Darkroom Nostalgia

Camera ObscuraWhile studying, I spent a lot of time in the darkroom. And man, I really liked it. Since the class I was in, was without a professor for most of the time, class size was quite small and no one really seemed to care what was going on. So I pretty much had my private, fully equipped darkroom to do whatever I wanted. I was amazed by the medium of photography and wanted to know as much as possible. That was in 2002 and analogue photography was still a big thing. Quality was much better than with digital cameras at the time and materials were readily available. But somewhere on the horizon loomed a thing people called “digital revolution”. I, like many people around me, thought that this shift was going to create a huge loss. Photography would change and the magic would disappear.

Did it? The technology most certainly changed, but did the magic go away? Sure, working in a darkroom gives you the feeling of being a magician. All the vats and liquids, the smell, the chemicals and much of the ritual is performed in the dark. So light creates an images that appears from the dark. That already almost sounds like a plot for a chapter in a Harry Potter book. But upon closer inspection, most of the technologies we encounter today seem to be in part magic driven. The silicon in your computer is sand that does calculations. The light in your light bulb is wind or water creating light. Describing the world around us can be very poetic. So working in the darkroom can be overwhelming, but the magic is more a magic deception. Sure, a powerful deception, since you are standing in this dark room, fully immersed.

That said, I do believe that photography itself has a lot of wonder to it. But this is not related to the technological details of its creation, it has more to do with the picture itself. This strange relationship between the picture, our perception of it and its connection to the outside world. That, I think, is the part that is really fascinating about this medium. And this strange relationship seems getting stranger and stranger from minute to minute. Photography is the most interesting and important medium today. (I do not really distinguish between photography and video. The aspect of time might be more visible in video, but it also exists in photography. To me, video is just moving pictures.)

But it very strange to me to see that many art schools still put much emphasis on the analogue side of the medium. The argument would normally be, that this is important for students to understand the basic functions of photography, I get that – kind off. Still, these functions could be learned by merely looking at the way the technology works today. It would be different, if many important photography projects deal with questions of analogue versus digital. Yes, there are some projects that actually do that, but it is more common for artist to tell you that this is the question they are after, when their works are actually about something completely different. Using analogue techniques, very often gives these artworks the notion of being handcrafted – as if this would raise their quality. Most pictures don’t gain anything from being processed in the darkroom. Still, one can boast about it. “This was made in the old way”. It feels like writing “Same recipe since 1839” on all your images and sell them at a local hipster store.

Focusing on these old techniques, takes away time and resources from the more important aspects of this medium, that should be researched. It is not the role of art schools to preserve old technologies beyond the point of addressing their importance today. I am suffering from darkroom nostalgia myself, so it makes me quite sad to say, that there might be no real need for darkrooms in these schools anymore. I myself had a great time, performing these magic tricks in the photo lab, but not once did I plan of setting up my own lab at home or in my studio. I might have been in the top 5% of heavy darkroom users at my school. So some months ago, I was curious and asked the staff at the photo lab of my old school, if they knew of anyone who finished within the last eight years (since I had finished my degree), who actually did set up his or her own lab. They did not. So there might have been hundreds of students who worked in the university lab and a few of them might on occasion rent a lab to work in, but no one saw this as important enough to set up a lab for themselves. And keep in mind, thanks to Ebay, it is extremely cheep to by all the tools necessary to do so.

For some of my projects I am still using my old medium format camera. But that has nothing to do with any kind of magic. I just happen to have this camera and a very good film scanner. Achieving the same quality with digital equipment is something that would not make financial sense for me at the moment. On my last trip to the Latvia and Lithuania, I spent maybe €300 on films and processing. I do something like this maybe twice a year. So spending €20.000 on a very good digital camera wouldn’t make much sense for me at the moment, even if I could afford that. Plus, if something happens to my old camera, €200 would get me a “new” old replacement on the Internet.

Art schools should help young artists to develop the set of skills necessary to tackle important issues they encounter. That is not done by focusing too much attention on techniques that are currently dying out, and it is not done by giving them access to tools that are beyond their reach once they have left art school. Art school is wonderful, it lets you try out so many fancy toys in so many wonderful fields. The problem here is, that just a few percent of the people finishing art school can financially participate on this level. So it might be nice to use a digital medium format camera that costs tens of thousands of Euro, while you are in art school. But what is the point of developing ideas for that set of equipment, if the chance is very real, that you might have to live just above poverty level once you have graduated? Maybe later, once you are successful, you might be able to afford more expensive equipment. But, the most crucial time for young artists is just after their degree. Art schools should really focus on developing the skill set needed to survive this terrible time. And maybe, as a result, a higher percentage of graduates would still make art five years after graduation.

