February 11, 2013

Do violent video games encourage violence?

The New York Times' fine psychology reporter Benedict Carey considers the evidence, such as there is, in "Shooting in the Dark.

My guess would be that, all else being equal, violent video games do encourage violence, but what's not equal is that video games are such a massive time sink that they don't leave much of the day free to get off the couch and into trouble. On balance, they make the world less violent (if more pudgy).

I was paid to read mass murderer Anders Breivik's manifesto a couple of years ago. My impression is that his addiction to online strategy games such as World of Warcraft played a role in his desire to be a player in the real world, to win at 21st Century European history by setting into motion a series of events he had calculated would make him the architect of the new Europe of the second half of this century. 

Does that mean World of Warcraft is a bad thing? Perhaps, but what if World of Warcraft had been around to absorb the energies of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, to deflect their ambitions to foresee and control history into a cyber fantasy world? 

106 comments:

Eric said...

So many people have looked into this and nobody's ever found a connection. People assume violent video games encourage violence the same way they think porn encourages rape. But the statistics go the other way on both counts.

Anonymous said...

"Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, to deflect their ambitions to foresee and control history into a cyber fantasy world?"

They were evil but serious men. I don't see them sitting around playing games.
Hitler and Stalin were certainly movie fans but that didn't stop them from seeking power. The 1920s had jazz and radio, but radicals still chose action. Those were uncertain times.

Steve Sailer said...

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rape in video games. There appears to be a lot of self-censorship. Is that a bad thing?

Reg Cæsar said...

Please prove you're not a robot.

Bloody hell, when it takes 15 attempts, on three different browsers, to post a comment, that doesn't prove I'm not a robot-- it turns me into one.

I don't know if video games encourage violence, but Blogger sure does...

Anonymous said...

Does that mean World of Warcraft is a bad thing? Perhaps, but what if World of Warcraft had been around to absorb the energies of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, to deflect their ambitions to foresee and control history into a cyber fantasy world?

Wouldn't that just lead to versions of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot that don't get distracted by video games?

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-ioc-summer-olympics-20130211,0,5070574.story?track=rss&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=53285

Thinking of removing wrestling?

It's the greatest and truest Olympic sport.

Get rid of taekwondo, badminton, pent, ping pong, and synchro swimming.

Steve Sailer said...

Anybody else having problems?

I'm sorry about imposing the verification thing, but last week I started getting several thousand spam comments per day. Previously, Google had automatically diverted 90% of them to the Spam drawer, but now Google was just letting through gigantic numbers of obvious spam (e.g., nothing about a dozen URLs for fraudulent fashions).

David H. Fucktrelle, Male Feminist Extraordinair (tm) said...

videogames promote misogyny and treat women like objects. Women are also underrepresented in games like Street Fighter and Soul Caliber.

(P.S. as a male feminist, i watch lotts of porn but tell everyone it is for research about the patriarchy.)

Anonymous said...

No problems. He probably just needs reading glasses.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

So many people have looked into this and nobody's ever found a connection. People assume violent video games encourage violence the same way they think porn encourages rape. But the statistics go the other way on both counts.

Yeah, what they really need to be studying in both cases is whether excessive games/porn makes you into a weird, withdrawn, ineffectual dork.

My guess is yes...

Steve Sailer said...

Well, unreadable verification tests are a problem.

I'll try turning this off pretty soon and see if Google has decided to divert spam or not.

Reg Cæsar said...

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rape in video games.

No, but there sure was in comic books.

Mr Lomez said...

Given all the recent talk about priming, I'm surprised this is just being brought up now.

Anyway, there's an interesting subplot in David Simon's The Wire in which one of the adolescent corner drug dealers becomes so obsessed with playing one of these shoot 'em up video games that he briefly stops selling drugs. Naturally, his mother, not wanting her son to waste his youth in front of a TV screen, shuns him from playing his game and sends him back onto the street to earn a paycheck. He's nearly shot and also shoots someone a few scenes later.

Anonymous said...

Only video game I ever liked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp_WLd8_hAs

I like the sound effects of this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxGLYaoji0o

Looks silly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQvaqjpt1Lw

anti-war video game?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuBgGoV_eF0

Thursday said...

Imagine what sexbots will do to absorb the "energies" of many other young aggressive males? At least once a suitable level of realism is achieved.

It is interesting to think of the differences between those who are satisfied with a fantasy simulacra and those who are not. This goes for both sex and world conquest. Some people need authenticity.

Reg Cæsar said...

Don't know whether to blame Google or Apple, but Blogger won't Publish from the Preview function, at least on an iPad. It claims the verification was entered wrong. But skip Preview, and it works fine, at least with Perfect Browser, and, if you're reading this, with Safari as well. (The reading glasses have also been performing as intended, Mr Anonysmartass...) Opera is another story-- seems Mr Breivik took one of out their better coders.

Call me anal, but Preview is a critical function if you want comments minus the greengrocer's typos and incompletely revised sentences.

Auntie Analogue said...

In the games of his school days Hitler was not a joiner but instead spurned games as soon as he grasped that he could not control their play or outcome.

The passive player who plays for the entertainment a game affords him, and who also enjoys the camarederie with others who enjoy his game of choice, is quite different from the control freak who spurns games because he can't abide his incapacity to control their premises and outcome.

Breivik saw himself as a control swami whose setup was gravely flawed because he had recruited no one who could or would do his bidding - which makes him of the same mold as as Lee Oswald, another individual who believed that by his solitary dramatic action he could spark the mass popular upheavals which he fantasized would somehow automatically ensue. This is another instance of what separates millions of gamers and sports participants from the evil individual bent on control over other human beings and who plays for keeps.

Lenin, like Hitler and Stalin, never engaged in argument or debate for the give-and-take play of it, but showed that he would only accept being master of a situation. Of course it was the Germans who gave Lenin his big opportunity by seeing to it that the exiled Lenin reentered Russia. Once given this chance, Lenin did not funk it.

Stalin was a candidate for the priesthood, but the collar held for him the promise of negligible authority and power. His paranoia and bully mentality bent him to fix his sight on frying larger fish.

All of the people on your list, Mr. Sailer, were possessed of implacable will to power over others - they were not Breiviks or Oswalds disposed to make grand dramatic gestures, at least not until they had an organization at their command. They were merely the ones who met with success in their power plays - because they cannily or by intimidation coopted others, and they ruthlessly eliminated their competitors before their competitors could eliminate them. And all of these men eliminated not only their genuine competitors, but they also eliminated anyone they merely suspected of being their competitor or of conpsiring with their competitors (e.g., Hitler having Ernst Röhm & other SA leaders murdered, Stalin having Beria shot, &c.).

These men's other forte consisted not in their capacity to commit violence on their own, but in their ability to persuade, inspire, or command other men to do violence for them. Most players of violent video games are utterly lacking in this ability - the most they can inspire their cohorts to do is to agree on the toppings for their pizza delivery order.

Video games don't inspire individuals to violence any more than children playing with toy soldiers and toy guns inspires them to wreak violence on other people.

agnostic said...

"Yeah, what they really need to be studying in both cases is whether excessive games/porn makes you into a weird, withdrawn, ineffectual dork."

