Here’s my latest column, on how an upcoming Supreme Court hearing is likely to ignite a new debate over violence in videogames.

You can read it here, or below.

So far, the midterm campaigns have been largely free of the kind of
cultural flare-ups that make Hollywood wince: The attacks on sex and
violence in the media, making content creators out to be akin to smut
peddlers and arms dealers.

But just in time for Election Day, on Nov. 2
to be exact, the content debate promises to gain new vigor. That’s when
the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the
constitutionality of California’s ban on the sales of violent videogames
to minors.

More than likely, election politics that day will
trump the court proceedings, but that certainly will not be the case
when the high court delivers its verdict. If it upholds the law, there
likely will be an outcry from content creators of all stripes that the
justices have carved out new territory of unprotected speech, that of
excessive violence. If it overturns it, as the lower courts have, there
could be a backlash from parents groups and lawmakers, perhaps leading
to new legislative contortions that could pass constitutional muster. A
spokesman for state Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat who authored
California’s law, said they are prepared to do so if that happens and
expect the court to “give us direction on where to go.”

plenty more urgent needs, sex and violence in the media have faded from
policy debates. But as courts consider not just the vidgame law but the
FCC’s efforts to limit indecency on the airwaves, the issues of
entertainment content are perpetually lying in wait.