The Definition of Obscenity

The state of Louisiana recently passed laws restricting the sale of violent video games, and the video game industry sued. In previous legal cases, the courts have decided that violence is not subject to the same legal restrictions and interpretations that pornography is. In other words, the courts are saying that violence of any sort and of any level is okay. 

This is part and parcel evidence of a major American insanity.

Our society is exploding with episodes of violence, and we see evidence every day of an American ethic that says that blowing your neighbor away for trivial offenses is our way of doing things.  Why is it that we take this road?  Our unconscious minds may hold lots of reasons.  Certainly, our predication toward violence feeds our systems, in the need for more law enforcement, more judges, more courts, more prisons, and more executions.  Certainly, too, raising our children in such a culture means they will much more readily march off to war when commanded, and make them much less likely to question the justification for such an action or an evaluation of whether the nation really is at risk.  It also helps cover our feelings of powerlessness in a world and a government that has grown so large, complex, and threatening we feel we cannot otherwise cope with it.  It is a substitute for spirituality, which is no more understood by the Christian right than the average guy on the street.  I’m often amazed at how ready the Christian right is to go to war, always in the name of some kind of self-righteousness, national or otherwise.

Am I saying that I believe the government needs to regulate violent games?  No.   Admittedly, I am disgusted with some of what they offer.  Yet, I have some of my own games that are violent; and I would be hypocritical to say they all must end.  There is such a thing as healthy outlets, and I am a strong believer in the right to free speech.  I have my own combat flight simulators I occasionally use.  I also feel that many of the so-called laws against “pornography” are ridiculous, and a result of the schism in the American psyche I am addressing.  Is violence any more a part of the human condition than sexuality?  If you believe many of the court rulings in the United States of America, the answer to that question appears to be “yes”.