Gamers, Bloggers, a Pretty Crappy Generation

Dennis Faas's picture

Known for consistently referring to Second World War veterans as "the Greatest Generation," Tom Brokaw recently took a time out to slam Generations X, Y, and  Z. In a radio tirade last week, he lashed out at kids today and "what they see in video games."

Brokaw's rant was in response to last Wednesday's slaying of six Von Maur employees by 19 year old Robert Hawkins. Hawkins entered the store clad in a hooded sweatshirt, carefully concealing an assault rifle before unleashing death upon those around him. Brokaw saw the incident as indicative of a larger problem facing American teens. (Source:

In a Townhall radio interview with right-winger and evangelical Hugh Hewitt, Brokaw reacted to the slayings by blaming U.S. society for its inability to deal with violence. "You know, Virginia Tech went away. We didn't have any ongoing dialogue in our communities or on the air about the corrosive effect of violence."

Beyond errors of communication, Brokaw also attacked the media and, of course, video games. Speaking of Hawkins, the Virgina Tech killer, and just about any teen out there, Brokaw said, "it's what they read in blog sites, and what they see in video games. It's that kind of stuff that I think is cancerous." (Source:

Despite his claims to be a "free speech absolutist," clearly Brokaw believes Americans need to rope in their kids and the media as a whole.

There's not much new about the video game attack. Public officials from the pre-Mario age have rarely understood the medium or its entertainment value. Its violence is often accorded unique, manipulative qualities, despite the fact that depictions of bloodletting in games is often far less real than the equivalent on a movie screen.

Perhaps more surprising is Brokaw's attack on blogs, which can be about as open-ended as an unlabeled tin can. Sure, there are controversial blogs, but the practice itself often allows teens a quick and easy way to access critical information on depression, bullying, abuses, and other teen issues. Sometimes blogs offer an easier outlet than having to ask.

True, the United States has a serious problem with gun use. But, isn't blaming video games getting a bit tired? Aren't blogs a helpful alternative in cases when we just can't face a stranger?

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