Allow me a non-videogame-related rant here… It is still about moral panics surrounding children and media though so it could easily have been about videogames instead of movies.
I caught a story on the local NPR station last night about someone threatening a lawsuit against Redbox because they sell “R-rated” movies. I searched for something about the story and apparently it got picked up by a few local news outlets including the Indianapolis Fox Affiliate and the Louisville ABC Affiliate. According to stories the whole thing is being stirred up by Vanderburgh Country Prosecutor Stan Levco.
Of course there’s two little details that neither of the two stories linked to above or any of the other stories I saw seemed to mention: First, The MPAA rating system “is a voluntary system” and the ratings are not legally enforced. The only possible grounds for a lawsuit that there would be would be under obscenity or pornography laws. Levco almost certainly knows this. So why is he causing a stir? That leads to the second missing detail: Levco is running for re-election.
So this is just a ploy to get into the headlines so that Levco can say he is “fighting for families” and concerned about “family values” without having to do anything. The minute I heard this story I immediately wondered if the guy was up for re-election because that’s the only time public officials try to start legal proceedings related to media. I guess Levco couldn’t find any easy videogame targets.
Heaven forbid that any of the media outlets that aired this story would take two minutes to wonder why Levco was doing this or anything… That’s some good reportering there…