A Freedom to Frag

This entry comes from June 2011, when a Supreme Court decision announced the day before allowed me a chance to exercise that political science degree and civil liberties muscle with this (too long) essay.

TOWER GROVE — The government can fine a store for selling a minor Camels, can punish a shopkeeper for passing a Playboy across the counter to an adolescent, and can revoke an exemption for a bar that lets a toddler stop by for fried chicken. But when it comes to violent video games, the Supreme Court assured this week that the government can do nothing but grin and frag it.

The message is clear when it comes to slaughtering zombies, knifing drug dealers and celebrating the virtual brutality of Duke Nukem.

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, kids. Continue reading

One Movie, One Kid and 295 Questions

TOWER GROVE — Since he grew as weary as his parents of the Little Einstein videos, the boy wonder has been a movie nut. It was “Happy Feet” that sparked his love, “Star Wars” that strengthened it and, recently, a summer loaded with superhero movies that cemented it. Perhaps this fondness for movies was most obvious when on our way home from school one day he outlined his plan to make “Spider-Man 4” and told me that he was readying other movies he planned to make.

“They’re in development,” he said as if he knew what he was talking about.

That said, watching a movie for the first time with Ian, age 5, is a rigorous experience. This is when it’s clear that as much as he loves movies he is still the son of two journalism majors. The questions start before you can press play, and they don’t end until the movie does. He recently woke up while I was watching “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” and decided to watch it with me.

“Is this real, Daddy?” he asked.

“No, it’s just a story.”

“Well, then why are they using real days of the week, like Wednesday? Why did they say Wednesday if this isn’t real?”

And that’s an easy one. Continue reading

This Blog is Not Yet Rated

TOWER GROVE — While watching  a commercial for some collection of Shirley Temple DVDs, the boy wonder patiently waited for the sales pitch, the flash of the phone number for orders, and the final wink from the cherubic actress.

“Did she do all that as a 3-year-old?” he asked.

“The dancing and singing?” I responded. “No I don’t think so.”

“Oh,” Ian said, still staring at the TV with that stare we’ve come to know as his problem-solving expression, his I’m-going-to-make-a-pronouncement-so-get-ready face. “That makes sense. I think I would really like to be in movies.”

Continue reading