Bingo. Conservatives have turned almost liberal in their way of thinking about moral questions. Most only refer to the norms of harm avoidance and justice.

The fundamentalists do still address the norm of purity / disgust, but can get pretty hysterical about evil, the devil, etc.

Yet an entire generation of video game addicted nerds *is* a bad thing because their minds have been corroded into mush, they live vegetative / zombie lives, and their social skills remain stunted at a toddler's level. It's disgusting as it would be to see a generation of cripples.

It's even more sick and twisted that their parents encouraged them along the way, all to protect them from the risks of having friends and dating in real life.

(And of course the kids themselves aren't going to rebel and disobey their helicopter parents because their video game diet has turned them into passive mush-heads.)

Anonymous said...

Auntie A - In the games of his school days Hitler was not a joiner but instead spurned games as soon as he grasped that he could not control their play or outcome.

Is that a known fact or a theory?

Because then he joins the vast German army where he can have even less effect on the outcome than in a soccer team.

Anonymous said...

And all of these men eliminated not only their genuine competitors, but they also eliminated anyone they merely suspected of being their competitor or of conpsiring with their competitors (e.g., Hitler having Ernst Röhm & other SA leaders murdered, Stalin having Beria shot, &c.).

Beria outlived Stalin. Khrushchev et co. had him tried and executed in December 1953.

DR said...

"Yet an entire generation of video game addicted nerds *is* a bad thing because their minds have been corroded into mush, they live vegetative / zombie lives, and their social skills remain stunted at a toddler's level. It's disgusting as it would be to see a generation of cripples."

Any description that employs the phrase "minds turned to mush" is highly scientific and prescient analysis.

Peter the Shark said...

what if World of Warcraft had been around to absorb the energies of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, to deflect their ambitions to foresee and control history into a cyber fantasy world?

I don't think any of the Communist leaders you mention were the introspetive gaming types - they were mostly pragmatic power-hungry nasty people, especially Stalin. I disagree with a lot of your posters about Hitler though. He was always a dreamer and seems to have spent most of his teens and early 20s wandering in a Wagnerian inspired fantasy daze of his own creation where he was the super-hero. My guess is that Hitler would have been very susceptible to wasting vast amounts of time on video games, provided, as another poster pointed out, he was succesful at them. OTOH, Hitler doesn't seem to have been a very productive person before WWI anyway so maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Very likely his army experience was where he learned enough self-discipline to become dangerous.

And by the way, Marx is irrelevant to this discussion. The guy was an economist. He never killed anyone and he never held political power. Blaming him for Lenin, Stalin and Mao is a little much.

Anonymous said...

Colonel Dave Grossman has been doing research on this link for years. He's the author of On Killing, which finds the link you're asking about specifically how video games condition people to take lives in real life.

Of course, his politics and the nature of such a link are uncomfortable for the powers that be, so he's mainly well known in military/law enforcement circles and almost unheard of by the layman.

Anonymous said...

Eric said...

So many people have looked into this and nobody's ever found a connection. People assume violent video games encourage violence the same way they think porn encourages rape. But the statistics go the other way on both counts.


Porn may not be proven to cause rape and violent video games may not be proven to cause violent acts but do both porn and violent video games pervert natural instincts and make them unhealthy? Rape and murder are bad things but what about more subtle kinds of social damage?

Anonymous said...

Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot didn't personally kill people in rages did.

So Col. Grossman might have shown that video games inspire our current lot of killers.

Robert Hume

Anonymous said...


Yet an entire generation of video game addicted nerds *is* a bad thing because their minds have been corroded into mush, they live vegetative / zombie lives, and their social skills remain stunted at a toddler's level. It's disgusting as it would be to see a generation of cripples.


I know a lot of teen game addicted nerds. They are pretty social. They actually get out a lot, and do a lot. In other words, they are normal guys. The big difference is that they play less sports and watch much less TV than similar guys in the 70's did.

NOTA said...

There is a pretty big differerence between occasionally playing a violent video game or watching porn or gory movies or whatever, and a massive, constant diet of any of those things. If some kid spends 12 hrs/day playing WoW or whatever, it's probably not doing him any good, and it's also probably an indication about not-good things about his personality. But I'm extremely skeptical that a normal level of exposure to those things turns otherwise healthy people into criminals of some kind.

Millions upon millions of people are exposed to all these things all the time. Public entertainment is more violent and sexualized and crass now than in any time in my lifetime, yet crime rates are quite low. Porn in such volumes and variety as to make each of us only one click away from any bizarroid kink we can imagine (or would rather not imagine) has become available, and there seems to be less rape going on, not more. And so on. My guess is that any effect these things have on mass shootings or rape or whatever is very weak and hard to detect. That said, 12 hr/day videogames or jerking off to some porn tailored to your particular weird kink three times a day surely isn't good for you as a person--at the very least, you are paying in lost opportunities, as you might have done something worthwhile with the time.

As an aside, I assume Google is getting us to do its work of figuring out street numbers from photos via its captcha scheme.

Anonymous said...

Hitler and Stalin were certainly movie fans but that didn't stop them from seeking power.

In Hitler's case, from seeking power, yes. But his inner circle was dismayed to find that once he had it, he quickly retreated to a life mostly in the screening room, munching chocolates. He really wasn't a big day-to-day Fuhrer from 1933 to 1939; it was only the war that shook him back into things and out of lethargy. Much like 1914 had for the dreaming artists loser.

Hugenot Jim said...

"Well, unreadable verification tests are a problem."

Actually its not so bad, you can always reload the verification question to get an easier one if the words or numbers are hard to read.


In terms of the topic, one thing that's not being discussed is salience. Basically the idea that a game or movie puts an idea fresh in someone's mind. Particularly important for kids. Would Jimmy have punched Mikey in the face when he got into an argument with him, if he hadn't just gotten done playing Wii boxing? Maybe. One thing I do know, assessing whether he will give someone more chili sauce isn't a very good proxy for violence. Sadism maybe...

Art Deco said...

And by the way, Marx is irrelevant to this discussion. The guy was an economist. He never killed anyone and he never held political power. Blaming him for Lenin, Stalin and Mao is a little much.

Not an economist. An obnoxious social theoretician.

Polymath said...

Steve, I just connected the dots.

Blogger wants to get rid of you just like they chased away the Gates Of Vienna and Big Lie On Parade blogs. The trick with GoV was to let a lot of spam comments through so they could say they took down the site for having malicious URLs and wouldn't have to admit they wanted to eliminate it because of its political incorrectness.

After two takedowns where they never provided the blog's proprietor Baron Bodissey with a coherent or detailed explanation, he moved to another host, but the BLoP owner Cicero apparently didn't have such resources. There have been similar shenanigans at Breitbart and other right wing sites.

We are always too slow to realize that the people we consider opponents to be defeated by ordinary politics and debate, consider us enemies to be eliminated and destroyed.

cromer said...

My impression is that Asians and Whites are more likely to play video games in obsessive/life-wrecking ways. Blacks and Hispanics also love video games, but it seems like a more casual habit for them.

Since obsessive video game playing tends to occur in groups that have lower base rates for violent crime to start with, that might obscure any violence-causing effect of video games (unless those studies control for such factors).

