Sunday, December 04, 2005

I Liked Him Better When He Was A Liberal

Suddenly remembering he's pretending to be a Conservative, David Cameron has thrown some red meat to the Right - or, more specifically, he's thrown some red meat to a Guardian readers' caricature of the Right:
The music and games industry has to stop churning out material that celebrates aggression and violence. The drinks and entertainment industries must stop irresponsible alcohol marketing, and stop serving people who are drunk. Those who produce the media that children consume need to think harder about the social impact of their output
If nothing else, can we at least put an end to the idea that David Cameron is some kind of political Einstein ? Maybe there are a few Mary Whitehouses still floating round bemoaning the use of naughty words, but not enough to make it a smart move to tell five million Britons that you’re going to take their Eminem CDs off them.

In actuality, few British social conservatives are sitting in front of their PS2, ticking off each act of violence. Why would they ? As the old line goes, a pornographic society isn’t one with a lot of porn, it’s one which accepts the view of human sexuality that porn promotes. Similarly, caricatures to the contrary, those (few) socio-cons who complain about the games industry aren’t talking about the amount of violence, so much as the context in which these events occur. After all, the average level on a Medal of Honor game is far more violent than the whole of a Grand Theft Auto game, yet the latter draws far more fire (metaphorically speaking).

This is exactly why complaining about violence in games is moronic - the implication that Dreamworks’ recreation of Omaha Beach is somehow more offensive than Rockstar’s depiction of supercool bank robbers. Or, at least, it’s moronic to social conservatives. But how about David Cameron ? Isn’t GTA’s smirking attitude to drug abuse perfectly mirrored in the Notting Hill set ? How about its belief that all morality is really disguised hypocrisy ? Or the contempt for the police ? Und so weiter...

GTA isn’t destroying our society, but I’m not sure we can say the same about the mainstreaming of the worldview it portrays. Yet when we consider what’s doing the damage, we find that the strain of Conservatism championed by David Cameron has been a vigorous cheerleader for a large chunk of it. Rockstar are only making video games, Cameron wants to be PM – maybe we need to consider the social impact of that.

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