Friday, October 21, 2005

Violence DOES breed violence. Take responsibility.

After reading a story off of U-Wire, entitled: "Video games make society less violent" I had to cringe. Especially after I read the evidence for this claim... or lack thereof... (The link is here.)This weak argument must be broken down.

Early on, the author focuses on Jack Thompson - a malpractice attorney who makes his living off of hating video game violence. The writer mentions how Jack Thompson hates this type of violence over and over. Hate, hate, hate. Well, if I'm not mistaken, video game violence has already started to make its roots in our society and this in itself is a good example - bringing out the hate in people due to strong values and aversions to such a concept as violence. While these people will not go out and shoot anyone - the overall hatred in society exists. This weak attempt of an argument takes up roughly a fourth of his overall article.

The author then reports about statistics saying video game violence have been increasing, but yet actual violence has been decreasing overall. Where are the sources here? Even if I give the author the benefit of the doubt here, video game violence alone still does not account for other societal factors which occur.

Finally, to top off this author's limited research - he claims some studies on video game violence effects have been mixed. This certainly does not prove his argument. He then tries to point the blame on violence in movies over video games movies give people relatively no ability to react to the violence they see. Even if participating in a game however, does one really have many chances to react though? This looks like control to me as well. He then goes on to conclude his weak argument by saying that he himself is the best example since after he plays video games he does not feel violent. I think on that evidence: academics around the world should just take their hands off of their keyboards and stop doing any further research based on the author’s genius argument.

The point here is personal responsibility for the consequences of one’s action needs to be a focus in our society, whether one is a video game maker or the columnist of this article who writes disinformation. The assumption in the journalism world is if a writer is given a column - he or she must present a strong argument at the least - rather than write uninformed columns based on shallow research. People then, who do more research over what the average person could do - deserve to be heard as what they say can be valuable. The author does nothing like this, and rather puts the responsibility on the reader to counter his off base views. Does this argument sound familiar now put in the context of the video game? Put in the context of where I started in this rebuttal?

The author's argument therefore is no different then saying he may write something very bias and hateful in the direction of a pro-violent videogame stance - yet there is no proof this inspires violence towards others, or negative feelings in others. The argument then would conclude that in the broad picture, people will be better off as the general discussion is good to have happened. Yet, when an initial feeling in people is brought out by biased and narrow information, it needs to be countered by something equally as strong. The same is true with violence: when it is shown, it must then be reacted to in order to level things out. What I worry about then, is the overall medium in this country, and the minimal level of general violence. Mahatma Gandhi would teach us that violence is not all physical, or graphical. Violence starts in the heart and the approach one takes towards others regarding the social issues of this world. Perhaps this violence is worse. Perhaps then video game violence is breeding a stronger type of overall violence.

While what I say is debatable, but I know people need to take more responsibilities for their actions, slow down to think past the initial market value of what will happen (a typical capitalist problem), and then find the best way to express oneself which is the least hateful. We all have violence inside us in some degrees I believe, and when this violence receives a lower filter level, as the religious right groups have to fight harder and harder to get their points across - this will produce an end result of more overall tension and more extremism. Violence does breed violence, much like the idea of tolerance creating more division. It is not enough just to tolerate the other person, but rather, one must love another.

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