Media Brothers

A very short Blog entry.

I found this image in one of the most recent terror videos I was watching.

ISIS Battle

In a way, it shows some of the strange aspects of these videos in one frame combined. For once, the guy in the center went into battle with a GoPro camera on his head. Actually I am wondering how many of these cameras were sold to the different fractions of the war in Syria and Iraq, because everyone seems to use them. There is even a channel, that until a year ago, uploaded quite a number of videos to Youtube, where cameras had been attached to the barrels of Syrian Army tanks, showing the destruction of whole neighborhoods. Oddly, all the videos where named “ Tank with GoPro™” + the location where the video was shot … why the “™”-symbol? Are they afraid of getting sued? It would be a funny development, when it turned out, that the Syrian government is more afraid of getting sued for violating a trademark, than for committing crimes against humanity. Well, in the end, the punishment might be harsher indeed.

Tanks with GoPro

But action cameras – GoPro or others – can be found in many videos. Some of the execution scenes are even shot by a whole barrage of them, from multiple viewpoints. It might be, that they are able to withstand the harsh environment better than regular cameras, but I believe that it has a lot to do with a certain look these videos have. And this look is the thing these propaganda producers are aiming for. Placed on the ground, it might look like a scene from a music video, strapped to your head, you get the appearance of ego shooters. Again, I believe the main audience for these videos are young men, who know this kind of aesthetics all too well.

The other thing that strikes me with the first image, is the appearance of the dead soldier on the right. Even though I should be used to that right now, what still gets me, is the way his body is censored. It is not his head wound, that is deemed insensitive – sure, that is quite hard to see in this frame anyway, but believe me, there are other shots in this video, that present closeups of his utterly destroyed face – what is censored instead, is his naked back. It is like the ISIS equivalent of a nipple slip. There are parallels to be drawn between the moral standards of fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims, at least if you are looking at their treatment of images. In the United States, I have encountered quite a few vans by Christian anti-abortionists that were completely covered with images of aborted fetuses. But imagine their reaction to an image of nude breasts. Censorship is weird, and it keeps getting weirder, the more images we use.

And then there is this still from the same video. It shows two different guys. This time, both have GoPros on their heads, to document the suicide there are heading for. In fact, both are going to be killed. So in the midst of battle, in this shot alone, there are at least three cameras filming.

ISIS Gopro

Plus, am I the only one, who thinks the term “Media Brother” is very strange.

Censorship as a story telling device

The excuse for censorship is normally, that there is a need to follow certain moral or cultural guidelines. Information or images are thought to be dangerous and therefore access has to be limited. Of course different groups or organizations follow different, and sometime opposing, sets of rules. Censorship has become an important aspect in todays power struggles.

In its most extreme form, censorship should be invisible. Since what is shown (I am focusing on images here) is deemed dangerous, the most consequent way to deal with it, would be just not to mention it at all. A damnatio memoriae for images or thoughts. And a lot of censorship today is actually invisible. Watching most ISIS videos, one could get the impression that women do not exist. Or most airstrikes by the US military leave no visual trace that is accessible to the public. But why not all of them? Sure, sometimes censorship isn’t perfect, so some information dodging the filter seems unavoidable, but I am talking about instances, where, otherwise avoided material, is published through the regular channels.

Of course, ISIS isn’t just releasing a video that shows a group of women without being veiled. That would be too obvious – and from their perspective too extreme. Things are rather more subtle and definitely more complex. Take this image “depicting” Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

Sure, her face and even her hands are blurred and therefore censored. But this I would call pseudo censorship. Real censorship would avoid her image all together. Here, even though it is not quite obvious that this is Hillary Clinton, the fact that the image is depicting a women and therefore something prohibited becomes even more visible through blurring it. So on one side, the ISIS censor could claim that he did not show a woman and therefore hasn’t been breaking the rules. But by clearly pointing at the fact that a women is shown in the original image, a women is in fact made the topic of the image. And this might be the core statement ISIS wants the audience to understand.

Tunisia

Another example would be this one, from the Tunisian parliament. The thing you wish to present, but are not allowed to show, can be made even more visible by censoring it.

