Monday, January 21, 2013


Politico decided to ask Ralph Nader how he's feeling as the second Obama inaugural approaches. Nader says he's anticipating "another rendition of political bulls--," and goes on to grumble about the lack of bankster prosecutions, the drone war, and the fact that the minimum wage hasn't been increased.

Fair enough (although isn't there, um, another political party that bears some of the blame of this?). But then is Nader is asked about Obama's gun control proposals -- and whether out of sincere disgust or just an absolute refusal to give credit to anything Obama does, he denounces the president for not doing anything about video games -- y'know, just like Wayne LaPierre.
Obama’s plan doesn't go far enough on the violent video game creators [Nader] called "electronic child molesters."

"We are in the peak of [violence in entertainment]. Television program violence? Unbelievable. Video game violence? Unprecedented," Nader said.

He added: "I'm not saying he wants to censor this, I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of electronic child molesters."
Well, that ought to get Nader another of his many appearances on Fox News.

Of course, violent video games are played all over the developed world -- but only in America do massacres like Sandy Hook happen on a regular basis.

So, OK, Ralph and Wayne, let's assume you're both right. Let's assume that violent video games really do inspire the desire to imitate the violence in some players. That doesn't seem to be a problem in other countries, because in those countries you simply can't imitate the shooters, because you can't get access to the weaponry. So you can no more imitate the games than you can go out and deal with your own zombie apocalypse. The games are pure fantasy for players all over the world -- except in America where (maybe) they're imitated because they can be.

So even if video games are being imitated -- and there's still no convincing evidence of that -- the problem is still the availability of guns. So you're wrong again, Ralph.


UPDATE: For what it's worth, note this about Nehemiah Griego, the 15-year-old who's charged in the shooting deaths of his father (a minister named Greg Griego), his father's wife, and three of their kids in New Mexico on Saturday:
[Greg] Griego reportedly served in Desert Storm, and Nehemiah told neighbors he wanted to be a soldier. He always wore army clothing and camouflage, but he wasn't allowed to play violent video games, according to one neighbor, since the boy's parents didn't allow anything "dirty or violent" and limited TV watching.
Reports say the five were "fatally shot multiple times with a 'military-style' assault rifle and other weapons."


Victor said...

Ah, yes, we went from blaming Jazz and Flappers, to booze, to pinball games, to race-music, to Rock & Roll, to video games, now, for all of the ills of our society.

We are a country with a history of racism and violence, and have been trying to balance urban with rural (and now suburban) rivalries, since Day 1 - those are the causes of the ills in this society.

And the perpetuation of guns, even as we're getting younger, and browner, and more female, and more urban, allows the old mentalities to speak out, no with words, but with bullets.

If you can't convince others with ideas and words, you can certainly intimidate them, with guns.

And, Steve, you're right - people all over the world play these uber-violent video games. But, only over here in America, can you act them out with real guns, and not with sticks or broom-handles, like they do in other places. Or, knives, like that maniac in China, who also attacked over 20 children - none of whom died, because knives aren't as lethal as guns and bullets.

Anonymous said...

A few things about "violent video games" because it seems non gamers don't get a few things.

For starters many of the same places with gun restrictions also restrict violent video games. There are games that sell in the US that have been banned, forced to produce a goreless version, or require 21+ with ID age in control in other nations. Germany and Australia are certainly more strict here.

Next violent video games aren't always played world wide. The first person shooter with hyper realistic graphics is an American invention and we are the main consumers of them. Do people play them in other countries, yeah kinda, but often MUCH less than in America. Japan and Asia don't really buy or consume FPS games.

There is a huge culture gap here, Japans dating and (sadly) rape simulator games don't really get imported into the US outside of small numbers. The Japanese don't really like first person shooters. Even in genre's that both of us play like RPGs there is a massive difference. American RPGs tend to be closer to FPS games and highly gorey and realistic. See Fallout or Mass Effect. Japanese ones tend to be more cartoonish and surreal, see Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy.

Another example is fighting games, Mortal Kombat is an American product while Street Fighter is a Japanese product. One of these is violent and bloody the other isn't.

So comparing video games in other countries doesn't work out well unless you also want to heavily control video games. Because other first world nations do regulate them, or they play ones that are very different from what Americans play. We are unique in this aspect as well.

