Monday, October 12, 2009

Thank you for not eating me

It's just past noon on Thanksgiving Monday at Andy's house. The sibship minus one is sitting around the kitchen table. My brother, the computer programmer, is unhappy with the senseless killing that is leading the creative direction for his game. One journalist described it as somewhat "disturbing" but still "fun to play." The project's creative director is determined to "push the envelope" of the game's "M for Mature" rating, much like 24's Jack Bauer.

It seems, my brother explains, that while people within the media can have all sorts of intellectual conversation about "creative freedom" and "what the people want", much of the time what it really boils down to is the media feeding off one another - "This guy did something cool, and I want to do it too." Once a particular boundary is broken, it becomes nothing to break it a second time. When 24 first came out, he continues, there was a lot of controversy over Jack Bauer's character ("He's a terrible person," my brother-in-law chimes in). Torturing people, lying to people about their families being dead, dunking their heads into water - people had to pause and question whether this was the kind of hero we wanted from now on.

The conversation continues to a discussion of Jack Bauer's moral spiral then turns back to violence more generally in the media. "People have always had a need for violence," my brother-in-law proposes. "The Romans had the gladiatorial arenas..." ("And there was jousting," my sister adds) "It just so happens that today, we can do it all digitally without people actually having to die. Although, I guess it's kind of sad that we still need it at all."

My brother turns the conversation to a coworker of his who tends to need a violent fix. "When I see innocent people in video games, I just really need to shoot them," is a typical anecdote from said coworker. "He's a normal guy - well, I don't think he's normal - but I'm pretty sure he thinks he's normal because he's never shot someone in real life," my brother conjectures.

My sister jumps into the discussion of real-life crazies. She begins with a friend, playing golf on a university campus. Her friend was shooting holes casually, just for fun, and not necessarily in the right order. There was another group playing in order, but playing very slowly. The friend skipped ahead a few holes to one where nobody was playing. The other player became so enraged that he beat my sister's friend with a golf club until the golf club snapped. Then, the perpetrator took off, and police said there was nothing they could do.

Recalling another time, my sister recounted bumping into a friend who looked like a raccoon - with two big, swollen black eyes. "What happened to you?" she asked." As it turned out, the night before, her friend had been hanging out at a bar. A patron next to him tapped him on the shoulder: "You're so ugly!" the patron exclaimed. "You're so ugly... I don't even want you to look at me." "Okay," my sister's friend agreed, then turned away. "You looked at me!" the patron exploded. He then went on to beat the crap out of my sister's friend. (Subsequently, a bunch of other people stood up and beat the crap out of the assailant.)

"Walking down the street, passing by all those people, we just kind of assume that most of them are normal. But really, you never know."

On this Thanksgiving, I'd like to thank my friends and family for being amazing, insightful, and not crazy... and thank you for not eating me.

6 comments: said...

it's true. you never know. all those years that evil woman tormented the turtle, got her friends to stare at him, got her boyfriend to stare at him, got her friends to say things behind his back (like "wow you can do better than that"), the pet turtle becomes a snapping turtle. And snapping turtles snap.

Just a landmine waiting to unleash the fury over her next friend who tries to stare at him. He may be a little turtle but he packs heat. There is a scientific term for people who become temporarily stronger as a result of adrenaline and rage but I forgot it. Turtles don't think too much.

Anonymous said...

ok, your sister's story about the friend getting beaten up for being too ugly... i'm pretty sure i heard it somewhere else... it's one of those stories circulating around the internet.... are you sure it isn't one of those "it happened to a friend of a friend of mine..."?

a_ndy said...

Haha, I'm pretty sure. The story is not hearsay - the evidence of the carnage was right before her eyes.

Kushima said...

I heard it before too...maybe Andy wrote about it in a previous entry?

a_ndy said...

I believe Kushima is partially correct. I'm fairly certain I've verbally recounted that particular story to you guys before. I don't think it has been previously blogged.

Thanks for debunking Teddy's conspiracy theory.

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