The Big Picture: Off Target - Don't Censor Me Part 2

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Off Target - Don't Censor Me Part 2

Is Target censoring Grand Theft Auto?

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Am I really gonna have my first first?

The usual misunderstanding of what censorship is and what it means by a mass of people?

Yeah... Not surprised.

EDIT: Changed "gaming culture" to "a mass of people." I didn't intentionally mean to single out gamers for this sort of misunderstanding. We just happened to be talking about a video game and so assigning this to "gaming culture" just popped out.

Even game news outlets I held in somewhat high esteem had "GTA V banned in Australia" headlines. Clickbait, or idiocy, I don't care, it was stupid. Bah.

Isn't this whole Target business just a massively scaled down, highly inefficient version of what happened to the Dixie Chicks as brought up in the first Don't Censor Me video?

Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

So it's like the past dozen gaming controversies that have come around, every sides an idiot that's just looking to jump into a fight and gaming news outlets exaggerated the story because idiots are easy to click bait.

Does anyone really have to point out to Bob that GTA is a satire?

It takes all facets of society, and aggrandises them to a ridiculous level so that they can be examined in real life.

That and the game is notably misanthropic. It doesn't just dehumanise sex workers, it dehumanises everyone. Just because a story is complex doesn't mean it has to be moral >.>

So your not selling this game? Fine I'll go across the street to gamestop, or god forbid walmart, they'll gladly take my money and future business from me unlike you.

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Yeah, that's what I was about to say. I don't really care what Target does on the other side of the world to me and I don't believe many other people do either, I think the main grievance was that the petition writers were reheating the same hyperbolic "GTA is a psychopath-training simulator encourages players to kill prostitutes!" nonsense that the tabloids have been peddling for the last decade. There certainly are ways GTA could improve in representing female characters, but it's not helping when people exaggerate.

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Having never played the games I just need to ask one question. Does killing other ordinary citizens grant you any boon in the game? Do they do anything for you? If not then there might be something to it. Bob isn't taking the stance that GTA should remove all violence but when a GTA game comes out what is the thing the news media pretty much always mentions? The fact that you can have sex with a hooker to restore your health and then beat her to death and take your money back. At this point, by the description he gave of 4 and 5, it does seem kinda stupid to keep it in there. There are better ways to have a mechanic like that that maybe doesn't involve the potential of killing the person. Its also seen as just more dehumanizing of that particular group of people.

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Well, I think the issue is less "oh, you shouldn't kill them", and more "hey, instead of using hookers as an excuse to put 'sex' in the game, perhaps we should point out the ways that being a prostitute is NOT good for the prostitute at all? Y'know, with abusive pimps, even more abusive 'customers', and getting treated like crap by everybody in society for something they were likely forced into, that sort of thing?" I don't think that sex workers should be "immune" when you suddenly whip out an assault rifle and go on a GTA-style Rampage, but it's probably best not to trivialize their portrayals to "oh these girls are just SO happy to take your money and give you sex", and just ignore all the abuse they falsely receive from virtually every part of society, especially when Rockstar is trying to give the characters of the "GTA HD-era" more meaningful depth and story than the "personified Ids" of the "GTA 3D-era".

And if you REALLY need to put optional sex in the GTA games, I personally think that the "girlfriend dating system" of GTA IV may be worth taking another swing at. True, the mechanics should be refined so the player isn't constantly nagged to drag their girls on dates every few minutes or so, but it would edge off the "sex workers as shameless whores for the sole benefit of the player" angle at least.

So, is this going to be the repeat of "Censorship" doesn't mean what most people mean with it OR what the technical definition is, but only what Moviebob, the authority on definitions of all kind says it should mean?
Yeah, i usually like The Big Picture, but the last one on this topic was so terribly i'm kinda hesitant to watch this one.

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that
Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Damn those ninjas. There is always someone who has the same arguments as me.

But yes these were my first thoughts as well.

Once again Bob, I feel the need to remind you that censorship does not need to be from a government. Merriam-Webster defines "censor" as "to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable; also: to suppress or delete as objectionable" That is exactly what Target did. Now, was this censorship particularly impactful or relevant? No. Is Target allowed to censor whatever message they don't want because they are a private store? Yes. Is it still censorship when they ban an idea from being delivered through their platform? Yes it is.

I agree with you on how stupid this whole thing is, but it is still censorship even if it's irrelevant anyways.

KazeAizen:

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Having never played the games I just need to ask one question. Does killing other ordinary citizens grant you any boon in the game? Do they do anything for you? If not then there might be something to it. Bob isn't taking the stance that GTA should remove all violence but when a GTA game comes out what is the thing the news media pretty much always mentions? The fact that you can have sex with a hooker to restore your health and then beat her to death and take your money back. At this point, by the description he gave of 4 and 5, it does seem kinda stupid to keep it in there. There are better ways to have a mechanic like that that maybe doesn't involve the potential of killing the person. Its also seen as just more dehumanizing of that particular group of people.

