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June 29, 2006

Congress Making Its Rounds

It's election year, so Congress is making its political rounds to make sure that it connects with social conservatives, concerned parents, and anyone else who can be swayed by similar arguments. Already this political season, Congress has seen fit to raise the indecency fines at the behest of The Parents Television Council and other censorship-minded organizations.

And now they have moved on to find yet another way to attack the First Amendment in order to score more votes in November--in addition to trying to bring back up banning flag burning...

That's right...Congress' favorite activity is back...talking about video games. The FTC presented to a Congressional subcommittee a couple of weeks ago about regulating video games. Here is the FTC's official report of that presentation. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has signed into law a statute banning the sale of violent video games to minors.

For those of you who caught The Daily Show with Jon Stewart earlier this week, you may have seen some excerpts from the latest Congressional hearing where Congressmen attempt to scare a generation of voters who don't know anything about video games while, in actuality, probably planning to do nothing but increase its votes.

Stewart was pretty well able to let the Congressmen speak for themselves to make fun of them, as Fred Upton from Michigan claims his own ties to video game culture because of his love of Pong, followed by Rep. Joseph Pitts' admission that middle-class kids could handle video games while poor kids in rough neighborhoods might get confused because the environment on violent games is like what they live in every day.

Stewart said it appears "the House of Representatives is full of insane jackasses." Well, we can at least say that they are people who have their minds on re-election, which makes the bi-partisan discussion of video games on election coming right now about as sincere as...well...a politician. But, for those of us who are interested in an environment that encourages a "convergence culture," rhetoric about eroding First Amendment rights in order to gain a few extra votes is no laughing matter.

Cory Doctorow has a transcript of Stewart's segment on Boing Boing.


President Bush and Congress fail to understand that parents and individuals already have the TV ratings and content-blocking tools to make and enforce TV viewing decisions, both for their children and themselves. This makes government regulation of TV unnecessary and undesirable.

Check out TV Watch, at, for a common-sense voice of reason in this debate.

Posted by: Falstaff | June 30, 2006 9:42 AM


Thanks for stopping by the blog. I think you are right about the redundancy of this regulation and the importance of government not adding more and more laws to its focus. Should it be any surprise that our government can't even remember what it's supposed to be doing when many different laws passed just really unnecessarily overlap each other.


Posted by: Sam Ford | July 1, 2006 11:32 AM
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