I made a mistake yesterday. I was going for a laugh saying I was going to “beat up some hookers” after my meeting last night (meaning I was going to play Grand Theft Auto IV), but it’s not sat well with me nearly since I wrote it.
I love jokes. May I never live a single day without laughter. Further, I love jokes that piss people off. Frankly, most of ’em need pissin’ off, in my view. But as ridiculous as I frequently find our hypersensitive, neo-Victorian society, I believe some things are deeply unfunny. Violence against women is one of those things.
Of course, some might say I’m picking at a string here. I am enjoying a game that rewards sustained felonious activity, after all. However, based on my previous experience with Grand Theft Auto games, beating up prostitutes is one of the sideline, “sandbox” activities—like running over pedestrians on the sidewalk—in which you can choose to engage or not. It’s “leisure”; it doesn’t advance the plot.
And I don’t run around beating up hookers when I play the game. (Not to say I’m not an occasional john. Vicarious living, dontcha know.)
Perhaps that’s a wan defense, but I can live with it. After all, I love a good mob movie—which is, I dare say, a relatively socially acceptable cultural construct—and this is nothing so much as an interactive one.
In any case, I apologize.