The city of Gulf Shores in Alabama is pursuing a city law to censor stores from displaying T-shirts and other merchandise that contain supposedly vulgar messages.
Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for the law following a recent trip to a Gulf Shores souvenir shop. He told al.com that he was absolutely mortified by the messages on some merchandise being sold in Gulf Shores. He claimed that many of
the shirts containing the obscene messages also said Gulf Shores on them. He said he was disappointed and sickened by the messages on the shirts.
City council members say they will consider a proposed ordinance to restrict the open display of vulgar or indecent items. Weary of censorship issues they say the ordinance would not stop the sale of such items, just restrict their open display.
The US Entertainment Software Ratings Board has implemented changes that will impact the way Mature-rated (17 rated) games are advertised on the Internet.
Most notably, video games marketing will be following the lead of film. Publishers now have an opportunity to produce and distribute trailers for Mature-rated games at a much larger general audience. As per green band trailers for movies,
trailers suitable for all ages will have a green slate that airs before the trailer rolls, and is required be on-screen for at least four seconds.
Such green band trailers will not require an age gate on websites, but have to be approved by the ESRB prior to release. Green band trailers will also be allowed for in-game promotions in games with a lower rating.
This concession is not allowed for 18 rated, Adults Only games.
Another small change is that the ESRB will now allow promotional material to display both US ratings and international ratings such as PEGI. The previous prohibition had undesirably resulted in international promotional material being stripped of
rating information entirely.
Bloomberg Businessweek is taking a beating from the easily offended who claim the magazine's recent cover---featuring a cartoon illustration of what appears to be a black family rolling in cash from a housing rebound---is racist.
The cover depicts the cash-grabbing family members as caricatures inside a two-story pink home above the headline: The Great American Housing Rebound.
Josh Tyrangiel, Bloomberg Businessweek's editor in chief, said in a statement to Yahoo News:
Our cover illustration got strong reactions, which we regret. If we had to do it over again, we'd do it differently.
Jacob Gaffney partly explained about the housing rebound on HousingWire.com:
The claim that minorities are creating a housing bubble through flipping, no-look bids, and 300% returns is simply not reality. Flipping is a form of fraud and not a typical transaction. No-look bids are not exclusive to Hispanic and
African-American investors. No one is making a 300% return.
Andres Guzman was commissioned by Bloomberg Businessweek for the illustration said:
I was asked to make an excited family with large quantities of money. I simply drew the family like that because those are the kind of families I know.
For over half a century, the comic book industry has been dogged by the work of one man, the anti-comics crusader and psychologist Fredric Wertham. His bestselling 1954 book The Seduction of the Innocent convinced parents and politicians
alike that comics were a direct cause of violence, drug use, and homosexuality among young people. It led to the restrictive editorial code issued by the Comics Magazine Association of America, and a national movement to keep comics away from
children and teens.
Though Wertham claimed his evidence came from thousands of case studies, it turns out that he was lying. A new investigation of Wertham's papers by University of Illinois information studies professor Carol Tilley has revealed that the
psychologist fabricated, exaggerated, and selectively edited his data to bolster his argument that comics caused antisocial behavior.
If, reluctantly, we accept that cinemas and distributors are looking for certificates that don't involve refusing someone a ticket (heck, that might require an usher), then can those of us who want to see our films unsullied at least have another
option? Can we - as was suggested by one of our readers (JP) here - have in the UK a 15A certificate, that keeps the parental option open, but also prevents studios chopping films to fit in with existing guidelines?
The other reason a 15A or PG-15 certificate would not be good for adult cinemagoers, is that there are sometimes things that are simply not aimed at, or intended for children. Sometimes films are made, that are made by adults, for adults, and
only for adults.
US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had a good debate against the Fox News argument that violent video games are responsible for mass shootings in the United States.
On Fox News Sunday , host Chris Wallace challenged Pelosi on this plan, saying she should instead simply go to her friends in Hollywood and shame them into action:
As part of your plan, you call for more scientific research on the connection between popular culture and violence. We don't need another study, respectfully. I mean, we know that these video games, where people have their heads splattered,
these movies, these TV shows -- why don't you go to your friends in Hollywood and challenge them? Shame them, and say, 'Knock it off?'
