“Mainstream Entertainment”

The Irish film censor has just banned the game Manhunt 2 from Irish stores (and it has been banned in the UK too). They said it was banned due to “the level of gross, unrelenting and gratuitous violence…”. I have to trust them on that, because I haven’t seen it and don’t intend to either.

Rockstar, the developers of Manhunt 2, say: “Manhunt 2 is an entertainment experience for fans of psychological thrillers and horror. The subject matter of this game is in line with other mainstream entertainment choices for adult consumers.” (My italics).

First, it isn’t “mainstream”. It is a fringe offering for a fringe audience. I find it creepy and offensive when some corporation tries to tell me that something is “mainstream”, as if that makes it normal and sensible. Shrek 3 is mainstream. NBC Nightly News is mainstream. Since when was an interactive video game featuring the beating up, killing, maiming, or mutilation of people “mainstream entertainment”? Or have we as a society completely lost all sense of right and wrong?

Secondly, it shouldn’t be classed as “entertainment”. I can see that some very psychotic individuals may find this entertaining, so in one sense it is entertainment. But only entertaining in the same way that Serbian warlords found killing Bosnians in Srebenica to be amusing. Being entertaining doesn’t justify it.

No doubt, banning the game will increase it’s notoriety for a short time. In fact, it has probably raised the awareness of the game to levels way out of proportion to anything it deserves.

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8 Comments

  1. Tony D said,

    June 21, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    “featuring the beating up, killing, maiming, or mutilation of people ”mainstream entertainment”?”

    Have you seen the Sopranos?

    CENSORSHIP IS ALWAYS WRONG

    You don’t deal with the problems associated with free speech or freedom of expression through art or games by banning stuff.

    You just IGNORE IT and show it the contempt it may deserve by INDIFFERENCE! Think of all that free marketing been given to that game now! best thing the “censor” could do to increase sales was to ban it!

  2. Tony D said,

    June 22, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    “expressions of naked hatred or racism, calls to violence against another country, child pornography, religious bigotry etc?”

    ALL OK IN MY BOOK!

    UP UNTIL THE POINT SOMEONE IS CRAZY ENOUGH TO ACT UPON THOSE EXPRESSIONS – THEN WE HAVE THE RULE OF LAW.

    IN OTHER WORDS I DONT HAVE TO WORRY A DAMN ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK OR WHAT THEY SAY THEY THINK ONLY HOW THEY ACT UPON IT.

    sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

    [Of course there is emotional hurt but we should be able to cope with that, after all LIFE is tough and not always sweetness.]

    We can defeat any racist, any bigot or hate monger by the power of our ideas and our words. If someone wants to abuse the right to express themselves in a stupid or malevolent way then I can choose NOT TO LISTEN but I will never support censorship of any kind.

    People should always be free to express their thoughts. it is the acting upon some of those thoughts which is the only thing we need concern ourselves with. Anything less than this through censorship is self defeating, short sighted and babyish. I DO NOT NEED ANYONE TO PROTECT ME FROM OTHER PEOPLES THOUGHTS OR IDEAS THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    The odd pointer to the graphic nature of content etc etc is good enugh. THEN I CAN CHOOSE IF I WANT TO EXPOSE MYSELF TO SAID THOUGHTS AND IDEAS.

    The only kind of censorship needed [NONE ACTUALLY] IS MERELY TO DECIDE THE APPROPRIATENESS OF LOCATION

    For example where certain products should be located or made available. Lets say porn? Well that can be in the porn shop? Soooooooo If ppl want it they go there to get it! That kind of thing

  3. Tony D said,

    June 22, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Sorry I just noticed the “child” pornography bit of your post! Of course child porn is NOT OK – nor should it be in anyone’s book for the simple reason that it is illegal [back to the rule of law]

    But if someone wants to tell me they like it it then that is their right to express the opinion. THEY WILL SUFFER MY DISGUST FOR THEM STRAIGHT AWAY AS WITH ALL OTHER DECENT PEOPLE BUT AGAIN I DONT WANT TO STOP PEOPLE FROM HAVING THOUGHTS OR EXPRESSING THEM

    IT IS OFTEN JUST FOOLISH AND POINTLESS TO EXPRESS THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE

  4. Tony D said,

    June 22, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Oh and as for the mainstream point? yeah thats why I mentioned the SOPRANOS which has had all of what you described.

    murder, mutilation, domestic violence, the chopping up of human beings etc etc the lot!

