Saturday, 12 April 2008

Abusing your illusion

Last year the Institute for Irrelevant Survey’s got together with the Center for Pointless Expenditure and established the shocking news that 43% of parents don’t understand the video game rating system, and will happily go and buy little Johnny pretty much whatever he wants for his birthday, just so long as he shuts up about it for 5 minutes so they can get some peace.

Essentially what this means is that when a games publisher creates something called “Killzone” and slaps a great big shiny “18” on the box, that Mummy and Daddy will blissfully sit there completely unaware that 4 year old Johnny might have been punching above his weight when he wrote to his birthday list. Yet strangely, if you slap an equally big and just as shiny “18” onto the box of something called “Deep Throat”, tell them it’s a DVD rather than a game, and all of a sudden Mummy and Daddy know exactly what it is, and little Johnny doesn’t get any desert for a week.

So, while this survey also proudly stated that 75% of parents are concerned about a games contents, it also tells us that the afore mentioned 43% of them are probably too stupid to do anything about it anyway. That however, isn’t really the problem. You see that comes in when you take into account that these are the same 43% of people who will then happily go running about telling everyone within earshot that the only reason people keep killing each other is because ID Software released Doom back in the early 90’s, and as a direct result you can no longer leave the house without the fear of someone jumping out from behind a barrel and unloading a 12 bore into your chest. Up until then of course the most dangerous thing you were likely to encounter in the great wide world was particularly enthusiastic Jehovah’s witness armed with a bag full of cheaply produced bible extracts.

Equally significant however, is how rapidly this argument seems to get forgotten when applied the other way round. While we might spend hours debating if Grand Theft Auto is to blame for someone deciding that walking down a street shooting passers by is an acceptable Sunday morning activity, I can’t help but feel that somewhat less time seems to be devoted into establishing if the Lake District’s natural beauty has been decimated by city types turning up every weekend and breaking into impromptu renditions of the Sound of Music.

I could go on.

So I will.

You see the thing with this, like so many other monoliths of illogic that we seem intent on parading around is simple. It only work’s when you look at bottom end of the spectrum (for the geeks out there, yes, that was deliberate for the rest of you, move along, there’s nothing to worry you here). No sooner does something bad happen than everyone’s mother has gone rushing into their teenager’s bedroom seeking to establish what the latest craze is, so they can drag it kicking and screaming into the limelight and hold it responsible for the demise of western civilization. Christ, I’ve heard people saying that the reason kids are fat these days is because they spend so much time gliding around on Heeley’s that they’ve forgotten how to walk for crying out loud. To hell with the never ending stream of complete junk the parent’s are pouring down their throats on a daily basis, let’s blame the footwear! After all, if we all start to look at ourselves instead then we start to run a significant risk of finding an actual tangible cause for something, and then it’d only be a matter of time before every therapist in the land was under siege from newly awoken Daily Mail readers banging down their door. You see, we can keep doing it boy’s and girl’s, and God alone knows that there’s a lot of money invested in it, but one day the illusion’s going to shatter, and it’s going to take a lot more than the kings men to put that one back together agai

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