By this point you’ve all seen this trailer. Right? You’ve heard all the fuss going around about it? The furore has, essentially, created a massive amount of publicity and all the bitching, whining, moaning, complaining and censorious attitudes on show have all but guaranteed that it’ll succeed and that a hardcore of people will buy it simply because other people are being pricks about it. Just as happened with Tentacle Bento.
Is it sexualised? Not particularly. There’s nothing sexual about the violence. The only ‘sexy’ thing is the outfits and it’s clearly channelling the ‘spirit’ of grindhouse cinema for the sequence.
Our Hitman, despite being elite, is shown as vulnerable and weakened. Wounded. In the fight he gets slapped around a bit, stabbed, cut, punched and very nearly shot. His opponents aren’t his equal but they’re capable.
Sex need not be sexist. Violence against women need not be misogyny and, after all, these ladies are out to kill him. Would it not be more suspect on a gender basis if female characters were extended special treatment? Immunity to fictional harm? That would be sexist, would it not? Would an eyelash be batted if the attacking gang had all been men? I doubt it.
From where do we get the assumption that this is necessarily a bad thing? Why is it that the people who choose to complain and fuss about this sort of thing have a harder time differentiating fantasy from reality than the people who enjoy it? Is there actually any evidence that videogame violence (or sexual imagery) has a particularly deleterious effect on anyone?
Various studies seem to say they do not. Attempts to link pornography with rape, or videogames with violence are almost all horrendously biased and better constructed studies show otherwise. The truly damning evidence against the assertion that these things cause societal harm is in the crime statistics for both rape and violent crime.
Regardless of other factors, of which there are many, if violent and sexual video games or pornography had such a dramatically deleterious effect as is claimed then surely this period, when graphically realistic games and the firehose of free internet porn became viable, should see a massive increase in violence and rape and a lack of progress in social issues.
That does not seem to be the case at all.
It’s possible to ‘play’ with previously offensive tropes without believing in them. Papa Lazarou is a horrendous, blackface, wife-stealing monster, but it’s a joke. Grindhouse cinema has been played with by Rodriguez and Tarantino and it’s perfectly possible to enjoy the products of that era of cheap cinema without buying into the negative side of Blaxploitation etc. Howard and Lovecraft were horrific racists but their writing, their books are still classics even if they contain problematic elements.
The entire exercise of censorship by the well-meaning left, and right, seems predicated upon the arrogant concept that the would-be censor is superior to anyone and everyone else who views the material. That they’re somehow immune. Too intelligent, too switched on to succumb in the same way as the hoi polloi. Either god or education or sheer social awareness somehow means they’re unaffected while the rest of us poor slobs are brainwashed.
It’s arrogant, presumptive and insulting.
Is it censorship to try and silence or remove these kinds of expressions? Often those of a censorious mindset say that what they’re doing is not censorship because it’s not governmentally enforced but the definition of censorship goes well beyond the 1984 style governmental nonsense that people think it does. When you’re applying pressure to have something removed you’re attempting to censor. Social shaming is one method. Economic sanction is another. It doesn’t have to come from government on high with the force of law to be censorship.
Can it be justified?
If you can show that these things actually do cause definite harm then, possibly you have a case. By harm I don’t mean ‘This disgusts you’ or ‘This makes you feel uncomfortable’ I mean actual harm.
“Oh, fuck off.”