Saturday, September 28, 2013

The New Tipper Gore?

Here at the Eye we agree that today our country has a huge culture problem which has de-sensitized our society to violence.  This debasement of our culture must be addressed.  Chris Ingram, who has a blog the Irreverant View and a title of Republican political consultant, writes an Op-Ed in today's Tribune railing against a video game.  His premise:
If there is ever something to get fired up about, or if you ever wondered why we're raising a morally tone-dead generation of citizens, take a look at the recently released video game Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5).
Grand Theft Auto 5 - Rated M for over 17 years of age
The Eye agrees that violent and morally bankrupt video games are a problem. The Eye's household never allowed video games so our children never had the opportunity to get addicted to them.  

However, Ingram conflates his rant against this video game with the recent grassroots uproar over Common Core (CC).  Maybe Ingram will interview some teachers in Hillsborough County who are now trying to implement CC in elementary grades and some parents who have children in those classrooms before flippantly stating
the tea party needed to do something to appear legitimate so it got worked up about Common Core
Well....we  will note that CC appears to be the ObamaCare for education - a one size fits all national education program that is being forced on us by our government.  Sure seems like an issue that's a natural fit for the Tea Party to get "worked up about".  

Much of the angst against CC started with parents. Parents cannot opt out of CC and Common Core entrenches the federal government smack in the middle of educating our children. When was the last time the federal government became less intrusive once its entrenched? Now there's multitudes of organizations across the country that oppose CC and they represent a broad group of Americans. Below are some links Ingram and others may find of interest regarding Common Core:
Common Core is a bi-partisan issue that those on the left and right and in the middle oppose.  They all agree that Common Core destroys local control of our education.   Miami Herald recently reported:.
“It’s not just the Tea Party that’s skeptical of the Common Core,” said Bonnie Cunard, a Fort Myers teacher who manages the Facebook page for the 1,200 Florida BATs. “We on the left, like the folks on the right, are saying we want local control.” 
The BATs represent a new wave of liberal opposition to the Common Core standards, which includes some union leaders, progressive activists and Democratic lawmakers. They are joining forces with Tea Party groups and libertarians, who want states like Florida to slow down efforts to adopt the new benchmarks and corresponding tests.

Read more here:
If CC was such a great thing, this tsunami of opposition from teachers, teacher unions, parents, other educators, politicians, Tea Partiers, Republicans, Democrats, Think Tanks and so many others would not have happened. Those left supporting CC are the bureaucrats and the special interests (and some politicians) who will benefit from spending millions of tax dollars on a curriculum that has had ZERO success.  

Ingram has a valid point about the explicit video games. Back in 1985, Tipper Gore, wife of then Tennessee Senator Al Gore, got very upset and concerned about some music lyrics she heard her daughter, 11 years old at the time, was listening to.  She was so upset that she co-founded that year with Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary Howard Baker, the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC).  The goal of the PMRC
to increase parental control over the access of children to music deemed to be violent, have drug use or be sexual via labeling albums with Parental Advisory stickers
The PMRC suggested a voluntary move by the RIAA and the music industry to develop "guidelines and/or a rating system" similar to the MPAA film rating system.
The Senate held hearings on September 19, 1985 where Tipper and others testified. Nineteen record companies agreed to put Parental Advisory stickers that came to be known as "Tipper Stickers" on record covers warning of explicit lyrics. But then what happened?  Tipper got "gored" by many in her own Democrat party.  She shut up because almost all of Hollywood gives their political money to the Democrats and the Liberal Democrat establishment railed against her with freedom of speech issues.

However, the result of the PMRC effort was that in 1985 the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) worked with the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA)
to address their concerns regarding explicit content in sound recordings.  The organizations reached an agreement that certain music releases containing explicit lyrics, including explicit depictions of violence and sex, would be identified so parents could make intelligent listening choices for their children.
Public opinion pushed the industry to provide information so parents can responsibly deal with this issue with their children. Today the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB)  provides information regarding the content in video games and apps. The ESRB content rating for GTA5 is Mature:  
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
And here is the entire rating summary for this explicit video game.  

What parent would want this video game anywhere near their child?  But parents need to be parents and take the responsibility to pay attention and know what music or video games their own children are playing. Children should be governed the most by those who are closest to them - parents and the family unit. Parents must say no and teach their own kids to not buy this stuff - make it unmarketable. 

Yes, violent and sexually explicit videos are harmful to our kids. Instead of ridiculing those who oppose Common Core, Ingram could have been the "New Tipper Gore" and linked to the ESRB rating summary for GTA5; then asked "where are the parents"?

And maybe Ingram will tune in to the upcoming Cato Institute Common Core:  The Great Debate on October 3rd.

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