Egh. Well, this is certainly a buzzkiller after yesterday’s “Mario Galaxy” trailer.
Produced several years ago but apparently only heading into some kind of release now, “Moral Combat” is – aside from being a new all-time champion in the field of Worst Movie Title Pun EVER – a documentary about the debate over video game violence. http://kotaku.com/gaming/game-violence/moral-kombat-premiers-at-vgxpo-306503.php
The doc, produced by Spencer Halprin, carries the standard promises of a “fair look at both sides,” but I didn’t need to know that it gives substantial screentime (and a premier panel discussion!) to Jack Thompson to know that a red flag was already up on this one. Here’s the thing: It’s all well and good to pretend that every argument carries equal weight and is equally worth considering in the hypothetical realm of academic debate where you do so to sharpen the rhetorical skills. But that’s not – and I know I’m committing a sin against Political Correctness by saying this – how it works in the Real World, where quite often you DO frequently find “debates” where one side IS demonstrably, catastrophically wrong.
Thusly, there are times when “balance” between sides is not possible because any “balance” would have to be artificially-imposed. You cannot “balance” debates about Holocaust Denial, for example, because the “it never happened” side has no evidence or credibility while the “yes it did” side has MOUNTAINS of it. There can be no “balance” there: One side is right, the other side is wrong, and any attempt to make it appear otherwise would have to be an exercise in dishonesty, framing crazy people in order to make them appear as worth hearing from as their legimitate others. All men are created equal… yes, but they don’t stay that way. Jack Thompson, Louis Farrakahn, Pat Robertson, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, etc. are not rational, reliable sources on ANYTHING – they are crazy people.
And that, you may have guessed, is my problem with what this doc claims to be (I will, of course, withhold final judgement until I see it)… it’s not, in my estimation, possible in the realm of intellectual-honesty to make an “unbiased” doc on this subject that is also fair and balanced – it’s NOT a balanced debate, and it NEVER will be. There has never been, and will never be, proof to back up the idea that violent video games are a direct cause of real-world violence. Not one study, not one laboratory test, not one SHRED of hard evidence has ever been found. The Thompson/Leiberman side does not have anything to support their claims. Not a single thing.
Thus, a truly unbiased doc showing both sides as they are would end up looking, well… as innevitably one-sided as a doc about the debate over the roundness of the Earth. Because you have one side that’s made up of rational individuals with evidence and facts, and another side made up of crazy people with nothing to back them up. And as the trailer, which I’m about to show you, demonstrates, the filmmakers are at great pains to make Thompson etc. look to be on equal moral and intellectual footing with their opponents, which is simply not an accurate representation of the situation.
Now, I understand. This is the way people think you NEED to do documentaries, always pretend that everything is exactly equal and worth-considering or else you’ll be accused of propaganda. I get that, and was expecting it. THEN I saw the trailer, which I somehow managed to miss back when it was fresh:
No, you didn’t just imagine that. One of the commentators blames video-games for 9/11, and the film (appears to, based on it’s own trailer) treats this as an argument as worth considering as any other.
Yeah, talk about fair.