Stan Lee Supports Free Speech, So Should You
The Video Game Voters Network sent out an email to it’s video game playing list “from” Stan Lee. The issue is the upcoming Supreme Court case, Schwarzenegger v. EMA. The court case would restrict sales of video games to minors. In a letter penned to the audience the comics legend runs parallels between the pogroms run against comics and today’s attacks on video games.
From his letter:
Comic books, it was said, contributed to “juvenile delinquency.” A Senate subcommittee investigated and decided the U.S. could not “afford the calculated risk involved in feeding its children, through comic books, a concentrated diet of crime, horror and violence.” Comic books were burned. The State of Washington made it a crime to sell comic books without a license. And Los Angeles passed a law that said it was a crime to sell “crime comic books.” Looking back, the outcry was — forgive the expression — comical.
The more things change, as they say, the more they stay the same. Substitute video games for comic books and you’ve got a 21st century replay of the craziness of the 1950s. States have passed laws restricting the sale of video games and later this year, the Supreme Court will hear a case about one of those laws, this one passed in California. Why does this matter? Because if you restrict sales of video games, you’re chipping away at our First Amendment rights to free speech and opening the door to restrictions on books and movies.
First they came for comic books, then they came for video games…..
But Stan Lee is right. Video games deserve similar free speech protections that comic books, movies, music, television, radio, books and so many other forms of entertainment enjoy.
So, what can you do to help in this fight?
Yesterday we ran an article about the Entertainment Consumers Association‘s Gamer Petition. The ECA represents video game consumers, and is submitting an amicus brief in the court case. Along side this amicus brief is the petition which shows California doesn’t speak for the people and there are folks who don’t agree with their law. Even though lower courts across the country have agreed such laws are unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will hopefully be settling this issue once and for all.
Sign the Gamer Petition, tell your friends, family, coworkers, yell out the window. We need to speak out more than ever.