April 11th, 2008

Normally I’m not one to talk about politics. That’s to say, if you got me talking about politics, it’d probably be about the benefits of Marxism, or how America makes me want to put my fiancé in a barrel and roll him to Canada (that’s assuming there’s a draft; if not, I suppose he could ride in the front seat like a normal person). Then there’s the fact that I don’t even live in America right now: I’m still a French expat for two more months. But the primaries are front-page news even here, and there’s a big election coming up in my home state of Pennsylvania, so French people always want to know, “Do you support Hilary or Obama?” Truth is though, I honestly don’t know.

I’m pretty much as left-leaning as they come, so I’m obviously going to vote democrat. (Cool other parties, you’d totally have my vote if I didn’t come from a swing state and if it wasn’t so darn important for the donkey crowd to win this election.) I can’t see a huge difference between the two candidates–except for the race vs. gender awareness they would bring to the country. When I try to explain my dilemma to a French person though, I always find myself falling back on the “Hilary wants to censor video games” angle though. And what do I get in response? Awkward stares that say, “You wouldn’t really vote for someone on the basis of video games, would you?”

The question is, would I? I certainly wouldn’t vote Republican for it, but I really do think Hilary’s approach could be detrimental to our art form–especially if she’s the leader of the whole frickin’ country. So maybe I need stop being impressed by the fact that she’s a woman and see her approach for what is it. Maybe I need to tell the French I do think video games are important, since all the major issues are the same between the candidates. Take that, condescending French mothers of video-game playing youth who already think I’m super strange. Then again, Obama is no shiny light of tech positivism either. Al Gore, I miss you.

What about everybody else? How do you feel?

P.S. Apologies for the weird posting schedule, which is likely to continue for the next few weeks. It’s spring in the south of France. Everyone and their mother (including, appropriately enough, my own mother) are coming to visit.

Tags: politics

24 Responses to “How Important Is Hilary’s Anti-Video Game Stance?”

  1. Soulofaqua Says:

    The only two in the race for american presidency I know are Hilary and Obama so I choose Obama, and to get back on Al Gore he is an enviromental freak so he ain’t a tech-supporter, for electricity is made mostly with fossile fuels and all tech-components plus making of them are also very polluting. It is time that Fatal1ty or Handenwasser try’s to run for President!!(both “professional electronic sports players” Handenwasser you probably don’t know but he is the best PGR3-4 player here in the Netherlands and Fatal1ty has a wiki just click on my name to see)

  2. jinny Says:

    “We’re going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that’s going to take some time.”

    I personally don’t see this as an attack on video games or the industry in general, but more of an attack on parents that are not involved in their children’s lives. How often do we see children left to TV and video games to parent them? Parents should instead play video games with their kids!!

    Also, I love reading your stuff Bonnie, keep up the good work!! :)

  3. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I totally agree with you Jinny, that parents should be more involved with their kids. I just hope that non-gamers don’t approach the issue with a blind eye toward the benefits of games. Also, when such a public figure uses games as an example of what not to do (and doesn’t add in a clause like yours about playing along), I wonder if it can’t help but hurt the cause….

  4. Darkpen Says:

    I agree with what jinny said. I don’t think its an attack either. If anything, videogames really are becoming viewed as a problem, just as watching tv is, as more parents really do need to get a hold of their children’s growth and development, instead of using both of those as babysitting tools, and in the end, blaming both of those things for when the kid doesn’t bring in the A’s and B’s on his/her report card.

    Our educational system isn’t the greatest thing ever, especially for the lowest ranked states (i.e. California, Mississippi, etc), so part of it can be a budget issue, as well as a teacher issue, but when it comes down it it, its a parent issue too.

    But in the end, I think we need to look at the problem as it is: Hilary wants censorship, Obama says pro-parenting. What have we all been saying this whole time?

    But yeah, if only Al Gore came back :(

  5. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Ok, valid point, Darkpen. I’ve been leaning more toward Obama anyway, though I can’t say it’s been like “OMG he is awesome!”, more like “Well, fine, he seems alright…”

    Any avid Obama supporters out there?

  6. Magnetic Crow Says:

    This is the selfsame issue I’m having.
    And I think that yes, I do think that Hillary’s censorship stance on videogames is a valid and critical issue.
    Now, I’m a writer and illustrator, and not of children’s books. My works are fantastical and allegorical, and often refers to uncomfortable historical precedents and sexual themes.
    So the idea of trying to censor any art form whatever is in my mind unforgivable.

    At the moment, console video game production is still pretty exclusive to huge-huge businesses. Individual artistic expression via the videogame medium is almost solely restricted to flash games and internet games: a source of play that is largely unknown about by the factions that condemn it, or even the people who truly idolize it.
    (What I’d love to see, of course, is essentially an open-source “operating system” for one of the standard consoles, allowing a Linux-type format into which any game type could be fed, even those made by independent game developers.)