Anonymous said...

What you really need to be looking at would be the combination of violent video games PLUS the doping of teenaged boys with all these new-fangled pharmaceuticals.

[To his credit, the guy who has been all over the pharmaceutical aspects of Leftist pathologies is the talk radio shock-jock, Michael "Savage" MacWeiner.]

If you take violent video games, add SSRIs to dull the emotions*, Adderall ["amphetamine salts"] and hyper-caffeinated drinks like "Red Bull" to stimulate motivation [and anger], and maybe even some anabolic steroids for the animalistic rage, then you've got a pretty good recipe for a Columbine or a VaTech or an Aurora.





*I'm thinking of the kinds of emotions which would coalesce in what traditionally had been called the "conscience" - something like an empathy which is anticipatory of future guilt or regret or horror or sorrow or despair.

Brendan said...

I don't think that the link to specific acts of violence in the real world has been very well-established -- certainly not on any kind of broad or representative scale.

I do think, however, that the "time sink" nature of video games (my understanding is that even "shorter" video games take 20-40 hours to complete, while more open-ended ones like Warcraft seemingly never end) is drastically harmful for people who play them in anything other than occasional, small doses. This is because the form of entertainment adds virtually nothing of use to the person while draining them of many hours of time that could have been spent more productively.

The objection is often raised that "this isn't different from reading books", but the key difference there is that reading books actually adds value to the person reading them in a way that video games do not. Now, there are exceptions to that --> perhaps if someone only reads pulp-type fiction it could be more comparable to video game use on a large scale in terms of being verbal junk food, but virtually any other kind of fiction book or non-fiction book, while also being a time-sink, adds value to the reader, unlike a video game which at best may marginally increase fine motor muscle memory which is basically only useful for ... more video game play.

Moshe Rudner said...

Maybe my own few hours reading the thing didn't suffice but the impression that I got was that his whole plan - that he'd been researching and planning and fantasizing about for years - had been placed on hold for a few years as he immersed himself in WoW and other video games.

So your point vis a vis how "but for videogames" there could have been saved the 20th century has some applicability to the 21st as well. When Breivik was in the depths of his game playing (I think he mentioned having done "Nothing" for over an entire year but play video games) there was no guarantee that he would emerge from that morass to assume his rightful rols as Savior of Civilization.

Also related, is there are reason you don't take much of a Sailerian eye to yourself in these austere programs?

I mean tha adopted thing is obvious. Your birth parents had loose morals or some such and gave youn up for adoption. By now you must know shitons about who they were - genetically, culturally and racially. Considering how you opine so severely on others when it comes these matterrs I would think it would be interesting to know your thoughts on yourself.

But it's not just that. In this post you plainlyt gavce Breivik no respect and have had similarly negative things to say about him in the past. And it seems that this isn't due to any grand intellectual disagreement with him but simply that he broke the rules of society. You call thst Lanza kid a loser (plus a few adjectives) and generally whenever it comes up you discount these peoples' message withouit for a moment seriously engaging in their point of view. I recall a post of yours that mocked the murder of people who like singing Sinatra's "My Way" because, you explained, they are all assholes.

As with the silence on yout own adoptiopn and forebearer, I think you may have a distorted view of yourself and where you fit in society.

95% of your readership loves the intended sentiments of the Sinatra song and anyone who goes so far out on a limb as you do as the voice of passionate reason on HBD matters in 21st Century America is *also* someone who "says the things he truly feels and n ot the words of one who kneels".

And now you're papering over the epic Dorner story by mocking the man andfocusing only on tangentials to his fight that have no real revelance. Dorner's chief allegation wasn't racism. His anti-Zimmerman attitude is just the same as any CDD announcer. The fact that the LAPD wants to burry the importand stuff by promising tio look into the racism nonsense is old news about our culture and institutions and brings no velue to reiterate.

I can speak only for myself (as much as a guy can 2 ambien in)and say that Iam more excited about Dorner than aboiut the system trying to bring him in. I believe that the system is liable more of a threat to a larger populace and that - on th tiny tiny chance that Dorner is able effect influence in the LAPD through hus actions it's likely to be more positive than negative.

Dorner, Lanza, Holmes, Breivik Loughner, Stack, etc are important. A guy dying from loghtning has no story under the shards. A guy crushed in a car has tghe stopry we all know by now but really donlt care too much avout becaue we'd rather watch a bunch of shkotzim throw a ball arroiunfor couple of hours

moshe rudner said...

but manifesto boys! Tthey're awesome/ Sometimes they're wholl;y delusionsl likr that japanese sarin gas in the subway dude. Sometimes they;re .... "deluded in ther methods" ..... kijjing a bunch of privileged kids or anamies or whomever won;ty necessarily get yoiu your logical goal,,,,


But theses are jiust wasy to obfuscate the issue and ignore it and every timne that issue is

A)did what the dude said actually lead to the murders?

B) Was his generakl point of views (sans murderss) a correct point.

c)Shouls we pursue his goals and if so must murder be an element.

Wow. Way crazy tired. I'm sure that ciomment looks and reads terrible and that some liner notes shohld be porvided to offer spelling corrections at least but what I'll return to is askinhg Steve whethger he can share with how many many appreciators and friends here why he so very very oddly feels a sort of oligarchical disgust for ther common man who disobeyed his ever-erect ever-gluttonous ever-arrogant ever-cruel master.



gg night lil boys

Moshe Rudner


P.S. I published a 15 CD series (downloadable as MP3s) on a wide variety of siubjects covering al;l of Jewish history - everwhere , with a ;particular focus lon the most fascination outlying communities from the Jews so you get to see what Jews aeew like ion different sorts of alien environments.

Anyhow check out my website


www.exoticjewishhistory.com

It's 15 hours of the most fascinating audio available on the ksubject and it's relativelt cheap too

And again - sorry for whatever happened in this comment. I'm half in hypnotoic dreams as find the keys here.

Anonymous said...

Marx is irrelevant to this discussion. The guy was an economist. He never killed anyone and he never held political power. Blaming him for Lenin, Stalin and Mao is a little much.

Jesus H Christ, the folks in the Dark Enlightenment have to work night and day just to get the simplest observation past Komment Kontrol, but then the Scots-Irish are allowed to waltz in here and shit all over every single discussion we try to have?

Talk about demoralizing...

M said...

"
Porn may not be proven to cause rape and violent video games may not be proven to cause violent acts but do both porn and violent video games pervert natural instincts and make them unhealthy? Rape and murder are bad things but what about more subtle kinds of social damage?"


Like not getting to rape and murder. That's pretty darn unhealthy.Ah, back in the good ole days when your tribe wipes out that pesky neighboring tribe once and for all and a few days later you and your sons run into the mourning room where they're held and ravish them, whether civilized or savage but as your tastes prefer.

Yeah, to whatever degree porn causes guys to have less ererct penises all day and videogames cause guys to not have the ithch for physical violence that's a pretty darn unhealthy thing.


Maybe bandying bout words like "healthy" should be done a bit less considerinmg as how peoples' proclivities, whether to mate with women, men, cattle or fish are helthy or not in the exact degree that society punishes them for that.



blah blah enough of the writing! mudt to br sleeping!

