold>PISSING MATCH</bold> over the merits of video games (or lack there-of).

    This diarist shares what for him was an extremely moving experience, and it's trashed out with 115 comments and replies and "yeah but"s at the top of the whole thing.

    Grow up people.

    Let's see some honest discussion about what this god-damned fucking cock-up of an occupation is doing to our troops and their families!

    Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -8.75 / -6.10

    by Alegre on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:42:03 AM PDT

    •  Yeah bro (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tabbycat in tenn, Alegre, Sagittarius

      right on.

      This diary helped me (not with VGs) see my missive below..

      "...and they'd call that science. And no one would believe it." (Colbert)

      by lookingglass on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:50:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)

      This man was clearly as shattered as can be, and I just happened to be sitting in line to pick up a video game console. It would have happened the same if there was a crowd around the "Ice Cream of the Future" stand in front of the game shop.

      Bad parents make bad children who if they play violent video games, might just be unsocialized enough to do something violent.

      Can we move on?

    •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

      yes, isn't it amazing that people can overlook the pain in the man's memories, the sad effects war has wrought on him and hundreds of thousands others, and then harp on a debate over video games.  I for one feel that these games do have a great effect on the hardening of consciences and sensitivities toward life in general.  I am in my early 50's, and I too lived through childhood where the boys played "war", (but in those days we went outside and pretended to shoot each other and run and get away), watched "Combat" on tv, etc.  I was never one for "GI Joe" as that came out when I was an older child and the gay boy in me did not like the violence inherent in playing war.

      However, there is a huge difference between the technical expertise of early 60's child play and the realistic portrayls of war in today's technolocigally-advance war games.  I don't see it as a positive development at all.  Our society has been coarsened, love has turned into hate, genorosity into selfishness and self-aborption, all fueled by the consumerist mentality.

      The drunk veteran has a point.  People are playing pretend war while the unfortunate victims of war are living the reality of the hell of war.  And turning that real pain into a debate about video games does not justice to his pain.

      "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."-FDR

      by Michigan Paul on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:58:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well Said Paul (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Michigan Paul, RosyFinch

        Well said.

        I'm 43 so these games came after my time too.  What worries me is the effect things like games, video, and tv 24/7 are doing to the health of our children.  

        Whe we were little, we played outside.  When I was 6 my friends and I played "pirates" and we ripped up leaves from a friends' mother's iris plants.  She wasn't happy.  But we ran around and got fresh air and interacted with each other.

        Contrast that with today's youngsters.  Is it any wonder we have an explosion of obesity in our society?

        That soldier definitely had a point - people play games and pretend - politicians are gung-ho for this war and are quick to send others in to do their dirty work and claim to be tough on terrorists and none of it's real.

        It was certainly real for that soldier and it will remain real for the rest of his life in his nightmares.  Same is true for hundreds of thousands of others on all sides of this conflict / occupation.

        The Goopers in DC who are pushing the BS line of "stay the course"?  They're about as real as the kids playing these games today.  It's all pretend - for all of them.

        Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -8.75 / -6.10

        by Alegre on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:52:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, its a game to the GOP (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alegre

          Yes, to Rumsfeld and Bush and Cheney and their neocon gang, who never went to war and whose children will never go or intend to go (war to these people is for the lower-classes, who can be manipulated with appeals to patriotism and the horrible Islamic menace to their  faith), this might as well be a Nintendo game.  I know Nintendo is dated but hell I never followed those games.  The closest I came to a computer game was PAC man at the bar in the early 80's.  There was some other thing where you shot at invading spacecraft from outer space.  It was a thing to do while bored at the bar.  I grew out of it.  Yes, we played outside when we were young. My Mom, when she grew tired of me, said "WHY DON'T YOU GO OUTSIDE AND GET SOME FRESH AIR!!!"

          But things were different back in the early 60's, most Mothers stayed at home, and should some dangerous stranger lurk near, he would not get away with it.  The sharp eyes of scores of Moms throughout the neighborhood, there was always one washing dishes in front of the window, would have noticed it immediately.  (the cookie-cutter subdivision I grew up in all had the same lay-out).

          Ah, the good old days.

          "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."-FDR

          by Michigan Paul on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:02:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Vietnam Vets (7+ / 0-)

    I grew up in the 70s.  I was in high shool and college during that period.  Just young enough to have friends with older siblings in the lottery, too young for my direct age group to be draffted.

    But it was always clear when you met one of the Vets.  The ones that were "broken".  You didn't have to ask them if they served there. You just knew.  You'd be in a bar in NYC and someone would come in and sit by themselves and you just knew.  Not to be melodramatic, but you would talk to them, look into their eyes and know their lives would never be what it was before serving.  They had a haunted look.

