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Do you (see / hear) what I (see / hear)?

May 5, 2012

Another week, another sample of media gone viral. On the one hand, I expected Black Ops II, though the whole more-modern-than-modern-warfare setup and prospect of plot flexibility is a cool surprise. Particularly for those like me that don’t really think cool surprise and Call of Duty go together anymore if they ever did.

Unfortunately, the excitement over Call of Duty Black Ops II is not the viral media that the post title refers to. Oh no…the title is about something more disturbing than polygonal violence and the big publishing bucks behind the annual franchise some other franchises wish they could be.

Here’s how the situation has unfolded so far. Earlier in the week, some schmuck of a pastor was caught on audio preaching about how kids should adhere to traditional gender roles. Note that the schmuck and his listeners approve of the idea of forcing a boy into male behavior through violence with laughter and cheering. Contrast this with how the mood becomes quieter and more restrained when the topic shifts to allowing girls to play sports but still demanding that they retail some femininity – no calls for graphic violence and no loud verbal support.

No more than a couple days later, the schmuck changes his story to edit out the calls for violence against boys. The media gets what it wants once again by finding someone that refuses to uncritically accept gays (while incorrectly assuming they uncritically accept straights) and pressures them into an apology. The story mostly ends there if you like the way the media enforces a very strict narrative around the topics it reports on as they affect the public. A narrative which, for example, turns a specific mention of violence against boys into violence against children in order to make it safe to denounce. The same kind of narrative in which the source never explicitly says the boy whose wrist is to be cracked has to be gay (and “acting gay” is supposed to be subjective), yet the loudest of detractors just so happen to be GLBT activists, though that might be because the rant was part of a political campaign for an upcoming vote on marriage. As you might know by now, these state marriage referendums are just sham performances for sex-anxious people who want to assign more importance to marriage than there needs to be, regardless of which sex they’re attracted to. If you don’t believe me, try imagining there being as much of an uproar over drug abuse, ongoing economic decay, and gang violence, things that also threaten families but happen to be marginally separate from sex…it’s like comparing sizzling eggs to a jet engine.

Once again, I see an issue where boys are put at greater risk of violence and the media just will not allow itself to confront it without mutating the subject into something about gays or women (and you wonder why the two might be lumped together sometimes?). I hear people being perfectly okay with it if it’s just limited to those unwanted boys that do unwanted things. This isn’t even “boys will be boys”, so much as it’s “if boys won’t play along with adults’ power fantasies, to hell with them”, which feels okay when you can be certain some boy won’t eventually snap and murder people of certain protected identities to make a point that the media ordinarily would not. Then again, even after Breivik went on his killing spree, it’s easier to find articles on how he “trained” using games rather than on what he was fighting against, since the media needs its carefully scripted narratives – more than movies, books, and videogames need them from the looks of it.

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