James Kilpatrick's Oct. 14 column was really not up to his usual standards. He describes a father's reading of a gutsy section from the Iliad to his 5-year-old son. He then complains about an Indianapolis ordinance which would protect children from "hard-core graphic violence" and relates efforts to repeal this ordinance through the courts. The American Amusement Machine Association is suing for repeal.
Both Mr. Kilpatrick and federal appeals court Judge Richard Posner, who also opposes the ordinance, seem lacking in common sense, especially if self-evident truths have any legal status.
Of all critics, Mr. Kilpatrick, as a significant writer, should at least recognize differences in instructional value between the Iliad and hard-core graphic violence. He knows that both the aim of the author and the context of the work make a difference in how a work is understood and interpreted.
Homer apparently wanted to write a beautiful description and American Amusement Machine Association authors want to make a buck.
To further spell it out, listening to the Iliad is passive. Video games are interactive and engaging of both the visual and auditory as well as other senses. They require competition, quick decision-making and immediate gratification. Such gratification both reinforces behavioral activities and promotes skills development. Games can easily become habitual if not compulsive or addictive. Can reading Homer have this effect? ...
Joseph B. Harris, Washington, Ga.