PopeBut it also possible to make things appear to be repulsive, by censoring them, even though the image itself wouldn’t be an issue. Take for instance this image sowing Pope Francis and Benjamin Netanyahu. Obviously the two women next to them had to be blurred, but the painting in the background is treated the same way. My first thought was that this painting might show women and was therefore blurred. Christian paintings are quite often seen in such videos before they are being destroyed, so the painting itself should otherwise be of no concern.

Perugino Resurrection

It was interesting to find that the painting in fact does not depict any women in the foreground – there are two angels of undefined gender, but not in the part shown in the still image used by ISIS. So censoring something where there is no need to censor, has the power to alter the perceived content of an image.

But not only ISIS uses censorship as a way tochange the content of images. In fact the more I look for that, the more it seems that this is part of contemporary image usage. I briefly tried to deal with this issue in my project “Reporting the Pain of Others”. But I might have to put some more effort in this topic – right now I am not that happy with the result.

Reporting

From top to bottom, ABC News, Al Jazeera and TMZ.com.

In 2010 a short video became public that showed US soldiers urinating on Taliban fighters they have just killed. The video went viral and every important news website had to feature it. Since the whole story was based on one very short video taken with a mobile phone, all the news outlets had access to, was the same shitty footage everyone else was using. Since everyone was reporting on the same story, using the same footage, the pictures presented on the websites should have been indistinguishable from one another. But was not what happened. Most sites felt obliged to censor these images, but the way they were censored varied widely. Keep in mind, that the footage was so bad, that in fact no penis could be seen. Even the identity of the perpetrators or the victims isn’t that clearly visible, I would say. Still, everyone used these images and the way they were censored tells quite a story. Some news sites thought it is their duty to protect the identity of the victims, or hide the bloody corpses from view. Others apparently wanted to protect the identity of the killers and left the bruised bodies uncensored. And others still – and that I find interesting – are censoring penises that are actually not visible in the available footage. Some even mark the sport with “Explicit Content”, which I think is very similar to the strategy in the ISIS videos described above. Something that is actually not visible in an image can be made very visible, by pretending censorship was needed. All with the excuse so not to enrage the audience. But the black bar covering something that is not there, or the label “explicit content” first create the platform for this specific anger. Censorship, used in this way, can alter the perceived content of an image in exactly the direction, that it seems as if censorship was necessary. Censorship can create the content it pretends to eliminate.

Upon closer inspection, one can find other examples, where pseudo censorship is used to alter the content the way it is supposed to be taken by the audience. Take these two images from the website of the British Daily Mirror.

Daily Mail

A similar story is told, one about executions of foreign hostages by Mohammed Emwazi (nicknamed Jihadi John). In one case, the identity of the two hostages was protected in the other case the identity of the single hostage wasn’t. It is quite obvious that no real moral considerations did come to play here, otherwise both images would have been treated equally. So the decision to blur or not to blur must have had more to do with the narrative the journalists were aiming for.

Even more obvious and perverted is this example of another British news site express.co.uk . Here in two different articles, the same victim is shown. Once “protected”, the other time his face to be seen. Just as you need it to tell your story.

Express

A guide to Pseudo-Events

Why is Daniel J. Boorstins book “The Image” not more often talked about?

Daniel_Boorstin“In this new world, where almost anything can be true, the socially rewarded art is that of making things seem true. It is the art not of discovery, but of invention.”

“The difficulty of curing us of our ever exaggerating expectations comes from the very fact that not truth, but credibility, the modern test.”

It is quite amazing that Boorstins book was first published in 1962. He died in 2004 and spend his career as a historian in Chicago and as the Librarian of Congress in Washington DC. Even though his book is 50something years old by now, it remains extremely relevant. The subtitle reads “A Guide to Pseudo-events in America.” and this is what the main focus of the book is about. Pseudo-events. Events talked about, because they are talked about. One of his examples for such a event would be a press conference every is reporting on, because since everyone is reporting on it, this seems to have a high significance. Today is full of pseudo-events. Maybe most of the stuff in the news would fall under this category. Or why else would a respected website like Der Spiegel constantly report on certain casting shows?

He also points out that even persons can be human pseudo-events. And that might be true for most celebrities today. Maybe his book has never been as relevant today. The news circle is much faster than ever before. And content needs to be created every second – apparently, since the news outlet you are working for might fail otherwise. Irrelevant things are being hyped and become part of our culture. And maybe the art world might be one of the most outspoken culprit. What makes good art? Being presented as such.

