recent vendetta against informed opinion and logical argument, the results of which have yielded a particularly mystifying (and entirely non-existent) version of Mass Effect. Though the attention paid to every sensational sentence is undeserved, watching someone go off the rails and take their keyboard with them is, at the very least, an excellent source of entertainment. Today's performer is The Times columnist, Janice Turner, who doesn't waste a single punctuation mark before declaring, "Xbox is crack for kids."
The greatest thing about Turner's meandering piece is its ability to convince you that it's a somewhat reasonable defense of children's exposure to television and the "unfathomable black magic" of technology. There's even some evidence of parental influence (!) in the suggestion to monitor kids' total "screen time." But like a skilled magician, Turner saves the real reveal for the last few paragraphs, dramatically pulling hypocrisy out of a hat when you least expect it. How'd she do that?
Turner proudly declares that "unlike the TV-hating parents," she simply bars game consoles -- otherwise known as "Satan's Sudoku" and "crack cocaine for the brain" -- from her home. In a single sentence, she manages to give television far too much credit and gaming nothing more than a scornful, ill-informed glance. "Even the crappiest cartoon or lamest soap teaches a child about character, plot, drama, humour, life," insists Turner. With these qualities clearly lacking in any games ever made, children have no choice but to become "mentally imprisoned, wired into their evil creators' brains."
Books and television are given a free pass, but as soon as the media becomes interactive it warrants the label of "addiction," one applied so aloofly when the subject matter is alien and obviously unfamiliar. While the final judgment urges kids to "get an inner life," we feel we have better advice to offer: Write sensationalist drivel to bring in the hits! Just remember, darling. They'll come to your credibility too.