Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

May 29, 2009 -

Penn Jillette has weighed in on the controversy over Japanese PC game RapeLay in a YouTube video.

The comedian argues against banning such games:

Prosecuting thought crimes is wrong...

 

[Critics'] complaint is that this game normalizes sexual violence. I think that blaming a video game for rape is normalizing violent sexual behavior. What that says is that we are all rapists and that rape is just under the surface of us and all we need is a video game to just push us a little way.

 

What blaming the video game does is it shows compassion for the rapist. It shows understanding. At some level, in some small amount, it says, "It's not really the rapist's fault; it's society's fault for putting this stuff out here." And I think that the rapist deserves no understanding and no compassion whatsoever.

GP: Thanks to GamePolitics reader Thomas McKenna for alerting us to the video...


Comments

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Wow, Penn Jillette. Is he even relevent anymore?

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Interesting statement.  I'd guess he's more relevant than you, I, and even Game Politics - so that's a start.

 

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

I know you're not likely to read this but, ZING!

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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.

---------------------------------------------------- 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: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Well he's got a show and a magic act still, but other than that ... not too much.

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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.

---------------------------------------------------- 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: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Has the Videogame violence episode of Bullshit aired yet? If not, it must have already finished production since Penn is voicing his opinion now instead of covering it in his show.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Penn says is his vblog ... sort of. He's done ones about shooting BS.

Anyway the video game one airs July 9.

----------------------------------------------------

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.

---------------------------------------------------- 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: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Wow, its like my brain is speaking through P. Jillette.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Oy Gp I sent you an e-mail about this when it came out, did you not get it or something?

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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.

---------------------------------------------------- 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: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

They got it, they just ignored it

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

What that says is that we are all rapists and that rape is just under the surface of us and all we need is a video game to just push us a little way.

That's a good point. Anti-gaming politicians and other public figures often portray gamers as potential power kegs waiting to explode with a few well-placed sparks.

We are actually close in common grounds with these politicians, in the agreement that mental instability is a big factor for committing violent or devious acts. Our agreements only go in opposite directions when they say videogames are a cause to mental instability, while we say it's a supplement.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Indeed. A video game neither supplies the reason to go on a shooting spree, nor the guns and ammo needed to carry it out, nor does it sap the process of rational thought- it's only capable of conveying an idea.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Penn has a really good point there and I'm going to agree with him on it. I don't think it is necessary to ban the game, the best suggestion is just ship it into the porn & hentai stores only.

What we got here is failure to communicate!

What we got here is failure to communicate!

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

He exactly brought up the biggest point I been trying to make. We are justifying these criminals. Should we be doing that?

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

 I'll take "the rapist" for 500 alex.

 

Old SNL skit...Anyways eh's a pretty insightful dude. Eh comments on all sorts of stuff and doesn't afraid of anything.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Suck it, Trebek. Suck it good.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

It's porn (hentai), not a game.  Is the hentai industry sanctioning non-humans with multiple appendages of various functions having free reign over schoolgirls?  Or should we start xenophobic prosecution of all things tentacle-y just cause that's how they've been portrayed? 

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

It's a porn game even.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

 

mikedo2007

 

 

Nice to see this guy giving a rant about not banning the Rapelay game.

 

Cue the anime haters saying he part of the anime industry and tell them he's no longer credible in 3...2...1

 

 

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Sheesh how many anime haters are there, I've never seen someone even joke about banning anime.

Perhaps they're just rabid anime-hater who don't plan on following through with the whole ban anime thing.

----------------------------------------------------

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.

---------------------------------------------------- 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: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

You gotta love somebody who will defend the indefensible even outside the internet's cloak of anonymity.  You tell 'em, Penn.  Thoughts are not crimes and never should be.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Frankly, I have to agree with Penn. His position is something that has been expressed by many readers of this site.

By blaming violent crime on the criminal playing a game about it, you are marginalizing/normalizing the crime. If we want to stop violent crime, we need to start holing the person who committed the crime personally responsible and stop trying to find some kind of scapegoat to blame the behavior on.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

I hate to agree with Penn Jillette, who has proven himself to be a complete ideologue, but he makes an interesting point.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

He's making it clear that his stance on rape is that it's terrible, and it is a crime. I like his point- it's articulated well enough, he provides solid examples of it so that both sides of the argument can see his hand clearly.

Heads up for July 9th, btw.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

July 9th?  Is that when Penn & Teller's show is airing the segment featuring our favorite pet anti-game activist?

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

I believe it is...

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

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

This one's tough. He definitely makes some good points. It's totally a love-hate thing with Rapelay. I think the game's sick, but is it right to ban? It definitely needs an AO rating, I hope no one wants to play it, but they need to be able to make that choice, not forced.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Hey man- I played The Pitt DLC for Fallout 3, and the primary issues at hand in the content was slavery and child-kidnap. It provided me tough moral decisions that were fake, sure, but it made me think. Rapelay isn't like that in that it doesn't make for serious discussion, but the idea is still offensive to alot of people, and the concept in itself is still terrible.

Regardless, the issue is being made that the game provides a catalyst which ultimately may (not will, but just might) lead to rape. The idea that a rapist needs material to invoke action BASED on the material has already been debunked- you need more than just a package to make take that action, you need to be seriously fucked up to consider it. However bad the game might seem, it's not truly hurting anybody- saying that it's the cause of one's actions is like saying a person can't be held accountable for the mistakes they made in their life, that their punishment shouldn't fit the crime because "x forced them to".

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Why would it get an AO rating when it's not being commercially sold in North America? Nor do porn games that are made available in North America get reviewed/rated by the ESRB. There are already laws regarding pornography that would make an AO rating, if for some reason publishers decided to submit it, absolutely redundant..

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

An AO rating would not do the trick for RapeLay.

The game falls under child protection and obsenity statutes, thus is it magicly excluded from 1st ammendment protections and is, in fact, illegal under federal law.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

unconstitutionally illegal* fixed it for ya. No one has the right to say that a drawing or animation of a child is in any way worse than a drawing or animation of an adult, or in any way equivalent to child abuse.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

I have a feeling obscenity wouldn't apply to this. But, in my opinion, obscenity laws are ridiculous anyway. What's the reasoning behind something being illegal because it's 'obscene'. Noone is forced to buy these things, and noone is hurt in the production of it, what's the problem?

I am highly against legislating morality.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Exactly. Obscenity is just a code word the government uses to do an end-run around the US Constitution.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

child protection for virtual children? lol wheres the damn murder protection for everyone i killed in all the FPSs i play? protection of non-living entities is bullshit, it would be like protecting virtual baby seals in WoW.

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Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Although protecting virtual baby seals in WOW may be something PETA is planning.

----------------------------------------------------

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.

---------------------------------------------------- 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: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Like I said in a different thread, the game is not necessarily obscene, and if it's not obscene then it cannot be illegal speech under federal law. Child protection statutes are irrelevant with regard to virtual minors. They would only apply if the game were being sold to minors, which would indeed be illegal.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Actually, Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 1466A - Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children - specfically makes it a crime to produce, distribute, receive, or possess a pornographic "visual depiction of any kind" involving minors if it can be deemed obscene OR simply "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value". "Visual depiction of any kind" pretty much covers video game characters as well.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value is one of the criteria by which speech is deemed obscene. Virtual child pornography that is not obscene is just as legal as ever.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Yes, it is one of the criteria by which speech is deemed obscene, but as worded it's the only criteria necessary to make it a violation of the law. The law DOES NOT require that the material be deemed obscene. Note the the use of the word "or", not the word "and".

-depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or

-depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

You could always argue that a video game about raping people somehow does have "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" but 18 U.S.C. §1466A only requires that the material fail that one part of the Miller Test to be deemed illegal. Again, it does not need to be deemed obscene to be a violation of the law.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

The Miller test is binding precedent. The law can say whatever it wants, but unless the Supreme Court overturns that precedent any language in that law that is inconsistent with the Miller decision will simply be declared unconstitutional.

In any case, I'm not convinced it's true that "18 U.S.C. §1466A only requires that the material fail that one part of the Miller Test to be deemed illegal". The Miller test asks:

"- Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
- Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions[2] specifically defined by applicable state law,
- Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. (This is also known as the (S)LAPS test- [Serious] Literary, Artistic, Political, Scientific.)"

It seems to me a work that depicts "graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex" is a work that depicts "sexual conduct ... specifically defined by applicable law", which satisfies the second part of the Miller test (provided it's also patently offensive), and depending on the community may very well satisfy the first part of the test as well. Any case that didn't satisfy those criteria would likely fail in SCOTUS, unless SCOTUS were ultimately to overturn itself.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

The Miller Test would be applicable if it were being argued that the material was obscene but, as I've repeatedly said, according to the law the material need only fail that one prong of the Miller test. It was worded specifically to avoid the same standards that would need to be applied to photographic pornography, including the definition of "community" when dealing with the internet. You're right, it would likely fail in SCOTUS, and the part requiring that the material fail the SLAPS test has already been ruled unconstitutional by a District Judge in Iowa in the Christopher Handley case. However, it still remains on the books as written. I'm not arguing for the constitutionality of the law and whether it would be upheld, I'm simply stating that according to the law, as it currently exists, a depiction involving minors needn't have the full Miller Test applied to be found in violation of the law. On that same note most obscenity cases over the past few years have ended with the defendants eventually giving-up and pleading guilty in order to avoid further trial so, in practice, whether the law would survive SCOTUS isn't all that comforting unless you're incredibly rich and can afford a protracted decade-long legal battle.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

The Miller Test applies regardless of whether the law makes any reference to obscenity in its text. That's because the US Constitution's Bill of Rights protects those forms of speech that are not considered obscene. The government is free to pass laws that attempt to regulate non-obscene speech, but such laws would not survive legal scrutiny unless SCOTUS were to change long-standing precedent concerning obscenity and the First Amendment.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

For something to be illegal it simply needs to be in violation of a law. A law doesn't need to be constitutionally sound to be violated, and the law hasn't been stricken or amended yet.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Even if we ignored the US Constitution and applied only the text of the law in question, it still wouldn't mean that virtual child pornography is illegal, since it's possible for some such material to have sufficient value as to remain beyond the reach of the letter of the law.

If we don't ignore the US Constitution, the legality of an act ultimately depends on who you ask. While governments will often act as if particular unconstitutional laws are valid simply for being newly approved by legislatures, the fact is that binding precedent applies even to new laws, and it's only a matter of time until the courts address the issue -- usually in a manner consistent with precedent.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Not surprisingly, Teller said nothing.

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

This statement made my day.


Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Teller doesn't have to say anything.

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Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

 Wow, even the legendary Penn got it wrong.

Not that it matters now since there was never going to be a ban in the first place.

http://kotaku.com/5272475/and-now-rape-games-are-not-banned-in-japan
 

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

...I didn't realize this was a pop-quiz, Notebook.  ^^

"HEY! LISTEN!"

"HEY! LISTEN!"

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

 Okay, so he has an opinion [THAT CANNOT BE WRONG BECAUSE THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A COMPLETELY WRONG OPINION AMIRITE] based on misinformation he got from some people who don't even know anything about the situation at hand.

There, happy?

Re: Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Lighten up. Go rent a taping of one of Penn and Teller's magic shows, you'll feel better.

Sounds like you got a beef because you think he doesn't have a good grasp on the details. (Which? The issue is pretty fucking broad).

 
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