[[image:090520_pred.jpg:When Games are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Games:right:0]]A few days ago GameSpite alum Kat Bailey shared a link to this excellent article in the Economist in her Twitter feed. For those not familiar with the current events in the great state Kat and I live in, please take a few moments to read through the article to give you context about how truly boned our state is.
As our state implodes, seemingly circling a drain that our leaders are incapable of extricating us from, it’s nice to know that our political leaders have their priorities in check. Education, law enforcement, fire control and other services are facing crippling cuts, but as a state we apparently have the resources to go after video games! This despite the fact that video game legislation has been repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional and the video game industry already has a ratings system in place.
Now Attorney General Jerry Brown is in the news, offering shock-value quotes and tired legislation, petitioning to get the United State Supreme Court to rule on a law criminalizing the sale of “violent” video games to minors. This same law has been struck down twice already since it was signed into law in 2005. As a citizen of California, I am not happy that our governor and attorney general are wasting resources we can’t spare trying to parent other peoples’ children. As long as we’re throwing money away trying to illegally mandate parenting decisions, maybe we can assign a mandatory government issued nanny to all families, and ensure that all parenting decisions made by Californians meet with their approval?.
Brown has been quoted as saying, “California’s children are exposed every day to video games that glamorize killing sprees, torture and sexual assault.” And those are just the video games based on or inspired by our Governor’s film career! Somehow I doubt even if California is successful in banning the sale of violent video games to minors, they will take the logical next step and criminalize R-rated movies such as Predator or Commando.
Guys, stop tilting at windmills. What we actually need you to work on is fixing our broken state. We need a functioning state government a whole hell of a lot more than we need to throw more money away on lawyers’ fees.
10 thoughts on “California über alles”
What’s depressing about that is I normally like Jerry Brown.
What’s REALLY depressing about that is IMO he’s the best choice that has either announced OR is rumoured to.
I wish Nevada could offload a few libertarians to California. They’d both benefit for it.
I always kind of laugh at the doomsday tone Americans tend to use when talk about “the government will say it’s illegal to sell M-rated games or R-rated movies to kids”, given that’s exactly the situation that exists here in Canada, and no one is particularly bothered by it.
Sounds like he’s trying to just keep his name in the news as a “crusader”. It’s unfortunate he has no ideas on how to fix the state’s economy, and that, like many politicians before him, he’s chosen to fixate on a new(ish) form of media and declare himself an advocate “for the sake of our children.”
Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. Although I’m old enough to buy anything I want now, my parents gave a shit when I was younger and any game I picked up when I was under 16, I had to run by them first.
ajr82: I think that’s the situation in the UK, too. 18 rated movies can’t be seen by people under 18, and 18 rated games can’t be bought by anyone under 18. It didn’t, of course, stop my entire secondary school’s male population from playing GTA3, though.
Also, Levi has taught me the phrase “tilting at windmills”. Despite having read one (fairly hefty) translation, I had encountered the phrase only in the form “battling windmills”. Needless to say, tilting is far more pleasing to the ears.
As stupid as video game legislation is, I don’t have a problem with legislating morality or telling parents what they can or cannot do. The issue is where to draw the line. The government doesn’t appoint nannys, but what it does do is tell people things like they have to drive their kids in baby seats, leave them in their automobiles unattended, or put gun-locks on their guns. Those all sound fine to us, so what is the problem with keeping kids from buying games that they are advised not to play? I would honestly appreciate it if underage kids weren’t allowed to play Gears of War or Halo, it would make those games a lot more fun to play online. And lets be honest, should a 12 year old really be able to see man-dong in GTA4? Probably not.
Am I disappointed that another California politician is trying to pull this, when our state is in such shambles? Of course. Realistically (and especially if you consider the information the article you linked to) is a California politician really able to do anything useful? No. Is a few million in additional lawsuits really going to matter in the wake of a 20+ Billion deficit? Not really.
Young children being exposed to violent video games (or movies) should not be a concern of the state. (And by “state” I mean “government”.)
I think people need to remember something very important, called “parental responsibility.” It’s not the state’s job to watch out for what your kids are playing/watching – surprise, surprise, that’s YOUR job as a parent. Take some responsibility for your own children, geez.
You know those stories that have been floating around about breaking up California into four states? Perhaps they should do that. Not sure what it would solve, but it would sure be interesting.
I really wish they would stop cutting so much from education. I’m just about to exit from the public school system through graduation, but my younger sister is barely heading into 7th grade; I don’t want her educational experience to be below average because state officials don’t have their priorities straightened out.
Hell, a lot of the teachers I had in elementary and jr. high school have been fired as a result of the economic madness, and a lot of the extracurricular activities and electives have been removed from my high school since my freshman year.
I had to give kudos for the title of the blog post. It brought a song to my heart and a smile to my face.
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