Monday, April 07, 2008

Stephen King Speaks Out Against Video Game Legislation

Popular Horror Novelist Stephen King has criticized plans by legislators in Massachusetts to restrict or ban the sale of video games that depict violence, nudity or sexual content to buyers under 18.

HB 1423, is the Massachusetts bill that would seek the restrict or ban the sale of video games that depict violence to buyers under 18. Among other things, it seeks to define "harmful to minors" in terms of whether the game is "obscene".

(1) describes or represents nudity, sexual conduct or sexual excitement, so as to appeal predominantly to the prurient interest of minors; (2) depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community, so as to appeal predominantly to the morbid interest in violence of minors; (3) is patently contrary to prevailing standards of adults in the county where the offense was committed as to suitable material for such minors; and (4) lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.

Mr King spoke out against the ban in his recent Entertainment Weekly column.

"I'm no fan of videogames; pretty much gave them up in the late '70s or early '80s," says King, "so, nope — videogames are not my thing. Nor am I some kind of raving political nutcase. But when I heard about HB 1423, which happens to be a bill pending in the Massachusetts state legislature, I still hit the roof."

''What really makes me insane is how eager politicians are to use the pop culture as a whipping boy. It's easy for them, even sort of fun, because the pop-cult always hollers nice and loud. Also, it allows legislators to ignore the elephants in the living room.''

King's resentment towards government intrusion is one that is shared by many. As are his views on banning the sale of video games to minors. In fact several of these laws have recently been blocked or overturned, including bills in Minneapolis and Louisiana.

In my opinion the government needs to stop the slew of senseless legislation aimed at "parenting". Let parents be parents, they should know by now that they need to be proactive in their children's lives. We don't need government intrusion and bureaucracy telling us how to live.

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