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NY Post Says GTA Worse Than Molesting

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the double-sigh dept.

Censorship 251

wiredbeat2000 writes "The New York Post has an inflammatory article which argues that Take Two's Grand Theft Auto is worse than child molestation and more harmful than second hand smoke. The story, which appears in the business section, calls for an outright ban of video games it claims are no better than snuff films, and concludes: 'Stay away from this [Take Two] stock - far, far away - and you'll be doing both your wallet and your fellow man a favor'." Lucky the author hasn't checked out Manhunt yet, huh?

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251 comments

Yet another member of the "padded earth society" (4, Insightful)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836236)

Can people have atleast ONE avenue of escapism without having to be protected from it? I think that guy missed the point of videogames in general.

Re:Yet another member of the "padded earth society (1, Funny)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836336)

Don't waste your time with videogames. I've seen handguns go for $500 and less. The youth is MUCH more concerned about dancing pixels than the reality outside. Cut your hair, buy a handgun, and welcome to the real world!

Handguns? (2, Funny)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836392)

Why should I go out and get a handgun when I own two rifles? ...and for the record, Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than those two rifles have.

.

Re:Handguns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836795)

Try walking down the street with a rifle. It lacks a certain subtlety.

Re:Handguns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837595)

However people are more polite

This is how the real world views you. (0, Flamebait)

peeping_Thomist (66678) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836242)

If you geeks want to be taken seriously when you (for example) complain about electronic voting, or argue for the benefits of free software, you'll have to get rid of the violent video games.

The adult world will not take you seriously until you do.

Re:This is how the real world views you. (1)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836276)

We'll toss our violent video games right after "the adult world" tosses it's violent movies. And sensationalistic journalism exploitative of ACTUAL violence and tragedy. And tabloid TV. And Springer-esque talk shows.

You get the idea.

Re:This is how the real world views you. (0, Troll)

peeping_Thomist (66678) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836376)

We'll toss our violent video games right after "the adult world" tosses it's violent movies. And sensationalistic journalism exploitative of ACTUAL violence and tragedy. And tabloid TV. And Springer-esque talk shows.

I hope keeping those video games makes up for continuing to be cut out of the loop in places where actual power is exercised. Sure, the adult world won't listen to you when you explain why drm is evil, but at least you geeks still have your precious video games! Rock on!

Right (3, Insightful)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836325)

The "adult world" has never heard of databases, or word processing, or the Internet, they judge "us" (as if we were a single entity) based on one company's artistic expression. Sorry, but the connection you're making has very little base in reality. How is it that video games shouldn't be afforded the same free speech protections as literature? If books are supposedly so much more immersive and stimulating to the imagination, surely books about murder would have more impact than a stupid game, right?

Re:Right (1)

peeping_Thomist (66678) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836456)

Sorry, but the connection you're making has very little base in reality.

Um, the editorial linked to in this post is real. It's part of the "real world". As I said above, in a comment marked as flamebait, this is how the real world sees you.

Re:Right (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836571)

Um, the post you're replying to is real. It's part of the "real world". Somehow I suspect that the New York Post has a greater image problem than Take Two Interactive...

Re:Right (1)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836895)

I never said the article wasn't real, I said that I doubt people judge open source software, electronic voting, or any other technologies based on the morals of one video game designer. That's just silly.

Keep trying. (1)

antizeus (47491) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836524)

I admire the spirit of your troll, but you need to develop it with some arguments instead of mere assertions. The arguments will, of course, by fallacious, but if you make them long enough, then many people won't be able to spot the errors.

Re:This is how the real world views you. (2, Funny)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836530)

If you geeks want to be taken seriously when you [...]

Why this sudden obsession with being taken seriously? It's all fun and games for us.

Re:This is how the real world views you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836812)

Oh please, tell me that was sarcasm because I have a hard time coming to terms with the possiblity that you are just that stupid. And screw the adult world, as Tom Waits said: "I don't want to grow up"

Masturbation in public (4, Funny)

Uma Thurman (623807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836257)

Whew! Thank goodness that's still OK.

Re:Masturbation in public (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836503)

funny thing is that a friend of mine was walking in the 'shop district' of town late one night and noticed a homeless man standing in front of the victoria's secret shop, rocking back and forth slightly. at first my friend figured this guy was really, really drunk and having trouble standing up. then he realized that this guy was actually wacking off while looking at the giant-sized posters of supermodels in lingerie. i guess i never really gave much thought to where and when homeless men masturbate. now i know. do i get a +5 informative for this post?

Re: Mod Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836951)

Parent deserves +5 Funny just for asking if that post could have +5 Informative.

Dammit, you beat me to submitting this, you speedy (1)

ReverendBobtheJunkie (716771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836259)

I already responded to the author... I can't wait to see if I get a reponse... By the way, nice headline. I totally forgot in my response to rag him for that ridiculous comparison between GTA and WackoJacko.

IANAL (1)

pjh3000 (583652) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836262)

IANAL, but doesn't this just beg Rockstar to sue? I mean they even knock their shares.

