BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 11:10 GMT
Video games blast by minister
Half-Life video game
Games like Half-Life have sparked complaints
Too many computer games and television series are trivialising violence and making heartlessness acceptable, according to culture minister Kim Howells.

Mr Howells decried what he called a "pornography of violence" in modern movies and television dramas.

It's always playing to the lowest common denominator, which is a kind of vicarious pleasure in spilling blood

Kim Howells
Culture Minister
He accused films including Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction, as well as new ITV police drama Serious and Organised, of glorifying violence.

Pontypridd MP Dr Howells, who last week linked "boasting macho idiot rappers" with rising gun crime, told the Independent newspaper he was not advocating censorship.

But he argued artists have a duty to society, especially when their work was being seen by younger people.

'Common denominator'

Dr Howells said: "I look at the video games my kids play, I look at some of the movies they and their friends think are wonderful and I see no humanity at all, nothing that tries to highlight and underpin the finer virtues that are in people and society.

"It's always playing to the lowest common denominator, which is a kind of vicarious pleasure in spilling blood."

Kim Howells, Culture Minister
Kim Howells has proved an outspoken minister
He added: "I watch my kinds constantly playing blood-spattered video games.

"I don't think a child is going to turn out to be a killer or more violent as a consequence of playing those games.

"But it's the acceptance of that heartlessness that is at the centre of all those kind of games, the kind of joy of shooting innocent bystanders or running them over in the car."

'Trauma of violence'

Dr Howells said his upbringing in a "tough" Welsh village had given him a healthy respect for physical violence.

"I hate the way these actors and film directors and authors treat violence - you get punched and suddenly you're OK again and walk away.

"I have seen the most terrible traumas in terms of what violence can bring."

Dr Howells has proved one of the most outspoken ministers, particularly when he called the Turner Prize shortlist "cold, mechanical conceptual bullshit".

The government reportedly plans to give computer games film-style classifications.

Games like Hooligans: Storms over Europe and Carmaggedon, which showed graphic scenes of fighting and dangerous driving, have provoked complaints in recent months.


Key stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

06 Jan 03 | Entertainment
29 Dec 02 | Technology
28 Dec 01 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


 E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes