Take Comfort In Your Apathy

It happens a lot but, each time it does, I take comfort in my boredom. I take comfort in the fact that it matters less -- that more people just shake their head and sigh. That we don't rush to our keyboard with a grimace, bashing out the same words we've been typing for the last 20 years.

I take comfort in that. I take comfort in our security as a collective. I take comfort in my apathy. Each time this happens the debate becomes a little more meaningless; the response a little more rational. As for us -- we simply care a little less.

This morning I received a number of emails from people. Folks outraged at comments by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, who claimed that there was "nothing more potentially damaging than the sort of violence [young people are] being exposed to, be it in movies, be it in console games they're playing."

"You get rewarded for killing people, raping women, stealing money from prostitutes, driving cars crashing and killing people," he continued.

Of course it makes little to no sense. Of course.

I looked at the emails I had been sent, and I noticed something -- there were a lot less of them.

I jumped onto twitter, and I noticed another thing: there were far less people discussing the situation. Far less tweets sent my way, no direct messages. The topic was not trending. For the most part, nobody was engaging in the fracas.

I breathed a sigh of relief and went about my day.

Mainstream media tried to make a meal of it. Headlines were drenched in hyperbole, experts were quoted, arguments recycled. Of course a few took the bait and engaged. Some got angry, and shouted like we used to when this all meant something, but most of us simply yawned. We've seen this before; we'll see it again. And the next time it happens, it'll matter even less.

In fact I care so little about Andrew Scipione's comments that I almost sympathise with him. I sympathise with him because he's confused. He doesn't have a solution so he must have his scapegoat, and that's tragic for all involved. Scipione's like an embarrassing grandfather, with views so out of touch and tepid that you almost tolerate it -- because he'll never change, and progress has passed him by. People who still think this way are relics and their time is almost gone. That's sad.

Patronise them with a nod, gently scold them if you must, but I find it a little difficult to get angry in any real sense. These people are so out of touch it's almost pathetic. In no shape or form are their outdated views any threat to reasonable thinking human beings. Just move along nicely, safe in the knowledge that, with every passing second, their opinions hold increasingly less weight.

Take comfort in your apathy, take refuge in your complete and utter boredom. Because it's powerful. Perhaps more powerful than the anger we usually feel when old men yell at clouds.

Because soon, perhaps sooner than you think, no-one will listen at all.


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    Considering the position I now have in the community, this is something I need to address with more tact than I once did, but address it I will.

    I would be able to find more comfort in my apathy if most of the head shaking comments I hear weren't from people in positions of powers that have the possibility of influencing society and the way I live.

    I know there's the "...give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." mode of thought, but that is what the fools rely on. Apathy.


        Precisely. Ignorance in power should be remedied or replaced.

    I shook hands with him a few months ago when my brother graduated Police Academy, I should have told him about my love for violent video games.

      They're still making those films?


          Actually watched the second one tonight. Not as funny as I remember. DAMMIT TACKLEBERRY STOP SHOOTING STUFF.

    There are also games & movies about corrupt cops... Does that have any baring in real life Mr Scipione? Sounds rather familiar to me...

    What games in this country let you rape women in? =/

      Luke Reilly from IGN Australia made the same point in the news.com.au piece.

        Makes you wonder where he got that bit from too, he seems really misinformed and he's police commissioner in our state, I should be rather worried, shouldn't I?

          Not really. He's the police commissioner, not a game reviewer.

          Although, having not played any of the games that may have you killing innocent civilians in an airport, sleeping with hookers in the backseat of a car then killing them for your money back and a game where you have to run over pedestrians to get more time to finish your race, he can probably be forgiven for thinking that rape is a part of the feast of violence we all love and enjoy (or not).

          Or better yet, he's been paying too much attention to the Tomb Raider dealio.

            I'll give you that, but his uneducated opinion really makes him look bad in the light of those that know.

          It's the 'ol GTA3, "raping prostitutes and killing them" myth.

      Harvest moon, I believe.

