The time-honoured tradition of stodgy men arguing over things they know nothing about continued in England during last Friday's game censorship debate in the House of Commons, with MP Keith Vaz showing us how it's done while speaking in defense of Julian Brazier's bill to add a censorship level above the British Board of Film Classification. In comparing the interactivity of video games to movies, Vaz unleashed this little gem:
However, someone sitting at a computer playing a video game, or someone with one of those small devices that young people have these days, the name of which I forget— [Interruption.]PlayStations or PSPs, something of that kind.
"Well, whatever they are called, when people play these things, they can interact. They can shoot people; they can kill people. As the honourable Gentleman said, they can rape women."
The gentleman he is referring to is the bill's author Julian Brazier, though being completely off-base when quoting someone else doesn't excuse you from being off-base in the first place. The man can barely remember what these horribly offensive rape-machines are. When you have to struggle to remember what you were talking about in the first place it's probably a good indicator that you should sit down and shut up.
Luckily for British gamers, the House isn't completely full of uninformed idiots. Conservative MP Edward Vaizey actually took the time to check this claim out with the BBFC.
"Is the honourable Gentleman aware of any video game that has as its intention the carrying out of rape or that allows the game player to carry out such an act? The BBFC and I are unaware of any such game."
Look? Sense! What could the bill's author counter sense with, but more nonsense?
"I cannot comment on the rape in games issue, but I can tell the House what Stefan Pakeerah's father said after Warren Leblanc had murdered his son. He said that "Manhunt" is a game using weapons like hammers and knives...The object of Manhunt is not just to go out and kill people. It's a point-scoring game where you increase your score depending on how violent the killing is. That explains why Stefan's murder was as horrific as it was."
Aha! While I cannot comment on games that allow you to rape women as I know of none, look at this puppet on my other hand! It is a murderous puppet, with a hammer in hand! A video game puppet! Take that!
Taken, and rebutted by Minister of State Margaret Hodge, who explained that not only was the game found to have played no part in the murder, it was the victim who owned the game and not the attacker.
Perhaps the real story here isn't that Mr. Vaz decided to claim erroneously that video games let you rape women, but rather the fact the the House of Commons debates had people present with enough sense to challenge the claim. Good show!