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This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Grand Theft Auto

Can anyone at any age experience illicit entertainment without being profoundly affected?

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

September 21, 2013 - 9:00 am
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GTA-V-big

“I am not as good of a person because I play that game,” I confessed to a colleague earlier this week in reference to Grand Theft Auto V, the latest iteration of the boundary-pushing franchise which moral crusaders love to hate. Its release served as one of two recent events which prompted me to reevaluate the effect of media upon minds young and old.

The other event involved my four-year-old son, whose development has taken off over a summer at home with his mother on maternity leave. The previous year left us concerned, as he was slow to talk, reluctant to engage with other children, and prone to tantrums which defied our efforts at discipline. He now rattles on as if his life depended on it, communicating with increasing creativity and sophistication. That affords us a wider window into his developing mind which has revealed just how impressionable he — and presumably all children — can be.

The influence which media can have upon my son proved dramatic this week after he watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. A cartoon spin-off of the classic PBS series Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, the new show chronicles the adventures of preschooler Daniel Tiger in the world of Make-Believe. Utilizing techniques which have become standard operating procedure in children’s programming, such as speaking directly to children through the camera and soliciting response, the show takes kids on a tour of new experiences like going to school or visiting the doctor.

Understand that my son has always been terrified of the doctor’s office. A dual ear infection which occurred earlier this year was torturous for all of us. My son has required reassurance to get him into a drug store, let alone a clinic. So imagine my surprise when, after journeying through the magic of television to the doctor’s office with Daniel Tiger, my son was suddenly eager to submit to an exam. He’s been stomping around enthusiastically all week, talking about sitting in the waiting room, reading books until the doctor comes, and getting to listen to his own heart.

Daniel Tiger did in twenty-one minutes what his mother and I could not accomplish in four years. That’s the power of media.

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All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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Funny how we're as insanely politically correct as nuns compared to the old days on the one hand and just as insanely violent on the other.

The question isn't whether society is made more crude: since I have no interest in such an insane sociopathic entertainment, despite having a questionable background, that has clearly already happened. Even an old-school Hell's Angel must be shaking their head at how cuddly they've become.

And when I think this evolution is no where near over, I can see gladiatorial combat legislation in our future. We're raising gangsters and sociopaths, and after watching these games, kids go outside and act out this new hero worship, secure in the notion they'll have no problem finding others just like themselves well-armed with ammo and with not a brain or value in their frickin' skull.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think GTA was what St. Paul had in mind when he wrote this. "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

When 'Columbo' used to say, "Oh, and one more thing..." you knew he meant business.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"So I’m not going to sit here on a moral high horse and start barking about how the culture rockets toward hell in a hand basket."

Ok then, I'll say it.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Illicit?

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
doubt you are a worse person. you just found out how bad part of you really is. that is not necessarily bad. if you are Christian, it reaffirms your sinful nature, you embrace Christ's sacrifice and helps you in dealing with a world that is not as it should be. thinking all is beauty and light ain't helpful.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd rather watch "Toopy and Binoo" with my grandchild (it's a children's cartoon, produced in Quebec, which celebrates innocence and joy). I think there's a wiki article...
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The whole marketing and advertising industry puts the obvious lie that media influences people's behavior.

There really isnt a debate to be had. The Communists targeted media and the arts because they influence people.



50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I play games that are violent and have sex in them. I'm an adult. I prefer adult stories. That being said, I also search for games that are RPG-style and allow me the choice of how I execute any mission in the game or how I interact with the other characters.

That way, I have the option of being a mean SOB if I want to, but I never have to. I can engage in the bloodiest possible way through every scenario if I've had a bad drive home or a particularly frustrating day at work, or I can play the peacemaker or sneak and avoid wracking up the kill counter. I find that I vastly prefer playing the hero albeit the snarky one.

And while I find a certain satisfaction in the perfectly placed kill shot, I don't revel in taking the bloodiest path if I can find the peaceful way out.

And I've never, ever been tempted by the likes of GTA V. I tried my hand at playing a borderline villain anti-hero in a tabletop RPG, and while she was fun, she also embarked on an epic journey of personal redemption almost without me being aware of it at first. In the end, she became my greatest triumph, but I learned that I just wasn't cut out to play the unredeemable types.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Human nature has a dark side, and a healthy society allows for little outlets. Think, for example, of the old functions of carnivals, or the controlled civic brawls of Renaissance Italy (see Robert Davis, "War of the Fists" about Venice). That's what GTA V does. It's a lot better than a soccer riot, as our European "betters" prefer. Besides, in modern America, to be alive is to be a criminal.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
You actually raise some good points, Walter. I stood in line to get the game and I've only put in about three to four hours in the game. I found myself questioning whether I really wanted to play game that essentially celebrates the criminal life. I haven't gotten to where you are in the game (by the way, you should preface this article and the other GTA 5 article with SPOILER ALERT), so it seems it only gets seedier.

It does have a pretty good tennis mini-game, though.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The golf and darts are good too.

Plus if you lose you can just massacre the s**t out of whoever beat you :)
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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