Not one to keep his opinion to himself, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader has come down hard on video games. In fact, he has gone as far as to call the companies that make them “electronic child molesters.”
In an interview with Politico yesterday, Nader blasted President Obama’s gun control package that was unveiled last week. The two-time Green Party presidential candidate said that the president’s plan needs to go further in regulating video game creators that add violence to their games.
“Television program violence? Unbelievable. Video game violence? Unprecedented,” Nader told Politico.
And so Ralph accelerates the slides into irrelevance.
I can see his point to a degree, after spending upwards of 20 hours building a massive civilization from the ground up and stone age onward, it can be very frustrating to have Gandhi come along and nuke it all.
However, blaming Ghandi for gun violence seems a bit of a stretch.
My guess is that Ralph’s understanding of the current state of actual video gaming is a far cry (ha!) from the reality.
This guy has quickly become a cult hero in the Middle East, and I’m not talking about Bush.
BAGHDAD — Calling someone the “son of a shoe” is one of the worst insults in Iraq. But the lowly shoe and the Iraqi who threw both of his at President Bush, with widely admired aim, were embraced around the Arab world on Monday as symbols of rage at a still unpopular war.
In Saudi Arabia, a newspaper reported that a man had offered $10 million to buy just one of what has almost certainly become the world’s most famous pair of black dress shoes.
A daughter of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, reportedly awarded the shoe thrower, Muntader al-Zaidi, a 29-year-old journalist, a medal of courage.
In the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, people calling for an immediate American withdrawal removed their footwear and placed the shoes and sandals at the end of long poles, waving them high in the air. And in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, people threw their shoes at a passing American convoy.
“Although that action was not expressed in a civilized manner, it showed the Iraqi feelings, which is to object to the American occupation,” said Qutaiba Rajaa, a 58-year-old physician in Samarra, a Sunni stronghold north of Baghdad.
But many more expressed undiluted pleasure. “I swear by God that all Iraqis with their different nationalities are glad about this act,” said Yaareb Yousif Matti, a 45-year-old teacher from Mosul, in northern Iraq.
Mr. Zaidi, who remained in custody Monday, provided a rare moment of unity in a region often at odds with itself. Glee, even if thinly veiled, could be discerned in much of the reporting, especially in places where anti-American sentiment runs deepest.
Now I’m not at all for the anti-American glee thing and I know the right winger nutters are going to say that anyone who doesn’t want al-Zaidi executed is a terrorist, but this whole incident is just too damn funny….
…until you realize what led to the desperation…
As Mr. Bush was speaking, Mr. Zaidi rose abruptly from about 12 feet away, reared his right arm and fired a shoe at the president’s head while shouting in Arabic: “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!”
Mr. Bush deftly ducked and the shoe narrowly missed him. A few seconds later, the journalist tossed his other shoe, again with great force, this time shouting, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” Again, the shoe sailed over the president’s head.
It should be noted that al-Zaidi had told others of his plan to make a statement. He even made sure to be wearing Iraqi-made shoes when this went down.
Another thing to think about is what this might be able to do for the Iraqi psyche, first tortured by Saddam and then liberated through fire by Bush.
A number of Iraqis said they were dismayed by what Mr. Zaidi had done. Ahmad Abu Risha, the head of the Awakening Council in Anbar Province, a group of tribal leaders that started a wave of popular opposition to fighters linked to Al Qaeda, condemned the move.
“The American president is the guest of all Iraqis,” he said. “The Iraqi government has to choose good journalists to attend such conferences.”
Mr. Zaidi, who has not been formally charged, faces up to seven years in prison for committing an act of aggression against a visiting head of state. It was unclear whether his popularity would prompt Mr. Maliki’s government to lighten his punishment.
Mr. Zaidi’s hero status continued to grow on Monday.
In Damascus, a 34-year-old shop owner, who gave his name only as Muhammad, said he was on his way to celebrate the shoe-throwing incident with friends.
“This is like a holiday,” he said. “This is just what we needed for revenge.”
That works for me. Can we call it even now? We voted him out of office (kinda, his party, and the Neocons…which were a driving force behind the reason we decided to attack a country that hadn’t attacked us), and y’all insulted him to his face, maybe we can build upon this common sense of things and create a more peaceful tomorrow.
UPDATE: The Washington Post is reporting that al-Zaidi suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, and internal bleeding after the shoe tossing. I know I’m in a huge minority of Americans here (as I was when trying to keep this particular war from starting), but I think a little shoe tossing can be forgiven when a fool invades your country on bad intelligence. Bush should ask for him to be pardoned. No harm, no foul. At least to Bush. Iraq is another story.
UPDATE: Really, Bush is cool with it. Let the guy go.
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Probably should write a bit more about this one, but I found it rather funny. Fallout 3 and Bioshock both scored very high on the “evil meter” (and in reviewers opinions regarding their quality as games), although GTA IV took the top spot (in the evil meter, not the review one).
The problem here is illustrated on the cover of the fear-mongering pdf, and that problem is bad parenting. Kids shouldn’t be reading “American Psycho” and neither should they be playing games where they can virtually kill and get laid with reckless abandon (although Fable 2 does include an STD counter that one can get to move quickly by having un-protected sex with prostitutes).
This is a parenting issue. And I’m somewhat worried that a few folks with too much time on their hands and money in their pockets want to make it a censorship one.