Law of the Game Picks Apart MSU Law Research Paper

Joystiq’s latest Law of the Game column breaks down the theories of a research paper released last week by a Michigan State University College of Law Professor.

The paper’s author, Renee Newman Knake, argued that videogame legislation advocates could take cues from the environmental movement and employ “ecogenerism” in their bid to improve the chances of such legislation being passed in the future.

Mark Methenitis, the author of the Joystiq piece, begins by noting that Knake’s premise “starts from the basic flawed premise that we have ‘proven’ a ‘causal’ link between media violence, specifically video game violence, and real world violence.”

Methenitis then picks apart Knake’s focus on “ecogenerism,” or controlling “pollutants” (videogames in this case) in a child’s environment. He offers multiple responses to Knake, including the following analogy:

A multi-vitamin for children, in appropriate doses, has many positive and no negative side effects, except in rare cases. However, an overdoes of vitamins can be fatal. Parents who bring home vitamins don’t put them out in a dish on the floor and let the kids go nuts with them; they keep them in a childproof container and give them one a day.

Methenitis concludes that the views of this research paper are “at best, a rose by any other name,” offering:

The courts have frequently said that the activity of the bedroom is beyond the scope of government control, and I, for one, think the activity of the living room should be as well.

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