Pelosi responded that Democrats wanted concrete scientific evidence in order to write the best legislation possible, and countered that Wallace's assumption about violence in the media could be incorrect:
I understand what you are saying, Pelosi said. I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother. But, they -- not Hollywood, but the evidence -- says that, in Japan, for example, they have the most violent games and the lowest death -- mortality -- from guns. I
don't know what the explanation is for that except they may have good gun laws.
When looking at the other largest video game markets around the world, there appears to be no statistical correlation between video game consumption and gun-related killings. Max Fisher at the Washington Post recently examined some of this data
and found that:
countries where video games are popular also tend to be some of the world's safest (probably because these countries are stable and developed, not because they have video games).
A US high-school student could face a criminal conviction after posting a joke on Twitter.
In a case reminiscent of the UK's now-infamous Twitter Joke Trial , Scrimalli, 18, of Scranton, Pennsylvania has been arrested for terroristic threats after joking ahead of a local schools basketball game on 4 February:
If there is a Facebook or twitter fight tonight over the HC MV game I will just blow up the schools and students involved. #goonsquad.
The game was stopped in the first quarter and the venue evacuated. The authorities are pressing ahead with charges. Local Assistant District Attorney Gene Riccardo is quote as saying Two municipalities, two school districts have been impacted
by that decision so that's why we're going forward with these charges.
Classmates and friends on Twitter have rallied around the hashtag #PrayForTorre.
Connecticut State Senator Toni Nathaniel Harp has introduced a bill, SB No. 328, An Act Concerning Minors and Violent Point-and-shoot video Games .
The proposed bill aims to prevent minors (under 18s) from using violent point-and-shoot video games in public arcades. The bill does not address what ratings these games might have (would it prohibit the use of games by minor even if they
are rated Teen by the ESRB) or what the penalty for operators or businesses that violate the statue.
Tommy Wirkola: No -- thank god. I was afraid. I actually made sure they could never cut it to PG-13.
Collider: I mean the film that exists now is fairly violent -- Was it more violent than this and how so?
Tommy Wirkola: It was.
Collider: Like Dead Snow-level of violence?
Tommy Wirkola: Never that extreme. But there was a scene where [Hansel and Gretel] burst into a house and there's a witch. She puts up her hands and they tell her to step aside. She steps aside and behind her is a tiny little baby hanging
from a rope that's she's about to eat. [Hansel and Gretel] end up saving it -- but people were shocked. Again -- I'm not stupid. I see that's too much. So it's about
For the past month, the US focus on gun control laws has been unprecedented.
Vice President Joe Biden was assigned the task of meeting with various powers that be to discuss what can be done to reform our gun laws. One of those entities was a conglomerate of representatives from the video game industry. What Mr. Biden
took away from those meetings, however, may or may not surprise you.
After reviewing the Vice President's findings, United States President Barack Obama signed a twenty-three point executive order for Congress to act upon and address the issue. Nowhere in the order does it propose any changes which need to be made
to video games in this country. Just sensible measures like banning assault weaponry.
However the games industry has not got off entirely unscathed. President Barack Obama called on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to conduct a study on whether there is a correlation between gun violence and violent video games and
other forms of media.
Video Game Labelling Bill
GamePolitics has also learned that a new video game labeling bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Jim Matheson has introduced bill HR 287, which would require ratings label on video games and prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors.
A Republican lawmaker from Missouri bucked has called for a sales tax on violent video games in response to the recent school shooting.
Representative Diane Franklin said a proposed 1% sales tax would help pay for mental health programs and law enforcement measures aimed at preventing mass shootings. The tax would be levied on video games rated teen, mature and adult-only
by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Franklin explained that: History shows there is a mental health component to these shootings. She added that she hopes her bill will start a discussion on the relationship between violent games and mental illness.
It turns out that the bill was quietly withdrawn by Franklin in March, without comment. At least that's what it says about the bill here . Perhaps some of her colleagues dissuaded her from moving forward, or perhaps she realized that it wasn't a
very good idea to begin with. Either way, the citizens of the great state of Missouri can be happy in knowing that they won't be paying any extra taxes on their entertainment.
Many businesses complain when they get bad reviews on Yelp. On Wednesday there was a court ruling on whether they can censor the reviews.
The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that merchants have no right to automatically censor a bad review on Yelp. They must first prove the statements are false.
In the Virginia case, a business claimed that a customer falsely accused him of theft via a review. A lower court judge ordered the customer to take the statements off Yelp, but now the high court said that violates free speech. The business must
first prove the reviewer's statements are libelous