Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

January 4, 2011 -

Conservative gadfly Phyllis Schlafly put together a list of New Year's resolutions that incoming freshman republican lawmakers on the state and federal level should adopt, in her estimation. Schlafly tackles all the usual conservative bullet points including school choice, healthcare, the Boy Scouts and video games. Here is one of the resolutions she proposes in her Townhall.com column:

"VIDEO GAMES: 'There shall be no sale, rental or arcade-playing of extremely violent video games by children without parental consent.' Explanation: Video games are increasingly graphic and harmful."

Commentary: It is interesting that conservatives want the government out of our healthcare, parent's choices for schools and our pocket books, but not when it comes to content they deem immoral. Schlafly adds the phrase "without parental consent" but the use of that term is disingenuous. Why would I say that? I need only look at her September 2010 editorial on video games to see that she believes today's parents are simply not smart enough or wise enough to understand video games and she wants the government to intervene:

"Parental control isn't the solution because parents typically have no way to fully review these games before giving or denying permission to their children to play them. Some games are programmed to become more violent while the game is being played, and parents usually don't or can't play the games."

In other words, parents need the government to step in and hold their hands or do the heavy lifting for them. At least Libertarians are consistent in their view that the government should stay out of every aspect of our lives, not just the areas some political-leaners designate as "off limits."

You can read about Schlafly's career as a political activist on Eagle Forum.

 


Comments

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

"Parental control isn't the solution because parents typically have no way to fully review these games before giving or denying permission to their children to play them."

 

Let's see here, asking the clerk, reading the ESRB website, seeing if there's a demo you can try, going to the game's website and viewing screenshots or trailers or gameplay movies, reading the rating on the box, hell, even going to Youtube and viewing independantly posted gameplay footage.

Ah, wait ,the old bat would probably write those off as industry controled or something.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

great, more embarssment to my GOP, and i don't even believe a word she says now!

Jesus Jack Jones Thompson loves you, so kill for his amusement so we can get money for the new "People's Temple of Jesus Jack Jones Thompson"

Jesus Jack Jones Thompson loves you, so kill for his amusement so we can get money for the new "People's Temple of Jesus Jack Jones Thompson"

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

If the court rules in favor ofthe industry I wouldn't at all be surprised if she tried to blame it on those "evul libruls".

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Coming from someone who has never played a video game in her life.  Next.

- Left4Dead

Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

- Left4Dead Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

 So you were ripping the eye out of the cyclops and using the socket to steer really early in GoW?

 

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

No (at least not in the first hour, I don't think), but so what?  That's no more violent than what you do earlier.

 

Andrew Eisen

 

P.S. - Use the reply button.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

"Some games are programmed to become more violent while the game is being played..."

Give a modern example.  I dare you, Schlafly.  I double-dog dare you.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I can't think of a game that gets "more violent" as you play. Rather it is just more of the game's tools and mechanics become available to the player, and usually the player skill improves as the game progresses as well. And most of the time, the level of violence is up to the player based on how they choose to pursue the their goals, be it the game's objectives or just their own foibles.

I can't say that I've played any modern ESRB-rated game and been surprised at content not mentioned in the ratings box on the back.

Demagogues like her use every logical fallacy they can while ramping up the emotion and "save the children" to push their views. Just because she is unable (or unwilling as this case may be) to tell the difference between Gears of War and New Super Mario Bros. doesn't mean most parents can't.

I have to agree, her regressive agenda would best be served with her getting back in the kitchen and leaving the rest of us alone. The ESRB works better than the MPAA or RIAA ratings and I don't want to see another Hayes office.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I actually don't understand the sentence. Does "become more violent" refers to the game itself (in this case, the sentence means nothing), or does it refer to the people who play the game ?

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I see Leland Yee and his ilk throw this horse pucky around quite often.  They allege that the gameplay itself gets more violent further on in the game such that, the age appropriateness of the first few hours of the game are completely out of line with the age appropriateness of the later hours of the game.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

These are two separate things, and the flaw in Lee's argument is in going from one to the other.   Gameplay does get more violent, trying to say that it does not make it sound like you are pretending games function differently then they do simply to discredit Lee.  Attack the connection instead.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Okay, then I offer the same challenge to you that I offered to Schlafly.  Give an example of a modern game that's violent content in the later areas of the game is out of line with the beginning areas.  In other words, name me a game that hides its "inapproriate for the kiddies content" in places parents are unlikely to ever reach if they decide to ignore the ratings and other tools and evaluate the game themselves.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

"Give an example of a modern game that's violent content in the later areas of the game is out of line with the beginning areas."

Half-Life.

The beginning is violence free.  Even once you're off the tram and fully in control of your character, there isn't really any violence.  The violence starts with a crowbar versus monsters and zombies.  It's only much later that violence against regular humans is generally required of the player.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Sorry but no.  You're smacking things with a crowbar about 10 minutes in (half an hour if you're taking your time).  I see what you're saying but that's kind of like comparing the violent content of the title screen to the rest of the game.

