Huffington Post: Courts Should Protect People, Not Corporations

Former philosophy professor and regular Huffington Post contributor Myriam Miedzian pens an editorial on Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Association urging the court to "protect people, not corporations." Her opinion piece opens with a discussion of Doom:

She then talks about how video games are not the works of individual writers but corporations, and how the Italian mafia and a certain Arizona killer factor into the equation:

"The argument that there’s always been violent entertainment from Shakespeare plays to Grimm fairytales fails to recognize that we are no longer dealing with individual writers exercising their art, being read or heard occasionally. Billion dollar video game industries now surround children with entertainment which permits them to shoot, torture, decapitate, dismember, and sexually assault people. Concern is not limited to the United States, European parliament member Sonia Alfano, whose Sicilian journalist father was murdered by the Mafia , recently asked the European Commission to consider banning video games that trivialize violence and murder. We Americans have even more to fear from this trivialization — unlike Western European countries where gun sales are highly regulated and homicide rates much lower, we live in a country where a deeply emotionally disturbed person can walk into a gun store in Tucson, purchase a semi-automatic pistol, and use it to kill 6 people and injure 14."

Miedzian goes onto talk about all the research supporting the theory that violent video games make children aggressive and even violent behavior:

"Agreement among researchers that violent video games are one of the variables encouraging violent behavior, is about as universal as scientists ‘agreement that smokers are at higher risk of lung cancer, or that global warming is real — and human activities play a role. The naysayers represent a tiny minority."

She wraps things up by listing all the justices that she believes support California’s argument that it has a right to enforce its 2005 law. She even takes some time out to bash liberal justices who refuse to protect children. She closes with this paragraph:

"If there exists a real threat to our First Amendment rights, it lies in the inadequacy of anti-trust laws which permit an increasingly smaller number of corporations, in the hands of a wealthy few, to control a large percentage of the mass media, and exercise undue influence on the political process, not in regulations to protect our children from exploitation by corporations."

Commentary: Of course, the only new element in Miedzian’s opinion piece is the mention of Jared Loughner, who some have tried to tie to video games, communism, liberalism, communism, Anti-Semitism, Satanism, and a hundred other -isms. Naturally, this is more about assigning blame to one particular group or dogma, and not about the actions of one individual. It is really a distraction from the issue at hand: does the state of California know what children should be allowed to play, or watch, or read? Or is that right reserved for parents? Our founding fathers certainly would not have wanted that – no matter how violent or provocative the free speech issue.

Source: Huffington Post via Kyle Orland

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32 comments

  1. Thad says:

    A couple of mine made it in, but not the one where I linked the Ars article on the FTC’s study on ratings enforcement (and sarcastically remarked that of course movies are different from games because they do not contain over-the-top violence and are made by individuals, not corporations).

  2. Allan Weallans says:

    The US Supreme Court has expressly declared that movies fall under the protection of the First Amendment (e.g. Schad v. Borough of Mt. Ephraim, 1981). Movies are as much a corporate artefact as games are, and therefore you cannot really argue that games should not be so protected on the basis of their corporate authorship (even if corporate authorship were a defining factor of games, which it’s so clearly not).

  3. hellfire7885 says:

    I get the feeling she would assume Minecraft was made by a big corporation. Hell, people acted like SUper Columbine Massacre RPG was in stores ready to be sold to minors.


  4. GoodRobotUs says:

    Ironic part is, the Grimm Fairytales weren’t written by one man, they were written by two, that’s why they were called the Brothers Grimm, and they operated as a business, they even helped write the first edition of the Deutsches Worterbuch, often called the definitive German dictionary.

    Another interesting fact about the Brothers Grimm was that they were exiled for protesting an attempt to rewrite the Hanover constitution to reflect King Ernst’s personal views rather than the peoples.

    Very odd she should choose them as an example, I think they would be rather appalled at the fact.

  5. DorkmasterFlek says:

    So if a game is developed by a single person a la Minecraft, it’s a person’s free speech.  But if a game is developed by a team of people organized in a company, then it’s no longer free speech?  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.  Free speech is free speech.  It doesn’t matter who is making it.

  6. GoodRobotUs says:

    Yes, Courts should protect people, it should protect people from over-bearing governance, it should protect people from being dictated to, it should protect people from having other peoples’ views forced upon them.

  7. Thad says:

    Well, it was shareware.  Not quite the same thing.  But yeah, corporate megaliths seldom offer that much content in a demo.

     

  8. edmoss87 says:

    Thanks for the input, that was pretty much my point. Games are made by a group of individuals, and in my view the size of the group should have no detrimental effect on their rights.

  9. jedidethfreak says:

    If Fox News is responsible for the actions of any right-wing nutjob you don’t like, then MSNBC is responsible for the actions of any left-wing nutjob, right?

