Wheelie Catholic wonders why there is a fascination with violent crime in the media, particularly in video games like "Grand Theft Auto", in light of the Holy Father's comments on consumerism at World Youth Day. "Why have we turned social problems into entertainment? What kind of distance from solutions does that cause for the next generation? Does it normalize the existence of violence and poverty in urban areas? Have we considered the concept of stewardship regarding monies we pay toward products that glorify violence rather than putting it toward solutions?"
I worked for years teaching in inner city high schools like those she describes. The teens in these areas have no hope for a better future. No one they know is married, gangs rule their social lives, and many of their friends are drug addicted and in and out of jail as a peverse type of second home. I had a student commit a crime in order to spend Christmas with his friends in jail, but get out in time to go to the beach in the summer.
They often lack fathers to discipline them, little or no Christian faith to believe in an eternal reward, and few with the tough love to teach them moral behavior. They accept and even embrace the culture of crime as their reality, perhaps despairing of a better life. Who could blame them for feeling despair?
What frightens me is when so called middle class kids, mostly from broken homes, glorify crime, violence, gangs through video games, film and RAP music. According to Ebony magazine, over 80% of Rap musis is purchased by whites. Here in semi-rural suburbia, my 15 year old daughter passed a schoolyard walking the dog, and was verbally accosted by a young man with blonde hair whose trash talking came straight from a RAP video. Why did he think he would impress her with this kind of talk? To her credit, he didn't.
The Holy Father pointed out in his talk to the youth at Dunwoodie, that these youth, both within and outside the inner city need the hope of the Gospel and the reclaiming of the culture from the culture of crime. Catholics must never support this types of entertainment which seek to glorify the suffering of the poor, regardless of the misguided souls who find a sense of pride in it.