Sunday, July 17, 2005

Grand Theft of the Left

I have no idea why I used to think this, but I admit that once, many moons ago, I was a fan of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Back before she was senator, back when she was just a First Lady with attitude to put to shame the Stepford Wife we have now. Maybe it was the fact that hers was the first (and I think maybe only) political rally that I've ever been to. Maybe it was the way she brought the ever-humble Ben Affleck with her to her speaking engagements, who would champion loudly and damn-near-illiterately about how we should vote for Ms. Clinton and participate in the electoral process (meanwhile Affleck has never been to a voting booth in his life). Maybe it was the way she wore her hair and the power suit, but there was a time during my naive years when I was a closet supporter of Ms. Clinton, secretly adamant that she was a true champion of the Left and feminist issues. And then, we lost the election of 2004. So now, Ms. Clinton is the Left's new Great Female Hope -- and she apparently wants the White House in 2008 something fierce. I'm looking for any good reason to support Ms. Clinton for the presidency; it's about damn time that the Left supported a woman (or better yet, a racial minority?!?) for the presidency. Unfortunately, the more Ms. Clinton opens her mouth, the more I am loathing the idea of supporting her. It's true that few politicians actually do anything worthwhile for their constituency. It's true that every politician panders. The trick, however, is to pander without seeming like pandering -- former president Bill Clinton mastered this skill, but it seems he hasn't yet shared that secret with his wife. Every time Ms. Clinton throws her support behind a bill, I get the distinct feeling I'm being manipulated, and that all of her actions are designed not with the greater good in mind, but as a ploy to increase her vote count in three years. But even the pandering wouldn't be so bad if Ms. Clinton wasn't pandering to the wrong crowd. Democrats have got to realize that no undecided voter is going to vote for Republicans Lite if they have real Republicans they can choose. Watering down conservative ideals and praying that the Democratic base won't abandon the party is not the key to winning in '08 -- as badly as us crazy progressives might not want to see another Bush clone in the White House, if the Democrats start abandoning Democratic viewpoints and the voters that keep it afloat, our good favour will and should, justifiably, evaporate. Why should we help a party that's so willing to sacrifice us to curry a little bit of extra favour with the other side? Take Ms. Clinton's most recent cause; this past week, Ms. Clinton made the news demanding a probe into the newly-released on Xbox game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It seems that some enterprising programmer created a crack called "hot coffee" for the XBox version of GTA: San Andreas. See, in the game, you can "court" girls and at the end of a date, they will invite you into their houses for "coffee". At that point, in the normal version of the game, suggestive moaning ensues as the camera focuses on the outside view of the house. Your character later reemerges after an hour of "coffee" with your girlfriend. The crack simply replaces the outside view of the house with pictures of the main character and the girlfriend in a sexual position. (In case you're wondering, I did indeed play and even enjoy GTA: San Andreas. For all of its offensiveness, it is extremely, mind-boggling addictive.) All this sounds like far too much for the average pre-pubescent video game player, right? Well, that's because you're right. GTA: San Andreas is rated Mature, and is intended to be played by those 17 and over, basically the equivalent of an R or even NC-17 rating. So, why is everyone making a big deal about the innocent young eyes who might be permanently scarred by seeing on-screen video game sex? Parents who allow their child to buy or rent this game in the first place should be at fault, especially if they are ignoring what I think is an appropriate rating. Even if parents have a valid gripe, it should be with video game sellers, who should enforce existing ratings. If you don't want children to play a game like GTA: San Andreas, the answer is not to rate the game more harshly and ignore the laxness of existing ratings enforcements. If a ten-year old child goes to see 28 Days Later and ends up traumatized and terrified of zombies, that's the fault of the people who let the child in, not an indication that the R-rating of 28 Days Later is too mild. The movie was never intended for younger audiences and GTA: San Andreas isn't either. (For more on how parents are relying on censorship rather than themselves to parent their children, see the ever-controversial Taking the 'It Takes a Village' Thing Too Far post). Moreover, why is Ms. Clinton championing parental rights in this case? Not that there isn't a valid point if a video game company released unlockable porn, but it's no secret that GTA: San Andreas is about as un-politically correct a game as we'll likely see in our lifetimes. The game is nothing but an exercise in racial stereotypes and mysoginy -- from the endless ebonics and street thuggery of the main character and his crew to the fact that the main character is encouraged to sell drugs, pimp prostitutes, and even beat up the street walkers for money, there's plenty about this game worth protesting. This game universally denigrates all minorities, especially African Americans and women, and yet Ms. Clinton was so strangely silent for the year or so that it was on the market as a PlayStation 2 game. Apparently, there was nothing wrong with racial slurs, stereotyping and on-screen sexism in and of itself, as far as white liberal politicians like Ms. Clinton are concerned. Strangely, only when there was an opportunity to grab those much-coveted Christian Conservative votes did the Left target this game, and only because of the "hot coffee" hack -- this would be a perfect opportunity for Ms. Clinton to highlight everything that's wrong with GTA: San Andreas and perpetuating the stereotypes in it, and without any more harm than what she's currently doing, but even when it seems like Ms. Clinton has nothing to lose, she and the new middle-road, talk-out-of-both-sides-of-our-mouths Democrats see no reason to solidify the support of their real base. At this point, I'm feeling like Democrats like Ms. Clinton are playing us all as suckers, certain that because we learned our lesson with Nader, we'll never desert the Democratic party. Well, maybe it's time to deliver an ultimatum. Feminists have long wanted a woman in the White House, and I am no exception. But if a supposedly strong, outspoken woman like Ms. Clinton is our best hope, perhaps we need to rethink whether having a person of the right gender is enough. If Ms. Clinton keeps selling minorities and our causes out just to earn a few more votes (who wouldn't vote for her anyways... is Ms. Clinton that much out of touch with the layman or just blissfully ignorant of how much she is universally despised on the Right?) then perhaps we would be best to seek a better candidate, even if they happen to be male and maybe not even Democratic. After all, isn't a man who at least pays a little bit of lip service to woman's rights better than a woman who's coasting on the power of her vagina alone?


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