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned that these games are sucking up the time and energy of an entire generation of potentially productive citizens.

My wife teaches foreign language at a public university. On Mondays, when she opens class with the warm-up question, "What did you do over the weekend?", more than half of her students say "I played video games."

I'm not surprised that they play video games. I am surprised that that's how they answer the question!

Mr. Anon said...

It could be the case that violent video games and movies don't induce normal people to violence, but act on those metnatlly unstable people on the margins, inducing them to do things they otherwise might not have done.

The entire vast advertising business is predicated on the assumption that, with enough control of what is put in front of people's eyeballs, it is possible to induce changes in their behavior. I would find it difficult to believe that it does not work at least some of the time.

heartiste said...

Steve-o: "Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rape in video games."

It would be illuminating to plot testosterone levels of gamers vs "non-gamers" (actual non-gamers, i.e. those men who have never played a minute of any violent or semi-violent video game probably don't exist any more), and see where we're at regarding pre-existing hormonal profiles and any post-gaming hormonal alterations.

Maybe you don't see much rape in video games because the types of men who create them and who play them are already low T betas and omegas for whom the thought of saying hi to a girl gives them the hives. The premise here is that killing other men doesn't require as much basal level testosterone as getting it up to rape women.

Anthony said...

My theory is that for *most* people, violent video games and porn are a sort of catharsis - they allow people to get those impulses out of their system in a harmless-to-others way. But for some people - perhaps only an already-mentally-ill few - they inspire action that might not otherwise have happened.

In the case of porn and rape, the suppressive effect outweighs the inspiration - fewer women will be raped, because it's hard to rape 10 or 20 women in a day. While most of the people whose actual violence is suppressed by video games would have just beaten their wives or started bar fights, or other low-level stuff (joined a boxing gym?), the ones who get triggered are more able to do violence to lots more people (even without guns).

However, it's hard to test the hypothesis that something reduces an outcome in most people while increasing it in others, when you don't know ahead of time who to expect to have which outcome.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Steve! But why stop there, let's just sedate everyone in the womb.

Seriously, to develop properly and know the world young people need social interaction with real people.

Chicago said...

There are five and six year olds who play Grand Theft Auto alongside slightly older kids. It may not spur them on to later trying it out in real life themselves but one wonders if it shapes their value system in some unhealthy manner. Television and movies seem to have become hyper-violent and again there's the question of whether it all contributes to a distortion of the general culture in some way that's hard to pin down.
Prior to these electronic toys many people spent endless hours absorbed in card games, bowling, drinking, and still are. It might all just be a big pacifier for bored people with time and energy to blow off.

Anonymous said...

"...more subtle kinds of social damage?"

Liberals (and, increasingly, "conservatives") are unable to recognize subtle kinds of social damage.

Anonymous said...

Steve, try out areyouahuman: http://areyouahuman.com/

Paul Mendez said...

Recently, I watched some 100-year-old porn from the silent era. Two things struck me.

First, people had a lot more clothes to take off back then.

Second, porn from a century ago was not a whole lot different from "mainstream" porn today. Intercourse, oral sex, 3-ways, cumshots, about the same level of gynecological explicitness.

Contrast that with violence. In a 1913 silent, when someone is shot they clutch their chest, grimace and fall down. Today, when someone is shot giant holes erupt and blood and guts splatter across the set. There is more graphic violence and gore in a network TV show like "Criminal Minds" or "CSI" than in most horror movies from the 1970's.

I'm not an adjunct professor in Media Studies, so I'm not sure what this means exactly.

Paul Mendez said...

Don't know whether to blame Google or Apple, but Blogger won't Publish from the Preview function, at least on an iPad.

I have NEVER been able to publish after using the Preview function, and I use a PC with Firefox.

Glaivester said...

I don't know, playing my favorite video game has never caused me to go out slaughtering lizard men.

Jehu said...

I wouldn't be surprised to see Hitler taking over a guild in an MMO were such around for him in his day. Leading raids and the like would probably be something he enjoyed. One thing to consider is that there are a LOT of ex-military (and current military)types in such guilds. The outcome of such a group coming to see him as their glorious leader might not be quite what you think. Quite possibly his first coup attempt might have succeeded were he more plugged into the military's social networks.

Matt said...

Video games seem to have become the latest bugbear on the right. But why are video games worse than television or movies?

Auntie Analogue said...


True, I'd confused Beria with one, and many more, of the others Stalin ordered shot; Kruschev and his cabal did indeed have Beria executed.

It is documented that Hitler was a willful child, that he joined in play with others so long as he got to set the rules of play or to lead in it. He was fond of Karl May's cowboys & Indians pulp novels and liked to use his familiarity with them to dictate the terms of his play with others at cowboys & Indians.

Someone, perhaps several someones, said that the worst thing that happened was the Vienna Art Academy rejection of Hitler's application, as it acceptance might have diverted Hitler into a career as a harmless minor painter.

Like many other young men of his time, Hitler was at the outset of the Great War caught up in a wave of pan-Gemanic patriotism, which moved him to enlist in a Bavarian regiment. His trench mates all described him as an oddball loner who didn't engage in the common repartee of soldiers in a small unit - they found it a bit odd that Hitler kept and read a volume of Schopenhauer, from whom Hitler got his sense of the power of the will. His superiors marked him as a dependable soldier who exhibited bravery in his job of message runner, but none of his superiors marked Hitler as having shown leadership talent.

It was Hitler's postwar experience that groomed him, and that he used, to manipulate others. Near the end of his postwar hospitalization (for having been poison-gassed and rendered temporarily blind) Hitler was selected by the army's intelligence branch to spy on the ringleaders of political movements that had begun to develop among soldiers and demobilized veterans. He parlayed that work into his entry into the small, conservative, nationalist German Workers' Party which he then brought under his will, and renamed the party with the addition of the word "Socialist." He'd thus used his government agent pay and expense account to gain the leadership of the party.

Anonyia said...

"Yeah, what they really need to be studying in both cases is whether excessive games/porn makes you into a weird, withdrawn, ineffectual dork.

My guess is yes..."

Indeed. Not to mention incredibly boring. I have been to some parties where it soon devolves into everyone watching 3-4 people take turns playing video games (since conversation is apparently too awkward). Those who are not playing just sit there and passively watch the screen. The people playing get irritated if anyone talks too much. I have some female friends that do this regularly in their leisure time: watch their boyfriends play video games while they text or use facebook. It is honestly depressing. I don't know why they put up with it.

Glossy said...

"...Stalin having Beria shot, &c.)"

Beria survived Stalin by some months. After Stalin's death the Soviet government experienced a power struggle, which was ultimately won by Khruschov. During this period Beria was arrested, tried and executed, essentially by his rivals.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read Breivik's manifesto but I have played World of Warcraft, and I can't think of anything more discouraging to someone seeking to change world history than a game where hundreds of thousands of players kill the same dragon week after week, changing nothing in so doing.

