December 16, 2004

WHY DO IL DEMOCRATIC LEADERS GET IT?

Gov targets violent video games (DAVE MCKINNEY, December 16, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

With "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" atop many gift-giving lists, Gov. Blagojevich wants state lawmakers to do more to keep such violent and sexually explicit video games out of the hands of kids.

In an assault on the video gaming industry, the governor today will call on lawmakers to approve new restrictions subjecting retailers to potential jail time and fines of up to $5,000 if they sell or rent violent or sexually charged video games to those younger than 18.

"What they're doing is targeting video games with graphic sex and excessive violence to children, just like the tobacco industry targeted children with the Joe Camel advertising campaign," Blagojevich said. "It's all about making money."


This is an excellent values issue and one the GOP should quickly swipe.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2004 6:36 PM
Comments

It is the responsibility of parents to insure these kinds of games do not go into the hands of children. It is called parenting, I wish more parents would do it.

However, I find nothing wrong with having the same provisions for video games as movies provided they meet the same criteria.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 16, 2004 7:08 PM

Oh, and another comment concerning OJ's headline question. I have come up with two answers:

1) The Chicago Democratic party (and thus the IL party for all practical purposes) never lost the machine like the party did in other places. The machine always made sure that politicians were accountable to the voters - and the voters wanted basic services. When the machine disappeared elsewhere, the power vacuum was picked up by the only remaining organizaed faction, the boutique liberal special interests.

2) Michael Bilandic. Every Chicago Democrats knows the story of Michael Bilandic. He became mayor after Daley died. Considering the history of the Chicago mayoralty (Daley I, Harold Washington, Daley II) there was no reason why he could not have remained mayor until he died or retired. There was a snowstorm. That morning, the streets were still not ploughed. The next election, the city voted Bilandic out. The lesson was not lost among Chicago politicians.

Thus there is one fundamental commandment of Chicago politics: when it snows, you better make sure the streets are ploughed. In essence, the most vital part of a politician's job is to serve the people and improve public services. It is not to do social experiments or create a utopia or educate the masses into good politically correct people. If you waste time and money on that, then there may not be snow ploughs when you need it.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 16, 2004 7:24 PM

I thought the snow-struck mayor was Jane Byrne.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 16, 2004 8:19 PM

OJ seems to be fixated on having the government be a nagging censorious wowser micromanaging our private lives as if we are a bunch of unruly 7 year olds. Luckily, there are very few Americans who believe we should allow the same idiots who run the Post Office to decide what video games we buy our kids or ourselves.

My issue is with CDs. They should be required to have copies of the lyrics of all music in printed form for free, on premises, so that parents can understand the words their kids are listening to and then make an appropriate decision.

Posted by: Bart at December 16, 2004 8:37 PM

Bart:

To take your reasoning one step further, video games should include printed examples of the most graphic violence/sex contained in the game.

Then let the parents decide (without having to get to the eleventeenth level to find out what is hidden there).

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 16, 2004 8:55 PM

Bart:

They are 7 year olds.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 8:59 PM

Agreed, Jeff.

OJ, thank you for making my point for me. Why should we allow the 7 year olds in our government to make these decisions for the rest of us 7 year olds? They aren't any smarter than we are and they seem to be a heck of lot less moral.

Posted by: Bart at December 16, 2004 9:12 PM

Bart:

The minors.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 9:47 PM

I don't know of many video games that keep the sex and violence squirreled away on eleventeenth level. Games with sex and violence wear that fact on their sleeve. How clueless a parent do you have to be to not know that "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" isn't fit for children? It's rated M and has warnings all over it. I'm not trying to be one of these childfree nitwits who think that ratings are evil: hey, I'm old enough to play whatever I like so rating don't really affect me, but I think at some point parents need to be a little aware of the world around them. The days of video games being only for kids ended 20 years ago (if they existed at all) and people need to recognize that fact. And before OJ gets on me about how video games should be packed and sold the same way pornography was back in the 50's (in a plain brown wrapper ordered furtively from the back of The Police Gazztte) I would just like to point out that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had about the same amount of nudity you would have found in the average episode of Love Boat back in 1978 and a similar amount of violence against the innocent as Jim Brown dropping grenades on all those Nazi wives at the end of "The Dirty Doxen." This ain't xxx hardcore porn folks. Finally, games that only have sex or violence to depend on with no gameplay usually go nowhere. Take "Manhunt" also by Rockstar Games. It was supposed to be the next big thing in controversial games but the gameplay was dull and repetitive and it dropped off the radar. The PS2 version is selling for under 20 bucks now. Does anyone else remember how Night Trap for the Sega CD was going to corrupt the minds of a generation back in 1995? I sure do! But it didn't because it sucked.

