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Grand Theft Auto Murder (Made in U.S.A.)

On the day when a man is stabbed by a crazed devotee of surrogate violence generator 'Grand Theft Auto', it does occur to make a list of the all other truly great, brand-leading products of American design and manufacture. Their triumphant design answers to the Rolex watch, the Mini, the Dyson, the diamond-frame bicycle, the Volswagen beetle, the cat's-eye, the Sony Trinitron TV, the Cheddar Cheese, Concorde, Chinese porcelain, French wine, Belgian chocolates etc etc.
It turns out to look like something like this.
The Bowie knife, the Winchester rifle, the Colt 45, the Mosquito fighter bomber, the atom bomb, the Stealth fighter, the Cruise missile, the cheeseburger, Coca Cola.
Apart from a few notable gadgets like the Fender electric guitar, 'Made in America' means either weapons or junk food. Or in the case of GTA, a world where human life is always dispensable, and there are no consequences and every millivolt of hatred for the human race can be expressed, and more importantly for sales of the product,
It is yet another fantasy to imagine that fulfilling a violent dehumanising fantasy on a regular, sustained, systematic basis, with no moral or practical consequences, and no goals other than triumphalist domination of the assigned enemy by whatever force possible, does
not transfer some of the values of that barbaric world to the user - the subject in this conditioning process. The fact that many, if not all of the witnesses to the attack in the Croydon queue seem to have believed that the incident was a publicity stunt by the developers - that the blood and screams were simulated - is more evidence of this effect. They were, in other words, prepared to discount the evidence of their senses and lapse into a world of virtual wish-fulfillment again. Like a pathologically alienated version of the dancers' anthem 'Everything is beautiful at the ballet".
It is equally deluded to insist that such role playing can be therapeutic, preventing inevitable explosions of real violence. The same argument which is still sometimes used to justify sexual pornography, strangely enough. That a fantasy rape is a replacement for the real thing rather than a rehearsal for it. Furthermore, this apology for technologically-induced triumphalism is nothing more than a confession that society is so rotten that it makes us all violent psychotics, and that without the help of computer games, horse-tranquillisers, distilled sugar beet, and other narcotics, we would all kill each other. That acting out the fantasy of killing your boss prevents you from actually doing it.
The 'real' solution of course, if that word means anything anymore, is to have a world where you don't feel like killing your boss, or every cyclist on the street, or everyone else who is IN YOUR WAY and preventing you from squeezing out whatever Life there is left in your time on earth after the demands of the job and bank and state have taken their 80% cut.
But that would be silly. And too much like hard work.
Practice does make perfect, it seems. -
"Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine say that brain scans of kids who played a violent video game showed an increase in emotional arousal – and a corresponding decrease of activity in brain areas involved in self-control, inhibition and attention."
Gaming and Learning which is a serious responsible blog, is very positive about the benefits of gaming as an educational tool. But why should a tool as powerful as computer gaming only be able to teach nice lessons? The truth is that nasty lessons are easier, and more profitable, to teach.

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