As for the lack of rape in games, members of congress have been gunning for the industry for as long as it's existed. The ESRB was created in response and it works near identically to the MPAA, particularly in how it incentivizes middle-range rated games. Certain outlets won't stock games rated for sexual content (Wal-mart being the largest, last I paid attention) and American parents are better disposed to letting their kids view violence than sex acts, so games companies have every reason to limit the type and degree of sex they allow in their product.

jody said...

i've opined at great length that video games have diverted trillions of man hours away from other better pursuits, where they are now dumped into pixel play.

i'm completely serious in my hypothesis that the advent of home video games is the primary cause of the precipitous decline in popular music.

meanwhile, the FBI calculates that 65 million small arms were sold in the US during obama's first term. this is up almost 100% from GW bush's first term in which about 34 million small arms were purchased.

so the number of handguns, shotguns, and rifles in the US went way up, and the violent crime rate went...down, in most cities. up slightly in a few cities due to democrats shooting people with handguns.

way, WAY more guns, less shootings, less violent crime. liberals, dead wrong again. as always. the issue is that the US does not have a gun violence problem. it has a democrats shooting people with handguns problem.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting and odd that in a culture such as ours that does not publicly celebrate or value skill in killing -- in this contemporary western civilization is anomalous among human civilizations -- our young men spend vast quantities of time developing the martial virtues of cunning, acute visual and auditory perception, agility, reflexes, (albeit limited agility and reflexes of fingers and thumbs over on a controller), and intuition related to hunting down people and avoiding being killed by them.

My guess is that the average American teen spends more time practicing for war than do teens in cultures that are in a perpetual state of war (tribes in Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea), who probably spend more time figuring out how to feed themselves and their families.
-- A READER

Anonymous said...

The verification tests are good, I think. They impose a certain threshold of commitment to submitting a post, which keeps down the number of sloppy, mindless comments.

Regarding illegible tests: Unreadable tests occur about 1/4 of the time, and the solution is to click the clockwise arrow. If this is keeping out some comments, it is functioning like a fast and crude IQ test, screening out 1/4 of the dumbest folks. I say keep the new system.
--A READER

jody said...

"Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rape in video games."

lol steve. come on.

why would you need to put rape in a video game when instead the user can just switch over to his browser and watch the most graphic uncensored porn of the most gorgeous women he's ever seen.

this is also why nudity in movies is out. what is the point? the internet renders all that moot. no reason for getting your jollies off to a 15 second nude scene in a mainstream movie when you can get 3 hours of porn any night you want.

the reason that violent video games are so popular is because YOU CAN'T DO THAT. you can't go around shooting 100 people with a rifle. you can't go around carjacking people and running over 20 pedestrians and having a chase with the police, crashing, burning, then doing it all over again.

but in the video game, you can come pretty close. especially the more advanced the games get.

simulated violence is what video games are for. simulated sex is what porn is for.

Anonymous said...

Anderson Silva, the UFC's long-reigning middleweight champion and consensus #1 pound-for-pound MMA fighter, usually does the choreographed celebratory moves that the character "Scorpion" from "Mortal Combat" does every time he wins a fight. When he beat Rich Franklin to win the UFC's middleweight title, mangling Franklin's face to the point where he had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery, Silva did the choreography at the end of the fight. All the old men in the audience had no idea what he was doing, but all the males under 30 immediately got the reference and started to cheer frenetically. During the press conference for his title defense against Vitor Belfort, when asked how he would win the fight, Silva once again paraphrased "Mortal Combat", by replying that:

- "I will win by fatality."

Silva might be a professional fighter, but despite all this vídeo games influence, he never committed a violent crime outside the cage.

All this talk about films and vídeo games causing murder and mayhem is non sensical as 99.9999% of all people who play violent vídeo games do not become murderers. I believe that individuals who have clear schizoid tendencies or severe sociopathic mindsets might be pushed over the edge by films and games, but you should blame the individual's psychological profile for that and not any outside influence.

Anonymous said...

"Video games seem to have become the latest bugbear on the right. But why are video games worse than television or movies?"

Generally, movie violence comes with a moral context, and it happens independent of the viewer.

Videogame violence has no moral context and is more like blood porn, especially since the graphic depiction has gotten so gruesome and gory. Also, the player participates or enacts the mayhem.
Also, it gives the player a false sense of invincibility since he can be revived over and over and over. It's like you have 9 million lives.

Anonymous said...

I think video games are a waste of time, but reading some of the laughably stupid comments on this blog made me want to post this quote from the Esquire article about the SEALs who shot Bin Laden:

"On deployment in Afghanistan or Iraq, they would "eat, work out, play Xbox, study languages, do schoolwork." And watch the biker series Sons of Anarchy, Entourage, and three or four seasons of The Shield."

See what happened to these guys? They played video games and ended up being big fat pussies. At least they got Bin Laden. Imagine how tough they would have been if they posted comments to blogs mocking people who play video games. Just sitting in front of a computer monitor posting day and night, you can just sense your test levels rising, you delusional, moronic, wimpy little nerds.

To the pretentious feminine pussy who calls himself heartiste: Are you really that stupid? If you do not know why then you are a bigger dork than I thought. And the only reason you studied game is because you know deep down what a nerdy little vagina you are.

The people who post at this blog are hilariously pathetic and lacking in self awareness.

Anonymous said...

http://espn.go.com/olympics/story/_/id/8939185/ioc-drops-wrestling-2020-olympics

Shocking. Just shocking. Sign of the times.

Anonymous said...

Not an economist. An obnoxious social theoretician.



What is the difference?

Anonymous said...

He parlayed that work into his entry into the small, conservative, nationalist German Workers' Party which he then brought under his will, and renamed the party with the addition of the word "Socialist." He'd thus used his government agent pay and expense account to gain the leadership of the party.


Not conservative, you moron.

Why is it people think there are no political identities besides liberal and conservative?

Paul Mendez said...

Someone, perhaps several someones, said that the worst thing that happened was the Vienna Art Academy rejection of Hitler's application, as it acceptance might have diverted Hitler into a career as a harmless minor painter.

IIRC, before WW1, Hitler was told about a job opening as a set designer at some Viennese theater -- something he might have been good at. But when he got to the theater he was unable to summon up the nerve to actually interview for the position, so he turned around and went back home without talking to anyone.

(I have an idea for a sci-fi/alternative history novel about a Jewish girl from the 1980's who goes back in time to assassinate Hitler when he's still a struggling nobody. But she falls in love with him. So she uses her knowledge of 20th Century art to rip off Picasso's ideas and turn Hitler into a celebrity artist.)

pat said...

Even Steve seems to assume that this obsessive game playing is a purely environmental issue. I wonder if the games are just selecting for the kids with a particular genetic constitution.

I got my government agency to buy me my first computer in about 1975. Actually they had bought me an Altair a year or so before that machine never really worked. I got a Commodore PET because I saw a guy on TV playing Starr Trek on it. I was hooked. But not really. I could never play more than a few minutes before I would q stop playing and re-write the game. It was written in BASIC. No two versions were alike because the code was so easy to modify.

I learned that I liked to program more than I liked playing games.

Years later I worried that my "inner child" was dying and bought some computer games. I envied all those game players I had read about. I tried Baseball games and Robot games. Nothing. Then I bought "The Battle of Britain" - a game in which you flew a Spitfire over the Channel.

