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The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Joe Lieberman, saving America's daughters from Tommy Vercetti
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vsp
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#1 Posted on 21.5.03 1523.00
Reposted on: 21.5.10 1527.28
When Joe Lieberman's on the campaign trail, boy howdy, does HE ever know how to address the issues that really matter!

Excerpt (with my clarification in brackets):

In his address [to EMILY's List, a Democratic women's group] Tuesday, the senator condemned a video game called "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" in which the object is to hunt down people who stole the player's cocaine. The player is awarded points for having sex with a prostitute before killing her.

"As I watched it, I feared for my daughters," Lieberman said as several women in the crowd nodded their heads in agreement. "And I fear for yours."


Pander, Joe. Pander hard. Never mind that noise you hear, which is the 2004 nomination rolling further and further away from you.

The full article, (though there's not much entertainment beyond that quote.)
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Grimis
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#2 Posted on 22.5.03 0556.07
Reposted on: 22.5.10 0556.55
What's funny is that the voters who buy into this are the same ones who will buy the game for their kids.

Of course, I wouldn't buy a GTA for a kid(if I had one) on a dare...
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#3 Posted on 22.5.03 0939.45
Reposted on: 22.5.10 0940.33
Does this mean that Joe fears his daughters will be whores? Is that what I am reading?
IsaacYankem
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#4 Posted on 22.5.03 1004.29
Reposted on: 22.5.10 1005.14
This is the idiot responsible for getting ratings put on video games in the first place by lying about the object of "Night Trap" and saying that the object of the game was to rape and kill women when you were supposed to save them, and he's lied about plenty of other games too. Too bad there aren't video game lobbyists to shut this guy up..
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#5 Posted on 22.5.03 1022.08
Reposted on: 22.5.10 1025.26

    Originally posted by IsaacYankem
    This is the idiot responsible for getting ratings put on video games in the first place

I'm not one to stand up for Democrats too often, but why is this a bad thing?
vsp
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#6 Posted on 22.5.03 1022.10
Reposted on: 22.5.10 1025.48
The funny part is that (for once) some of his facts are accurate here.

Vice City does indeed revolve around a drug deal gone bad, and our hero's initial goal is to track down those responsible. The "kill prostitutes for points" meme is a bit off (the implication is that you're specifically rewarded for killing hookers in particular, which is inaccurate)... but you can indeed pick up prostitutes and do the nasty, complete with Vercetti's idea of pillow talk, and afterwards the prostitute is just like anyone else on the street (i.e. whackable for petty cash).

Now, everybody say it with me: So what? How is this the least bit relevant to the office of the Presidency?

(Not at all, but it makes a nice sound bite for the "protect our children from the Evil Media" crowd.)

    Originally posted by Grimis

    I'm not one to stand up for Democrats too often, but why is (putting ratings on video games) a bad thing?


In and of themselves, objective ratings aren't necessarily a bad thing. They're simply more information for the potential customer, when handled correctly, and the video-game rating system has been decent. They shouldn't be a parent's SOLE guideline as to whether or not to purchase a game -- they're a brief summary, not a parental crutch -- but I don't have a huge moral objection to the current system being there.

The key word is "objective," which is an impossible goal, but some criteria are more measurable and come closer to objectivity than others. Who gets to decide what categories deserve labels, and what content falls into those categories? Much as with music and movies, generally no one that can be considered accountable or public-accessible.

There's also a big difference between rating games and making moral judgements _based on_ those ratings. About the only gaming example that comes to mind is Sears, which refused (and, AFAIK, still refuses) to stock any M-rated games. This is their choice as a private retailer, of course, but it's also inherently silly. Does no one over the age of 17 shop at Sears? Could a theoretical eleven-year-old do more damage to himself with GTA3, or by going over to Hardware and buying an electric saw (with which he might accidently cut his fingers off), some glue (for fume-sniffing purposes) or a box-cutter (with which he might hijack an airplane or physically threaten a classmate)?

(Not that Sears (or anyone else) should be selling GTA3 directly to an eleven-year-old anyway, but that's a separate point. Even wave-the-family-friendly-flag Wal-Mart has no compunctions about carrying M-rated games.)

Anyway, with the current game-rating system, the ratings are more than simple letter guides; they break it down into the levels and types of displayed violence, for instance, and more specific examples of mature behavior. There's still room to question how certain things end up being labeled, but it makes an effort to distinguish between lesser and greater provocations.

Compare this to, let's say, the PMRC and their initial demands for a rating system. It applied only to rock music (leaving entire genres free from moral judgement, but singling out others). It included an "O" for "Occult" rating, which was a staggering example of narrow-minded bigotry. The group called for the "reassessment of contracts" of performers who performed unapproved acts on stage. They would have been a lot funnier, if they didn't have the ears of their Congressional husbands...

