Monday, 15 June 2009

In defence of fictional violence

I've been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto IV lately. For the uninitiated, here's the sort of stuff that you do in a typical one hour of playing GTA,

> Use the choicest and most vulgar language
> Break traffic rules
> Run over people on the road
> Rob people
> Shoot at people
> Kill people
> Run from the police
> Kill some police
> Drink
> Watch many characters do drugs

I'm sure some namby-pamby idiot is going to go running the moment he sees this post and insist that GTA be banned. It makes our youth bloodthirsty and violent. It's the reason that children are turning more and more towards the gun as an answer to all of life's problems.

And here I am, defending this violent, anti-establishment, anti-social game. And why not? For starters, the game carries an 18+ certification. Beyond that age, I understand that, by law, people are free to do what they like. To tell you the truth though, I played my first GTA (San Andreas) a couple of years before I turned 18. A friend of mine (L, to be precise) was playing his first GTA (Vice City) in his early teens I think... What does this tell you? Him and I, we've no history of physical violence. In the nine years I've known him (since before the time we became teenagers) I can recall not one incident of any violence, whether instigatory or retaliatory, on his part or mine. That can mean one of two things, either I'm lying (which makes this post pointless, so you've got to trust me on this), or that playing GTA has not altered our mental state in any way.

The question then arises, why aren't we out on the streets smoking, drinking, doing drugs, getting into fights, eve teasing etc. like the rest of my (metaphorical) brethren? Why am I not going to college with guns to shoot people I don't like? Why doesn't the ever-patient L never get impatient and beat someone to a pulp? We're no saints. I'm not going to say that the thought of punching someone's teeth off never crossed our minds. But there was this other thing. It's called a conscience. You would think that anyone with a decent upbringing would have his/her conscience bite him in the backside long before he/she killed someone.

That's it isn't it. Upbringing. There's your revelation. It's not GTA (or a hundred games of the sort (we still <3 you Duke Nukem) ) that make people violent. It's a bad upbringing. And all that these parents are doing, is shirking their responsibility and blaming a bunch of hard working and talented game designers for their mistakes.

So where does it begin? It begins when these modern day parents mollycoddle their precious (and pathetic) children and make them utter wimps. When you're a wimp, it's suddenly very cool to get into a physical fight, isn't it? Then, while you're mollycoddling these children, you don't pay any real attention to them. So these kids, who have learnt no values (but have learnt that they must only drink purified water for their safety) turn to games to pass their time. And that's where they pick up these violent themes.

Other targets for irresponsible parents include Tom and Jerry (too violent for our precious children), Speedy Gonzalez (makes our little weepy children racist), which are, hold your breath, CARTOONS!

Here's an excellent suggestion for these foolish parents, if you don't want your children to become violent, STOP FREAKING HAVING CHILDREN IN THE FIRST PLACE. It's parents like you that are making this world a more miserable place.

PS: Notice how arguments as compelling as the one above can be made for each of the targets that such parents have - cartoons, action movies, vulgar movies, violent movies, etc.


Anonymous said...

I love playing GTA games. The number of police vehicles I have Molotov-ed in the first GTA game is beyond count.(And I have never so much as jumped a signal in real life).
But thinking from another angle, there is no need for such a game. A racing game or one that involves blowing up aliens can be just as much fun.Why corrupt the weak uncorrupted?
Besides, one feels stressed after a long time of GTA, the game doesn't make you happy to win.

greySith said...

All games can corrupt the weak. Racing games instigate you to race on the streets.
Blowing up aliens is only a proxy for blowing up something living, therefore still instigate violence.
Real time strategy games support war culture.
And the list goes on...

And I've never felt exhausted after a session of GTA. I suppose it acts differently on each.

Additionally, I forgot to mention that I played Duke Nukem 3D for the first time before I was even in my teens :P

greySith said...

More importantly though, the post is not making a case for GTA, it's trying to make a case against the culture of irresponsible parents.

Anuradha said...

My brother plays GTA all the day! Still, he never gets into a fight with me, although that's not for lack of trying :P

Harshvardhan Pande said...

i second ur opinion wholeheartedly, this kind of insane censorship which is being promoted is as u suggest a diversion tactic from the real underlying issue of violence in youth! half the rapes n murders in most countries r done by ppl who have never hrd of GTA or Heavy Metal music [which is also targeted by some lame asses]!

at the same time violence is increasing in our world but games n other entertainment fora r not the reasons, it is upbringing!