Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

July 31, 2008 -

When last we visited the conservative-themed Townhall.com, blogger Kevin McCullough was claiming that Mass Effect featured customizable sodomy. McCullough's comments (since deleted) were apparently noticed by Fox News, which led to the even more memorable Cooper Lawrence debacle.

Townhall.com has jumped back into the game-bashing business with a post by blogger-author-movie critic Michael Medved who asserts that Grand Theft Auto IV is making war on middle-class values. Whatever they are...

From Medved:

Despite demagogic and alarmist claims that a relentless “War on the Middle Class” has left ordinary Americans pummeled and powerless, middle income people still manage to find enough money to secure most of life’s true necessities – like the grotesquely violent and anti-authoritarian video game Grand Theft Auto IV, which shattered all sales records in its first week of release...

 

The stunning success of a game that glorifies guerilla warfare, murder, irresponsible driving, prostitution, cop-killing, international conspiracies and, of course, car theft highlights the real threat to the American Way of Life: it’s not the war on the middle class; it’s the war on middle class values... the decision by so many consumers of every age and income group to invest countless hours of time in the dark world of Grand Theft Auto IV nonetheless demonstrates a threat to American values.

As Nate Ralph notes at Wired Game|Life, since when did "anti-authoritarian" become a bad thing? Ultimately, Medved relates GTA IV as a threat to, well, just about everything:

The vibrant economy gives working Americans more choices than ever before. The decline of middle class values – saving, deferred gratification, reliability, self-control, family loyalty, respectability – makes it somewhat less likely that they will make the right choices to promote their health, happiness and long-term prosperity.

 


Comments

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

"The decline of middle class values – saving, deferred gratification, reliability, self-control, family loyalty, respectability"

 

Ahem, allow me to show you that GTA actually reinforces most of these so-called Middle Class Values

Saving- Indeed you save a lot of money in GTA4. In fact it's because you have so little to buy other than certain necessities, you end up saving a great deal of money.

Deferred Gratification- The one value on this list that's pretty much broken at every turn (excluding Nico's relationship with Kate(I think that's the one))

Reliability- Nico is an extrordinarily reliable man. You want a certain car, he'll get it for you. You need help taking someone out? Call Nico. Reliability should be the man's middle name.

Self-Control- If only to get slightly meta for a moment, a friend of mine once eloquently put to an overbearing values-voter, "I play violent video games so I don't kill motherf*ck*rs like you in real life." Isn't that a fantastic method of self-control right there?

Family Loyalty- Seriously, for all the crap that Roman gets Nico into, he's loyal to his cousin throughout. In fact, family loyalty seems to be more of a core mafia value than a middle class one.

Respectability- Ok. Seriously? Respectability? Respectability is far more of a core street value than a "middle-class" one, and respect has usually been one the primary motivational factors for the GTA characters. (other than money and power) It also happens to be one of those core mafia minded values, so I'm not really sure how the GTA games are bringing this one down.

 

So really, what you're saying is that GTA4 is really standing up for most of the "middle-class values" that were described by this pundit. Perhaps someone should es'plain that one to him.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Jesus how did I miss this post? Oh well.

"The stunning success of a game that glorifies guerilla warfare, murder, irresponsible driving, prostitution, cop-killing, international conspiracies and, of course, car theft"

Irresponsible driving? You can't mean drunk driving because that's an instant wanted level. You certainly can drive irresponsibly in grand theft auto but usually your car will get beaten up quite badly if you do.

 

It glorifies prostitution? I must've missed the point in the game where Niko considers becoming a prostitute and I have yet to meet any prostitutes during game missions so I wonder what he's talking about.

Perhaps he's mistaking 'glorifying' with 'acknowledging the existence of'.

 

"the decision by so many consumers of every age and income group to invest countless hours of time in the dark world of Grand Theft Auto IV nonetheless demonstrates a threat to American values."

Cue Bob Dylan's 'The times they are a changing'.

