In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the entertainment industry today, ruling that minors had the right to purchase violent video games. The following comes from the LA Times.
…”Like books, plays and movies, video games communicate ideas,” said Justice Antonin Scalia in his majority opinion Monday. And he said there was “no tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence… Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed.”
The decision, coming on the term’s last day, highlights a consistent theme of the high court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: Freedom of speech is almost always a winner, even if the context is unusual…
Last week, the court struck down a Vermont law that barred the sale of private drug prescription records. The court said the data was “speech” and could be traded in the “marketplace of ideas.”…
I guess I’ll have to go and check out Grimm’s Fairy Tales again, I don’t remember the graphic depictions of prostitutes getting their heads blown off with shotguns after being raped.
I’m not typically one to say that we need to restrict information from kids, or anyone for that matter, but the idea of six year olds playing first-person shooter games strikes me as wrong. And, yes, I’ve read the reports that state there’s no conclusive link between those who enjoy kicking someone’s brains out on their computer monitor and those who do it in real life. I just know that it’s absolute bullshit to suggest that these vibrant, bloody, moving images of murder are somehow comparable to the woodcut illustrations that accompany Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It’s like saying that kids should be able to buy copies of the porn film Airtight Granny because Three’s Company plots often revolved around sexual innuendo.
OK, as long as I’m ranting about today’s kids, can someone tell me how old people need to be to buy pot from Michigan’s so-called medical marijuana dispensaries? I saw a few kids that couldn’t have been any older than 16 going into a place the other day, and, while I’m sure that they had terrible carpal tunnel from having to constantly pull their baggy jeans up, and turn their baseball caps sideways, I’m inclined to say that they should have to suffer for a few years, like the rest of us had to. (I should add that I didn’t see these kids come out with pot, so the manager of the place very well could have asked them to leave. I just saw them go in and approach the counter, in their Insane Clown Posse t-shirts.)
Anyway, back to video games, I’d like to think that the Supreme Court is really doing this in order to safeguard freedom of speech. I’d like to think that the rights of kids is really something that motivates them. I can’t help but think, however, that it has more to do with what Walmart and the rest of corporate America wants. If they really gave a fuck about free speech – real free speech – wouldn’t they have torn down Bush’s 1984-inspired, barbed wire-enclosed “Free Speech Zones”? Wouldn’t they be fighting to protect the rights of whistle blowers? Given the evidence, I think it’s pretty clear that, despite what they say, they only love free speech in so far as they can use it as an excuse to further their pro-corporate agenda.