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Wednesday, February 14, 2001 A Publication of the Newspeak Association Volume No. 66, Issue 5

Front Page
-Entrepreneurship: Venture Forum involves all
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News
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-"Namesake Designs and Geometric Expressions" on display in Gordon Library
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-Radicalism only hurts the environmental cause
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Media violence isn't the problem after all


by Joshua Carvalho
Class of 2002

I want everyone reading this to take the time to read the following article: http://www.avault.com/news/displaynews.asp?story=282001-122154. What is this, you ask? Why this is news of the Surgeon General's report on youth violence. You know, the one that the PTC (Parents Television Council) and other First Rights Amendment opponents were hoping was going to once and for all prove their rhetoric that media violence has "corrupted the youth of America?" Heck, The Charlotte Observer, The LA Times, and numerous other major newspapers even ran articles prior to the release of this report claiming that the document would prove PTC positions and signal the deathblow for anti-censorship groups.

Well, surprise, the report did the exact opposite. It states that media violence is in fact not the real problem and that it is in fact not a major cause in youth violence. Not even appearing on the list of causes of youth violence for late-onset cases, it's only the tenth most significant cause in early-onset ones.

I wonder when we'll see that big apology from the PTC for how wrong they were?

Oh, of course I know it isn't coming. Hell will be as cold as Aspen before any one of these uptight idiots admits they were dead wrong on this issue. Of course, the more intelligent people out there have known for the past ten years that violent media was not the sole course of youth violence. In Japan they play games where you play the role of a janitor and rape schoolgirls, yet we're the ones with the youth violence problem.

Much like the recording companies fighting the mp3 format, those trying to censor forms of violent media have for a long time had no hard evidence to back up their claims, yet they'll continue to pursue these same claims as long as they can. Why? They want everyone to conform to their way of thinking for one. Two, they don't want to take responsibility or place blame on the real problems with America right now.

How about we try fixing some of the major problems that have been noted in this report? For instance, there's poor parenting. This is the most obvious cause of problems in children that anyone can mention; yet it's one of the least talked about. Golly gee, I wonder why? Why won't they actually admit that the problem is not children playing a game where you shoot at cartoon monsters, but the fact that they're not doing their job as parents?

In today's society, both mom and dad like to work. They want the best car, the largest TV, and all the luxuries they can possibly get. Yet often times they forego their primary job as parents to do this. Let's face the facts: there was a large change in the structure of the typical household over the past century. Women moved out of the household where they spent a large part of their day taking care of their children and went into the workplace. Now, don't jump on me please. I am certainly not in favor of either endorsing what standards used to be there or returning to them. However, what failed to happen were many families adjusting to this major change.

Mom isn't there as much as she used to be in many families. Fine, but that means dad has to assume more responsibilities. Or that means that one parent has to change their hours around or take a job they may not like as much as another so that they're there for their kids. Something has to give. You can't put luxuries and your job above your children.

And then there's the whole social structure that exists in many American schools. Whenever the words "jock society" appear, everyone suddenly becomes silent. We would like to believe that such a thing does not exist. Yet it does, and we very well know that children who are harassed at school long enough will eventually snap like in "A Christmas Story." The only difference is now it's gotten so bad that children have reached for guns instead of using their fists in some instances.

I remember watching the news after the Columbine shooting last year, where only a single news program went after "jock society." It was truly sad. Nobody else wanted to pursue it. Instead, they tried to blame it all on Doom. Please. Did playing "Cowboys and Indians" make children in the past take pistols and kill their friends?

Why is this suddenly a huge problem? Well, for starters it's not "suddenly" a huge problem. Youth violence has been a problem for years. It's only now though that it's become an issue since it's affecting the white-collar suburban areas instead of the inner-city schools. But even then, we need to wake up as a society and look for the real causes of this problem. It comes from us not providing homes where children grow up with loving parents who are there to teach their kids rights and wrongs. It's from creating an environment where children are afraid to go to school, where they are harassed at school, and where the Internet and TV have become substitutes for parents. It's come from us being more and more isolated and losing the sense of community that we used to have.

Now, unfortunately much of the press has decided to try to bury this story, partially due to following their own agenda and partially due to the embarrassment of being entirely wrong with their early scoop. Therefore, I hope that everyone who reads this helps spread the word about the report. Let's not let these findings get buried like so many other "inconvenient facts" that "Big Brother" doesn't want the public to know.

(e-mail cav@wpi.edu)


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