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Submitted on
January 8, 2013
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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.
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:iconscarletadragon:
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?  
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:iconi-disregard-gravity:
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).
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:iconriverclan23:
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.
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:iconaf-s772:
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:(
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:iconlatenighttelevision:
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.
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:iconanna-jaganshi:
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.
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:iconpaladin343:
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.
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:iconneedleguns:
Needleguns Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh and by the way, Hitler didn't play video games. Just saying...
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:iconrinkinkeen:
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:
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:iconneedleguns:
Needleguns Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
XD Awesome! I'm glad someone agrees.
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