Thursday, June 08, 2006

cultural or moral dilema?

Ellen writes,

But, I was reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by
Chuck Klosterman, and I ran across this question:

"Let us assume there are two boxes on a table. In one
box, there is a relatively normal turtle; in the
other, Adolph Hitler's skull. You have to select one
of these items for your home. If you select the
turtle, you can't give it away and you have to keep it
alive for two years; if either of these parameters are
not met, you will be fined $999 by the state. If you
select Hitler's skull, you are required to display it
in a semi-prominent location in your living room for
the same amount of time, although you will be paid a
stipend of $120 per month for doing so. Display of
the skull must be apolitical. Which option do you
select?" (126)

So, kids, which one do you choose? I do want you to
answer me this one. Let's pretend that we aren't
students and that $120 a month wouldn't matter all
that much to us--or is something we could live
without. Would you rather have the turtle or the
skull . . . and WHY??

and I respond:
see link: response to the question posed... there is some controversy about this new type of violent video game, and particularly this Super Columbine Massacre...the question of even making such a thing, just the thought of such a game is disturbing. How can a game of this title, or how could a hitler head displayed, ever be neutral/apolitical, or even educational? That is the question here; can Super Columbine Massacre, in which the players take on the personas of the killer kids, be educational and teach players about the negative consequences of violence, about life as a teen, about how not to handle their problems at school and whatever? Does the game give players an outlet to redirect their angst and anxiety? The creator of the game says he does not at all condone violence, but that he was one of those kids in high school who was pushed around too, and he can then on some level identify with Dylan and Eric. Is that scarry and disturbing? Or is it better to actually say things like that out loud; should we not talk more to kids who can identify with the killers and help them to not be killers too? Or should we just give them more video games to play? Because of course the other question is whether or not the creator has exploited the event for the purpose of making and marketing a new game and making some money (good job on his part; controversy always sells more product...), though the game is free to who knows about all of that. I haven't tried the game, but the interview with the creator is intriguing... see what you think.

I think it is valid to note also that if you ignore the skull, keep it in the closet, eventually you will forget about it... having hitler, or columbine, on display, potentially reminds (and continually educates) us about what happened, what can happen, etc. But where does the line fall between educating for the good and encouraging something else? Or, is there a difference here b/c Hitler/Holocaust happened so much longer ago than there a settle-in-to-history issue at hand too? A need for some distance-time. But then, who decides that?

Personally, I have given in totally to the oppressive capitalist forces around me and so I would display the skull and pocket the money. Or I would just go get a real job at Walmart... I don't know, however, if I'll take up video games anytime soon.

1 comment:

Renuka said...

The skull...I'd make art out of it (perhaps something Holbeinesque;o)