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Game Politics

Editorials Weigh in on Louisiana Games-as-Porn Bill

As reported by GamePolitics, the Louisiana House unanimously passed Rep. Roy Burrell's HB1381 on Tuesday. The bill, which applies the so-called Miller obscenity test to video games, is typical of the recent "games as porn" legislative tactic seen in several other states.

Louisiana's newspaper editors are weighing in on the bill. From what GP has seen, they're not happy. Managing Editor Jeffrey Zeringue writes in The Daily Comet, "...Why does government feel the need to parent children? ...Few will be persuaded that violent video games or movies have a negative effect on children. It's only a game. It's only a movie. People are smart enough to distinguish the difference, some believe. ...As for me, I believe I can give better guidance to my children than Baton Rouge or Washington."

In the Houma Courier, editor Mike Gorman is even more blunt:

"I could watch football from now until the cows come home and I wouldn't be able to throw like Brett Favre... And I could play Grand Theft Auto for the next 12 years... I don't think I would be looking for policemen to murder or prostitutes to pimp. That's because - and let me phrase this correctly so that even the solons in Baton Rouge can comprehend the message - IT'S JUST A GAME."

"It must be frustrating for our legislators to be in the seat of government and not have people and institutions bend to their every whim... The Legislature, which can't even find the intestinal fortitude to limit the number of assessors in New Orleans, can be moved to action."

"The bottom line is this: If you don't like what your kid is doing or watching, change it. If you don't like what my kid is doing or watching, butt out...

And the Shreveport Times savaged both the bill and its principal witness, saying:

"...why would politicians introduce bills that have little chance of standing up in court, and won't really change anything anyway? In the best light, well-meaning politicians are trying to find that magic bullet to combat a societal ill the public fears is de-sensitizing young minds to violent behavior."

"From a less favorable viewpoint, politicians understand such efforts play well with an alarmed public: video games are the latest scapegoats in a tradition that includes comic books, rock 'n' roll, Pokemon cards and other media likely to tarnish the purity of modern youth.

The fact that Jack Thompson is testifying... in favor of the bill should immediately set off alarms. Thompson... evokes no one so strongly as Fredric Wertham, a psychologist whose 1950s book, 'Seduction of the Innocent,' lead to congressional hearings on the dangers of comic books.

GP: Kudos to GP reader - and Louisiana resident - BearDogg-X for alerting GP to the first two editorials mentioned.

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Tags: games-as-porn, hb1381, jack thompson, legislation, louisiana, roy burrell
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