Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Hillary vs. the Xbox"
Today's LA Times ran an open letter to Senator Clinton from Steven Johnson, the author of that book that says popular culture is good for us.
I'm writing to commend you for calling for a $90-million study on the effects of video games on children, and in particular the courageous stand you have taken in recent weeks against the notorious "Grand Theft Auto" series.

I'd like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids — a game that instills aggressive thoughts in the minds of its players, some of whom have gone on to commit real-world acts of violence and sexual assault after playing.

I'm talking, of course, about high school football.
The rest of it makes some great and insteresting points(and it's not really about high school football). He makes the case that today's video games require much more of children's minds than anything we played, or anything else they're likely to do if we refuse them their games.

Personally I draw more of a distinction than he does between participation in (fictional) sadistic anonymous violence, and participation in organized aggression like football. That doesn't mean I know which one's worse for you, just that they seem different. As for the video games, smart as they make you, I still worry about the isolating effects of being mostly alone in your own self-created world for so long and with such priority--we don't want them all growing up to be single middle-aged bloggers and such.
(via boingboing)

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