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Rant #120
(published February 6, 2003)
We Hate Fun
by Old People

On Video Games
Every day millions of boys and young men are entertaining themselves with a game that denigrates women and glamorizes violence against them. The theory that it is a game that only adults are playing is simply not valid. Our recent survey of boys showed that it is extremely popular with pre-teen and teen males.

Parents and other adults are almost totally unaware of the content of the game. We have surveyed over 600 parents and teachers over the past month and less than 3 percent have any knowledge of the anti-female content of the game.

Studies of exposure to sexual violence (e.g., Linz & Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1988; Mullin & Linz, 1995; Strasburger & Wilson, 2002) suggest that watching even short amounts of sexual violence can desensitize viewers to it. For example, in an experimental study, viewers of films including sexual violence expressed significantly less sympathy for domestic violence victims, and rated their injuries as less severe, than did a no-exposure comparison group (Mullin & Linz, 1995).

—The National Institute of Media and the Family

On Television
Children who watch the violent shows, even 'just funny' cartoons, were more likely to hit out at their playmates, argue, disobey class rules, leave tasks unfinished, and were less willing to wait for things than those who watched the nonviolent programs,

—Aletha Huston, Ph.D.

On Rock Music
While a few outrageous recordings have always existed in the past, the proliferation of songs glorifying rape, sadomasochism, incest, the occult, and suicide by a growing number of bands illustrates this escalating trend that is alarming.

Some have suggested that the records in question are only a minute element in this music. However, these records are not few, and have sold millions of copies, like Prince's "Darling Nikki," about masturbation, sold over 10 million copies. Judas Priest, the one about forced oral sex at gunpoint, has sold over 2 million copies. Quiet Riot, "Metal Health," has songs about explicit sex, over 5 million copies. Motley Crue, "Shout at the Devil," which contains violence and brutality to women, over 2 million copies.

Some say there is no cause for concern. We believe there is. Teen pregnancies and teenage suicide rates are at epidemic proportions today. The Noedecker Report states that in the United States of America we have the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed country: 96 out of 1,000 teenage girls become pregnant.

—From the PMRC Testimony before Congress

On Comic Books
Attention has been given by some experts to the influence of crime and horror comics on well-adjusted children who normally are not in conflict with society. Majority opinion seems inclined to the view that it is unlikely that the reading of crime and horror comics would lead to delinquency in a well-adjusted and normally law-abiding child.A different view is held by Dr. Frederic Wertham, consulting psychiatrist, Department of Hospitals, New York City. He maintains that it is primarily the "normal" child upon whom the comics have their greatest detrimental effects, and thus it is this type of individual who is "tempted" and "seduced" into imitating the crime portrayed in the story. Dr. Wertham has been termed the "leading crusader against comics." Although stating that he does not adhere to a single factor theory of delinquency causation, he does attribute a large portion of juvenile offenses to the comics.

—"Violent Death in Every Form Imaginable": A Senate Committee Report Assesses "Crime and Horror" Comic Books

On Novels
A great obstacle to good education is the inordinate passion prevalent for novels, and the time lost in that reading which should be instructively employed. When this poison infects the mind, it destroys its tone and revolts it against wholesome reading. Reason and fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected. Nothing can engage attention unless dressed in all the figments of fancy, and nothing so bedecked comes amiss. The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life. This mass of trash, however, is not without some distinction; some few modeling their narratives, although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able to make them interesting and useful vehicles of a sound morality.

—Thomas Jefferson

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