    Coming back to censorship. Now I love the games that are out now, I enjoy Pokemon and Zelda to bits, I’m anticipating Littlebigworld with much drooling. But one thing that big companies are historically leery to do, and this goes in every genre (movies, books, etc.), is break out really, really sensitive issues and deconstruct them for their audiences. What would it be like to have a game targeted at children that put them in the position of a racial minority facing bigotry? Or (I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately) hand male gamers a game that forces them to go through rape as a female character, and deal with all of the emotional and psychological consequences? Videogames being so experiential, could we actually teach someone a point of view this way?
    Those are the types of avenues I would expect an independent artist to delve into, and which I’m terrified would get shut off from us forever if the government decided it somehow had the RIGHT to censor games from us (which, I’ve been able to find multiple articles, is something Hilary IS espousing.) Now, supposedly this is all only going to effect children. But so is the rating and censorship system as applied to movies. Most theatres won’t show an NC-17 or X movie at all, and in that vein I’m pretty sure most consoles wouldn’t permit games with a higher rating either (videogames having a more stringent rating system anyway.)
    I also fear something like that setting a precedent that would leak into other forms of artistic expression. Artist/gradeschool teachers are already getting fired for trying to make their work, it doesn’t need to get worse for us.

  7. pat m. Says:

    …what’s the appeal of hillary clinton?

  8. BearDogg-X Says:

    I found this article through GamePolitics.

    I’ll just repost what I posted there:

    I would not vote for anyone that is anti-First Amendment(like Hitlery Clinton).

    Bonnie, Al Gore isn’t and wouldn’t have been any better, considering that when he was running for President against George W. Bush, he was heavily promoting that he would legislate against all entertainment(all while collecting their campaign contributions, making him a hypocrite), while Bush was saying he’d work with the entertainment industry.

    Plus, Gore had Joe Lieberman(One of the industry’s biggest critics at the time) as his Vice Presidental candidate, and Gore’s wife, Tipper, was one of the people whining about heavy metal music in the early 80’s, and Al himself held a Congressional hearing on the music industry(the famous one with Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider defending the music industry).

    @ Magnetic Crow

    The consolemakers(Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft) all have policies that won’t allow a publisher to publish an AO-rated game.

  9. ronnoc Says:

    “(What I’d love to see, of course, is essentially an open-source “operating system” for one of the standard consoles, allowing a Linux-type format into which any game type could be fed, even those made by independent game developers.)”
    You mean like a PC?

  10. FrostDust Says:

    ronnoc
    You mean like a PC

    A big advantage gaming consoles have over PCs is that you’re assured that a PS3 will have the same CPU, GPU, etc. as everyother PS3 out there. On a PC, you have to worry about what your audiance’s PCs may be running.

    Furthermore, console manufacturers make a large percentage of their money off of licensing their SDK to game developers. This is why, for example, the PS3 was sold below profit, cause Soney would make a bit of money of each PS3 game sold. While Nintendo sold the Wii for profit, at a low price, they were able to do so by not implementing as advanced hardware as the other consoles. It’d be a challange for a company to make a healthy profit of off nothing but their hardware, seeing as how they can’t liscense the rights to an SDK when it’s open source.

    Back to the actual topic at hand, while I McCain is one of the more likable Republicans out there, and I do detest Clinton’s position on the issue, its not enough to make me vote for him. I do hate it when polititians rally against video games on some “pro-family” platform. It’d make as much sense as the government censoring other art forms for being “inappropriate”, such as movies or books. I have a feeling she would feel quite differently about doing such, noting how she light-heartidly parodied “The Sopranos” in one of her campaign comercials.

  11. Conejo Says:

    Hillary has been pro-censorship for a while now, video games are just her latest target.

    that said, she is so anti-Constitution that the games issue is just the tip of the iceberg. so yes, games help play a deciding factor. since the general public doesn’t take games seriously yet, Hillary doesn’t have to pretend to care and can be as nasty as she’d like.
    we saw this before with the PMRC’s attack on music
    we saw this before with comics
    we saw this before with Dungeons & Dragons
    we saw this before with books
    we saw this before with flag burning

    Hillary is the candidate you want if you’re looking to arrest people for thought-crimes.

  12. Vinzent Says:

    Yes it will be a factor for me.

    I am not an economist. I am not a diplomat. I can’t tell if the proposed plans from these yahoo candidates will improve the economy or our world standing. And after being lied to by every candidate for the past 20 years, I think we’re boned either way.

    But I do know that the Bill of Rights is important. I also know that if a candidate is stupid or malevolent enough to try and strip those rights from it’s constituency, dictatorship and revolution are not far away. I may not know much, but I know how to watch the History Channel.

