MY musings today may offend many, mainly because it deals with content that is ultra-offensive.
The offending item? The XBox Game Grand Theft Auto 5.
This is the fastest-selling entertainment product in history topping $US1 billion in just three days. If something is this big in modern culture what it represents says something about us as a society right here and now.
This is a game where you gun down bystanders on the footpath. You can have sex with a prostitute for $100, bash or kill her and get your money back.
And what's more you get to torture a man; indeed I understand you must torture him to advance to the next level of the game.
If you don't believe me and you have access to the web just do a YouTube search with the terms torture scene and Grand Theft Auto.
If you've got the stomach for it sit and watch for five minutes.
You will be urged to, "do your patriotic duty" as you rip out a man's teeth with pliers while he is strapped to a chair. To gain information you attach electrodes to your victim's body and knee cap him with a large metal bar. And the piece de resistance, you get to "water board" him with burning petrol applied to his face. But it's all okay because he is just a Muslim terrorist.
So here's my question. How is it fun to have sex with a woman and then bash her or worse for $100?
How is it fun to torture and inflict pain on a man because he has an accent and a different coloured skin? Is this the best we can do?
With all our creativity and know-how, is this the pinnacle of entertainment in the 21st century? Is this our Mozart, our Shakespeare?
What a recruitment poster for al-Qaeda. Simply press play and see how the Great Satan of the West views women. See how it justifies torture.
Last week I was very proud to be a part of a fantastic public stand as part of White Ribbon Day. Our Mayor Paul Antonio, and the people who made this happen deserve rich praise. We need to be careful that the powerful action is backed up every day on our streets.
On the same day last week that more than 1000 men in Toowoomba were taking the oath not to commit or condone violence being committed upon women, another man made a little statement of his own down south.
In Queanbeyan the alleged leader of the "Jedi Council" walked into court to be formally charged with being a part of a Defence Force ring videoing women having sex and sharing this online with others adding derogatory comments along the way. Our brave alleged Jedi Knight was also wearing a white ribbon.
A long way from home?
Last week on Wednesday afternoon a young female high school student in uniform is walking her dog along a Toowoomba suburban street. Two different cars with male occupants pull along side and in a crude and aggressive manner inform her that they want to have sex with her. I'll save you the language, but I'm sure it will stay with the young woman for a long time to come.
I'm not arguing that the behaviour can be directly attributed to Grand Theft Auto, but I am saying that the argument that "it's only a game" doesn't hold water. I'll lay a bet our curb crawlers knew GTA 5 backwards. There are men in our community not equipped with the ability to discern what is real or what is right.
Grand Theft Auto culture is a reality in the sex scandals in our defence force.
Grand Theft Auto culture was on display on this Toowoomba street last week.
And deeper than that (and I'm throwing rocks from a glass house here), ask your sons, brothers, nephews, partners about GTA 5.
Ask them how it is that the only role that women can play in this fantasy world is as male pleasure commodities that can be bashed and left on the side of the road?
How is it okay to see that women are only good for one thing - even if it's in a game? Then ask them how that's fun?
It says something about our culture that you couldn't make or sell this game if it singled out gay people, people of different racial groups or even animals to be mistreated like this. But it's okay for women. Well not in my house.