    A lot of younger people have forgotten about those lost souls.  They were a common sight and I think we are developing another generation of similar vets.

  •  Tip Jar (35+ / 0-)

    Thanks a million everybody, this is one story out of millions that needed to be told. I only wish that he didn't blindly walk away after the fact.. Myself and an older gentleman seemed to be the only ones concerned after he left. :-\

    IT MUST STOP!

    •  Thanks! (4+ / 0-)

      I am now prepared as I enter the "malling season" to offer a guy like this a cup of coffee and chat.  However frightening the convo will be...

      "...and they'd call that science. And no one would believe it." (Colbert)

      by lookingglass on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:52:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tabbycat in tenn, Sagittarius

      You painted the picture very well Cakestick. It wasn't long as you'd feared; in fact, it was so well written it felt like seconds.

      Thank you for taking the time to post it.

      And I'm so sorry your generation will have to feel the effects of this war and the decisions of this administration for so long. We must find better ways to get more of them voting.

    •  just as my brother prepares to ship out... (0+ / 0-)

      I feel very uneasy about my brother leaving tomorrow for this pointless war. He's going to Kuwait, which should keep him more safe than the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the way this administration is hell-bent on fucking up everything, I worry he might be sent into Iraq, or worse, Iran.
      But thank you for the perspective. It's real, it's happening, and what the hell for?
      My father hung up one of those "blue star" flags on the wall, you know, the one symbolizing having a family member serve in a war? I told him, "You'd better hope that doesn't turn into a gold star." I don't talk to him much about the war or politics because he's a rightwing nutjob, frankly. He is definitely NOT a member of the reality-based community.
      Thanks again for the post.

      •  Same problem here, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rioduran

        there are some people that will not be talked into having a rational mindset about what's happening in our country and the world. The best you can do is agree to disagree, and provide him with rational articles with stuff like facts in them every so often.

        I am 100% behind those like your brother that have to put up with the situation they've been given, he is braver than I could ever be. We can only hope that the Democrats take over in November, if only to get the ball rolling on investigations.

        We must know what really led to where we are now!

  •  Thank you and your companions (5+ / 0-)

    for listening to this poor soul. I am crying, thinking about the hundreds of thousands who will be left with souls every bit as scarred -- for absolutely no go reason.

  •  So, did you buy the Nintendo? (3+ / 0-)

    What a waste of money, but hey, the people profiting probably send huge contributions to Bushco, to keep his hold on power intact.

    Most of the greedy rich support Bush so they can line their pockets.  Dead soldiers and dead Iraqis?  Not a part of their lives and they don't clutter their "beautiful minds" with war worries.

    •  Nintendo is a Japanese company, (5+ / 0-)

      but I'm sure the money gets mashed around and nobody up top goes hungry. Of course, I feel no shame for purchasing a video game console.

      Sorry, but I was raised alongside (but not by) video games. They're fun.

      •  Japanese companies are slightly different (5+ / 0-)

        Thier executives don't get paid outrageous salaries like our companies.  They don't do badly, of course, but the fifty million, hundred million dollar pay outs are unheard of.

        For example, the salary of the head of Toyota is about $900,000-this from a company that has made ten billion dollars in profit three years in a row.

      •  Well said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SBE

        I spent about the same amount on a 3d card for the computer last summer (7900GT if anyone cares). I feel no shame playing whatever games I like on my computer. It might have bothered me a bit to be making a frivolous purchase and feeding our bread and circuses consumerist culture while there was all this chaos and turmoil in the world. However I did put off the purchase for a few months so I could make some contributions before the primaries and pay for Yearlykos.

  •  The Kids Are All Right (4+ / 0-)

    The actual troops doing the actual mayhem, however, have major problems.

    Thanks for the post - - we're all with that vet, and with you.

    Hope is, after all, the currency of popular politics, and a coin surprisingly hard to devalue. -- Fred Anderson, Crucible of War

    by ornerydad on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:51:16 AM PDT

  •  what makes you sure he's what he says he is? (0+ / 0-)

    this world is full of people who say and do things. so what unit was he with? you met a drunk in line at 6:30 AM, drunks can and will say anything.

    "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

    by agent double o soul on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:52:08 AM PDT

    •  Yes they will, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tabbycat in tenn, sharilynn, ERyd, SBE

      but drunks don't stare at you while talking like they've literally been to hell. Even the bad ones.

