Extra Lives: Australian retailers make disappointing decision

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Sometimes I really just can’t understand the logic behind censorship. It makes a degree of sense if something can be proven to have a real, consequential impact, but that’s usually not the case.

In Australia, both Target and Kmart made the decision to stop selling “Grand Theft Auto V” in their stores. Why? The retailers aren’t a fan of the game’s depiction of violence against women. They were pressured by a Change.org petition started by a group of former prostitutes. It seems the game was taken off the shelves mainly because players have the ability to kill prostitutes after having sexual intercourse with them in the game.

Yes, the game allows players to kill pedestrians. It also allows players to kill anybody they see. It allows players to killĀ animals. It allows players to kill people of all professions. The player can simulate killing bankers, doctors, lawyers, gang lords and, that’s right prostitutes. The player can kill people of all genders, races and sexual orientations.

That’s the thing about this game: it doesn’t discriminate. If the game shouldn’t be sold because of its depiction of violence against women, then nobody should play it, ever. Why is violence against prostitutes so much worse than violence against anyone else? If “Grand Theft Auto V” should be banned because it lets players kill prostitutes, then any game that depicts the act of killing should be banned.

It’s understandable that former prostitutes who have experienced firsthand the horrible acts of violence that can go along with that particular line of work. Seeing something like this can bring back traumatic memories they may not want to revisit. The solution to this, however, is simple: don’t buy the game. There’s no reason to advocate for complete censorship. Nobody’s forcing these people to play the game. It just doesn’t makes sense to ruin it for everyone else.

This is beside the fact that video games don’t really cause real life violence, something I’ve gone over already in this blog. This game has no actual impact in the real world. It’s all virtual.

The decision made by Target and Kmart is one that ultimately just disappoints me. Censoring free speech is never good. This is an infringement on freedom of expression that for some reason, only seems to affect video games, and it is neither moral nor based in logic.

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