Sometimes I question the intelligence of spokespeople on television. Ok, I question their intelligence a bit too often for my taste, but sometimes an idiot comes up who takes everything to the nth degree much like their certain predecessors. Of course, I am talking about the recent Glenn Beck rant about violent video games. Hooboy .
The thing is, everything he rants about is more or less without any base. He begins that we, as a culture, do not discuss the role of interactive media in our modern busy lives. Which is bullshit. We discuss this matter quite a lot, and about video games particularly.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Beck uses suicides of four teenagers as an example of bad influence of video games. We all have to ask; how does four people out of millions who play Call of Duty series a good example of anything the game series does? It is stupid to say that linking playing a game prior to suicide merits to anything. If Call of Duty would coin to suicides, we’d have truckloads of people committing suicides. But this doesn’t happen; the figures do not support Beck’s views. Of course, the matter concerns Beck greatly and he does not do any research to ease his concerns.
Actually, let’s ask this for a moment; how the hell were these teenagers playing Call of Duty? The game series is R-18 game. No minor should even be able to get their hands on the game, if we are completely accurate, unlike Beck. What where the parents of these teenagers doing? Did they know what their kids were doing on the computer? Were they on the same page with their kids about their hobbies and world views? Last Christmas I typed in my own concerns how parents are illiterate when it comes to digital media, i.e. the World Wide Web, social media, games etc. I am far more concerned how thousands if not millions of parents are allowing their teenage kids and younger ones to access and play games Call of Duty, which are about warfare.
Of course, Beck continues with Brevik’s statement that he was trained by Call of Duty to wield arms. Which is, in all honesty, complete and utter bullshit. A video game does not and cannot teach you how to shoot. Unlike it is portrayed, shooting is not point-and-shoot. You need to know how to hold a gun, how to take the recoil, how maintain a gun and so on. No games teaches these things. However, books do. There are multiple books that teach how to use a firearm and how to keep them in good condition. Beck’s also incorrect; everybody had the video game talk too, but thankfully there were people who realized that entertainment media is lesser concern than real goddam guns. Rather than talking about guns or video games, why doesn’t these people raise the issue of further weeding out the people who would become mass murderers through shootouts and who have the inclinations for suicide and other harmful ways?
An outside influence like a game, movies or book does not force a teenager to shoot himself, unless this teenager has some mental problems. Many parents do not want to admit that their child is mentally unstable or sick, and then allowing them to have an access to products that feed those negative sides is wrong. Does this mean these products should be removed? Hell no. Otherwise we would have no entertainment media and people like Glenn Beck would be taken out of air because he makes we want to punch a baby otter. The difference is that because I am mentally stable, I won’t act on that.
I’m not surprised that Beck and his people are surprised that games are a multimillion industry. As mentioned, most modern parents are digitally illiterate. Only now we are getting generations that have grown up with this digital era, and only now we can say that we have people who understand the possibilities of digital medium for both good and bad. I’d actually go as far as to say that we still don’t have the full capacity of Internet out there, and perhaps never will because it’ll change with each new generation and with each new technological step. But electronic games, those we understand. Beck’s generation does not, and sadly they don’t even want to. This is far too apparent when Beck explains how the Watch_Dogs teaches children how to hack somebody’s computer. Also, he complains that we don’t have heroes any more.
Let this sink in a little bit.
So, Watch_Dogs teaches children how to code? No, it does not. This is an outright lie from Beck’s part and shows that he does not understand anything how the game works. Hacking is not holding a cursor on a person to get all information. If you think you have a good grasp of hacking based on video games, movies and television, do visit HackThisSite.org and try your skills. It’s a bit more complicated than how Watch_Dogs portray it as. Or just watch this hour and nine minute long video to introduction to hacking. Modern hacking has gone more to social hacking anyway, and most of the information you would even need to use to steal e.g. someone’s Google mail account, is out there in the social media.
And no, iPad does not teach you how to hack. There’s nothing wrong with us, there’s something wrong with Beck for thinking that.
But the hero thing. We do have heroes. Super Mario is still a hero who does the right thing. Rayman is a hero from Ubisoft, from the company Beck seems to thing is a great evil. Pretty much all Super Robot main characters from Super Robot Wars are heroes in the sense of the word. Ace Combat’s pilots are heroes in their own world. Code of Princess has classical hero tropes to the brim. Shenmue’s Ryo is a hero on his own rights. Panzer Dragoon series’ main character are all heroes. Actually, one could argue that many of the Call of Duty player characters are heroes, who fight against terrorist and for truth, justice and the apple pie. When you concentrate on the things that you find concerning, you may go blind to all the good things and Beck is as blind as a bat in a room that does not reflect echoes back.
Funny thing with Beck is also that games are a new stuff and we don’t understand it; that it rewires the players’ brains. Well, everything rewires your brains, like awful political agendas. Secondly, games are only relatively new, and have been here since the 1970’s. Thirdly, we know what games do. There has been studies, both short ones and decade long on how video games affect on people and if they even affect at all. There’s even a damn site devoted to collect every study about electronic gaming and other related phenomena. If you are concerned what games do to your brains, start reading on the researches.
Also, reading from a book or a tablet is the same thing. Only personal preference is between the two. Beck’s claim that you can’t find certain spot via an e-reader is because it lacks tactile feeling that you use with your memory. Of course you won’t find certain sentence in an e-reader version of a book you never read in an e-format, just like you would have hard time to find the same passage in a completely differently laid out edition of the same book. Also, Beck’s a goddamn idiot for dog-earing his books. There are things called bookmarks for a reason.
At least Beck doesn’t compare video games to drugs OH WAIT he compares them to cocaine. Now, I do enjoy the occasional coke on woman’s bosom, but no way in hell video games are comparative to cocaine. Modern media and connectivity isn’t even about addiction; it’s about comfort and ease of use. When we go back before we had the WWW, we still had phones at our homes. If we turn out cell phones and other connected devices off, we return back before the phone was invented. Beck says that making reunions with old friends was the way people used to sort things out. Before Internet people used phones, and before that they used letter mail. Should we all go back to writing letters then? No, but sending and receiving a letter here and there is always nice.
Much like how I take to things to eleven, Beck takes everything to minus eleven in his rant. He is ignorant on every front with this matter and he hasn’t even done his homework.
Do me a favour and next time you meet your parents, talk with them about the Internet and other media out there. Find out how much they truly understand the modern connectivity, and if you’re still under age, please do ask your parents to learn about these things properly for their own sake, and on the long run, for your own sake too. We don’t need more people like Beck.