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Last week a Connecticut action group going by the name of SouthingtonSOS held a video game burning event where local citizens were encouraged to bring various forms of violent media to be burned in a dumpster, no doubt a reaction to the recent Connecticut shooting.

I wish I could say I am surprised about this, but sadly the whole media frenzy surrounding violence in video games and movies reminds me of something that already happened once and profoundly affected the media it was accusing: Comic books.

During the early days of comic books, things occasionally got a little risqué. EC Horror comics in particular delighted in rendering extremely gruesome images and disturbing themes in their comics, which were being sold to children unbeknownst to their parents (because naive parents at the time had no reason to suspect comics might contain "inappropriate" material). However all that changed in 1954.

German-American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham was upset about how disturbing some of those comics could be, and he hypothesized that the corrupt images and morals being presented in comic books were responsible for corrupt children and teenagers. Fredric wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent which "exposed" these disturbing comics to those naive parents, which in turn kickstarted a moral panic in the US.

There were book burnings, several court battles, and practically every comic book series ceased printing except the 3 main DC series Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Seduction of the Innocent literally stopped the comic book industry dead in it's tracks. They had to invent "decency" standards called the Comics Code Authority in order to self censor their content and prevent further censorship actions and lawsuits, which is why comic books from the 50's onward were so boring.

If you ever wondered why we still joke to this day about Batman and Robin potentially having homosexual overtones, or speculate that Wonder Woman is a lesbian... this is why. Seduction of the Innocent had a profound effect on the comic book industry, one which it is still fighting to get out of almost 50 years later. I don't want to see the same thing happen to video games and movies, and the fact that people are unironically having "burnings" scares the crap out of me.

I don't think you should fight violence in the media by trying to outright ban and censor it into non-existence, just like how I don't think you should fight piracy by punishing innocent users with laborious piracy protection software. If you love video games and violent movies, you should make sure that you're being heard loud and clear that this sort of behavior is irrational and ignores the real problem. History tends to repeats itself, but we have the opportunity right now to prevent it from doing so by being smart, intelligent, and rational. Here's hoping we do the right thing in the end.
  • Listening to: Escapist Podcast
  • Watching: The Adventures of Mark Twain
  • Playing: Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning
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scarletadragon Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
uhhh.... dosent geting a bunch of toys and throwing them into a bonfire to protest violence and superstition seem counterintuitive?  
I-disregard-gravity Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I did mention they cancelled that event, right?

I just don't get why parents can't parent (talking about the comic Code bit).
Riverclan23 Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Student
Once again people are over reacting. -_- There are very few people that can't tell the difference between video games and real life. There is no reason to punish the rest of us.
af-s772 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
I'm not surprised that it's happening. When people panic they take comfort in reacting rather than
being rational.
The comics code is pretty much dead, but it's legacy is still around:(
LateNightTelevision Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
It happened to Comic books, it happened to traditional board games (DnD, etc) Now it's happening to video games and same as always common sense wins eventually.
Anna-Jaganshi Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
We're burning games now? Geez. Games are more expensive than books nowadays; how can these people afford to buy games just to burn them? WHY would they buy games just to burn them? Burning books was already ridiculous, but burning games is just an even bigger act of stupid, and a waste of money. (And I know that's not the point, but it came to mind.)

How'd they connect games to the Connecticut shooting anyway? Unless I missed it when they uncovered the kid's diary that had written in it, "GAMES GAMES LET'S SHOOT SOME PEOPLE GAMES ARE FUN AND VIOLENT BANG BANG GAMES." (That was a little insensitive, I think... Was no way intended to be. Just me making a point in a stupid way.)

Sounds like we're jumping to conclusions and assigning blame again. History repeating itself, indeed. It's gonna get all "Fahrenheit 451" in here if this keeps up.
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been hearing a lot about this comparison, and from what I hear I have to agree. Beyond that, before comic books (and sadly, after) there have been banned and burned books.

...It's not solving anything. This is supposed to be a free country. I don't like violent video games, no, but I don't like the suppression of free expression either.
Needleguns Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh and by the way, Hitler didn't play video games. Just saying...
Rinkinkeen Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
"Hitler didn't play video games." I'm totally using that in an argument when the opportunity arises. :XD:
Needleguns Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
XD Awesome! I'm glad someone agrees.
Needleguns Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I play BATTLEFIELD 3 and I in no way ever even THINK about murdering others!
shiroikira Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
i agree. we need to accept differences and parents should be more aware of what materials their children have their hands on.
OriginaltoReality Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
Many comments have already touched on the controversy of whether video games are good/evil/somewhere in between. Is anyone concerned about the fact that they're actually burning the electronics? These burnings could cause serious issues with the air quality and expose dangerous elements and toxins to anything it comes into contact with.