Now anyway if people from lots of different income brackets are enjoying the game how pray tell is it a war on the middle class? You know something you remind of the prohibitionists I read about who droned on and on about how alcohol was a threat to American values needed to be stopped, etc.

I fail to see though how killing virtual people in a video game is a sign of having low moral values (after all they're just lines of code and images on a screen). Anyway if every American thought the game went against their values they wouldn't have picked it up (after all the game was advertised as being violent, it's the sequel to a famously violent game and there's a rating on the box). But assuming they didn't know how violent it was if they didn't like it they wouldn't play it but even you admit people still play it.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Sodomy
You must think it very odd of me
But I enjoy the act of sodomy
You might call the wrath of God on me
But if you tried it then you might agree
That you enjoy the act of sodomy

Don't worry if you feel ashamed
It's been around for years
Thousands more than can be named
Are interested in rears
Don't worry about hell
No harm will come to your soul
We're not all Pentacostal
But everybody's got an asshole

Let me tell ya 'bout sodomy
You must think it very odd of me
But I enjoy the act of sodomy
You might call the wrath of God on me
But if you tried it then you might agree
That you enjoy the act of sodomy

It might just improve your sex
It's a hard act to follow
The fact that fundamentalists
Find difficult to swallow
So join me as I sing
Of an activity that's fun
Open up your ring
And try it front to bum
Bum-bum
Bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum

Sodomy
You must think it very odd of me
But I enjoy the act of sodomy
You might call the wrath of God on me
But if you tried it then you might agree
That you enjoy the act of sodomy

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I did a bit of reading on Medved. Turns out he uses the same rants for some other movies he "reviewed," including Happy Feet.

Yes. Medved apparently thinks that one source of America's moral decay are sickeningly cute dancing penguins

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Maybe if we worked on better school systems, gun control, and better employment instead of being all anal about fictional violence then this country wouldn't be going down the crapper. Just a thought.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Since when did we need gun control? It's never done any good.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Phrases like "American values" are so vague and blankety. Besides, GTA games are more of a commentary of the corruption of society. Art and media imitates life. Having said that, if you accuse the games of being part of a vicious circle where the satire comes back to influence the reality, then you would want to fix the reality, not the make-beleive satire.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Dennis I wish you hadn't put "conservative" pundit because this guy is not a conservative because conservatisism is about individual choice and this douche bag is trying to tell us what we can and cannot do for fun. He hates freedom and wants everyone to submit to HIS value system because he thinks he's right and everyone else is an abomination of god himself.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

The man identifies himself as so such so the title is fine, this man is only speaking for himself so do not let it get to you.  But you are right ideas like banning games and curtailing speech are not American conservative ideals at all, more like 17th century European conservatism.  An american conservative would actually be considered a Western Liberal (Milton Friedman for example would constantly refer to himself as a liberal).  But we are living in an age of broad brush strokes and it is simply easier to lump all the commies, socailists, and progressives as liberals and all the authoritarians, traditrionalists and western liberals as conservative, from there you can lump al libeals into democrats and all conservatives as republicans.  This way there is less confusion in internet debates making the process of flaming easier than ever.   

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I'm pretty damn sure American morals were going down the tube long before GTA came out XD

Moron

Reason number 1,921,789,123 I gave up on conservatism and made the leap to Libertarianism.

For every Reagen,you get an O'Reilly,eh?And we Libertarians have Neal Boortz.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Hmm, now that I think about it, looking at the picture of this, man as well as his rant, I am thinking a few things...

1. He'd fit in far better back in the 1950s

2. He likely isn't a part of the middle class, he's likely far more up on that ladder

3. Money likely isn't as much of a ptroblem for him. He likely drives some sort of SUV and can afford to fill the tank easily.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

So the middle class ISN'T shrinking because they manage to set aside money for entertainment and amusements, cause we know no one really needs those, and because some of them choose a form of media he doesn't like it means the entire middle class can't be expected to care for themselves. So .. what? What's he proposing exactly, here?

