March 20, 2006

[Politics] The Meat of the Matter

In the latest Penny Arcade comic, the Tycho character says that we're against the ban of certain games to minors. Let's rephrase the argument to what it really is and try to get to the meat of the matter.

There are three major types of meats: poultry, ham and beef. All serve a similar purpose: satisfying your hunger and providing your body with protein necessary for you to grow physically. However, there are some studies that are generally not well accepted saying that eating red meat causes all sorts of maladies and that humans aren't supposed to eat red meat.

Using these studies as their justification, a law is passed saying that anyone who wants to buy ham must be 18 or older and provide their ID. What do you think would happen in a case like this?

The ham industry would lash out, saying the studies aren't collaborated by facts and that it's unfair that their industry is singled out when other industries meet the same study criteria (red meat).

The beef industry should lash out, saying that it's a slippery slope...that treatment of one red meat like this could lead to other types of red meat being treated the same way...or worse.

The poultry industry would be silent for awhile...after all, as a "not-as-high-risk" meat group, they'd gain a lot of business...but once the red meat is all ID-only, it's only a manner of time before you need to show ID for chicken as well.

Nobody in the video game industry is saying that we should let six-year-olds purchase "God of War." What we are saying is that we have a rating system like the movie industry and the TV industry that is voluntary. We have reviewers go over the most extreme content in the games, movies and TV shows and assign an appropriate age rating. "M" and "R" rated shows are generally ID-checked voluntarily by IEMA-member companies, and the FCC has blocks of time set aside when it is considered "safe" to show "TV-M" rated shows. It is up to parents to ensure that their children only play games, view movies or watch TV shows that are in the appropriate age bracket.

So why single out video games for legislation? The studies done involve word association and honking horns, and there were assholes out on the roads blaring their horns for hours on end before the advent of video games. It's the legal equivalent of calling for a ban on tofu because it causes a small amount of additional methane to be produced in the human digestive system, while leaving peas and beans alone because they've been around longer.

Every major form of entertainment has had their "ban phase"...people have tried to ban paintings, sculpture, books, music, movies, "Dungeons & Dragons," comic books, cartoons and more. Now it's our turn, and as such, we can't let apathy reign.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Picture the world's smallest violin...