Posted by: Governor Breck at December 16, 2004 10:13 PM

My younger brother played this game for years before turning 18. It's easy as hell for kids to get their hands on this stuff.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 16, 2004 10:21 PM

Governor:

That said, your mind could use a rinse.... :)

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 10:50 PM

This is a gun-control issue. There was an Army shrink named Tim Grossman who had his 15 minutes after Columbine and who was a sort of crusader against violent video games. His main point was that VG's were how the military conditions recruits to become shooters. The idea was that non-shooters tend not to fire their weapons in combat and need to be conditioned. His findings tended to show that present-day soldiers, raised on VG's, are much more likely to use their weapons in combat than their WWI and II predecessors.

I've read his books, I don't accept his reasoning, and I reject his premise that only the shooters working for the government, you know, the people who are here to help us, should be mentally prepared to use force. I head him say one thing that caught my attention. VG censorship was a First Amendment issue, Grossman told one of the talking heads, but it was also a Second Amendment issue. People trained to point and squeeze, like Toomb's regiment at the Burnside Bridge, or U.S. Marines generally, are a force multiplier. The VG culture, then, is a spin-off from the gun culture. The big difference between Grossman and Y.O.S. is that he seems to thing this is a BAD thiing. The RKBA isn't much good if you don't have the--grit to touch one off when the sights line up.

Now the choice to shoot/not shoot is a moral and legal decision. The "choice" not to know how to shoot is a political one--an infringement on the right of the people to keep and bear arms that they know how to use. What the non-shooter is doing is preemptively making the choice in favor of the unjust aggressor by intentionally being unprepared.

VG's are great preparation for shooting. They don't completely replace practice for the militia, but they make shooting accessable for the millions who otherwise would lack the time and money to master their weapons.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 16, 2004 11:04 PM

Lou:

Those are obviously not decisions best left to business and minors to make between themselves.

Posted by: oj at December 16, 2004 11:08 PM

GTA: San Andreas is not fit for kids, or teens or anyone else for that matter. But, having played it for hours, I can tell you that it is (a) fun; (b) addictive; and (c) a very clever satire of gang culture -- yes, that's right satire.

Posted by: AML at December 16, 2004 11:28 PM

Parents: If you want to buy your kids a quality Christmas gift, get them a nice nonviolent game like NFL Blitz. :)

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 17, 2004 1:02 AM

How many of you actually have children? What is so unreasonable to all of you that the person making money off the video game be required to not sell inappropriate material to kids without their parents' knowledge? Its not like they are saying they can't sell it to you, so you are not affected. And at some point, you may appreciate the little, begrudgingly given, help from society in raising your kid.

This reminds me of the level of disbelief by critics of Tom Wolfe's latest novel over the entirely unbelievable character (at least to their minds) of the innocent Charlotte Simmons. Everyone asks, who in this age is that innocent? Because we know the level of garbage that is out there and easily consumed by our children. And, because of our lax standards of who should be exposed to what, with society's implied consent that any level of innocence is undesirable.

Posted by: Buttercup at December 17, 2004 7:10 AM

Exercising the police power of the state to regulate what can be bought and sold, particularly to children, is an attempt to shape our culture. So is not exercising that power.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 17, 2004 9:11 AM

Buttercup:

MR games are not meant to be sold to kids. The average age of a Playstation owner is in the early thirties.

If something like GTA is getting into kids' hands then it's the fault of the retailers and inadequate parental supervision.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at December 17, 2004 9:33 AM

Ali:

Which is the Governor's point.

Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 9:42 AM

Jim, no. Jane Byrne became mayor by beating Michael Bilandic because of the snow issue.

Byrne lost to Harold Washington in the next election because the white ethnic vote was split when Daley first ran for mayor. People did not seem to actually like Byrne, but the prospect of a black mayor horrified many white ethnics.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 17, 2004 11:43 AM

Buttercup,

Exactly how does a reasonably prudent parent not know what video games the kid is buying? If the parent is too dumb, lazy or uncaring, why is it the storeowner's or the government's job to intervene?

If the kid engages in anti-social behavior, put him at hard labor in a reform school for a few years. If he murders someone, execute him.

Posted by: Bart at December 17, 2004 6:11 PM

Bart:

How would they know he'd bought it if the storeowners are willing to sell it?

Posted by: oj at December 17, 2004 9:55 PM

If it's in his room? If it's under his bed? If it's in his backpack? If it's on his computer? The same way parents find out about drugs or tobacco or dirty magazines.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 6:33 AM

All of which we ban the sale of to minors.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 8:05 AM

And none of which should we be banning. That's what parents are for.

If my dad was comfortable showing me porn when I was 10 or 11, why does it matter what the government says? I'm no sex fiend, if anything I'm a slightly misogynistic Victorian.

I've been drinking since before I was 7, as is commonplace for people raised in a culture where quality food matters, why is that the government's problem?

My parents are 3-pack a day smokers and I never took up the habit, watching them hack for 15 minutes every morning was not for a hygiene-freak like me.

My parents and I happily talked about drugs and why I shouldn't use them and after a few trials of pot, cocaine, mescaline and hashish during my college years, I agreed with them. My parents and I were always open about my usage of them at the time. I did not need the government to compel me not to use them.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 9:20 AM

Bart:

It may come as a shock but rather few parents will want children to grow up as hate-filled as you are.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:25 AM

My children played some shooting-oriented VG's, and they also fired in service rifle matches in their teens (they used the Mousegun: I could never get them to appreciate the Garand). They are responsible, law-abiding adults now, not a danger to anyone, except the son on active duty, who is dangerous to his country's enemies. If a stranger, say, a Frenchman, ever asks where America's walls may be seen, (You know, walls, like the Maginot line) take him to a VG parlor and show him the shoooters, and say, "These are America's walls."

Apopothigmata Lakonika aside, moral preparedness to use force--the gun culture of which the VG culture is the contemporary expression--is close to what Burke called the "cheap defense of nations." Our enemies know that we have the physical power to extirminate them. Their hope is that we lack the will. Let them see our sports, our cinema, and our Video Games.

Because of technology, very few are called upon to physically bear arms for their country. All
must have at least the moral courage to vote for standing up to our ememies.

Posted by: at December 18, 2004 10:02 AM

Hardly hate-filled, merely practical. I also prefer the simple, to the unnecessarily complex, and I do not see any reason to treat my enemies better than they would treat me, or to wait for them to mistreat me before I act in my own defense.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 10:13 AM

OJ:

It may come as a shock, but few parents want to cede their responsibilities to the government.

My kids don't play anything on the gamecube that my wife and I don't approve of.

And I sure as heck don't want governmental busybodies making parental decisions for me.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 18, 2004 11:07 AM

Jeff:

Great, let's vote on it and see if you're right.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 11:47 AM

Bart;

no one here things you've a healthy psyche. Thus permissive parenting.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 11:59 AM

oj,

On what basis? Just because I don't drink the Catholic Kool-Aid?

This is a Hobbesian universe and I behave accordingly. If you can actually make an argument telling me I'm wrong, I'd be impressed. But if you expect me to simply accept 'received wisdom' that has less to do with reality than your average cocktail party in the Quartuer Latin, you have an extremely long wait.

Am I almost continuously angry? Absolutely. But there ia a whole heck of a lot to be angry about, especially if you happen to love logic.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 7:13 PM

oj,

On what basis? Just because I don't drink the Catholic Kool-Aid?

This is a Hobbesian universe and I behave accordingly. If you can actually make an argument telling me I'm wrong, I'd be impressed. But if you expect me to simply accept 'received wisdom' that has less to do with reality than your average cocktail party in the Quartier Latin, you have an extremely long wait.

