No more games, let’s talk.
Earlier, our site founder Jamie Briggs posted a story on Ralph Nader’s flammable opinion on videogames. Needless to say, as a lover of the medium, I respectfully disagree with the Green Party leader who has failed in his ballot for the presidency more times than I assume he can count (probably seven or so times). It was a baseless claim, as many of these “violent vidya garmes are fisting our children with brass knuckles” claims are, and it is so easy to just laugh and brush it off the shoulder.
But I think that doesn’t solve anything. Yes, we all know that depicted violence in art does not cause violence in the real world, but when we just laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and then offer up no real discussion or argument, then we’re no better than the holier-than-thou pundits that spew this bullshit (and I do apologize for my french, but I’m being dead serious with my words now) while laughing off the topic like it doesn’t deserve any serious debate.
At the end of the article, Jamie asked the readers what their thoughts were. I was initially going to post this as a comment, but I really think this needs to be heard on a slightly larger scale than just some comment on a blog post.
You want my opinion?
Well, when it comes to violence in games, I have this to say as a serious discussion:
When violent revolution occurs in a culture or nation or any type of conflict, people fall behind one person, one ideal, one embodiment. People will channel their insecurities, their anger, and their values through whatever conduit they believe embodies such things.
The Aurora theater shooting in question was caused by a man who emulated the Joker from the the film that preceded the one that was being shown at the theater. The character of the Joker embodied what he felt were his frustrations and values, and he made himself in that image. But the thing is, that man was very mentally unstable. Anything that he could have viewed as a conduit for himself would have given him the push to do the terrible thing he did. Or, maybe he could have just done it as himself. Either way, the man had severe mental problems and it is very possible that it could have been prevented with proper mental care.
In the case of violent videogames (or, more realistically, games that showcase overdramatic portrayals of violence [which every medium does at any time violent acts are shown, by their very nature]), yes, it is possible that someone could play a game that embodies the sort of anger, frustration, and world views that a potential killer could have and give a killer the embodiment with which to carry out his or her sick actions.
But it is not the game that gave the killer those ideas. It is not the game that presented the killer with a poor mental health care system. It is not the game that pointed at other mediums as a scapegoat, allowing the killer to put all the guilt on something else. It is not the game that made a media circus of actual school shootings like most news media outlets have done and still do.
So, my final answer is, no. Games are not “electronic child molesters”. Games do not cause these problems. Art, which includes games, are mirrors for us. They show us who we are as people. What we want to be, and who we’re ashamed to be. Art is a collection of every thought and emotions every human being has ever felt.
Art is a reflection of the culture that made it, not the other way around.
If you have an opinion on violent-y art, or if you want to make an argument to reinforce or debunk my argument, feel free to comment below. It’s the only way we can really mature as a people and a culture.
Frank Margarella wants to have all of the supposed factors in school shootings seriously discussed by all points of views. Sadly, that day seems far off, as idiots and attention hungry people still walk this Earth. You can follow Frank on twitter @Fuhjem.