Hillary Clinton

It Takes a Village of Idiots

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After months of investigating the Grand Theft Auto/Hot Coffee scandal, the Federal Trade Commission has found a way to protect consumers from sexually explicit content they elect to download in order to augment violent content they pay for. The FTC alleges that publishers Take Two Interactive and Rockstar Games subverted the ratings process by failing to disclose the sex mini-game known as "Hot Coffee," earning a "mature" rating where the commission supposes an "adults only" would be more appropriate. Flag-burning-amendment supporter Sen. Hillary Clinton requested the investigation last year as part of her plot to save America from the "silent epidemic" of fake sex and violence.

Firing up Hot Coffee requires downloading the mod from a third party and installing it, so it's unclear who is being defrauded here. Take Two says it has already spent over $20 million pulling the game and relabeling it. According to the terms of the settlement, the developers must "establish, implement, and maintain a comprehensive system reasonably designed to ensure that all content in an electronic game is considered and reviewed in preparing submissions to a rating authority." They will also provide a patch to block Hot Coffee, presumably for players who buy an M-rated game, download a notoriously explicit modification, choose to play that part of the game, and feel subsequently offended.

Grand Theft Auto freak-outs typically amount to claims that parents, not kids are the victims here: Parents lovingly stuff Christmas stockings with GTA, unaware of the depravity lurking within. Now, what kind of parents would those be? They'd be parents who are unmoved by the virtual murder of virtual hookers, but are shocked, shocked! at pixellated coitus. They'd be parents who are totally down with content labeled Mature (recommended ages: 17 and up) but would never expose their tender progeny to anything marked Adults Only (recommended ages: 18 and up). For someone who feels the video game industry is full of epidemic-spreading degenerates, Hillary Clinton has a lot of faith in the exactitude of the industry's own ratings system.

Reason intern Daniel Koffler called for an end to video game jihad in July, and Justin Peters gave three cheers for savage pastimes a few months back.

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  1. It’s s cute when Democrats try to pander to social conservatives. Almost as cute as when Republicans try to pander to fiscal liberals.

    Wait, there’s nothing cute about creeping totalitarianism, is there?

  2. They’d be parents who are totally down with content labelled Mature (recommended ages: 17 and up) but would never expose their tender progeny to anything marked Adults Only (recommended ages: 18 and up).

    At some point in this thread, someone will equate a person who is 17 years, 364 days old with a pre-school child, in terms of what media they can be exposed to and how much control their parents should have.

  3. They’d be parents who are unmoved by the virtual murder of virtual hookers, but are shocked, shocked! at pixellated coitus. They’d be parents who are totally down with content labelled Mature (recommended ages: 17 and up) but would never expose their tender progeny to anything marked Adults Only (recommended ages: 18 and up).

    I would imagine that the described group of parents is a rather large group. If I have observed anything in my years of life, it’s that in America all the violence/slaughter in the world can’t produce the kind of outrage produced by boobies or anything “sexually explicit”.

    And to back up my assertion that violence is much more tolerated, I offer up this video game that gives you the chance “to be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn’t hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away all the Christians”

    Fun for all.

  4. ChicagoTom:

    Where do I download the mod for the sex scene with the Whore of Babylon?

  5. Chicago Tom,

    I remember reading a complaint about the Left Behind game allowing users to play as the Antichrist. Still, it’s funny that the people who freak out about violence in games seldom complain about games where the character is wearing the right uniform. Violence by the wrong type of people, and all sex is intolerable.

  6. Simply make all video games (including Elmo Adventures) rated AO… problem solved.

  7. Not for these people, Rex. The only sure way to prevent “children” from accessing adult content is that there be no adult content.

  8. The truth is that these people are so terrified of their own sexuality being unleashed by playing a game or watching a video or reading a story, that they want to make sure that they don’t have access to such material.

    Of course, in Hillary’s case, she may be justified on her husband’s behalf…

  9. GTA’s real crime is the play handling. If video games make you frustrated, trying to control GTA may whiten your hair.

    – Josh

  10. If you’re dumb enough to buy a game called Grand Theft Auto and not realize that maybe little five-year-old Johnny shouldn’t be playing it, I bloody hope the kid turns psycho and kills you, more to get your awful genes out of the breeding population than anything else.

    CH: I am afraid of Hillary’s sexuality being unleashed, I think that’d be one of the signs of the impending apocalypse.

  11. I am afraid of Hillary’s sexuality being unleashed, I think that’d be one of the signs of the impending apocalypse.

    Then you’ve got nothing to worry about. HRC is so frigid, physicists are using her pussy for cryogenic research.