If you don't like the game, don't play it. But there's far worse behaviour in the Bible than in GTA. To each their own.

It's an opinion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836761)

That guy who plays Emil Skoda on Law & Order would not be impressed with you understanding of not being a lawyer.

Rockstar can have a press release, or they can simply put him in the next game, slightly altering his name, and giving him Bill Paxton's groveling speech from True Lies just before you have to kill him.

Re:IANAL (1)

musikit (716987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836828)

umm i don't know details cause i only saw the "adapted to movie version" but when some high profile priest was described in bad ways by Larry Flint they put it under the 1st admendment. rightfully so. this man has his right to publicly state his opinion so i don't believe rockstar can sue. but another example comes to mind about billy joel's (maybe idol i forget) best selling album was one that was put on the "banned" list of albums.

Re:IANAL (2, Informative)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837609)

Free speech doesn't protect libel. Someone recently told me about an old article where a Doctor Shaklee (someone who had earned a PhD or MD or equivalent, I'm not sure what) was described in the NY Times as, "Mr. Shaklee, who calls himself a doctor". This sort of speech is not protected, because it is untrue and defamatory. I would speculate that Rockstar might actually have a case here.

BTW, it was Billy Joel, and the song banned was "Only the Good Die Young". By his own admission (which I was personally present for), it was a mediocre song which suddenly hit the big time when it was banned. The moral is: it is far better to ignore or intelligently ridicule something you want people to avoid than to censor it, especially in American culture.

Re:IANAL (1)

rifter (147452) | more than 10 years ago | (#7838074)

umm i don't know details cause i only saw the "adapted to movie version" but when some high profile priest was described in bad ways by Larry Flint they put it under the 1st admendment. rightfully so. this man has his right to publicly state his opinion so i don't believe rockstar can sue. but another example comes to mind about billy joel's (maybe idol i forget) best selling album was one that was put on the "banned" list of albums.

It was Jerry Falwell. Jerry Falwell had campaigned against Hustler and similar magazines, in part by bullying various institutions, businesses, etc, with threats of lawsuits. IN retaliation, Larry Flint wrote a satirical story in Hustler opining that Falwell had lost his virginity by screwing his own mother in an outhouse. Falwell sued and lost because of the first amendment protections on parody. Basically because it was such an absolutely ridiculous story that only a complete idiot would take as true instead of recognizing as a parody, it was protected speech.

Re:IANAL (1)

jrock74 (725846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7838094)

Hmm yea id get a lawyer myself but what good will that do we have all seen the recent articles on GTA and how almost everyone is berating Take Two all it would do is cause even more negative publicity buy heh thats just my $.02

Worse than child molestation? (1)

dougman (908) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836269)

But..but...

Why didn't Sega catch all this heat years ago over Michael Jackson's Moonwalker game?

Re:Worse than child molestation? (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836318)

LOL, the name "Moonwalker" sure takes on new meaning in light of recent events!

Sometimes I wonder if these "Ban that game" articles are planted by friends of the game companies--what better way to increase sales than to call for censorship?

Re:Worse than child molestation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836652)

RTFA. Actual child molestation isn't that bad when compared to pretend killing. Duh.

Hmm, I wonder if he can give another opinion (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836292)

Now, all we need is for this guy to say SCO is an terrible buy and to stay away from it for moral reasons, we'd be all set. The people with incredible ethics should be pursuaded to help those who just have targeted ethics or common enemies.

Now, where is that last hidden package?...

IMarv

ookay (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836308)

calls for an outright ban of video games it claims are no better than snuff films,

So now we're going to take orders from the NY Times? "Oh, dear Times.. do tell us what video games YOU claim we need to ban?".

Also, um... snuff films are more or less considered an urban legend. Aside from (possibly) the Faces of Death series, there are no substantially proven legitimate snuff films.

I would be more concerned if my child was watching the WWF/WWE, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Sex in the City, Judging Amy, Real World, Road Rules, most award shows or any of the mind numbing cartoons on the disney channel.

Re:ookay (1)

Stigmata669 (517894) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836422)

It's the NY Post, a rag compared to the Times.

Re:ookay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836864)

The post is a rag compared to a dish rag.

It's the answer to the question what if The National Enquirer's target demographic was urbanite hippies instead of trailer living soap opera junkies.

Re:ookay (2, Funny)

th3space (531154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837052)

I heard that rags everywhere (dish, oily, et all) were uniting to be disassociated from the cesspool that is the Post.

horse..soundly..beaten..while..dead.

