Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's next, banning books?

Here is the last of the re-posts from my writing blog. This one kind of branches out to censorship of things beyond books but the idea is still very much pertinent here.

In one of his columns for Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King openly chastised the Massachusetts legislator for trying to enact a law that would ban kids under 18 from purchasing violent video games. I’m convinced he can only make me love him more.

In so many words, he believes it should be in the hands of the parents to control what their kids do and don’t see and yes, I wholeheartedly agree. He even brought up a rather valid point: a seventeen year old can walk into a movie theater and see the next slash ‘em up flick yet he won’t be able to go to Target and purchase Grand Theft Auto. Makes sense, right? O_o

Scary enough as this is that parents just can’t bring themselves to break their friendship with their children to ban things from their own house, it could get even scarier if they started banning certain books that minors would otherwise have access to. Yes, yes, I know. The idiots* have been attempting to do this for years. God forbid Mark Twain, the civil war era writer, didn’t use “African American” in his works. Racist propagandizer he is! But think about it. In the same scenario as above, a seventeen year old can go see Saw 47 but can’t pick up The Shining. Please tell me I’m not the only one going cross-eyed at that prospect.

I echo King’s point pretty much down to the letter. Parents need to start putting a hand in to raise their children, to put their foot down and not allow things they find objectionable into their homes instead of suing this company or that for exposing their child to it, never mind it was their money that bought the product to begin with. At the same time the government needs to take a step back and stop going to such lengths to protect us from ourselves. I was 4 or 5 the first time I saw the first Poltergeist and probably about 7 or 8 the first time I saw The Exorcist. Did I try to masturbate with a crucifix? No. Why? Because my dad liked the movies (my mom was pissed he let me watch them), watched them with me and explained things to me, explained that it wasn’t real (regardless of the fact that my mom wouldn’t allow a Ouija board in the house thanks to Linda Blair) and I wasn’t allowed to watch these things on my own.

What’s the difference between Mario getting thrust over a cliff and beating up prostitutes for bonus points? Are they not both equally violent or is it because Mario is in Dot Matrix design and Grand Theft Auto is “so real”? Why is it that kids don’t understand the difference between fantasy and reality? Why do parents think Zoey 101, That’s So Raven, Hanna Montana and Sponge Bob Square Parents are so much better for their offsprings’ psyche than Mortal Combat? Acting like a tempestuous, spoiled little brat is so much better than kicking the crap out of a digital samurai?

You know, I’m not all that far off from this generation of kids without want and parents as best friends but I don’t mimic the shit I see on Jackass nor do I shoot up a hooker because I saw it on a video game. I haven’t scribbled “All work and no play . . .” on my walls nor attempted to Avada Kedavra my friends. Why do these children not know where that reality line is?

Parents need to take the blame for when their kids do something wrong instead of turning it around and making it look like the opposition is deranged. Take the guy whose kid fashioned a taser out of a cell phone. Let me repeat that. THE TURD MADE A TASER OUT OF A CELL PHONE. He brought it to school and started using it on kids. He was expelled for having a weapon on school grounds. His father (what a role model this guy is) stepped up and sued the school district for overstepping their bounds, exaggerating and made his son look like a victim who “just had a cell phone.” So if Billy files a shank out of a toothbrush and takes it to school and gets expelled for stabbing kids with it, can he use the same defense? But it’s just a toothbrush! He was practicing good oral hygiene!

But I’m getting off the topic. Kids today no sooner know right from wrong than they do fantasy from reality. Parents want their kids to be up to speed on fashion, trends and pop culture. They want them to be popular. How do you do that? Certainly not by denying them something every other kid has. "But Mom, I’m not going to know what’s going on if I don’t have Grand Theft Auto!" And god forbid parents say “tough shit.”

First it’s video games. Then the bored house wives out in the Midwest with nothing better to do will finally get their wish when the government starts banning minors’ access to objectionable books. Because obviously parents can’t get their shit together and decide what’s good and what isn’t for their kids. Only the government can to that. And yes, that can be read in a couple of different ways. If a parent wants their kid to see Schindler’s List under their supervision, it shouldn’t be illegal to do so. At the same time parents need to draw a line and actually have an active hand in raising their kids instead of just throwing movies and video games at them and being *gasp* shocked when they mimic something they’ve seen that gets other people killed and them thrown in jail.

I know I’d be pretty pissed if my books weren’t available to younger readers because the government didn’t think it was appropriate enough. I’d like to think the parents can make a fine enough decision in that department. They just need to actually step up and do it.

*I’m not calling the site owner(s) an idiot but the people that petition to actually ban books. Yeah. They’re the idiots, among other things.


Rabid Fox said...

Cheers on a great rant. I think you've echoed my sentiments exactly. And love live Stephen King. :)

Jessica said...

OK then so you have summed up my thoughts exactly. Well at least now I know where my brain goes from time to time. You steal it you do.

Donna said...

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains . . .

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