Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


What to do if you want to be president?

Show that you're tough on national security, and high on moral values, right? Makes sense to me, considering the results of the last presidential election. So how do you do it?

How about saying that the US Army needs to be bigger, and begin a crackdown on the gaming industry (the one element of the entertainment industry that STILL hasn't gotten their money into lobbyists, thus making them a supple target). This is Hillary Clinton's current strategy, and in this article, I think we should take a good look at it!

Let's start with expanding the military. To say that Hillary has no business dealing with military matters is probably an understatement, but let's try to be as neutral as possible here. A bigger military is better, right? And if it's better for the military, maybe she can snag some crucial votes from people in the middle, who in 2004 thought that Bush had a better view of national security so they voted for him. That's sound thinking.

So, a bigger military would be a good thing, right? Maybe, but probably not. How would they be equipped? Currently the troops we have are poorly equipped, so what happens when you toss in another 80,000 soldiers into the mix? Unless there was a massive increase in defense spending (which, as a statement, sounds funny), these troops would be even worse off than the force we have now. On top of the equipment issue, where are these 80,000 people going to come from? US Army recruitment has been very low lately, and the National Guard is in a similar situation. A popular bumper sticker on HUMMVs in Iraq among soldiers reading, "Two weeks my ass." And what happens if, by some miracle, the situation in Iraq improves to the point where the US deployment there is massively reduced, and we don't need 200,000 troops in theater? Send them to Ellsworth AFB? It's set for closure. Send them to South Korea? We're slashing troop strength there. Japan? Same thing. Uzbekistan? US influence in Central Asia is on the decline, and positioning a number of troops there would probably be a waste of time. On top of these problems, there's the whole issue of the US Army itself not wanting to be bigger! While this may be a situation where it's more Rumsfeld than the Pentagon, but that's the stance as it is right now. On Tuesday she also defended her vote to go to war in Iraq, which is another move which seems geared toward an effort to shore up sway voters.

And if you've read my posts on the Security Dilemma, you should be aware of that angle also.

When you think Hillary Clinton, do you think Hawk or Dove?

Then there's her videogame stance. I came across the article on GameSpot, while doing my daily search for the news that Sony has lowered the PS2 price to $99 (which hasn't happened, and won't happen this year).

On Tuesday she announced that, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, she was taking on the videogame industry and retailers who sell videogames, via the "Family Entertainment Protection Act." Because everybody knows that videogames are bad, and that violence in videogames leads to violence in real life. Because, you know, there's been a handful of cases of crazy kids who did stupid things, and their excellent parents blamed the child's actions on videogames, so they must be right. Nevermind the millions of kids who've played videogames and led perfectly fine, normal, and productive lives. They're all ticking time bombs, ready to go off at any time, so we must prevent children from playing videogames.

In case you missed it, that last paragraph was dripping with sarcasm. Just a little FYI.

I don't understand the current movement against videogames by democrats. Usually, dems are much more in favor of free speech and the entertainment industry, but as I pointed out earlier, the videogame industry still doesn't recognize the value of putting their money into politicians pockets. See the Oil Industry if you are unaware of this. I can only guess that a lack of investment, combined with the "moral values" imperative, has led to the current cold climate for the videogame industry from the dems. Of course, Lieberman has been on a personal crusade against videogames for a decade now. I think it'd be great if Republicans (who are in control of both the House and Senate, in case you were not aware) took a party line and didn't vote for the legislation simply because it'd be propping up a likely Democrat Presidential candidate. That probably won't happen though, since the GOP has never been particularly pro-entertainment (though entertainer-politicians seem to be mostly republican).

I haven't decided if this current try at legislation is news really or not. Other than on some videogame sites, I had to really look for articles about it (it didn't show up on my NY Times feed either). Could it be that the mainstream media doesn't care about videogames? The ESA doesn't even have it on the news portion of their site. I really like the pic this AFP article chose to go with the story; how does that fit?

As has always been the case in anti-videogame movements by politicians, they're forgetting or just simply not acknowledging the real problem; bad parenting. Where are kids getting the $55 (including tax, and that's without a strategy guide) to buy these games? If they're old enough to have a job and earn income to buy the game with, they're old enough to play the game. The parents are the ones supplying the kids with these games, and VERY rarely do parents stop to think about these games. I sold tons of copies of GTA III and GTA: Vice City to parents (with their kid there with them) who didn't care that it was rated M. One parent did decide against the purchase when I told her that as the player you have the option of having sex with prostitutes to regain health and then you can kill them to get some money. If the parents were to take a more active roll in knowing what their kids are playing, then the politicians wouldn't have to be coming up with stupid legislation to crack down on an industry that really doesn't need regulation. And politicians are probably unaware of the fact that the coming generation of consoles all have parental controls built into them. No, the easier way to handle the issue is come down hard on the retailers (and not detail who exactly gets punished, the company, the associate, the store, the manager, who?) and the industry. And on top of that, these politicians are also probably unaware of current gamer demographics. According the President of the ESA, the average gamer age is now 30. I think that number is a little too high, but I'd say it's at least 24. So these politicians are trying to regulate an industry that is quickly becoming full of consumers old enough to not be party to the regulation!

Why waste taxpayer money on this crap?!

The 2nd-leading response about this issue on a GameSpot poll was "This makes me want to shoot zombies in the face. Fetch my copy of Resident Evil 4!" And if you didn't already know, the Family Media Guide says that you shouldn't play RE4. It, along with God of War and GTA: San Andreas (which came out in...2004) were listed among the most violent games of the year.

Not to be forgotten in all of this is Rockstar Games, who really should have some sort of MAJOR penalties levied against them for including the "Hot Coffee" code in GTA. There's no excuse for that crap, and because of their stupidity, they've put a lot of other people in bad situations. That being said, the penalties should be specific to Rockstar, not to retailers and other game companies. That's what we call "collateral damage." For example, what happens to the retail associate who sells an M-rated game to a kid with an excellent fake ID? They have to pay some gigantic fine? They get fired? They have to go to court? That's a bunch of crap, and a bourgeois attitude being taken not just by Clinton and Lieberman, but also by other politicians such as ex Washington Governor Gary Locke, and California Assemblyman Leland Yee. They don't have the slightest bit of concern for the people who really are effected by something like this.

Can you say slippery slope? I thought you could.


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