Re:ookay (2, Interesting)

ronfar (52216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837492)

A relevant quote from an article about Rupert Murdoch:

In legend Murdoch has an infallible popular touch, displayed in escalating circulations. But the legend misleads somewhat: Murdoch is not commercially invincible in areas where governments can't help. The plinth of his British empire, the rigorously prurient News of the World, was selling more than six million copies when he bought it: since, half its sales have vanished, while other papers have gained. The New York Post consistently loses money, and most companies would close it. -- "I Am Thy Father's Ghost": A Journey into Rupert Murdoch's Soul [counterpunch.org]

editorial reply (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836321)

if you dont like the article, one can always send a carefully worded editorial saying that thousands (millions?) of people play GTA and other violent games without going berzerk or feeling mentally tortured. Remember to point out that M rating on such games and what that M means. Provide comparison of M with the E and T and other ratings, and give examples of popular games carrying those ratings.

if you do a decent job, they (the nypost) may publish your reply along with other responses. I recommend keeping a reply short and to the point, and, more than anything else, do _not_ ramble.

Re:editorial reply (4, Insightful)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836566)

Exactly. I got stuff posted in a chat with the Washington Post editor after the sniper suspects were caught, chastising them all for their video game prognostications.

I also got contacted by the Philadelphia Weekly after pointing out factual errors in their reporting of the "Warriors of Freedom" case.

Bottom line...we as gamers can't just sit around using all our pertinent arguments to flame each other here. People besides US need to realize how stupid these guys are being.

Write a concise article disagreeing with the author's take on selling Take Two for moral upright reasons, and then call him out for being against video games for some reason, but not against film, tobacco, the people who dump toxins into our water supply, etc.

No cursing, no flaming, no ranting.

Everybody get involved. Someone's gotta feel the backlash.

Re:editorial reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836753)

my recommendation: write about the ratings and how major chains like walmart and bestbuy require age checks to buy certain games, and how other chains like toys r us refuse to sell M rated games. draw parallels with the MPAA's Movie Ratings G, PG, PG13, and R. include a reference (by fully-qualified address) that has a fact-sheet about the rating system.

you are correct: debating on slashdot wont get anything accomplished. outreach will.

interestingly, i've seen flames in my local paper over some things. perhaps something like this could be useful: "under the logic presented by your paper, violent games breed violence in the physical world, and should thus be banned. should the NY Post be banned from publication because some articles in the paper covers a violent incident? like the one from the [date] edition, [page], [headline]?" (using a recent article to reference, no older than a week)

Re:editorial reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836833)

MOD THAT UP!!!

priests (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836347)

Grand Theft Auto is worse than child molestation

Twenty bucks says this opinionist is a moonlighting catholic priest.

Is anyone worried... (4, Insightful)

Palshife (60519) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836355)

Is anyone else worried that this article elevates the acceptability of having sex with a child just so they can express their distaste towards a video game?

Bored with your PS2? Try kiddie fiddling! (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836412)

To anyone who has played the frankly pretty harmless GTA games this reads far more like "Child molesting; its far more socially cool than that nerdy computer games stuff". This is one seriously wacked out writer.

Re:Is anyone worried... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836806)

"Is anyone else worried that this article elevates the acceptability of having sex with a child just so they can express their distaste towards a video game?"

The author's email address is 'cbyron@nypost.com', tell him what you think. I am.

It is sort of extra dispicable... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837203)

but it's nothing new.

That's what hyperbole is all about. Exagerating to make your point, which is likely non-existant.

And now a story.

Back in the day, before I was old, one of the "traditions" among my circle of friends was to play Capture the Flag, at midnight on a certain friends birthday. (These games always ended with civil servants and tears which is what makes them such great memories.) On the second annual event of this birthday was the best, and not just because it's the only game we were able to play to completion. Tony, the person who's birthday this was, as the birthday boy, got to pick the teams. So he stacked them. All the fastest people on his, and I was on the inteded loser team. Kevin, was very fast, but something of a non-conformist, and occasionally had strong expectation which he demanded people live up to. I am VERY slow. Always was, always will be. I'll skip over the twin brothers showing up, the cop coming, and everything about Dave (including him shining his maglight on the cop). Long storie shorter, Kevin got caught. We was careless, we were clever. As the slowest I was the prison warden, as it were.

Tony, who was also very fast, and one of the brothers, who had to be faster than me, would come up to the border of our flagged fifedom, and watch. So I'd wave at them, talk with Kevin about them and why they're so certain they can't out manuver me. They go away, and come back. This persisted for about an hour. This made Kevin, who liked being fast, mad. He was just standing around! And the game couldn't advance until something was done to free him anyway. So he hatched a clever plan. In addition to anything else I've said, he's cunning, and true to his word. Even so, when he told me, if I let him go, he'd bring his teams flag back, I doubted, and just assumed that the stalemate such as it was, would be broken.

Not five minutes later he did return flag in hand. At which point Tony flipped out and said many funny things that were in-jokes for sometime. But a week later, when talking over the matter, more at me than with me, he said of Kevin, "If he'd do that in a game, imagine what he'd do to his country." He'd accurately estimated my nationalistic tendancies, I must confess, but to this day one of the most absurd things I've ever heard anywhere.

Kevin took a paper plate (we always ment to get better flags) two hundred feet and formaly ended a game that had degenerated into an inexplicable stalemate.

