Among all the humiliating things one has to do to survive in the cutthroat and shameless world of Academia, being a criticaster of popular culture has to be the lowest point. There are already a hundred theses on the unbearable sexism of Shakespeare or the colonialism of Kipling, so you’ll have to make do with a paper on the border-fascism of Plants vs. Zombies or the sexism of Super Mario. And forget about Elsevier or The Journal of Modern Literature, you’ll have to get published in The Guardian (and you’ll get paid according to how many people you trick into clicking the article):
After a long struggle, the paperback version of my book, “Dangerous Gamers,” is available. Now you can read my
ramblings critique of the new over-bloated class of cultural commentators and their latest controversies concerning allegedly violent, sexist, and racist media, including entertainment and (video) games.
“Se produjeron muchos horrores en las ciudades durante la guerra civil, horrores que se dan y se darán siempre mientras sea la misma la naturaleza humana, más violentos o atenuados y diferentes de aspecto según la modificación de las circunstancias que se dé en cada caso, ya que en la paz y yendo bien las cosas, tanto ciudades como individuos tienen mayor discernimiento por no estar sometidos al apremio de la necesidad; pero la guerra, al suprimir el bienestar cotidiano, resulta ser un maestro de violencia y acomoda a las circunstancias los sentimientos de la mayoría.
“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
C.S. Lewis, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children” (1952)
In Italy these professional condottiere evolved a scheme of warfare that practically eliminated bloodshed for a time. There were fights, yes -splendid, clashing, colorful affairs like vast tournaments- bu the contestants were covered in plate armor that prevented them from getting badly hurt, and the men they were fighting against -other professional like themselves- might well become their comrades-in-arms the day after the fight. […]
But when hand-guns began to be used, things were different. In 1439 the army in the pay of Bologna used hand-guns against a force in the pay of Venice, actually killing many of the Venetians’ knights. The Venetian army was so infuriated, it won the battle and rounded up the Bolognese army. Then the Venetians massacred the hand-gun men who had stooped so low as to use this ‘cruel and cowardly innovation, gunpowder.’ Why, they said, if this sort of thing were allowed to happen, war would become a positively dangerous business.
Source: Ewart Oakeshott, “A knight and his weapons” (1964), reprinted 2008, pag 103-104
I don’t know about what battle is he talking, but the next year (1440) the battle of Anghiari was fought, and only one man died… when he fell from his horse.
No image has ever created a massive war, ideology, or crime. Unless you count people who kill painters and artists because they are afraid of their power, of course. The simple truth is that words and language are the best, if not the only, means to communicate worldviews. Images, as propaganda, are useful to reinforce a previously held belief, make a joke, resume more complex ideas, or may be used as “infographics” to make a point. However, those images would not be useful if the observer had no previous idea or reference about what they are talking about. For example, an antisemitic cartoon that stereotypes Jews as blood-sucking vampires is only useful if the person who sees this has already heard about those accusations from other places (his parents, friends, the education system, journalists, etc.). To an alien from another planet, the cartoon would be incomprehensible or ridiculous.
TL,DR version: Lol games aren’t real, killing isn’t even the goal, it’s competing to win at something. Gore is just edgy window-dressing.
Although there are some issues that truly divide a nation, most public debates that go on forever have the same problem: They are not well defined, the meaning of words shift according to the current needs of the speaker, and there are invisible premises inside the problem/question. It is like that trap: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” There is no way to answer that. Modern politics and social debates follow similar patterns, although not in such a crass or evident fashion. Among other reasons, this is why debates seem circular and eternal since the conclusion is already inserted in how the problem is defined.
The gaming mindset is completely different from the reading or watching a movie mindset. Your brain is behaving differently, and also expecting a different kind of stimulation. To analyze the content and effects of one medium by the rules and parameters of the other is a big mistake. And to analyze any of those mediums as if it were reality, your mental and ideological reality to boot, is criminal.