-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Thu, 14 Sep 2000 12:54:53 -0700


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gundam@1u.aeug.org [mailto:owner-gundam@1u.aeug.org]On
> Behalf Of Brett Jensen
> Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 10:35
> To: gundam@aeug.org
> Subject: Re: [gundam] (Slightly-0T)Government crackdown on violent
> entertainment
>
> The worst thing is that both sides are evil! I was listening to some NPR
program the
> other day which had Dick Cheney's wife on it, and she was spewing the same
kind of
> crap. I haven't been so mad in years. I realize when these dopes say anything
you
> can't tell if they are being sincere or just saying what the vast mindless sea
of
> morons wants to hear, but it's still scary as hell.

This is the problem with American electoral system, which gives citizens the
vote but not the veto. Imagine how different things would be if, in addition to
the privilege of voting FOR one of the candidates, we also had the alternative
privilege of voting AGAINST any or all of them.

As it is, our vote is usually cast for the lesser of two evils, or expended
uselessly as the only protest we can make.

> Violence is a basic human trait. we all have dark sides. If the self righteous
fools
> take away the virtual Sex and violence what you will have is a bunch of
Violent,
> horny, and realy bored people wandering the streets looking for excitement.
Now,
> what would that do for the crime rate?

Sorry, I don't agree. Conflict and resolution are at the heart of drama, but
violence need not be part of the conflict and violence as entertainment is
decadence in its purest form. (Sex has always been a form of entertainment,
since 80% of all sex is fantasy, shared or otherwise.)

This issue, by the way, is no longer simply violent entertainment, but violence
(and sex and the consumption of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine and a
generally disrespectful Attitude) targetted to minors. R and NC-17 movies are
magnets to those who are excluded, as are all things forbidden, and producers,
advertisers, and distributors are shaemlessly exploiting this. If they were
treated like other child molesters, this might stop, but it's too late for
that -- the Industry can't sustain itself without massive infusion of juvenile
capital.

Anime is getting caught in the middle, because of the American fixation that
"cartoons are for kids" and the notion that all animations are cartoons. Ditto
comic books and manga.

When I was growing up in the 50s, there was no such thing as Prime Time.
Daytime television was equally divided between soap operas for Mom and
action/adventure shows and cartoons for the kids -- all adults except housewives
were supposed to be out working for a living. Adult TV began with the evening
news, veered into family fare like I Love Lucy for the first hour or so, and
only got into adult fare like Dr Kildare, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Perry Mason and the
like at what was considered bedtime for most kids. If you don't think the shows
I just listed are adult, I suggest you go back and look at some of the issues
raised in them: racism, adultery, abortion, teen pregnancy, drug addiction,
alcoholism, child abuse -- all hot-button issues of the day.

And the kid shows? They invariably featured a hero who was so pure that, if he
or she carried a gun at all, they were pledge never to use it is a lethal
manner. The preferred use of a gun was to shoot a gun out of the villain's
hand. Fisticuffs abounded, but no bones were broken and no blood was shed,
although rooms were frequently trashed in the course of a battle. Only a
lowlife ever pulled a knife and you could usually spot the villains quickly
because only they smoked or drank or were quarrelsome and mean. (The sidekick
might be ill-tempered, but he or she was never mean-spirited and always
apologized if anyone was truly offended.) The worse thing that could happen to
the hero was that he or she was accused of causing someone else's death, even if
it was merely an accident.

Today's gun-toting, blade-studded, cigar-chomping, wisecracking, homicidal
heroes would qualify as villains by any of the old standards. And they're no
more "realistic" than their Galahadesque precursors; they're merely the other
end of a spectrum of possible behaviors.

There's a place for both ends of the spectrum and every graduation in between,
but there's no "kid safe" zone. You can't escape the constant bombardment of
mixed messages, because you can't walk down the streets without seeing
billboards or surf the channels without seeing ads for all of the stuff the
advertisers can promote without let or hindrance.

Our entire culture has been abusing its children for two generations now and
we're abusing a third generation worse than ever before.

If you treat kids as "target audiences" and exploit them from the moment they
can see, they'll become "adult" in their desires long before they're mature
enough to handle those desires. They will grow up thinking that they're
entitled to sex and violence, virtual or otherwise, and feel justified in
finding or making their own if their "entertainment" is taken away, because
they're "bored" if they aren't jagged up with adrenaline, caffeine, sugar or
whatever the flavor of the month they think they're missing.

No one is entitled to anything. Every "right" that we enjoy is earned, usually
by sacrifice. The people who are most demanding of their rights are the ones
who've done the least to earn them. Ditto respect.

I don't want censorship and I agree that self-righteousness and foolishness go
hand in glove, but it's high time we declared our children off-limits to
predators of whatever stripe and that, to me, includes those who are only after
their money but end up stealing their childhood as well.

-Z-

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