I also learned my presence is so repulsive people will betray their friends to escape it. At the time I didn't know it, but this would be a reoccuring theme in my life and explains why I'm reading slashdot.

In conclusion. Yes, lying is bad. Believing them is stupid, and maybe worse than lying when the lies are obvious. But the problem is what to do when people are on average too stupid to detect even the obvious lies, and worse yet perpetuate them and lie unknowingly. The sophists are winning, at look at the result.

huh. (0)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836424)

'Stay away from this [Take Two] stock - far, far away - and you'll be doing both your wallet and your fellow man a favor'.

so am i to believe that there are people turning to the new york post for stock advice now? the future's pretty interesting.

Re:huh. (4, Insightful)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836552)

so am i to believe that there are people turning to the new york post for stock advice now?

My sentiments exactly. I had this whole nice long well thought out e-mail written out to send to this guy, and then I realized: It's the Post. No one reads the fucking Post.

My favorite part of this article is the fact that this guy is their business columnist. A business columnist giving out stock advice based on the fact that he disagrees with the moral content of the product a company makes. Yeah, OK.

There's one thing you can always say about me... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836449)

... I fuckin' love fuckin' playin' GTA, and I fuckin' love fuckin' killin' babies.

Yee--Haw! Gotta go start me a house-fire!!

Re:There's one thing you can always say about me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837063)

"... I fuckin' love fuckin' playin' GTA, and I fuckin' love fuckin' killin' babies.

Yee--Haw! Gotta go start me a house-fire!!"

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Use ad-blocking software. (5, Insightful)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836491)

View this article if you must, but it's become all too common for everyone to write articles intended to piss off a great subset of people online in order to drive hits to their site. Please do not reward this silliness--remember to use proxomitron, junkbuster, whatever your favorite tool is for depriving these folks of the fruit of their agitations.

I wonder if he's played it. (5, Insightful)

Descartes (124922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836495)

Does anyone else get the feeling that the authors of all of these anti-GTA articles haven't actually played the game?

Ok, it is violent and often that violence is directed towards innocent people, but, violence towards innocent people is not the main point of the game. I mean, you can kill police or civilians but there are consequences. And the whole thing about the Haitians has nothing to do with innocent people from Haiti. You're in the middle of a gang war between the Cuban and the Haitians.

I guess the real problem I have is that people seem to thing that by censoring the game that we'll get rid of violence between racial groups, etc. It's like saying movies that depict racially motivated violence should be censored. Our country will be in a sad state if that ever happens.

I think part of the point of showing these kind of things is that we remember that they do happen. If we pretend there is no racism it won't go away, just get worse.

I know, I'm preaching to the choir.

Re:I wonder if he's played it. (1)

scrytch (9198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836979)

> Does anyone else get the feeling that the authors of all of these anti-GTA articles haven't actually played the game?

Are you kidding? I suspect the article was paid for by Take Two to raise buzz about the game. Nothing sells like controversy.

There's two publications that still seem to get a lot of press that even a media eclecticist (is that a word?) like myself can dismiss out of hand: The Register, and the New York Post. Seriously, they're rags.

Re: The are like 70's feminists... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837030)

This is much like the outspoken anti-porn feminists of the 1970's, who were very angry, and agressively anti-porn, all without ever having seen one. They based their opinions on the cliched rhetoric of the time, which said that porn was degrading to women, violent, etc etc.

Some of these women changed their tune after actually watching some porn and seeing with their own eyes how truly banal and even laughable these movies were(are). For the most part, it's just sex with lousy acting.

Only when the next big scapegoat emerges will these anti-video game buffoons shut up (and move on to complaining about something else). Frankly, I don't understand how someone can say GTA is harmful, when frankly I find movies like "Reservoir Dogs" way more desturbing to watch.

read, laugh, move on (4, Interesting)

Blob Pet (86206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836502)

This isn't news. It's a piece of opinion from some guy at the NY Post. People read the Post to get riled up and nothing more.

The letter I wrote him (5, Insightful)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836507)

Dear sir,


You are a disgusting human being. "People, this is insane. This is 10,000 times worse than the worst
thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy" To paraphrase, you seem to be saying
that you would prefer 10,000 people to molest children rather than one adult play a video game.
That's what you mean by "10,000 time worse," isn't it? Or are you saying that, if the team that
developed Grand Theft Auto would have, rather than making its video games, gone out and molested
10,000 children, that the world would be a better place?

You say that Grand Theft Auto should be banned, "just like we ban child pornography and entertainment
spectacles such as cock fighting and dwarf throwing." Do you see the difference between a video game
and the three items listed above? If not, I'll tell you: one of the four things does not actually
affect a living being. Just like books and newspaper articles glorifying child molestation. Since
living people aren't hurt, it's a protected form of free speech. It may not be mankind's most
glorious bit of free speech, but I fear that I have to disagree with you about how it compares to
actual crimes.

