03/20/2005: Busybodies in Law
Steve Chapman weighs in on the Illinois legislature "Busybodies" and their "Video Game" Bill in this piece called Violent video games and Illinois' loopy legislators.
"...Bills like this seek to restore the cultural environment of teens to an Edenic era of wholesome innocence. But when was that? Video games are just the latest form of entertainment accused of warping young people beyond repair--such as rap music lyrics in the 1980s, and bloody movies and TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s.
Back in the 1950s, the root of all evil was comic books--yes, comic books. They were denounced in terms eerily similar to those being used today against video games. Some cities passed ordinances banning the sale of violent comic books to minors, as did the State of New York.
In 1955, a U.S. Senate subcommittee said comic books devoted to crime and horror amounted to instruction manuals in murder, robbery, rape "and virtually every other form of crime, degeneracy, bestiality and horror." The 30 million crime and horror books published each year, the committee said, "evidence a common penchant for violent death in every form imaginable," including "cannibalism, with monsters in human form feasting on human bodies, usually the bodies of scantily clad women."
But not many juveniles of that era were spurred to cannibalism. Somehow the great majority of children of the 1950s learned to distinguish the realm of fantasy from the realm of reality, and today's teens can do the same.
So why can't politicians?"
Karen on 03.20.05 @ 11:57 AM CST