Tomorrow Governor Blagojevich will sign the No Video Games For Kids bill into law in Aurora. Smart politics to woo wealthy white suburban moms. But I'm not a fan of the bill. Because Grand Theft Auto is the best drivers education course in the world.
I played Liberty City quite a bit. When you drive a car, the best way to stop is to hit the brakes and pull the emergency brake (you can do both of those things in the video game).
So one day I'm driving back from Springfield (before I found the only civilized way to travel on Amtrak) in a winter storm. I'm driving up an entrance ramp too quickly and I start to spin out, skidding sideways up the ramp and in danger of rolling off the ramp. The foot brakes are useless, as I'm fishtailing wildly.
*Instinctively* I reach for the emergency brake and pull it, cutting my fishtail radius in half instantly and I come to calm stop, perpendicular to the ramp.
Hours of playing Grand Theft Auto had *trained* me to pull the emergency brake when I lose control of the car.
Now, maybe Grand Theft Auto didn't save my life that day. But it did save me from a potentially serious accident.
We all know that the worst car accidents are committed by under-18 drivers. And this bill makes it far more difficult for the children most in need of emergency driving training that Grand Theft Auto can provide to get that life-saving training. Governor, do you *really* want to kill our children drivers?
On a more serious note, I hope that we can keep an eye on ensuring that Governor Blagojevich and the Democratic Party remains the cool party (that is, attractive to young idealists), and not fall victim to alienating young people with a school-marm culture, as Danny Goldberg warns against in his book How The Left Lost Teen Spirit. My review of the book is here.