Saturday, November 22, 2008

Columbine Retrospective

One day I went off on someone. Long story short a group of us were talking pleasently about things like video games, and this person butted in. She started talking about how there was this new game "Bully" out and that it was all about Bullying people, she could never understand how someone could play something like that. So I testily explained how you played a kid who beat up other bullies, you couldn't hurt girls, et cetera et cetera, and at the end of it she repeated the exact same thing she said before. Except this time, for flair, she added "all I know" at the start of the sentence. That's when I really laid into her.

I've also gone off on a mother at a game stop, along with a gamestop employee when the game stop employee wouldn't man the fuck up and just explain to her that all three games were equally violent.

Then there were my parents.

Columbine is one of thouse life changing events for me. It wasn't so much the idea of randomized violence, or the savagry of thouse children who perpetrated thous actions. No it was the fact that soon after if happened I watched a psychologist calmly explain, using reason, and intelegence, why I was insane.

At that moment all I felt was dread.

On a good day I am a marginal person. That means I'm not really connected to thous normal society things. I don't like sports, I don't hand around dudes who talk about chicks, I specifically dislike desighner clothing, you know what I mean. Instead I spent a lot of time reading, writing, and playing video games. Essentially, all those markers that my parents looked for in a normal child were missing. I didn't even read normal books.

While growing up I was never allowed to play dungeons and dragons with my friends. My parents were afraid that I would get addicted in some sort of dream reality, never to return. That they would find me out in the woods over the corpse of the meter reader, looting his body for the 5 gold peices that the average human carried on him or some such nonsense.

Yeah straight out of the Chick Track

But who cares? I was fast approching the age where I just stopped listening to them altogether. By that time I could handle my parents. All of society though? That's diffrent.

See it wasn't so much that the columbine kids played Doom. At that day in age anyone with a computer has played doom to one extent or another. What this psychologist did was to sit there and make a big deal about how these kids had modified their copy of doom to make it even more violent than before. They used a program called DeHackedEd which lets you switch around graphics and such. I had taken an interest in game design and I figgured I'd cut my teeth by making a few doom levels, and modding the exe a little bit so that I could take advantage of some of my desighns. Yeah I made the game more violent too. You replace the normal dead sprite with the gore sprite that you get after using a rocketlauncher.

I was called crazy because of it.

He cited their doom game as an example. He then cited that the fact that they made a violent game even more so, is a clear indication of the progression of their antisocial behaviours.

He then said that anyone who would do this to their game has some sort of derangment and should seek help.

And then there I was.

Am I crazy? Even if I am I am not going to let some teevee asshole tell me if I am or not. The things is though that people believe the shit they see on teevee without thinking about this. I knew this because I expereinced it first hand.

As a result I have devoted a decent portion of my life to defeating the idea that one medium can somehow magicaly cause violence in a person.

It is something that I tackle with the utmost passion and dedication. A lot of it is simply shouting down brute ignorance, as most people really can't speak on the subject with any sort of intelegence. Its something I feel is very important though.

As I progressed through life this is something that I have carried with me, paticularly through a theory intensive english program. So I spent lots of time gathering tools. I realize though that this is something that has been going on ever since socrates and Aristotle.

Specifically the Republic book X and the Poetics. You would think there is a statute of limitations on this sort of thing right? No no there isn't. Its strange though.

Of all the things around columbine, that stupid little man calling me crazy sticks with me the most. It was his very basic misunderstand of the entire ethos around video gaming that really got to me. I don't like communcacation gaps. I think it is the teaching instinct or something. I'm not certain. With every kid who shoots someone and then blames GTA I just want to find everyone who takes them seriously, sit them down, and talk to them. After all how are we supposed to get anywhere if we can't understand each other.

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