Best-selling author Stephen King points up and rips down the double-standard of what's tolerable in violent films, compared with video games, in a brilliant op-ed for Entertainment Weekly. You should take a look at this, because as a creator of worthy stories filled with violence and suspense, he speaks with real authority. Plus, it's great to see this kind of defence in a mainstream medium.
King's been writing horror novels for nearly four decades, many of them reaching the big screen, some of them even winning Oscars. And he rightly points out that to a politician, a 17-year-old can see gruesome flicks like Hostel or Saw, but would be a danger to society playing the less graphic Grand Theft Auto or Hitman series.
Then he loses it on a bill before the Massachusetts state legislature, and it gets good.
You really should read the whole thing, but his kicker is well worth quoting here:
What really makes me insane is how eager politicians are to use the pop culture — not just videogames but TV, movies, even Harry Potter — 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. Elephant One is the ever-deepening divide between the haves and have-nots in this country, a situation guys like Fiddy and Snoop have been indirectly rapping about for years. Elephant Two is America's almost pathological love of guns. It was too easy for critics to claim — falsely, it turned out — that Cho Seung-Hui (the Virginia Tech killer) was a fan of Counter-Strike; I just wish to God that legislators were as eager to point out that this nutball had no problem obtaining a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he'd been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn't even have been able to kill himself.
Stephen King: Video Game Lunacy [Entertainment Weekly, thanks Avi Gold]