Tags: Violent | Videogames | and | Movies

Violent Videogames and Movies

Wednesday, 06 April 2005 12:00 AM

They aren't, of course, which is why they spent that money, and will make it back with interest, which is why they'll keep doing it. I took economics in college. Am I the only one? Is this so difficult?

"Sin City" is said to be a stunningly violent, sexually raw and explicit movie, featuring priests and prostitutes, and breaking new grounds in cinematic noir, with a scene of castration by a single bullet wound. Millions of Americans chose to see that movie after hearing about the Holy Father's death, and the prospect of in-depth television coverage. Who are you going to blame for that? Hollywood?

Did Hollywood hold a gun to their heads and advise them that the appropriate way to show their respect for the longest-serving pope was to see just how well Hollywood could do with that gun?

Not in my house. Probably not in yours, if you read newspapers in print. But in enough houses to make it number one.

Peggy Noonan, the most gifted former Reagan speechwriter and now a columnist, wrote a best seller urging New York voters to reject Hillary Clinton's candidacy for Senate in large part because it could serve as a stepping-stone for a presidential bid. In the book, she imagined a scene in which Hillary stands up at a fancy party given for her by Disney CEO Michael Eisner and risks her political capital to take on her Hollywood supporters for making violent trash.

I don't think even Peggy, with her vivid imagination, could've come up with what you will find in today's videogames, which make Hollywood's version of "Sin City" look like perfect discussion material for a Sunday school class, because the Frank Miller comic strip at its core did have one.

But what can you say about "a game that encourages [boys] to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them"? That's Hillary Clinton's description of "Grand Theft Auto" in her recent speech to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Peggy's speech may be prettier, but Hillary's hits all the right points.

And it doesn't matter. It didn't matter when she was first lady, either, as she points out, when she tried and failed to get the industry together to adopt a consistent ratings system, and it just wouldn't. The game is a best seller everywhere.

According to the Kaiser Foundation Report, kids 8 to 18 spend an average of three to four hours in front of their TV sets every day, but that's barely half the total 6.5 hour a day total they spend consuming media. For a quarter of that time, they're multi-tasking.

When you do the numbers, consuming media is for average kids – I'm not talking exceptional, just average – a 43-and-a-half-hour-a-week, full-time job. And since they don't just consume one form of media at a time, they work overtime – a quarter of the time, they are consuming at least two forms of media at once.

Walk into a teenager's room sometime, and you can get dizzy: with earphones on, they are e-mailing, watching TV, playing a game, surfing the Net – did I mention doing homework? – knocking off someone's head, switching the channel, killing someone with a gun on a screen.

Sen. Clinton cites statistics pointing to a 13 percent to 22 percent increase in aggressive behavior among kids who play videogames, and to the fact that 9 out of 10 of the top-selling games are violent.

Teachers and parents everywhere talk about shortened attention spans among students, especially boys who complain of being bored in school when it doesn't move at the same speed as a turbo-charged level-four game, too often followed by increasing diagnoses of attention deficit disorder, some of which may boil down to videogame-related disorder.

America this weekend talked the talk about the pope and religion, while we walked the walk for sin and violence. Blaming the Clintons and debating the role of government is a lot safer than asking whether something more fundamental may be broken, and recognizing where responsibility really does lie for such matters.

COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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They aren't, of course, which is why they spent that money, and will make it back with interest, which is why they'll keep doing it. I took economics in college. Am I the only one? Is this so difficult? "Sin City" is said to be a stunningly violent, sexually raw and...
Violent,Videogames,and,Movies
683
2005-00-06
Wednesday, 06 April 2005 12:00 AM
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