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Jon Bishop

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October 8, 2012 - 12:00 pm

Via Romney’s Road Kill:  The GOP Presidential nomination contest staged as a video game fight.

On the road to the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney ran up quite a body count, from Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Now as the former Massachusetts governor gears up for his first debate with President Obama, Slate V is rolling out Political Kombat ’12, which recounts the story of the campaign as a series of video game fights.

Those growing up in the ’90s remember Mortal Kombat — the game in which you would pummel people to the sound of an epic yet cheesy soundtrack. It was violent. It was bloody — but cartoonishly so. Thus, it’s not hard to see what Slate is upto here. They — as many have throughout this election cycle — are making a comment on the supposed brutality of the Republican primary.

Well, yeah — but, let’s be honest. Politics has always been like that. What we’re seeing now is nothing different from the past. In fact, as Reason  points out in the video at the bottom of the page, attacks of history were sometimes worse than what we’re seeing today.

Which is why any student of history or politics should laugh at the language in the above quote:  “Mitt Romney ran up quite a body count.” (Emphasis added.)

The establishment media — even when joking, as Slate is here — never stops decrying the supposed “lack of civility” present in today’s politics. Oh, those SuperPACs! They’re frightening! And those mean, vicious ads — how dare they!

Their whining reminds me of the controversy that arose when Mortal Kombat first arrived. Worried parents refused to buy it for their children. It led to careerist lawyers filing lawsuits against game companies. They feared the violence it depicted.


But the game was substantive. It had a story and memorable characters. Each of them had something to gain or nothing to lose. Some were good, others were evil, and they all fought for a reason. By today’s standards the graphics are primitive, but at the time they dazzled. Overall, it was a well-done game that still holds up today. And its impact cannot be denied.

We should be thankful that Slate is comparing the primary to Mortal Kombat. It shows that our politics is still at least somewhat robust.

If the media and the civility police had their way, then political life would be nothing more than Pong.

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Jon Bishop likes to write.
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