Yesterday (June 28, 2011), the U.S Supreme Court struck down a California law that restricted sales of violent video games to people 18 and over by placing hefty fines on the sale of such items to those under that age. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/us/28scotus.html . The law was clearly intended to attempt to resist the rising glorification of violence in our society, something that this blogger has often reflected on. The Court found that the principle of "free speech," as manifested in allowing children to play games in which they fantasize perpetrating all manner of ultra-violent acts on an endless series of victims, outweighed the possible ill effects of young people immersing themselves in endless hours of gruesomely violent fantasy play. Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia reasoned that there was no tradition in the USA of censoring portrayals of violence. He rejected the proposition that restrictions on video violence were comparable to restrictions on pornography.
I am saddened and disgusted by this turn of events. It is such a pathetic verification of the old criticism of American culture as a twisted world in which violence is valued and sexuality is repressed. Your kid spends his free time in games in which he can kill ten thousand people an hour, hack them to pieces, set them on fire, run them over with tanks? Perfectly fine. Show one woman's naked breast or vagina to a thirteen year old? Criminal act. Backwards priorities, to my thinking. The hippie saying, "Make love, not war," may have originated in America but it never reflected the majority mindset, and still does not today.
Again, I hope that all branches of Paganism will not side with the dominant trend in America toward glorification of violence. We are going down a very dark road, I fear. A culture that values sadism, cruelty and brute force over all else cannot have a very bright future. Worse still, the evolution of our military is toward the use of remote controlled drones that are operated very much like video games.
See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/world/20drones.html. So, the young kids who grow up on violent video games will be perfectly suited to be the conscienceless, long-distance video game soldiers of the future. Perhaps the final result will be for the some video game corporation, say Hyperviolence Inc,,to take over the US military and run it as a subsidiary, feeding the live footage of people being shot or blown up by our brave drones in places like Pakistan and Yemen back into the games for every patriotic citizen to enjoy, the younger the better. Why not do the same with police and security services, and have the whole country under a brave new regime of video violence: pay-per-view law and order.
At least there was good news in New York about gays and lesbians getting the right to marry.