  13. jinny Says:

    Sorry for derailing the PC conversation…

    A prime example of pro-parenting would be sites like “What They Play.” Chris, of The Weekly Geek, did a great write-up today about the site here: http://weeklygeekshow.com/2008/04/what_they_play_provides_unbias.php

    @Bonnie: I do agree that it is dangerous when highly-influential political figures make blanket statement referencing video games without a clause like mine (parents should play video game with their kids). However, has our society really come to a place where we, as intelligent individuals, can’t figure out for ourselves what this individual is saying? Of course I understand the sentiment that some people, if not most (ahem, GamePolitics), will misconstrue the sentiment, but I really appreciate that Obama speaks as if we’re capable of forming our own thoughts and reasoning.

  14. cadallin Says:

    I don’t like Hillary because she is a Republican. She is a neoconservative just like Bush (although she is very slightly to the left of Bush).

    The same was true of Bill as well really, although neither are quite as bad as Bush. The evidence is in his passage of NAFTA despite the flaws added by the Republicans, and in his signing of the repeal of Glass-Steagal (which was the regulation that kept the banking shenanigans responsible for the current credit crisis, and significantly implicated in the Great Depression illegal.) Glass-Steagal was one of the cornerstones of the New Deal.

    Obama, on the other hand, is approximately where Eisenhower was, a mild conservative just to the right of center. Amongst the available choices, I support Obama.

  15. Zombie_Moogle Says:

    I think Hillary’s stance on video game cencorship is a pretty big indicator of her general stance of free speech. I’d like to make clear that i don’t like either party, Democrat or Republican (i think they both hold their party’s interests over that of the people they serve), but it seems like Hillary is happily filling that cliche spot of the Democrat “Thought Policeman” (policewoman, whatever). Obama’s comments about television and games strike me as more of a comment on the state of families, which is more or less harmless. McCain
    hasn’t said much on the issue yet, so i’m still keeping an eye on him.
    Oh, and let’s not forget Hillary’s association with the Grand Dragon of Game-Hate himself, Jack Thompson

  16. Zombie_Moogle Says:

    I think Hillary’s stance on video game cencorship is a pretty big indicator of her general stance of free speech. I’d like to make clear that i don’t like either party, Democrat or Republican (i think they both hold their party’s interests over that of the people they serve), but it seems like Hillary is happily filling that cliche spot of the Democrat “Thought Policeman” (policewoman, whatever). Obama’s comments about television and games strike me as more of a comment on the state of families, which is more or less harmless. McCain hasn’t said much on the issue yet, so i’m still keeping an eye on him.
    Oh, and let’s not forget Hillary’s association with the Grand Dragon of Game-Hate himself, Jack Thompson

  17. Zonar90 Says:

    Amen.Testify,Conejo! I myself am beginning to thiunk nether of them deserve it! Do’nt you think? I would vote for obama if he changes his jerky ways,though.

  18. Zonar90 Says:

    I think Adult politicans just find stuff to whine about, do’nt you think?ahahahahahahahaha

  19. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    It’s interesting that no one seems to feel threatened by Obama’s potential anti-game sentiments, while there are so many anti-Hilary voices. While I totally agree with what’s been said here, that Hilary’s pro-censorship stance is alarming and unacceptable, I can’t help but wonder if part of our reaction toward her (and not toward Obama) is based on the fact that she’s a woman talking about a man’s industry, i.e. games.

    Then again, Jinny, you seem to be a pretty strong Obama advocate, and I’m sure you’re not basing your thoughts on how evil women are :).

  20. Zonar90 Says:

    we’re not saying girls are evil. not you at lest(smiles nervously)

  21. Anonymous Says:

    If your legal guardian feels that you are old enough and responsible to enjoy said entertainment then it should be their right. It should also be their right to prevent their child from playing such things if they so desire by not giving the money to their kids in the first place and/or monitoring their internet activities.

    If you bring up tobacco and alcohol, those things are of course dangerous and have been scientifically proven to cause harm. That said, once you are 18 then I believe you should be able to put whatever into your body you feel like, but a parent giving his kids cigarettes is about as negligent as giving them some mercury or cyanide to play with.

    Video games and even content of pornographic nature has never been conclusively shown to cause physical or mental harm to the average human. Yes, there are cases where people play a video game and flip out (like kids jumping out of windows because they thought they could fly like in Pokemon), but the same thing could be said about a psycho who reads the Bible or Koran and kills someone because he claims god told him to do it. (here’s your sign)

    Makes you wish people would use their brain about stuff like this, huh?

  22. TD Says:

    They all use games as a scapegoat.

    Obama is more silent about the issue than anything, which is kind of scary. The only thing I’ve heard him say about games is relating them to slackers or kids not doing their school work.

    Hilary is anti-gaming and will swing whichever way she is swung by the popular media at the moment.

    I like Al Gore, but as someone mentioned, his wife is pretty much a communist when it comes to free speech. And Lieberman as a VP? (Lieberman is the reason he lost I think) He might as well have chosen Jack Thompson to run with.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    (Sigh) Just wish people would think about this stuff.Most of Obama’s voters are young adults. You’d think they would be a little nicer about this kind of thing huh?

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