Friday, May 20, 2005

Yes, Keep Legislating


If there's one lesson
that Americans know by now, it's that making more laws is the solution to everything.

There's no reason to think that, oh, common sense or rationality should ever win out.

With that, Yahoo! reported some great news from Illinois. Background, here.

For those too busy to click links on a web page, the Governor of Illinois put a bill forward to ban the sale of violent and sexually explicit games to children and it was approved by the Illinois Senate. BUT, they sent the bill back to the House after removing the possibility of jail time for offenders (thankfully).

The weird thing about this bill (other than that it may be unconstitutional, apparently), is that it relies on the ratings system already in place to prevent just what the bill purports to prevent (if parents did their fucking job, that is).

Before I sound too alarmist, I should mention that the bill comes off as somewhat pedestrian. It allows for a Class A misdemeanor and a $5,000 fine for any clerk selling restricted material. Read the fulltext on the Illinois General Assembly website, search for HB4023.

I guess what the bill really does is require proof that the buyer is over 18 to purchase any game with a rating above T.

Which is strange, because the ESRB ratings E10+ and above admit in their definitions that the game may contain types of violence (e.g., cartoonish, fantasy, mild). I'm guessing, if this bill makes it, that some idiot parent is going to test its shoddy wording at some point, to the detriment of us all.

The decent parts of the bill at least account for family members buying restricted games and giving them to minors (store owners are not held accountable in such a scenario - and which, in fact, is not illegal).

None of that really disturbs me. I've gotten carded to see an R-rated movie before (though not in awhile). And I can't wait until some punk kid outside the game store begs me to get the latest virtual bloodfest for him.

What disturbs me are the words of the bill's sponsor, Senator Deanna Demuzio:

"Video games are not art or media," she said. "They are simulations, not all that different from the simulations used by the U.S. military in preparation for war."

Which, yeah, I know, is the beginning of a long rant/argument that will probably take years and years. It's just bizarre to me, growing up with video games as such a central life experience, that there are people out there (probably lots) still thinking of them in such strict, reductionist terms.

Well, fuck 'em, and fuck Senator Deanno Demuzio.

And the capstone to this piece, of course, is Illinois Senator Mike Jacobs' stirring words that truly capture the courage and strength of the modern political figure:

"I'm going to vote for this bill, but I'm voting for it for one reason — because this is a political bill. If I vote against it, it will show up in a campaign mail piece."

I suppose, uh, fuck him, too.

1 comment:

dan.lucas said...

I love that line from Jacobs. Like admitting that you vote on bills based soley on whether they get you reelected or not isn't a detriment to a campaign.