Is Grand Theft Auto Unethical?

Grand Theft Auto (film)
Grand Theft Auto (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course it is.

You steal cars and commit crimes. It’s a shrine to mindless violence and slaughter. People, even children, should know better. It’s not hard to pick up the meaning in games and decide whether or not you should go along. I used to play the original Fallout game. One of the add-ons provided me with an adventure in which I could end the scenario successfully by doing one of two horrendously unethical things. Those two were my only choices. For you aficionados, it was kidnap the child or join the evil guy. I refused to make that choice. I started a new game and never played that part of it again.

I currently play Fallout New Vegas. I teach ethics. I play as a hero. Nothing else is possible. You fight for the right and if the cause is just, you may have to die for it. There are moral ambiguities but I enjoy them because in this arena I can experiment and see what the outcomes would be of my actions, something denied me in real life.

I understand the occasional need to experiment with the dark side, but as far as I can tell, Grand Theft Auto is the dark side. I don’t think it is good business ethics to buy or play it.

Moral choices are important even in video games.

James Pilant

“Grand Theft Auto V”: Gaming’s dark misogynist cesspool –

I kind of know what Bissell is talking about. I am familiar with cesspool, reflective of so much of the Internet’s worst misogynist, homophobic and racist tendencies. That “internalized residual shame” is one reason why I personally gave up gaming. Solitary play, hacking and slashing, mowing down opponents in a rage of slaughter, just didn’t seem physically or mentally healthy. So I packed it in. Now I worry about what all the time my son spends gaming might be doing to him. Hell, I worry about what a generation growing up on ubiquitous, amazingly immersive gaming will do to the culture at large. Something, surely? A billion dollars was just spent in three days on a game whose structure encourages random violence and brutality. That can’t be good.And yet, at the same time, I don’t know what Bissell is talking about at all. Video gaming culture should not, cannot, be reduced to young men screaming profanities as they play “Grand Theft Auto V” on their dedicated consoles. Gaming, today, encompasses much, much more. My son and his friends spend hours in the cooperative, creative world-building domain of “Minecraft,” or chuckling their way through humor-drenched indie games like “Don’t Starve” (“An uncompromising wilderness survival game full

via “Grand Theft Auto V”: Gaming’s dark misogynist cesspool –

From around the web.

From the web site,

Grand Theft Auto is the ultimate male escapist fantasy. Grounded in a heightened reality of prostitutes, car chases and sweltering machismo, the series gives the player the ability to assert authority and control at the barrel of a gun. With only two weeks left until the release of Grand Theft Auto V, I stepped back into this world by replaying the previous entry, Grand Theft Auto IV and looking at a game which defined a console generation and offers clues to the next step. I’ll be trying to focus on some of the game’s elements and themes in each new post and how each worked together to create one of the most important games of this console generation.

From the web site –

Home to Reflections, Opinions, and Beer Reviews.

When the game starts and we’re introduced to the characters, everything seems very fluid and interesting. After a brief and intense bank robbery to introduce us to the mechanics both old and new, we launch to Michael in his therapist’s office doing a wonderful Tony Soprano impression. The focus then quickly shifts to Franklin, who is walking by on the street and asks Michael for direction. From here the game’s story begins as we learn Franklin is a repo man for a car dealership, as well as a sometimes gangster. Franklin meets Michael while attempting to repossess his son’s car, and Michael offers to help him find ‘real work.’ We meet Trevor, Michael’s old bank robbing partner, after Franklin and Michael rob a jewelry store. This is where we learn that Michael had faked his death after the opening sequence, and is now in hiding, with Trevor setting out to find him while working on his own ‘business enterprise.’

From there the game expands into more heists, some government intrigue, and figuring out exactly what happened years ago between Trevor and Michael. While all of this is interesting, in a sense of the word, it never fully engages us in a solid narrative. In fact, there’s still plenty of ‘story missions’ after the main tension between Trevor and Michael comes to a head. Sadly though, a solid resolution never really comes about. Until the last few minutes of the game, Trevor still pretty much hates Michael and with very good reason.

From the web site, The Grand Theft Auto Blog.

The series is set in fictional locales heavily modelled on American cities, while an expansion for the original was based in London. Gameplay focuses on an open world where the player can choose missions to progress an overall story, as well as engaging in side activities, all consisting of action-adventuredriving, occasional role-playingstealth, and racingelements. The subject of the games is usually a comedic satire of American culture, but the series has gained controversy for its adult nature and violent themes. The series focuses around many different protagonists who attempt to rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld, although their motives for doing so vary in each game. The antagonists are commonly characters who have betrayed the protagonist or his organisation, or characters who have the most impact impeding the protagonist’s progress.

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster (via 1 Real News)

This disaster happened in March. Virtually everything you can think of went wrong and now, they fire people. I’m not impressed. Once it became obvious that the people in charge were grossly incompetent, it might have been better to fire them immediately than waiting for months for what is apparently a better political climate.

James Pilant

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster ReutersAugust 4, 2011Japan will replace three senior bureaucrats in charge of nuclear power policy, the minister overseeing energy policy said on Thursday, five months after the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years erupted at Fukushima.The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for enhanced nuclear safety accountability and an overhaul of Japan’s energy policy, with the aim of gradually weaning it off its dependence on nuclear power as p … Read More

via 1 Real News

High radiation found at Japan’s Fukushima plant (via National Post | News)

Just when you think the Fukushima crisis had finally been scrubbed from the news by various interest groups and the Japanese government, it comes roaring right back at you.

