In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court overturned California’s effort to regulate access to violent video games. Scalia wrote the majority opinion and declared that video games deserve the full protection of the First Amendment.
“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world),” Justice Scalia wrote. “That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”
He added: “Certainly the books we give children to read–or read to them when they are younger–contain no shortage of gore. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers ’till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy.’ . . . Cinderella’s evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves. . . . And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven.”
(I was amused by the fact that the clerks wrote “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” rather than “Grimms’ Fairy Tales.” That does not detract from a sound opinion that recognizes that parents must be responsible for regulating content, even if not all parents are responsible. The opinion can be found at the following link: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/us/28s… –for further reading.
And for the other side of the argument:
In his dissent, Justice Breyer asked the right question: “What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman, while protecting the sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the woman, then tortures and kills her?”
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