  12. So she’s just like my ex girlfriend, then?

  13. The other night I was watching “The People vs Larry Flint” on commercial television. Normally I don’t watch movies on TV because the editing and interruptions are intolerable. But it had been years since I’ve seen it, and I knew I wouldn’t rent it, and also I’ve had numerous occasions to refer to Falwell v Flint. At any rate, there is a scene where Larry is being charged with obscenity and he holds a rally in the name of “Americans for a Free Press”, and he’s standing on stage talking about how naked women are less obscene than war and violence. Projected on the wall behind him are images of naked women interspersed with images of human suffering.

    What I found interesting, the reason I bring it up, was that the naked women were censored (black boxes imposed over the naughty bits) while all the pictures of napalm burn victims, starving children appeared unaltered.

    A remarkable demonstration that Larry’s point is as true today as it was thirty years ago. What our society considers obscene is, well obscene.

  14. Timothy,

    So she’s just like my ex girlfriend, then?

    Hey! I think we dated the same woman.

  15. They’d be parents who are unmoved by the virtual murder of virtual hookers, but are shocked, shocked! at pixellated coitus.

    Really, it’s more like pixellated dry-humping.

    They will also provide a patch to block Hot Coffee, presumably for players who buy an M-rated game, download a notoriously explicit modification, choose to play that part of the game, and feel subsequently offended.

    Simply amazing.

  16. It’s funny, isn’t it Warren, that the dominant paradigm of obscenity holds that depictions of acts of love, or tenderness, or at least fun, are considered obscene, but depictions of acts of hatred, or viciousness or violence are not.

    As I noted above, too, this paradigm is not limited to “conservatives” – Jimmy Carter was deeply ashamed to admit that he had “lusted in his heart,” after all. I don’t believe that Clinton is honestly worried about sex in video games – she’s just pandering as always – but that she can pander in this manner without much alienating her liberal base is telling.

    I think that libertarians are the only folks who can truly enjoy sex without guilt – to the right, sex is sin; to the left, it’s rape. Among the less extreme, it’s at least sinful, or at least domination.

  17. “And to back up my assertion that violence is much more tolerated, I offer up this video game that gives you the chance “to be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn’t hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away all the Christians””

    That’s downright creepy.

  18. It’s funny, isn’t it Warren, that the dominant paradigm of obscenity holds that depictions of acts of love, or tenderness, or at least fun, are considered obscene, but depictions of acts of hatred, or viciousness or violence are not.

    That’s because American culture is enslaved by a two-headed monster; one head is named “Machismo,” and ther other is named “Religion.”

  19. I think that libertarians are the only folks who can truly enjoy sex without guilt

    “Libertarian women make good fucks. We know what we want, and what we want, we like a lot.”

  20. The ultimate irony of this silliness is that any kid with the knowledge and equipment to download this patch (OK, any kid that is not brain-dead, has hormones and an internet connection) can far more easily find mass quantities of hard-core porn in any flavor he or she likes.

  21. Timothy, Akira,
    You guys date women! Oh man, you guys ROCK!

  22. I have no need to explain my art to you, Warren.

  23. Warren – Canadian women, at that.

  24. I have not dated a Chanuckian, VM. I suggest you take back this libellous slander before I throw down my gauntlet and whip you while wearing my hat at a jaunty angle!

    I have dated a few from Minnesota, though, so maybe that explains part of the problem.

  25. Agreed 100%, Chad. (Link audio NSFW… but funnier than hell.)

  26. Oh no not this shit again….

  27. but… but… but Timothy – i thought that was always why we never saw her, because she was always back in canada…

    minnesota.

    whatever.

    as long as it’s not cheezland, it’s hokae. and it’s all the same, anyways. 🙂

    while you’re distributing the beating (with jaunty angle, so noted!), could you call me Myrna, too?

    and i’ll derive the YuleWalker equations for you…

  28. I bloody hope the kid turns psycho and kills you, more to get your awful genes out of the breeding population than anything else.

    But you’ve already reproduced…

  29. I think that libertarians are the only folks who can truly enjoy sex without guilt – to the right, sex is sin; to the left, it’s rape.

    Aaahh [dawning comprehension], does that explain your name, Hands? It’s always fun for me when I realize how slow on the uptake I am…

  30. Ventifact: Yes, but the kid will probably be locked up for quite some time. I mean, it’ll take ’til he’s 17 for the desensitization to set in on hopes, then he’s tried as an adult, in prison for life, unlikely to spawn.

    VM: Sure, I mean, if I’m going to beat you, might as well make sure you enjoy it.

