Friday, March 30, 2007

Make Paris Look Fabulous, Not War

Exhibit #32,983 of our society's sick double standard regarding sex and violence starts with this story in today's local paper. The gist of the story is that some first grade kid got suspended for playing an online game, using a school computer during computer class, that involved dressing a cartoon Paris Hilton doll:
"...It was not sexually explicit. It was a cartoon likeness of Paris Hilton where you changed her outfits. It was like a cartoon paper doll," [the kid's mom] said.

The "paper doll" is anatomically correct, but leaves obscure the crucial areas.

OK, whatever. But buried deep at the end of the article, there's this:
[Some supposed expert] lays the blame for the incident on fingertime.com, which included the Dress Paris game on a site with other games geared to children, including Dylan's favorite helicopter battle game "Overkill Apache."
So we, collectively, have a huge problem with first graders looking at Paris Hilton's obscured crucial areas in paper doll format, but it's OK for them to have a favorite helicopter battle game called "Overkill Apache." In all fairness, it doesn't say whether the kid ever played the helicopter game in school, or what would've happened to him if he had -- in fact:
According to the district's Web site, "Use of computer resources for obscene, threatening, violent or illegal purposes" is a level-three infraction.
It's hard to see what's obscene, threatening, violent or illegal about a cartoon Paris Hilton doll, even her obscured crucial areas. But this is less about the particular school district or its policies than about the tired old observation that we, as a society, leap in front of children to "protect" them from any suggestion of nekkid people, but tolerate, if not encourage, their participation in (simulations of) every kind of appalling violent act imaginable. This is about a society where a first grader can have a favorite helicopter battle game called "Overkill Apache." Here's a description of the game from the website:
Fly your Apache Helicopter, attack all targets! Guide your chopper in our energy packed, side on scrolling shoot'em up game. Collect missiles, weapons and powerups, targetting enemy tanks, trucks, troops, fighter planes and ground troops.. even the odd goat!
The Paris Hilton dress up game includes a warning that it contains some mild nudity, and says you have to certify that you're over 16 to play it. The helicopter attack game -- of course -- doesn't. Overkill Apache is currently the second most popular game on fingertime.com, after Chopper Drop. I hoped that one might be about dropping supplies to refugees or something, but of course, it's not:
As your helicopter flies across the city, drop pixel bombs to blow up the buildings before you crash into them!
You don't have to be 16 to play Chopper Drop, either.

Well, at least little Dylan is training to join the Great and Epic Battle Against Iraq Iran Eurasia Eastasia Somedamnbody in about a dozen short years.

Sigh.

Stop The War.

2 comments:

evil columnist said...

Amen.

anne said...

I just watched the movie/documentary "This Movie Is Not Yet Rated" in which it goes on to explain all the sexual things that will earn an N17 (or whatever the rating is) but how the excessively violent movies will manage to get an R. Also, as long as there is no actual blood, you can kill as many people as you want in a movie and it will be rated PG13.
An interesting movie if you haven't seen it yet.