Syndicated Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

April 16, 2009 -

As a gamer, should you be allowed to vote?

Syndicated political columnist George Will doesn't think so.

Into a lengthy whinge about the wearing of denim (slow news day, George?) Will inserts this jab:

Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote.

GP: Big thanks to several readers who tipped us to this story. Now get yourselves to Brooks Brothers so we can all dress like George Will.


Comments

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

If the columist goes after an individual over an email that shows no signs of hostility what so ever, he's that much more of an idiot.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

His comments clearly show the differences between the generations. It would be interesting to know what he does in his free time. One of the issues that he has is the children and their fathers are growing closer (I imagine he still wants the father to be the quite authoritarian with little bond shared with the children). Also he forgets that society changes and as times have changed and people have more money free time becomes more accessible.

Many of the things that he and his generation probably like to do could be considered as childish, and no doubt people of his age complained about him when he was our age saying similar things to what he says now. Card games, golf etc could all be considered childish, many of the films that he watched when he was in his 20s and 30s aimed at people his age could be considered childish (even going back further in time King Kong could be considered a childish film and that was aimed at adults). We'll no doubt say the same about the next generation in 20 - 30 years time.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

For all his denim bitching he doesn't follow it up with an alternative.  So if we are not to be wearing denim what would he have us wear in his version of utopia?  Because there is no way I'm wearing a fucking tie like that.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Actually, he DOES follow up. He suggests that anything Fred Astaire would have worn is fine for men. And Ginger Rogers should be the model we ladies should adhere to in our sartorial choices.

I reiterate: it's not about youth. Or juvenilia. It's about class. He is explicitly bitching about not being able to look at a person and know whether to kiss ass (because they're better than you), greet them with a manly handshake (because they're your peer), or sneer and make snide remarks under your breath about THOSE PEOPLE (if they're your perceived inferior) by judging the quality or nature of their dress.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

" So if we are not to be wearing denim what would he have us wear in his version of utopia?"

Nylon track suits .

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

That and brown suits went out of style in the 70's.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

The people who seem to hold onto American being "better" than recent times need ot take off the damn rose colored glasses when viewing the past.

Adults indulged in entertainment prouduct far before video games. I guess the phonogrpah should have only been used for audible news reports and never for entertainment.

And America has just as many problems as it does now, hardly any of them new nor caused by these new forms ofr entertaiment. His arguments can be attached ot anything. Comic books were seen as infantile, novels were seen as infantile, movies were seen as infantile.

Again, video games are just goign through the motions of being the scapegoat for society's problems, and this man is doing just that.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

So in a sea of infantile things King of the Hill gets singled out and not Family Guy?

 

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

King of the Hill was used as an example of cartoons for adults not childish tv shows.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Are there not cartoons for adults in the New Yorker?  In the pages of the Wall Street Journal?  I've seen equal social commentary in today's "childish" animated tv shows (Simpsons, Family Guy, Southpark) than in those political cartoons.  More often they are both more entertaining, and more poignant than their more conservative predacessors.

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

If by "conservative" you mean the political ideology, then you need to pay closer attention to South Park.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

"It's like those hip musicians with their complicated shoes!"

-- George Costanza

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Should we really be taking fashion tips from a guy with a ridiculous comb-over like that? 

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Many readers didn´t liked his comments about jeans and denim...

(what´s denim?)

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

It's the material used for my favorite jacket. ^_^

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denim

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Denim is the fabric used to make jean clothing (jean pants, jean jackets, etc)

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Maybe he's trying to use denim as a metaphor for youth to point out our reluctance to shed youthful habits - but it's a stupid metaphor.  Weren't jeans originally made famous as the preferred garb for (adult) gold miners during the California Gold Rush?  Aren't they still favored among certain professions for being inexpensive and rugged (so they hold up to abuse pretty well, and when they don't they're easy to replace.)  I can see how video games and cartoons might be associated with youth, but jeans were never exclusively a child-only form of clothing. 

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

He's not necessarily saying that jeans are a child-only form of clothing. To quote:

"Do not blame Levi Strauss for the misuse of Levi's. When the Gold Rush began, Strauss moved to San Francisco planning to sell strong fabric for the 49ers' tents and wagon covers. Eventually, however, he made tough pants, reinforced by copper rivets, for the tough men who knelt on the muddy, stony banks of Northern California creeks, panning for gold. Today it is silly for Americans whose closest approximation of physical labor consists of loading their bags of clubs into golf carts to go around in public dressed for driving steers up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Abilene."