  31. Actually, Ventifact, it was a handle I first used over on Dave Barry’s blog when commenting on a discussion of post-urinal handwashing. So, proxima, sed non cigari.

  32. So, according to this, if I download hardcore pornography, and then I crack open the texture file for the Spongebob Squarepants game, and swap in the hardcore porn…

    THQ is liable, and I can sue and insist they re-rate the game as AO.

    I’m starting to believe that legislators should be barred from voting on any bill until they’re able to pass a basic literacy test for the subject of the bill. If you don’t know the difference between a game and a third party mod, you shouldn’t be allowed to pass laws regulating either.

  33. while you’re distributing the beating (with jaunty angle, so noted!), could you call me Myrna, too?

    Is that some kind of “The Thin Man” fetish? Is there a website that caters to this sort of thing? Man I love the internet, you meet the most interesting people.

  34. Warren, I’m 100% positive that such a Web site exists… and 100% positive that I’m not going to do a Googlesmack on you in this case.

  35. Warren:

    yup. from the rarely-seen movie in the series, “The Purple Helmeted Thin Man Goes Spelunking”

  36. isildur,
    The problem, is that the modification merely unlocked parts of the game that were already included. The accusation is that “publishers Take Two Interactive and Rockstar Games subverted the ratings process” keeping the naughty sex hidden to get their “mature” rating and then letting someone else pass out the key to the dirty stuff. I have to agree that Hot Coffee is a pretty transparent end run around the ratings, even as I call ‘Bullshit!” on a process that is more permissive of sociopathic violence than it is of sex. Also, it’s not like subverting the ratings process is a crime. Nor should it be, the market is perfectly capable addressing the concerns of parents. It’s just another bogus pretext for legislators to get their grubby fingers in another juicy pie.

  37. Warren:

    Well, I’ve had one girlfriend, but that was 9 years ago. We better not go further than this since I’ve already had my “oh-woe-is-me-I-can’t-get-a-date” rant for this month and I’m trying to cut down.

  38. Warren, keep in mind that in the unpatched version of the game, the main character does get to date and have sex with girls, but you don’t actually see it. (You get an exterior view of their house instead). Adding the patch allows you to see the act, but there is still no Nudity whatsoever. Instead you get a lame simulation of fully clothed people humping. My guess is that the second part was removed not because of any controversy but because the premise was so lame.

    Any nudity seen in the game was created by users adding their own graphics to the game, and can’t be blamed on the company.

    If these legislators really want something juicy to get angry about, they should look into Japanese Hentai games or Custer’s Revenge.

  39. The OP refers to “flag burning amendment supporter Sen. Hillary Clinton.” But the link actually used in the text tells a different story. The article claims she supports legislation against flag burning, but that she does so specifically in lieu of supporting an amendment.

    Granted, neither option is exactly appealing, and I’ve got no love for Hill either way. But there is a difference.

    Unless we’re being ironic and it went over my head?

  40. “Hot Coffee” is not a “mod” in the traditional sense of the word. Quoting from the Wikipedia article regarding “Hot Coffee”:

    The creator of the mod, Patrick Wildenborg (under the Internet alias “PatrickW”), a 36-year old modder from The Netherlands, rejects Rockstar’s claim that the mod required significant technical effort, pointing out that he only changed a single bit in the installed game’s “main.scm” file, and that there is absolutely no new content that he actually created – every piece of the required code was already in-game, just not available to the player.

    There are wonks who complain about antics such as you describe in your article; Jack Thompson wants “The Sims 2” re-rated because it’s possible to download nude skins for it and disable the pixelated “blur” that covers the characters’ exposed swimsuit areas. But for the most part Mr. Thompson is just a blowhard writing angry press releases and getting occasional interviews.

    larry

  41. What I found interesting, the reason I bring it up, was that the naked women were censored (black boxes imposed over the naughty bits) while all the pictures of napalm burn victims, starving children appeared unaltered.

    That’s because sexy stuff is considered attractive and violence is not. Only things that attract need be censored.

  42. “I think that libertarians are the only folks who can truly enjoy sex without guilt – to the right, sex is sin; to the left, it’s rape. Among the less extreme, it’s at least sinful, or at least domination.”

    That’s funny. Communism’s primary appeal in the early days was the whole free-love thing. Just read the memoirs of Doris Lessing or Nikos Kazantzakis about their years as communists… it was all about getting laid first… oh and working for the party… but really about getting laid.

    Now for the women (and the gay males), the male to female ratio among libertarians does bode well for them having as much (or more) sex than they want at any gathering of libertarians.

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