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PTC’s True Motives Revealed in Anti-Grand Theft Auto Campaign

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I was a bit overwhelmed when this story first broke, but a message from my favorite right-wing mailing list brought it all rushing back. The PTC—short for Parents Television Council, a fanatical gang of tight-assed media scolds led by the humorless ultra-conservative L. Brent Bozell III (as if you could have a good sense of humor with that name)—spent much of their latest weekly missive crowing over the great victory they won on behalf of lazy parents everywhere against the scourge that is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

For complete coverage of the whole fiasco, read Matt Paprocki’s commentary over at Blogcritics.org. In a nutshell, Rockstar Games was forced to change the rating of this game to “Adults Only” because it’s possible to download a code from the Internet which, when loaded into the game, activates a secret mission in which the player can make two characters have sex that is, shockingly, about as graphic as what you can dream up between Barbie and Ken—assuming that Ken keeps his pants on throughout. Seriously. If you’re over 18 and want to see what all the fuss is about, click here to see a video of the infamous “Hot Coffee Mod.”

It would not be an exaggeration to say that this is milder than what passes for titillation in many R-rated movies. GTA: San Andreas originally carried an ESRB rating of M for “Mature,” which means it is not suitable for children under 17—the exact same standard as an R-rated movie. Thanks to pressure from the PTC and born-again conservative Hillary Clinton, the game now carries an A, or “Adults Only,” rating, which means it is only suitable for people 18 and older.

In addition to protecting the tender, unspoiled minds of America’s 17-year-olds, this ratings change has one major effect: while many chain stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target carry M-rated games, they do not stock games with an A rating. The PTC’s campaign against GTA is not actually about protecting children, it’s about damaging the commercial viability of Rockstar Games and, ultimately, bringing us one step closer to their not-so-wet dream of a future in which all media are suitable for children 100% of the time.

As always with the PTC, the irony of their mission escapes them. While claiming to advocate on behalf of parents, their true goal is to cede the responsibilities of parenting to the government. I humbly submit that if a kid is able to go out and drop $49.99 on this video game without their parents’ knowledge or consent, those parents aren’t doing their job. And if a child is able to go on the Internet and download the “Hot Coffee Mod” without parental supervision, there’s a damned good chance that they’re looking at German fecalphilia porn, snuff films and Drudge Report as well.

Parents, do your job and stop screwing things up for the rest of us!

(parenthetical remarks)

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About parenthetical

  • the entire paragraph that starts with:

    As always with the PTC, the irony of their mission escapes them….

    is pure genius.

  • >>fecalphilia<< That's 'copraphilia', btw. Dave

  • Seriously… Rockstar is just giving the people what they want…

  • And you would know, Dave? ;-P

  • Brian

    You’re right. Parents have to control their own children’s access. However, do my kids have to live in a world populated by dickheads that like this sort of crap. Then again the dickheads that like this crap are just one of many different types of dickheads that seem to be around. I just have to educate my kids on how to avoid dickheads.

  • Alexandria

    I think you have the right to keep your personal definition of “crap” out of your own house but you do not have the right to make a judgment about people who define crap differently.

    I wouldn’t have Grand Theft Auto in my house because, on principle, I don’t care for the premise of the game. However, I hear the game is fun and I’m glad others enjoy themselves. The cartoon sex doesn’t disturb me at all given that I (and my kids) see much more than that before 9pm on regular TV and have ready access to YouTube. You see, sex doesn’t bother me, aggression and disrespect for authority figures DOES.

    It is my responsibility to let them know what I consider inappropriate. What they do at their friends’ house is beyond my control and is purely a process of their maturation.

    I agree with comment #1. The article is pure genius. However, I DO do my job and try not to screw things up for the rest of you… I bet some of those PTC members don’t even have young children. Blame them, not all parents.

  • Brent

    In my eyes it’s all up to the parents wishes. The rating can’t stop a parent buying the game for their child, if the parent deems their child to be old/mature enough to be exposed to the content in gta without it affecting how they behave in society then by all means, give it to the child. I think i was mature enough the handle the content on GTA by the age of 12 so really it all depends on the player. That does not mean the game shouldn’t be given a rating, i think the board involved should asess the game and give it a suitable recommended age, the parent may alter if they wish.