24 October 2005

The Sucking Bandwagon

People like to jump on bandwagons. There's probably some deep psychological reason for it, but I don't know what it is. Right now, over at Broken Toys, there's a lot of bashing of Jack Thompson. I haven't been following this closely because it's not the sort of thing I normally have any interest in. It would seem that Jack Thompson has had some not very nice things to say about computer games and the people who play them. While he goes a bit overboard, the heart of his position is that people will soak up information, behaviors, and viewpoints from games and project those into their real lives, and that children are being subjected to a variety of bad information, behaviors, and viewpoints via their computer games, and that the computer game writers bear responbility when it spills over into those children's real lives.

He's wrong in that parents bear the responsibility for any crossover between fictional worlds and the real world in their children's perceptions. Only a bad parent would let their kid play a game where they torture small furry animals or kebob kitties, just as only a bad parent would let their kid stay up all night watching (surfing?) porn, snuff films, or go to law school.

He's right when he says that the artificial realities we partake in everytime we enjoy a bit of fiction have an impact on how we interact in the real world. Sometimes the impact is negligible, sometimes it is tremendous. In 1990, over 120 billion dollars were spent to exploit this. It is the heart and soul of the advertising industry.

Scott's Bandwagon doesn't believe in advertising. Not just that it doesn't work despite thousands of studies (probably an average of one per product, service, or image marketed; they each have their own study to demonstrate that they reach their target audience successfully or generate a list of recommended improvements). Scott's fanbase believes advertising doesn't exist. That people are not being influenced to do things that they wouldn't normally do. That every concept, for better or worse, is entirely self-derived. They believe that they each live in a vaccuum. It would suck, if it were true.

Goe, doesn't live in any major appliance.

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