Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Am I taking it too personally?

So this post popped up at Good Men Project by Robert Barsanti yesterday. The post itself is about the value of failure. Overall its a good post however there is one thing that lit my fire.
We live in a culture where it has become very easy to walk away from the burning wreck. Failure has become more transitory and ephemeral in the Broadband Universe. Video games have become the lingua franca of my students. They skip school when a new “Call of Duty” comes out. Instead of grammar and history, they sit at home alone on the sofa and play “fat kid sports.” Should their character die, they can reset the game and start up again within seconds. Should they become frustrated, they can find a YouTube video to guide them through the tricky parts and find the “hidden” treasures. Should even this become too challenging, they can use a cheat and make their character invincible, invulnerable, and infinitely supplied. You lose only if you want to lose. It’s no wonder that the number of kids playing football has plummeted. When you lose to Martha’s Vineyard on the gridiron, you can’t reset the game.
As a fat guy and a gamer this sounds to me like this person is trying paint the illusion that being fat equates to being lazy. Let me explain.

This description talks about kids today that will take the easy way out and dodge difficulty when they can. Implying that kids don't want to work hard to gain anything. Choosing to play video games instead of actually interacting with others. Where one has infinite lives instead of one. Where one can input cheat codes instead of having to tough it out (or at least where is free to win by any means versus being expected to play fair). Where one can just turn off the power and walk away with no regrets and a clear conscience if things get too hard instead of having to ride it out when things get too tough. That's pretty much the definition of lazy. Then the writer then goes on to call video games "fat kid sports". Now after reading what Barsanti's breakdown of what he thinks of video games and what he calls them is it out of place to be a bit pissed about it?

Bear in mind that when people think of a "gamer" the usual image is of either a guy that's pretty average size (or in tv/movie terms the slacker that wastes his life away gaming) or a guy that's small and skinny (or in tv/movie terms the outcast that turns to video games because the rest of the world rejects him. Where's the fat in that?

But even if you manage to find it there's still the part where (in my opinion) we once again see fat being associated with laziness.

Given that we live in a world where one could very well see a fat person being physically active as any "normal" size person why does this association still exist?

Or am I just itching for a fight?

Sound off.


Bema said...

Okay, here's what I get out of this, using that Socratic syllogism:

All gamers are lazy.
Gaming is a fat kid sport.
All fat people are lazy.

That's what I got out of that excerpt, and as someone who struggles with his weight, I don't like it one bit. As someone who is lazy and doesn't play video games, I don't like it one bit. As someone who doesn't automatically discount large swaths of the population by default [except for birther-bagger-tricklers], I don't like it one bit.

I see that he put "fat kid sports" in quotes, and having not read the whole of that tremendous article, I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean. Robert Barsanti may be trying to be a good man, but he should first try to be a good human being, and stop being so damn pessimistic.

Danny said...

I see that he put "fat kid sports" in quotes, and having not read the whole of that tremendous article, I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean. Robert Barsanti may be trying to be a good man, but he should first try to be a good human being, and stop being so damn pessimistic.
You know Bema I'm willing to extend Robert some good faith but good faith is not a free pass on criticism or questioning. But sadly I get the feeling I'm the only person who will have a problem with this.

John Markley said...

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. He paints a very insulting picture of someone who is lazy, irresponsible, and cowardly, and "Fat Kid" is apparently his shorthand for such a person. He also seems to have a real disdain for geeky kids; note how he juxtaposes the supposed moral defectives who love video games with the moral superiority of team sports like football.

Tim said...

Oh wow,

Danny I am glad to see that another person was ticked of by this too.
I read that article yesterday and had a minor brain meltdown afterwards.

I mean when do people stop going for the simplest conclusion and blare it out like its written in a holy book ?!

So you don't have a six-pack ? Or are you even fat ? Are you unattractive, fail your classes, don't get promoted ? Are you not financially, socially, romantically or sexually successful ?

If one or more of these things apply to you then FEAR NOT !

There is a solution !

All you need to do is stop wasting your entire life playing games like an adolescent !

Eagle33 said...

It's mind-boggling reprehensible that people like him still carry this prejeduiced attitude towards gamers and video games in general. Just like much of society, they take one look at the word "Video Game" and immediatly turn their noses up.

I'm a gamer myself, though I've been playing games for their storylines rather than topping a high score or hunting for hidden easter eggs. It's insulting that still looked on as a "Waste Of Time" or for "Lazy People".

Some video games have storylines and characters that rival even movies. Think about that "Hard Rain" entry you posted, Danny. That is an example of a game that pushes storytelling boundaries. I can list others too with enthralling storylines:

Metal Gear Solid Series
Silent Hill Series
Shadow Of The Colussus
Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time Trilogy
Alan Wake
LA Noire
Portal and Portal 2

But no, this guy wants to focus on "Call Of Duty" and use it as THE representation of all gamer's tastes.

Danny said...

Exactly Eagle.

I've grown sick of this belief as well.

I'd add the Legend of Zelda series but not for its story. No that's usually just "Ganon is trying to take over Hyrule and only Link can stop him. However try playing a LoZ game with the rush and attack mentality that's associated with gamers (why else do you think the writer used "Call of Duty" as his example) and see how far it gets you. (I can't speak for the other entries but my money says they would not get past the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time.) Oh and Resident Evil. And speaking of Call of Duty some of those games actually have pretty compelling stories if you pay attention to them (especially Black Ops).