I had hoped that The Vagina Monologues
would be our salvation. That has got to be one seriously screwed-up ventriloquist act, I reasoned. People are bound to get all freaked out over that. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that instead of a horrifying gynecological Senorita Wences, the Monologues
were nothing more than an unentertaining, uninteresting, unbearable unctuous scream of acute self-consciousness masquerading as something important (kind of like Kevin Costner but with fallopian tubes). Oh well, maybe another scourge of western civilization will come along soon; in the meantime it looks like it's up to us gamers to weather the scapegoating.
Not that I'm not sick and tired of it, and not that you shouldn't be too. There are plenty of perfectly good reasons to ostracize me and, believe me, being a gamer is the least of them. But as soon as something bad happens somewhere, gamers immediately have to defend themselves and their hobby as Joe Uninformed citizen, and his designated idiot network anchor, look for the root of it in gaming somehow. Did someone shoot up a school? They must have played Doom and that made them do it. Did someone fly a plane into a building? Better find out if they trained with a civilian flight sim. It's a reflex action in the most literal sense - no thought, just simple response. It's a lot like the gag reflex, which, interestingly enough, these pinheads invariably trigger in me.
Not that I'm against assigning blame. Personally I blame Tyne Daly... for pretty much anything. I can't get a seat on the commuter train, Tyne Daly must've parked her fat ass on the last one. My 7-year-old starts using air quotes and sneering, 'Really 'funny', Dad,' I'm guessing that gorgon Tyne Daly taught him how in day care. The men's room far too close to my cubicle for comfort, has a stench that is peeling paint and melting tiles, odds are Tyne Daly snuck in there yet again and 'marked her territory' after another long night galloping naked down the freeway on all fours, her foaming, voluminous maw scooping up and devouring road kill while innocent motorists turn to stone at the mere sight of her massive scaled hide, their cars colliding and exploding in enormous fireballs-but I digress. Suffice it to say, this is a great system and I highly recommend it.
Because in my mind, blaming Tyne Daly makes about as much sense as blaming games. It's oddly reassuring to be able to point at something you don't understand and blame it for something else you don't understand. Or don't want to devote a whole log of thought to. It's a lot easier to hold Doom responsible for some horror than to figure out the role parenting, society, and good old-fashioned unexplainable craziness played. But what about those Tennessee teenagers, the soulless morons who fired shotguns at a highway this summer, killing a man and claiming they were inspired by Grand Theft Auto III? Replace murder with wrecking the family car, and you've got kids trying to get out of being grounded. Absolutely pathetic.
I'm no social scientist, but here's an idea: some people are just bad. It's not like Jack the Ripper spent his days playing Grand Theft Buggy, is it? Some people are evil, stupid, insane, or a delightful combination of all three. In fact, I believe that once upon a time this concept, the There Are Bad People Theory, worked for most people. Think about it: was anyone uncomfortable applying this theory to Ted Bundy (evil), Typhoid Mary (stupid), Jeffrey Dahmer (insane), or the boil on the ass of Satan that first told Michael Bolton he could sing (all three)? When did people start demanding a reason for everything? Why can't things just plain suck anymore?
There is one thing for us gamers to hold on to: Pretty much everything society has blamed previously has not been cleared, it's been embraced. comic books, jazz, movies, rock music, porn (let's be honest with ourselves here - Mr. and Mrs. America are the world's largest consumer of smut, thus arguably making Yank my Doodle, It's a Dandy! a more significant film than Citizen Kane) have all been pretty much given a pass. It's just a matter of time before people catch up to what we already know - we're the cool people of the future.
Re-typed from the Electronic edition of Computer Gaming World (December 2003 Edition) - Without their permission, however, I sincerely hope that they forgive me, as it is an article that reflects many of the editorials already expressed here.
Actual Author is Robert Coffey