Crime and Violence Good, Cartoon Sex Bad

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The newest version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was released recently and has been pulled from shelves because of a particular segment of the game that allows a user (male) to have sex with a naked woman.

In an unprecidented move, the game had its rating changed from “mature” to “adult only” and was subsequently pulled from shelves of large retailers.

If you know nothing about the game – I’ve played older versions a few times and it seems pretty boring to me – the theme of the game is that you are a criminal who steals cars and shoots people. You literally can drive all over the place in your stolen cars wrecking them and killing bystanders.

But, apparently the gross violence and over-the-top destruction of the game only netted it a mature rating. It took nudity and sex to make it adult only.

From the Newsday article:

Wednesday, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board – a self-regulatory body run by the Entertainment Software Association – took the unprecedented step of changing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ rating from “mature” to “adults only,” prompting such national retailers as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and GameStop to yank the game off their shelves. All cited a policy of refusing to carry “adults only”-rated games.

At issue was code hidden in the game that, once unlocked, allows players to control the fully clothed main character as he engages in sex acts with a nude female character who invites him in for coffee. Although Take-Two has said it would remove the content and send a new version to retailers, the National Institute on Media and the Family continued its call for an independent ratings system. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) previously had called for a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

Someone on a bulletin board I frequent had this completely appropriate comment:

Only in America could a game that involves running over people, stealing cars, commiting crime, the selection and use of many different types of weapons be pulled off the shelves for sex….

Seriously! It reminds me of the lyrics from a Ten Hands song…

I watched the news just the other day,
And there’s one thing that I must say,
How come people on television’s weird in the head?
The don’t show sex,
But the show a lot of killin’.
I guess it must be better to show blood spillin’,
Than to let little junior see two naked people in bed.

I never understood America’s preoccupation with sex. It is either completely repressed (case in point: Catholic priest molesting altar boys and the church covering it up) or totally over-glamourized (movie star homemade sex videos turning up comes immediately to mind).

It’s like sex either has to be disgusting and wrong or loaded with orgies and porn-star sensibility.

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