      •  when you judge by appearances (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cakestick

        you always get screwed. if you want to really explore the mindset of these guys you probably need to find out what kind of meds the government is giving them. one of the not so subtle talking points supporters of the war claim that morale is high. I dont know if it is or not. how you measure those things, desertions, suicides, fraggings, the military is under a lot more information control than it was during Vietnam. and we know some guys are under pressure from inside their own units to cover up atrocities. but we probably wont know until the thing has played out, a few years from now, and these guys are on the talk show circuit.
        but for right now you met a drunk at the mall, and that's all you've got.

        "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

        by agent double o soul on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:47:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  sorry to be a wet blanket but (0+ / 0-)

    how do you know he's a real Marine and not just some dude pretending to be one?

    •  I was skeptical initially, (8+ / 0-)

      but if you saw the "skipping record" effect that came with his facial expressions in the middle of "I've been there," your skepticism meter would turn off. Also despite his intoxication, his mannerisms seemed to hint that he had been in some sort of service.

      This guy was completely distant, and it broke my heart.

      •  Several Months Ago (0+ / 0-)

        I met an Army Ranger in a comic book shop. Similar situation, frankly, except that he was looking to buy something. A figurine of a character that was popular for maybe three years back in the seventies... He evidently had never had time to absorb that the character was forgotten... Werewolf By Night. He volunteered more of a pat opinion about the war. The presence of his wife made the scene quite believable.

        9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

        by NewDirection on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:19:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Horrible story about an Iraq vet (16+ / 0-)

    I probably shouldn't even say it, but it is the kind of thing that people never hear about but probably should. I'm not going to say how I know about this, or any other details, so if you don't want to believe it, I don't care.

    A female vet has been approved for SS disability. She has no physical injuries. But she was often on delivery and supply convoys.

    When soldiers are trying to interact with and build trust with a village or neighborhood, they often bring candy and toys for the kids. The kids quickly learn to be excited and run out when the US trucks come.

    But convoys are under different orders. They are to keep moving, and never stop for things that might make them larger targets for IED's or ambushes.

    So what this woman relives, every day, is the feeling and sound of trucks running over children running out to get presents, or the sight of a child appearing from under a truck in front of her, and going under hers. This happened several times during her tour.

    She is broken. She may never be able to forgive herself. She may never be able to drive or even ride in a car, or be around children without breaking down. Those are Iraqi casualties that will never be reported. Those are Iraqi parents who will always hate the US. And she is a US casualty that will never be reported.

  •  The Point Is the Dying, Not the Video Game (15+ / 0-)

    The young marine that you encountered is the tip of the iceberg—he had wounds that will never heal.  So many of those that survive service in Iraq will carry those same wounds—invisible but as real as a missing limb.  

    I worked for 30+ years in a Veterans Admin. Medical Center.  I saw the price that war costs in terms of human lives.  I have (grown) foster children from Viet Nam—I’ve heard from them the price of war on civilians.  Some have interpreted this young marine’s remarks as being about video games.  They were not.  

    They were his bewildered attempts to explain to himself and to his listeners the futility and horrendous consequences of the war in Iraq.  He knows, as we all do that video games don’t cause war.  I believe he is just so very frustrated and suffering from acute culture shock.  One week he was in the middle of a bloody civil war—seeing civilians die for no reason that anyone could adequately explain to him, and seeing his buddies be wounded or killed.  The next week, he was walking around in a mall, looking at people that he saw as totally unaware, and maybe even, in his view, not caring about all the suffering that he witnessed first hand only one week before.  

    If I could, I would bring all the troops home today, and send Bush & his children, “Deadeye” Cheney, Rove, Coulter, Limbaugh, Malkin, Rumsfeld, Kristol, and their whole neocon posse to Iraq.  They could patrol the streets, disarm IED’s and wait till hell freezes over and Iraqi’s “stand up” so they can “stand down”.

  •  And some think... (5+ / 0-)

    ....that by sending them to war we are "supporting" them.

    Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass. - Barry Goldwater, 1981

    by Doug in SF on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:12:40 AM PDT

    •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doug in SF

      The reason I began following politics immediately after 9/11 was the "Support Our Troops" magnets.

      Supporting them would be making sure they were out of harms way unless absolutely necessary, right? Or providing them with proper equipment once they're in place?

      I wish somebody was making a loud enough stink about it during the last election, but nooo..

      Stupid Kerry camp. (Don't flame me, let's agree to disagree.)

    •  Thanking him for his service. Huh. (8+ / 0-)

      My husband, who has twenty years in as an Army officer, told me it's really pretty meaningless when people do that thanking stuff.  He realizes they are sincere, but it just doesn't mean anything much to him.  
      Just like those Goddamned support the troops magnets. My father-in-law couldn't wait to put a couple of those on his new truck, but when my husband was in Afghanistan they did not send him even an email.  No photos, no care packages, no letters.  How supportive is that?  

