Kim sez, "In response to the Canadian Teacher's Federation call for a ban on the release of Rockstar's 'Bully: Scholarship Edition', Ubisoft designer Clint Hocking has issued a pretty compelling challenge: He's offering to buy Emily Noble, head of the CTF, an Xbox360 or Wii system, along with a copy of the game, if she commits to entering a critical discussion of the games merits rather than call for its ban out of ignorance."
So, what is it that I or the CTF could contribute? Since I haven't even played Bully - and probably neither has Ms. Noble, President of the CTF, (nor probably have her counterparts in the coalition of teacher's unions in Canada, the United States, Britain, South Korea, Australia and the Caribbean who are mentioned in the article) I wonder if we even can contribute anything? Ought we enter into debate about public access to media that we have not even engaged ourselves? That seems unethical to me - especially given our roles. It is doubly unethical if Bully might in fact actively contribute to broader and deeper societal understanding of the very serious and real issues of bullying. While our teachers are certainly on the frontlines of the battle against bullying - they are not the owners of the issue and they are not the only ones entitled to examine or discuss it. Those who create art or other media such as films, novels or games that engage the issue are also part of society's attempt to deal with the problem.
So, no, I'm not going to defend Bully at all. Instead, I am going to invite Ms Noble and her counterparts to examine it with me, and to enter into a critical discussion of its merits and the difficulties it may or may not pose to students and to teachers who clearly and irrefutably have to deal with the daily reality of bullying in our society. If the concerns of these individuals - our de facto authorities on bullying - are not explored in a game like Bully, then perhaps Bully is nothing but sensationalist junk. On the contrary - if Bully does illuminate the social realities of Bullying within the reasonably defined scope and capability of the medium, then not only is it more than sensationalist junk - it is arguably an important work. Perhaps even a work that students should be playing in school as a part of their education in order to safely explore notions of bullying while having to neither engage in, nor be subjected to it.
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