Brian J. Geiger

P.S. I fear I did not bother to read the rest of your article, as the basic premise seemed so flawed
as to make it not entirely worth my while to read the rest. I'm sure there were some very good points
about business hiding there within the rhetoric. Good luck with that.

Re:The letter I wrote him (2, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836615)

Thats a good letter, but I fear you may have made a mistake. Emails to this moron will just boost his ego at having made an article that caused discussion. Emails to his editor about how you feel about being informed that you could improve your impact on society by abusing children rather than playing a computer game, along with pointing out how many other readers might feel similiarly insulted given the very, very large sales figures this series has recorded, might get more done.

Re:The letter I wrote him (1)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836671)

It could be. The hope is that he was going for using the shock value of the article to make some sort of point about video games, to which I am hopefully letting him know that he failed. The worry with sending a letter to the editor is that the editor probably knew what sort of response such an article would get and green-lighted it anyways in hopes of more traffic/higher sales. That's why I chose that route. Hopefully others wrote the editor.

=Brian

Skip the paper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837517)

Look at all the ads near his article. Write to those advertisers about how they appear next to an article that as part of it's hyperbole diminishes the horror that is child molestation. Tell them that you find implication unecessarily cruel to the people who least deserve it, and that it would be laughably specious were that child molestation simply isn't funny. Convey to the advertisers how you understand that their association was as much chance as it was an attempt to reach a certain demographic. But, that you have to wonder if there aren't other avenues they might advertise in that won't take chances with their corporate image by inexplicably associating them with child molestation. That while they're not peronally responsable for the content, one must wonder if everytime a customer, such as yourself, is confronted with their goods, services, or even promotions, if they'd relish reminding that person of the article, the viceral anger, and queasy stomach that comes with it. Their intention or not, that's what their money bought them. As a parting shot you might also offer that the demographic they reach will be getting smaller, because you'll be getting yours from better places.

Write one letter, change the opening and perhaps closing paragraphs for each advertiser and personally sign each one. That could make a substantial impression.

Re:The letter I wrote him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836626)

YHBT.
HAND.

Re:The letter I wrote him (5, Insightful)

xalres (668363) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837247)

My letter
The Grand Theft Auto series was meant for people with enough maturity and common sense to realize it's just a game and not reality, just as movies like The Godfather and Scarface are for those mature enough to see them as works of fiction. Obviously you can't be counted among them.


I fail to see how you can rationalize statements like "This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy". I know this was said to shock a reaction out of people (at least I hope it was) but it was still a poor judgement call, especially for someone who writes for a news outlet such as the Post. There are scant few things in this world worse or more deserving of the harshest punishment available than child molestation and publishing computer games doesn't even come close.

Perhaps the biggest issue I have with your editorial is that you demonize a company for taking the same creative liberties that movie creators have taken for decades. I know you have a moral issue with the games, that's your prerogative, but your point was lost on me when you started making radically untrue blanket statements and comparisons (see above). If you're not mature enough to handle such content, at least have the respect to let those of us who are enjoy our entertainment without being compared to pedophiles.

Thank you.

I can't, but... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836517)

Since the 'letters to the editor' form requires you to be in the US, I can't send a message myself. But I'm wondering if we have enough /. people here who are in a position to do so to get this moron called Christopher Byron fired?

I'd suggest that suggesting that "This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy" about a perfectly legitimate product owned and enjoyed by several million of their readers is tantamount to advocacy of child molestation, surely? At the very least its definitely saying that people who own it should be regarded as worse than paedophiles.

As much as I like GTA... (5, Insightful)

UV_Haze (561159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836656)

As much as I like GTA the author of this article does make some very pertinent points.

Here in Canada there was a court case finding that kiddie porn art (i.e. no kids were harmed, these were drawings and paintings) were found to be illegal and so the same laws applied to these paintings.

Taking this one step further like the author suggests, I can envision some wacky japanese game where you get to play a sexual predator. The goal of the game is to prey on women and neighbourhood children. Getting extra points for doing things like luring kids with candy or the promise of toys, and performing date rapes on unsuspecting college girls.

I'm pretty sure a game like the one I described above would not be allowed to be sold in Canada. The majority of society would disapprove of this type of video game. I, myself find it very disturbing.

I guess the bigger question is why, as a society, do we allow the simulation of illegal/immoral actions video games and not others.? Where is the line (so to speak) and why do we draw it where it is? What is the nature of the video gaming that makes some of these things appropriate? Is escapism an appropriate defence for sim murder but not for sim molestation? And if so, why not?

This will become even more important with the next generation of systems that will allow for more realistic everything, including AI.

So I've played philosopher for today. Maybe not very well. But tehre are a lot of good questions out there about this sort of stuff. GTA is only getting the pain right now because it's the game that is currently pushing the envelope...

Re:As much as I like GTA... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837181)

> Here in Canada there was a court case finding that kiddie porn art (i.e. no kids were harmed, these were drawings and paintings) were found to be illegal and so the same laws applied to these paintings.

