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.


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  2. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Americans aren’t inherently more violent than other people. In fact we are probably one of the more subdued peoples, do to our wealth.

    Violence is an animal instinct, it is an evolutionary survival mechanism. If you want to be a human rather than an animal, you have to ignore your violent impulses, even when they are strongest.

    Videogames provide a safe, non-violent environment to work out our violent animal impulses. Hazzah for that!

  3. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Not yesterday. It was the advent of Doom that got us started. If history were recorded properly and not rewritten every 5 years or so, we would know that the American Revolution was settled over tea and crumpets followed by cheese and crackers.

    The Civil War was really not a war but a series of checkers matches resulting in the North winning the tournement.

    World War I and II were actually an olympics of sorts consisting of boat races and competitive airshows resulting in the panel of judges ruling that the Allied forces were the better teams.

    Real history would be nice if we would stop rewriting it to be so bloody and deadly.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
    Facebook Page:

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  4. 0
    GryphonOsiris says:

    Each other, our neighbors, their neighbors, people who were here before we were, people who wouldn’t sell to large railroad companies, people half way around the world, people south of us, people North of us, and people who weren’t the same race or religion as us… Nope none of that happened before the introduction of GTA. [/ end sarcasm]

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

  5. 0
    JDKJ says:

    The idea that the United States is currently a violent culture because of a centuries-old history born and steeped in a revered tradition of violence isn’t far-fetched to me. Like what? Americans only began killing off each other yesterday?

  6. 0
    Adam says:

    This may be a little off track, but that issue of Esquire has an article about the shooter who did the NIU shootings in Dekalb Illinois. I live near Dekalb. I haven’t seen the article myself, but I was told they mention the shooter played video games. This is true to my knowlege. I know this becuase I used to see him in some video game stores around town. Funny thing is I never saw him pick up anything real violent when I saw him.

    Like I said, off track, but I just figured I’d put this out here.

  7. 0
    Meggie says:

    The whole article is a rather interesting read. That, and I didn’t know you could blow up a virtual Museum of Natural History (that’s the one with the fun stuff, the Met has paintings), sounds zanny. I love that cover too.

    The whining started as soon as the game was announced in production, with some politicians claiming kids could get it already 😛

  8. 0
    Jim Strathmeyer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Maybe he gets his news from television? McCain and Larry King have never used the Internet. Not everybody lives the same lives we do.

  9. 0
    JustChris says:

    On the line "obsessed with violence and terrified of sex" I still think that can be explained in a logical way, at least on the higher level. Sex hits closer to home. Couples may have sex a few times a week, but don’t see people getting killed before their eyes or trucks exploding a whole lot (may be different for some of the military). That’s all I’m trying to say. Why sex itself is a bad thing, I don’t know, it varies. Even the most secular of all families are hit by the religious underpinnings on sexual situtations.

  10. 0
    GryphonOsiris says:

    This guy just won the Internet!

    I’d vote him king of the world….

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

Leave a Reply