Wednesday, August 03, 2005


outing myself.

i walked through a protest on my way to work yesterday. i didn't know it was a protest because it was mostly kids singing chant-songs in front of a building that displayed a poster reading, "go back to school in style!" so i thought it was a promotional performance. the chant-song was mostly the words "never ever ever ever ever!" i didn't really get the import.

but it turns out the kids were protesting a new video game (are they still called that, even?) called Bully. i don't know much about the game--i don't think it's even been released yet--so i have no business saying that it's offensive. it does, though, seem to include some graphic portrayals of school violence.

i work in a sideline of the gaming industry--dayjobwise, anyway--and the office was abuzz with disparaging remarks about the protesters. all day long i heard people say,

"i mean, there's a market. the games are rated. they're not for kids!"

"what, kids need a game to teach them how to throw a playground punch? there were bullies before there were computers!"

" . . . so now your kid is going to go on a violence spree* and it's [game producer's] fault? where were you? where were the parents?"

i dunno; maybe raising their voices against something they saw as harmful to their kids.

i can say this: in the office, it appears i am alone in thinking that something being legal and profitable doesn't categorically excuse any questionable morality involved. i'll admit that whatever is actually involved this bully thing doesn't push quite the same button with me that the beating up of prostitutes does in one of the company's other games, but i still think: who gets up in the morning and thinks that it's a great idea to make up games about beating up anyone? prostitutes or school children or anyone? free country and all, but sometimes it means you're just free to make money by kind of being an asshole. corny as it sounds, i have a lot more respect for the people who made the effort to protest, in this situation, than i have patience for the people who condemn them.

a friend made a good point about the irony involved in protesting violence in a video game when there's an ill-conceived, largely unprotested war going on. but listening all day to people talk about what dumbasses those protesters were made me want shake up all the cans of free soda in the fridge and laugh when they exploded on the expensive casualwear of the assholes who think that in this particular setting, the protesters are the ones who deserve the most derision.

*i'm not sure exactly what a "violence spree" is, but the man was very indignant about it.


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