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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Right and Responsibility

OK, so here is the rant.

Illinois wants to ban video games for those under eighteen.

The gist is that they feel they are protecting them.

This would make them the most expensive babysitter in recent history.

Seriously, why is it in this country that the people to blame are never to blame? I guess our President is the ideal of this - a man with plenty to account for who doesn't think anything is wrong. Surely he wasn't responsible for reviewing reports before speaking to the public, right?

Think I'm making a stretch? Think again. This is American culture, and it's sad. I remember seeing a picture on CNN of a Japanese CEO bowing to a townshall meeting of a small city his corporation had wronged. I don't even remember what they had done. Some pollution or something. Regardless, it's something you'll never see on these shores. Here, it's "prove it" - not "I'm sorry."

How does this relate? Because parents are never responsible for their children when it comes anything outside of feeding and giving them a place to sleep and defecate. We blame schools for education, we blame MTV for teen pregnancy, we blame video games for violence, we blame, we blame, we blame.

Governor Rob compared video games to drugs in his announcement. Does that strike anyone else as odd? OK, Manhunt is a pretty violent and disturbing game. But it's not something you can shoot up in the back alley and get an addiction. Manhunt isn't going to impair your ability to drive. This is the same argument that brought us Tom Hanks in Mazes and Monsters, the movie that depicted how pen and paper role playing games cause schizophrenia and homicidal thoughts. See, it can't be the parent's fault because video games can be so evil and powerful that we need the government to help us.

Bull hockey. I saw The Hulk in the theater with about twenty screaming, terrified children because their parents were too lazy to read a single review, or see a single trailer, or to even care enough to remove their child when it's clear they're freaking out. Who's fault is that? Well, by Illinois Logic, it's clearly Lowes Cinema for allowing that parent to enter with the child. Because we can't expect the parent to know.

If I really felt that this was just to give parents a hand, I'd probably be for it. What this does in the long run, though, is absolve parents of any need to ask their kids about what they are playing.

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