      It's a shitty place we are, now.  On one side there are the republicans, who view us as an automatic vote so they can fuck us over however they want, and we will still vote for them because they are "strong on defense."  On the other hand, we have the Democrats, who actually may want to provide help and support to the actual troops rather than getting another ship for their home state, but who cannot seem to do a single thing.  And the left side is where you find lots of comments about not joining the military, and that people only join the military because they have no other choices and are brainwashed and want to go kill people. It's a shitty place, and doesn't look to be getting any better any time soon.  

      So what's the answer?  There isn't one.  We have not only broken Iraq, we have broken thousands of human beings, and you can't fix that.  

      Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

      by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:34:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary! (3+ / 0-)

    Though a lot of people on this thread appear not to know what a Nintendo Wii is, and are guessing that you were there to buy some sort of 'war game' because of the vet's comments.  Could you edit the diary to make it clearer for these people?

    Clark... Edwards.. Feingold. Pick any 2 and win the prize!

    by BleedingKnuckleLiberal on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:14:03 AM PDT

  •   thank you for this powerful story... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cognitive dissonance, 3goldens

    This comment though:

    This man was broken, and there was absolutely no reason for it.

    is a little off.  At an individual level he was probably broken because he was likely raised that killing is wrong;  and WAR means being trained and expected to kill, and to become  a living target for others with the same goal, breaks  a persons' spirit down.  It directly attacks moral integrity.

    And the reason for the war itself?  There are many the administration won't admit, but there is some kind of reason behind it.  It is just not a GOOD enough reason.

    "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

    by ilyana on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:16:09 AM PDT

  •  Great diary about a third type of casualty-- (7+ / 0-)

    that we don't hear about, those that are emotionally scarred by the experience. They don't show up in the stats, they probably will never be treated by the VA, yet the entire course of their lives has been changed by what they've gone through.

    Thanks.

  •  655,000 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    April Follies, nobody at all, ERyd

    and counting...

  •  There may not have been irony (5+ / 0-)

    regarding you buying a war game, but there is irony in that pretty much the closest that Nintendo games get to violence is an Italian plumber smashing mushrooms with a big hammer. Compared to the titles on all the other systems, the Wii is downright pacifist.

    Tragic story. I hope that it stuck with the other people in line as much, if not more, as it did with you.

  •  just wanted to add my support for gaming (12+ / 0-)

    I'm 27 y/o. My first "game" system was a computer my father bought -- the Commodore 64 -- back in 1984 or so. I was about 5 y/o.

    I discovered video games early on, and they've been a hobby of sorts of mine since. I remember a game from back then called Commando Libya, which was horribly un-PC, and not something a kid of 6 or 7 y/o should be playing. These days I still enjoy playing war games; mostly flight simulators (World War 2 Online) and games that focus heavily on infantry close-combat (Red Orchestra). A decade ago, I remember staying up all night playing DOOM2 and Quake, hacking my opponents away online with chainsaws and nailguns.

    I should add that I'm about as violent as a fucking dandelion. I go out of my way to help others whenever I have the opportunity, and I have a REALLY tough time harming or killing any other life form, from plants all the way up to other humans. Just the other day, my girlfriend asked my to swat a fly that got through her screen while we were cooking in her kitchen. I instead grabbed a cup, stood up on a chair, trapped it underneath, and took it downstairs to let it go outside. This is routine. It's probably weird to most people, but it's routine.

    By the way some people criticize video games, you'd think my reaction should have been different based on my early experience with video games. Perhaps I should have smooshed the fly with a newpaper and laughed gleefully. Any maybe butcher my girlfriend with a steak knife just for a nice touch.

    The fact is that video games aren't ALL I knew when I was younger. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful, supportive family, and a great group of supportive friends (who even supported my decision not to drink alcohol when I was 13, smoke weed when I was 14, snort coke when I was 15, and so on....even though they ALL did it). Somewhere along the way, I was taught (or figured out?) to think for myself, as well as the difference between reality and video games -- something I'm still very much aware of.

    Those who criticize video games should take a step back and think for just a second. Sure, addiction to anything isn't a healthy thing, but the addiction to video games (like anything else) is usually just another form of escapism. If anything, the burden should fall on the concerned PARENTS of the children, who should limit which games the child can play, and for how long they're allowed to play them. There's already an elaborate ratings system in place to follow, if it's hard for you to decide yourself. If you're that concerned, I recommend using it.

