While I was out…

Posted on February 10, 2010 by


Playing at violence and war is nothing new. So why does Ron Jeremy, of all people, feel the need to call out violent video games while promoting porn? (photo from blackandwtf.tumblr.com)

I’ve been away from the blog for a while. Needless to say, lots going on. One of those things, I’m sad to admit, has been video games. When there is a lot going on in your personal life that you don’t want to deal with might need a break from dealing with, it’s not uncommon to seek some escapism in a fantasy world. It’s why entertainment still does well in a recession. It’s why millions of angst ridden teenagers get involved in epic fantasy series. It’s why I like video games.

After a week of working 9 hour days under the hum of fluorescent lights in an inconsistently heated office, it’s fun to get lost in the life of a wood elf. Or a 12th century assassin. Or the commander of a space ship. I still love to read. I play my drums. But there isn’t much on TV that interests me. Same with movies. My only real interest in the TV is, “can I hook my PS3 up to it?”. I built my last computer so it would run World of Warcraft better. (In fact, I might not even be writing this if C weren’t using the PlayStation to stream Lost.)

But while I’ve been away, working and trying to decide which from an incredible slate of winter games to focus on first, some crazy things have been happening in the world that remind us that, man, people are just plain weird!

Exhibit A:

Ron Jeremy writing on Kotaku about why porn is more natural and healthy than violent video games.

What he fails to address, in all of this, are the underlying reasons for violence. Why do people commit violent acts? Why is it (seemingly) more common in some regions than others? Is violence really any more common in the US? Is it more common today than it was in days of yore? And, most importantly, do video games cause violence, or are violent games merely a reflection of a cultural obsession with, and glorification of, violence that is already in place?

I’d say, to me anyway, it’s pretty obviously the latter. We, as a society, fetishize and celebrate violence. Perhaps because it really is one of those things that most will never actually engage in, unlike sex, and that is why it is so fascinating. Blaming violence in society, especially American society which has always celebrated violence in pulp novels, movies, etc., on products that are simply a reflection of that obsession, is putting the cart before the horse.

Likewise, claiming that porn doesn’t cause sexual deviancy misses the point. Of course porn doesn’t cause sexual deviancy, but it does most definitely enable it. People look at pornography for many reasons, but a healthy sexual appetite isn’t the only reason. Many undeniably turn to pornography precisely because they can’t accept those things they are attracted to, but they can watch or look at pornographic images of it. And I’m not even saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I’m attaching no moral judgment to it. I’m simply acknowledging that it isn’t so black and white.

Mr. Jeremy, I respect your work (such as it is). You give hope to the dreams of fat, hairy-backed men around the world that they, too, may someday have a threesome with two gorgeous strangers who will seduce them on an airplane. But you gotta realize you’re reaching here.

Exhibit B:

My new favorite photoblog, and source of the images used in this post, Black and WTF? Proof positive that people are not only weird now, but always have been weird.

Exhibit C:

Saudi Arabia is still sentencing people to death for witchcraft and sorcery. This is one of the many stories I meant to post about during my absence; but Saudi Arabia, late last year, sentenced a Lebanese television personality and “psychic” to death for sorcery. Ali Hussain Sibat was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2008 after making a pilgrimage to Mecca when religious police recognized him from his television show. This isn’t the first time the nation has sentenced people to death for sorcery. You may recall that in 2008 Saudi authorities were under fire from human rights groups for the scheduled execution of an illiterate woman accused of cursing a man with impotence. Sibat was still alive at last report, while accused witch Fawza Falih remains on death row.

So yeah. People are weird. And violent. We always have been. We’re violent in nations with loose controls on how violence is portrayed in the media. And we are no less cruel in nations where violent and objectionable material is highly censored.

We always have been weird and violent, and we will be until we kill each other off.