That's because the Canadian legal system is messed up. The point of child pornography laws, originally, was stated to prevent child from being sexual abused--over time, this point has been expanded to things which might hypothetically lead a child into becoming coerced or influenced into sexual abuse. Given that no child is involved in said drawings or paintings (or in other cases writings, 3d recreations, etc), it's rather ludicrous to state that the law as originally stated is being enforced. Instead, it amounts to thought police stopping ideas that the government and its people aren't particularly happy about.

The American (and my understanding, Canadian) legal system is meant to criminally punish those people who infringe the freedom of others. Trying to claim a writing or drawing of an act is the same as the act itself totally demolishes the person who was victimized. The difference between the two is at least the difference of two lives.

The first amendment of the US (and comparable laws in Canada) protects the freedom of speech, no matter how distasteful one finds it. Only copyright gives the author of such a work any economic incentive to produce such works, and it could be claimed that such distasteful works do not promote the arts and sciences and could be except from copyright law.

A final note is that a lack of child pornography nor a supply of it are the cause of child abuse. Such a claim would require mankind to have started with enough people to be committing all sins so that the might be properly learned by their children. Given that, it should be clear that it is the fault of individuals who have made decisions to do acts which harm others. Distributing truthful or fictionaly information in proper context cannot do harm in itself. It is only through the decisions of individuals that it can be harmful or deadly.

Re: As much as I like GTA... (1)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837445)

I'm pretty sure a game like the one I described above would not be allowed to be sold in Canada.

And I'm pretty sure lots of Canadians who wanted to play it would just "pirate" it.

Re:As much as I like GTA... (1)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837607)

Okay, I'm stepping out on a limb here, but I think that they don't make sim-molestation games because the majority of the population finds it icky. I know there's anime that deals with it, but for the vast majority of people, child molestation and rape is a really nasty subject. Personally, even simulated molestation and rape would turn my stomach.

--trb

Smell the irony, people. (5, Interesting)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836666)

Isn't the New York Post a Newscorp product these days? Owned by Rupert Murdoch, and part of the same conglomerate that brought us:

Fear Factor
Temptation Island
Freddy Got Fingered
Aliens Vs. Predator (the game)
etc.?

Come to think of it, I wonder if this is in any way, shape or form connected with the fact that this company is also responsible (certainly in license at least) for Simpsons Hit 'n' Run, a game that steals so much from GTA that its a wonder that Take Two haven't sued?

My response... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836740)

My response...

I am a 28 year old adult male who happens to play video games. I'm not going to bother with an introductory, and I'm going to get right into it.

To quote the article, "People, this is insane. This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy"

Insane? You're calling playing a video game, something that isn't real and is meant for a mature audience 10,000 times worse than MOLESTING A YOUNG BOY *not* Insane?

Have your head checked. There almost isn't a crime worse than taking advantage of a minor in a sexual fashion. It's beneath human behaviour.

The author argues that there is a ratings system that is unenforcable and means nothing, and is irrelevant.

The ratings system in Video Games is virtually identical to movies. Movies are rating G, PG, AA, R and X/NC17. Games are rated as E(veryone), T(een), M(ature) and A(dult). There is a fifth category who's acronymn I am not aware of, but the category is for the very young, toddler aged, and educational. Adult is reserved for anything containing sexually explicit content, similar to NC17. Mature is the equivalent if AA. T equates to PG, and E is the gaming G.

If a parent buys a child who is under the age of majority, and the game is rated M for mature, how is that the gaming companies fault? The parent should be made aware of the ratings system. Every game box sold in Canada and the US has the rating printed in large black and white letters right on the front of the box, including what the ratings mean. It's as ludicrous as a person suing Take Two, Sony, Rockstar for 244.5 million dollars because their kid took a loaded gun from their house and shot at a highway, killing someone, then blaming Grand Theft Auto. The game is not responsible here. How did the child get the gun? Why was it loaded? Why wasn't it in a locked case out of the reach of children? Why weren't the kids taught by the parents that shooting at a vehicle is not a particularly good idea?

If video games had this much of an influence on the youth of today, I should be a homicidal maniac. I've played video games since the days of the Atari 2600, and have seen just about everything there is to see in a video game. I've dumped enough quarters into arcade games that I should be able to spit fireballs from my hands while screaming death phrases at the tops of my lungs, because that's what video games teach you to do.

Oh, but Vice City is "realistic," you say. Realistic huh? So if I look in one direction, see 3 cars driving down the street, then turn around 180 degrees, see 3 more cars, and then turn around again and those original 3 cars have disappeared (which is what happens in the game), that's real, is it?

I can take a car and drive at approximately 2 mph, hit a hydro pole and send it crashing to the ground, because that's real is it?

I can walk down the street and find a surface-to-air missile launcher lying in someones back yard? Great! Sign me up to live in that neighbourhood!

Oh, but Vice City "looks" realistic, you say. Why? Just because the characters portrayed in it are not cartoonish? I can tell that they are digital representations of people. They don't look like real people to me. For one thing, people have fingers. That actually separate. And bend. And can be used to pick things up.

