It's clear that you don't understand how offensive this entire line of inquiry is, and it's equally clear that you don't understand how offensive it is to say "screw your facts, I have feelings" and then block me. So you know what? We're gonna do this. And if you're gonna run off and delete your account for like the ninth time? That's the price of doing business. Because you've got this nasty habit of insisting you're harmless, insisting you're normal, insisting you're everyman and then the minute you're pushed one inch out of your comfort zone you clutch your pearls, insist that the world is cruel and evil and then go hide in a corner until you've recovered enough to post pictures of puppies. And before certain redneck gun nuts decide to interject into this mess, I will caution them that they have absolutely no fucking idea about the offline relationships of people and they'd best not speculate lest they're made to look foolish.
Let me start by saying that in the '80s, I took the side of "media causes violence" on a debate team in school. Video game violence did not exist for all intents and purposes; Contra was coin-op and online gaming was MUDs through acoustic couplers. Nonetheless, the PMRC was a year old, Ozzy was a murderer and there was all the data you could care to see indicating that the violent crime rate went up in direct proportion to the consumption of media.
"Correlation does not imply causation" was not something anybody said back then because there were all these marvelous Moral Majority handouts illustrating that the problem with kids today was clearly the media. But even in 8th grade it was clearly bullshit; the data on media consumption was all people yet it was being used to say "kids shouldn't watch violent television". There were exactly no direct links, exactly no studies, just a bunch of pompous bible-thumpers who wanted to ban Dungeons and Dragons for causing satanism.
But I won. Handily. Because there's just this feeling that consuming violent fiction causes violent fact. I knew it was dishonest when I did it. I knew violent kids. Why were they violent? Because their parents fucking beat them. I knew broken kids. Why were they broken? Because their parents fucking abandoned them. Guy who DM'd my shit in the '80s? Congressional aide who started an NGO to provide textbooks in Angola. Guys who listened to Ozzy? Most of them are IT guys.
All you're doing? Is you're leaning into that feeling. Despite the mountain of evidence that has piled up in the 30 years since, despite reading a book about moral panic and children's media you still insist that there's something to your notion that while YOU have absolutely no problem telling fact from fiction, clearly the rest of the world can't. If it makes you uncomfortable it must be bad, no matter the evidence to the contrary.
When you do that? You're saying people are being murdered because of their tastes, not their sickness. Harris and Klebold clearly shot up Aurora because they listened to KMFDM and played video games, not because they were isolated loner gun nuts ignored by their parents in a caste system that denigrates nerds. So all those isolated loners who listen to KMFDM and play video games? FEAR THEM. Or at the very least, take away their media.
This is what oppression has looked like for thousands of years: culture is created by liberals and hated by conservatives and the only way the conservatives ever advance their cause is by destroying culture. Here you are, on the side of the goose-steppers. You literally whatabouted an article completely refuting your core premise and launched into a textbook case of Teach the Controversy because there were absolutely no facts to uphold your gut instinct. Because your gut instinct is wrong. Has been proven wrong over and over again. Obfuscates the core problems at hand while also punishing creatives and those who enjoy their media.
See, I can have this conversation at length. Have had this conversation at length. Facts are available. Arguments can be made. But you never start with "let's have a debate" you start with I demand that my unsubstantiated feelings be honored as if they were facts and that is never going to happen because your feelings presume (a) consumers of media you don't like are facile and impressionable idiots and (b) the creators of said media are morally culpable for any violence committed by fans of their work.
You wanna unblock me? We can have a discussion about life imitates art because I can give you a raft of examples. Off the top of my head:
- Teen Wolf. One of the first moral panics I myself remember, there was a Tide Pods-grade controversy about Michael J. Fox standing on a moving car that made Sixty Fucking Minutes. Apparently since Michael J. Fox rode on a car, Hollywood was telling people to ride on cars. He also turned into a werewolf but whatever.
- Back to the Future. Fuckin' Michael J. Fox again, leading our kids to destruction and moral turpitude. Also made 60 minutes, but quickly dissipated because he was selling Pepsi products. He also rode through time but whatever.
- Tom Clancy. Oh, shit! You mean no right-wing scold ever came after Mr. Red Storm Rising for giving Osama the idea of flying a passenger jet into the Pentagon? I'm sure they just overlooked it...
- The Turner Diaries. Dayum! A book about white racists blowing up the country to save it for whiteness actually inspired a bunch of white racists to blow up the country! Still in print, though. You can buy that shit on fuckin' Amazon.
- Rage. Turns out a novel celebrating an angry loner who holds his high school hostage with a gun inspires angry loners to shoot up their high schools.
Maybe we can draw some parallels here. If a culture grows up around the specific events of a specific subversive book, evidence indicates that book will be influential. This is not a new insight. So. Which video games celebrate walking around and shooting unarmed bystanders? And who's been playing them?
Lemme tell ya a story about a buddy of mine. His cousin was blackwater; one of the guys whose corpse was dragged through the streets of Fallujah. he plays video games. Big fan of Smash Bros and any bulletstorm game, as well as pretty much any streetfighter clone. He's even got a few private servers he likes to play Battlefield on, where he mostly runs around strafing people. Know what he hates more than anyone in the world? Snipers.
Know what he owns? A fuckin' $4000 sniper rifle. Scary black and all. $2500 scope. Fully-farkled .338 Lapua mag. Know what he likes to do? Head out to the range, load up a couple hundred dollars' worth of match-grade ammo and make pieces of plate steel ring out a few thousand yards away. Playing with guns in video games and playing with guns in real life, for him, ended up in 100% diametrically-opposed behaviors.
Anecdata of 1, sure. But look:
Japan plays the same video games we do. They have substantially less gun violence.
Australia plays the same video games we do. They have substantially less gun violence.
England plays the same video games we do. They have substantially less gun violence.
The rest of the goddamn world plays the same video games we do. They have substantially less gun violence. Now watch this:
Of COURSE kids are going to murder protesters! That's just the natural outcome of angry black people!
So yeah. When you say "culture of violence" what you're saying is culture of violence that YOU IN PARTICULAR find offensive and the degree to which you will bend over backwards to make this about what you want it to be about, instead of what it is about, is offensive, is unproductive, is dishonest, and is fucking beneath you.
CULTURE? We've got network news hosts suggesting shootings happen, we've got black people being murdered by white people on the reg, we've got a president saying "when the looking starts the shooting starts" and you really want to make this about video games?