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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | Nov 19, 1999
   

PQ Mailbag
Week of: 11/19/99

Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby..

Of course I can't get enough of your love, and I'd just like to give props to all those who enjoy my work on this here mailbag. It is appreciated more than you will ever know. Now let's get to the mail!

Gaming and Violence

Once again this week, we open up with a shootload of reader e-mail on another fan-bloody-tastic editorial. Dru's editorial on Gaming and Violence provoked thoughts among many readers, and those same readers were considerate enough to write in! Hear their opinions!

From: Michael Turitzin
Subject: Dru's excellent editorial

In his article, Dru manages to make several generalizations which are obviously false. For those who have not read this article, I will sum up its major points:

Younger generation = tolerant
Older generation = ignorant warhawks
Politicians = foolish
Media = bloodthirsty

He states, "Far more tolerance than has been shown than the generation older than us, who propel us into conflicts against the new enemy Communism, or the new enemy Iraq, or who managed to divide a whole country for many, many years." Has there ever been a generalization more blatant? I don't recall the "older generation" having supported these conflicts -- members of the generation, yes, but most definitely not the entire generation. Just as the "younger generation" is not composed entirely (or even close to entirely) of "tolerant" people, the "older generation" is not composed of intolerant people. Dru states that he plays Quake with people of all ages but then goes on to say that only the "younger generation" is tolerant. If the "Quake community" is tolerant, how can some members of it not be? From Dru's statements, it would sound as if he has had very little contact with members of the supposed generation he berates.

Dru's "politician examples" are hardly convincing. In another generalization, he claims that politicians are, in fact, not "honourable gentlemen" (I do wonder where he got this quotation from) but "complete fool[s]." Wow. I was not aware that an entire group could be summed up in one sentence, but Dru has most definitely done so very effectively! Dru's attacks on the "older generation" and "foolish politicians" sound no less ignorant than arguments claiming today's young people are somehow worse than they were in the past. I don't think I even need to comment on Dru's further generalizations regarding the media. One should not attack stereotyping by stereotyping (as Dru has managed to accomplish).

While I do not necessarily completely disagree with Dru's argument, it could definitely have been presented in a more intelligent manner. I have, by the way, noticed many racist comments in online games of Quake.

MaNiAc

Hellchick: Allow to begin my mailbag comments with a serious statement - I also disagreed with a major portion of Dru's argument. One of the things he stated was that you will never racist or chauvinist remarks on any Quake server. This is blatantly wrong. I've seen both, more of the latter because I'm female. While I agree with his point, I wouldn't have take the same path to get there. 'Nuff said.


From: Roger Norris
Subject: Roger Norris

It is a difficult thing for someone who enjoys playing violent games to take a step back and look at how those games might be having a negative impact. I'll try my best to be impartial here...
First of all, it is important to realize that playing violent video games DOES influence a person's behavior. Playing these games tends to increase a person's aggressiveness. However, this does not mean that violent video games should be held responsible for such extreme cases as school shootings. Video games may affect one's aggressiveness but they have not been shown to affect one's judgment, and judgment is the key issue here. These school shootings were not the result of sudden aggressive impulses but were pre-meditated attacks, which cannot be attributed to the effects of such a small influence as a video game.
Another issue addressed in the editorial was the cohesiveness and tolerance of the gaming community. While there is definitely progress being made as far as tolerance goes, I don't think we can give credit for that to violent video games. This generation as a whole is much more tolerant than any of the previous ones simply because of education and communication advances. The tolerance of the gaming community might be slightly higher not because of the games themselves, but because of the new medium for communication that the games provide. Oh well, that's enough ranting for now...back to fragging.

The Pyro


Hellchick: Well said, Pyro. We could extend this argument to people in the military - they're trained to kill, so isn't that desenitizing them to violence? Food for thought. Now if you don't mind, I have to go desensitive myself...

From: Daniel E. Bozym Jr
Subject: Dru's Editorial

The man hit the mark.

The bandwagon on this 'Video Game Violence' issue is bigger than a Ford Excursion. In a society with a Democratic media, they must tell everyone how (insert item here) is corrupting our environment; or breeding people into mindless killing machines.

People never believe politicians on issues of tax, money, laws, or so forth. Why believe them about some video game? I'm not saying all politicians are dirty scowndrels and dishonest; but that the general public is all divided about other issues. Why do they stand alltogether on the video game one?

Can't we all just get along?
(and if you all stand real close together, i can snipe yer candyass' with 1 rail shot!)

- Sexecutioner

Hellchick: If Sexecutioner won't say that all politicians are dirty scoundrels and dishonest, then allow me to stand up and do it for him!

From: Rudy Melero
Subject: Gaming and Violence editorial

Are computer games being put to blame for the violence in America? Hardly.

You guys are getting off easy- granted, every now and then some fool in Congress is going to come unglued at the violence in his district and blame id, or Epic, or 3D Realms, or anyone. But trust me, computer games are a passing fad in congress. I'm sure some of you are angry that the pastime that you love is under scrutiny, well join the club. And we've got a good forty years on you.

Members of the NRA have been through this crap for much longer than you guys, and we've had it a lot worse. You may think it's horrible that congress wants to take away the right for you to do what you love most- yeah, it is horrible. But you're not the first, EVERY single time a violent crime is commited in America, the NRA takes the blame. And why? Because guns are our pastime.

And now you guys are feeling the same thing. Congress is trying to keep you from doing what you love, because some idiot spoiled it for you. Welp, we've already 'bin there, and it sucks. But believe me, you ain't seen nothing yet.