        I always knew it was an evil evil game!

      He must of imported some Japanese H-games, since his a cop he got them through customs.

    Much of NSW (likely the rest of Aus but I don't personally know) decisions and legislation are based off someone looking for a scapegoat. A personal favourite of mine is "drunken violence", stating it must always be the venues fault and most of the time no one has a clue if the people involved are even intoxicated.

    True that Mark! I'm over it personally. Tired of the same old things being put out, but not a bite of research going into any of the claims

    He doesn’t have a solution so he must have his scapegoat

    Well said.

    "Well I'm not going to leave you alone - I want you to get mad!"


    They're going to talk about it on The Project tonight

      Great, juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssst great, we need Mark on The Project ASAP

      Ah, that bastion of journalism. Will that be before or after the adverticle for whatever channel ten show is competing in the Olympic timeslot?

      Uh oh.. and by talk, spew an uneducated guess as to why games are bad and such..

      Ahhh the old researcher who doesn't actually play games, gotta love those ones.

      Oh well, nobody watches that stupid, uninformed, boring POS show anyway!

    Is this the same commissioner that had to defend the spate of killings inflicted by NSW police earlier this year?

    Indeed, how sad and embarrassing.

    There is no correlation between violence and videogames, in fact there is a decrease in aggressive tendencies. Why are there still a media rushing to publish and fuel the fires of ignorance of a culture that's so deeply integrated into the mainstream? Bygone relics of an anachronistic age.

    The trouble is, some of these relics still are in positions of power, and can use that power to do things based on their uninformed opinions. I guess if we just wait it out they'll be gone eventually. I don't see any politicians blaming anything on rock music any more, so there's some progress.

      There's quite a bit of truth here. I especially like the line about rock music.
      As it stands now, the "outdated relics" are kept in power by outdated people who believe the propaganda. There is however an issue with "when" a change might come about, say what you will about the generations before us, they got up off their asses and complained and affected change when they needed or wanted it, that is becoming less and less the case of our current generations and until something clicks, the people who can be bothered will be the ones keeping the wheels turning, it just so happens that they are also the ones who believe, without evidence, what someone in authority tells them, especially in situations they disagree with.
      Visit a pub anywhere and if you strike up the topic of government and politics I can guarantee you that there will be 80% willing to voice their opinions about what they think should change or what they would do if they could, but you can taste the hypocrisy because they are sitting on their ass in a bar getting drunk (which I have nothing against don't get me wrong) instead of actually doing something.

        That's because the generation that did all the noisy complaining and changing then ended up in power and made DAMN SURE that sort of shit wasn't going to happen to them, because they saw how it worked out for the ones they replaced.

        I like these days how you have to get permission to strike, only for a limited time and have to give advance notice so that it doesn't inconvenience anyone.

    Was considering sending in something but i realised other people would anyway...

    That being said is it irony that after running that "games caused redfern problems" segment. The next story they ran was about army training and the use of simulations? =P

      One more post and I'll shut up but, this comment outlines what is wrong (and yes, it is a bit ironic).
      No offense intended though it will likely come across that way. The mentality of "I was considering doing something but realised other people would anyway" is the root of the problem here with the current generations. Sadly it is not about what message is being sent, it is about how loudly. The more people who whinge about something, the more likely it will get changed (take ME3 ending for example) If you ever find yourself thinking "someone else will do it" ignore it and do it anyway. Policies rarely change because a single person makes a good point, an army of people can make a bunch of crap points and it will affect change better. It usually takes a person dying due to unsafe practices before policy changes (a loud message) rather than ignoring it thinking "oh, someone should fix that"

        Sorry Nexi but I will have to respectfully disagree.

        This is less a case of "someone else will fix it" and more of "oh this #[email protected]%! again?" It's like dredging up Rock and Roll has subliminal messages as the tool of the devil, Fiction as a way to drive people insane, DnD teaching children to summon demons and steal and so on.