If anything video games point to us being a lot more addicted to violence and celebratory of it in video games than any other culture in the world.

BH said...

Wonder whether we can look forward (?) to the Ralph & Dennis Show on Fox? Roger Ailes must be laughing his arse off at how toolworthy these "principled lefties" can be. A few bucks, a little face time on the teevee, and they're yours. Can Glenn Greenwald be far behind?

Ten Bears said...

Geez, you all sound as nutty about the video games as the gun nuts do about guns. My twenty-seven year old son is just a year now without video games or tv and the change in his trip is remarkable. I may just take him target shooting. So cut the bullshit, they're violent and induce both aggressive behavior and a lack of sensitivity to the outcome. They, with the psychosis inducing drugs prevelent are the air/fuel/heat combination that lights the fire.

Examinator said...

Ralph Nader's assessment is at best media manipulation that is self serving hyperbole largely based on Projection of HIS interests.
I would acknowledge the following. There is much truth in his list of ills (on a superficial level). However , he is when it comes to violent video games his argument(?) ;
1. More importantly is absolutely void of any remedies or meaningful suggestions.
2. Ignores the research that can't give a definitive answer much less consensus. In any scientific testing of a hypothesis one has to isolate the testing topic from other influences. Thus far no research I read or heard of (not that that what I know , heard of is in any way definitive) has managed to do that.
3. He offers emotive targets which the media loves . i.e. Simple and attention grabbing ( again emotion sells gets readers not make a rational objective argument) e.g. every good argument has facts logic and conclusion with solutions/recommendations. The inference is vote me as Prez and I will do this ….How?

BTW it is journalistic integrity naughty (misleading)to assert as you do that Ralph agrees with Wayne … he,doesn't Ralph see's it in a context Wayne as an excuse.
The key points are that violent video games are arguably PART of the problem (Ralph). One could also add violent and or dubious TV shows, movies, gratuitously graphic news pictures, some internet etc all this Most of all is the Outrageous attitude of superiority which permeate modern societies that then use Malthusian concepts (of famine, disease, war etc as the 'natural order'. Ergo I'm doing the 'natural' thing. And besides Kipling's 'law of the jungle' is evolution ...which it isn't ) to justify the promotion of our more bestial animal instincts. This concept of superiority has led society to the same booms and bust mechanisms of exploitism and it's inevitable consequence if unchecked rampant polarisation of wealth and power.
Again the law of the jungle is the current version of Capitalism/ business where people who aren't in their group are simply justifiable prey ( Wayne) . All of the above is PART of the socially conditioning process.

Ralf can say this BECAUSE he wasn't the POTUS . He hasn't day to day responsible for ALL that the USA. Perspective, Context are king and Queen. Hindsight and emotions are pretenders to the throne.
I would then ask the good Ralph Nader or any trenchant critic of Obama in context “ what part of the the way the system works don't he understand?'
Obama is one player in the system he is ham strung until the US public are so outraged that the congress reps are more afraid of them than the powers of inertia/self interest.

If for example sake Obama tried to implement these lofty ambitions without the public or the congress etc he would be regarded as a dictator in real terms and civil war/ economic collapse would ensue. Don't forget there are a lot of emotionally dominated “loose cannons” out there. Not only in the South who are prepared to go to internecine war over heir perceived righteousness. The US has fought one civil war on economic and racial superiority.

Examinator said...

Part 2
There is no doubt that Obama's record has many faults that may make his symbolism of using MLK jrs bible a little inconguent but is there anyone out there who would deny his achievements....
Ask your self what happened to the rage, the commitment of MLK jr's generation? they're the ones looking the other way now! As did every other generation when they became successful and want to protect their privilege. I have no doubt that Gens XYZ and NEXT do much the same. Changes in society are made up of (relatively)small steps and great support with the public follow through.
When was the last time most voted on higher principal for prez *and* in both Houses of congress rather than their own interests? If they had either the Ralph's party or the Greens would be government today.
I understand some people's dismay , impatience, frustration at so many things are still wrong
But does he really believe that Obamacare, small but meaningful action against the firearm urban warfare and two terms of a black man as POTUS aren't a steps in the right direction ? Does he really want the alternative? , I don't !
Americans as people have to realize it is THEIR responsibility to sufficiently demand the changes not blame Obama for not going on some messianic trip.