Monday, June 27, 2011

Nonsense from Scalia:

The Supreme Court struck down a California law that would have banned the sale of violent video games to minors. Story:
The Supreme Court's majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia rejected California's argument that violent video games should be banned just like the sale of sexually explicit material to minors. (...)

Scalia cited famous books for children throughout history that have depicted violence.

"Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed," he said with examples of Snow White's poisoning, Cinderella's evil stepsisters having their eyes pecked out by birds and Hansel and Gretel killing their captor by baking her in an oven. (...)

"What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman while protecting a sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the women, then tortures and kills her?" Breyer asked.
Scalia's says that prohibiting minors access to sexual material but allowing it for violent material, is okay because that's what people did, and still do. What kind of argument is that?

He's a hack. He makes up whatever argument he wants whenever he wants.

UPDATE: Here's a fuller quote of Scalia's argument:
California's argument would fare better if there were a longstanding tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, but there is none. Certainly the books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore. Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers "till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy." … Cinderella's evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves…And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven…High-school reading lists are full of similar fare…[William] Golding's Lord of the Flies recounts how a schoolboy called Piggy is savagely murdered by other children while marooned on an island.
Okay, let's play Scalia's game. First, we'll just laugh at the "longstanding tradition" argument, since that has nothing to do with law. Let's focus on the stories that he has cited: fairy tailes, Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and being marooned on an island. Those are either fantasy or nevger-gonna-happen situations. Thus, they are not in the category of Grand Theft Auto, which is set in contemporary America and does not involve magic or other reality-defying elements. The stories Scalia cites are substantially different from (at least a subset of) violent video games, and given their unreality, a plausible argument can be made that they have little or no character-shaping impact, so why mention them at all.


What would our duck-hunting companion of Dick Cheney have to say about a video game for young children on hunting, etc, judges/justices with whom they might agree/disagree? Or elected officials? How better to home-grow terrorists? Guns don't kill, people do. Speech doesn't kill, but people inspired by hate/violence speech do. Note we seem to have a doubting Thomas on Scalia.

It's time for my poetical reprise of:


In that duck blind
Lady Justice unveils
Her traditional blindfold
For these bonding males:
Scalia and Cheney,
Shotguns at attack,
Taking aim at Justice,

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 6/28/2011 4:30 AM  

Isn't the first lesson you learn when playing a violent video game that once you pull out your gun and start shooting, your remaining life is measured in seconds?

I mean, why go out and shoot up a police station when you can do it 50 times on your computer, then relax with porn and beer?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/28/2011 9:56 PM  

Perhaps Anonymous has done this 50 times on his computer and then relaxed with his porn and beer. But what does this tell us about one who does this 50 times? Was it Lamont Cranston who said: "Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Anonymous? The Shadow do."?

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 6/29/2011 3:44 AM  

they are not in the category of Grand Theft Auto, which is set in contemporary America and does not involve magic or other reality-defying elements.

In GTA, when you gun down a pedestrian, they lie there in a pool of blood, until an ambulance drives up, the paramedics do a few seconds of "CPR", and the victim gets up and walks away as if nothing had happened. In other words, killing isn't really killing, because everyone magically comes back to life.

But seriously, googling "GTA MURDER" seems to show that one murder has been attributed to Grand Theft Auto, committed by a teenager in Thailand in 2008. In the time period that GTA has been on the market, the murder rate has gone down significantly as the population has expanded. So reality doesn't seem to support the theory that violent video games lead to real life violence.

Where's the murder spree?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/30/2011 8:33 PM  

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