Friday, January 04, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 – The Scary Future That Seems Like It’ll Happen

This is how freedom dies. Not with a whimper but thunderous applause.

Not unlike book burnings (interesting fact, they’ve been going on since 600 BC), video games are unfortunately getting their turn. 

January 12th, a group called SouthingtonSOS, headed by John Myers who also chairs the Southington YMCA, will have a massive burning of video games, cd’s, and dvd’s."Violent" video games, cd's, and dvd's to be exact. What constitutes as violent is very much open to debate, but that's not the point of this post.

The group’s action is not intended to be construed as statement declaring violent video games where the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on December 14th.”

Well then, what is it? When you want to cause aggressive behavior towards someone or something you are trying to send a message. And the follow-up paragraph stating that there is ample evidence that violent video games produce more aggressive children is ridiculous when you don’t provide any examples or links to said studies. Even the Supreme Court stated in their ruling of the California law, which would fine retailers for selling M rated games to those under 17, that there has been no significant evidence or research to show that video games lead to sustained aggressive behavior. More studies are coming out showing the opposite of what is being stated all across the media. And reading stories like this one where other members of the media are trying to force blame onto games, it gives me pause. 

What the hell is happening to our country? We’re all so focused on finding an answer NOW versus actual research that it’s dumbing down our society. Artistic values, freedom of speech and expression, civil liberties, everything is being torn apart.

On the other hand, I’m incredibly conflicted. Even though I’ll come off as a bitch and a douche for saying I’m 100% against this video game burning event they are having in Connecticut, they’re also practicing their freedom of speech. They have every right to say what they want, even if it conflicts with my personal feelings. Just as the jackasses of the Westboro Baptist “Church” are allowed to picket at military funerals, they have that right. I don’t agree with it. In fact I have a number of choice words for them. And God help them if they dare do that at my father’s funeral. (I’ve given my brother and the boyfriend full authority to kick their asses. I’ll cover the bail money.) But they have the freedom to do so in this country.

Freedom of speech is a two way street. I’m glad that I live in a place where that’s a possibility. Ship my ass over to the Middle East and I’d probably want to kill myself because of the restrictions. And then I read pieces like this in the San Francisco Chronicle that want to re-interpret and limit the First Amendment. Trying to make us into one of those countries that oppress their people. “sighs” Yeah, I know. The San Fran Chronicle, of all of the newspapers in the country in all of the cities in California no less, is the one that comes out with a piece about how we need to restrict First Amendment rights in order to protect children from violence in the media. And then I get all riled up again and jump on the “don’t burn video games and books” train.

It’s time for all of us to grow up. These senseless book/game/movie burnings, name calling, picketing, and finger pointing is no different than a school-yard fight. We keep beating each other up today, the fight is broken up by a teacher, and the same thing happens again tomorrow. What’s the point in it? No one is going to win. We need to start acting like adults by calmly, and most importantly rationally, discuss the issues and come to a consensus on how to resolve things. Maybe then we can finally get the real problems handled: like why a first world country like ours still has high rates of poverty, homelessness, and hunger. Or how about the rise in mental health issues that no one seems concerned about treating. There are real world problems out there. Burning video games shouldn’t be our focus on how to handle anger.

Yes, I’m still against the actions of the SOS group. And yes I support the group for their right to be able to host the event. And yes if I had the ability to take the day off from work I would set up an anti-burning video game event on the 12th. And yes, I’m fully aware I would be called a heartless bitch that doesn’t care about the children that were killed. Freedom of speech works both ways. I have the right to say it, just as you have the right to choose not to listen or to agree/disagree with it. I hope I’m not the only one that feels they should say something against the game burning demonstration.

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