        The shock value of a scapegoat can only go so far because at the end of the day a scapegoat is just an excuse, an escape and doesn't really answer anything besides pointing you at something else while we hide our lack of progress. And since we are literally whole generation of gamers that are on the adulthood/maturity phase in here such excuses hold even less weight in the presence of our own experiences and evidence.

        Sure we *can* call them out that it's wrong, do the whole dance and tune of parenthood > gaming. But really at this line from the article says it all -

        "Scipione’s like an embarrassing grandfather, with views so out of touch and tepid that you almost tolerate it — because he’ll never change, and progress has passed him by"

    Yeah, pretty much this. We've reached the point that the impotent rage against the new is fading to a background white noise

    Ours is the age of "Whatever". Be it ecology or war, or some other issue we're sort of concerned about but quite prepared to consign to the filing cabinet of Tomorrow, right down to the knee-jerk reaction of adolescents everywhere to the first five seconds of The 7:30 Report, we are all ready to shrug off the first signs of conscience if it disturbs our papier-mache sense of self belief.

    It is perfectly right to ignore a non-issue. But making a point of ignoring this particular issue only underlines the fact that it hasn't been put to bed at all. But what issue is that really? Why do people look at violent video games askance? If we accept that playing such games won't have you shooting up the local cinema, then what about other deleterious effects? Is the answer "Who cares?" really very germane, particularly when uttered by a journalist?

    The Commissioner is obviously someone who has looked at the world, and rather closely at a particularly nasty side of it, and has basically said: "Fuck me the world isn't like it was in 1970." Now most might want to say: "No shit, Sherlock." but it is an emotional response to something not properly articulated. You can't just reject it, because at the very least it happens to be true. Video games are a part, however small, of social change.

    Now take "Masterchef". For my money I think it encourages rigidly conservative patterns of thought, obedience to authority, and celebrates prejudice on a personal level, with its audio cues that relentlessly tell you what you should be feeling and its careful editing of its obsequious and calculating contestants. Having said that, I don't think Matt Preston will be the next Furher. But the idea that it really doesn't matter is absurd. How much is debatable, but it must say something about us as a society.

    Christ I'm bored of this already. Suffice it to say that although I do it regularly, the fact that I can go shooting a pixelated person in the face just has to say something potentially negative about us as a society. And you're basically pulling yourself if you think there's absolutely nothing odd about it.

    Remember when it was heavy metal music & pen & paper role play games that were the cause of the all that was wrong in the youth of the day?
    Same cries of "Witch" by the same ignorant minority.

    I was quite impressed to read that article tonight and see the comments section delivering a massive smackdown to the police commissioner's ill informed opinion, it's one thing to see a heated debate about something but the comments on that thread instead of being hotheaded or angry, were just full of people laughing at him!

    Yep. Same old stuff we always hear. No use worrying about it, really. We'll have our R18+ classification by next year. Not too long.

    What's the commissioners alternative?

    He's not going to come out and say that numerous government budget cuts to community programs have lead to this.
    He can't say that sensationalist media are declaring crime figures to be the worst ever historically recorded.
    He wont say that parents who refuse to raise their children properly should be just as accountable.
    He'll never say that reduced sentencing and punishments have led to the increase of gang and thug activity.
    He also can't suggest that reduced recruitment to the police force means that they're able to put fewer officers on the beat.
    He'd be mad to suggest that ending national service has reduced the level of respect and personal responsibility most males have.
    He'd be crazy to suggest that people who can't find work have drifted into crime because other opportunities are unavailable.

    I feel sorry for the man... I really do.

    It was covered on The Project last night.
    They didn’t go out of their way to defend games, but they did at least try to present both sides of the story, and they didn’t seem overly convinced by the Police Commissioner’s comments.
    At the end of the day alcohol is a much bigger problem than violent video games.

      I know more people that are violent due to alcohol & drugs than video games, mostly because they waste their money on alcohol & drugs.

    Ideas evolve. We just have to wait for the outmoded ideas to die out. There's no point stressing about it.

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