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Glenn Beck rants about GTA IV, let's break it down

5:09 AM on 05.03.2008 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

I'd never heard of Glenn Beck before I spent a month in America, and I must confess I fell in the love with the guy when I first saw him last year. Not only did he look a bit like Mr. Kennedy from WWE, he was absolutely tearing a pedophile apart, live on air. I thought he was awesome. Now I see him rambling like crazy about GTA, using the same old outdated rhetoric and twisted logic as his peers, and the illusion has been shattered.

"We are training our kids to be killers," proclaims Beck. "Welcome to the great great grandfather of the videogame developed by the Pentagon." Beck is another one who has tied the use of the military's simulation software to videogames, as if they are one and the same. He also hinges on the logic that because soldiers wouldn't pull the triggers on each other in World War One, that means people were not violent until simulators taught them to be inhuman killers. He seems to hint that violence before WWI never happened -- I guess there were no crusades, there was no Feudal Japan, and the 100 Years War is something history books made up to be colorful.

He also states that because soldiers are more accurate with firearms, that means these "training simulators" are working, and once again this somehow makes videogames (which use auto-aim most of the time, or unrealistically accurate mouse-and-keyboard setups) effective training tools. He says nothing of the improvements actually made to firearms themselves which would facilitate easier use and greater accuracy. I also don't debate that a murder simulator could indeed train someone to be a murderer -- the only problem is that GTA isn't a simulator, and if you relied on just a retail videogame to prepare for war, you would be dead in minute s, if not seconds.

As he throws out stats, he claims that just television upped the homicide rate. Of course, as Rev Anthony explains on Podtoid, the crime rate in America has halved in recent times. Beck's arguments simply do not hold water. Having seen this man before with no prior knowledge of his work, it has to say I feel somewhat let down by a man who I thought was pretty cool. Sadly, my European ignorance of American celebrities has led me to be disappointed. "Whatever happened to Pong?" asks Beck. Whatever happened to mainstream journalists who knew what they were talking about?



Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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