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S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

War, violence and video


There is something vary caustic about constant exposure to violence. Sometimes the shock of it just takes my breath away. Fatigue sets in, and I go into avoidance mode. Perhaps I am numbed to it. Is it like kicking a snake? Is it because I am getting older and less resilient? Is it because I am a woman and a mom, a granny?
I am full of questions about the world's proclivity towards violence. Is war justified violence? Is there just an over-abundance of violence in the media where I get my news? Is it overblown, sensationalized to increase ratings in a competitive atmosphere? Are we all addicted to violence? Or is it catching? Do children also become desensitized by exposure to it? What about violent video games?
People continue to debate the effect of video games on children. A (2/1/07) story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette reported that,
Featuring everything from obscene gestures to accusations that this generation is the "most self-absorbed and egocentric" in recent history, California University of Pennsylvania hosted a raucous debate Tuesday on violence in video games.
Although speakers Gerard Jones, a San Francisco culture critic and writer, and Jack Thompson, a Miami lawyer known as the "virtue vigilante," cordially debated the effects of violence on children and even found points of agreement, the crowd zeroed in on Mr. Thompson for his much-vilified views on youth and the video game industry.
More than 50 students, with a sprinkling of adults, attended the two-hour debate sponsored by the university's student activities board and student association.

Europe may be ahead of the United States on this. Daily Tech - European is reporting, "European Union Explores Ban on Violent Video Games - Germany leads charge for EU regulation of violent games." To quote,
European authorities met earlier this week to examine the area of violent video games. Germany, who currently holds the current six-month presidency of the EU, is leading the charge in the regulation of what it considers inappropriate content.
The German government has a long history on its harsh views on violent video games and is taking it upon itself to conduct a study of all the different national rules concerning video games to create a unified policy that all 27 members of the EU could put into place.

Hillary Clinton began speaking out in March 2005 against the widespread availability to children of violent video games. She must have had the same questions as many women - and men - have. Surprising, as a Democrat, she aligned herself at the time with conservative Senators Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback. I do not believe it was done for political expediency. She is a mom. And she has long been a smart and sensitive advocate for children. That started long before she announced her run for the presidency, and it has continued. Breitbart.com has a (11/29/06) story, from which I quote,
Backed by gruesome shots of computerised cannibalism, police beatings and violence, campaigners warned parents that their children were increasingly at risk from "sadistic" video games.
Senator Hillary Clinton and former vice presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman meanwhile launched new legislation intended to protect kids from graphic, violent and sexual material on their game consoles. The National Institute on Media and the Family said in its annual report that video game retailors had failed to honor promises to safeguard children from violent and sexual content in new generation video games.

Which is worse, the war in Iraq or video games? Blogger Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post raised an interesting point about proportionality. She wrote a post on 12/07/06 criticizing Hillary Clinton's campaign against violent video games. Like many of us, Huffington has been a bit frustrated by Clinton's hawkish stance on the war in Iraq. Headlined, "Reality Check: As Violence Escalates in Iraq, Hillary Holds Press Conference on Violent Video Games," Huffington's post went on to say,
The violence in Iraq is becoming more savage by the minute -- among the dead yesterday were 45 bullet-riddled corpses found in Baghdad, many of whom had been tortured before being executed -- and Hillary is worried about video game violence? Are you kidding me? Could she be any more politically tone deaf?

Hillary will be coming around about Iraq, I think. And she is not required to choose between opposition to violent videos and opposition to the war in Iraq. She can speak out about both. The Washington Post recently reported that,
Clinton on Friday defended her support for a nonbinding resolution expressing disapproval of the plan to send more troops to Iraq, but she made a point to say that she is now ready to press for tougher action.
"I want to go further," she told the audience of Democrats who will be delegates at the party's national convention in 2008. She outlined other steps she has proposed to cap the number of U.S. troops in Iraq and pressure the Iraqi government. But she has so far resisted embracing any timetable for bringing home the troops.

We just have to help Hillary get further in her opposition. It is neither a black nor white issue. The past six years have been marked by a level of everyday foreign policy violence that has corroded the very heart of our capacity to relate to each other as citizens. My early learning was that politics stopped at the water's edge. No more. We cannot allow ourselved to be numbed to violence, to be divided by it, or to allow the use of violence in place of the harder stuff of talking to our enemies. We cannot allow our nation to be run by gamers with a joysticks, already numbed to reality, to the awful permanency of the consequences of their actions.
References:
  1. Podcast - "Do Violent Video Games Cause Violence?"
  2. A few of my revious posts on violence:
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1 comment:

sushil yadav said...

Fast visuals and words on Television and Video Games are making our minds more and more restless and violent. I am posting a part of my article which explains the link between rate of visual/ verbal processing and subjective-experience.

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire

sushil_yadav