Wednesday, August 25, 2010

on censorship and taste

Liam Fox wants the latest medal of honor game banned. Well, he is our defense secretary, so I suppose his ideas on freedom of speech don't matter that much, but it still makes him a reactionary idiot.

Banning stuff is bad for society. It drives bad ideas underground where they can't be quashed, and raises the eternal question- where is the line? What is acceptable and what isn't? A healthy society can deal with horrid content by not consuming that content. If a film or game is offensive, it is your right not to watch or play it, but it really isn't your right to stop other people from doing so! When we begin to talk of what public money is spent on, then perhaps we have a clearer argument, but even then I would prefer to err in favour of freedom of speech.

For me there are precisely three exceptions to freedom of speech: libel, profit from illegal acts and genuine public health risks. If you deliberately spread malicious mistruths that can harm another person's reputation, then you should be controlled. If you attempt to film genuine illegal things in a gratiutous manner then you should be censored (because criminals shouldn't profit from their acts), and if you are doing something that could pose a genuine health problem, such as inciting violence (and this has to be pretty DAMN clear), then you should be stopped.

Medal of Honor, to my knowledge, will disobey none of those. None the less, its a pretty tasteless enterprise. A game set in a conflict that is still going on is pretty poor taste, especially an action game. MOH is hardly going to be an insightful look at either side of the conflict- it'd just be as bad as Stallone creating his next vechile there.

If the game is as tasteless as I suspect it is, I have an excellent choice over calling for it to be banned. I'll simply not play it.

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