[Vision2020] Video games

John Moss johnmoss@moscow.com
Thu, 10 Jul 2003 19:36:21 -0700

Mr. Moffet, Mr. Hansen, and all,

In an amoral reductionist world, scenes "depicting people graphically sliced
and diced" would really be no worse than scenes of "lovemaking with the
sight of a naked human body."  One type of scene merely depicts the
rearrangement of matter in the universe; the other merely depicts the
arrangement and rearrangement of matter in the universe.

In a morally-guided world, however, both types of scenes could be issues--or
as Mr. Moffet put it, a moral crisis.

While I agree completely with Mr. Moffet and Mr. Hansen that violent film
and television can cause similar violent behavior in children, it would seem
to be a good idea not to over-generalize.  There is some violent behavior
that is noble; there is other violent behavior that is despicable.

The film cited by Mr. Moffet would probably be a good example of violent
behavior that most parents would find reprehensible in their children.  In
this society, I don't know of any parents who would delight in hearing of
their children's brutal destruction of police officers.  And yet the film
industry has built up a whole sub-culture around the "innate goodness" of
attacking and killing police officers.  This is a twisted morality.  As a
little test of the media's impact, what type of connotations does the word
"cop" bring to mind?

Much research has shown that televised violence has a direct and immediate
impact on behavior.  Citing one such study done by researchers Liebert and
Baron, the psychologist Robert Cialdini writes: "Some children were shown
excerpts from a television program in which people intentionally harmed each
other.  Afterward, these children acted in a significantly more harmful way
toward other children than did those who had watched a nonviolent television
program (a horse race)."

Along these lines, there are some films that show proper violence done for
the sake of goodness.  Could a citizen intervening in the massacre of a town
or a husband protecting his wife from an invading army be examples of this?

When citizens make their voice known to the film or television industry,
they need to make sure that what they are truly expecting is clear.

Don't just ask for non-violence.  Ask for nobility.

John Moss

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ted Moffett" <ted_moffett@hotmail.com>
To: <sslund@moscow.com>; <shawnc@outtrack.com>
Cc: <vision2020@moscow.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 1:50 PM
Subject: RE: [Vision2020] Video games

> All:
> The entertainment industry promotes, and make huge profit off, incredible
> violence in FILMS that we have come to accept as the "norm."  It seems, in
> fact, we have become numbed to violence in film, therefore the industry
> to keep pushing the boundaries of graphic violence to "shock" the
> Why should violent video games should cause such an uproar, when well
> respected movie stars, and the films they are in, depict horrific
> that millions of children watch and think is "cool?"
> I won't list films and actors, and describe the violence in each film.
> list would be long, and we all know about the killing and sadism commonly
> depicted on the big screen.
> But one very popular movie star and film series stands out for violence
> success:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Terminator movie series.
> So you are concerned about video games that feature violence against
>   Then what about the famous line "I'll be back!" from the first
> movie, which is spoken in a police station.  When Arnold comes back, he
> takes the whole police station apart, killing I don't know how many
> Terminator 2 has some horrific scenes of violence that could earn the
> an X rating for violence.  Yet in our kind and loving and compassionate
> culture, we apparently think scenes of lovemaking with the sight of a
> human body to be more of a moral crisis then depicting people graphically
> sliced and diced in cold blooded murder, blood all over the place, etc.
> So why is the latest Terminator movie in the series now on the big screen,
> apparently without protest for the incredible violence, definitely viewed
> millions of children, the movie series used to make millions?  Yet on
> some object to violent video games?
> You could argue that film is understood to be fantasy, while video games
> more involving, blurring  the line between fantasy and reality.  There are
> studies, however, that have shown that children watching violent content
> from films or TV will encourage violent conduct in the children later on.
> So this argument is problematic.  And many children do understand that a
> video game is fantasy, anyways.
> If I wanted to lessen violence in society connected to "entertainment" I
> would first insist on less violence in films.  Video game violence is just
> an extension of what has become commonplace on the big screen, seen by
> millions of children with an eerie acceptance by parents that this is the
> "norm."
> When a movie star, Schwarzenegger, who has made millions off graphic
> violence in films, can be seriously considered to run for governor of
> California... it would seem the effort to stop children from being exposed
> to violent entertainment via movie heros who promote films with violence
> "cool," is being undermined!
> And to expect parents to do the job of monitoring their children for
> exposure to violent media, parents have a hard road ahead.  The aggressive
> marketing to children in the USA by corporations is a powerful force that
> penetrates nearly every aspect of life.  And violence sells, plain and
> simple.  A family would nearly have to lead the life of a recluse to stop
> children from being exposed to violent content media.  For example,
> hand held video games are popular, and any child with such a device loaded
> with a violent video game could share the game with another child.
> But the real questions deal with the fact that our culture actually
> encourages and endorses many forms of violent conduct.  And blaming
> media for these problems is just attacking symptoms, not the fundamental
> causes.
> Ted
> >From: "Saundra Lund" <sslund@moscow.com>
> >To: "'Shawn Clabough'" <shawnc@outtrack.com>, <vision2020@moscow.com>
> >Subject: RE: [Vision2020] Video games
> >Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2003 12:02:33 -0700
> >
> >I absolutely agree.
> >
> >It's a tough question, for sure.  Being about as much of a bleeding
> >heart liberal :-) as possible, I'm against banning.  However, I'm a big
> >advocate of personal responsibility:  kids need to be responsible,
> >parents need to be responsible, artists need to be responsible,
> >corporations need to be responsible, retailers need to be responsible,
> >and communities need to be responsible.
> >
> >I think a good start is for everyone (including artists, manufacturers,
> >and retailers) to remember that the almighty dollar isn't the "be all &
> >end all."
> >
> >The Daily News had an article recently about video games, and I was
> >impressed & heartened to read that some kids are just saying "No" to
> >violent games.
> >
> >But, for the kids who aren't, it's a very scary thing, I think.  And, it
> >seems to me that for some, making money rather than thinking of the
> >effects of such vile trash (subjective, I know) on kids is more
> >important.
> >
> >Sad, sad state of affairs, I think, but nothing new.
> >
> >
> >Saundra Lund
> >Moscow, Idaho
> >
> >The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to
> >do nothing.
> >Edmund Burke
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: vision2020-admin@moscow.com [mailto:vision2020-admin@moscow.com]
> >On Behalf Of Shawn Clabough
> >Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2003 10:12 AM
> >To: 'vision2020@moscow.com'
> >Subject: RE: [Vision2020] Video games
> >
> >
> >The tough part of this equation is where the parents that should be
> >"parenting" their child away from this material don't care enough to,
> >then that child goes out and does something to a child that was actively
> >"parented".  How can society prevent this proactively?
> >
> >An active parent and gamer,
> >Shawn Clabough
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
> STOP MORE SPAM with the new MSN 8 and get 2 months FREE*
> http://join.msn.com/?page=features/junkmail
> _____________________________________________________
>  List services made available by First Step Internet,
>  serving the communities of the Palouse since 1994.
>                http://www.fsr.net
>           mailto:Vision2020@moscow.com