We can't believe people are still blaming these harmless hobbies for violence in America

We can't believe people are still blaming these harmless hobbies for violence in America

CultureJuly 11, 2016

Technology has irreversibly changed America’s pastimes, thanks primarily to the mysterious pit of endless information that is the Internet. Now, with the touch of a button, people have immediate access to an unquantifiable amount of data that would make the most scholarly professor from the '60s blush. And what have we, as a society, embraced the most thanks to this modern miracle? Blowing shit up and watching people fuck in ways you literally couldn’t imagine. 

Perhaps the most contentious mediums in entertainment, video games and porn share myriad similarities, not the least of which is that they almost always climax in a detonation of bodily fluids. However, the most relevant aspect that these mediums share is the fact that their recent prolificacy via the Internet is relatively new and not yet fully understood. And as the pathetic debate against gay marriage can attest, Americans don’t like things that they don’t understand. With the advent of the Internet, the whole picture has changed, allowing the average person to team up with friends in a bloody firefight or to search for the kinkiest porn conceivable, recreating the nature of both into wholly new media formats.

Violent video games have long been the subject of blame ever since the tragic Columbine Shootings in 1999, where the game ‘Doom’ was publicly and loudly denounced for its portrayal of shooting demons with laser beams. Every single major incident of gun violence has revved up these same typically evangelical, typically old, typically desperate people to cry out against pixelated carnage. Leading the charge, former senator Leland Yee was determined to stop the sale of video games to children. Unfortunately for Yee, he was also determined to sell real guns and was arrested for gun smuggling and racketeering in a bit of cosmic karma.

But don’t worry Mr. Yee, the fight continues in your absence ...

Likewise, in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the senate proposed a bill to investigate the link between violence and video games. But that’s not all folks! Confused and angry people took to social media and began to spam the offices of Bioware with hate messages such as “You’ve got blood on your hands” and “Ban this game and the people who make such sickness”.

Why did so many feel so passionately? Well, obviously, because the shooter had ‘liked’ the video game Mass Effect on his Facebook page. And as we all know, once you commit to a ‘like’, it’s for life. Since this connection was clearly proof of causal effect, none other than everyone’s favorite ‘fair and balanced’ news organization, Fox News, jumped at it with the enthusiasm of a lemming, reporting early that video games were to blame for the tragedy.   

While I would be remiss to not mention the recent APA research that found violent video games can enhance aggression in young children, another similar report was just released from Oxford University that states that video games have no effect on children — the previous reports suggesting video games do have an effect even admit that it's one of the smallest factors behind upbringing, affluence, neighborhood, and mental well-being.

Despite nearly two decades of research attempting to connect violent acts and video games and literally dozens of published reports, there is no conclusive evidence that video games breed acts of violence. But who needs evidence, right? That’s why it’s called scapegoating.

But what about America’s other favorite patsy? Porn has become a mainstay in the culture of America (30 percent of all data transferred on the internet is dedicated to porn) and it is one of those hush-hush topics that no one wants to talk about. Why does no one want to talk about it? Because they’re afraid that in the middle of their moral crusade, some intrepid investigator will come and search their Internet history for evidence of moral degradation and find a slew of insipid videos featuring ball gags and strap-ons. Almost every politician is worried about someone poking around their local servers except, of course, Hillary Clinton who got rid of the shit Bill’s been searching a lifetime ago.

However, logic doesn’t stop those in search of a scapegoat and, fortunately for them, porn can fit as the perpetrator of a huge variety of problems. From the decline in marriage vows to the increase in military sexual assaults, people across the nation are embracing the idea that it’s not really their fault, its porn’s fault. A man in Tennessee even opened a lawsuit against Apple because, I shit you not, Apple failed to warn him that porn would give him unrealistic expectations of the female form and sexual prowess

On the off-chance you read that bit about military sexual assaults and said to yourself, “Yeah that makes sense” — first of all, why are you reading this? There’s plenty of pseudo-scientific, scaremongering literature for you to choose from. And secondly, several research reports conclude that the widespread availability of porn has actually decreased sexual violence rates. Despite this, undoubtedly porn will continue to be an easy target for those loud, ignorant few who need something to blame and think that just because they opened an ‘incognito page’ on Google Chrome, no one knows that they go home and wank it with the best of us.

The new American era seems to be marked by the decline of individual responsibility. Instead of looking inward for the reasons behind a tragedy or character flaw, we are being taught to look outward to all of the things that make us think or act, to search for a culprit where the blame for our behavior can be shouldered. And although investigating the source of traumatic events is certainly essential, it’s equally essential to not jump to conclusions and start flinging accusations at entertainment mediums simply because we don’t fully understand them.

Plus, don’t you have more important things to do? Call of Duty and Pornhub await.