Reason TV takes a crack at conservative columnist George Will’s recent editorial in the Washington Post about the the parallels between current the concerns about violent video games before the Supreme Court and the controversy over comic books in the 1950s. In the column Will also mentions past crusades against media that would turn our children into all manner of depraved deviants including ragtime music, ‘penny dreadful’ novels, jazz, ‘penny theatres,’ radio, movies, rock ‘n’ roll, rap, TV, and the Internet.
Reason TV leans Libertarian, so it defends the rights of gays to serve in the military and get married with the same fervor that it defends free speech, the legalization of drugs, and less government. In the excerpt below, the author agrees that it is the same old argument from these types of crusaders, but they may be coming from places you might on expect:
Critics of violent video games, of course, insist they are nothing like those fuddy-duddies who worried about comic books, crime novels, and Elvis Presley’s hips. They say this medium, unlike all those others, really is so radically and alarmingly new that different legal standards should apply to it (an argument that provoked a skeptical response from Justice Antonin Scalia).
He goes on to quote a 1956 Rhode Island law that was submitted as precedent by lawyers for the state of California to the Supreme Court (PDF):
It is hereby declared that the publication, sale and distribution to minors of comic books devoted to crime, sex, horror, terror, brutality and violence, and of pocket books, photographs, pamphlets, magazines and pornographic films devoted to the presentation and exploitation of illicit sex, lust, passion, depravity, violence, brutality, nudity and immorality are a contributing factor to juvenile crime, a basic factor in impairing the ethical and moral development of our youth and a clear and present danger to the people of the state.
The author ends his article by taking issue with Will’s concern for the "coarsening of the culture," and noting that it is becoming hard to tell the difference between the social conservatives of the left and the social conservatives of the right.