Also I never understood how something being present or explored in a media automatically means its glorifying it. I don't see GTA's content as glorification at all, beyond satire its namely exploring a lifestyle most of us will never lead.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

The problem is that American Values never really existed past being proud to be a free citizen of the USA.

Savings - it is getting harder to save a ton. Prices are skyrocketing all over the place. Milk is about $4.50 a gallon.

deferred gratification - since when was video games deferring gratification? gratification is gratification no matter how you slice it.

reliability - umm? are you meaning that people are getting lazier? Sorry but thats the general outlook of technology.

self-control - no idea how to respond to this.

family loyalty - not anyone's fault that families are falling apart because some parents are unfit to be parents and treat their kids like ars.

respectability - times change, fads change, im pretty sure business attire 30 years ago was different then now.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

"Your mouth is talking.  You may want to look into that."

Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly

GTA is a threat to American values!

Not mine.

 

-Entertainment isn't the reason the world sucks. It's the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Pardon the language, but fuck the middle class values.

I think the whole thing is a fantasy created by moral crusaders of all kinds as a completely made up wedge issue that serves no other purpose other than enable grandstanding by the morons who came up with it. It's nothing but a marketing tool that allows them to easily brand their intolerance of other types of lifestyles as acceptable or even desirable.

What really pisses me off about them is their neverending desire to tell me how I should lead my life and how I should raise my kids. Fuck off. I'll lead the life I want and I'll raise my kids in exactly the way I want.

-- http://pixelantes.blogspot.com/

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I've always wondered what "American Values." Are. I figured they were diversity and individuality. So how's that effected by a video game?

What are American values?

Well, because this country is a melting pot of cultures, ideals, ways of thinking, and of course values, there is no such thing as "American Values". Pretty much the only shared views are that "America rules super-duper hard".

 

-Entertainment isn't the reason the world sucks. It's the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Ideally they were independence and self reliance, with a little bit of pride in the idea's your country was founded upon.

 

To bad those are either dead, or taken to the far extreme now.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I guess we're now FORCING the middle class to buy GTAIV now?  Must be those subliminal messages Take-Two is putting into their advertising...

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

GTA is Elvis! Or the Beatles, or Heavy Metal or Comic Books or Rap music or.... Well you get the idea. >_>

 

I wish the morality morons could see how stupid they really are but that never happens because they all usually have their heads so far up their rectal cavities that they can't even smell their own BS. Okay I probably should have said they had them shoved up a bull's but doubt many even own a bull and Medved always seemed to be more of a sheep guy to me, if you know what I mean. <_<

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Hilarious that I'm middle class and don't feel GTAIV attacked my values. Of course he is talkin' some bullshit universal values I *should* have, like conversativism and liberalism and stupidterianism.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

This guy's just another bandwagon jumper.  He's dissected reality and come to the conclusion that GTA4 is somehow destroying family values (which apparently only apply to middle class people now), and it's hard to make broad, sweeping generalizations of how middle class families are doing in this "vibrant" economy of ours.  Speak to someone trying to sell a house and see if you still call the economy vibrant, buddy.

Now GTA4 promotes guerilla warfare?  Wow, that's actually a new one.  At least he didn't go with the rape angle.

M. Carusi

Capitol Gaming

augamers.blogspot.com

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

"The stunning success of a game that glorifies guerilla warfare, murder, irresponsible driving, prostitution, cop-killing, international conspiracies and, of course, car theft"

Hey, at least he didn't mention rape!

/b

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

International conspiracies...?

Is he even talking about the same game? Methinks he took a peek at MGS4 and assumed it was part of GTA4.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

That's true. Credit to him for only loudly complaining about stuff that's actually in the game

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Remember Folks, spending $60 on a video game to him means the Middle Class is doing fine in the economy because $60 is alot of money to spend.

 

Never mind that is how much I spend to fill my Gas tank up every 3 days thanks to the people he elects.

