>A quick and dirty defense

>I saw a movie recently; it started out with 2 thugs slicing up a prostitute, featured multiple brutal beatings, and ended with a massive bloodbath, including the murder of the town sheriff. Was this movie considered pornographic? Was there a massive outcry? Were pundits up in arms, talking about how sick and depraved Hollywood was?

Actually, the movie was “Unforgiven”, and won 4 Oscars.

When I’ve surfaced every few hours from GTA4 to check my real-life RSS feeds, I’ve noticed that my “Games” folder has been filled – and not just from Gamepolitics.com – with story after story about people getting all bent out of shape about GTA4 – it’s a murder simulator, it glorifies violence, it – well, let them say it:

The glorification of killing of any police officer is just wrong. I mean, it desensitizes people to the real mayhem that’s going on out on the streets, and we already have a real problem with people not valuing human life.

People don’t seem to have a problem turning guns on cops, and this game — I know it’s just a game, but people sometimes have trouble separating reality from fantasy.

* * *

There’s a new world of entertainment here… But what does it contain? In this case, [protagonist Niko Bellic] kills, maims, has sex, then kills and maims some more, while also stealing various forms of transportation…

What “Grand Theft Auto IV” affirms is the pleasure of eschewing decency for obnoxious violence…

And, of course, there’s always the “you can have sex with prostitutes and then kill them to get your money back” line… These kinds of arguments are infuriating, because they fail to address what the game is actually about. It’s an easy thing to say; it’s similar to how the mainstream media always gets annoyed with bloggers and immediately invalidates anything a blogger says because “they’re unwashed and live in their parents’ basement.”

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