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Applauding "Grand Theft"
Townhall.com ^ | May 2, 2008 | Brent Bozzell III

Posted on 05/02/2008 2:37:45 PM PDT by Kaslin

Outrage comes easy at the sight of 15-year-old Disney Channel billion-dollar phenomenon Miley Cyrus -- known to screaming 8-year-old girls as Hannah Montana -- appearing barebacked with a come-hither smile in a photo shoot for Vanity Fair. Did no one understand how the slinky satin-sheet photo would be greeted by the eyes of teenage boys -- or men twice her age? Parents are covering the eyes of their Disney-drenched little girls while their role model has a train wreck. Do we need another Britney Spears Show?

But teenage boys are going wilder this week over a more dangerous cultural low: "Grand Theft Auto IV." The new video game from Rockstar Games is flying off the shelves, and all the early reviews are glowing. GamePro magazine calls it "the pinnacle of interactive entertainment and game design." Why is it so good? "It never makes concessions in the name of being politically correct, living up to its M-rating with gusto -- there's tons of swearing, violence and sexual innuendo."

Yes, young lads, you can visit strip clubs and get lap dances, pick up prostitutes, go on assassination missions and conduct gangland-style executions. The New York Times applauded the game's "winsome procession of grifters, hustlers, drug peddlers and other gloriously unrepentant lowlifes."

Game-lovers can protest that just because a game encourages you to kill cops and exploit prostitutes, it doesn't mean you become violent. But that argument isn't helped by the news report that a San Diego man doused video-game store employees with mace to steal the game. Or that a man standing in line in London was stabbed in the head and neck. As the Times of London reported, "Onlookers thought initially that the stabbing was part of a stunt by the store to whip up excitement" about the game. The victim went to get his own knife for a revenge attack, but collapsed and was taken to the hospital. "It was a scene straight from the game itself," gushed one witness.

In 2004, Drs. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, co-founders of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, undertook a $1.5 million study funded by the Department of Justice on the effects of video games on young teenagers. "Grand Theft Auto" is the most popular video game series among young teens. In their surveys of seventh- and eighth-grade kids, 44 percent of boys reported playing a "Grand Theft Auto" game "a lot in the past six months" -- far more than the next most popular game series, Madden NFL. Even among girls, it was second only to "The Sims." One in five girls routinely played it.

WhatTheyPlay.com is a resource site for parents, and interviews with children find they like the series for its wide-open play, particularly the vicarious experience of the thug life. "I'm never going to be a car-jacking, whore-murdering gang member," said one, "so I guess it's very interesting to see what your life could be like, if you chose that path. It's amazing to become so immersed in the game experience and really be able to feel like a criminal."

I don't know the answer to this, but out of curiosity, I have a question: What percentage of car-jacking murdering gang members were committed to this life as children?

The violent content also attracts children as a way to vent anger or stress. One boy explained: "Last week, I missed homework and my teacher yelled at me. When I went home, I started playing [Grand Theft Auto] Vice City, and got a tank. I ran over everybody. And I smashed a lot of cars and blew them up."

So it's a good thing Rockstar Games hasn't invented the game yet where children get a tank and drive it back to school and blow up teachers.

There's something odd about our culture when we try to prevent children under 17 from seeing violent or sexually overt material in a two-hour R-rated movie, but we're cavalier about selling the same experience -- actually, a more offensive experience since it's entirely non-judgmental -- in an M-rated video game that will be played every night for months.

There's only one word to describe parents who would buy this game for their children: Disgraceful. But retailers, too, must be pressed to check ID before selling the game to children who most assuredly will seek to purchase it. Legally, stores cannot sell children pornographic magazines or handguns -- but they can legally sell video games to children that contain pornographic content or that teach children how to gun down cops.

They can choose to line their pockets with the proceeds of the sale of this cultural poison to youngsters. They can join the chorus of consequential deniability, too. All they have to worry about is their conscience, in the dead of night, something the P.R. wizards can't touch.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: bozell; game; gaming; grandtheftauto; gta4; mrc; videogames

1 posted on 05/02/2008 2:37:45 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

“They can choose to line their pockets with the proceeds of the sale of this cultural poison to youngsters. They can join the chorus of consequential deniability, too. All they have to worry about is their conscience, in the dead of night, something the P.R. wizards can’t touch.”

WOW...what a crap game. I feel sorry for those who play this stuff and numb thier minds. Even sorrier for the ones who profit from it. My how society has fallen...AGAIN.