 

 

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Middle Class values are being destroyed by the people who are actually destroying the middle class if you ask me. Which is why it's the job of White House propagandists to be mouthpieces for the state and tell the unwashed masses it's the fault of The Other.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Medved is and always has been a douchebag.  He's long decried violence in popular entertainment, usually in movies.  He started out as a movie ciritic (his brother Harry wrote that legendary guide to bad movies, The Golden Turkey Awards), so somehow he thinks that makes him some sort of self-appointed critic of all popular culture.  He seems to think like all Christian conservatives that all this sex and violence that we see is eroding the moral fabric of our country.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  Where he sees society going to Hell in a handbasket, I see society evolving and becoming more tolerant of things that were once taboo and accepting things for the way that they are, not as they should or ought to be.

I will give him credit though for not calling for an outright ban like JT might, but I'm currently reading The Ten Cent Plague right now, and his little screed sounded reminiscent of Sterling North's tirade against comics published in 1940, "A National Disgrace - And a Challenge to American Parents."  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

That "International Conspiracy" comment really got to me, correct me if i'm wrong, <minor spoilers> but dont you kill 3 people (plus 8 or so non-named buddies and a pilot) that are actually PART of an international conspiracy about halfway through the game? </minor spoilers>  just another windbag politician who doesnt research his facts and spouts off any crap he can to support his skewed views, nothing to see here

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

What in the Sam Hill is wrong with the upper and lower classes if not stealing cars and killing folks is a "middle-class" value?

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

If anyone thinks Medved is a qualified critic on video games, or on society in general, they might want to see this: www.youtube.com/watch *Fast-forward to 1:15*

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I remember reading that article when it came out.  I do believe the words "dear god, the man is daft" floated out of my mouth at some point.  It takes a unique kind of conservative to be put on the 'worst of the day' list by FoxNews.

When the bastion of ignorance and social misinformation calls you a tool by adhering to their doctorine then taking it to a new level...well, that is a special kind of crazy.

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. Edward R. Murrow

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. Edward R. Murrow

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Anti-Athouritarian? Can somebody please explain to this moron that America was FOUNDED on hatred and mistrust of authority? And the guy who wrote our Declaration of Independance said we should overthrow the government every twenty years?

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

exactly. i love when staunch authoritarian types left their democratic mask fall just a lil and reveal their true ambitions. in their world, slavish obedience to the government, which, coincidentally, they complain is too large and taking too much of their money.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

... makes it somewhat less likely that they will make the right choices to promote their health, happiness and long-term prosperity.

I see, so this man is a psycolgist now too.  He should add that to his blogger-auther-movie critc repitoire.

Seriously, I hate when people make believe they know what other's happiness derives from.  If that isn't bad enough, he states that a game like GTAIV is going to affect the masses' overall happiness.  Talk about stupid claims  

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Tell that asshole to go piss on himself. Sounds like him and Jack Thompson would get along great. They could sit around and invent bogus claims together. \

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Haha, someone needs to make an animation of Thompson and this guy pissing on eachother. (Calvin and Hobbs style)

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

..... My happy place is dead, YOU KILLED IT!!!!

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I enjoyed the commentor that compared GTAIV to heroin.

Way to demonstrate your understanding of the conversation there, skippy.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Can our American cousins please explain to me what the "American Way of Life" actually is?

I keep seeing it touted everywhere, and yet no two people seem to agree on what it is.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

You know, the old "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness".

Though Robert Heinlein put it quite perfectly when he said that it is nothing more than a colorful bit of meaningless poetry. Since, a) any number of things from accidents to murder could take your life, b) no matter what they might say no society has absolute liberty, c) you may have the right to pursue happiness, but you may not ever actually achieve it.

Of course, when people talk about "the American Way of life" they are more often than not talking about the "Leave it to Beaver" world of the 1950's where wives stayed at home, dad's wore cardigan sweaters with ties while smoking a pipe and reading the newspaper.