  •  The crass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tabbycat in tenn, Ari Mistral, ERyd

    "people" that started this war should do pennance and minister to these broken soldiers in perpetuity.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."-George Orwell

    by Babsnc on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:02:29 PM PDT

  •  Re. Flying Squid Studios (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, ERyd, SBE

    I am late to the party so I posted at the bottom so my post would not get lost in the middle.

    I agree. When I was growing up we did not have video games, but us boys still ran around the neighborhood with toy guns 'shooting' each other, nominally reenacting WWII. Oddly enough Vietnam was a taboo in our games. Maybe because it was all too real. I do not know how many of you remember, but back in the 60's the news showed the war every night. Maybe THAT is what we should look at. The American people are insulted from the war as this diary aptly points out.

    I have never fired a real gun and never even entertained a desire to join the army.

    "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy" Theodore Roosevelt

    by se portland on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:08:47 PM PDT

    •  While I played lots of war games... (0+ / 0-)

      (with alot of rules) in my youth, precomputer, we knew that they involved death and were exercizes of governmental powers, but that was the '70's and we were only marginally removed from the hippies ( maybe us hippy wannabes influenced the others to this point, we were teens), but while we played the games we knew that they were about things in which many good people died. Because all my friends wanted to be the good guys, I was usually the germans and/or the japanese, but I almost always won (the bad guy(easy to win, no morel compass)), maybe I was more skillful (the games are set up for an American victory) or my friends lacked general tactical wisdoms(we were teens) but it is a testiment to the greatest generation that they battled a war that a teenage could beat dispite the odds (rules leaned to an allied victory). It may also point to the fact that wars are won not in tactics but in more complex systems(economies and hearts, etc) or that their leaders were insane (attacking russia).
      The games should put names (even fictional) on the dead so that the players realizes the real costs of war, although I fear it would fuel ethnic (nationalistic) hatred even more than presently effident.
      The question is how do we explain the costs of war, expecially to those that favor it, when the news fails to report it and they're told to just go shopping.  

      George Felix Allen Jr, Dumber than George W. Bush

      by ERyd on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:12:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't think the main point here... (9+ / 0-)

    ...is about game violence. The point is we all live happy lives while very sad things are happening in our names.

    Vote the enablers of evil out of office.

  •  This reminds me of my grandfathers. (4+ / 0-)

    Both were veterans (one of WWII, one of the Korean War).  Both became violent drunks after they came home from these wars, to the point that they scarred their children for life and their wives finally divorced them.  From what I've been told, both of them were kind and gentle men who were traumatized by their war experiences; it makes me very sad that I have only known them as angry old men, not the hopeful young men they must have been once.

  •  Well, at least the soldier found an audience! (0+ / 0-)

    Quite a few comments here....I'd like to think he'll get a chance to read them.

    ....the future's uncertain and the end is always near....

    by suspiciousmind on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:01:58 PM PDT

  •  i feel like a scold (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nobody at all

    but i despair that things will change significantly until those of us who care, stop buying stuff we really don't need.

  •  Gaming is great, I learned a lot. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KevinMN, SBE

    From Civ to Rainbow 6.

    Plus, GTA lets me be a ganster to the best of my ability and never go to jail, what more could I want?

    And as for going to war because I played a lot video games that is absurd. My friends and I use to hunt each other in the woods with BB guns well before we saw our first Nintendo. I remember Jody's mom looking in as we played Contra, still one of the best "army" games ever,  she said" at least you arent shooting each other's teeth out."

    See, the summer before Jeff and I had both shot out one of Jody's teeth with a BB. Funny shit.

    We also played flight simulators, hunted game virtually then really, and I still enjoy a good romp like the zombie game thats out right now.

    Why watch the movie, when you can play the movie?

    That is all gaming is. Instead of choose your own adventure books, you can play them out with graphics and all. There is nothing evil about them, kids have been playing war and such since time immortal, we just got better toys to play with now and the older generation doesn't get it, which makes it bad.

    Get some cheese with your whine.

    And it wasn't these games that drove Jeff, Jody, Jason and Bradly into the armed forces, it was the poor state of affairs of our family's bank accounts. I got luck, I could do great things with a dead pig on a square field, and was smart to boot. Otherwise, I would have been at boot camp with them.

    So don't look to video games as the reason young men join, look into what other opprotunities they could possibly have. And in poor rural families, they are few and slim between.

  •  holy crap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot

    talk about perspective. i'm glad he did that, but sorry he had to go through what he did to get him there.

    has ilona seen this diary? someone should email it to her.

