As my friend Fargo put it, "it's pretty sad when a comedy show has to be the voice of reason."If you didn't catch the segment on The Daily Show last night about the Congressional hearings on video game violence currently wasting your hard-earned tax dollars, your homework assignment is to watch it right here.
The first two thirds of the segment mostly just uncovers the complete out-of-touchness of the people that we hire to represent us to our government. You have some gems in there, such as Congressman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) proudly proclaiming that he's a gamer because he's an expert at Pong. I'm going to assume that right after he said that, he got into his Model T to go home and play the latest wax cylinder musical recording on his brand-new grammaphone.
Mr. Upton, if the last game you played was Pong, you haven't played a game in about 25 years, and there's generally a statute of limitations on the use of the word "gamer" when claiming that you are one. Things have advanced now. We have computers, there's a space station in orbit, and we have these things called lattes. You might consider checking them out.
But the best part is that while Jon Stewart is doing what he does best -- publicly making fun of those who deserve it -- he slips in some absolute gems of blazing ignorance. Take this quote from Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania): "It's safe to say that a wealthy kid from the suburbs can play Grand Theft Auto or similar games without turning to a life of crime, but a poor kid who lives in a neighborhood where people really do steal cars or deal drugs or shoot cops might not be so fortunate."
I want you to read that passage again, folks, because those are his exact words, unaltered. And then I want you to wonder how someone so astoundingly ignorant could have had enough sense to put on pants that morning.
So let's analyze this, shall we? According to Rep. Pitts, crime did not exist before video games. People didn't steal cars, do drugs, or shoot cops before Grand Theft Auto told them how. That's right, folks: Rep. Pitts actually stated the cause of poor kids turning to crime -- that of living in an environment where crime is commonplace -- and in the same sentence proceeded to blame it on a medium that is approximately 1/1,000,000th as old as crime.
And in case it wasn't clear to you, Rep. Pitts wants to assure you that this is why suburban kids never steal cars, do drugs, or shoot cops. He wants to make sure you know that suburban kids can obviously -- without any fear whatsoever of being influenced by them -- play the most violent, gory video games and never, ever commit the crimes they see in them.
Wait...why are we having these hearings again? I thought they just said that kids are all influenced by the video games they play?
This is ridiculous. These people are assinine, and Stewart's quote that Congress is filled with insane jackasses is absolutely dead correct. These people have no right to say one word against a medium that they so proudly display an astounding ignorance of.
Not only that, but they only seem to have one game they like to hold up as the example for all video games that have ever been made; to them, every game is Grand Theft Auto or Postal. This would be analogous to saying that every movie is Faces of Death, and because that movie is out there we need to have a Congressional hearing about movies and how our young people aren't being protected from them. There is a world of video games out there of which the Grand Theft Autos make up a very small portion. But they refuse to get off of the Grand Theft Auto train because they are crusaders on a mission that lacks all common sense.
If you're reading this and you live in the states that these Congressmen represent, you owe it to your own intelligence to write to them and tell them to get out of office and let someone with at least one living brain cell do their job. These are the people trying to tell you what's best for you and your kids. These are the people who say that you as a parent aren't capable of making your own informed decisions on what your child should and shouldn't be exposed to. These are the people who are making our laws.
Don't let these ignorant jackasses tell you what you're supposed to think, especially when they don't even know anything about what it is they're trying to legislate.