When this was shot down, compromising led to the now-ubiquitous "Tipper Sticker", blaring its generic "Parental Advisory - Explicit Lyrics" warning across the cover. The warning is so generic as to be relatively meaningless -- an album with one naughty word or suggestive bit of imagery would get the same label as a highly profane/explicit work. Hell, Fred Meyer put a sticker on an _instrumental_ Frank Zappa album, and I'm still scratching my head over that one. Yet there were efforts to classify the sticker as a legal definition of "obscenity" -- ask 2 Live Crew how much fun they had with _that_ fight. There were lots of retail record chains that pulled a Sears and removed _all_ stickered albums (regardless of why they were stickered) from the shelves, for fear of prosecution or being evicted by wary landlords or mall owners.

Over time, the witch hunt subsided somewhat -- stickered albums are now common in most retail outlets, largely because they _didn't_ actually emanate raw evil and turn people into hermit crabs. But there's always someone looking for a new target to demonize in order to make a quick buck or boost their poll ratings by a few points.

Which is why I recoil as hard as I do from Lieberman's quest to "clean up the entertainment industry." Joe picked up the banner that Tipper and Al had eased away from, and waved it as fiercely as they used to -- never in a million years did I think that Tipper Gore's proximity to a Presidential ticket would be the LESSER evil in my mind.

(edited by vsp on 22.5.03 0904)
Lexus
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#7 Posted on 22.5.03 1116.37
Reposted on: 22.5.10 1118.39

    Originally posted by Grimis

      Originally posted by IsaacYankem
      This is the idiot responsible for getting ratings put on video games in the first place

    I'm not one to stand up for Democrats too often, but why is this a bad thing?



Because keeping filth out of the hands and minds of adolescents, a sentiment I agree with, has it's roots in bible belt conservatism. The liberals are breaking character by agreeing.
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#8 Posted on 22.5.03 1204.56
Reposted on: 22.5.10 1206.40
vsp, I agree with most of your comments. I certainly agree that Sears is making a bad business decision by not selling M rated games, though I have no problem with their decision to do it. If they choose not to carry them, that is their own business.

Voluntary ratings are fine. It's when we cross the line to compulsory/government ratings and restrictions that I have a problem. I'm pretty liberatarian when it comes to entertainment content and what folks can and cannot buy and at what rating. It is, afterall, the responsibility of the parent to regular what their children can and cannot watch. The "bible belt conservatives" as Lexus points out goes a lot farther than I ever would in restricting content.

Getting back to the Lieberman factor, this does him no favors during primary season.
vsp
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#9 Posted on 22.5.03 1231.24
Reposted on: 22.5.10 1232.54

    Originally posted by Grimis
    Voluntary ratings are fine. It's when we cross the line to compulsory/government ratings and restrictions that I have a problem. I'm pretty libertarian when it comes to entertainment content and what folks can and cannot buy and at what rating. It is, after all, the responsibility of the parent to regulate what their children can and cannot watch. The "bible belt conservatives" as Lexus points out goes a lot farther than I ever would in restricting content.


I couldn't have put it better myself, and you saved me the trouble of typing up another rant tonight.
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#10 Posted on 22.5.03 2341.56
Reposted on: 22.5.10 2342.34

    Originally posted by Grimis
    The "bible belt conservatives" as Lexus points out goes a lot farther than I ever would in restricting content.

    Getting back to the Lieberman factor, this does him no favors during primary season.



Nope, because it reveals him as an A-plus hypocrite (along with Al & Tipper) for bemoaning the conservative majority of radio talk hosts as effectively restraining their right to speak (by only spewing right wing venom) on one hand while actively attempting to corral freedoms on the other.
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#11 Posted on 23.5.03 0052.37
Reposted on: 23.5.10 0052.50
I love it when people whine about right-wing radio talk show hosts. Liberal radio hosts just don't draw anywhere near the ratings that conservative ones do. If they did, then there would be a lot more. When people yell about the right having a monopoly on talk radio, it's just absurd. It's basically like saying, "The free market is biased towards the right!"
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#12 Posted on 23.5.03 0905.33
Reposted on: 23.5.10 0906.25
Yes, people obviously love hearing venemous attacks and terms like feminazi.

And I for one do not find it hypocritical to oppose sales of pornographic materials and violent videogames while opposing hate-spewing talk show hosts. In taking his stand for morality, show me where exactly Lieberman calls videogame makers evil or makes up cute little catchnames for them that will resonate with the listening public? That's what the right wing media does. This is not what Lieberman is doing.