If you want to protest violent video games, you could just not buy them.
salty-dreams Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
those who burn it are simply affraid they will show their agression. those who play it know how to control themselves. with the exceptions of some morbid people who will blame the game for their own issues. you know, burn what you do not reckognize.
like the witches being burned, who burned them? the real witches and warlocks. in short, people who are against free expression through games, art, comic books or various other things are the worst people of them all. affraid of themseves. and of course, almoust each one of them holds a gun in a drawer. it is not games to be affraid of but guns and need for guns. in america especially. why get rid of the guns (cause) when you can get rid of the games (effect)???
but people are just narowminded and horrified to change perspective. they would all fall apart and have to admit there is a bigger problem
i played many violent games, blood to your knees and did so when i was 13, when i was 4 i watched horror films as a goodnight lullaby, and now? i am perfectly normal,just like my dad brought me up to be,with no aspiration what so ever to take a gun and masacre innocent people. it's the parents, not the games.
Xerraic Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
Scapegoats, everyone likes to blame something other than peoples own actions, or reactions. Its more like "It's the violence in comic books, or it's the violence in video games..." well, there are ratings for a reason, and people really need to pay more attention to them. Its a lot like the Columbine shootings, where they tried to use Marilyn Manson as a scapegoat.
Exorcised-Knight Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Talking about history repeating itself - doesn't it also remind you of the witch-hunts that they used to have in the late 1500's into the 1600's?
Kimetose Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Video games and the Connecticut shooting... I'm afraid I don't see a connection. Do I spy a Strawman argument?

In all seriousness however, I really don't see the relevance behind the claims. The only argument I see trying to be forced is the age of the shooter. If the man was just a few years older, it would not be an anti-violent game event, but an anti-gun event in general, and I don't think I need to lecture any of you to know it's a bad idea to cook bullets. Now, if the argument can be made that he was playing a violent game minutes before the shooting, then I may see a proper reason to dislike them form, however no evidence such as this has come to light, and thus I see no reason for this unwarranted hatred.

The fact of the matter is, with this logic, anyone can say anything at any time, and never have to answer for it with proof. Example. Let's say I think John Wilkes Booth was really just corrupted into killing Lincoln through the dreadful game of Hoop and Stick. What's that? You think my argument has no ground to stand on? Well then, YOU must support slave trade, and you wanted oppression, and blah blah blah.

I'm honestly quite sick of the unwarranted accusations against video gaming, and most media in general.
DemonPanther Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
I've read plenty of articles on that subject. A lot of them were scholastic articles on what aspects of video games caused increases in aggression. It's interesting because different things did increase aggression, however, it was still the same deal everywhere. The games made the people playing them have an increased chance for aggressive tendencies. What people don't realize is that the video games won't affect everyone. It is pretty much people who are not quite right in the head that become likely to pull something because of the games.
And if I'm just being an idiot, I apologize for my ignorance in advance.
Scyoni Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I personally noticed in a number of studies that they pick a random selection of people who already play games and then measure their tendencies, and completely ignore the way it would almost doubtlessly work the other way around (IE violent people will like violent games more than non-violent people). While I can't think of the name of a study off of the top of my head, think about the next time you read one of those - it seems like a lot of them are really BADLY performed.

On the subject of the 'imbalanced' folk being more susceptible to games : Probably true, and probably true of all media, rendering it kind of irrelevant except for the overwhemlingly obvious fact that there's nothing magical about videogames over any other form of media.

Also, it's very likely the potential increase in aggression is based on desensitization - which again, is the effect of any media depicting aggressive / violent acts. This is why we have rating systems.