    PEOPLE LOVE IT !! — THE SHOW THAT IS

  5. shazgood said,

    June 22, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    True, censorship has been abused for centuries, by every dictatorship ever. Think of Nazi book burning and the present Chinese deal with Google as two obvious examples. It might be easy to make the case that, therefore, censorship is essentially bad. But I don’t think it follows.
    My point is that some form of censorship is valid and necessary – where the benefits of the existence of the censored material is outweighted by the negative social effects. The fact that making that decision is difficult is not a valid argument for saying it shouldn’t be made.
    Every society censors free speech to an extent. There are laws against libel to protect people’s reputations; laws against some forms of pornography to prevent abuse of the vulnerable; and laws against expressions of hatred which threaten social stability. Ireland has laws governing what one can claim in an advertisement. On a more informal level, polite society censors us according to rules of communication known as “PC”.
    You seem capable of operating your own, personal censorship rules. More power to you. But there are those members of society (the young, the vulnerable, the weak) who aren’t so discerning. It is those instances that censorship should try to prevent the most egregious forms of abuse.
    And censorship has nothing to do with private thoughts. Of course it cannot prevent people having thoughts. That is a red herring. It is the public expression of those thoughts which are subject to censorship, if applicable.

    I am reminded of that joke about an American and a Russian during the Cold War. The American says that America is greater because they have free speech. He says: “I can go to the front gate of the White House and scream out, “The President of America is an idiot” and get away with it.”
    The Russian replies, quite calmly, “Ah, but in my country, I too can go to the gates of the Kremlin and shout out very loudly, “The President of America is an idiot”. :-)

  6. Tony D said,

    June 22, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    THE RULE OF LAW AS U POINT OUT COVERS LIBEL and those sorts of issues. That the nazis were able to abuse censorship on a massive scale is no defence for censorship.

    As the well known adage goes – In order for evil to triumph you just need good people to do nothing etc etc.

    The logical conclusion of your point of view sees a historian who has done SOME GOOD WORK in jail! Then it also sees the collapse of free speech in the western world in the face of threats by islamofacists and crazies.

    If someone wants to believe in crazy things that is up to them . WHY NOT BAN SOMEONE FROM SAYING THE WORLD IS FLAT AND OR PUBLISHING THAT BELIEF?

    AS A MATTER OF OBSERVABLE FACT the world is flat! THINK ABOUT IT! of course the world is flat. It is only when we are able to verify that this is not actually true that we can expose the belief as silly. For how long did people persist with that belief? Incredible! yes but there you go!

    Likewise we need to allow such expression of belief in order to remind us of why they are not true good, proper or whatever.

    I have little doubt that the jewsish suffered and lost millions but I dont think someone who doesnt believe it and says so should be banned at all.

    As i was saying before:

    I DO NOT NEED ANYONE TO PROTECT ME FROM OTHER PEOPLES THOUGHTS VIEWS OR IDEAS THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    CENSORSHIP IS ALWAYS WRONG

    BAD TASTE AND QUESTIONS OF APPROPRIATENESS ARE ANOTHER MATTER

  7. Tony D said,

    June 22, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    EDUCATION AND RIDICULE WILL DEFEAT ALL THE THINGS CENSORS FEAR

  8. Tony D said,

    June 22, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    sHOW ME AN INFORMED, RATIONAL AND EDUCATED MAN AND i tell u he will not be swayed by any amount of proGANDA OR UNTRUTHS. IN FACT THE CRAZY WILL ONLY RE-ENFORCE HIS OWN CONVICTIONS


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