    Or is it just conservatives that are capable of wrongdoing in your opinion?

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  10. Sporge says:

    Yeah, the connection of lung cancer to smoking is entirely incorrect anyway.  To global warming a bit better, only in that there is some correlation and we have no agreement on why yet.

  11. Neeneko says:

    I am having flashbacks to college where the philosophy majors picked on the science and engineering majors.. I keep forgetting how much disdain some of them have for actual facts and evidence.  It is all about eloquence and force of personality…

  12. Kajex says:

    Pathetic. Using lung cancer through smoking as a baseless hyperbole, then having the audacity to say the naysayers are a "minority".

    "Philosphers" like this woman encourage the idea that parents don’t need to be responsible for not being parents. It’s irresponsible to think that the government could ever take their place, and insulting to the intelligence of solid parents by insisting the government should do the job for them.

  13. Thad says:

    "The irrevocable right to free speech does not diminish with the number of people speaking, nor the size of the audience."

    I actually fundamentally oppose the notion of corporate personhood, but what we’re talking about here isn’t political influence, it’s creative work.  And even if a creative work is legally authored by a corporation, it WAS put together by individual people with individual creative visions; it’s hardly an assembly-line work.

    And Doom is a pretty fucking terrible example of a game pushed on the public by a faceless multibillion-dollar juggernaut, given that it was made by a team of 10 people.

  14. edmoss87 says:

    "…we are no longer dealing with individual writers exercising their art, being read or heard occasionally. Billion dollar video game industries now surround children with entertainment…"

    The irrevocable right to free speech does not diminish with the number of people speaking, nor the size of the audience.

    Also, the quote regarding the researchers is a massive exaggeration. Even Craig Anderson acknowledges that in the instances where he believes gaming is a factor, it is never the most important factor. Making that connection is like saying 2+2=40. Sociopathy is entirely independent of any form of media.

  15. Mr. Blond says:

    I googled her, and she represents some of the most extremist views I have ever seen not only on this issue, but many other political points that I won’t get into here. What I will give you, however, is an encounter she had with Arnold some years ago that reinforces how much of a hypocrite he has become:

    http://www.myriammiedzian.com/ArticlesExpand.html

  16. Thad says:

    "these big companies of the gaming industry are the equivalent to book publishers, with the development team being the equivelant of the author"

    Well, kinda.  From a copyright perspective, games are generally works of corporate authorship, while books are most frequently authored by individuals (though they may be sold to a publisher).  Not true in all cases, of course.

    More important than the copyright, though, is that they’re guided by certain demands and requirements from higher up the chain.

    That said, the people working on them are all human beings, all creative people, and all entitled to First Amendment protection.

    Just because something is written by employees doesn’t mean it’s not protected by the Bill of Rights.

  17. gellymatos says:

    Geez, where to start. Well, first, while it may be true that it’s not individuals that create games, it isn’t the corporations that really do either. If we’re going to compare videogames to books. Then these big companies of the gaming industry are the equivalent to book publishers, with the development team being the equivelant of the author (or, funny enough, multiple authors). And the freedom of speech doesn’t change. She’s simply using the not so common "big mean corporation" rhetoric. Nothing new. Furthermore, if she really has an issue with those affected by the mob, then there are quite a few books and films that should also have an issue with. As for videogames and the crime rate. As I think we all know, the crime rate, though it is higher than that of europe, has been going down as videogame graphics have improved, so that videogames are affectivly more graphic at more mature levels. Immediate problem with any sort of an attempt to correlate videogames with increased levels of violence. As for the Arizona incident, the problem is the fact that a schizophrenic was able to get a gun (side note: has it been discovered how he got the gun? Was it legally or illegally?)

    Then there’s the research thing. Bullshit. Simple as that. She’s either greatly misinformed or lying. I believe the former. I mean, the stats alone don’t support her belief. And anti-trust laws? Now that’s just irrelevant. Furthermore, regulation of free speech, especially when the private sector is doing just fine on rating the content, is just wrong.

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  18. BearDogg-X says:

    Yet another brain-dead moron writing something she has no understanding of.

    Where’s that Billy Madison quote("I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul." )?

    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.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  19. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    "Agreement among researchers that violent video games are one of the variables encouraging violent behavior, is about as universal as scientists ‘agreement that smokers are at higher risk of lung cancer, or that global warming is real — and human activities play a role. The naysayers represent a tiny minority."

    Are this person so desperate that she has to lie multiple times?

     

     

     

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

  20. Thad says:

    "The argument that there’s always been violent entertainment from Shakespeare plays to Grimm fairytales fails to recognize that we are no longer dealing with individual writers exercising their art, being read or heard occasionally. Billion dollar video game industries now surround children with entertainment which permits them to shoot, torture, decapitate, dismember, and sexually assault people."

    Just like crime comics!

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