Am I almost continuously angry? Absolutely. But there ia a whole heck of a lot to be angry about, especially if you happen to love logic.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 7:14 PM

oj,

On what basis? Just because I don't drink the Catholic Kool-Aid?

This is a Hobbesian universe and I behave accordingly. If you can actually make an argument telling me I'm wrong, I'd be impressed. But if you expect me to simply accept 'received wisdom' that has less to do with reality than your average cocktail party in the Quartier Latin, you have an extremely long wait.

Am I almost continuously angry? Absolutely. But there ia a whole heck of a lot to be angry about, especially if you happen to love logic.

Posted by: Bart at December 18, 2004 7:14 PM

Bart;

Yes, the belief that modern life remains Hobbesian is immature.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2004 9:18 PM

Tell that to the Founding Fathers. Their understanding of Hobbes protected us from becoming no different from the French of the 1790s.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 7:01 AM

protected being the opposite of Hobbesian

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 8:29 AM

Forms of government change but human nature will always be a constant. The impulse of people to steal from or to enslave others never changes. Some of those people use government to do so, others use the private sector. Popes, CEOs, Presidents and judges are all the same in that regard.

Life remains nasty, poor and brutish even if it is less short due to modern medicine.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 12:02 PM

American life is affluent, long, and rather conmfortable. the hate you harbor towards your fellow men is about you, not them.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 12:04 PM

Only relative to other nations, not what it should be. Everyone wants to take away what you have and/or to reduce your freedom. But then, OJ, you don't believe that individuals should be free whatsoever, whereas I believe we should be freet do anything that doesn't harm others. As long as I am compelled to pay taxes for irrational reasons, to subsidize the unworthy, I am not free, but am instead exploited. Let those who want to subsidize the unfit, pay for them themselves and leave me alone. That is freedom, being left alone.

It involves something else and that is respect for others. I don't feel a need to invade other peoples' space with cell phones, loud talking, cigar smoke, grafitti, poor hygiene, refusing to clean up in a public restroom, bringing too many items into the express lane or any of a million offenses imposed on me daily by my fellow 'human beings.' Why does that occur? Why is the vast herd, the grex venalium, incapable of behaving in even a mere facsimile of a civilized manner? Nothing has changed since the Visigoths sacked Rome.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 12:44 PM

Bart;

yes, America is premised on liberty, not freedom.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 12:55 PM

My Websters claims that freedom and liberty are synonyms. They both mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion. Freedom has a broad range and may imply total absence of restraint, or merely an unawareness of being unduly hampered or frustrated. Liberty implies the power to choose what one does or says as distinguished from lack of inhibition in doing or saying, it may also imply more strongly than freedom a release from restraint or compulsion. (Websters Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary p 333)

If anything, therefore, that release from restraint or compulsion is implied by your choice of the word 'liberty' rather than my choice of 'freedom.' In any event, you circumscribe the term 'liberty' in an almost Orwellian fashion, so that it essentially has as much meaning as 'People's Republic' has in Communist China.

Posted by: Bart at December 19, 2004 2:32 PM

Bart:

OJ doesn't have much respect for words' meanings, particularly if those words have the temerity to disagree with him.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 19, 2004 9:39 PM

Bart:

It may come as a shoick, but the Founders' conception of liberty in a Republic could differ from that offered by your desktop dictionary 250 years later.

Their understanding of liberty has fairly little to do with freedom as folks like you interpret it:

http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1385/

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2004 9:53 PM

OJ:

That is a very good bookreview, thanks for the link.

However, as the decision here is well within the purview of individual parents to make regarding their children, then laws exceeding that disclosure required to provide sufficient transparency to make an informed parental choice appear to me to be an unwarranted imposition on liberty.

What's more, it threatens to replace parental authority with the state's.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 20, 2004 8:53 PM

It's an imposition of freedom. It is liberty.

Posted by: oj at December 20, 2004 10:12 PM

Just the words, and reasoning, a dictator would use.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 21, 2004 8:54 PM

Democracies are dictatorships, just of the majority.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2004 10:24 PM
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