"The Good, the Bad, and Videogame"
Reviews on the best, worst, and controversial issues of Videogames.
gryphonosiris.blogspot.com/

"The Good, the Bad, and the Videogame" Reviews on the best, worst, and controversial issues of Videogames. gryphonosiris.blogspot.com/

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I can tell you what it is suppose to be, and it is in the Declaration of Independence. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Granted those are the supposed inalienable rights and not really a "way of life" but it is essentially the purpose of the United States being "free."

The reality is that the American Way of Life is to make as much money as possible to control others, buy a bunch of stuff (pursuing happiness?), and make it everyone else's responsibility that you don't get offended or wronged in some way. Ah, what a cunt-ry we live in.

What I like about "violent" video games is that both Democrats and Republicans agree they need to be "under control" but for different reasons. The Democrats believe they are corrupting children's minds i.e. making them insane. Republicans believe these games are corrupting our "values."

The even better part is that by believing this both parties are going against their core beliefs. The only real way to prevent violent games for "corrupting our values" is to make laws about the games, yet Republicans are "small government" people so that leaves them with only complaining about games. The only real way to prevent games from "altering the minds of children" is to make video game laws, yet Democrats are liberals and the definition of liberal is (paraphrased and shortened) "people have rights," so that leaves them with only complaining about games. Even the complaining is going against each of their core beliefs, but I'll give them the right to do it since I love seeing the hypocrisy in politics.

*note: when I refer to either party or belief I am talking about the extreme people, which seem to be a lot of the politicians (and pundits).

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Yet, both don't limit themselves to complaining, but pen bills as well. I believe they have the right to complain, but more often than not the basis for their protests are not based on fact, and are timed solely for reelection purposes.

A lot of a loud politicians are extreme, then again that's the basic rule of thumb. No one takes to the streets to shout "be reasonable."

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

Basically the same as most other "national ways of life": making other people's life suck worse than yours, with the amount of money you have determining just how much control you have over how much other people's lives suck in relation to yours.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

It is different for everyone really...  Doesn't everyone across the world have a different way a of life...  Well, maybe not in some countries, but we can leave countries ran by dictators out of this.  The 'American Way of Life' used to have a meaning, especially back during the cold war and other real wars, but the country is no longer driven behind a single goal.  Everyone has their own goals and ideas that they are going after.

The politicians can't even say the American way of life and include themselves, because they are less American than anyone out there for playing the dirty politics that they do.

McCain was lazy when her served the country and only got the rank he did because of his father and grandfather, plus he doesn't even know how to use a computer.  Bush admitted that he barely knew how to use a computer as well.  At least Obama knows how to use one, but he knows hardly nothing about international affairs. 

I don't know which person is more scary to have as the president of this country, but I wish we could redo this whole thing, because I don't support either of them.

For the past 2 elections we have had the choice of bad and worse.  Some people voted for Bush so he would be forced to deal with the mess he created.

Back to topic though.  Everyone lives differently, and it is a false term used that generalizes people, just like American Values or American Middle-Class Values.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I don't particularly like McCain, but lazy during his service?

He volunterred for combat duty a second time after being injured during the fire on the USS forestal. He had all the connections he needed to get moved into a desk job after that. He only moved to a desk job after returning to the US and getting his flight status reinstated.

Please, explain to me how he was Lazy.

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

I thought GTA IV was a showcase of American values...

Re: Conservative Pundit: GTA IV Makes War on Middle-class Values

"The decline of middle class values – saving, deferred gratification, reliability, self-control, family loyalty, respectability – makes it somewhat less likely that they will make the right choices to promote their health, happiness and long-term prosperity."

I love when people tell me I don't know how to make choices that promote my happiness.  And for reference, I work on games, and I'm most definitely middle-class.  Thus, my values are middle-class.  I'd appreciate pundits not acting like they own the beliefs of my salary range, thanks.

 
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