Ralph Nader Makes First Serious Bid For 'Crazy Old Man' Position; Refers To Video Games As 'Electronic Child Molestors'
from the read-more-in-'Flowers-in-the-Xbox'-by-V.C.-Andrews dept
Inappropriate? Yes. Offensive? Of course. But no worse than Ralph Nader's bizarre statement suggesting video games molest children. Sure, the definition of "molest" could cover tinkering with their little minds, but Nader's mid-rant attack on video games suggests his mind is the one that needs some tinkering.
“We are in the peak of [violence in entertainment]. Television program violence? Unbelievable. Video game violence? Unprecedented,” Nader said. “I’m not saying he wants to censor this, I think he should sensitize people that they should protect their children family by family from these kinds of electronic child molesters.”Well, that seems to be everyone's favorite topic these days when they're not decrying gun ownership in general. "Violent media." "Violent video games." Let's get on the grandstand, ride the bandwagon, and craft some unfortunate legislation! And by all means, let's hyperbolize the issue into irrelevance.
"Peak violence." That's a new one. Just a few years ago we were all concerned with "peak oil." Now it's culture-at-large, supposedly more violent than ever, but without the escalating crime statistics needed to bear out these claims. All it takes is a tragedy or two to obscure the decline in violent crime and fog up the memory of those who have made overwrought statements aimed at various forms of media before.
Here's Nader's post-Newtown editorial for Huffington Post:
Advertisements aimed at children are meant to tantalize and sell the latest toys, gadgets and video games -- many of which serve as electronic babysitters that feature violence and undermine parental authority.That's a lot of blame to place on a few devices, Ralph.
The potential impact on the developing psyche of young children of heavy exposure to the violence and crass humor found in entertainment is disturbing."Potential." Keep using that word like it means something. Everything is "potential" until proven or disproven. So far, "disproven" is winning. And one man's (or child's) "crass humor" is another man's high art. To equate an exposure to crass humor to an exposure to violence is some spectacularly bad rhetoric. Carrying out this "potential impact" to its illogical extreme means that fart jokes breed as many killers as Eli Roth films do.
Here's Ralph Nader again, from 2011, in an open letter to NBA commissioner David Stern, asking him to reconsider playing games on Christmas because NO FAMILY EVER WATCHED A SPORTING EVENT TOGETHER.
I urge you to reconsider the Christmas day NBA overload in a spirit of decency, regard and recognition as to how this will disrupt family gatherings throughout the day with predictable arguments between children and parents about watching the games instead of spending quality time with siblings, parents, relatives and friends.If anything, I'd think he'd be more concerned about the players being unable to spend time with their families on Christmas, rather than on the "predictable arguments" of one-TV households (or whatever it is he's alluding to). I appreciate Nader's "family first" stance on all of these fake issues, but seriously, it's like listening to someone rant that everything today is terrible because it's not 40 or 50 years ago.
Nader has done a lot of good in his role as consumer advocate, but he's taking a wrong turn down an avenue that leads past "irrelevance" and into "self parody." His slightly unhinged rant, which included referring to the inauguration ceremony as "political bullshit" (it kind of is) and calling out Obama for breaking several of his campaign promises (which he did), was made even more bizarre by his statement that all of this was "peripheral" to his real concern: the "molested" children.
If this sort of thing keeps up, by the time any conclusions are reached on violent media and its relationship to real-life violence, the American public (and perhaps even many of their representatives) will be so tired of hearing about it, they'll no longer care. If anyone's truly worried about "desensitizing" the American public, it should be those who feel the issue can only be taken seriously if it's surrounded by ridiculous conflation and tenuous correlation.