Monday, June 12, 2006

MORE PORN THAN EVER IN OKLAHOMA

The wind is sweepin' down the plain from our neighboring state, but instead of carrying the scent of wavin' wheat, the gusts are pungent with sweat from people who sell video games for a living. Oklahoma's governor, Brad Henry, has signed into law a piece of legislation that includes video games as pornography "harmful to minors."

Gamasutra has this:
The bill was authored by Republican State Representative Fred Morgan, and takes a similar stance to Utah Republican David Hogue’s HB257 "games as porn" bill, which was struck down in March, but would have made it a felony to knowingly exhibit or sell violent video games to minors.

The new Oklahoma law is due to come into effect from November 1, but is in the meantime likely to be contested by industry body the ESA, under First Amendment concerns. Despite being one of the more draconian anti-games bills put before a State senate HB30004 has faced limited opposition, with apparently little concern being given to the consistent problems other similar bills have faced from legal challenges.

The new law will make it a felony for anyone in Oklahoma to sell, rent or display games which contain inappropriate violence, with stores required to keep such games hidden in a similar manner to pornographic magazines and videos. The bill ignores the ESRB age rating for games, and instead makes its own definition of inappropriate violence.

This definition considers inappropriate any game which "lacks serious literary, scientific, medical, artistic or political value" and which features glamorized or gratuitous violence; uses that violence to shock or stimulate; features violence that is not contextually relevant to the material; has violence so pervasive that it serves as the thread holding the plot of the material together; trivializes the serious nature of realistic violence; does not demonstrate the consequences or effects of realistic violence; uses brutal weapons designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain and damage; endorses or glorifies torture or excessive weaponry, or depicts lead characters who resort to violence freely.
We know a piece of excrement when we see it. This bill's a floater.

8 comments:

M.Brothers said...

Floater indeed.

These kinds of laws have been shot down in seven or eight states so far, with more to come. Lousiana is also recently in on the game. Missouri has one pending, last I checked. The ESRB ratings may not be perfect, but to throw them out is goofy -- lawmakers in many states have complained that the ratings are confusing, but now they're further confusing people by coming up with their own?

I've written a lot about games and free speech on my Numb Thumb blog. I'd also recommend www.gamepolitics.com.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Didn't Bill's wife try this tactic? What is it with people who want to run our lives for us?

DocLarry said...

Ironic that the libertarian guy would complain about "people who want to run our lives for us" while in the next thread he states that "we should be English only." Not trying to stir up trouble. Just wondering how those two statements work.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Oh, geez...

Look, Doc, I'm not the type to use the phrase "there oughta be a law"; there should only be a law when it's absolutely necessary. And if ANYONE tries to use the power of government to impose a national language, I'll oppose it, but I also oppose requiring other languages to be accomodated. If you live here, you need to understand English; it shouldn't be up to the Almighty FedGov to force businesses to be bilingual.

DocLarry said...

Point taken. is the government forcing any business to be bilingual? Is there any law requiring anyone to be so?

Anonymous said...

Not criminal laws, but yes, de facto, there are such civil laws. Failure of certain public agencies (and even certain private agencies that receive even small amounts of public funding) to provide equal accommodations and access for non-English-speaking persons can result in penalties.

DocLarry said...

Examples, please, anon.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Doc,

Hopefully, no, the Almighty FedGov won't try to solve yet another problem by applying the Universal Balm of Legislation. It usually causes rashes.

Seriously, though, take the Philadelphia guy, the sandwich-shop owner who requires his customers to order in English: If the Philly lawmakers try to force him to accomodate non-English, it's overstepping its bounds. He's not telling people they can't come in; he's telling them they have to order in one language. He shouldn't be required to have either a knowledge of two, three, or seventeen languages, nor should he have interpreters - he sells sandwiches, for God's sake.

There's no easy answer, unfortunately.