It might not be the best written book, but for me it is certainly one of the most important.

And there is another very deep insight in this book. One that the two quotes at the beginning of this text point at. Especially the second one. “…not truth, but credibility (is) the modern test”. This, I think, is something that is just a hint at the moment, but of which we are going to feel to full impact only the years to come. Please stay with me for a second.

When I started my studies in 2002, there was a huge debate, that the medium of photography might be dying. Something called “digital revolution” was on the horizon and with it, it was thought, came the demise of this medium. The digital process it was said, could alter every image without leaving any trace and therefore would destroy the medium itself. Photography was thought to be somehow connected to reality and this connection would come to an end. Papers were written, if photography could still be used in court, since it was going to loose its value as evidence.

Oddly enough, someone seems to have canceled this revolution. Or maybe it has taken place already, but it looked very unexpected. How else could we explain the fact that images play a much bigger role within society than ever? Remember the 80s? TV news (in Germany at least) could easily go along without the use of images at all. There was a news anchor who just read the news. Occasionally he was interrupted by a film clip. But that was it. Today even the most mundane news needs accompanying images. The most telling thing here are examples we all have encountered. When there is terrible news, like an accident, children starving or or car bomb, from time to time we hear something on the line of “Our news team has access to the images in question, but due to the brutal nature, we decided not to show them”. This is amazing, even when you are not able to show certain images, you still have to reference to them, to make your news more trustworthy.

So it seems like images did not go trough a transvaluation of values – to amateurishly reference Nietzsche. What then might have happend? Well, Boorstin wrote his book in the 60s and he already saw the shift from truth to credibility. So I am not going to claim that this is somehow new. I think this process is accelerating. And this process has struck the medium of photography extremely hard. With the digital revolution, photography did not loose its value as a medium – maybe that has something to do with the fact that our collective perception has shifted. Away from truth, more and more towards credibility as “the modern test”. Having a trusted news anchor declare that he himself has seen the image, well that certainly makes it credible, even though the image remains invisible. And since the Internet makes us believe, that we are in fact in charge of our newsfeed, more and more of the things we are consuming this way might seem credible to us. But we can expect our newsfeed already to be different from the one our neighbor consumes. Thanks to the power of Google and Facebook, who work hard on keeping stuff hidden from us, we might not be interested in.

Again, that is not new, but the scope is different. What is going to happen, when more and more of our time is spent in a virtual environment? That is not neccesarily having a VR headset on your head, but rather a direct and personalized media feed through different sources. The shift, I guess, keeps going in the direction away from the real towards the credible. In a way things only have to appear real enough to be almost indistinguishible from reality. And who cares about the real real anyway?

Namedropping is bullshit – especially if philosophers do it

I went to a panel discussion with Peter Weibel, Bazon Brock (a philosopher apparently of some importance) and a sad guy, who’s name I do not remember and who seemed somewhat lost in mind. Supposedly Peter Weibel – head of the ZKM in Karlsruhe – was to talk about a series of exhibitions he is organizing. Maybe he did, but who really knows. At least he tried to talk about it – that is something I guess. Somewhere in between I realized, that it would be of little difference if the three of them would be talking simultaneously. In a way the content of the conversation would have been the same and there seemed to be little interaction between them, the audience and the topic anyway.

Once again I realized how damaging namedropping can be to a debate. Namedropping is avoiding to say what you think – because attempting that is hard -, by saying the name of the person you think said the thing you would like to say, at one point in their live. But that is complete and utter bullshit. Even in a perfect world, where everyone read the same book and everyone still remembers the stuff from the book, it would still be the problem that everyone understands things differently. Especially when dealing with philosophy and its hard to decipher language. Namedropping ruins the whole conversation. But you should never out yourself as someone who hasn’t read this particular book, or just can’t remember what the point of it all was supposed to be, that would instantly disqualify you from participating in the conversation. So you are supposed to sit there and listen to all these names being mentioned, and hope that a clue is given of what the actual point of the speaker could be. That is a waste of time and quite sad. Maybe if you want to make a point then try to make it and do not refer to the person you think made that point a long time ago.

It is funny, that this resembles a lot how very religious people tend to communicated. “As it is written in the Gospel of Mark two bla bla” or “As the Quran says (and then comes something in Arabic)”. When mentioning iconic texts, it is hard to point the conversation into a new direction. The difference between religion and philosophy is that philosophy has far more iconic texts.

