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Now that it's enjoyed the spotlight on my personal blog for a few days, I'd like to share with you all a piece I wrote on cultivation theory, a theory of communication studies, and how to use it to defend violent video games. I wrote it before the NRA's ridiculous press conference partially blaming games for gun violence in the United States, though you can easily see where their argument would fit into my piece.
Two, the more violent video games people play, the more they will
believe that the world is a violent place. These are the types of people
who stereotype all Black Americans as dangerous because the majority of
the mugshots their local news station publishes are of ethnic
minorities. There isn’t some magical threshold that, once crossed, turns
people into killers – they simply become more paranoid.
Three, the real danger in violent video games that dehumanize victims
and encourage killing sprees isn’t seen in the ways they affect
individuals – it’s in the ways they affect a culture’s relationship to
violence and masculinity. The U.S. is notoriously obsessed with
war-mongering, gun rights, and rigid gender roles that force people of
all gender identities to act aggressively in order to gain power. It’s
only when a culture, like the U.S., doesn’t critically analyze how those
unfavorable realities are manifested and reinforced through media
saturation of those types of messages (war coverage, unnecessarily
gendered advertising, incessant coverage of tragedies, excessive
profiling of killers) that the really dangerous stuff like mass murders
are legitimized and encouraged.
I’m sick and tired of hearing all this “science” reporting by
national news outlets and politicians. Cultivation theory is one of the
hallmark theories of communication studies – the primary field
responsible for critical analysis of media, media effects, and audience
studies. There are many other communication theories that deal
appropriately and fairly with media effects, and I encourage you to do
your own research as desired. In the meantime, be a voice of educated
reason in a sea of mindless bodies who would rather repeat untenable
nonsense “science” than critically analyze the real issues affecting and
affected by U.S. obsessions with violence, masculinity, and aggression.
Ali is a former Game Informer editorial intern and is currently a
master's student at the University of Minnesota, where she studies
games, virtual communities, manga, and other nerdy crap. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or her personal blog.
Much respect & thanks for sharing this.
Very well written, and you presented your arguments exceptionally well. I just hope that the media will, someday, realize this and address the violent culture of the U.S., not just violence in video games.
Very interesting piece; great food for thought.
Well said Ali!
I studied Cultivation Theory briefly in one of my communication classes in college but hadn't really given it much of a thought in regards to our current media situation...
I've had to 'defend' our hobby to 3 people (2 coworkers and my father of all people) recently and appreciate the added info. Really glad you brought this up with as many cross-references and research as you did.
I very much agree with you on the majority of what's stated here. Thanks for taking the time to write this
I completely agree. Thanks for writing, and it really sums up a lot of things I had been thinking about, but had not really been able to put into words.
Finally a voice of reason! An exceptional piece, Ali. Thank you for this!
Fairly good article. I thought that you kind of rambled on and took a while to get to your main points. Also, there were some things that were included that were irrelevant. With that sad, once I got what you were saying, I saw that there were some good points. It's nice to hear someone else's opinion.
This was a very well put together article and I learned something at the end, thank you very much for the hard work you put into this :)
Exceptional piece, Ali. As for the NRA, they don't understand why video games are simply a place of imagination; a place to relax.
Well written, I must say.