Just for the Hell Of It: Glenn Beck and GTA

Well, here’s the Youtube clip of the Glenn Beck show on CNN. Yes, Jack Thompson is on there as well.

I’d link to the Wikipedia article for Jack Thompson, but currently it points to the article for “facist”. Here’s another clip. Discuss.

Personally, I was in line for the midnight release. There were about 150 to 200 people in line for it. The kid two spots ahead of me was in high school. His mother bought the game for him. She stod in line and we all talked about how many hookers and policemen we were going to kill and wondered aloud if there were online leaderboards to track such things.

I find it ironic that conservatives are complaining about GTA IV teaching kids to kill and using military training as a comparison. Won’t we need those GTA trained future soldiers on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan?

You know, it’s funny. I play a bunch of video games, and a lot of first-person shooters, and I get the feeling every once in a while that I’m being conditioned for that kind of thing.

Except to me, it’s not about killing. It’s about strategy and skill. It’s always been about that for me. Granted, in GTA, it’s about the killing, but it’s certainly not a real person. Hell, I’m 26 and I’ve played video games for most of my life. I haven’t perpetrated any acts of violence. Hell, there is a study that says that playing violent video games has actually decreased violent crime (incidents of violent crime are low, for the record) because it gives people an outlet for these things.

I find Jack Thompson to be one of the most humorously deluded, yet ultimately sad and pathetic, people on the planet. But he’s got a nugget of truth going for him.

He speaks of the lawsuits “he’s” bringing up against all these publishers and distributors, knowing full well he’s going to be laughed out of court. He speaks of the criminal charges “he’s” filing against everyone involved, knowing full well no charge will stick anywhere. He’s a disingenuous liar, and while everyone who knows anything about his past knows this to be the case, he can still have an influence on those who are seeing him for the first time.

Thing is, I’m pretty much ok with that. Yes, he’s a walking joke, but the fact is I wouldn’t let a young kid play GTA4. People are most certainly influenced by what they watch, especially at a young age. I look back now at the world of crap I took for some of the things I said back in grade school, but hey, Archie Bunker taught me just how hilarious racial slurs are. It took some real-world ass beatings to learn to differentiate between the two.

So when Thompson dumps all the blame for a kid committing murder on GTA, of course he’s completely off base. But to say that there isn’t some influence? Not true either. There will be cases of kids who had no business being exposed to this type of media being strongly negatively effected by it. Of course, by now a parent would have to have their head buried pretty damn deep in the sand not to know that there are video games that aren’t appropriate for their kid.

Violent video games don’t make kids violent.

I don’t know. Every once and awhile after playing GTA, I find myself walking down the street to go to the store or something and I get a sudden urge to smash open a parked car so I can get there faster.

2 years ago, after playing San Andreas for a while, I was IRL walking down the street near work and passed a parked, running, unlocked, cop car. The cop was at an ATM about 50 ft. away. I knew there was a multi-story parking garage about a quarter-mile away (where my car happened to be parked), well out of sight of the current location. I was totally set to jack the police car, drive to an upper story of the parking garage, wait for my stars to disappear, then steal everything in the trunk and put it in my own car. I still think I could have gotten away with it.

I like having him around. He’s such a ridiculous caricature that he’s never really going to get anything done. If he wasn’t around it might be Lieberman or Hillary talking about it instead.

Grand Theft Auto and Tetris are the two games that have permeated my own world more than any other video games. What, you never saw falling blocks when you were trying to fall asleep?