Don't Censor Violent Media - TAX IT!
I spent 25 years as a literary agent representing writers, directors, producers and cinematographers in motion pictures and network prime time television. I know how Hollywood works and how it thinks. It's not complicated.
It's time to take off the handcuffs, cross hypocritical ideological barriers and actually get something done.
Balance | Consistency
For those in Hollywood who are proponents of redistributed wealth for the betterment of society, how about a different type of VAT or Violence-Added Tax on both the purveyors and consumers of violent media to help fund the mental health care system?
We put heavy tax on tobacco to discourage use; we can do the same for gratuitous violence.
Just this past November in Cook County, Ill -- the county that includes Chicago -- the Board of Commissioners passed a "violence tax" on gun sales to defray uninsured hospital costs.
And let's cut through the stall tactic of pitting one scientific study against another with a simple question: Would advertisers pour billions into popular media if it had no impact on behavior?
The MPAA ratings system: Another false front. How many ushers are standing next to smart devices and in living rooms across America checking I.D.? On the downside of pervasive technological communication, it is glaringly obvious that parental control is now at a built-in disadvantage.
If the costs to society from obesity, diabetes, etc., is the premise of those who want to regulate thus control what is fed to bodies, then, for the exact same reason, what is fed to minds -- particularly the young who are the most vulnerable -- is on the table.
Hollywood's Unabated Golden Age of Gratuitous Violence
We get how in the name of "art" it is part of the free market of ideas to both cultivate and appeal to prurient interests as the path of least resistance to big box office.
However, as far as owning the personal responsibility that goes with it, it's interesting to watch how Hollywood's elite are now desperately trying to twist, turn and distract their way out of the hypocritical trap they have placed themselves in.
Any national debate over violence in America that does not join at the hip Hollywood's cash cow of glorified, romanticized human slaughter will be just another slick political exercise in hypocritical nothingness.
The weekend after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn. -- which left 26 people dead, including 20 children -- Obama aide David Axelrod tweeted, "In NFL post-game: an ad for shoot 'em up video game. All for curbing weapons of war. But shouldn?t we also quit marketing murder as a game??
When it comes to selling murder as a game, human beings are fair game? Imagine, if the target of on-screen violence were animals, would it be tolerated?
Up to this point, all appeals for some decency and self-restraint on the part of the violence peddlers have been gunned down by naked greed.
So, if greed is the clear driver of a problem that is poisoning our culture every second of every day, let's get real about a solution that deals directly with greed on its own terms.
For any lawmaker reading this, if you want a real game-changer in favor of society, here it is: On a compounding basis at all levels, federal, state and local governments -- Tax Violent Media!
Check out the Los Angeles Times article from 1999 entitled "Violence Tax Can Stem the Killing" by Peter Navarro.
Michael E. Douroux
@MIchaelEDouroux I'm about to throw a lot of questions at you, but I have trouble wording this in a different way:
Who would be the ones in charge of detecting how significant the violence in game is? Would it be based on some new rating system? Wouldn't the implications of having a tax punishment just trickle its way down to the people that play the game? To cover the added expense of the tax I imagine that the price of the game would simply raise and the people willing to buy it would be punished rather than the distributor.
Isn't there a natural order to things in the Hollywood rating system as well? When a movie is rated R, the result is that typically it would get less revenue than it would have if it was PG-13. So there seems to be a kind of loss taken by the studio. Now these types of studios have money, they can decide if a film is worth the rating in regards to the niche the film is aimed at. But does the typical gaming studio or start-up have the means to cover this additional fee? They are just trying to survive.
@MIchaelEDouroux There is nothing wrong with enjoying a round of BF3 with some friends. There is nothing wrong with playing through dishonored. We don't need to be penalized for enjoying entertainment that we choose to consume just so the government can line its pocket.