It's just wonderful. Virtually any evening over the past several weeks, we have been able to turn on the television to almost any news channel and experience firsthand what teens across the country have been pouring their money into ad nauseum--video game wars. America's newest entry on the video game scene is "The Falklands."
Pick a channel, any channel, around dinner time. You will see a pretty, sky-blue background --the South Atlantic. To the left of the screen is a long, narrow gold area bounded by light blue tones on the seaside--"The Argentine." Over to the right are two gold-colored, irregularly shaped islands--"The Falklands." Often, these islands are embellished with a lush green hue, apparently to illustrate their true island quality. Between and around the Falklands are several, at times numerous, white ships--"The Brits." The stage is set.
Suddenly, rising up from The Argentine, with reasonable three dimensional quality (it is, after all, only TV), come four, white Mirage jets. They move deliberately toward the Brits. Then, just as suddenly, a red flash with white trim blasts onto the screen, and one of the jets shrinks downward from sight. Again, a second red flash and another white jet image disappears from view. The Brits have scored, and, for the time being, the remaining Argentines return home to base.
All of this is very nice. It is clean, neat and visually unrepugnant. It is a sensory game. Nothing more--nothing less. The "bang, bang, you're dead" pretend quality of a children's game is preserved, and we can all now turn back to the real-world matters at hand--doing dishes, changing diapers, relaxing, etc.
No blood drips from the family TV. No torn bodies offend our sensibilities. No people die. We have gone beyond the media war imagery of the 1970s and entered the era of the video game war.
Through the technological wonders of television news networks, we can remain oblivious to the nasty, dirty truth of war and death. The screams of pain as steel meets flesh become a mere pretty red flash on our friendly TV screen. The loneliness of life oozing from a human being lying still on a cold, desolate bog, the anguish and deep inner hurt of mothers, fathers, spouses and children left behind, and the base cruelty of it all become experiences left to our personal imaginations and, for most, never realized.
Of course, in the Falklands, blood is flowing, bodies are tearing, and people are dying. We should not permit the game quality of the Falklands news to obscure these very basic facts. War and killing are ugly business.
So what? So, reflect on the ugly side of this business the next time you flip on your nightly Falklands video game war. Reflect on the responsibilities of human, loving people not to permit this ugliness. Reflect on America's responsibility to restrain its friends from doing ugly things to each other. And, reflect on your responsibility to tell American leaders that you don't like ugly games.