I am the NRA, and a fragger-
Rudy

P.S. This response isn't meant to tell people how great the NRA is, or how evil congress is- just that you aren't the first ones. Oh and, please excuse my grammar.

Hellchick: Oh my GOD - he's a Quake player AND an NRA member. RUN! Run screaming for your lives! Actually, I wonder if Rudy ever saw my idea for an NRA mod?

From: TBB
Subject: Quaker Politicans

I just finished reading Dru's excellent editorial. I can't agree more to what he says. At 17 years old that puts me at a junior in high school. Catholic High school, now I wasn't catholic educated all my life, and I've had my share of putdowns and racial slurs courtesy of public education (I just went to bad schools, nothing personal). I also wear a trenchcoat to school, and I'm a white male. Couldn't find a better person to believe was in the trenchcoat maffia right? Wrong. I vehemently oppose what the trenchcoat maffia stands for and I'm always offended by the crud accusations made by the immature minds of CCHS (in fact I'm sitting next to one right now). All it would take for me to get suspended is for one of these comments to be overheard by our powermad prinicpals.
After what seems like an eternity I finally asked the administration if CCHS could start a club devoted to Online Gaming. They said yes and our second meeting is tomarrow night. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts.
The Black Baron


Hellchick: Indeed. And to see the looks on the collective faces of the administration when they find out you guys are using the Catholic girl skin.

From: Mike Salzman
Subject: violence editorial

When politicians condemn violent games, all they are trying to do is get public support. The smart politicians see a golden oppurtunity here to win the favor of the public. Let's assess the situation:

When someone see's a small clip of a guy exploding it looks bad -- This is great for the media, because it takes no time. The media loves things that get reactions out of the public that they don't need to try and explain. They always srcounge for "footage" of something, if there's no footage, the dumb masses (say it outloud and you'll get the subtle comment, hehe) are un-interested.

The majority of voters do not play violent games -- Therefore, they can condemn something they know nothing about and look good for "saving the children" while not turning off too many voters, they gain more than they loose.

I could go on about how people are so ignorant, and have too much say in things they know nothing about, but I wont.

Later, I need to go run over a puppy or pop some little kid's baloons. (j/k, don't take that seriously, ugh, I can't believe I even needed to say that).

Mike9000

I, personally, happen to think that, while living in Canada, mind you, that the various governments and media outlets seem to run with anything bad they can find anywhere. But that's my opinion. I also have another opinion, and that's that violence in games is fine, mm'kay? But I suppose it all depends. BTW, Hellchick says we'll have a rebuttal on this next week, so I can look forward to sorting through a lot more e-mail. Yippee!

From: David Perry
Subject: Dru's editorial on violence

Hey there,

Dru's article is rather clear-headed, if short, in dealing with the never-ending video game violence debate. However, I must take exception to one of his statements. He says that if you connected to a Quake server, "you would not hear a single racist joke, or chauvinist remark, or any similar sort of insult." In my personal experiences with Q1 deathmatch and TeamFortress, this isn't always the case. From time to time, I've run into someone who goes around calling people "niggers", which is almost universally unacceptable these days. Much more often you'll hear someone call another player (or his tactics) "gay" or "fag". Perhaps these literary experts are from a different area than me, but where I live, homosexual and bisexual people are still people, not less- than-human aberrations as the above taunts would suggest.

Don't get me wrong, this sort of thing is the exception, not the rule. But it happens often enough to reflect badly on the online gaming community, and give Mr. Politician more fuel to power the political bandwagon.

However, in all fairness, Dru did say he was playing Q3A, not Quake or TF. Maybe Q3A players are more civilized or something. Nothing like curved surfaces to bring a group of people together. (:

Thanks for your time,
David


Hellchick: Like I said, not only have I heard those same terms, but I've heard a few directed at me based on my (perceived) gender. I once thought about calculating all possible permutations of the words "bitch", "whore", "slut", and a few that I think are too strong even for PQ's mailbag. Of course, most of those came from ME, but you didn't hear that.

From: Bruce
Subject: Gaming and Violence Editorial

Dear PlanetQuake,

In a recent editorial Dru said "I can guarantee you however, that if you connected to a server, you would not hear a single racist joke, or chauvinist remark, or any similar sort of insult."

If only this were true. I have been on several servers where "nigger", "cunt" and other racial or sexual put downs. When I said that such language was offensive the originator proceeded to insult me, and other players on the server either didn't say a thing, or told me to shut up.

The Quake community is not as cheerful and happy as Dru seems to think it is.
---
Bruce


These past two letters were singled out because I feel that they're sadly true. While we'd like to think that everyone's enlightened, and everyone's fair, it's just not what's happening out there. A few, not the majority, are just plainly being dicks, and there's not a hell of a lot we can do about it, except say "Don't be a dick, dude." It's kind of a sad statement on the community sometimes, that we're not as sensitive as maybe we should be. In addition, if you're offended by any word printed in the mailbag, including the above examples of a harmful racial slur, please e-mail feedback with your opinions, keeping in mind that all letters included in the PQ Mailbag are the property and opinion of their authors, not PlanetQuake. Thanks.

Hellchick: They are also not the opinion of PQ's employers, any subsidiaries, our mothers, the guy who delivers our office products, or Jesse Ventura. But if they piss you off, hell, I'll take credit for 'em.

On to more letters on the next page, including people who want to go home!


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