2 posted on 05/02/2008 2:44:23 PM PDT by oust the louse (Terrorists are salivating over a Clinton or Obama White House.)
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To: Kaslin
But that argument isn't helped by the news report that a San Diego man doused video-game store employees with mace to steal the game. Or that a man standing in line in London was stabbed in the head and neck.

Remember Cabbage Patch Kids and Elmo? The same stuff happens every Christmas holiday season.

3 posted on 05/02/2008 2:44:48 PM PDT by FoxInSocks (B. Hussein Obama: The Paucity of Hope)
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To: Kaslin

Video games, like movies and television shows, are rated. If parents are too lazy to check the ratings...


4 posted on 05/02/2008 2:45:37 PM PDT by durasell (!)
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To: Kaslin

The rise of realistic first-person shooters matched pretty well declines in adolescent violent crime.


5 posted on 05/02/2008 2:47:19 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: Kaslin
>Did no one understand how the slinky satin-sheet photo would be greeted by the eyes of teenage boys -- or men twice her age?

Even Quagmire asks
girls if they've turned eighteen yet!
Fifteen is too young!

6 posted on 05/02/2008 2:47:34 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: oust the louse



Video games are the root of all evil. There obviously wouldn't be any crime if it weren't for GTA. It makes people turn violent. /s
7 posted on 05/02/2008 2:50:37 PM PDT by samson1097
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To: samson1097

http://www.tgorski.com/Violence/David%20Grossman/learning_to_kill_interview_with_david_grossman_04-23-01.htm


8 posted on 05/02/2008 2:53:19 PM PDT by durasell (!)
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To: Kaslin
This is the first generation of young people ever who would even consider doing something to outrage their parents.

I was a perfect little angel. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

9 posted on 05/02/2008 2:56:05 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Kaslin
Yes, young lads,

Who can only get this game if their parents bought it for them.

If his parents buy this game for little Johnny then little Johnny has much bigger problems then the games he is playing.

10 posted on 05/02/2008 3:01:47 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes into it.)
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To: durasell

On Combat is a great book about the physiological reactions of a violent encounter.

He firmly believes that thes games develop sociopathy and good hand-eye coordination at the same time, a dangerous combo.


11 posted on 05/02/2008 3:04:47 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: Strategerist

Really? There was a study about this? I would like to know more.


12 posted on 05/02/2008 3:06:06 PM PDT by Retired Greyhound
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To: durasell

From your link:

“Remember, these games (especially the “fire arms trainers” where you hold a gun in your hand) will almost definitely not be found to have 1st Amendment protection. They are appliances, simulators.”

Come on. You don’t really think these games should be illegal do you? I played GTA because I had fun. I didn’t turn into a murderer. By an extension of the logic, there should be a law against racing games as they simulate breaking the law. Also, they’re the reason I get all my speeding tickets.


13 posted on 05/02/2008 3:08:40 PM PDT by samson1097
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To: Retired Greyhound

There’ve been dozens of studies. With conflicting results that always seem to match the bias of the studier.

Here’s the base reality of the situation: the game is rated M for Mature, kids shouldn’t be playing it in the first place; the primary audience for video games is the 22 to 35 demographic (M for Mature); and nobody ever seems to worry that having an entire TV network dedicated to food makes people fat.


14 posted on 05/02/2008 3:12:28 PM PDT by discostu (down in the swamps with the gators and flamingos)
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To: Billthedrill
I was a perfect little angel. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Riiiiight. ;-)


15 posted on 05/02/2008 3:12:40 PM PDT by rdb3 (Upward, onward, beyond...)
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To: Kaslin
The New York Times applauded the game's "winsome procession of grifters, hustlers, drug peddlers and other gloriously unrepentant lowlifes."

Okay, so is it a game, or the day in the life of a Democrap? 

16 posted on 05/02/2008 3:13:35 PM PDT by JoJo Gunn (Help control the McCainiac population. Have them spayed or neutered.)
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To: samson1097
Next step:

Ban the movie Gone in Sixty Seconds. Far more realistic than a video game.

Immediately to follow: Smokey & the Bear

17 posted on 05/02/2008 3:16:40 PM PDT by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: rdb3

Uh-oh. You...uh...you aren’t the one who ended up with the negatives, are you? I can explain everything... :-(


18 posted on 05/02/2008 3:17:18 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Strategerist; All
violent
19 posted on 05/02/2008 3:18:21 PM PDT by underground (Viva la Socialisme Wall Street)
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To: Billthedrill
Uh-oh. You...uh...you aren’t the one who ended up with the negatives, are you? I can explain everything... :-(

I dunno, but I have more than my fair share.


