If the aforementioned dispute involved a cell phone, an iPod or any other technological device, it would draw no special attention, other than depict the proportions of Suarez's insanity. But you see, the object in question was a videogame... and this is, of course, the tidbit of information the media will grossly exaggerate. The media and a certain Mr. Jack Thompson.
For those not obsessed with videogame related yellow press, Jack Thompson is a Florida-dwelling attorney who has been fighting against certain parts of the electronic entertainment industry, blaming them for everything short of natural disasters. So long and so loud has he been complaining for the past few years, that the Florida Supreme Court recently has issued him a restriction which can only be described as a legal talk to the hand.
The recipients of Mr. Thompson's hate are almost always Rockstar Games, the developers of the (in)famous GTA series. GTA IV, one of the most feverishly anticipated games in the industry's young life, is about to hit the shelves, and it promises to be everything the series is known for: a mixture of sociopathy, utter disregard for everything mankind holds dear, and an amount of random violence never imagined outside of the US Postal Service.
The concatenation of the game's release and the tragedy in Brockton is bound to make Mr. Thompson and several hundred other speakers with similar mindsets rush to the papers and TV stations, grabbing their pitchforks and torches on the way.
They say videogames are all that's evil. I disagree.
I'll take my own experience as an example: I have been playing videogames pretty much since I can remember. Throughout my life I have owned an Atari, two Nintendos, a Super Nintendo, a Game Boy, a Playstation, two Playstation 2's, a Wii, a Playstation 3 and countless computer and cellphone games of all kinds. Furthermore, I love the GTA series. I played all three PS2 installments for hours on end, and the promise of GTA IV was enough to make me shell out for the ridiculously expensive PS3.
Obviously, my in-game alteregos have committed every crime possible in the GTA games several hundred times over, and throughout my years, I have killed enough videogame characters to make a bloodthirsty tyrant cry himslef to sleep.
Now, I'm not going to say I'm a flawless person in real life... after all, nobody's perfect, and I'm willing to admit that certain people (Emos) bring out the long dormant head-severing Celt heritage in my blood. When I act on it, sarcastic remarks and a smug visage of superiority are my weapons of choice. Other than that and a couple fistfights in my teens, I am an utterly peaceful person. I condemn all forms of violence, even towards animals, and I'm such a wuss that even stomping on a spider makes me feel guilty for a couple minutes.
Why then, having been corrupted since early childhood by the devilspawned joystick, don't I hurt and murder people? The same reason why I don't stab my girlfriend with a Tai-Chi sword after watching Kung-Fu flicks: Because (to the extent of my knowledge) I'm not fucking insane.
Say what you wish. I, for one, think that if you shoot someone, chances are you're not very stable. There were murders before videogames, because there were fucking lunatics before videogames. In fact, I have the theory that videogames are a pretty effective anger management therapy. They provide a cathartic experience, allowing you to shed out your violent instincts (we are animals, after all) rather than bottling them up so they can explode one day. GTA works particularly well for this, because a) it's more akin to the real world setting your frustration hails from and b) it gives you a greater sense of control and decision. I'll elaborate on this some other day.
One final attempt at sophistry: If you're walking through a dark alley and a teenage boy playing Nintendo DS is coming in the opposite direction, you think:
a) The kid is a harmless geek, entranced by the task of raising a Nintendog.
b) Holy shit, run!
Just in case you people hadn't realized that I really love GTA, I'm putting up the GTA IV widget.