I’ve been looking for a good representation of the Trump defenders coming out in support of their God-King saying something so asinine and not even remotely backed up by science as violent video games have a connection to mass shootings. I really have. But thankfully I have Twitter, and between the pornstars I follow on there and the YouTubers that I like, there are also the people in video game culture who find all of this shit as amusing as I do. Plenty of them are conservative, and watching them be quiet about their God-King saying something so stupid is interesting on its own.
However, I have now found someone who fits the bill of the /r/TheDonald sychophants who want to come out in defense of their God-King and say that all of us detractors are wrong. I love this shit. I really do. Here’s a link to this article, now let’s talk about it.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just robbed a drug dealer and was peeling out in my getaway car — also stolen — and thinking about my next score when I saw her: a woman in high heels and a very small bathing suit. She motioned towards me and I let her get in the car. We performed a blurry parody of marital intercourse. After she got out of the vehicle, I ran her over. Then Judas Priest came on the radio. I cranked the volume and roasted the tires of my sports car beneath the orange moon.
The moral being that because this happened in vidya, it is no less evil than if it happened in real life.
Because I was 13 years old and the above scene was unfolding on my friend’s PlayStation, I am not writing this column from a maximum security prison.
Called it! Yeah, Matt. And the other day I took a teenage girl from an operating room after killing a doctor with a bullet to the face. Then, when a woman who was her caretaker at one point tried to stop me from taking her away, I put a bullet in her stomach and then, as she begged for her life, one in her face. But there is a context to that. The character I was playing as had this one person who was his connection to the human condition, and he was selling humanity up the river to keep that connection. Wanna know something about both your example and mine? I know that they are both fiction, because I’m a fucking adult. I don’t believe in fairy-tales, or unicorns, or Jeebus, or that video games are real.
When President Trump dared to suggest last week that “the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,” he was denounced with the uniform hectoring intensity that meets his every utterance. Hundreds of pages of digital ink was spilled pointing out that, actually, there is no proven connection between digital mayhem and the massacres that have become a commonplace part of American life.
Gee, I wonder why that is? Could it be that there is not a SINGLE piece of substantive evidence linking video games to school shootings? Or violence of any kind? I don’t know, I think there might be something to it when the pantheon of people can come out of the woodwork and easily defend our position, while I’m sure you are going to have STELLAR examples that bolster you belief. I’m sure it is all going to be very well-researched stuff.
What does it mean to say that there is no connection? Virtually every single one of the pasty psychos who have shot their classmates and teachers in the last two decades has played such games. What would count as evidence?
No. Video games are ubiquitous to modern culture. Especially modern male culture. The hardcore audience of gaming is men. By that same token, maybe we could say that Marvel films are influencing school shootings. After all, I bet these shooters have watched a ton of them, and comic book films have been a huge part of culture for the last 20 years. Or maybe it was the iPhone. How many of these shooters had one of those? You can take any piece of typical culture and put it in there and make the EXACT SAME argument.
Meanwhile, the hard science (a phrase that conservatives fear more than any other) has shown that there is NO connection between playing video games and being violent. None. Find me a study that proves me wrong. You can’t! And before you go saying that the studies are biased, Congress has commissioned a lot of these studies trying to prove just what you are! A Congress who is biased against the industry has commissioned study after study to desperately try and prove that video games cause violence. It hasn’t worked. There is a great quote by Max Caulfield that I am going to end this with that summarizes this perfectly.
I cannot understand why even positing the notion of a relationship between games and the behavior of those who play them is taboo. Does anyone think that misogyny in films and television and music does not shape men’s attitudes toward women, that it has no consequences in the real world? A thousand #MeToo takes suggest otherwise. Why, then, are video games the exception?
What?! You have GOT to be kidding me. Dumb-dumb, the reason that there is this taboo (it isn’t. You can say whatever you like, but everyone is going to tear you to pieces for being stupid) is because there is not a single piece of scientific evidence that suggests that. Just like there is not a single piece of scientific evidence linking film, television, and music to sexism. This is patently absurd. By the way, whose side are you on, anyway? You’re defending Trump’s comments and bashing the left, then using their talking points? The cognitive dissonance is interesting.