  •  thats some real shit right there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot
  •  war against boys (0+ / 0-)

    the whole fake war against the boys in education has angered me for a while. I am a pediatrician, epidemiologist and father. The violence promoted in our society and especially targeted to working class, poor and middle class is absolutely part of the problem... first person shooter videogames, pro wrestling, horror/slasher/torture. It absolutely has an effect on our kids morals and our kids behavior.

    Help make NYC Republican free; support Steve Harrison NY-13 against Vito Fossella.

    by DrSteveB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:38:45 PM PDT

  •  A couple of things.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SBE

    First, read this http://www.danah.org/... It's particularly about MySpace, but it's very good in answering a lot of questions brought up in this thread. I'll give you the Notes version.

    Youth do not have the ability to create their own culture in their local communities, due to having every element of their lives supervised and pre-determined. Because of this, things such as video games and online communities (or combinations of the two. See MMORPGs such as World or Warcraft) are artificialy large parts of youth culture.

    Why don't you see kids playing in the sandlot? More than likely, that sandlot no longer exists. The parents are worried about abduction, or the kids wandering away from the "play area", to find something to do. Places of convergence....well, you don't want tosee youth come together, as that causes "trouble".

    As well, 3+hours of homework and an hour commute each way kinda kill any ability to actually go out and do anything.

    And as for the big bugaboo...Grand Theft Auto. I'll give the non-gamers here a big heads up.

    The game is satire. It's everything that happens "off-screen" in all those crime movies that keep on winning awards, portrayed in an exaggerated and unrealistic way. The various talk radio channels (you can listen to various radio stations when you're in a car), are both poignant and hilarious. It puts it into a "sandbox" environment, where you can do anything you want.

    Finally, a lot of military members cope through online communities of various forms. My old guild in an MMORPG I played was consisted largely of military and ex-military members. The same type of teamwork which they enjoyed in the military, they were able to experience in a non-violent manner.

    Non-violent? Yup. There's only a few truly "violent" games, and most of them fly under the radar. Most games, the violence is simply gameplay mechanics, and are not seen past that by most people playing the games.

    This is our story...

    by Karmakin on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:45:30 PM PDT

    •  Hey, don't you know? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SBE

      Myspace is the new scourge of youth. Video games are so last year, scourge-of-youth-wise. Anyway, I don't know of any violent video games. Are there some where you do physical harm to other people? Verbal abuse, sure, but that is usually reserved for the noobs.

  •  Need a game where human blood and flesh (0+ / 0-)

    come spitting out the computer.  Oh, and make it the remainders of a good friend, someone who just told you about his kids at home and showed you the latest pics, one that was laughing a few moments before, one that was NOT one of the cruel and inhumane people but a guy who gave generously to the people of whatever country he was inhabiting, one that was questioning why he was there but was serving well nonetheless, one that promised to stay in touch when you all got stateside, one that had protected your butt the day before ....

    I think if I had that kind of experience I'd stay drunk for a long time.  A lot of them do.  The only people they can talk to, that understand their feelings and thoughts, have similar stories and similar difficulties.  All the other people just want to pat him on the back and say "thank you for your service" which I do when given the opportunity.  But inside I want to add, "And I offer my condolences as well for the loss that you are feeling."

    By the way, not meaning to be sexist here, could be a woman going through all that.  But being a woman, I can't imagine seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting those horrors.  I know some do and I don't know how they do it.  I don't know how ANY of them hold together, but they do.

    Bless'em all!

  •  The price of war that is never calculated (0+ / 0-)

    in American zeal to "spread democracy."

    My brother-in-law came back from Viet Nam as damaged goods. Earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He's still drinking.

    I don't think he sleeps with a gun under his pillow anymore.

    "You can count on Americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else." -- Winston Churchill

    by bleeding heart on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:01:25 PM PDT

  •  Now watch me make this drive! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Harkov311, Southern Mouth

    heh heh!

    Most people are idiots... But don't tell them. It'll spoil all the fun for those of us who aren't.

    by d3n4l1 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:43:59 PM PDT

  •  Meeting Returning Marines (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, jules too, tallmom, RosyFinch

    In 4 hours I'll be on my motorcycle in Altamont pass, flags unfurled, with 10 or 20 friends (Patriot Guard Riders) to meet and escort to Alamada, 300 marines and sailors coming home from Iraq.

    I think the first thing I'll ask them as I shake each hand is "Are you OK?"

    Obviously these people have been deep into hell and have come home to a country that can barely remember we are at war ... correction ... at "occupation".

    Your vote has been stolen. Thanks for playing.

    by TekBoss on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:59:06 PM PDT

  •  You know when parents warned against TeeVee? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tallmom

    They were right. It was bad for us.

