Government should sponsor video games about pandas?

As with previous generations of politicians, Donald Trump is critical of pop culture, specifically violent video games, which he says are partly to blame for recent mass shootings (e.g., in Dayton).

(typical historical example: Tipper Gore was upset about pop song lyrics while then-husband Al Gore was fighting climate change with “an environmentalist named to a prominent cabinet position by Gore when he was vice president, a sexy Hollywood actress, a gorgeous massage therapist and a Tennessee Titans cheerleader.”)

Maybe the Second Amendment can be reinterpreted into irrelevance, but we still have the First Amendment that allows video game companies to publish shooting games.

If the Federales want to promote non-violent games, should there be a fund to compensate developers of games about pandas and other anodyne subjects? If the games are free, developers/publishers can compete for funds by demonstrating how many hours per day people are playing.

Presumably the typical mass shooting perpetrator is suffering from social isolation, so the funding would be increased for games that require participants to cooperate.

(I personally would rather see the U.S. rearchitected into Latin American-style towns with public squares rather than our current inherently isolating suburban sprawl; see my non-profit ideas page for what I wish our Africa-focused billionaires would spend their money on:

Latin Americans often come up near the very top of the world’s happiest people, despite a material prosperity that is very pale compared to that we enjoy in the United States. Nearly every small town in Latin America is built around a central plaza where the citizens gather at various hours to meet friends, play chess, eat meals in restaurants, etc. Small streets radiate from the plaza and hold all of the shops that are essential to daily life, including supermarkets and hardware stores. Housing is built up to a three story height, dense enough to support businesses, but not so dense that people are isolated in concrete towers with elevators. Smaller workshops are mixed in with housing, introducing young people to the texture of business.

The U.S. offers some enjoyable walkable neighborhoods, mostly developed before the rise of the automobile. Examples include many neighborhoods within New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. These neighborhoods, however, are small and can hold only a tiny minority of Americans. Consequently, houses within walkable neighborhoods typically cost over $1 million. As the U.S. population heads toward 500 million, these livable neighborhoods will become even more out of reach of the average citizen.

It might also help if we didn’t offer the world’s most lucrative incentives for becoming a “single parent,” thereby leading to the world’s highest rate of children reared without two parents.)


11 thoughts on “Government should sponsor video games about pandas?

  1. If our Latin neighbors are so happy, with their plazas and all, why do so many risk life and limb to come to America, aspiring to live in one of these so called dismal suburbs?

    • A certain notorious dictator famously (and deplorably) claimed that the migrants we are receiving are an adversely selected group (i.e., not those who are thriving in Latin America and for whom, therefore, a lifetime of collecting welfare in the U.S. is a dramatically superior option).

      The total population of Latin America is about 640 million. How many will become migrants? Is it fair to say at most 50 million in the near term? That’s less than 10 percent. So it seems reasonable to assume that these will be primarily those who are not happy in Latin America. Even a society that is happy overall could have 20 or 30 percent of its population being at least somewhat unhappy, right?

    • An observation a friend had after his trip back to Mexico (Yucatan): The natives observe that immigrants that return to Mexico from the U.S. have tattoos and are mean. They increasingly feel the U.S. is not a good place to immigrate to after all. The data seems to suggest that Mexicans have been actually returning to Mexico (net negative migration). Some other Latin neighbors may not have obtained these experiences yet…

    • It is also unquestionable that the U.S. is wealthier. Some people are lured by the idea of wealth even if they don’t understand the personal costs of acquiring it. A Mexican might not understand how socially isolated a lot of Americans are or appreciate that a rich country would immiserate itself with suburban sprawl. Look at how many American choose careers that are purportedly high paying and then abandon them within a few years because they are unhappy.

  2. You shouldn’t lose sleep over the idea that it couldn’t be done under the auspices of the DOE. All we need now are the imprimatur of the President and the money to get the game developers back in the White House.

    “We need scale,” he said. “We need lots of data. We need lots of designs.” That was in 2014, and by 2020 I’m sure we can budget enough money to attract at least 200 game developers and not make them suffer by paying their own way to the event, and everyone will make at least $1+minimum wage.

    I think its going to happen. He can’t just get up in press conferences and blame the video game industry without offering a solution.

  3. The former suburbs of Calif* are all being redeveloped into walkable neighborhoods, with absolutely no parking, but mix used highrises. They might look better in Latin America. In US, the central plazas are filled with obese, bald men.

  4. Now I have to go and dig up the book about performance driving by Bob Bondurant. He talked about video games being “excellent for the mind” a long time ago.

    I don’t think he’s ever been TEDed, but I’m 100% sure he talked about how video games helped performance driving in the book. If you ever do buy that Corvette, take a course from his school.

  5. > It might also help if we didn’t offer the world’s most lucrative incentives for becoming a “single parent,” thereby leading to the world’s highest rate of children reared without two parents.

    Not “might help”, it “would help.” I recently suggested RWD to a friend going through a divorce in New Jersey. He is getting a lot out of it and also suggested it to his lawyer. He was relatively lucky: he was referred to a good lawyer who fought tenaciously for him, but he retained him at great personal expense, and that entailed selling almost everything he owned as the proceedings ran their course. I had a long conversation with him a few weeks ago and I was astounded by what he’s been through. I hadn’t spoken with him prior to that in almost 25 years, and it was hard to measure what he’s really had to do.

    He’s not a millionaire, and not even a hundredthousandaire in terms of net worth, and he works construction to pay the bills. His children are the most important thing in the world to him, and waking up every day and getting on a tall ladder to nail siding into houses at almost 50 years old in the summer is one of the things he does to make sure his girls have a chance to grow up in a household where people care about them more than they care about partying and taking everything. He’s one of the most exceptional people I’ve ever known, and he thanks you for the book.

    You shouldn’t have to understate one of the most important things.

  6. By the way: I can say this after listening to my friend’s story. Document everything. Every last receipt, every last photograph, every conversation, everything you’ve ever done while you were married. If you a male in this society, and want to survive a divorce without losing everything you have including your dignity and everything else that’s important to you, the most important thing you can have is evidence.

  7. I don’t know if Brazil counts as Latin America or not, but this article points out some interesting things:
    Apparently Brazil, like the united states, plays a ton of video games, and has an insanely high gun murder rate. Unlike the U.S., they have a very, very low gun suicide rate. In fact, at the bottom, they have a graph of the gun death rates for the U.S. and a bunch of latin American countries and they all have high gun murder rates and low gun suicide rates. So maybe by importing a ton of Latin Americans, we will be able to lower our gun suicide rate. (and possibly our total gun death rate)

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