So Long, River

vu0alIt is a sad day today. The blogosphere (and Twitter) were notified that one of our fellow bloggers passed away yesterday. Christopher “River” Cavelle, who runs the blog “A High Latency Life” was taken from us at the young age of 41. Being only ten years older than me, it puts a lot into perspective. The scantily clad woman pictured has nothing to do with anything, aside from being his trademark. He would put pictures like this in posts that had nothing to do with women at all. I think that he did it in part to be controversial, but I can’t say that I knew him for very long. We just recently started linking between each other, during the NBI (or perhaps slightly before it).

Little is known about the circumstances surrounding his death at this point, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone from our community has passed away, and the community as a whole is suffering for it. I’m amazed at the amount of people affected by this, and it’s good to know that we have built something stronger than a bunch of people writing blogs. People have actually formed connections and have genuine emotion about this passing. It’s more than just writing. We’re friends.

I would like to pass my condolences to the remaining family. I hope that his passing was swift and painless.

Goodbye River. You will be missed.

Desensitization and You

Braxwolf of Gaming Conversations made a post about the Slenderman Case.

Ironically,  as I have announced, I’m working on a podcast, and this was one of the topics that I chose for our practice session that happened a couple of days ago.

I commented similarly on his post as I did on my podcast practice, that parenting seems to be lacking with the girls that committed the crime. How did their parents not know their interest in the Slenderman phenomenon, or not notice that they were carrying knives out of the house?

My comments were disassembled (as they seem to be whenever I get involved in something this controversial), but as Braxwolf would later point out, he wasn’t trying to analyze the case, moreso trying to analyze desensitization of our youth and society.

I remember these arguments when I was young. When Mortal Kombat was released and the ESRB was formed because Rock n Roll was no longer the only scapegoat for mass media to hound into submission. Gaming was a new medium, and it was carrying violent content that wasn’t fit for our eyes.

There is talk that 50 years ago people would have been horrified by what’s on TV and in these video games today. I can acknowledge that, but I also say that if you go back a bit further, atrocities were more common place, and desensitization seems to be even more common the further back you go.

Have you watched Game of Thrones lately? Sure, people will argue til they’re blue in the face that the show propagates violence, rape, and other things that aren’t socially acceptable. But do we not acknowledge the fact that it is true to the period? It is a work of fantasy yes, but is it not a clear picture of the way things were in the dark ages? When slavery, incest, rape, disease and war taught everyone to be tough and to do what it takes to survive? We’re still here. There was still good and evil back then as there is now.

Despite our best efforts to be civilized and better than our ancestors, the truth is that we are the same fleshy meat sacks that they were. Despite having more knowledge by the time we are teenagers than most adults did at that time, we are still fueled by the same primal instincts. There is no taming that portion of our heritage, and thus violence, lust and all of that “evil stuff” will remain prevalent.

However, is it not better to experience those things virtually as opposed to physically? Being able to do sadistic things in a video game or watch them on TV without causing anyone harm seems to be the better alternative.

What does desensitization mean?

Desensitization refers to the potential for reduced responsiveness to actual violence caused by exposure to violence in the media.

Many case studies have been done, and of the ones I researched, no link was found between simulated violence (be it played in a video game or watched on TV) and real-world violence. People tend to do things in a virtual reality differently than they do in actual reality. I believe that has to do with the fact that they are aware that their actions in a video game hold no consequence outside of losing the game.

With that said, do you still believe desensitization is the cause of children attempting to murder other children? Or is it perhaps the fact that parents sometimes don’t get involved with their children? Sure children will still do stupid things, but one would hope that attempted murder wouldn’t be one of them, particularly when a parent probably could have stopped this particular incident from happening in the first place. It seems to me that the issues are related. We’ve come a long way from the dark ages, yet violence still persists. Maybe it’s because some things simply cannot be controlled.

#desensitization #socialissues #violence