James Pilant

TOKYO — Pockets of lethal levels of radiation have been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in a fresh reminder of the risks faced by workers battling to contain the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) reported on Monday that radiation exceeding 10,000 millisieverts per hour was found at the bottom of a ventilation stack standing between two reactors. On Tuesday Tepco said i … Read More

via National Post | News

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco (via MY VOICE)

My favorite sentence –

Another investor shouted that Tepco’s executives should jump into their stricken reactors and die to take the blame for the fiasco.

Enjoy the article and remember that TEPCO has paid out more than 19 billion dollars in damages but that if this happened in America, the responsible utility company would be out less than a hundred million dollars due to our government protecting them from losses.

James Pilant

Shareholders hammer Tepco over nuclear fiasco By KAZUAKI NAGATA Staff writer Tokyo Electric Power Co. faced a six-hour barrage of heavy flak from shareholders Tuesday at their annual meeting, with management blasted over how it has handled the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Demonstrators gather outside Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Fukuoka Prefecture. KYODO Many investors demanded to know why Tepco failed to foresee the tsunami … Read More


Nuclear Plant, Left for Dead, Shows a Pulse (via Energy)

You cannot kill these things.

Christopher Lee as Dracula in a mid-sixties Hammer film has the life span of a mayfly by comparison.

This nuclear plant, little more than a pile of looted wreckage is under consideration for construction.

I call upon anyone and every one for a little respect for the facts of the situation. Surely, we can think better than this?

James Pilant

By MATTHEW L. WALD/NYT HOLLYWOOD, Ala. — Spider webs line the 50-story cooling towers, parts have been amputated for the scrap value of their nickel or copper, and the control room still has analog dials at Bellefonte 1, a half-built nuclear plant here that was shelved 23 years ago. This does not seem like a particularly opportune moment to breathe life back into a reactor that was designed before the computer age. But its owner, the … Read More

via Energy

Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants (via )

I think there is definitely some grounds for concern. If you buy the idea that corporations are only in business to make money and have no other responsibilities, the idea that they might skimp on protections becomes very viable.

Nuclear plants are indemnified by the federal government if they cause more than a certain amount of damage. Off the top of my head, I believe that amount is fifty million dollars. That’s not a lot of incentive to protect the public. For many corporations, fifty million dollars is small change.

TEPCO, the Japanese utility that runs the nuclear plants that have melted down would have loved to have a deal like the American government gives out to our nuclear utilities.

It should be obvious that indemnification destroys a lot of corporate rationale for safety. If the money damages aren’t that big a deal, why not cut corners?

James Pilant

Worries Over Two Nuclear Plants As record floodwaters along the Missouri River drench homes and businesses, concerns have grown about keeping a couple of notable structures dry: two riverside nuclear power plants in Nebraska. Though the plants have declared “unusual events,” the lowest level in the emergency taxonomy used by federal nuclear regulators, both were designed to withstand this level of flooding, and neither is viewed as being at risk for a disaster, said a spokesman … Read More


Unsafe Radiation Found Near Tokyo, Vast Area of Japan Contaminated ! (via Socio-Economics History Blog)

I’ve been reading reports for some days now that radiation is being detected in “hot spots” outside the restricted in increasing amounts and in more places.

If you’ll examine a recent map of Chernobyl, you will find a phenomenon called “leopard stripes.” Hot radiation areas laid in patterns similar to leopard stripes on the map. Radiation does not spread evenly. So if we see hot spots popping up here and there, it is a new pattern forming.

I am uncomfortable with this. The tonnage of radioactive material is very large at these sites (Fukushima). Over long periods of time and with variations in wind and other weather, the radiation could contaminate countries in every direction.

James Pilant

Unsafe Radiation Found Near Tokyo, Vast Area of Japan Contaminated ! To those of you thinking of a holiday in Japan, you may want to think twice about it. The radiation level reported in the MSM since the 11 March inciden … Read More

via Socio-Economics History Blog

US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant: report (via Kinetic Truth)

Interesting. I haven’t heard anything about this in the mainstream media, which of course means nothing except the heads of the principle media corporations do not find it worthy of attention. I will try to keep my eye on it.


US orders news blackout over crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant: report A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant located in Nebraska. According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss … Read More

via Kinetic Truth

Typhoon Approaches Japan, May Threaten Nuclear Plant (via Losing Freedom)

I feel a “Charlie Brown” good grief coming on. Those reactors have been venting radioactive into the sea for weeks now. All those scattered control rods are now going to be rained on and a good number of them have plutonium in them. Does the fun never end? Does this disaster have a half-life as long as one of the isotopes it produces?

Let us hope and pray for a better outcome that is likely.

James Pilant

Typhoon Approaches Japan, May Threaten Nuclear Plant n this May 27, 2011 photo released by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, members of the IAEA fact-finding team in Japan visit the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. – AP Photo TOKYO: Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared to deal with violent storms, officials admitted Saturday, as the country braced for Typhoon Songda to hit. The storm system was located about 30 … Read More

via Losing Freedom

Tepco head quits after $15bn loss (via moneyblogforexblog)

Accountability, how strange. I have doubts that such a poor performance would always cost the job of an American CEO. We have learned to insulate our governing and corporate classes from the petty pain of suffering for their actions.

The president of Tepco, which operates the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, resigns as the firm reports a $15bn finance business intelligence … Read More

Here’s a news story about the resignation.

Here’s another take on the issue, discussing whether or not the company can continue.