Sunday, November 24, 2013

Knock Out


There is a quiet roar beginning over what is being called the "teen knockout game" wherein a group of teens randomly assaults a complete stranger with the intent of knocking them unconscious. My interest in this is less in discussing teen violence or the pack mentality that drives it, but in the mainstream medias willingness to diminish their actions by calling it a game. That our young people are unable to tell the difference between games and criminal violence is certainly a problem, but when the rest of society struggles with that same distinction, it's indicative of something larger and more deeply ingrained. Are we, as a while, losing the ability to distinguish between play, imagination, fantasy, and reality? Have movies and video games so closely blended with our daily realities that we are no longer sure what is, in fact, a game? In considering this question I think about the many US service people who daily fight wars, remotely, with drones and joystick technology and then return to their suburban lives. I think about fight clubs, the violence of football and hockey, and the ways in which we celebrate the champions of these violent form of recreation. I wonder about boredom in our youth, and the obvious cry for stimulation that is calling a random attack on a stranger a game. I think about stories like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones that place children in positions of power and reward them for their violence. I think about my own youth, filled with capture the flag and kick the can, and think about a time when dodge ball was considered too violent for the school grounds. Perhaps today is a good day to reevaluate our pastimes, recreation, and personal media choices. What do they say about ourselves and what we consider to play? What message do your choices send to those around you about violence and its role as an entertainer?


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