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PA1 - 656 v I mm.— ‘me —— — 2 chapter I9 POPULAR...

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Unformatted text preview: 656 v I- . mm..— ‘me —— —_ 2 chapter I9 POPULAR CULTURE READING SELECTION “Breeding Evil? Defending Video Games” ABOUT THE AUTHOR: THE ECONOMIST Articles in The Economist are written anonymously by its editors or unnamed contributors. Published in London since 1843, this newsweekly focuses on world events—politics, business and finance, and sciencHhat influence decision makers such as executives, financiers, managers, and government of— ficials. Editorially. it advocates economic conservatism. BEFORE You READ 1. The Economistis a British publicationTo what extentclo you expect British concerns about media violence to be similar to or different from American concerns? 2. What does the title. "Breeding Evil? Defendingvideo Games," indicate about the article‘s argu- ment? Whatisyourinitial reaction to the title and possible argument? 3. This is an “unsigned" article; the author presumabiy is one ofthejournal’s stafiwriters. in what ways might your reading be affected by not knowing the identity ofthe author? 4. What do you already know about video games that might be relevant to the reading? Do you think that violent video games are harmless, possibly even beneficial? —»—« Breeding Evil? Defending Video Games “It is an evil influence on the youth ofour coun— try." A politician condemning video gaming? Ac— tually. a clergyman denouncing rock and roll fifty years ago. But the sentiment could just as easily have been voiced by Hillary Clinton in the past few weeks, as she blamed video games for “a silent epidemic of media desensitization” and “stealing the innocence of our children.” The gaming furor centers on Grand Tbefi‘ Aura: Sandndrear, a popular and notoriously vie olent cops and robbers game that turned out to contain hidden sex scenes that could be unlocked using a patch downloaded from the internet. The resulting outcry (mostly from Democratic politi- cians playing to the center) caused the game's rating in America to be changed from I‘mature," which means you have to be seventeen to buy it, to “adults only,” which means you have to be 18, but also means that big retailers such as Wal— Mart will not stock it. As a result the game has been banned in Australia; and, this autumn, America’s Federal Trade Commission will in— vestigate the complaints. Thatwill give gaming’s opponents an opportunity to vent their wrath on the industry. Skepticism of new media is a tradition with deep roots, going back at least as far as Socrates’s objections to written texts, outlined in Plato’s Pbaedms. Socrates worried that relying on writ- ten texts, rather than the oral tradition, would “create forgetfiilness in the learners’ souls, because theywill not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not re- member of themselves.” (He also objected that a written version of a speech was no substitute for the ability to interrogate the speaker, since, when questioned, the text “always gives one unvarying answer.” His objection, in short, was that books were not interactive. Perhaps Socrates would have thought more highly of video games.) ...
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