I don't even know where these people get their grounds. OTL
DemonPanther Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
I found it really hard to reply to this without coming off as aggressive.
All I can say is that 2 semesters when I had to do a paper for my sociology class, I did it on video games and aggression. I looked at a wide array of studies to try and cover many bases - from point of view, to difficulty, to violence. I know for certain that one of those studies had a group of people with some who never played a game before.
One of those studies did cover desensitization. And I agree that the desensitization to violence is most likely to increase the likelihood of increased aggression.
And I must say, it is hard to find any correlation between the two, and your point of violent people liking violent games more than non-violent people is also a valid one, since it would affect the results.
Scyoni Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I will freely admit to not having done in depth research on the subject, so I bow to your expertise. My comment is based on the scattered bunch I did read about, and the way that most people just take the results at face value without looking into the facts (a sad truth of every study ever done) so I felt the need to throw that in there. Sorry if it seemed overbearing.
dragonpixies Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very well written story about something I never knew happened. Thank you for teaching me today!
MsDungeonX Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
:O_o: I never knew any of that. :worry: I'd be so crushed if someone burned a book I had made.
Hikari-Dareigan Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Someone shoots at a school? BAN GUNS!!!!!

They find out the shooter used to play violent video games? BAN VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES!!!1!/!
doogie-sama Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student General Artist
This goes to show how ignorant people are. If this is true, then i should be running around the city killing people with knifes and doing Parkour and calling people Templars and Borgia.
SolidPersona Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
I love how if you look at some of the original fairy tales put into storybooks for children, you will find that not all of them were nice and happy. The goose-girl's horse is slaughtered by the hand-maiden, and then mounted on a wall. This leads to the prince putting the hand-maiden in a barrel lined with spikes and then dragged through the city. You can only imagine that she was torn to pieces in that barrel but this story was for children.

Violence is everywhere, and for centuries before us it didn't make our ancestors commit mass murders or kill innocents. In fact, sometimes violence is necessary for our mental health. If cocooned in a shell, oblivious to the world, there is something that will break through the shell and shatter our little worlds. Witnessing violence gives us the skills to deal with it in the future and lets us not be so terrified of everyday occurrences.

A good example of this fear of the outside world is the person who refuses to leave their homes. We look upon them as if they were crazy, but in a sense they are the physical representation of what our world will turn into. They represent a perfect world where nothing can hurt them, nothing can disturb their serenity, and everything can be controlled. Someday, we might turn into them on a national scale. Maybe even international.
BoxcarChildren Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
And this is why America is such a whiny cry baby. Getting rid of story’s and games for all kids alike. Is not going to solve your problems!
And the Parents don’t seem to realize they can be just as bad as the kid when they were a kid.
If keep on censer things kids won’t ever learn anything. Heck I when I was a kid I scared of everything it came to point where my mom wouldn’t stop me from watching bad things anymore just so that I wouldn’t be scared. And you know what it helped develop my character. When I was kid My dad is and still is obsessed with Western and World War movie’s and you know that has a lot of killing in it. And my Grandpa got my Dad into that stuff when he was a kid. So as a kid I would watch shows where everyone would die. Cant say I like western anymore, but as a kid I loved it. Now I’m more of a Detective, Classic Novel’s, Manga Anime, fan. But you see even parents can like so called bad things. So the Big Question we ask ourselves ‘What is bad and what is good?’ Parents should be teaching their kids discernment between good and evil and the best way to do that is throw them in the fire and show them true good and true Evil. Cause you their going to find it eventually whether we like it or not cause their can be X rated things in even the kindness looking story’s and movies. Media is everywhere and the worst part is when put so much emphasis on the Media when we should be looking to more of the more important things in life like spending quality time with family and friends and just live cause the media says life is to short so I’ll make it last longer and joyful by help those who need it. Media art is a world we live in but don’t forget it’s not fun unless you have someone to share it with.
villamar Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
They still put certain comics where they don't belong. Like... when I found in the kids section of a library a volume of Ranma 1/2 (that showed nudity) and a DBZ volumen (the one where you see Freezer cut himself in half). How can such kind of comics be in the same place with stuff like Barney (yeah that kind of kids section... not even teenagers) and such?
verriterriberri Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Funny how there was no mention of any violent acts before video games/movies/comic books etc....
Scyoni Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
... I seem to remember a reference in Assassin's Creed 3 to the fact that people used to think theatre and the opera were 'corrupting the youth'. Once upon a time you probably couldn't tell your buddies around the cave about that kill yesterday, lest you inspire the children to be psychopaths.
CinamonGirl Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
People are idiots.

I bet next they'll burn CD's and ban certain music.
Scyoni Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
... Didn't they already do that?
CinamonGirl Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
They did?
Scyoni Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

TommyDB Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
To those who say that video games desensitize us to violence, please watch this video.
Warning: there is a lot of foul language and some graphic content. There are time stamps in the description in order to skip the graphic content part.
Lilacatz Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
People believe what they are told to believe when they're not smart enough to get the facts together themselves.
I play Videogames but yet here I am crying because I can't save all stray kitties.
I think only weak minded are foolish enough to repeat something they saw on a videogame/movie. And they give the rest of us a bad reputation.
People make the violence not media or weapons. It's them who need to be stopped and they hide in the open.

