20050624

What Happened to Reasonable Discourse?

I don't know if it's because people are just stupid or what, but I'm increasingly dismayed at the lack of any reasonable discourse on anything. Whenever I see any major issue discussed, or even minor ones, it all turns into a shouting fest where one can hardly think.

Recently, there's been some outlast against a new video game that'll be coming out in the near future. The game is unarguably violent, which factors into the M rating the game recieved from the ESRB. The focus of criticism on this game is that it allows you to kill cops.

Now, this is a honest point of criticism there. The police are our law enforcement, and there should be some concern about how we portray and treat them. However, what could have been an honest critique turns into another idiotic slugfest.

Instead of engaging the subject, Nancy Grace's CNN show manipulates the issue to shock and outrage. The people meant to defend video games were regular panelists who didn't have any vested interest in them, and provided the shoddiest defense yet seen> Jack Thompson provided the typical reactionary and alarmist perspective, without levying any coherent arguments against video games.

There's lots of commentary on the subject, but the best direct commentary comes from Penny-Arcade. The point is, no one involved in this "debate" is making any sense, critically evaluating the problem, or pausing to actually think for a second.

I'm not going to say that there aren't arguments against video games, especially those like Grand Theft Auto. I will say straight out I would be ashamed of myself were I to let any children remotely related to me play such a game until they were most certainly of age (eighteen is the suggested minimum age for M rated games). What bothers me is that fingers are being pointed at the video game companies claiming that they market these games to kids. Even if that is the case, I've never been to a video game store that didn't ask for an ID when I wanted to buy an M rated game (when I still looked like I was around age eighteen). This begs the question, "Where are the parents?"

The answer? It doesn't suprise me that a recent study showed a definitive lack of involvement on the part of parents when it comes to what their children play. However, it seems like that would be news to the people like Nancy Grace. I don't mind fingers being pointed. There's obviously an issue here, but I'l very much like to see a reasonble amount of finger pointing towards all of the points of failure here. Video games companies are just one cog in the wheel of the breakdown of the system that is allowing nine year old children to gun down cops in video games.

I really dislike the kinds of "debates" that go on these days about any number of topics, but it is especially infuriating to me when the topic is the very line of work I intend on pursuing. Honestly I'm certain I will make games that will not be something suitable for all ages. I'm concerned about how I'm going to defend myself against the unintelligent rabble who will be attacking and defending me.

Jon Stewart probably puts it best throughout his attempted discussion on crossfire. I was really blown away at how he continually talk slowly, and clearly and made clear his points while those he was supposed to be "discussing" with talked with extreme rapidity and continually tried to interrupt Jon. If you look at just one link in your entire time view my blog, look at that one.

In any case, I'm prone to despair that anyone, media, forum, or just the people, will ever bother to get beyond knee-jerk reactions and flamboyant displays of emotion and concern.

1 comment:

jo said...

Hear hear, bro!

I happen to be of the opinion that video games and their tendency towards addictive framework should not be given to children who aren't yet in middle school. That may sound extreme, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Formative years should be spent having life experiences rather than sitting in front of the "boob tube". Let's stimulate the imagination, not just the tendons of the fingertips.

And yes, there's a general lack of intelligent discussion anywhere. (Save here--ha!)