An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

by Steve Bowler on May 28, 2008 · 6 comments

in uncategorized

I know I’m late on this one. Like, years late according to internet age (a couple of weeks here), but I had to get this off my chest.

Glenn, I used to like you. I know this will probably turn off a bunch of readers, but to hell with anyone who stops reading my site because of my rarely discussed political interests. I used to watch your TV show all the time and occasionally listen to your radio broadcasts, but awhile back I stopped watching your TV show because it was one non-stop scare-fest after another. I get that you’ve got to shock people to get them to stand up and do anything these days, but honestly, the ZOMG WE’RE GONNA DIE bits got old. I missed the jokes about the wife, talks about what it meant to be a dad, and the bashing the crazy people parts that made you seem like the rational human being I know you can be.

But for crying out loud, man, you’re calling bloggers losers? Specifically, video-game bloggers are losers? Now, I don’t mean to be a jerk and throw this back in your face, but would you consider an alcoholic drug addicted jackass a bigger loser than someone who blogs about video games? Or is a video-game blogger the bigger loser? My point here is I think you’re losing perspective in the interest of being a sensationlist scare-monger to boost your ratings, and that’s untenable. It makes me feel like a chump for liking you at one point, and for being willing to give you another chance. I watched your show on the GM Fuel Cell car last night, and was reminded of why I enjoyed your show in the past.

But you’ve got an issue I’d like you to work on. That issue is that all of my friends (save one) think you’re a douche-bag and a monster of a human being because of your comments on gamers and GTA, and we both know you’re not. Your problem is that you speak from the perspective of an ill-informed concerned parent/citizen. And I aim to address the ill-informed part.

You see, saying that games train kids to be killers by comparing them to military training lacks perspective. Video-games don’t put guns in kids hands and order them to kill anyone. Hell, video-games don’t give people real guns to fire. Period. Therein lies the primary difference (besides that obvious point that one is designed to entertain and the other is designed to train for gun accuracy), but you’re blind to even see it in your own example because you haven’t actually played the game you’re commenting on. I’m not even sure if you’ve played any games that are rated above “E,” for that matter. You’re not even qualified to make value judgements on the topic. I could sit back and make despicable comments on Mormons and be about as informed as you commenting on how awful GTA is. It would be an equally unfair comparison. The only difference would be that I don’t have 1/100th the media exposure that your ignorant commentary did.

So, to keep the ignorant commentary to a minimum, I’d like to propose the same thing Clint did with the concerned teacher’s union: Play GTA with me.

I know you’re a busy guy. Hell, I’m busy too, and I don’t like spending my weekends away from my family. But if you want to comment on the subject, I think you should understand what it is you’re talking about. You didn’t comment on the GM Fuel Cell without driving it and witnessing the refueling process. So why did you comment on a video-game without playing it? Were you afraid of it? If so, why? It’s no more graphic or horrible than any R-rated movie, and I’m sure you’ve seen a few of those at some point in your lifetime.

So I’m offering you an olive branch here. Play GTA with me. We’ll set aside a couple of days, and we can talk about what the game means for gaming, what it means for society, if art influences society or if society influences art, are video-games “just for kids” as your opinion seems to overstate, and more importantly, if you feel like you’re a different person after playing it. I doubt, for instance, that you will feel trained to kill (since I’ve played it and many more military style simulators and I’m still not a killer, nor have any urge to be), but you won’t know that until you actually pick up the controller and experience it for yourself first hand.

Not that I expect you to actually take me up on the offer, or even read this, but I wanted to be the first person out there to turn the other cheek and offer up a chance for learning and understanding rather than hate-fueled rhetoric thrown across the divide. If you still hate it, great. If you still think it’s bad for society, awesome.

At least you’ll be speaking from an informed point of view.


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