20 posted on 05/02/2008 3:21:02 PM PDT by rdb3 (Upward, onward, beyond...)
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To: JoJo Gunn
Yes, young lads, you can visit strip clubs and get lap dances, pick up prostitutes, go on assassination missions and conduct gangland-style executions.

Meanwhile, cable news reports on this stuff 24/7.

21 posted on 05/02/2008 3:29:46 PM PDT by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagon)
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To: Kaslin
Even among girls, it was second only to "The Sims."

Heck, even "The Sims 2" has sex. Even same-sex sex!

22 posted on 05/02/2008 3:32:07 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie
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To: underground

awesome response


23 posted on 05/02/2008 3:38:37 PM PDT by corkoman
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To: Kaslin

That darn Freedom of Speech thingy...


24 posted on 05/02/2008 3:39:14 PM PDT by DCPatriot ("It aint what you don't know that kills you. It's what you know that aint so" Theodore Sturgeon))
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To: Kaslin
Has anyone turned on "Nikko's" TV set yet? Wait until you tune into an episode of GTA IV's "Republican Space Rangers"
25 posted on 05/02/2008 3:48:10 PM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: underground

With all the intense video games available now, kids are probably just too fat and lazy to commit crime. That’s why we have to bring in illegal aliens - to commit the crimes that...


26 posted on 05/02/2008 3:51:21 PM PDT by fr_freak (So foul a sky clears not without a storm.)
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To: Kaslin

But retailers, too, must be pressed to check ID before selling the game to children who most assuredly will seek to purchase it.


I’ve never seen a retailer sell one of the GTA games, or any other M rated game, to children. I have, however, watched tons of clueless and/or downright uncaring parents buy them for their children, some who looked as young as eight.


27 posted on 05/02/2008 4:37:51 PM PDT by kenth (I have a apolitical blues)
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To: Kaslin

The fact of the matter is, these games are rated. For parents to think “ooooooooooooh, it’s just a ‘game’” ruins everything.

It’s sad that games rated AO (adults only) aren’t sold at any big box stores, yet, you can go buy UNRATED DVDs full of more sex and violence than any game.


28 posted on 05/02/2008 4:56:13 PM PDT by sleepbox
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To: kenth

It’s amazing, isn’t it?


29 posted on 05/02/2008 5:13:53 PM PDT by Kaslin (Peace is the aftermath of victory)
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To: Caipirabob

I haven’t played IV yet, but I do love San Andreas. I have to overlook the game’s relentlessly far-left viewpoint, however. Like the TV show you linked to (making an assumption, as I didn’t watch the video), the virulent leftism in SA came to play mainly in the radio ads and talk shows—referring to drill instructors as “sexually confused skinheads,” for one thing. That’s one part of the game I stayed away from.


30 posted on 05/02/2008 5:21:06 PM PDT by Rastus
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To: samson1097

Grossman takes the hard line, but there’s something to what he says.


31 posted on 05/02/2008 6:17:52 PM PDT by durasell (!)
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To: Kaslin

Oh, goody, here we go again.

I suspect the anti-video game crusaders suffer from the inability to distinguish fantasy from reality that they falsely impute to gamers.

The release of Doom and Mortal Kombat was followed by a steep decline in youth violence. Could be coincidence, but it tends to falsify the ‘OMG kids who see [fantasy] violence commit [real] violence’ hysteria. Hell, there are even studies that show a correlation between delinquency and favoring non-violent video games (and contrarywise between favoring violent video games and well-socialized non-behavior in real life).

Somewhat amusingly, from my son’s reports (he played GTA IV at the home of the choreographer for a community theatre production of The Fantasticks he’s performing in even as I write), GTA IV includes the charming feature that the controls go haywire if the controler’s character has been drinking.

I’m guessing the zealots won’t be praising the designers for incorporating a simulation of the dangers of DUI.


32 posted on 05/02/2008 6:57:36 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: oust the louse
its the "Hooters" rationale....everything can be explained, pardoned, okayed, sanctioned, pooh-pawed, and accepted as long as its only thisssssss immoral or unethical or pandering to the lowest common denominator of human nature....

everything is Aokay........./sarcasm/

33 posted on 05/02/2008 8:04:14 PM PDT by cherry
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To: kenth

Spent some time around Christmas looking for a somewhat obscure wii baseball game (MLB Power Pros) and saw the same scenario several times in game shops — mom rolls eyes while buying a murder and mayhem game for son who is too young to buy without her — “he’ll only play these types of games.”


34 posted on 05/03/2008 3:46:51 AM PDT by sbMKE
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