Saturday, May 3, 2008

Grand Theft Culture: The Entertainment Industry Goes for the Jugular

Grand Theft Auto IV just came out this past week.
This review by Cullinan Hoffman would give any of us reasons to not get it for our kids. I know I wouldn't get it for my nephews.

The debut of "Grand Theft Auto IV", a highly-realistic video game in which players "win" by committing violent criminal acts, is notable for several reasons, but most importantly because of what it says about a society that is engaged in an orgy of self-destruction, and cannot even recognize what is happening.

The Grand Theft Auto series makes the player into a criminal who wins points by stealing cars, assassinating rivals, killing police, running over pedestrians, and even murdering a prostitute with a baseball bat rather than paying her. It is, in short, a game that glorifies brutal criminality and enables players to fantasize their participation in mind-numbing barbarism.

The fact alone that Grand Theft Auto IV is expected to earn more than $400 million during its run, rivaling the most popular movie releases, speaks volumes about what has happened to the U.S. during the last fifty years. What would once have seemed like a blatant and massive assault on our society by a commercial interest, is now a blockbuster form of entertainment.

Mainstream publications such as Business Week yawn at the moral objections raised against such software, and instead rave about the realistic graphics, referring to the game as "Grand Theft Awesome". "We have a hard time imagining anyone picking up this game and not feeling like this is one of the best $60 purchases they've made in a long time," says the reviewer, seemingly unconcerned that he is talking about a murder simulator.

The new version of the game and the mentality it promotes have already claimed their first victim. A man standing in line waiting to purchase the game on the first night of sales in south London stabbed a passer-by. "It was a scene straight from the game itself," said one witness.

"Grand Theft Auto", as monstrous as it is, is only a single example of the Culture of Death that is overwhelming what is left of Anglo-American civilization.

cross-posted on A Catholic View

Full Review here


Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure there is anything left of Anglo-American civilization for this game to overwhelm. Catholics (real Catholics, anyway) are not simply in an extreme minority, but a radical fringe group, oft accused of being a "hate group," whatever that means, in the local media. I am, of course, from Massachusetts - the most corrupt and vile state in the so-called union. We are also, so the polls say, the most Catholic! Yet, a pro-life candidate could never get elected here. Fools like Ted Kennedy (who claims he's Catholic), and news men like Time Russert (who also claims he's Catholic) dominate the politics here. The stereotypical Irish liberal who plays Catholic is never called out for their hypocrisy. Instead, they are the "authorities" here. They should be excommunicated! Instead, Mr. Russert sleazed his way into meeting with the Pope, and received a medal! Where is the wisdom? Where is Truth? Not in America. We're finished. That's why I've renounced my citizenship. I am dedicating my life to revolution in the United States; a dead nation that lost all legitimacy as a democracy as soon as the "Supreme Court" claimed we have no right to even live, thereby contradicting the basic founding principles of the nation. Not surprisingly, we have been on a downward totalitarian spiral since. Well, I believe in a greater authority than the little fool in a black robe. First and foremost I get my rights from God, not man. But at the very least, I believe in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence - a document far better than the country it began. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Here's to a renewed United States!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Not quite sure how that relates to the GTA4 review, but wow.
What I am about to say, I say out of love. I wish to remind you, my friend, of the dangerous path you are treading.

Mat 5:22 reads:
"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty {enough to go} into the fiery hell."

Christ warns us against anger like your own, and he warns us against name-calling as well.
Whatever issues you have with the government, I can understand your dissatisfaction, but please, my brother or sister, do not allow your anger to consume you.

Nick said...

Until the Holy See or the Ordinary Magisterium or my local Bishop says its immoral to play games like Grand Theft Auto and Final Fantasy, I'm going to keep playing them. They're fun and they help me lose stress. And no, they are not a substitute for prayer or for the reception of the sacraments or for the studying of the Word of God or writings of the Church Fathers.

Geoffrey said...

Nick, as a player of Final Fantasy, I am deeply offended that you would even compare it to that mindless filth called Grand Theft Auto. How dare you?

Final Fantasy has about as much in common with Grand Theft Auto as the Wizard of Oz has in common with erotic fantasy poetry.

Honestly, how can you, in your right mind, say that a game which revolves around saving the princess and defeating monsters, is just the same as a game about screwing and killing prostitutes, murdering police, stealing cars, raping random objects, and stabbing children to death?

Have we lost our common sense?

Honestly, in Final Fantasy VIII, you fight against an evil corporation that is killing the planet and exploiting people. In Final Fantasy X, you work to overcome a monster called Sin which is destroying a society on the brink of destruction, so that peace, justice, and progress might once again grace the land.

Oh yeah, and in all Final Fantasy games, you fight against two things: evil creatures and evil people. In Grand Theft Auto, you fight against one thing: innocent people.

In Final Fantasy, you save the world. In Grand Theft Auto, you damn the world. There's a big difference here.

So I demand that you retract your comments that compare filthy rubbish like Grand Theft Auto to artistic masterpieces such as Final Fantasy.

In closing, killing Heartless in order to save the Kingdom of Hearts is very different than heartlessly killing in order to ruin the Kingdom of God.

MissJean said...

Nick, it's already been said, my friend. It's just that people tend to IGNORE that thoughts can be sinful, too. For example, you can be annoyed enough with a classmate to want to punch him and that's a passing tempting thought. But if you contemplate brutally killing a classmate and DWELL on it, that's sinful. "But these aren't real people," you'll protest. And I'll remind you that a lot of porn no longer involves real people (the Japanese have a whole animated genre called "hentai", for example). But watching animated or virtual porn is no different from porn.

Christine, I thank you for your review, as futile as it may seem. :) Psychologists have published numerous studies showing that violent fantasies (including video) increase a subject's tolerance of violence, not just as a perpetrator, but as a bystander. But we all tend to cling to things we KNOW are sinful and say things like "Jesus never mentioned XYZ in the Bible", forgetting that obscure prayer asking God's help to "avoid the near occasions of sin". :)

Nick said...

Thanks, MissJane. That actually makes a lot of sense. God bless!

Christine said...

I agree with Nick...thank you Miss Jane!

salvage said...

That image is from GTA III: San Andreas.

You don't need Cullinan Hoffman to give you a reason to not get it for your kids, the game has a large "M" for mature on it. It's not made for children.