A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

sexta-feira, julho 12, 2002

Some emails from loyal readers rather than strangers...

If there is no connection at all between playing violent video games and violence, as I think you have recently claimed in OC Weekly, then how do you explain the advertising industry?

The whole ad business is about influencing consumer behavior through images, sounds, and actions. If there were no connection between media and behavior, then billions are being wasted on a phenomenally useless activity that has no effect on a corporation's bottom line.

I think there is a connection. The question is, how strong is it and how can we measure it?

My response...

I don't buy the concrete connection between video game violence and real violence. Advertising, of course, is a phenomenon that is very successful (though not perfect). Sure, violence in the media might make people more agressive or at least have them in an atmosphere of violence, but is that what we're surrounded by the ultimate cause of our actions or does it merely influence it? I'd argue the latter, which means that the connection between the violences is not causal but rather influential. I hope this makes sense. Thanks for the response.
In one of your recent blogs you said the Gore Vidal interview in the LA Weekly was "brilliant". Sure, Vidal's critique of interventionist American foreign policy is generally pretty good. But "brilliant"? Most of what Vidal says is pretty embarrassing stuff. Such as his accusation that "right-wingers" hate blacks and other minorities. That's rich coming from a man who once wrote an essay ("The Last Empire" in "The Last Empire: Essays, 1992-2000," Doubleday, 2001) advocating that the United States, Canada, Europe, and Russia form a "northern confederacy" of white nations as a defence against the non-white hordes. A textbook case of the pot calling the
kettle African-American.

My response...

I'd say the LA Weekly piece was brilliantly disturbing. What I really liked about the article was that it provoked thinking in me, which is the hallmark of any brilliant journalism. I have my own problems with Vidal (as you pointed out, he's arrogant to the point of jingoism) and Cooper, but that piece provoked me.
Here's an email sent to my Chapman account, which I never check anymore. Thankfully, this email was sent only this past Tuesday, which means that my response (which was sent today) isn't too tardy. It's from blogger extraordinare Ken Layne, who also finagles with the fine LAexaminer site...

Found you off a referral link from LAexaminer, one of my side projects.

You're an OC Weekly guy. I've known some people there. Good people.

So who are you? A young journalist, I gather. A smart guy. Troubled by the mid-east shit like all of us. Working for the evil "alt weeklies."

You even quote Neruda. My wife is a Neruda nut.

Don't fall for the "progressive" crap. It's a lie run by middle-aged guilty white yuppies. Be a journalist. Like Orwell.

And don't listen to me. I'm drunk and typing bullshit when I should be either sleeping or writing for money.

My response...

Thank you for your inebriated response. It's bizarre; I never check this email account anymore but I checked it today to get rid of some things and found your email. So excuse the tardiness of my reply.

Yes, I am a young man trying to learn how to become a journalist. Since you know I write for the Weekly, I gather that you are familiar with some of my work (or am I being too journalistically arrogant?).

Orwell is a hero of mine. As is Mencken. And Neruda. Men who did their own things and followed their own convictions rather than those dictated by their political ideology.

Yes, I consider myself progressive--whatever that means. Thanks for the email and keep in touch.

A more personal entry when I have the time. I make the time for self-serving tripe.