I know that I have already talked about the California Violent Videogame law, but since many states other than California have began debating whether or not a similar law is needed in their states I thought I should bring to attention some historical events of relevance.
2008: California State Senator Leland Yee writes a law effectively banning the sell of violent videogames to the sell of minors which is eventually passed. The law is challenged and deemed in violation of the 1st Amendment. Yee files an appeal which takes the law to the Supreme Court for ruling.
1979: Monty Python’s Life of Brian was banned in several towns for showing controversial themes about Christianity. Challenged by a 15 year old and thrown out in most of the banned towns.
1956: Rock and Roll is banned from being played in any public area in Santa Cruz, California for its “harmful effects on youth and its continuing degradation of social values.“ Santa Cruz is followed soon after by Asbury Park, New Jersey and San Antonio, Texas. The ban is eventually thrown out with the reasoning being that most people(including law enforcement) chose to simply ignore the law.
1954: The Comics Code Authority(CCA) is created effectively limiting the sell of comics. While the Comics Code wasn’t law it was followed strictly by comic book carriers and led to the cancellation of many comic series. The most notable being Tales from the Crypt because the code stated that “Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited.” That’s right, even though the movie Dracula had been released for 20 years you couldn’t make a comic about him. The first real challenging of the code came in 1971 when Marvel Comics released The Amazing Spider-Man #96-98. The three issue storyline involved Spider-Man dealing with the harsh reality of drug abuse. The CCA refused to give the issues their approval because the issues showed narcotics. Marvel chose to run the issues anyway with the support of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The overwhelming positive reception resulted in the revision of the code. Today relatively few comics seek the approval of the CCA and instead use the Marvel rating system which is similar to that of movies.
1885: Adventures of Huckleberry Fin by Mark Twain is banned for portraying a black man as if his opinion was equal to a white. Ironically the NAACP has tried to get the book banned several times since 1950 for its use of the word “Nigger”. Even though the novel’s language is a reflection of the time and is how Twain’s characters would have actually spoke. To this day Adventures of Huckleberry Fin is the most contested book for its removal from school curriculums.
1599: The Church of England tries to get the performance of any kind of play banned from London because of the content of the plays. Specifically the cross dressing that occurred. Even Shakespeare was deemed inappropriate and harmful to the ethics of society for his time.
No matter the time, when something new and different first appears there will always be people that say it is harmful. People have being killing each other for thousands of years. To blame a person’s decisions on media they consume is just stupid. A person is the only one who can be held responsible for their actions and that is the only true equality we have. Yet people will still rather blame something new that they don’t fully understand and change is hard. But that’s the world that we live in. It is constantly changing and nothing has ever stayed the same. What is important is that we adapt to these changes and do not judge them until we have experienced them first hand. Our ability to adapt is what makes humanity great. We just sometimes need to be reminded of that.
Editorial by Ninth Batter the author/creator of Nobody Like You.
Any opinions expressed in posts on Polygamerous are not necessarily the opinions of Polygamerous or the other Authors/Editors/Podcasters of Polygamerous.