I get it, when scholars don’t want to always start a conversation at the very beginning and therefore refer to other scholars or certain texts. But that makes sense only in a very tightly knit environment. Where you are certain, that, since you discussed the basics earlier, everyone shares a common idea, of what the thought actually is, namedropping can speed up the conversation. That would be an academic setting, where for instance a group of students works together for the second semester in a row. But the event yesterday did certainly not qualify in that respect. The audience and the panel was much to diverse.

Maybe every panel should include a kindergarten teacher or a butcher to set the framework for the conversation somewhat differently. Or people should just try to avoid namedropping. I guess I am guilty myself. And sometimes avoiding it is hard.

Context as a form of censorship

Sometimes a catchy title can really guide me along, working on a certain topic. The title “Bildverbot – eine Handlungsanweisung”, would be such a title, but unfortunately it doesn’t really work in English. A rough translation would be “Iconoclasm – A Operator’s Manual” , but that is not a perfect translation. Nevertheless, I am currently spending a lot of time thinking about the topic of images that are taboo within certain parts of our culture.

I find it quite fascinating that our society might appear to be far more liberal than anything before – at least that is the western idea of western societies – but upon closer inspection, social norms and rules limit the use of certain types of images more and more. Sure, religious prohibitions might be part of it, but I find other aspects far more interesting. What images of race and gender can be shown or created? Nudity – especially nudity of children? Violence? Privacy? Right in one’s own image? State and corporate secrets? How to deal with the colonial acquisition of images and objects? And what about the weird world of copyrights and trademarks? All these things should be considered, when discussing iconoclasms today.

Looking at copyrights and trademarks for instance makes the issue very strange. On one hand, international brands want to become a key part of our daily environment. Press releases by them are supposed to be treated like news. Logos become quasi-iconic objects and should be visible everywhere. But if you dare to present them in a way, the company does seem fit, the wrath of being sued might come upon you. The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion, that branding is just another way to create icons and therefore closely related to religious urges. One strange aspect is The News – at least here in Germany. On weekends the news programs talks a lot about the football results. Quite often for a third of the time. But once these programs are uploaded to the Internet, the part mentioning football is cut out. So on one hand, football is supposed to be considered newsworthy, but on the other hand, business interests can interact with the spread of news. I might be idealistic, but once something is “news”, access to it should not be limited.

The way you censor certain images or avoid them, can be very revealing. I did a work on that – well “work” might be a big word. For that piece I collected images from one particular event to look at the different ways this had been censored. The still came from a very short clip showing US soldiers urinating on killed Taliban fighters. The footage was taken with a shitty cellphone camera and is so grainy that it actually shows nothing. No penis can be seen, no flowing urine, and neither the faces of the soldiers nor of those killed are really recognizable. Interesting with this example is that this was considered “breaking news” all over the globe. Almost every news outlet wanted to talk about this event but everyone had only access to the same shitty footage of a few seconds. Still, even though talking about the same event by using the same material to report, the images they have used on their websites differ by quite a lot.

Remember, the footage is so grainy that almost nothing is decipherable. But some folks blur the faces of the soldiers, others those of the Taliban, quite a few times these invisible penises are covered by big black bars. A lot of the stuff becomes only somewhat visible by the use of these methods to hide them. And what does it say that one group of websites tries to hide the identity of the soldiers, while other hide those of the killed. Some even blur the entire image. Which is odd, because then the image isn’t shown, but has to be presented nevertheless. Even an image you can not show, needs to be somehow presented to make your story credible.

In general it is odd, if you use blurred images at all. If you don’t want to show something, than don’t show it. But by blurring, you might make things even more visible. In most other cases, there might have been a thousand different shots you could have presented. So why blurring?

Another strange form of censorship might be context – but that is something I am not fully sure about right now. Let me explain what I mean. Today, many images – and objects – have to be presented in a completely different context than at the moment they were created. That has to be done to be able to present them at all. Take for instance state art from the Third Reich. You couldn’t just present a Hitler portrait, no matter how well it is painted. It needs to be surrounded by a protective layer of context. The same goes for quite a few of the categories mentioned above. Photographs of naked boys from the 19th century by artists like von Gloeden might today be considered immoral and too close to child pornography to be presented in a regular exhibition. I am not arguing that this is good or bad, but my gut feeling is, that this might be somehow related to methods of censorship. You are not hiding the image itself, rather you change it to something that suits your ideas or moral standards.

