Saturday, January 03, 2004

Kill a commie for Jesus

The supposedly 'liberal' media has once again, as it always does, failed in its liberal agenda and somehow accidently fulfilled the conservative agenda. But instead of recognizing that we do not have a liberal media, Americans just assume it is liberal and inept. Fucking sheep.

I've seen proof of this with my own eyes, on more than one occasion. I've noticed that the 'liberal media' meme is so strong that if you even dare to contradict it, you're immediately branded a wacko. Better a wacko than a fucking sheep.

Recently the folks at Penny Arcade (a website devoted to computer gaming) organized a drive to collect toys and games for children at Seattle Children's Hospital. They were immensely successful: in four weeks, $200,000 worth of toys and over $27,000 in cash were donated by gaming fanatics, and a bunch of kids who have the misfortune to be stuck in the fucking hospital got unexpected gifts. Media coverage for this effort: 1 newspaper and 2 websites. (See for yourself.)

Based on the little contact with the 'news' I've been able to stomach, I've noticed that there are basically only three types of news stories: "they suck", "we don't suck", and "cat stuck in tree". The Penny Arcade story seems like great material for the "we don't suck" pages... if not, it surely should at least qualify for the "cat stuck in tree" un-news that keeps all your little minds busy with inanities. So why the total lack of press coverage?

The reason can be found by checking for other news that pertains to gaming... where you'll find articles like "Violent video games are training children to kill", which assert that

  • If a parent wanted their children to develop attitudes like Gary Ridgway, the confessed killer of at least 48 women, these games might provide a good training ground;
  • These video games are not spectator activities, like going to a violent movie. They use simulation techniques that are used to teach people to fly a plane, drive a car or fight wars;
  • Parents cannot trust their neighborhood stores to not sell hyper-violent video games to young children.

That article is only one of thousands that have been printed over the last year decrying violence in games, a number considerably higher than that of articles that call for parents to actually raise their fucking children or those that decry violence in the real world. This leads me to the conclusion that I was wrong: the Penny Arcade news doesn't fit into the three classifications I listed above, since the consensus narrative dictates that 'games are bad'. And if games are bad, and there is a story about gamers doing good... it's too confusing for the sheep, so we'd better not print it.

I'd love to rant about this some more, but I think I just had a fucking aneurysm. So I'll make it short, just a few requests and observations:

  • Raise your goddam kids, or stop breeding. Putting them in front of the television or X-box so they'll quit bugging you doesn't count as raising them... and if that's the only parental guidance you're going to give them, you lose the right to bitch about what your kids are exposed to. A child raised proactively by intelligent caring parents will probably be more capable of drawing the line between fantasy and reality, and therefore less likely to try and act out things they have seen on the TV or in a video game. A child that is ignored and given no guidance... anything can happen, and it's the parents fault. Quit trying to shift the blame... television and video games are not a suitable replacement for parental guidance, and therefore can't be held to the same standard that applies to parents who don't do their jobs.
  • Quit calling it 'news'. It's not 'new', it's the same old shit, over and over. If you want to call it 'news', report on what is actually happening, free from bias.
  • The lack of explicit government censorship does not automatically imply freedom of the press. When a dozen companies control all of the news outlets (a condition the Bush administration has fostered by reducing FCC limitations on monopolies), that old adage that "freedom of the press only belongs to those who own one" is startlingly true. Quit yapping about freedoms if you aren't actually going to use them.
  • Give credit where credit is due, and quit trying to manufacture it where it is not. The folks at Penny Arcade did a great thing, something for which they deserve positive recognition. The parents who don't teach their children the fundamental skills required to discriminate between right and wrong did a horrible thing, something for which they deserve more negative recognition. The makers of video games are ethically neutral... they're just following the American Dream to its logical conclusion.
  • Isn't it a little bit hypocritical to be simultaneously bombing the fuck out of other countries and preaching about violence? Does putting a flag on it make it acceptable? The US military seems to think so... they've even put out a FREE (if you don't count the tax dollars that were used to develop it) first-person-shooter video game called America's Army that is as violent as any out there... but which received rave reviews from the media. Think about it: the only game maker that explicitly hopes their game will teach kids to kill gets positive reviews, while the makers of innocuous (if somewhat mindless) video games get grilled on the front page.