And for a small joke....
JadeCatKunoichi Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
This scares me for one reason only--Nazis burned what they didn't agree with. Let's not go down that road.
damoser Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
while violent video games, movies, books, ect. don't necessarily create violent tendencies, they do desensitize people to violence, which is something the media itself does by spending so much time talking about it. this in turn can cause the few who lack moral integrity to feel less or no remorse over violent acts.

what i find ironic is how modern day, civilized people think that the gladiatorial combat in ancient Rome was barbaric, yet, they exposed themselves to essentially the same type of entertainment. yes, it's not real, for the most part, but the subconscious doesn't care about real or fake. the effect is the same, a desensitization to violence. ancient Rome didn't have any more problems with violent crimes than we do, so that's a double standard. all violence in any form of media is barbaric, period.

as far as bans and censorship go; we have free will, and the right to exercise it however we choose within the boundaries of causing detrimental effects to others. media producers are producing an art form, it's each persons choice as to whether they will view it or not. and limits have been set in place as to who can purchase which materials. if parents aren't aware enough of the impact games may or may not be having on their children, or people aren't aware of their own limitations, it's not the fault of the producer. simply put, we can't blame someone else for our own actions, it's a choice made by us.

one thing they could improve is this; if a person has a mental imbalance and their psychologist decides that exposure to violent media could spurn violent behavior, they should be able to report it to the proper authorities, which authorities would use a government sponsored psychologist to verify this recommendation and then make it illegal for that person to have exposure to such media and to own any offensive weapons. such a person should be regularly monitored anyways.

summation: violent media isn't the problem, it's peoples inability to decipher it's effects on them. i personally choose to limit my exposure to such things, because i don't like seeing gore. it has nothing to do with whether i can stomach it or not, but rather that i don't like violence, and i don't like death, and i want to keep it that way, so i will not continually expose myself to such things and desensitize myself by it. those people burning their media have decided that also, and decided they don't want their children to experience it either. that's their right, but it's not their right to try to tell others what to do, just as i don't condemn people who don't share my view.
Atama--Muhonnin Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Scientists are baffled by the Canadians' ability to play *videogames* without shooting people!

*Insert preferred media here (Movies, comic books, etc.)
Crittercre8r Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Fahrenheit 451... that's all I can think of when I read this.

On a side note... I have found that it isn't as much what people read, or the games they play that shape a person. It is what that person has had done to them, by other people, that shapes a person. People tend to be horrible to others, and that is so sad. Actions corrupt people more than books or games.

I know I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for this (if anyone bothers to read it) but I don't care!
gabriewl Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
People suck...Books rock, video games are cool, Music is bad ass and comic books are fuckin awesome!...What else are they going to try to take from us?
Cerulean452 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Video games, books, and comics do not cause people to do violent things. The potential for violence is already in them; they are most likely sociopaths or psychopaths, or just very misguided and ill. The games/books may give them ideas, but in no way cause them to become killers.
Orhblin Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
if the uproar began in 1954 then it would be more like 60 years now.
not trying to troll or taunt, It still feels like 2000 to me too xD
Arbiter10123 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh no, because todays "Rap" music doesn`t have anything to do with it.
Anyways, honestly, if a video game affects you to the point where you think its OKAY to kill another human being, stop playing them!
Besides, there will always be violent media out there, you can`t censor the world, maybe in theory but not in practise.
Rabbit88 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
I think it was Socrates who said that teaching kids to read corrupts them. So this is nothing new under the sun.
Devildart Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
i wonder if half these people even notice that games have ratings because of this and even tell you why they have the ratings in the first place :l
BurningResurrection Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
it's not the first time

at one point in history, they used to blame theater
MouseDenton Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Really not concerned about gaming censorship. Literature, rock music, comic books, violent television, etc. Besides, I'm a PC gamer. You would not believe the amount of content we generate for our own communities, for free. I'm more concerned about BS gun legislation.
villamar Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
Problem is not everyone belongs to such communities and those who don't are screwed with this :I
MouseDenton Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
About the games? There's nothing they can do. The First Amendment is too strong in this country.
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Submitted on
January 8, 2013


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