    Our country is deteriorating from the loss of literacy. But it is and was chosen, each step.

    And now come the ignored warnings: Video Games are bad for you. How silly to say, of course we all know it's just a game.

    But the warnings will be right.

    It may very well be that the future belongs simply to readers.

    •  Ironically, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SBE

      My copy of Brain Age for Nintendo DS showed me two pictures when I started the game for the first time: a scan of a brain that is watching TV (almost inactive except in the back), and a scan of a brain that's rapidly solving simple math problems (blowing up with activity). Brain Age is one of the few games that is beneficial in every way, except for when it distracts me from work with its Sudoku puzzles!

  •  Thank you , Cakestick (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cakestick

     It can be hard to be so introspective.
     And to all who defend video games, violent tv, movies, songs...  I'm sure they don't inspire direct violent action.  They do portray  an unrealistic violent empowerment of the protagonist(s) that can be incredibly attractive.  Can we be sure that doesn't feed similar fantasies in their consumers?
     The tragedy I sense in all this is that the restless soul who accosted that line of consumers was reaching out blindly to people who were totally unprepared to give anything real of themselves in return... that's not a criticism, that's just who we are in America today.  We don't know who we're talking to, or why.

    you learn something new every day, if you're paying attention

    by jhop7 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:24:36 PM PDT

  •  As a fellow computer geek (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KevinMN, cakestick, SBE

    I hafta say, I always get a bit of a surreal feeling playing Counter-Strike, Command & Conquer, and all the rest these days, for that same reason.  Not that it stops me from playing, but it sure makes me feel a little funny about it.  I mean here I am, saying what a bad idea this war is, and here I am simulating little war on my desktop.

    But I have to say, I never thought any of those games glorified war all that much.  I mean jesus, if those guys in Command & Conquer were real, I think I'd rather put a bullet through my brain that order that semi-suicidal tank assault.  They emphasised to me just how real this war is.  Sure, you cheer making that headshot from across the map with the FiveseveN, but give the shootwer and the victim real names and histories, and suddenly it stops being cool, or even exhilirating and just becomes hellish.

    Thanks for this diary.  It really got to me in a way I wasn't expecting.

    All your vote are belong to us. Warner/Feingold 2008

    by Harkov311 on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:36:33 PM PDT

  •  As much as I love war movies and such, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tallmom

    I think that such 'entertainments' are created by Hollywood in part to soften up our resistance to war, in part to numb our awareness of the destructiveness of war.

    a hope that may come close to despair

    by epppie on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:42:47 PM PDT

    •  I have the opposite reaction, I guess (0+ / 0-)

      I can't watch war movies anymore, because when they talk about soldiers being involved in a firefight, or killed by an IED, I remember those movie scenes and it makes it that much more real to me.  

      Part of it for me also is that my husband is Army and it's way too easy to imagine him and others in those scenes...

      Proudly providing chaos since 1964 -6.75, -8.31

      by jules too on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:33:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  priceless truth in the most unlikely of places (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cakestick, SBE

    .. as I type this, rest assured that in your town and my town, there are children being abused, being underfed. Maybe, some senseless violence being gang members, or just someone with a firearm who snapped and decided to take it out on neighbors in a workplace, school or highway.

    Rest assured, there are prisoners being excuted right now in China so their organs can harvested to be used on the human flesh market.

    Rest assured, there are tens of thousands expiring slowly in Darfur, from AIDs, from malaria, from dysentery.

    Perhaps, just as I type this, yet another IED goes off, another group of Iraqis in a school, a TV station, a market .. tortured , shot blown up.

    Same as it ever was.

    What a piece of perspective, served up close and personal in the early morning at the Mall. A slice of reality, fighting back against programmed silicon pathways.

    The 'War On Terra' will be won when Republicans are removed from power

    by shpilk on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:50:10 PM PDT

  •  It had the largest protest in history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cakestick, SBE

    Against it back in February 2003, before the war even started. No one cared what we thought then. We've been shown 100% right, and they still don't care. It's time for us to destroy the Republicans and any DINO enablers, because we're not getting out any other way.

  •  This is a great diary. (3+ / 0-)

    Not because it raises a discussion about violent video games.  Not just because it presents a well-written flash of insight about one of the people broken by this particular war, like so many broken by so many wars like it before.

    Here's what grabs my being:

    "Not only was it a moment of intense frustration, but also introspection - I was sitting in line for a fucking Nintendo while there are people dying for no reason. I'm programmed to buy the latest crap just because it's the latest crap, and play games that mock the reality of the horrifying environment of war. You can try your best to change the status quo sonny, but it's not gonna work - so fire up your Sony NintendoBox 2000 and shut the hell up."

