Monday, December 10, 2007

Please, No More Culture Wars

Jane Hamsher informs us that Sen. Hillary Clinton has joined with the usual gang of idiots (Sens. Lieberman, Brownback, and Bayh) to begin some kind of investigation in to the video game rating systm. Quoting from Sen. Lieberman's website:
In a letter to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the Senators detailed how the change in rating opened the door to widespread release of the game, which depicts acts of horrific violence.

Let's see now. The rating system was designed to do nothing more than alert consumers, particularly parents, that a game contained potentially unsettling graphic images that might be unsuitable to minors. The game was released with the rating, and sold well.

Yeah, it sounds like the entire system is broken.

Leaving aside the rest of the post, which is a bit of a whine ("Why don't they go after the awful Left Behind video game and leave our Manhunt 2 alone?"), I just want to place a plea before the United States Senate:
In the future, will you confine your complaints about the content of cultural products, whether movies, music, or video games to the privacy of your own homes? You have no power - zero - in your official capacity to alter one jot the content of movies, of popular music, or of computer games. While your influence may intimidate some people, the forces pushing the content of all sorts of cultural products are wide, diverse, and far stronger than any resistance put up by a bunch of Senators.

As someone who is a consumer of massive amounts of some of these cultural products, I have yet to see where all the huffing, puffing, speechifying, Congressional hearings, and even rating systems have done anything to alter the direction in which cultural products trend. It may make some of you feel better to go on the record as saying, "This is just awful". It may be. Yet, that doesn't alter the fact that, whether it's Manhunt 2, rap music, Quentin Tarrantino movies, or what have you will be done the way the culture decides (in the case of music and movies, there is input from the respective industries - it's the market at work, folks).

In other words - STFU.

Virtual Tin Cup

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