ISIS Videos

In the past few months I watched many videos by groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. That might not be the most tasteful of pastimes, but for me that I am extremely interested in the role images as a medium of communication play in our modern world, I consider it extremely important material. The more I look at these videos, the more details I see that are upon first notice quite baffling. I am very happy that almost all these videos are in Arab, so I am not distracted by that, plus, since their interpretation of Islam seems to be OK with slaughter shot in slow motion, but strictly opposes music, all you get on the audio spectrum is boring sounding singing. So there is little that distracts me from trying to look closely at these images.

The thing that did strike from the very beginning is that fact that these videos do exist at all. The most conservative interpretations of Islam – and ISIS definitely wants to be counted amongst them – has serious issues with the depiction of sentient beings. And some fifteen years ago, the Taliban in Afghanistan killed photographers for breaking this rule. (They also hired photographers to portrait their fighters it the most kitsch way possible – but that was supposedly for internal use only. Just google for “taliban portraits”). But ISIS wants to be oddly modern. So besides the war against the West, there is also a war amongst islamist groups that is prominently fought on social networks with the help of phones and GoPro cameras.

But the oddity of the whole situation does not stop here. Once the islamists were those who opposed the use and spread of images. Today that role is part of the western reaction to the (perceived) rising threat of terror. These videos are hard to find, sharing them is illegal and having them on your hard drive definitely causes suspicion. In the UK some kids already have been sentenced to time in jail for sharing propaganda PDFs. So the iconoclasm is turned on its head. Now these images are banned in the West.

It seems key to all sides involved in this conflict, what images are shown and what are censored. ISIS seems to have no issue with showing bodies blown to bits – even with those of their own comrades. Something western media would definitely not show. But once a boxer short is shown or – God forbid – a naked belly. ISIS propaganda kicks in and things get blurred. So quite often you’ll find that the boxer short is blurred but not the head-shot wound. And of course there are no women in ISIS videos. That is why, I guess, Germany is not so much in the focus of these propaganda videos than would normally be the case. Chancellor and defense secretary are both women – Merkel and von der Leihen – and are therefore off limits to even the most brutal film director.

But the other side – the West – censors in regard of its political and moral agenda. In fact the way ISIS produces these videos is hard to counter for the West. We have grown used to these kinds of wars being invisible. Drones and fighter planes seemed the weapons of choice and even though everything was carefully recorded on video, the results were classified top secret and hidden from view. So the audience became accustomed to the fact that there is nothing interesting going on, because nothing was to be seen. That strategy served as the basis for this whole conflict, the way the West intended to fight it. Hide the whole operation and pretend you are just after the bad guys. What better way to avoid the issue of collateral damage than to hide the whole thing?

ISIS on the other hand, does not care about collateral damage. The more the better. Shock is part of its propaganda machine. Shock might play a role in the US strategy of drone strikes, but that shock should be felt locally. “Shock and Awe” – the term used by the US military – is a local strategy. ISIS wants its shock to be felt everywhere. And of course it is intriguing to young men – maybe the most important audience group for ISIS -, to watch HD videos shot by remote controlled drone directly over some Syrian battlefield. If music were not banned by their interpretation, I am quite sure that many of these clips were set to Wagner or death metal. It does look like a video game, because these videos are directly inspired by a video game aesthetics.

I see another resemblance with video games. Might be hard to describe, but the way these videos become more and more brutal and the killings more and more “creative”, reminds me of a game sequel or the next horror movie within a certain franchise. A few months ago it might have been cool enough to shoot a poor guy in the head, but now the target audience wants more. Otherwise they are going to switch to another channel. Now you need at least a shotgun, or better still, you need to run over a guy with a tank. Or maybe shoot someone from close up with a rocket launcher.

It would be absolutely wrong to blame video games for any of that violence. Anger does not come from video games. Nor did it come through movies or books before. Media teaches us the way to express ourselves. And different mediums teach us different things. It is quite easy for someone who has never played video games or watched action movies, to blame them for the hard-to-understand way young people act. But it would be much harder for them to link the media they themselves consumed to the way they act within society. Young men are just angry and awkward and if they express this anger, they express it in a way media they have consumed taught them. Let’s forbid all video games and have young guys beat themselves to death with books instead.