Either way, there has been no connection between video games and violence, or sexism. None that has been proven. Just lots of conjecture based on weak, cherry-picked evidence without a single study to back it up. In fact, there was a long-term study finally done by Germany that disproved the notion of video games. So yeah, your entire argument is fallacious bullshit.
Why is it the default position of every commentator that spending hundreds, even thousands of hours acting out scenes like the one I described above has no ramifications for the way young people — the majority of them male — feel and behave? How do people who accept the existence of concepts like microaggressions and rhetorical dog-whistling convince themselves that indulging an appetite for murderous rage could have no discernible effects on the imaginations of impressionable young people?
I don’t accept either of those things, because neither of them have been proven by science! Science, mother-fucker! Do you speak it?! Oh right, you don’t. Just like every conservative who wants a pulpit to stand on, you just spout off rhetoric and then say you’re right. If this was a research paper it would get a D.
Let me put it another way. If someone created a video game in which it was possible to grope or even rape women, as opposed to just cutting off their heads with a chainsaw or shooting them in the face with machine guns, would we still consider it a harmless diversion unlikely to disfigure the imaginations of players? What about a game where the user was allowed to molest children? Why is pretending to be a killer okay?
The other cornerstone of conservative argumentation – emotional appeal. Do I think the games you bring up would be tasteless and grotesque? Absolutely. Granted, I’m not a fan of playing a game where I can indiscriminately kill civilians with a chainsaw or machine gun. Now a game where I kill demons with those things like the masterpiece that is 2016’s DOOM, that I can do all day. But do I think that those games would turn people into rapists? No. Much like I don’t think that watching porn makes you think that women are sex toys. A fact that has actual SCIENCE behind it. This is so fucking stupid. How many different ways can I say the same thing?
One does not have to be able to demonstrate a formal causal link — whatever that would look like — between the hideous violence of many video games and real-life acts of mass murder to recognize that the former are contributing to something sinister.
Yes you fucking do! You do have to demonstrate it. Because you want to legislate against what people can watch and play. You want to tell people that they have to pay your morality fee in order to play something that has no proven link to violence. Just like how Rhode Island wants people to pay their morality fee to watch porn. I’m sorry that demands for evidence are hard for you. Lemme guess, you’re a Christian too.
One of the ludicrous dogmas of the modern world is the notion that the media we consume cannot influence us for the worse.
It’s not a dogma. Dogma is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. There is actual evidence of my contention, while zero evidence for yours. I’m sorry, but I don’t take things on faith. It’s why I stopped believing in this God that so many conservatives claim to be such a huge fan of, and it’s why I also don’t believe in the SJW convictions like the ones you apparently are also in favor of. For real, where do you fall on the spectrum, dude?
Virtually everyone agrees that it is possible to be deeply moved by watching a film or hearing a song. We are all familiar with lachrymose paeans to the virtues of reading, which is supposed to be able to make us more open-minded and empathetic and every other vaguely positive-sounding adjective you care to suggest. Why do we pretend that the reverse is not true in a medium that is designed to be immersive and interactive, to give the vivid impression of really being there?
Because I’m not five, idiot. I know that it’s make-believe. Can I hear Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 and feel a lot of powerful emotions? Absolutely. It’s amazing music. But I have those feelings based on the things that I feel in my own life. Being touched by something doesn’t mean that I am going to suddenly start my own orchestra and make it myself. Being touched by a fantastic book doesn’t mean I’m going to think that it’s real life. You feel that way about the Bible? Watching a heart-breaking film doesn’t make me think that way. And when I play The Last of Us, I don’t feel the urge to suddenly go bust into an operating room and kill a doctor.
I’m sorry that nobody ever told you that there is a difference between real life and pretend. I think my species is retarded as fuck, and even I give them more credit than you. Go figure.
Until next time, a quote,
“A pattern is emerging.” – Max Caulfield, Life is Strange