Alas, I couldn't shoot down a single Bf-109. I decided it was the mouse, so I bought a pilot's yoke that I attached to my computer desk. It allowed me to fly the virtual fighter plane much more realistically.

I did this for weeks but never could down a single Nazi. Then my relatives came over. My brother-in-law who was a pilot and a major in the Air Force (but had been denied a fighter berth) did only a little better but my other brother-in-law who was not a pilot quickly cleared the Channel of every Nazi plane. I immediately gave him all the software and hardware.

My Instant Ace relative was a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker in real life. He was also a natural born Spitfire pilot.

That's my case for the genetics of game players. Much as I have tried, I can't get interested in "first person shooter" games. It's something in my genes I guess.

My attitude is that the guys who waste their lives playing games were born to such a fate.

Albertosaurus

Corn said...

Paul Mendez,
Where did you get your silent movie porn? Inquiring minds would like to know.

FWIW, I don't believe video games cause violence or porn causes rape. In fact, a few years back Reason magazine and some other sources were quoting one or two studies which claimed that easier access to porn seemed to correlate with lower rape rates.

The problem with too much video games, or too much TV, is that it is, as Steve once described pot: "middle age in a bong".
Sitting on the couch playing video games and wolfing down junk food does not make a fit, healthy warrior for the tribe.

Anonymous said...

videolence is like drugs. it incapacitates dangerous people but makes them worse in the long run.

Anonymous said...

His trench mates all described him as an oddball loner who didn't engage in the common repartee of soldiers in a small unit - they found it a bit odd that Hitler kept and read a volume of Schopenhauer, from whom Hitler got his sense of the power of the will. His superiors marked him as a dependable soldier who exhibited bravery in his job of message runner, but none of his superiors marked Hitler as having shown leadership talent.

It was Hitler's postwar experience that groomed him, and that he used, to manipulate others. Near the end of his postwar hospitalization (for having been poison-gassed and rendered temporarily blind) Hitler was selected by the army's intelligence branch to spy on the ringleaders of political movements that had begun to develop among soldiers and demobilized veterans. He parlayed that work into his entry into the small, conservative, nationalist German Workers' Party which he then brought under his will, and renamed the party with the addition of the word "Socialist." He'd thus used his government agent pay and expense account to gain the leadership of the party.


That sounds remarkably like Steve's work on Obama - a stoned out, remote, loner of a loser in High School, a nobody in college, from a family [the Dunhams] who very likely had CIA ties, and who got plenty of help along the way from folks like Peter Geithner [father of Timothy].

BTW, Steve, have you seen the new piece at the Paper of Record on the real story behind the Petraeus ouster?

We're talking some serious "inner party" government-within-a-government stuff here:

EXCLUSIVE: David Petraeus was brought down after betrayal by vengeful CIA agents and his own bodyguards who made sure his affair was exposed, claims new book
By Michael Zennie
10 February 2013
dailymail.co.uk

* Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL, and Jack Murphy, a former Green Beret, reveal the new claims in their book 'Benghazi: The Definitive Report'

* Petraeus was humiliated after a 'palace coup' by high-level intelligence officers who did not like the way he was running the CIA, authors say

* The book also claims that Petraeus and Ambassador Chris Stevens were caught off guard by Benghazi consulate attack because they weren't briefed about on-going U.S. military operations in Libya

* Webb and Murphy say Benghazi attack was a retaliation for secret raids authorized by Obama security adviser John Brennan


PS: John Brennan was the fellow who led the assault on the State Department Passport Files in early 2008, probably to see whether the State Department had any evidence that Obama, as an adult, had ever travelled on anything other than a USA passport.

Anonymous said...

OT/

http://andrewgelman.com/2013/02/that-claim-that-harvard-admissions-discriminate-in-favor-of-jews-after-checking-the-statistics-maybe-not/

Reg Cæsar said...

It is documented that Hitler was a willful child, that he joined in play with others so long as he got to set the rules of play or to lead in it. --Auntie

Check out his grade school class photo, with him lording it over his classmates, top an center.

That picture was used in psychiatrist Robert U. Akeret's book Photoanalysis to illustrate how mental traits will often show up in family and other photographs long before the person makes his name. I marked that page with my brother's seventh-grade class photo, where he also stands top-and-center, but with arms akimbo rather than folded. Scary nevertheless...

Reg Cæsar said...

I have NEVER been able to publish after using the Preview function, and I use a PC with Firefox. --Paul Mendez

Yes, readability was never the issue-- it happens even when it's eminently readable and double- and triple-checked. The problem is in View-- i.e., Mountain View.

If you have to use Preview, as I just did with the lengthy URL for the Hitler photo, just copy your post for safety, then go to Preview to check it out. When it fails, just go back and Publish directly.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, Marx is irrelevant to this discussion. The guy was an economist. He never killed anyone and he never held political power. Blaming him for Lenin, Stalin and Mao is a little much.

I agree. Please remember this the next time a shooting happens and the media all rush to blame Palin, the Tea Party and talk radio.

Reg Cæsar said...

(P.S. as a male feminist, i watch lotts of porn but tell everyone it is for research about the patriarchy.) ---DHF

As a male feminist, porn is the only action you're liable to get.

And by "lotts of porn", I hope you don't mean this.

Eric said...

>>And all of these men eliminated not only their genuine competitors, but they also eliminated anyone they merely suspected of being their competitor or of conpsiring with their competitors (e.g., Hitler having Ernst Röhm & other SA leaders murdered, Stalin having Beria shot, &c.).

>Beria outlived Stalin. Khrushchev et co. had him tried and executed in December 1953.


Roehm and much of the SA leadership was murdered not because Hitler was afraid they would become competitors, but rather because the army saw the SA as a competitor and demanded Hitler rein it in.

At that time Hitler was afraid of the army, since it it was the last institution with the power to remove him. It wasn't until 1938 when he had Fritsch and Blomberg removed (along with sixteen other senior generals) that his position was secure.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Obama didn't take up golf sooner in life.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

He parlayed that work into his entry into the small, conservative, nationalist German Workers' Party which he then brought under his will, and renamed the party with the addition of the word "Socialist."

No offense, since this sort of thing has become depressingly common, but only in the weird, bizarro PC upside down world we've become in recent years would a party with "Socialist" in its name be called "conservative".

First "nationalist" != "conservative necessarily. Gazillions of examples.

Second, the Nazis hate religion, aristocracy, etc and loved the state managing pre-natal care, welfare, anti-smoking, animal rights, and virtually every aspect of an individuals existence.

Nazism was progressivism/leftism on steroids w/a nationalist flavor. There wasn't the slightest thing conservative about it.

The vile leftists have been tagging the right w/Nazis since the 1960's, lets not help them out any more.

Nazis were not conservatives, they were uber-liberals.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

The objection is often raised that "this isn't different from reading books", but the key difference there is that reading books actually adds value to the person reading them in a way that video games do not.

Let's keep in mind that that in a previous era, excessive time spent with books was not considered an unalloyed good, rather was thought of as a form of escapism much as video games are now. Calling someone a "bookworm" or "booksmart" was not at all a compliment.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps, but what if World of Warcraft had been around to absorb the energies of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, to deflect their ambitions to foresee and control history into a cyber fantasy world?"

