Lunacy in the Land of Lincoln

Posted by joefunk :: Industry Trends | Legal | Retail-Products

From: The Citizens of Illinois

To: Rest of the U.S.

RE: We’re Not All Clueless!

RblagojevichDespite the head-shaking activity of our governor, Rod Blagojevich, I want to assure the rest of the country that most of us here in Illinois have a clue, and are not on board with his misguided crusade to ban the sale of violent and sexually explicit videogames to minors.

This isn’t the first time our governor has used our tax funds unwisely. In this case, he’s attacking something we all agree on: Violent and profane games shouldn’t be sold to minors any more freely than guns, alcohol or pornography. In fact that’s why the ESRB exists.

Like much of the rest of the country, many of us are smart enough to comprehend that gaming is not just an evolving medium, but one that will someday surpass movies and TV in terms of usages and influence. We also understand that like those other more mature media, the content for interactive entertainment will inevitably broaden out: There will be violence. There will be cute and cuddly. There will be pornography. There will be SpongeBob SquarePants. There will be content for 4-year-olds – and for 84-year-olds.

Thankfully, US District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly agreed with the videogame industry, and ruled last Friday that the law violated protections on freedom of speech. In fact, the judge said the state came “nowhere near” proving that banning violent videogames would help prevent violence in children. The law was scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2006.

Despite the ruling, the governor vows to fight on. As a resident and native of Illinois, I’m not sure where this is coming from. There is no groundswell of support for this cause in our state. There is no secret machinery (which we’ve seen plenty of in our politically infamous state) driving it. As far as I can tell, it’s just some guy, that has decided to make this a personal and political issue, using the tired accusations that we’ve all heard before and know to be unfounded, and he happens to be our governor.

You will take solace in knowing that Blagojevich’s approval rating is not exactly stellar, and he will surely not make a difference in halting the evolution of our wonderful medium. Meanwhile, kudos to Doug Lowenstein and the ESA for holding the line. For us folks in Illinois, we’ll do what we can once gubernatorial elections roll around.

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