    We're all sitting in line waiting for the latest new can't-live-without-it while people are dying all over the world, not just Iraq, so that we can take delivery.  Copper mines.  Oil fields.  Tropical forests cut down for our hardwood floors.  All pushing the people who used to live there into the slums of Sao Paolo, Jakarta, Mumbai...All for you.

    Beyond all else, this war - and the struggle we on the Left are engaged in with our greedy, predatory brethern of the Right - are about what capitalism has done.  It has brainwashed all of us to believe that fulfillment comes from that bright new toy you just have to buy.  Why do you just have to buy it?  Because you've been brainwashed to believe it will fix everything and bestow immortality on you.  It will fulfill your sexual fantasies.

    And this war.  This war is necessary, ultimately, because if we don't fight it your right to buy that shiny new toy will be lost.  This war is necessary because of our continued need for "Consumer Experiences."  The latest in a long series of them, 500 year' worth, in fact.

    It really is capitalism, folks.  It isn't just Republicans, cynically manipulating evangelical christians and Diebold voting machines; it's the powerful people who put them there, the people who sell you Ipods and Palms and the latest Borg Bluetooth glue-on headset for your now-obselete cell phone.  (Quick!  Where's your credit card?)

    If we want these wars to stop (display litany of immoral wars from Indian Wars through Iraq War of 2003-?), we all have to have an epiphany like this one that cakestick had, and we have to stop having Consumer Experiences and start living in the real, natural world.  Before we help them destroy it utterly.

    •  I don't care to defend... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SBE

      ...the behavior of this country or multinationals or globalism or imperialism, but...

      There have been people living in grass huts, barely over a subsistence level existence, who have fought unnecessary, pointless wars fed by greed.

      Technology and cheap transportation have allowed us to take things to new heights, but I don't buy that rampant consumerism causes pointless wars, it just exacerbates the situation.

      Which is not to say that toning down the excesses of consumerism wouldn't be a good thing for many, many reasons. But blaming everything on consumerism is as silly as blaming everything on the "younger generation," even if they are buckling their knickerbockers above the knee.

      "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

      by Mad Dog Rackham on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't blame consumerism for anything. (0+ / 0-)

        Consumerism is a disease caused by capitalism.  It does not cause the wars, but addiction to it causes many of its addicts to incline toward supporting the wars that capitalists start to control resources. We are conditioned to want what we don't need and not to want what we do need (to borrow from Paul Baran).

        The greedy people in the grass huts didn't cause global warming.  We, the people of the United States of America, are responsible for at least 25% of it with a mere 5% of world population.  The colonial nations of Europe, plus Japan, have caused another 25% of it, at least.

        It is capitalism and its need to profit by exploitation - of people, resources, the environment - that have got us to this state.

        There are two main kinds of these wars:  wars to take, and wars to gain strategic control.  First and cheapest, when resources are plentiful and easily extracted and there is no outside competition for them, capitalists swindle the people off their land to get at them, or drive them off with private armies, or get their nation's armies to do it for them.  Later, and far more expensive, when resources become scarce or competition increases, market pressures drive capitalists to push the governments they control into warring on other competitive nations.  (In this way corporate competition becomes a national cause, but few notice the fact.)

        (If you look at the history of the last 500 years, you'll find few wars that fall outside these two categories.  Territorial wars are rare (not non-existent); ditto religious wars; and many wars considered territorial or religious or political or ideological are really about controlling resources, some by proxy.)

        Iraq is a hybrid of the two.  On its face, it is the first type; but it was also a premptive war for strategic control, an attempt to gain permanent advantage for the Anglo-American oil giants and their parent countries against China, Russia, India, and other potential rivals for the New American Century.

  •  Late to the party but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SBE
    Anyone who thinks that Video games have made us more prone to violence really need to take a look at the parts of the world that don't have good access to them and have similar populations.

    Here in Canada our violent crime rate has been dropping steadily for decades. Conversely, perception of vulnerability to violence has been rising steadily. I wonder why that is? It must be in someone's best interest.

    I'm not as current on what's going on with you in the States, but I am always traumatized by the amount of fear-mongering that happens at the local news level when I visit. It tends to be my culture shock moment.

    You might also note that Canada's media ratings system is generally less conservative than the US and yet our violent crime rate doesn't approach yours.

    I guess my point is that whatever impact some may feel that video games or indeed media of any kind have on actual violence in society, it is vanishingly small in comparison to other larger factors.

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