Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The Company You Keep
Coleen Lachowitcz should have played Eve.
Many of you will be aware that the political foes of the Maine state senate candidate are calling her judgement and character into question because it's been discovered she's an MMPORG enthusiast. To be precise, she's a level 68 Rogue Orc in World of Warcraft. Setting her choice of game aside, the fact that this is regarded as a political vulnerability speaks volumes to the "type" the general population has in mind when they think about MMPORG players.
While it is true that online gaming has its share of asthmatic teen-agers and semi-employed middle aged slackers, so does NASCAR. And I've never heard of anyone disqualified for public office based on their neigh-fanatical devotion to watching semi-educated hillbillies drive loud cars around oval track all afternoon. Looked at objectively, flying cartoon spaceships is no more foolish than "fantasy" football leagues, a passion shared openly in many professional offices. And don't get me started on golf: If you're playing a "sport" in which out of shape alcoholics wearing baggy polyester pants the color of a Rogue Orc's face are legitimate contenders, you've no business sneering at people who play online games.
Stones and glass houses, people. Stones and glass houses.
The fact is that there are any number of skilled professionals, captains of industry, and high-ranking government officials who log in at night to knit up the unraveled sleeve of cares with a bit of digital mayhem. An entire generation, steeped in science fiction, fantasy and war games, has grown up playing an engaging and sophisticated array of MMPORGs. The expectation that these digital pursuits be put aside or kept hidden in order to be taken seriously in a world where "mature" adults collect baseball cards or dress up to re-enact Civil War battles is unreasonable.
Having said that, the various MMPORGs are not all equal in the pubic eye. Nor should they be; there are games and then there are games. World of Warcraft, for example is never going to be cool enough to be accused of being a front for the CIA. Games, like most aspects of human culture, fall in and out of fashion. Some have more cache than others. I once knew a man who said he could learn all he needed to know about someone by playing a round of golf with them. Likewise, what games we play and how we play them speaks volumes about our characters and the company we keep; the vaunted Eve sandbox more so than most.
Posted by Mord Fiddle at 9:59 AM