Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pornographic Video Games in Oman?

I wonder if Oman will ban the hit video game Grand Theft Auto IV? The just released, adults only, video game does have random acts of extreme violence (like many other games on sale here already) but in addition, some pretty raunchy sex scenes. A lawyer in the US is trying to get the game banned. And that’s in the home of freedom of speech, the USA. You can read the report here.
Thompson sent a copy of the letter to Ars Technica, and his demands are far-reaching. "Indictments should be returned against Take Two corporately and its Chairman, Strauss Zelnick, along with other Take Two officers. Indictment should also be against Sony and Microsoft which are making this pornographic game available to minors, and openly so, on their PS3 and Xbox systems," Thompson wrote. "Further, indictments should be handed down against Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop, and all other retailers distributing this game to minors at their retail stores, openly, to kids who are only seventeen."

He then compares the game to, of all things, polio. "Grand Theft Auto IV is the gravest assault upon children in this country since polio. We now have vaccines for that virus... The 'vaccine' that must be administered by the United States government to deal with this virtual virus of violence and sexual depravity is criminal prosecutions of those who have conspired to do this. If you doubt me, look at the aforementioned streaming audio/video. It will make you sick."

This is where the story takes a turn, because Jack Thompson provides a link to a video, put together by the gaming news site IGN, called "Ladies of Liberty City." Be careful clicking on that link; there is absolutely nothing there that is safe for work.

The video strips the game of all context and merely shows scenes of sexual content and violence, one after the other. In fact, it can be hard to watch for that reason, and it's a rather numbing experience. The game's lead character, Niko, drives up to prostitutes, honks the horn, then shoots them. You see a simulated sex act, only to have Niko run the hooker over afterwards with his car. The video shows graphic lap dances featuring one, and then two, girls. The language is even worse, including—and excuse the stars, "F*** the s*** out of it, you nasty f******."

Hmmm. Nasty, yet intriguing, and I would imagine potentially really popular in the Middle East. And hardly the thing you'd want your young teenage son playing in his room, I bet. If you just want to see the video, just cut straight to the compilation video here, depending on your proxy status I guess… Ladies of Liberty City (X-rated).

I must admit, I often feel rather sorry for teenage and young 20s men (and women) here, especially if unmarried. They can’t drink, they can’t have sex, are usually living with their parents and fully dependent on them for income, can’t even easily just hang out with the opposite sex. Hell, they aren’t even supposed to masturbate. Sure, the rich ones can date western girls and generally sow their oats with gusto before officially settling down with a nice Omani girl, and I’ve been to several awesome parties held by the kids of the elite, in beautiful palaces in MQ and Shatti, with booze and scantily clad girls all over the place. Mmmmm, nice.

But for your average Omani guy, there are really only 4 things you can do: smoke cigarettes, play football, go to movies, and drive a car. For me, it explains the weekly Shatti cruise-by show, with all the boys out in their (or their Dad’s) car, cruising around all night very slowly in tiny circles, often on their own (especially sad). Really pathetic. But then I remember, what else can they do? Of course, in other parts of the region there are other things – they can grab a gun and become an insurgent.

This over-abundance of raging testosterone with no-where to go in the young male population of the middle east is, I think, a significant reason for some of the problems in Yemen, Saudi, Iran and Iraq.

Oman needs more things for them to do. Things that help burn off the hormones and help resist the urge to think about women. Here are the Dragon’s suggestions. Perhaps the Municipality can actually do some good.
- Build a race track. It doesn’t have to be F1 standard, just something that they could use for track days, some street drag racing, night racing, under some sort of standards and safety control.
- A proper quad-bike and off-road bike place, where they can rent them, wear helmets and body armour, and have a blast off road
- A real indoor climbing wall and recreation center. Rock climbing and bouldering should be a national sport here. Low cost, rocks everywhere, and infinitely challenging.
- May be some sort of ‘open’ or club-based car workshop, where they can learn to work on their own cars, and maybe even get the skills to become real car mechanics
- Paragliding. Yeah, get them jumping off cliffs
- Where's Oman's Wild Wadi? It doesn't have to be HUGE, but come on. Mara Land?

‘Course, another option is to somehow turn a blind eye to them having sex, but I suspect that option with be a loooooong time coming. Many of the Omani youth do have sex of course, surprise surprise. And the fear of pregnancy and of not being a virgin (if female) explains the popularity in Oman of, lets say, 'alternative passages' (or so I’m told). It seems many a young man in Oman is a back-door man.

Another option would be for the Government or HM to provide a dowry grant, of say, 3k, once only, for any Omani male over 21. I think they do this in the UAE? It wouldn’t cost them that much, say 5 million rials a year, especially compared to all the other subsidies lately. And it would make a lot of men (and women) very much happier!


  1. Jack Thompson here. Thanks for agreeing that the stuff is porn. Very useful. Jack Thompson, Attorney

  2. I guess if your spending your time playing video games, thats alot more action than one is used to. I especially appreciated the pole technique.
    In regards to Omani teenagers/early 20's, there is no need to feel sorry just for them. What you describe is what most teenagers/20's go through, regardless of location. I dont think thats just an Omani aspect. As you suggest, at least in oman they are lucky enough to be able to depend on their parents, cant really say that about the U.S (on average).
    Sex- when hormones kick in, there is no stopping; no type of distracting entertainment activity is going to work. Whatever “door” they choose to use, they need to be educated about the risks.

  3. why dont we just introduce a few hippy communes in oman where everyone can get some free lovin'?

  4. Do you really think that USA has freedom of speech? They are just very subtle about how they stop anyone having a real view they dare speak about...I'm sure they put something in the water in the US?!

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  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds the Shatti drive-by kind of sad. Not to mention, as a neighborhood resident, kind of annoying.

    My fondest local wishes involve putting speed bumps on the street between Beach Hotel and the entrance to the Intercon and vast fines for people who park on the grass, on the walkways, or just plain in the way in the Jawharat parking lot.

  7. Jack, Hmm. I should be clearer. I think its OK porn for adults or near adults, perhaps not appropriate for 11 yr olds. I was more interested in if Oman thinks its porn, and thus needs to be banned (like other porn)

    Per, yes, all teenagers suffer the problem, but I think in Oman its more extreme, and effectively extends frustrated teenage-hood into mid-20s or beyond. For me, it explains the cars.

    Tim, in as much as anywhere, yes, legally your rights are greatest in the USA. One of the best definitions of free speech it that it gives people the right to say things you strongly disagree with or find offensive. And if that means Fox News or Hustler Magazine, tough shit.

    Yeah, speed bumps. I want some outside my house too. Thats why Oman needs a track of some sort.

  8. Anyone who enjoys having sex with a virtual prostitute and then decides to run her over and shoot her for hours on end obviously had something very, very wrong with him/her before the game came along...

    Then again, it is a sandbox type game and it's basically all about freedom of choice... Whatever that may be...

  9. jung:

    can anyone let me knw about the law in oman, wat hapen if i surf porn sites sitting in oman? wil they able to trace me dwn for that?


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