At 5/18/07 03:40 PM, Ross wrote:
How is V-Tech Rampage causing emotional/psychological harm? ...
... where do we draw the line? As soon as 50.01% of some group finds a submission to be done in poor taste, should it be removed?
... once we take PiGPEN's rights away, the whole thing comes tumbling down.
I don't think I need to argue that the game is causing harm, because I don't think that it is disputable that there are lots of people that feel hurt by it. If you want to argue that they shouldn't feel hurt by it, then that is something we can debate. But I would say that if they weren't offended and hurt, that it could only be because they weren't emotionally invested in the victims. The only way it could be wrong for them to hurt would be if it were wrong for them to care about the victims of the shooting, and I think you will have a hard time persuading me of that.
As for free speech, while PiGPEN has a right to speak freely I don't acknowledge that PiGPEN, myself, or anyone else has any "rights" on Newgrounds. And so I don't think that PiGPEN would be having his rights infringed upon by having that animation deleted. If you would like a better explanation of why I believe this then read the reply at the bottom of this message.
As for where the line must be drawn... I don't think that there really is a line, nor that we should pretend there is. What I think people need to do is be genuine in their comprehension of the world, which requires for them to vicariously experience or to equally regard the values of other people. I think that once a person does this that they will no longer be willing to do the vast majority of the harm they were previously willing to do. That is, the reason it is wrong for PiGPEN to do what he is doing is because I believe that he isn't being mindful of the victims. And if when he made the game he were being genuinely considerate of the victims of the massacre, then I don't think that it would be wrong for him to make a game like that. But I would think that he was insane.
And while he very well could be insane because making a game like that is pretty deranged, I have no reason to believe that everyone else on this site that is enabling him is insane. So I am pretty sure that somewhere along this line, and it seems to be quite a long line, that someone is morally responsible for chosing to disregard the value of the victims.
At 5/18/07 03:44 PM, Fora wrote:
right. But once we take PiGPEN's rights away, the whole thing comes tumbling down.
I agree. But since when does PiGPEN have a right to use the Newgrounds server? If an individual (the owner of Newgrounds) refuses to use their resources to equip PiGPEN with a voice, would that really be stripping PiGPEN of his right to free speech? If I own a copy machine, and I don't allow you to use it to make fliers, does that mean that I am denying your right to free speech? I don't think that it is. I think infringing on a persons right to free speech would be locking them up for talking about ideas, or otherwise infringing upon their rights. I will defend PiGPEN's right to say whatever he wants, but I think it is silly to think that I am against free speech or pro-censorship if I don't use my own time and resources to help him get the message out.
And so as far as I can tell this whole "free speech" argument is nothing but a rationalization. I am not a fan of ad hominem red herrings, but the true motives of the producer and defenders of this game seem relevant as a second point - I don't think that anyone who is defending this game actually believes the arguments they are making. I think they are afraid and don't know how to cope, and so they are trying to distance themselves from the victims, and the mortality in which the victims represent, by identifying with the killer. One way to not take the reality of their frailty seriously, to not take it seriously how absolutely helpless they would be to defend themselves against a shooter, is to not take the entire issue seriously... to turn it into a game even. But to detatch from reality like that is only a sign of weakness, and so I'm really not impressed by the viciousness - it isn't strength.
I go to a University that is very close to VTech. Many students on my campus had friends that went there and so my school was absolutely terrified for the week that the shootings happened. It seemed like all that anyone could talk about was what they would do, and the most scared people always said confidently with subtly shakey voices that they would never "let themselves" be shot. Online the sort of subtleties that revealed their fear don't come across, and when we convince ourselves that our rationalizations are genuine we tend to carry them to further extremes... even so far that we inflict great harm onto others.
But what we shouldn't allow ourselves to forget is that no one can truly enjoy suffering, because suffering is by definition unpleasant. And so those who pretend to support this sort of thing are either insane, extremely stupid, extremely confused/ignorant, or extremely afraid. And I am giving them all the benefit of the doubt by attributing their behavior to fear... for PiGPEN it seems much more developed, and so I'm not so sure. I'm much more worried about him, but his well being would be yet another point. And so I shall stop here.