This can be good and bad, depending on the inclinations of the person whose time is absorbed. Games like that may soak up the time of those inclined to violence and grasping at power, but they also soak up the energies of lots of decent men whose real-world efforts might otherwise help prevent a lot of evil. For example, a young Catholic man might spend all of his time indoors re-fighting the Third Crusade in "Age of Empires II", instead of going out and joining, say, the Knights of Columbus and doing something practical as part of an organized network of real human beings. Or perhaps a young man with a head for both engineering and business might sink his time into "Roller Coaster Tycoon", rather than launching a productive and lucrative career in aeronautical engineering. Which effect is greater I can't say. Part of the problem, as has been noted elsewhere, is that the incentives for "real-world" efforts have diminished in recent decades, thanks to things like the stagnation of real wages, the sexual revolution, and affirmative action. Video and computer games have an appealing ratio of effort-to-reward, which can be adjusted to the user's preferences (through difficulty settings and "cheat codes"). Why go through the trouble of practicing music for years and studying music theory when you can be a rock star in a matter of hours just by playing "Guitar Hero"? Sure, women won't throw themselves at you as they would if you could really rock, but that's what dirty websites are for.


Some years ago, I saw an intriguing history-based computer game with a feature that allowed the player to found and guide a dynasty, controlling a character and his progeny down through the centuries. It looked fascinating... then it occurred to me that, if I were ever going to have real-world progeny, I should probably get to work finding a well-paying job and a girlfriend, neither of which effort would be aided by me wasting all of my free time in front of a computer screen negotiating royal marriages and treaties with nonexistent Danish kings and Byzantine emperors. I walked away from the game and accomplished my objectives; as a result, I'll probably be negotiating an actual marriage pretty soon, with a very real prospective father-in-law. Maybe I would have gotten the same outcome even if I had spent lots of my free time over the past few years occupied with computer games, but I suspect women wouldn't have found me nearly as interesting without all the stuff I learned by spending my free time in autodidactic self-improvement.

Anonymous said...

"Videogame violence has no moral context"

Videogames, more than works in almost any other medium, tend to be escapist, good versus evil morality tales. Even Grand Theft Auto, the Great Satan of the alt-right's sneering moral arbitrators, is framed by a self-consciously cinematic crime narrative wherein the protagonist is depicted as being in moral as well as physical peril.

Carol said...

I dunno, I work in an IT shop and suspect I am surrounded by gamers. I don't think these guys are going to hurt anyone. Semi-anecdotal, I know.

It seems to me though that the violent games, violent lyrics in either rap or metalcore (take your pick), and psychotropic drugs is a potent and scary combination.

Anonymous said...

"but I suspect women wouldn't have found me nearly as interesting without all the stuff I learned by spending my free time in autodidactic self-improvement."

How could anyone find you interesting if you haven't seen a movie, read a fiction book, or listened to popular music since your epiphanic turning away from Crusader Kings?

Anonymous said...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-13/israel-censors-reports-on-australian-prisoner-x-case/4515664

Fun said...

heartiste said...
Maybe you don't see much rape in video games because the types of men who create them and who play them are already low T betas and omegas for whom the thought of saying hi to a girl gives them the hives. The premise here is that killing other men doesn't require as much basal level testosterone as getting it up to rape women.


I don't see how T levels would affect virtual depictions of it. Japan produces a notable amount games involving rape (for example) yet East Asians have lower levels of testosterone on average.

Steve Sailer said...
Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rape in video games. There appears to be a lot of self-censorship. Is that a bad thing?


Unlike depictions of violence the societal consensus about rape is that it has artistic merit but negative entertainment value. If one assumes video games must be dopamine-inducing entertainment for juveniles then the inclusion rape would be a bad thing.

However there is no innate reason an interactive medium can't be thought-provoking and contribute an advanced understanding of human nature like say an Oscar-winning film. Such a non-game be focused on creating a particular experience using interactivity rather than fun.

Anonymous said...

smart people are not influenced by violent video games! they can play all the video games they want & they will NOT become more violent! only DUMB people become (slightly) more violent from seeing violence -- SMART people do NOT! jeez, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out... panjoomby

Anonymous said...

Facebook is more likely to neutralize the future stalins and hitlers of the world. They'll be too busy blogging and sharing stuff on facebook to actualize go out there and do something specific. Letting off steam on social networking sites will relieve their ideological fervor.

So, paradoxically, while the internet has spread 'dangerous' ideas far and wide, it has also absorbed much of the passion by making everyone feel that he or she has a voice.

Anonymous said...

"Videogames, more than works in almost any other medium, tend to be escapist, good versus evil morality tales."

But surely you know the difference between watching a WWII film and playing a WWII videogame.

Anonymous said...

""Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, to deflect their ambitions to foresee and control history into a cyber fantasy world?"

They were evil but serious men."

Was Marx really evil? He actually cared about people. You can say his theories were bad, but I don't think he was a cruel, power hungry person.

The working class was living in terrible conditions and he wanted to do something about it.

Anonymous said...

I've hard of statistics where violent crime has been on the decline for years now, even in this current Great Recession.

Sure, the Internet and video games have turned many people into mindless zombies, but I'd rather that inner city youths waste their time vicariously committing crimes on Grand Theft Auto on the PS3 than going outdoors to form gangs and cause mischief.

Once the Holodeck becomes reality, many social I desirables will be able to do all kinds of fun bad stuff to their heart's content in a fake virtual reality world than hurting people in real life.

Anonymous said...

"My impression is that Asians and Whites are more likely to play video games in obsessive/life-wrecking ways. Blacks and Hispanics also love video games, but it seems like a more casual habit for them."

Video games = white (and asian) flight from an increasingly dystopian reality where you really can't do much outside the house without spending money or getting into trouble.

Blacks and Hispanics are still willing and able to do stuff and have fun outside on the streets, so they don't need to play video games full time.

Nick Diaz said...

Anonymous

"Why is it people think there are no political identities besides liberal and conservative?"

Because this is an AMERICAN blog and, as such, is full of Anericans posting in it. The intellectual discourse is extremely poor in America as there is no "ideological" issues to Americans. All the idiological issues have been resolved in America at the founding of the country, where it was decided that the U.S would represent the epitome of the bourgeoise "values". Like I said before many times, the U.S is the apotheosis of the ideals of the European Merchant classes of the 17th century. Or like Calvin Coolidge once said:

"The business of the country is business."

While in Europe the values and proposition of the bourgeoise about how to organize society has always been questioned and debated, in America they are SACRED and not open to debate. Things such as the right to private property, the atributes of government and the role and importance of the individual in Society are SETTLED in the U.S by the Constitution and simply not open to debate. Hence, the only "political" debate in America is whether the government should let those who can't support themselves starve(conservatives) or not(liberals). You could say that America is a simple country, intellectualy and politically, at least compared to Europe.

As for Hitler, though, he was a lot closer to what Americans would regard as conservatives than to liberals. He wanted to "conserve" the Germanic nature of Germany, as well as the bourgeoise values such as private property and religion. Definitely not a "liberal" as Americans would use the term.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it encourages it, but at a minimum, it has a desensitizing effect. Not as much as continually reading about the real thing, but each builds on the other and after a while, nothing is shocking or unthinkable.

