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Graffiti Madness

Today’s Adrants highlights the fight “anti-graffiti mouthpiece” Queens Councilman Peter Vallone is picking with Atari for their new videogame that “features a young graffiti artist up against corrupt officials and rival gangs as he spreads his tag around the city.” Vallone is concerned the graffiti simulation, developed by spray paint aficionado Marc Ecko and set to be released in September, will encourage kids to vandalize their neighborhoods and hand them a one-way ticket to jail.

When I read the bit I almost laughed out loud that we were getting flustered by a few spray paint cans when our kids are spending some 3 hours a day playing with virtual machetes, machine guns and human wood chip cutters. Granted, art in the context of gangs may not be the best alternative to violence, but at least there’s a level of creativity other than how to wire someone up to a car battery or set them on fire.

Vallone chose to write a letter to Atari’s chairman. What are we doing to make the $25 billion videogame industry take some responsibilty for how they’re shaping our next generation of leaders? We think we have ethics problems now…I can only imagine what thousands of hours of mutilation simulation will do for our CEOs of tomorrow.

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