I too oppose the sale of these games to the young public. The older I get, the more and more I see that constant violence and explosions do change kid's perspective on the world. Death no longer means anything to people. I've seen too many people around me joking about running people over and how many points that'll get you. I've seen too many kids playing around with real guns as if they were some video game gun. Deaths are now simply statistics to most people. I actually heard some kids talking about the sniper attacks as if they were cool things ("I wish I had a sniper rifle, dude"). And yea, I know people are going to respond to this with "Oh, but I played violent video games, and I'm not affected." Always do.

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#13 Posted on 23.5.03 1022.24
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1023.23

    Originally posted by messenoir
    Yes, people obviously love hearing venemous attacks and terms like feminazi.

    And I for one do not find it hypocritical to oppose sales of pornographic materials and violent videogames while opposing hate-spewing talk show hosts. In taking his stand for morality, show me where exactly Lieberman calls videogame makers evil or makes up cute little catchnames for them that will resonate with the listening public? That's what the right wing media does. This is not what Lieberman is doing.

    I too oppose the sale of these games to the young public. The older I get, the more and more I see that constant violence and explosions do change kid's perspective on the world. Death no longer means anything to people. I've seen too many people around me joking about running people over and how many points that'll get you. I've seen too many kids playing around with real guns as if they were some video game gun. Deaths are now simply statistics to most people. I actually heard some kids talking about the sniper attacks as if they were cool things ("I wish I had a sniper rifle, dude"). And yea, I know people are going to respond to this with "Oh, but I played violent video games, and I'm not affected." Always do.




I guarantee that if any of those kids saw a real murder or car crash they would still be affected. Case in point, I've played Doom (even when my parents thought they deleted it back in the day), Grand Theft Auto, Wolfenstein, Mortal Kombat, etc. and when I saw a real car crash with fatalities happen way back when Freshmen year in high school it really shook me up. People may be immune to caring about video game or movie deaths, but I think the kid talking about running people over would piss his pants if someone drove past him smacking random people with their car.
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#14 Posted on 23.5.03 1052.08
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1052.20

    Originally posted by messenoir
    I too oppose the sale of these games to the young public. The older I get, the more and more I see that constant violence and explosions do change kid's perspective on the world. Death no longer means anything to people. I've seen too many people around me joking about running people over and how many points that'll get you. I've seen too many kids playing around with real guns as if they were some video game gun. Deaths are now simply statistics to most people. I actually heard some kids talking about the sniper attacks as if they were cool things ("I wish I had a sniper rifle, dude"). And yea, I know people are going to respond to this with "Oh, but I played violent video games, and I'm not affected."

At what point does parental responsibility take over? Hell, even if there were no opportunites to sell games or movies to teenagers, they'd still see them or something like them. Parents raise their kids poorly all of the time. And there are plenty of other ways kids are desensitized to violence. If a kid is playing with a real gun, adult supervision has failed. If death means nothing to them, it means that parents have failed.

Are movies and video games too violent in some cases? I'd say yes. Certainly a lot of it I wouldn't show to my child. I wouldn't let my child watch wrestling in its current incarnation either. Why? Because it is parental responsibility. I enjoy violent movies and video games from time to time. That's doesn't make me a bad person, nor does it make a bad person the people who make the stuff.

This is starting to sound like another shift of responsibility off of the individual and on to the collective.
vsp
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#15 Posted on 23.5.03 1152.45
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1152.55

    Originally posted by messenoir
    I too oppose the sale of these games to the young public.


Which is why there's _already_ a system in place that voluntarily labels mature games as being for mature audiences, and why most retailers card underage purchasers. At Electronics Boutique or GameStop, for instance, a twelve-year-old won't be walking out of the store with GTA: Vice City unless someone older buys it for him. Likewise for Blockbuster, when it comes to rentals.

(Are there some sales clerks who won't bother to card? Probably, but I've witnessed a hell of a lot more who do, and seen a lot of frustrated kids walking away from check-out counters. State of Emergency (another violent Rockstar game) even had a big orange sticker on the shrinkwrap reading "WARNING - CHECK ID" to remind them, and I suspect that Vice did as well.)

As Grimis and I put it earlier, the question isn't whether middle-schoolers should have easy access to mature content; the question is whether the _government_ should be involved in allowing or prohibiting that, or in making moral judgements about said content.
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#16 Posted on 23.5.03 1231.44
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1239.11

    Originally posted by vsp
    State of Emergency (another violent Rockstar game) even had a big orange sticker on the shrinkwrap reading "WARNING - CHECK ID" to remind them, and I suspect that Vice did as well.)


