Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Open Letter to Justice Scalia

" [with the game] BioShock, the developer Irrational "testing the limits of the ultraviolent gaming genre with a strategy that enables players to kill characters resembling young girls." The game presents an ethical choice to players, whether to kill 'Little Sisters' for extra abilities or save them and receive less."

Dear Justice Scalia:
I hope your mother is not alive to hear the latest nonsense you delivered from the bench.  Were you raised by wolves-or what ? Are you *pazzo?

Me, I got to wonder if you have actually seen ( or Saw) or played a video game or recently read a fairy tale? ( I have a few highlights of some great games below). You may say and even believe that that the violence in video games is protected speech. Fair enough. I mean, getting extra points for killing a prostitute after you have sex with her ( as featured in older versions of Grand Theft Auto ) is not only protected by the First Amendment, it is the American Way. That's just like the evil stepsisters having their eyes pecked out as in some classic versions of Cinderella - right?


Saying that the violence in video games is like violence the Brothers Grimm fairy tales is simply bone-headed.  First, the violence in a folk or fairy tale has some context and reason embedded the plot or the social context of the listeners. Second, in fairy tales, there is always a resolution to the violence. Yes, innocents are often irrationally and violently victimized, but the guilty are always punished. And sure, a person could read the gory parts of any fairy tale over and over again. Reading compulsively like that is not only unlikely it is distinctly different from the exciting simulation and repeated perpetration of violent acts upon others.  Duh!

It must be exciting to pretend to rape and murder over and over again. I don't know. Me? I prefer to make pesto. But I assume the pleasure in dangerously anti-social patterns of behavior is why video games sell so well? But, let's not talk about what I think. Let's talk about you, the wise judge in the highest court of the land.

*Che fai? What are you doing down there? Beyond protecting business interests, do you guys ever attend to or speak about moral considerations?  You did feel free to open your big mouth and talk about literature. The issue of violent video games has social implications that deserve very careful consideration. During WWII, the Nazis were the first to use repeated viewings of filmed violent acts to train and desensitize their concentration camp guards.

Just sayin'.

The First Amendment is one thing. I am a huge fan of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But only a *citrull' could think that violent video games are harmless, or would compare them favorably to our valuable cultural heritage of oral narrative.

So, wise up, Antonin! What would your mother think?  And say hello to your *fratello, Romulus for me.


Norah (LaTosca) Dooley

*citrullo: /tʃiˈtrullo/ noun. fool, stupid.
*pazzo: /pa'ttso/ adj. crazy, mad, lunatic
*fratello:/fraˈtɛllo/ brother
Romulus and Remus were raised by a she-wolf until a kindly shepherdess took over.  Due to their humble beginnings they grew up without an X-Box or cable.

From a list at wikipedia

2006     RapeLay     PC     Illusion Soft     Rape forms a core part of the gameplay leading to controversy raised in the UK Parliament and elsewhere.

2006     Rule of Rose The mayor of Rome called for the game to be banned from Italy, saying children "have the right to be shielded from violence". The then European Union justice and security commissioner wrote an open letter condemning the game for "obscene cruelty and brutality". An Italian magazine, Panorama, claimed that in order to win the game players must bury a girl alive which the game's European publisher disputed. On the UK release day, the publisher announced that Rule of Rose would not be published in the UK, despite the game being approved for release by the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) and Video Standards Council regulatory bodies

2007     BioShock     Xbox 360, PC, PS3     2K Games     An article in The Patriot Ledger, the local paper of developer Irrational Games, argued that the game is "testing the limits of the ultraviolent gaming genre with a strategy that enables players to kill characters resembling young girls." The game presents an ethical choice to players, whether to kill 'Little Sisters' for extra abilities or save them and receive less. 2K president Ken Levine defended the game as a piece of art, stating "we want to deal with challenging moral issues and if you want to do that, you have to go to some dark places". Jack Thompson took issue with advertisements for the game appearing during WWE SmackDown's airtime, writing to the Federal Trade Commission and stating that M-rated games should not be advertised when large numbers of under-17s are watching.

2007     V-Tech Rampage     PC         This game simulated events from the 2007 Virginia Tech Shootings and has music targeting the RIAA


Carolyn Stearns Storyteller-Announcer said...

Touche' and on gaurd to the Judge! Don't mess with the lady for the defense of traditonal folk tales steeped in moral lessons and served up with herpen mightier than the sword. If the judge could only hear you speak the words you have written. ( I can hear them and see your delivery in my mind)A force to be reckoned with! OK Judge time to exit the game this player is far above your ability.

Tony Toledo said...

Right on, Norah. Violence in video games is random blood and guts. Violence in fairy tales is vital to the tale, and reflects good vs evil, in which good always wins in the end. I am confused by some of these Supreme Court decisions to say the least... Write on.

Connecting Stories said...

Tx guys. This also came to mind...

"Fairy tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." -GK Chesterson