July 22nd, 2006

Minnesota A.G. Admits Games are Speech ...Vile, Disgusting Speech

Even though he is currently embroiled in a First Amendment battle with the video game industry, Minnesota's Attorney General Mike Hatch - unlike some other high profile critics we could mention - is a big enough man to admit that games are speech. Just one problem, though - he finds them to be a "worthless, disgusting" variety of speech.

Hatch filed a memorandum earlier this week with the Federal District Court in Minneapolis, There, the video game industry is seeking to have Minnesota's "fine the buyer" law overturned on constitutional grounds. In his memorandum, Attorney General Hatch is unsparing in expressing his revulsion toward violent video games. Hatch's wording is so over-the-top, in fact, that you can almost hear him retching in the background. Check out this purple prose:

"In balancing the applicable interests in this case, the court should err on the side of protecting minors rather than protecting their limited right of access to such low value speech..."

"...the Court here must ultimately balance the State's compelling interests in protecting the psychological well-being and ethical and moral development of minors against the limited First Amendment right of minors to access speech of very low societal value..."

"...there may be few, if any, other forms of speech, even though protected, that are of any lesser societal value than repulsive video games depicting the bloody slaughter of babies and animals, urination and defecation, rape, decapitation, dismemberment and disembowlment."

"...the Court should consider and weigh the societal value of the worthless, disgusting speech at issue..."

After reading Hatch's memorandum I feel so... unclean. I also confess that, even though I have written about games for more than a decade and played them for longer, I am at a loss to understand some of his points. Slaughter of babies and animals? Defecation? Rape? When? Where?

Download Attorney General Hatch's memorandum here.