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Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Stupidest Debate

Whenever a killing spree occurs, various conservative dolts fall over each other to be the first to denounce video games and heavy metal as the cause.

But wait a minute. Homicide is as old as the human race. Even such cherished texts as the Bible and American History are loaded with violence. The Bible begins with a murder (c'mon people, Cain and Abel) and ends with the destruction of all life on earth. The Old Testament, which comprises about 3/4 of the Bible, is page after page of massacres, battles, and divine retribution.
Indeed, there are many things in the Old Testament that make Resevoir Dogs look like Mary Poppins.

American History is loaded with violence too. Most American History books describe at least ten wars in detail and mention numerous other skirmishes, rebellions, and murders. Oddly, however, while the books contain many written descriptions of violence (e.g. date and bodycount), they have very few images of violence. I will return to this point shortly.

So, it seems to me that you could just as well blame the Bible and US History books for violent behavior, since they both glorify it. Strangely, however, the blame is pinned elsewhere. Why?

I think the answer can be found from a favorite conservative past-time: Professional "Wrestling". For me, the most irritating thing about it is not that it is violent, but that they try to obscure it. It's "fighting" where no one gets hurt, which is complete nonsense. At least in video games, when you shoot someone, there's splay of blood and they fall down. Hell, even Looney Tunes is more truthful- there are bullet holes, black eyes, and head bumps. Many people, particularly conservatives, have the notion that violence is OK, but showing the consequences of it is not. When you show pictures of dead people, it tends to shatter the illusion that what is going on is just good, clean fun.

The only hope for a more peaceful world lies not with censoring violence, but by showing it truthfully. So long as journalists are forbidden (or choose not) to photograph coffins bearing slain soldiers, or broadcast grisly images, I fear it is only a matter of time before the US public is roused into a new lynch-mob frenzy by a rollicking country music anthem.

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