Home > blogs & blogging, food, games, Internet, movies, photoshop, ps3, rant, tv, vampires, video games, violence, wii, xbox 360, zombies > ‘Noughty’ & Newsworthy – Part 2: Blood

‘Noughty’ & Newsworthy – Part 2: Blood

You might have sensed a bit of a theme so far in this ‘noughty list’, i’d love to say it was intentional and I had some grand plan to guide you through the decade as I see fit – I don’t. Just bear with me for a few more posts.

BLOOD

A couple of themes I’d like to address under this trend. Obviously Blood follows on from the Vampire thread too, but one of the biggest literature titles of the decade took Blood in a whole new direction. The Da Vinci Code went from being a great summer page-turner to becoming a media sensation, but not without several controversies on the way.

Dan Brown weaved a seemingly plausible thread through his book, positing that Jesus may have been married to Mary Magdalene, and have fathered a child. The whole crux of the story being that this bloodline might exist to this day – with this fact being covered up by the Catholic Church – and that the Holy Grail of legend was not a cup, but the literal Blood of Christ passed down through the generations. The book was heavily criticised by scholars and theologians, but it didn’t stop it becoming a huge success, spawning Da Vinci Tours, documentaries, and a very mediocre film. Brown was even accused of stealing the idea for his book from other sources, without anything really coming of the claims. The Da Vinci Code was without doubt one of the media stories of the decade.

Hollywood is really missing a trick here though. What if a Vampire bit one of the descendants of Christ – you could really get some mileage from a Vampire Messiah movie!

As well as Vampires and Da Vinci, blood came to the fore again in the debate over violence in video games. Blood and gore in games has certainly been ramped up this decade, with many titles falling foul of ratings boards. Australia seems to get a lot of press regarding ratings, with Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2), the great zombie shooter, one of the recent games to come up against the fact that Australia has no game rating for 18+ titles. I play L4D2 with my kids (who are 11 & 13) – so perhaps I’m not the best person to pass judgement on this – but it’s my blog, so who else is going to? L4D2 features some pretty graphic decapitations, gushing blood, and spatters of blood on your ‘screen’ – using a chain saw on a group of zombies will actually leave you barely able to see as your vision is blocked by so much blood.

Photoshop'd Ralph Lauren Model

Photoshop'd Ralph Lauren Model

Personally, I don’t see this stylised violence as a serious threat. I grew up watching Wile E. Coyote getting abused in ever more creative ways, and it did not make me run out and drop an anvil on a neighborhood dog – but perhaps that’s too simplistic a view. I am more concerned about moral ambiguity in games than violence. I will gladly play L4D2 with my kids, but wouldn’t dream of playing GTA4 in front of them. Perhaps that says more about my moral compass, or lack thereof, than anything else. The recent controversy of the Modern Warfare 2 ‘airport sequence’ is of more interest to me than blood spattering my screen. I find the way woman are portrayed in games like GTA4 far more disturbing than taking an axe to a zombie … in fact, as the father of two daughters, I think the Ralph Lauren picture shown here has far more chance of screwing up kids than computer game violence!

See another horrific RL ad, and other ridiculous uses of Photoshop here – http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/2009s-top-25-most-ridiculous-uses-of-photoshop

I’m pretty sure my kids are smart enough to figure out that killing zombies with a molotov cocktail is not something that should be imitated in real life. Ads such as this, however, filter into the subconscious, and can have a far greater effect. I have yet to be convinced that playing violent video games inures kids to real world violence, or encourages them to be more violent. In my opinion, the evidence is simply not there. Will ads like this lead to body issues in young girls? It’s far more likely.

You can find Part #1 of this year end blogging extravaganza here

Merry Christmas all!

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