Gaming for Columbine

Posted: October 3, 2011 in New Media

What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘gaming’?  Some people might say or think of it as in relation to men, Call of Duty, guns, nerds etc. Although these are in a very common relation to gaming, what comes to my mind when I hear the word is the Columbine Massacre. The reasons are because of its direct correlation to the murderers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I am sure most of you have heard of this shocking catastrophe and if not, let me give you a little history lesson about it.

So this massacre took place in Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado United States and it occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, armed with several guns and bombs killed 12 students and 1 teacher and at the end of the bloody rampage, they both committed suicide.

While this incident has been the fourth-deadliest school massacre, it also drew massive debate regarding gun control laws, gun violence involving youths, high school cliques as well as the role of violent movies and video games. Although the said topics are of much importance and require delicate focus, what I particularly want to stress is the role of violent video games. The reason why I want to discuss about it is because Harris and Klebold were said to be avid gamers of Doom, which is listed as one of the top ten most controversial games of all time.

The motivations for Harris and Klebold to commit such horrific acts were that they were constantly bullied, but what pushed and gave them the inspiration to take action (in my opinion) may be because of playing such violent video games. While it remains controversial and requires much more research about the role of violent video games it plays in society, I think it is safe to assume that it can influence some people to behave and think violently. Just think about it. All you see is blood, flying limbs, screaming, guns and bullets left and right, bombs flying over you. And people who enjoy this type of violence will think violently too. I mean it may not affect some people who are strongly willed in their positive morals and values, but for people like Klebold and Harris who had ill-will, constant hatred against society, built-in anger, it may be the case that they were confused with distinguishing between the violent gaming reality and the real world. This is not to say that everyone who plays violent video games will be and think violently, but just to say that it can factor in on some people who are weak in mind and will. It also doesn’t help the fact that all you see in game stores  are games rated either 18+ or Mature for violence and gore.

Even on TV or movie films, all you see is violence. If a movie or a TV show does not have some sort of violence in it, it won’t be successful. Because let’s face it, we love or think it’s cool for people to jump from a 30 foot story building while shooting at the bad guys. You don’t want to see the main character negotiating for a solution with the villains. NO! You would much rather prefer that character to either grab a gun or start punching things. With violence so prevalent in society, who can’t sometimes think about doing violent things?

It may require extreme measures and intentions to do what Harris and Klebold did, but I think if there were less violence in media, it might help to decrease the it among youth (or society) in general.

While Professor Strangelove talked about various topics in class such as technological determinism, media technology as an identify formation and shaper of contexts, deprofessionalization etc. I am sure one of the sub-topics he discussed caught everyone’s attention by surprise: Sexting. He explained that this is when teens use their cell phones as a device for erotic/pornographic uses. I think he meant to describe it in a way where it’s similar to phone-sex, except we ‘text’  to another attached with pornographic media (pictures, videos, GIFs etc.)  or simply sex-text. Professor Strangelove then bravely asked the students in class to raise their hand up if they have ever participated in Sexting. Surprisingly, some people raised their hands shyly or just for the fun of it. After poking some fun at the students with their hands raised, Professor Strangelove then pursued on with the whole meaning behind the new generation of Sexting. He explained that porn used to be institutionalized in company/organizational settings with gatekeepers. And he is absolutely right, back in the ‘old days,’ erotica couldn’t be bought by anyone below the age of 18, whether it was in a VHS/DVD or magazine format,  it was distributed through the market where there were tight security to prevent piracy or any form of duplication of it’s product. But soon enough, these pornographic gatekeepers lost control and power because of the Internet. The abilities of the Internet were and still is limitless, it could make, (re) distribute, duplicate, pirate any sort of thing that could be digitalized. And with porn being highly demanded, it was all too easy, but the best thing about it? It was free. For those of you reading this, I invite you to type in the words “Free porn’ on your search engine. In a blink of an eye, you’ll probably get millions of results for porn sites with a few pop-ups attached that have no restrictions or require no payment. This is the power of the Internet. This is what the Internet can do. And if this is the power of the Internet, distributing porn not only on your computer, but onto your mobile devices should be easier than tearing down the pornographic industry’s security.

With smartphones being able to send texts attached with mediated files (pictures, videos, GIF etc.), Professor Strangelove said that teens or children are more likely to engage in sexual activity. Not only is it logical to assume the validity of this statement but it is also evident as well. With porn so prevalent in our society, especially on the Internet (and now into our cell phones too), it’s a no-brainer that teens are more sexually active. Whether, they are sending nude picture of themselves to their lovers/friends or sending crotch shots of Britney Spears, the new breed of porn- Sexting -is growing fast. Erotica is no longer subject to control anymore, and because teens now realize the vulnerability of porn distribution, they use their cell phones or technology to escape authority and control, whether it’s from our parents, teachers or legal authorities.

As the porn industry accepted, learned and adapted to the limitless abilities of the Internet, they distributed their products online. They might have lost power/control but I assume business is good because of the sexually active teens. And if parents, teachers, church authorities or anti-sex activists want to limit their sexual activity, I suggest they start with the new breed of pornography- Sexting.

The First Strike

Posted: September 18, 2011 in New Media

Aloha fellow bloggers! How was your summer? It’s been a long time since I’ve posted something on my blog but I hope that with a new semester along with new courses, we can both endeavor to communications greatness. There are several fresh communication courses I’m currently taking at the moment. They include Research Methods in Communication, Interpersonal Communication and New Media. Although, the majority of my new batch of blogs will include lecture notes, discussion topics, videos pertaining to the course New Media, I might on occasion include or relate some topics, lectures or notes to the two of those aforementioned courses.

My first lecture with Dr. Strangelove’s class in New Media began with an upbeat music to pump the entering students up with liveliness . When the class settled down, Dr. Strangelove introduced himself and the course along with the syllabus. As he generally read it down to the midterm, which included making a blog  and a documentary video, he showed us examples of blog and videos to illustrate how they can be improved along with some useful tips. One of the documentaries he showed that certainly caught everyone’s eyes was the YouTube video: The Hot Lesbian – Mass Media Darling OR Cultural Nuisance. The video was about the use of girls or more typically, lesbians by the corporate media to advertise their products to make it more appealing. I found the clip very amusing and informational but also a very cliche topic because nowadays, everyone (or at least students studying Communication) know that by undressing girls, the corporate media can look forward to increasing their sales revenue. Therefore, the video included everything but surprise. I want (or hope) my video can be something that would captivate everyone’s attention and allow the viewers to critically think and analyze of how the new media is functioning in today’s contemporary society. I want to embed suspense, comedy, and the element of surprise smothered with information to not bore the viewers (or my Prof) while watching my documentary. I have yet to come up with such a delicious topic but I am constantly thinking about it so stay tuned to my blog for there are more exciting posts (and videos) to arrive on your computer screen (or any internet device).

I feel like I should always thank people for showing interest in me so I thank you for reading my first blog and although it didn’t include anything illuminating, I promise you that there will be more later on.

Ciao and enjoy your day! 🙂

PS: I embedded the video: The Hot Lesbian – Mass Media Darling OR Cultural Nuisance for your convenience.