Not fighting totally human enemies (as opposed to aliens and other humanoid monsters) until later in the game is an interesting point though.  Still, I'd argue that how you deal with them is no more violent.  To me, bludgeoning a head crab with a crowbar is the same as bludgeoning a SWAT guy (or whatever they're called in that game).

Plus, Half Life came out in 1998.  I wouldn't consider it a modern game.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

That is a differnt question.   This is a bit like if you had said 'there are no cats!', someone responded 'yes, there are cats', and you came back with 'fine! show me a 20 foot purple cat with laser beam eyes'.

'Increases as gameplay goes on' and 'out of line requiring a higher rating' are not the same thing.    That is why I said you have to attack the connection rather then claiming there is no increase.  Your argument make  you sound like you are saying there are no cats, which is trivial to disprove, therefor your debunking of Yee and friend

I already gave 2 examples of where violence increases as gameplay goes on, neither represent an increase from one rating to another.

 

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

In Bioshock, you have the option of killing people all through the game. It is only the method of killing people that changes during gameplay. With that in mind, it is normal game progression that brings about that change. So if a parent were to play Bioshock andactually stick with it they would see all that content.

I understand what Andrew is saying. He is saying that Yee and Schlafly claim that parents are not able to find all the most violent stuff because it is hidden. He is claiming that they are wrong.

Let me ask you this, is it more violent to shoot someone with a rocket launcher than to bludgeon them to death with a wrench? Personally, I would say the wrench death is more violent and those kinds of deaths are more likely to be found in the beginning of a game.

Personally, when I think of games getting more violent, I think of a progression from simple killing to torturous killing. Such as going around killing people with guns in the early stages and then in the latter half, skinning people alive and eating their livers.

Currently, there are no games that have that kind of progression.

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

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

The only game I can think of where there's violence at the end that is completely out of line with anything that came before it is in 1988's Bionic Commando.  Hitler's head explodes in a gory fashion at the end.  Nothing like that previously.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

No, it's nothing like that.

Both Schlafly and Yee are saying that video game are hiding the truly violent stuff in places where parents won't find them.  Stuff that, if they knew it was there, they would never have let them play the game in the first place.

And I don't agree that your examples are more violent in the end than they are at the beginning.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I don't care what they mean.  

I am responding to what you said.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

And what I said was calling into question what they mean.  If that wasn't clear in my initial post, boy howdy, it ought to be now.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Isn't that kinda normal?  

Futher you go into a game the more enemys you encounter and bigger weapons you get.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

The difficulty increases sure but not the level of violence.  Turok 2 didn't introduce the Cerebral Bore until halfway through the game but that weapon and the havoc it wrote was completely in line with everything that came before it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I don't know.. BioShock got progressively more violent as the game went on.  More bodies, more death, more killing.  I would call that an increase in the amount of violence. DOOM got more violent as the game went on as you got bigger guns and increasing numbers of opponents to use them on. And of course the God of War games.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I do know...

BioShock, Doom, and the God of War games did not get more violent.  Again, simply upping the difficulty by adding more enemies or bigger guns does not up the violence.  Everything in the back half of those games was, from a ratings and age-appropriateness standpoint, completely in line with everything in the front half.

Do you really think the front halfs of those games are on the level of a T rating while the later halfs are M?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

No, I don't beleive they go from "T" to "M".  But that isn't what you claimed. You claimed that the amount of violence does not increase. 

For instance, in BioShock, I think a case can be made that hitting people with a wreach at first and then pinning teenage girls to a wall with a drill till they die  or setting people on fire while you fling them in the air and send a hoard of deadly insects after them represents an increase in violence.   Still in the range of M, but it is not simply 'more difficult'.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

How is bashing people to death with a wrench less violent than anything?  Your examples are not more violent, they are different violent.  So you and Phyllis still need to prove this point.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

And I disagree.  Bloody, sadistic murder is bloody, sadistic murder.  Plus, it's not like the stuff you mentioned is at the end of the game.  You get to do that stuff pretty early on.

The point Schlafly and Yee are making, and what I'm calling them on, is that games are hiding the inappropriate content in places parents can't evaluate it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I agree with you on this one Andrew. The only time 'hidden inappropriate content' was found in a game was GTA San Andreas, but that is still arguable as it had to be unlocked through a 3rd party mod/hack to the game.

Just because more bodies (and thus more blood) show up later in a game, to up the difficulty near the end, it was still bloody through out. Nothing hidden. Unless a game like Mario all of a sudden has a graphic sex scene and Bowser getting disembowled (now saying that, that would be quite disturbing and perversely funny :P ), there is no such game getting progressively more violent/more adult as a game continues.

---------

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

And Hot Coffee doesn't count either: for one, the content was not part of the game (as you pointed out), and two, it was completely in line with the rest of the game anyway.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Phyllis Schlafly. What else ?

