I was up in the mountains a few months ago with my best friend, and we were sitting on our beds in the cabin talking about our favorite books and video games. Our conversation somehow veered into how people view video games as violent, gory, and “SATAN666!!!” Jack Thompson and Aniteer Sharkeeter have done their best to drag the name of video games through the mud, frame them as awful, and in the rush for some sort of change or censorship when they’re perfectly fine the way they are.
Back to my best friend and I back at the cabin; we had a very interesting talk about how people view books and video games. If you’re 40 and you play video games you may be called a loser or the like, but if you read books at 40 you’re wise and cultured. If you’re 16 and play video games then you’re at risk of being *insert buzzword here*!! But if you read at 16 — and my friend and I have heard this — you’re “not like the other students,” or “you must be really smart for reading so much!” But, to be honest, books and video games are no worse or better than the other. Sure, we learned a lot from books, but books can be just as gruesome as a video game. You think I’m reading Shakespeare or something like that, but I’m actually reading about a girl who steals the life force from people, leaving them a shivering husk on the floor.
This is an anecdote, sure, but I’ve read a book that went in such detail about how a girl killed herself that it caused me to have a panic attack. But, sure, we readers are not at all exposed to what a video game would ever show us. In the same book there’s a kid forced to use drugs, and a girl in a highly abusive household. I’ve read books where rape has, or almost has happened in great detail. The things I have read in books would cause an uproar and a scream for them to get banned amongst folks like Thompson and Sarkeesian.
Books don’t even have ratings. A 15 year old can easily get their hands on 50 Shades of Grey. They can get ahold of some violent, gory shit. Unlike video games, where you don’t need your ID to get your hands on it. Should there ever be the same restrictions on books like video games? No. The point is that people see reading books as a inherently good, wholesome media and video games as inherently harmful.
You can’t hold up one media, calling it amazing and a great hobby, while trashing another media that does the exact same thing. That’s flat out hypocrisy. This whole thing is beginning to segue into another argument that I’d rather discuss in another article later on. So stay tuned for more things that make me want to just go watch Netflix & cry.