JDG said...

I've often thought that if the Internet had existed back then, Hitler would have spent most of his time posting rants online and trolling message boards, rather than doing anything actually dangerous.

Eric said...

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rape in video games. There appears to be a lot of self-censorship. Is that a bad thing?

Is that a true thing? If you put out a game with rape in it you'd have the Tipper Gores of the world boycotting your studio. You'd have the FTC talking about mandatory age restrictions.

It's not really self censorship if you're doing it because you know the hammer will come down if you put rape in your game. These guys are in business to make money, after all.

Eric said...

Nick Diaz, have you ever been to the US?

Anonymous said...

Holy hell, after a couple of Ambien last night I apparently posted a couple of comments here via my phone. I just made an attempt to read them and while I can guess what I was going for, the typos alone make the thing illegible. Hot damn!

Then again, one thing I recall thinking at the time was that people who are more flippant about things tend to do better in life (you miss more shots but you make more too) so that, state of mind aside, let's go and hit publish.

Shockingly I don't see any purchases of my series having come from my suggestion in that direction. I wonder what it was.

Oh wait... I see now that I continued to comment just more anonymously. Did circumspection arrive late to the battlefield? Who knows the mind of man?

Moshe

Peter the Shark said...

Nazis were not conservatives, they were uber-liberals.

That's ridiculous. In the context of 1920s Germany they were a right-wing populist party and were viewed that way by all of their contemporaries. See if you can find one example of an American or British conservative from the 1920s or 30s declaring the Nazis to be a "left wing" party. You could make a similarly ridiculous case that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union under Brezhnev was "conservative" because it favored military values; condemned homosexuality, drug use and libertine life styles in general; promoted patriotism and traditional Western culture as clearly superior to the primitive superstitions of oriental or African cultures; denied workers the right to organize freely (ironically); and in practice was very hostile to Western feminism (even if they still paid some lip service to "equality"). No matter, it was still a left-wing party at heart.

Part of the reasons Americans get so confused is because American conservatism has a very strong libertarian/neoliberal streak, and you will find very few libertarians outside the Anglosphere. European politics is more clearly "who-whom" and people can be flexible on what Americans consider life or death ideological issues as long as they are creating a benefit for their own group.

jaakkeli said...

A lot of commenters are clearly too old for the subject. World of Warcraft is essentially a boy scout simulator and it definitely should not inspire any discussion about violence in games any more than Star Wars should inspire discussions about movie violence.

World of Warcraft is not a strategy game either, it is a hero simulator where you run around helping game characters. You'll run into someone saying "my cattle are being attacked by wolves, please go and kill them" and then you get called a hero and thanked; if you do this enough times the game hands you "medals" and titles that you can gaze in your online list of "achievements". World of Warcraft deals with the problem of violence the same way children's cartoons or Star Wars does: the graphics style is deliberately cartoony and childlish so that when you swing that silly looking sword on the silly looking enemy it does not feel violent the same way Wile E Coyote being hit by a massive hammer doesn't feel violent in a gory way.

It's easy to guess that someone like Eric Harris would have probably been disgusted by the boy scoutiness of World of Warcraft. He was the kind of a guy who was clearly obsessed with the "see enemy, bam, good hit in the head and his brains are all over the floor" instant power rush moments of FPS games. Those moments never happen in WoW, by design.

The personality of video game obsessive spree murderers is pretty predictably reflected in the kind of games they obsessed over. Breivik wasn't into the "let's become feared ubermensch with guns and get revenge for being laughed at" thing, he had a hero fantasy and he played video games that let him repeat fantasies of becoming an important person with a long list of achievements while collecting shiny medals and titles for his simulated heroism.

NOTA said...

Many of the comments about time wasting video games are more or less the same concerns you can have with TV. There are plenty of people who seem to have little to talk about except what was on the idiot box last night, and whose answer to "what did you do over the weekend" is "watched TV" in some form or another.

Entertainment influences peoples' moral and factual beliefs, models behavior (good and bad), etc. My guess is that much of the success of tough on crime rhetoric in politics has to do with cop shows, that the gay rights movement's big success lately is due to positive portrayal of gays in movies. Some kinds of ideas and stories are much harder to tell on TV than others, and that affects what stories are told, and ultimately, peoples' ideas about the world. (For example, superhero movies are a big deal now because the technology makes it workable to do them well.)

I imagine the same must be true of video games--each technology allows you to do different things, tell certain kinds of stories well and not tell other kinds well. (For example, early video games were two dimensional, because the processing power to render 3D objects in realtime for a game would have been unbelievably expensive.). And this must shape the consumers of those games in all kinds of subtle ways. My suspicion is that the overt morals of the games are probably not anything like the most important effect there.

NOTA said...

It's probably not a very useful exercise to try to map extreme points like the Nazis and Commies into modern US political divisions. I don't think there is any insight to be gained by comparing the Republicans to Nazis or the Democrats to Commies--it's mainly done as a way to try to smear the other side with someone else's crimes. Worse, it usually seems to be done with the idea of basking in the reflected glory of the brave people who really did face those evil empires down. As is always the case, a great many more people are bravely willing to take a stand against the Commies or Nazis now that they're beaten and discredited than were willing to do so in times and places where they had either overt power, or widespread support and admiration from the powerful.

FWIW, I agree with some of the other commenters that Marx doesn't belong in the same category as Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao. etc. Marx was a thinker who never actually had much power over anyone, but whose ideas were adopted by some people who did some godawful stuff. (And if you accept Hayek's argument, that was more or less inevitable in a country run on socialist principles, but presumably Marx didn't recognize that.)

Anonymous said...

"Hence, the only "political" debate in America is whether the government should let those who can't support themselves starve(conservatives) or not(liberals)."

Really? Maybe we are simple, but I would say the debate is whether the government should encourage those who can't support themselves to have children that they can't support (liberals) or not(conservatives).

Anonymous said...

Joe Sobran was pretty good at making distinctions. He had said that the difference between film violence and porn is that the violence, specifically murder, is simulated, unless you're watching a snuff film, while in porn the actual sin is happening before your eyes. Ann Coulter refers to his comment about the courts' inability to define porn and I quote from memory "it's like child porn, except with adults."

We are here wondering about the cathartic effects of viewing porn, but does all this consumption encourage more and more amateurs, in a moment of youthful indiscretion, to post videos on YouPorn. I bet many people would rather have been the victim of a (not horrendously violent) rape, than to live in constant fear of their sex video, where they might be acting as cheerleaders in their own degradation, being exposed. Maybe some readers have made sex tapes that they are proud of, if so, please post the link and describe the experience.

Anonymous said...

Encourage violence?

You decide.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZSyl4x9hP4

Kludwig said...

I have played video games of every type since I was little. Now I'm 32 and I've never even been in a fight. Can't blame the video games instead of taking responsibility for ones actions.

Duncan Faber said...

Our kids used to be hooked on videogames. We fixed that by swapping them out for audiobooks. Audiobooks are far more engaging. There are lots of sites where you can download them, but we use this one a lot because the stories are original and free. Here's the link if anyone is interested. It really helps. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/moral-stories-for-kids