Steve Pope again, determined to become the Fredric Wertham of our time. He might be simply deluded, for all I know—but why, then, does he try his utmost best to appear as a dishonest, lying fraud?
Pope’s seemingly malicious contempt of reality and reason is only topped by the gullible idiocy of the press, on whom you can always count to spread even the most outrageous lie in a “balanced” way:
On the back of the sleeplessness furore, therapist Steve Pope makes some of the most shocking claims yet […] “Pending two hours on a game station is equivalent to taking a line of cocaine in the high it produces in the brain,” Pope told BBC Radio 5Live in an interview last night. “It’s the silent killer of our generation. […] Computer game addiction can also spiral into violence as after playing violent games, they may turn their fantasy games into reality. It is the fastest growing addiction in the country and this is affecting young people mentally and physically.”
And what would be more efficient to turn parents into domestic Sturmtruppen against their own kids than a comprehensive stimulus package of fear-mongering, hysteria, and guilt:
Pope urged any parents listening to the broadcast to “go upstairs to your kids bedroom and try and take the game station controller out of their hands.”
Among loads and loads of other things, my students will recognize the familiar fallacy of collapsing “gaming” and “gambling,” a lexical ruse that works even better in German where both terms translate to »spielen«. Correcting these and other matters, John Walker’s excellent article Déjà vu: Gaming Like Cocaine Claims Returns over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun tears into this rotting carcass of fear-mongering demagoguery and pulls the rug out from under this self-appointed crusader’s baloney.
Read the whole piece, it’s worthwhile. If it wasn’t for modern-day quality journalism and the delusion of “balanced reporting,” we wouldn’t have to spend so many pixels on rampantly unsupported claims, and we could simply roll our eyes and say, “What can be asserted without evidence, can also be dismissed without evidence.” But here we are.
Update: Apropos Wertham, “balanced reporting,” and such, two articles you wouldn’t want to miss: Ben Goldacre’s omfg comix are destroying teh youth and Balanced, Neutral Journalism Is RUBBISH and That’s a FACT from The Register. Enjoy!
Another Update: Ben Goldacre’s first article is no longer online thanks to Posterous selling out.