Video games are NOT REAL. They are fictional. Imaginative. Fun to play.

Michael Jackson has been charged with child molestation. That is real. If proven, that is morally disgusting.

Shooting cars on highways is real. That is a real case currently in the US legal system.

The bottom line: It is because of drivel like this article that I have cancelled my subscription to your newspaper.

Good day.

Amusing to consider (5, Interesting)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836777)

That editorial was beyond awesome. My favorite part:

"This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy"

If my math works right, with sales exceeding 25,000,000 copies, he would prefer if there were 25 million fewer GTA players and 250 billion more child molestors.

Alternatively, he would find someone turning off their PS2 and molesting a neighborhood kid to be an improvement.

I think we can guess this guy's real agenda (hehe).

Re:Amusing to consider (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837229)

"If my math works right, with sales exceeding 25,000,000 copies, he would prefer if there were 25 million fewer GTA players and 250 billion more child molestors."

You know what I find funny? A couple of kids try to blamed their bad behaviour on a game they played, and the media ran with it. When I was in first grade, my school had a chocolate sale. They sent me home with some chocolate bars to sell. I ate one of them. When I realized that somebody would notice a bar was missing, I went to my mom and said "Luke Skywalker ate a candy bar." Why is their story so believable? Why's it so easy to accept the idea that they didn't know right and wrong, so they picked it up from a video game?

So, another guy goes and shoots at cars. They suspect GTA is the cause of it. Eh why? He shot at cars! This isn't a new idea! Don't remember potato guns? (It didn't start with those, either.) If you shoot a car in Vice City, you kill the driver. So those kids KNEW they were commiting murder. Where's the media coverage of this point of view?

I've been using 'irresponsible' and 'media' in the same sentence a lot lately. The game's popularity has already passed its peak, yet the media acts as though we're all going to have to wear vests in fear of game playing children. In some respects, this is a self fulfilling prophecy. If I took a shot at a moving car, I'd just blame GTA3 and get public opinion on my side. Easy enough.

Re:Amusing to consider (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837427)

It is Kent Brockmanesque. To quote Kent, "Ladies and Gentleman, I've been to Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq; and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together." -- Kamp Krusty [snpp.com]

Re:Amusing to consider (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#7838075)

OK, so this guy wants, instead of 1/10000 of the US population to be playing GTA, the entire US population to be child molestors. It's a FUCKING VIDEO GAME (well, there is fucking in GTA:VC). Can we get a photo of this guy, and check the plastic-to-real-skin ratio?

10,000 * worse than anything Michael Jackson did. (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836838)

"This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy"

Well, if the Catholic Church thinks it's ok...

" - or than any lie the feds think Martha Stewart ever told them, "

I don't feel like Martha is exactly the worst perpetrator of this sort of crime out there. She's just famous, publicly hated, and a woman. Burn her!

"or any line in any song that Bruce Springsteen ever sang that rankled a cop in the Meadowlands."

Yeah, but that was A-OK when Bruce did it. Cops are jackasses. Rile as much as you like.

According to this list, I can't really even tell that he hates GTA that badly.

It's like Public Enemy said about the NY Post... (1)

Chilltowner (647305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836903)

"forty cents in New York City
fifty cents elsewhere
It makes no goddamn sense at all"

headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7836980)

What would it take to convince other papers to use the headline:

NY Post Advocates Child Molestation Instead Of Video Games

I think Public Enemy said it all. (2, Insightful)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 10 years ago | (#7836994)

"Here's a letter to the NY Post. The worst piece of paper on the east coast. Matter of fact the whole states. 40 cents in NY City, 50 cents elsewhere, and makes no goddamn sense at all. America's oldest continuously published daily piece of bullshit."

Nuff said.

Video Games never started a war.... (2, Interesting)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837012)

But newspapers have, namely the Spanish American War, and namely the newspaper for which the NY Post is present day incarnation - William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. See more here [humboldt.edu].

Perhaps newspapers should also be banned?

Irate Michael Jackson Fan (2, Funny)

sammaffei (565627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837019)

Probably, just mad because he can't trade in his "Thiller", "Bad", and "Dangerous" CDs for the GTA double pack.

He might have a point (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837066)

While I wouldn't go as far as the article's author has, have you ever noticed the following [may be American culture specific]:

  • Although our society seems to punish murderers worse then rapists, games about pretending to murder others are considered okay, while a game about raping others is considered indecent. Why the discontinuity?

Re:He might have a point (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837977)

That's OK...if you break into a private computer system you will get treated like a murderer!

Hello Pot, this is the Kettle calling (4, Insightful)

cybermancer (99420) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837093)

Did anyone else get the big Victoria's Secret ad on the side of the article when they read it? You know the one with the model wearing next to nothing. The kind of thing that was classified as pornography not that long a go.

