This started off as comment to Yojimbo's post
regarding the controversy over the header pic on this front page story
. Obviously it was much too long for a comment, and I doubt few will read through it even as a blog. But I hope that you'll read it through to the end before throwing in comments on either side of the debate.
I want to point out a couple of things. First, Rev. Anthony's avatar had nothing to do with this photo. It was a cap of Takeshi Kitano (a Japanese man not Vietnamese, and one of my biggest heroes, incidentally) from the film Sonatine. (I had incorrectly put
Hana-Bi originally, which Takeshi corrected me on. Whoops. The bizarre bit being that
Sonatine is my favorite Takeshi film. Director idol fail!)
Also he was shooting himself in the head.
Second, the guy in the photo isn't about to be shot. It's not about violence looming in the future. He is dying as that shutter is closing. There's no exit wound yet because the bullet hasn't exited his skull yet. It's much more disturbing than simply a man about to die or even being dead. We've seen dead bodies. But it's rare to see an actual person losing his/her life.
I'm actually a little shocked by some of these comments. The ones referencing the offended as whiners/sissies/babies. It really shows how far towards desensitization we have come in this world. What these people are saying is that violent death happens, so we should be subjected to it at every part of our lives, and if someone resists then they are in denial. If a person gets offended by that image it is because some people put a value on human life. That photo was not from a videogame. That is a person who was alive when the button on the camera's button was pressed and was lifeless before the shutter reopened. Not everyone is so terribly desensitized/unempathetic.
But, I haven't heard from any offended people in this forum. So, you're not even speaking to the people commenting here. The dissenters are those who are saying that the use of the photo was in bad taste. The argument has been made that killing and death will be portrayed in the game. But fake deaths by data and computer generated images.
And just because an event is portrayed in a game, is it a good idea to display it's real-life equivalent when talking about the game? I'm currently replaying God of War. This topic reminds me that I had to kill hundreds of little puppies before they transformed into giant demon dogs. As such, would it have been okay to show real photos of puppies that were abused and beaten to death; broken and torn apart? Is that not bad taste?
Those that are claiming the use of the header photo was in bad taste, are saying that it's use serves no purpose other than to shock. The article does not discuss the horrors of war. It does not touch upon violence at all. Nothing about it was relevent at all to subject matter. The point of the article was to talk about the rumor of a videogame's setting and that there was a casting call. There was no specific relation that would warrant the use of such a affecting photo.
A few have said since that the point of it must have been to promote discussion about the horrors of war. That's a weak argument considering that it was never brought up in the text. If we're to applaud someone for being so bold as to talk about these issues, than those to be applauded should be the "sissies/whiners/babies" who brought to the attention that this photo's use was controversial.
Finally, the bitterness toward Destructoid over what is being portrayed as "censorship", I also wish to tackle that. The photo was changed. That wasn't censorship. It was a judgement call. I'm sure that the editors discussed this matter and took the views of all involved into view. They did what they thought was responsible. I know for a fact that if that photo were relevent the context of the article it would still be attached to it as we speak. The Destructoid editorial crew are amazing when it concerns the free-speech of the editors and the community. I've talked to the head robot himself about his concerns regarding free speech and the community. I know that it is not a matter he takes lightly. That Yojimbo's article still stands untouched at this very moment, every photo intact, is a testament to that very fact. I'm sure that the question was reaised, the community's arguments on both sides were taken into account, and that Matt had the deciding vote on what to do with photo in the end. The offended people were able to have their say. It was taken into consideration. A decision was made based upon the facts of the event. This was true Freedon of Speech at work. Not censorship at all.
Since I've long since crossed the tl;dr divide, I'll put this comment (now blog) out of it's misery. I'll leave simply reaffirming that I was not offended by the pic. My initial thoughts were "Really?!" and I would have just left them there and moved on. The only thin that I was offended by was the cries of a few desensitized people who feel the need to push their views of the value of a human life onto others and insult them while doing it. I've never been a fan of intolerance. And in this case, it really makes you wonder what a life playing games can do to you.