Killing citizens gives a tiny amount of money. The amount is always tiny. Even when you kill a sex worker you just gave money to have sex with you, you will generally get a lot less money from it then you spent before. Whether sex gives you health, i am not sure but i don't think it does, though don't quote me on that.
So in the end the game doesn't incentivise killing sex workers more than any other person in the game.

Here's where I come from. Don't most of the 'hardcore' crowd that wants GTA usually pirate it through torrents, CD cracks or emulators anyway? If so, why are people fighting this so much when you can just download the game without paying for it.

And like Bob said, it's a year old game you can purchase from other outlets. As for the sex worker thing, I think Rockstar is just appealing to their demographic and what they want. Money speaks the most, devs and publishers give what the audience wants.

KazeAizen:

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Having never played the games I just need to ask one question. Does killing other ordinary citizens grant you any boon in the game? Do they do anything for you?

When you kill a civilian sometimes they'll drop cash. The idea being that it's the money they had on their person. Relatively speaking it's petty cash. I'd argue that there's more benefit to killing cops, at least early on in the game since they always drop a gun. Then again it's significantly harder to escape the cops if you kill a cop vs. a regular civilian.

KazeAizen:

If not then there might be something to it. Bob isn't taking the stance that GTA should remove all violence but when a GTA game comes out what is the thing the news media pretty much always mentions? The fact that you can have sex with a hooker to restore your health and then beat her to death and take your money back.

Because the news loves to sensationalize. You can have sex with her to restore your health and leave it at that, or you can kill her immediately or you can not interact with them.

KazeAizen:

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Having never played the games I just need to ask one question. Does killing other ordinary citizens grant you any boon in the game? Do they do anything for you? If not then there might be something to it. Bob isn't taking the stance that GTA should remove all violence but when a GTA game comes out what is the thing the news media pretty much always mentions? The fact that you can have sex with a hooker to restore your health and then beat her to death and take your money back. At this point, by the description he gave of 4 and 5, it does seem kinda stupid to keep it in there. There are better ways to have a mechanic like that that maybe doesn't involve the potential of killing the person. Its also seen as just more dehumanizing of that particular group of people.

You can buy food from a hotdog vendor to increase your health and kill him to get the money back as well. Same mechanic, different dressing. And killing people in general gives you money drops and sometimes weapons and ammo.

Bob, please stop talking about games. I get nothing out of listening to you talk about games but a headache.

Forget your lumping every critic of this decision into the same disdained category. Ignore your refusal to comment on the actual merit of the argument presented in the petition. Don't even think about the kind of precedent this sets in a country where the status of this sort of media is already so precarious.

What bothers me most is that, when it comes to games, it doesn't look like you can actually SEE the "Big Picture."

Can you boot up GTA and from the start of the game literally attempt to be a normal person. Ignore all the missions, kill no one, go on hikes, get your hair cut, or whatever. Be a normal ass person and not participate in any of the actual violence. Never progress the plot, but instead just be the first character and muck around the world map till the end of time?

I posted something similar to this on part one, but it seems as though people still refuse to believe words mean what they clearly mean. So, from Wikipedia.

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.

Governments, private organizations and individuals may engage in censorship. When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of their own works or speech, it is called self-censorship. Censorship may be direct or it may be indirect, in which case it is called soft censorship. It occurs in a variety of different media, including speech, books, music, films, and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the Internet for a variety of claimed reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children or other vulnerable groups, to promote or restrict political or religious views, and to prevent slander and libel.

From vocabulary.com

Censorship blocks something from being read, heard, or seen. If you've ever heard the sound of bleeping when someone is speaking on television, that's censorship.
To "censor" is to review something and to choose to remove or hide parts of it that are considered unacceptable. Censorship is the name for the process or idea of keeping things like obscene word or graphic images from an audience. There is also such a thing as self-censorship, which is when you refrain from saying certain things - or possibly re-wording them - depending on who is listening.

oxforddictionaries.com

Examine (a book, film, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it.

merriamwebster.com

censor verb
: to examine books, movies, letters, etc., in order to remove things that are considered to be offensive, immoral, harmful to society, etc.

You get my point. Censorship doesn't have to be official or government backed to be censorship. This is simple definitions of words. It just requires the removal of something for reasons of offence or unacceptability. This is how it different from choosing not to stock something because you believe that it won't make you enough money. It also doesn't matter if you can get it elsewhere. Target has censored GTAV by the definition of the word.

And even if I couldn't go to the top few results from google when I type in 'censorship definition' to back up my point, words are defined by their usage. Decimate is now essentially a synonym of destroy. Less can mean fewer. Literally doesn't literally have to mean literally. You might not like it, but you're going to have to live with it.

