Saturday, June 13, 2009

The New Epidemic.

Every generation changes things. Frankly, I think that change only comes with each generation and the passage of power. It seems pretty simple as to why this is. Humans are remarkably intransigent creatures. Combined with a healthy dose of stupidity and fear, we sort of determine what the world is and should be at a pretty young age. Changes beyond that norm are to be either feared or hated.

I look to a recent survey done in Rhode Island, my home state, where the gay marriage debate is heating up because our governor is a little bit slow in the brain case. If this survey is to be believed, that's not surprising.

In it, 60% of Rhode Islanders supported gay marriage, with 31% opposed. Further cementing the Republican party as the party of intolerance and outright idiocy, those numbers went strongly along party lines, with Elephants against and Donkeys for.

But it was the generational divide that was interesting, with a scant 32% of those over the age of 70 supporting gay marriage, but 18-29 year-olds supported strongly with 87%. 70% of 30-39 year-olds gave their support, as well.

This all leads to video games. How so? Well, the generation of people who are currently, apparently, Repbulican and against gay people, think they're ruining our children. Because, seriously, what isn't ruining our children?

Every generation has a boogeyman. Whatever the parents don't understand, they hate. And yet, with every generation crying how they'll never become like their parents, they do the same thing. Over and over again. The children don't dislike the particulars, be it comic books or video games, but they never seem to catch on to the underlying principle, they thus make the same mistakes.

I have long been against any politician who says things about video games. Joe Lieberman is a modern-day Anthony Comstock. He's a grand-standing blowhard who uses hot-button topics to further his own career. He is total scum.

I'm aware of the fact that Hillary Clinton has discussed similar topics about video games, and yet I supported her during the elections. Basically, Hillary never turned video games and other possible first-amendment issues into a personal crusade as Lieberman did with Mortal Kombat all those years ago. Moreover, my primary desire out of the presidential elections was a good manager to basically fix what Bush broke.

The irrepressible march of society continues, and despite the cries of untold fear-mongers throughout history, we're still here. We haven't devolved into bestiality and cannibalism. Out children are not all rabid serial killers. They were wrong. They were wrong then. They're wrong now. Just shut the fuck up.

Is it the only lesson of history that man is unteachable?

-- Sir Winston Churchill

The disturbing material in Grand Theft Auto and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children and it's making the difficult job of being a parent even harder ... I believe that the ability of our children to access pornographic and outrageously violent material on video games rated for adults is spiraling out of control.

- US senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2005

The effect of rock and roll on young people, is to turn them into devil worshippers; to stimulate self-expression through sex; to provoke lawlessness; impair nervous stability and destroy the sanctity of marriage. It is an evil influence on the youth of our country.

- Minister Albert Carter, 1956

Many adults think that the crimes described in comic books are so far removed from the child's life that for children they are merely something imaginative or fantastic. But we have found this to be a great error. Comic books and life are connected. A bank robbery is easily translated into the rifling of a candy store. Delinquencies formerly restricted to adults are increasingly committed by young people and children ... All child drug addicts, and all children drawn into the narcotics traffic as messengers, with whom we have had contact, were inveterate comic-book readers This kind of thing is not good mental nourishment for children!

- Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, 1954

This new form of entertainment has gone far to blast maidenhood ... Depraved adults with candies and pennies beguile children with the inevitable result. The Society has prosecuted many for leading girls astray through these picture shows, but GOD alone knows how many are leading dissolute lives begun at the 'moving pictures.'

- The Annual Report of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1909

A pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages. Why should we regret this? It may be asked. We answer, chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while it affords no benefit whatever to the body. Chess has acquired a high reputation as being a means to discipline the mind, but persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises--not this sort of mental gladiatorship.

- Scientific American, July 1859

The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced ... at the English Court on Friday last ... It is quite sufficient to cast one's eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies ... to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is ... forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.

- The Times of London, 1816

The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?

- Reverend Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, 1790

Some Quotes Of Note: Politicians Damning New Technologies/Cultural Artifacts (
Forget Video Games, Why Aren't Politicians Complaining About Chess? (

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