#290 – Dick Bernard: Vicarious Violence a Threat, Chapter 2

December 3, I passed along a commentary of mine printed in the December 2 2010 Minneapolis Star Tribune. I was responding to an earlier column by Washington Post columnist George Will about regulation of video games. The blog post including the commentaries is here.
As of 5 a.m. December 4, there have been 14 comments posted at the Star Tribune in response to my commentary. They deserve to be read. Two of those 14 are from me, and very brief. The other 12 speak for themselves, mostly (but not all) challenging my reasoning, or worse. A couple of folks support me. It would appear that the on-line vote, leaving out my comments, is 10-2 against me.
Not visible are the 19 comments I have received via e-mails, in person, and even via a phone call. Eighteen support my reasoning in the column; one is ambivalent [update: now 24 Dec 7, 2010].
So it goes.
When it comes to violence we are, and probably always have been, a nonchalant society. If we aren’t in the bullseye ourselves, we don’t seem to care much about the daily exercise of violence around us. We have a history….
Responding to one on-line comment, when I was a little kid, a friend and I spent hours playing Lone Ranger and Tonto. Probably because the game was the other kids idea, I was always Tonto, the Lone Rangers loyal Indian sidekick. We’d slap ourselves in the butt and run all over town taking on the bad guys.
It wasn’t until Thanksgiving Day, this year, that a friend pointed out that the word “Tonto” means, essentially, “dumb”, “stupid”, “silly”. Of all the words that could have been chosen for that loyal Indian I dutifully played most every day for a whole summer, a derogatory word was chosen….
This little conversation about violence leads me back to one of the few newspaper articles I have actually kept over the years. It is dated October 8, 2001, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, from the Washington Post, and it speaks abundantly clearly for itself, here War Opinion 2001001. Particularly note the last half of the article, and ask what those 506 American citizens, probably casually answering a series of questions, have ultimately wrought in our name: a never-ending war we will never win, virtual financial bankruptcy of our economy, and on and on.
This poll, and other similar polls, ‘blessed’ the political decision to go to war…and stay at war until today.
To this very day we are reaping the bitter fruits of publicly sanctioned violence.
Back to the topic which led to this column, video games, personally, I don’t have anything against video games per se. But the combination of George Will’s column, those guys in the Salt Lake City airport, and the scorecard for those little kids playing a video game on Thanksgiving day (“kills”, “deaths”) has had an impact.
We are aiming a loaded and increasingly unstable gun directly at ourselves.