(well, in fact, I found her more reasonable than usual. The first sentence looks like it was written by Captain Obvious, but at least, she mentions parental consent)

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Another person calling for government censorship/bannings of video games. What a surprise. Although she is trying to sugar coat it so it doens't directly say that.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

When these fools finally emerge from shitting their Bronze-Age mythology into our laws and society, then I'll give a damn about their opinions.  Until then, the only important thing is opposing the Christian Right before they send us all back to the Dark Ages.  

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Bronze Age or Dark Ages?  You seem to be losing the plot.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I think the Bronze age had more common sense than this nut-case. Hell, even the Romans were far more progressive, wise, and knowledgable than her. I agree with you, even as a Christian myself, that her version Christian-Right movement should be opposed all the way...

---------

James Fletcher, member of ECA Canada

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

You sound just like Blue State Santa from Saturday Night Live.

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Phyllis Schlafly's resolution should be to learn to shut her mouth before someone sticks an apple in there.

Considering that she believes it's OK for a man to rape his wife without consequence says all anyone needs to know about the intelligence of a gargoyle with no feminine qualities whatsoever.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra. Hell will stay frozen over for quite a while since the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

see my sig for my 2 cents on Schlafly's anti-feminist views

岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women's Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

OK that's a little weird. A wife files rape charges against her husband? I just don't see it. If she didn't want to have sex with him, don't marry the guy! Get some kind of legal separation. Is that so much to ask?

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

Whether it's OK with me personally, whether I think it's right or not, is not the issue. Whether it's a criminal action is the issue. And when two people are married, it makes no sense for either one of them to be able to file rape charges against the other, because they're MARRIED. If they got divorced or legally separated or whatever, then it would make sense for the government to listen if either one of them files rape charges about things that happen after that. But when people have gotten married, it means they're gonna be having sex and I see no way to objectively prove that anything they do was a case of rape at the time. The marriage ought to count as a consent, legally speaking, at least to the sex, but not to physical abuse. Assault is a different matter than rape.

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

There's no issue here.  Forcing sex on someone who doesn't want it is a criminal action.  Being able to "objectively prove" it happened has abolutely no bearing on that fact.

Marriage does not void either spouce's right to say "no." 

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

Right. And the way they are able to excercise that right to say "no" by appealing to the law is by filing for divorce. Otherwise you are turning every marriage into a potential "sexual harrasment" trap.

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

A reply four months later?  The odds that anyone would ever see it are almost nil but hey, here I am.

If you're not feeling up to sex with your spouse, you have the right to simply say no; you don't have to up and get divorced.  That's silly.  After all, you may be up for it later.

Marriage is not a promise to have sex with your spouse whenever they want it regardless of your feelings on the matter.  And no, being that way does not make it a sexual harassment trap.  Forcing sex on someone is not sexual harassment.  It's rape.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

So, if your wife chooses to tie you on a chair and forces you to have sex with her, it is OK with you?

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

Wait wtf?

Is assaulting your wife also fine?

In what absurd world do you live in that some gives up all rights to make determinations about their body when they marry?

If one party does not want it it is rape. maybe they were too tired that night, maybe something else hell there doesn't need to be a reason, but none of that changes the fact that it's rape?

It might be grounds for divorce, but not rape and assault.

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

I'm not so good at detecting net sarcasm.  Are you being sarcastic?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: "Conservative" Commentator Targets Video Games in New ...

I.. I realy hope you are kidding.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

Pretty standard retro-progressive attitude..... 'choice' when they want the power to be with specific industries or religious groups, remove choice when they want the power to be with the government.  Both are about restricting what other people can do, all that changes is how they go about it.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I'm not saying she's right or even that she's really thought through the proposal but it seems to me that neither have you. What do you mean by "retro-progressive"? Doesn't whether something is "progressive" or not depend on which direction you're going? And if you've taken a wrong road, just like if you've made a mistake in mathematics, the quickest way forward is to go back and fix what went wrong - to keep going in a mistaken direction is not progressive.

I also think it's important that kids under around 16 shouldn't be able to get some of the more extreme video games (or movies) without parental consent and no sensible parent ought to be giving that consent. However, I'm not convinced that the way in which many conservatives are trying to get the government to help solve this problem is the best solution. But I certainly don't see a contradiction between this and school choice or getting the government out of health care. They're separate issues.

Re: Conservative Commentator Targets Video Games in New Year

I say retro progressive because what people like her advoate is not 'concervative' in the traditional sense, but instead is implementing a new set of laws and standards.  Her group is 'progressive' in that they want to change things, but 'retro' in that they want to change things to conform to a fantasy image of a past state.

Concervative generally means 'keep things they way they are until they have been tested on small scales and proven'... her group is big on change based off unproven ideas.    Modern concervatives like her have nothing to do with being concervative.... they are just a differnt breed of progressives.

 
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Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
 

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