Interesting that they would be so concerned when individuals choose to expose themselves to a game, but they would force everyone's (well, the few people that actually read their pages) exposure to risque pictures of scantly clad models without warning. Glad to know someone else is busy trying to decide what is good for us.

I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have an article bashing Victoria's Secret ads a few years back, but now that they are paying the advertising budget they need to find a new target. Maybe Take-Two should just put an ad on the NY Post site. Isn't this sort of thing extortion (buy an ad from us or we will give you a bad review?)

I quit listening to other people's opinions a long time ago.

Study Your Sun Tsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837208)

"Do not attack your enemy but attack your enemy's plan."
It is best to launch a campaign which ignores this journalist and buries his words in dust than to spread word of him.

HA (2, Funny)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837259)

I wonder if he even knew about Manhunt... which IS a game based around a Snuff film????? Maybe manhunt 2 will have HIM killed in the begining?

Oh btw as a person who lives in the Tri-State area (2, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837306)

For those who dont know, the NY Post is little more than a regonal Tabloid, they have no honest reporting anywhere in the paper and very often copy other peoples articles from other papers with a yellow journalistic slant. NO one around here honestly takes them seriously, which is exactly how we should take this peice of garbage

moron (1)

cheeseSource (605209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837385)

What kind of idiot would make a serious comparison between molestation and videogames. Oh, wait Christopher Byron, yup that explains it; pretentious snot. No, really, that article isn't a completely immature rant. Let's look at it's merits. He refers to people as dad, and makes presumptions about the values of a particular family. Yet another fine example of journalism with integrity.

Hum. (2, Insightful)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837395)

You can kill a cop, steal his gun, and then use it to shoot someone else. Or you can pick up a prostitute and have sex with her in the back of your stolen car, then beat her to death - or shoot her, bludgeon her, whatever you want.

He's right - you CAN do that. You know what? You can do that in real life too!

Someone should tell the cops - oh and stop investing in condom and gun companies.

Re:Hum. (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837490)

When I read that line I remember thinking: "You can drive a taxi, take people to the hospital, and put out fires, whatever you want."

Just selling words... (1)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837673)

...to people too lazy to think for themselves.

"This is 10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy - or than any lie the feds think Martha Stewart ever told them, or any line in any song that Bruce Springsteen ever sang that rankled a cop in the Meadowlands."

What an interesting combination. (Alleged) molestation of a child, investment fraud, and free speech.

Asanine statements like that is why if we start banning anything, it should be self made pundits. Worse than child molestation? Does this guy know any victims? Knows what can happen to someone after something like that?

"FOR one thing, the age cutoff is totally unenforceable, and everyone knows it."

BULL. It's called PARENTING, you moron. If I was 12 and my mom had seen me playing a game like GTA, my Playstation would be on the street the next day.

"By what preposterous reasoning can one argue that once someone turns 17 years of age it magically becomes OK to glorify mass murder?"

I dunno. I guess the same reasoning we use to send 18 year olds off to a desert to kill people.

I can see it now... (4, Interesting)

Captain Beefheart (628365) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837675)

When this toad comes strutting back to his column for the next installment, he'll preen for a good paragraph about the huge reader response and quote some eloquent people who agreed with him, thereby implying that the response was largely positive, never mind the legion of people, gamers or otherwise, who express confusion and outrage at him favorably comparing pedophilia to playing a videogame.

I did a little research on this guy, and he has several non-fiction books under his belt with the same hellfire-and-brimstone invective. They also didn't cause so much as a blip on the cultural radar. Yet in an interview at Salon.com [salon.com], he has the gall to say, in response to asking why he had no problem with saying in his column that Martha Stewart had a nice ass, "One of the things I try to do in these columns that I write -- I consider this as kind of a personal mission -- is to try to purge our language of political correctness. It just stultifies. Isn't that what provocative, memorable language does? It forces back the frontiers of expression."

So this guy sees his newspaper column as the beacon of a lingual crusade? I think what we're dealing with here is delusions of granduer, which goes partway towards explaining his vehemence about GTA: Vice City. (But I will not pick apart what he wrote about the game, not for a Bill O'Reilly nutball of the print world.) That, and the fact that he's no spring chicken or versed in videogames, otherwise he couldn't claim the game's visuals were almost photorealistic.

Bah. Don't grace this hack with an e-mail.

Second hand smoke? (2, Interesting)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837735)

Speaking of the oft cited "truth" that videogames are bad for you, has there ever been a scientific study that has shown second hand smoke does anything other than distress people with asthma? The WHO did several studies that said it was safe.

--
Evan "I hate being around smokers for asthetic reasons"

Stay away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7837846)

Stay away from New York Post, or the author - far, far away - and you'll be doing both your wallet and your fellow man a favor.

huh? (0, Offtopic)

aufecht (163961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7837983)

Nevermind that our non-elected, paid his way into the presidency, dipshit of a leader sends 1000's to their deaths so he can keep control of the worlds oil. Yeah, way to use your voice NYT's reporter. Report on the stuff that really matters, good job. Jackass
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