So, I don't get what Bob was trying to convey at the end about the prostitutes. Does he want them to be invincible like children in Skyrim? Does he not want them to simply not be in the games like children in GTA? Because by simple virtue of being NPC's in a GTA game they're fair game to be gunned down, ran over, stabbed, and blown the fuck up just like everyone else.

MaddKossack115:

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Well, I think the issue is less "oh, you shouldn't kill them", and more "hey, instead of using hookers as an excuse to put 'sex' in the game, perhaps we should point out the ways that being a prostitute is NOT good for the prostitute at all? Y'know, with abusive pimps, even more abusive 'customers', and getting treated like crap by everybody in society for something they were likely forced into, that sort of thing?" I don't think that sex workers should be "immune" when you suddenly whip out an assault rifle and go on a GTA-style Rampage, but it's probably best not to trivialize their portrayals to "oh these girls are just SO happy to take your money and give you sex", and just ignore all the abuse they falsely receive from virtually every part of society, especially when Rockstar is trying to give the characters of the "GTA HD-era" more meaningful depth and story than the "personified Ids" of the "GTA 3D-era".

And if you REALLY need to put optional sex in the GTA games, I personally think that the "girlfriend dating system" of GTA IV may be worth taking another swing at. True, the mechanics should be refined so the player isn't constantly nagged to drag their girls on dates every few minutes or so, but it would edge off the "sex workers as shameless whores for the sole benefit of the player" angle at least.

I don't know about you guys, but I attempted to date pretty much all the strippers in the game. Kill them? Heck no! They're my harem!

Oh, wait.. is that worse than killing them? I can't seem to figure that out these days.

Stop the presses! Target sells games. That itself is news to me, considering how large their clothes sections are it is hard to notice anything else they sell.

Jman1236:
So your not selling this game? Fine I'll go across the street to gamestop, or god forbid walmart, they'll gladly take my money and future business from me unlike you.

Two problems with that. Number 1: Here in Sydney, the nearest Wallmart is in South Korea, and I doubt they accept Australian dollars there.
The other problem is why go across the street to "Gamestop", when you can take an escalator to EB Games.

How about calling it sexist of Target to do this?

Sexist against women because it implies that they are weaker group more in need of protection by big brother Target than males.

Sexist against males because banning this based on violence to women and not violence in general when the vast majority of violence is committed against males (I'm told something like two women die in the story mode compared to countless males) implies that violence against males is acceptable.

As far as saying that it "normalizes" violence in the real world... got any citation or are we just going to pull from Jack Thompson's bag of dismissed studies? Are we also going to ignore that this is something a player can do but do not have to do?

Are you just upset that they're depicted at all? I mean, they do exist so...?

I just wanna say...

Whenever I solicited a prostitute to give me a blowjob in GTA5, I let her walk away with her hard earned money without any fuss.

That's all. I have nothing of value to contribute to this utterly valueless debate. I just saw an entertaining opportunity to say those words and still somehow emerge as looking sane and level-headed in my surroundings.

It "contributes to the atmosphere that normalizes and downplays that kind of violence"

Sounds like the same old "it'll desensitize people to violence" BS now with different wording. I'd like to see any kind of evidence it'll do that.

And Bob why should they tone it down when it comes to prostitutes? The violence/abuse you can commit against prostitutes you can also commit against anyone else in the game, the consequences of killing them are also the same for any other civilian the game. The only way the game treats prostitutes different than other civilians is that you can pay to have sex with them. That in and of itself is not violence so the only way GTA could "rectify" this is to not let you have sex with a prostitute (which would be kinda weird if they remove that crime but not all the murder) or treat prostitutes differently than everyone else in terms of violence.

So Bob if you're not asking them to remove the ability to use the services of a prostitute. yo're not asking for fair treatment for sex you're asking for different, special treatment.

Seriously these were the kind of arguments the media made all the time about GTA back in the era where games were the scapegoat of the decade and they're still wrong. It's baffling that you're making the same arguments and saying there's an indirect link between that violence and real life violence.

Did you always believe this stuff Bob?

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone.

From 4:20 into the video... "Sex workers are consistently one of the most at risk professions in the world..." Comparing what happens to them to what happens to everyone else is not a valid comparison. Constantly showing them as victimized without any real attempt to address the problem makes it so that people in the real world are less likely to combat the real problems.

Also, as the resident Biodrone here, where was this outrage when Dragon Age: Inquistion was banned in India and no one could play that game?

MovieBob:
Off Target - Don't Censor Me Part 2

Is Target censoring Grand Theft Auto?

Watch Video

First off, you keep talking about it as a year old last gen game, while ignoring the recent current gen rerelease that your game footage was from.

Secondly, GTA V was pulled from two Australian store chains, one chain in New Zealand, and has a group in Norway (Norwegian Women's Front) trying to get it banned from sale there.