More than that - I used to work at Toys-Backwards-R-Us and, when scanning a M-rated video game, we'd get a "check ID" warning on the register that had to be cancelled to proceed with the sale so it would be *impossible* to ignore.

I always hated doing it, especially when the kid was clearly close to 18, but I did it.
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#17 Posted on 23.5.03 1705.58
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1706.47
The individual should make better decisions, but when they stop doing so, the collective needs to step in and make the good decisions for them, so as to protect the collective.

And no, I don't feel many people respond differently when faced with real death. When I drive by some horrible accident, I see crowds of gawkers. Not sad and in shock, but gawking. When I see the news coverage of some horrible accident, I see amazing photos of explosions and fire and video game like graphics, and very little of the seriousness of death. And whether I like it or not, people do take their views from the news (primarily TV). Children are even more affected by what they see on TV.

Do I think parents should take more control of what their children do? Yea, to a certain extent. But society is such nowadays that we can go nowhere without being bombarded with glorification of weapons, sex and drugs. In the end, the parent can't stop their kid from being exposed to how cool all this stuff is. Society has already determined that children under 18 are too easily influenced to drink, watch or be in porn, drive, fight, etc. In my opinion, we need to do more and make sure these easily influenced children are not daily exposed to the videogaming of death.
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#18 Posted on 23.5.03 1809.28
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1810.09
Personally, my idea of a good afternoon is smoking some good shit, then relaxing on the couch and slughtering some prostitutes, running people over, stealing a bike and ripping up the street with my AK........haha, good times.



As Rummy said, "freedom is untidy". It suuuuuuure is. Now, where is that damn ashtray?

;)
vsp
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#19 Posted on 23.5.03 1833.31
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1837.16

    Originally posted by messenoir
    Do I think parents should take more control of what their children do? Yea, to a certain extent. But society is such nowadays that we can go nowhere without being bombarded with glorification of weapons, sex and drugs. In the end, the parent can't stop their kid from being exposed to how cool all this stuff is. Society has already determined that children under 18 are too easily influenced to drink, watch or be in porn, drive, fight, etc. In my opinion, we need to do more and make sure these easily influenced children are not daily exposed to the videogaming of death.


And your point is?

Using Vice City as an example (since Lieberman is), it's _already_ being actively kept away from kids by retailers, voluntarily. It's one thing to buy into the "We MUST protect the children from this FILTH" school of thought, but what else do you suggest should be done? How should the government go about hermetically sealing America's kids without restricting the rights of the game's creators OR its consumers?

The game contains mature themes, but it is clearly not in violation of contemporary American obscenity statutes, closing off one legal argument. It's far from the worst readily-available offender when it comes to violent, sexual OR profane content. It's been a long while since any game company has released a console title that would be considered "Adults Only" (about fifteen Atari 2600 games, and _maybe_ a couple for the 3DO meet that description); to my knowledge, none have since the rating system was enacted, and the "AO" rating has thus been unused.

Thus, Vice City is roughly analogous to an R-rated movie; kids can't buy it outright, but must have an adult buy it for them. Much like an R-rated movie, there's no law against adults allowing minors to have access to that content, if they feel the minors are mature enough. You can tell your kids "no," but you _can't_ tell me that I can't tell my kids "yes" if I choose to do so, no more than you could block the doors if I wanted to take them to see an R-rated movie or buy a Tipper-stickered album. You get to decide what an improper influence is for yourself and your kids -- but not for me and mine.

America simply can't be Bowdlerized down to a six-year-old's level because somewhere, somehow, a child _might_ catch a glimpse of a wayward limb, drop of blood or turn of phrase.
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#20 Posted on 23.5.03 1923.11
Reposted on: 23.5.10 1924.57
I feel it is society's right to step in when a parent is introducing their kids to morally bankrupt things. And I did purposely expand my previous post to include more then just Vice City. There ARE much worse things then this game out there, and I feel the one place Lieberman made a mistake was falling into the trap of taking one thing to target.

But regardless, if a parent is introducing their kid to ideas and items that are causing that kid to become a detriment to society, then society has to place blame on the parents. You can talk all you want about having the right to raise your kid as you want, but you live in a society where you are bound to help that society function well. And we have certain rules like making sure a kid is being schooled up to a certain age in order to insure protection for the kid against a bad parent. Society has an obligation to protect young and impressionable kids against dangerous parenting.

Look, I have no problem with people doing what they want, if they're not hurting anyone. If you want to kill your brain with drugs, you should have that right. If you want to drink alcohol, you have that right. But we've already determined that alcohol advertising should not be marketed to kids, yet Vice City advertising is clearly targeted to kids. At the very least, the rules on advertising should be changed.
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