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Grand Theft Automorality.


"Time to do some Colindale mugging"

In the 1950’s and 60's, middle-America’s God fearing republican arm believed comic-books were a negative, destructive influence upon the young. They assumed reading them would make the kids – beside corrupted by cynical morality, attempt to recreate the impossible in real life; Batman's ability to fight ten men at once, Superman’s gift in convincing others he was Clark Kent by putting on black-rimmed geek glasses, and all variations of this deeply understated form of artistic expression. In their view, comic’s made Jesus cry - and belonged in hell.

Of course, history proves these fears as total bollocks; little Johnny from Arkansas never died falling off a roof trying to shoot webs, Kevin Arnold and his brother neglected night time sprees as caped crusaders, and there are zero stories of bald men in wheelchairs creating a group of freaks, in order to protect Earth from Malcolm X. Comic books were no threat to the minds of the young; something movies, punk and metal music, Keith Harris and Orville, and now video games have all been accused of at varying points in history. It is the latter of these I wish to address because in my view, they are no different from comic books; in terms of threat to civilisation.

Last night, Great Britain saw the release of Grand Theft Auto 5; the ultra-violent and immensely profitable video game, in which you control a character whose mission it is to complete a whole host of fucked-up, amoral actions shy of rape and paedophilia; and that's only because the makers draw a line for marketing purposes. The Japanese, on the other hand… Anyhow, with the usual midnight release surrounding all things popular – and the uber-virgin types who queue up to buy them, a story hit the national news about a young fella mugged of his midnight copy; after buying the game at my local ASDA. Thankfully he was okay, and the kids – one 16, the other two 18, were arrested. And even though this is an isolated case in a rough part of London, the self-righteous media were - as usual, blaming the influence of this video game as the reason behind the robbery. This – in my view, is bullshit. 

The media like to suggest the corruption of video games is universal, and works as such. Groups of innocent, highly moral children are quietly sitting at home; reading the Bible and making heart shaped cards, as they discus which flavour soup to cook for the local homeless that evening. As soon as the backs of their well meaning Mummy and Daddy are turned, the devil storms in and literally shoots a copy of GTA5 out of his arse into the X-Box they never play, forces joypads into their hands and shouts “play this you cunts, or i'll eat your fucking souls!” An hour later, once innocent eyes have now shot wide-open; wanting to rape women, mug grannies, pillage post offices, and piss in the soup for the homeless. 

"I read comics, I am a danger"
This is how media presents the influence of video games. In reality, these kids don’t need art to become morally corrupt, their parents and environment have done a perfectly good job already. The area this mugging occurred was between Colindale and Kingsbury; two derelict shit-holes of North-West London. To those unaware of this part of the capital, it is an area loaded in mass-immigration, unemployment, broken-homes, bad–education, and in truth, a major level of ignorance; the majority from those who live in these areas. It’s a hostile environment, as I can imagine Mogadishu or Nairobi to be; and I doubt too many comic books and PS3’s are sold over there. 

Art presents reality as an obvious form of fiction; the reader, viewers and players remain fully aware none of it is real. I don’t care how impressive the graphics are or how real the actions seem, human beings are not morons to a degree they believe drug dealing, stealing cars, and hitting old ladies with stolen baseball bats are enjoyable pastimes. There is no real feeling or hurt attached - it is fake; people know this, which is why they can do it. I am sure computer chips and comic book pages do not feel pain.

The media which judged them - on the other hand, presents fiction as a chaotic form of reality. They take negative events of a world that doesn’t even exist, talk about them over and over until the notion becomes reality, then steps back, and blames anything else they can for creating this mess – art being one of the major accusers; along with Muslims and the poor - albeit in a subtle manner. Surely it is more destructive for impressionable kids to be told the world is fucked, and everybody is a heartless cunt – so be a wanker to them all, through sources of supposed “news”, than spending a few hours pretending to be Tony Montana in a video game; knowing full well none of it is real. Besides all this, take the nutcases of history, and what inspired them to commit evil; Charles Manson believed Beatles songs were calls to Armageddon. I don't know any example of evil committed solely because of a video game.

In the world of fiction, art and entertainment creates psychos. In reality, neglectful, selfish parenting, irresponsible societies, insecurity, delusional mindsets and an ignorant, hate-fuelled media of dirty ambition conspires to fuck these people up. Is it right that a game in which you portray a scumbag is so popular in society? Maybe, maybe not. And as much as I understand parents who keep GTA5 from their children; I’d rather the masses were living out their fantasies in the comfort of fiction, then the uncertainty of reality…

Lee.

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