The obvious fear is that this is the start of a slippery slope. If you can get something as expensive and involved to produce as a video game pulled from just a few major chains in one of the larger markets, you can easily create an environment in which developers are functionally restricted from being able to make certain things because morality police have de facto banned it.

KazeAizen:
Having never played the games I just need to ask one question. Does killing other ordinary citizens grant you any boon in the game? Do they do anything for you? If not then there might be something to it. Bob isn't taking the stance that GTA should remove all violence but when a GTA game comes out what is the thing the news media pretty much always mentions? The fact that you can have sex with a hooker to restore your health and then beat her to death and take your money back. At this point, by the description he gave of 4 and 5, it does seem kinda stupid to keep it in there. There are better ways to have a mechanic like that that maybe doesn't involve the potential of killing the person. Its also seen as just more dehumanizing of that particular group of people.

Ordinary citizens drop money too. In fact the thing being complained about is in essence an emergent combination of two other mechanics.

1. Having sex with a prostitute restores your health in GTA titles (it is not the only thing that does so).
2. When you murder any random civilian, they drop cash.

The only ways I can see to solve this evil, misogynistic problem with GTA is either to remove the prostitutes from the game world entirely (which seems unrealistic in a large urban environment), not allow the player to hire said prostitutes (which means you are capable of armed robbery and mass murder but draw the line at paying for sex), or make prostitutes arbitrarily invulnerable to harm (treating some women like some games treat children for ratings reasons).

Cranyx:
Yes you can kill hookers in GTA, but do you know who else you kill? Everyone. You're not incentivized to go out and murder prostitutes anymore than you are to cause other types of general mayhem and destruction. Should Prostitutes be the one character group in GTA whom you can't kill, or is Bob taking the stance that Grand Theft Auto should remove the violence from its games?

Buying sex from prostitutes gives you health back, at the cost of your money. Killing the prostitutes then means you get all the money you spent on getting your health up back.

So, you've used a service, and a casual, no consequences murder lets you ignore the cost of that service. Gee, that's totally not an incentive!

(for the record, I specifically heard about this from guys at work/volunteering who found out I was into games and totally though that screwing then killing the prostitutes to get their money back was totally an awesome feature)

The idea that this is a slippery slope is predicated on the notion that there will be the same market forces acting on any such petition. That's unlikely, given the market demographic and the game in question.

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Does anyone really have to point out to Bob that GTA is a satire?

Considering he points it out in the video, something you should know if you watched it, no.

Burnouts3s3:
Also, as the resident Biodrone here, where was this outrage when Dragon Age: Inquistion was banned in India and no one could play that game?

It couldn't be blamed on feminists, so nobody cared.

Burnouts3s3:
Also, as the resident Biodrone here, where was this outrage when Dragon Age: Inquistion was banned in India and no one could play that game?

I think it just didn't get the coverage necessary to draw attention. Because I certainly have a problem with that too.

Windknight:

Buying sex from prostitutes gives you health back, at the cost of your money.

Wait, it actually still does that? I haven't solicited a hooker in the game except for the 100% (which I still haven;'t got because "bored now" and I started playing online), so I didn't notice if it did, but I thought they pulled that out of the games in the PS2 era.

JMac85:
So, I don't get what Bob was trying to convey at the end about the prostitutes. Does he want them to be invincible like children in Skyrim? Does he not want them to simply not be in the games like children in GTA? Because by simple virtue of being NPC's in a GTA game they're fair game to be gunned down, ran over, stabbed, and blown the fuck up just like everyone else.

Okay, I've already made this point with another commentator, but I think what MovieBob mostly means to say is that prostitutes don't have to be cut from the games altogether, and shouldn't be granted magic invincibility when a GTA player goes on a rampage, but they should do more to acknowledge how abusive a sex worker's life is, (like with pimps who abuse them to keep them in line, 'customers' who abuse them just to get their rocks off, and so on), rather than just treat them with a "Hey guys! Just pay these happy girls for instant sex!" attitude that was laughably cheesy in the 3D-era, but increasingly out of touch and creepy in the HD-era.

It's not like they can't use the "girlfriend dating" system from GTA IV. It admittedly needs some improvements both mechanically and tonally, but it's still better than acting like prostitutes are happily shameless in performing sex acts for just a bit of money, when in reality they're likely forced and abused into the life by criminal scumbags, and are screwed over even harder by law enforcement and mainstream society blaming the hookers for "bringing it on themselves" instead of the pimps actually forcing them to do those acts.

And if the argument is "oh, EVERYBODY is dehumanized in a GTA game", that can easily be accomplished by dehumanizing the people abusing sex workers, thus getting closer to the root of the problem, while still being a more acceptable message - it's what Watch_Dogs did during the "Human Trafficking" sidequest (namely, hunting down a band of criminals importing sex slaves into the city).

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