Esquire Dishes on Violence in GTA IV

Esquire’s Stephen Marche waxes philosophical on the nature of violence in American media – and especially in Grand Theft Auto IV:

Purification through violence has always been one of America’s central political mythologies, created and nurtured by figures as diverse as George Washington, John Brown, Malcolm X, and Dick Cheney. It’s the necessary inheritance, perhaps, of a revolutionary nation’s birth in blood… Obsessed with violence and terrified of sex: That’s practically the definition of American culture…


With the fourth installment of Grand Theft Auto, the series has finally achieved cultural normalcy — at least none of the usual hypocrites has started whining yet. The game is a perfect expression of violence without restraint… Grand Theft Auto is comedy purified: a safe alternate world in which to break the law as profoundly and as often as you like. It’s the up-to-the-minute form of a primordial joy, a kind of digital Valhalla. Kill with nobody dying. Steal with nobody losing. Repeat for eternity.


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