Anorak News | Supreme court takes time out to consider how sick and twisted fairytales really are: Violent game ban overturned

Supreme court takes time out to consider how sick and twisted fairytales really are: Violent game ban overturned

by | 28th, June 2011

The US Supreme Court decided last night that under-18s should be allowed to buy violent video games by overturning the state-wide ban in California.

In the ruling – full text here – they discussed freedom of expression, what counted as obscenity, revealed the plot twist in Hanzel and Gretel, and brought up our society’s habit of giving our children perverted and disturbing tales from a young age:

“California’s argument would fare better if there were alongstanding tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, but there is none.  Certainly the  books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore.  Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example,  are grim indeed.  As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers “till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy.”  The Complete Brothers  Grimm Fairy Tales 198 (2006 ed.).  Cinderella’s evil  stepsisters have their eyes pecked out  by doves.   Id., at 95.  And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven.  Id., at 54. High-school reading lists are full of similar fare.”

Though the judges still think reading Renaissance Italian poetry like Dante is better than playing Mortal Kombat:

“Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat. But these cultural and intellectual differences are  not  constitutional ones.  Crudely violent video games, tawdry TV shows, and cheap novels and magazines are no less  forms of speech than The Divine Comedy,and restrictions upon them must survive strict scrutiny—a question towhich we devote our attention in Part III, infra.  Even if we can see in them “nothing of any possible value  to  society . . . , they are as muchentitled to the protection of free  speech as the best of literature.”

I just want to know how many of the Supreme Court Justices have played Mortal Kombat.

The court, in a 7-2 ruling, said the law violated First Amendment free-speech protections, but four justices left the window open for new legislation that would not violate the constitution. The Californian law against selling violent video games to minors took out some of the industry’s most popular games including Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto, though adults were allowed to buy the game for kids. The Senator has promised to fight it


Posted: 28th, June 2011 | In: Technology Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink