American author Stephen King has spoken out against politicians trying to ban videogames with violent content.
Writing as a columnist on Entertainment Weekly, King declared this "surrogate parent" role of the rule makers as one that usually has "disastrous" and "undemocratic" results.
"What really makes me insane is how eager politicians are to use the pop culture - not just videogames but TV, movies, even Harry Potter - as a whipping boy," wrote King. "It's easy for them, even sort of fun, because the pop-cult always hollers nice and loud. Also, it allows legislators to ignore the elephants in the living room.
"Elephant One is the ever-deepening divide between the haves and have-nots in this country, a situation guys like Fiddy and Snoop have been indirectly rapping about for years. Elephant Two is America's almost pathological love of guns," King continued.
"It was too easy for critics to claim - falsely, it turned out - that Cho Seung-Hui (the Virginia Tech killer) was a fan of Counter-Strike; I just wish to God that legislators were as eager to point out that this nutball had no problem obtaining a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he'd been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn't even have been able to kill himself."
Stephen King, like many sensible people, believes the responsibility of monitoring what children are playing or watching lies with the parents. But this, as the Byron report pointed out recently, means educating Mum and Dad.
"Parents need to have the guts to forbid material they find objectionable... And then explain why it's being forbidden. They also need to monitor their children's lives in the pop culture - which means a lot more than seeing what games they're renting down the street," argued King.