As much as I disagree with his point, he is saying that it's a symbol of youthful indulgence and completely misused from its original intended purpose.

 

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

He likely also hates computers because now they're used for more than their original intended purpos,e performing the work of a calculator, same for the internet, glass panels, display knives, hell, there are lots of things that serve more than practical purposes, and by his logic those are all universally bad for that reason.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Fair enough - I agree that the concept of designer jeans is odd since jeans were rugged working men's pants - but I don't see how that's YOUTHFUL indulgence.  Indulgence, yes, youthful, no - people buy designer jeans because (thanks to advertising) people think the jeans make them look cool or sexy, not so much because they're trying to recapture their youth.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

But mainstream...whatever...media, magazines, and whatnot equate cool and sexy to youth. He also sees it as youthful because when jeans were worn by James Dean and the like, it was a youthful rebellion of conformity.

Mainly, he sees it as a part of America that does not want to take responsibility and wear the business suit and the dresses. He also says in the article, "For men, sartorial good taste can be reduced to one rule: If Fred Astaire would not have worn it, don't wear it. For women, substitute Grace Kelly." I think he is using those iconic symbols to say that is what he wants American adults to be like. Obviously in dress, but also in maturity and spirit.

But I disagree with him completely so, meh.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

I like, how both his fashion examples died decades ago.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Ok, he's complaining that we've turned into an adult-child, self-indulgent society. Personally, I think he's chosen a poor metaphor/target, but that's not why this ended up here on GamePolitics.

"Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote."

Tao, jeffy, and anyone else who thinks Will is "right on point" most of the time... what do you think of that comment? As someone who actually makes a living creating video games, it strikes me as mildly insulting but mostly just ignorant. We get it, America's going to pot because we refuse to grow up... but painting a picture of the "everygamer" as the classic 30-year-old-in-mom's-basement just shows that he's not really interested in a solution - or even in the truth of the matter. He just wants to complain about designer jeans.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Read my post again.  I said, not that Will is justified with that insult, but that we immediatley responded in kind.  And missed the larger thrust of the column in doing so.  It's an out-of-touch insult, to be sure.  But, half of the comments just insulted the guy and did nothing to rebutt his point.  Your post did, painting his lament of our Peter Pan culture as a generatinal issue.  I think that's a cop out, but hardly a position I can find fault with.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

I like this guy.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

While I agree with the general gist of what he is saying, I think pointing to denim, cartoons, and video games was just an age gap issue that he should have had the intelligence to see past. 

Tell me, does this guy look like a slouch?:

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/outfit.do?cid=14066&oid=OUT14452

Myself, I would have called out athletic wear instead.  Sports jerseys and sweat pants are not flattering on anyone.

At the same time, I think he is also just pushing vanity, which is what the whole modern suit had evolved from.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Slouch?  No.  Dork?  Yes.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Will isn't known for being the most ethical of journalists; in fact he allegedly stole a briefing book from Pres. Carter in 1980 and gave it to Pres. Reagan before the two debated; and he's also had problems with the "full disclosure" department about reporting on things he has a vested interest in. I tend to not pay attention to him.

 

-- Dan "SWATJester" Rosenthal; Executive Director, http://www.gameslaw.net

-- Dan Rosenthal

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Ah, now that is interesting.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

It is a pretty "GET OFF MY LAWN!" whiny rant. But, like I said, most of the time Will is right on point, so I'll grant him a little leeway.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

It's another person viewing the world as falling apart compared to the state it was in during their youth.  It's happened in the past, it's happening today, and it'll happen in the future.  No biggie.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

The ageism just bleeds off the page . . .

And I'm talking about the comments here.

The guy has a point, and it's one worth taking a look at.  Games, cartoons, and jeans are used as symbols.  If you don't get it, fine, shut up and try to figure it out.

We look very mature, what with the Alzheimers crack being ourfirst resort.

People pay out the ass for stonewashed designer jeans for the worn-in look, but then commenters here look at him askance for suggesting that this tells us something about our culture? 

Notice he doesn't find fault with people who wear denim for their trade; those who wear out their jeans in labor.  Maybe then you can see his point.

You don't have to like it, or agree.  But take the time to understand it before you call him a geezer.  And yes, he's a geezer.  And probably proud of it.

@SilverMelee

There was once a great civilization that lived for "fun."  It was called Ancient Rome.  Read up on how that ended.  I don't want to spoil the ending for you, but Latin is a dead language for a reason.

@Keith K

Try reading that book again.  You missed the point.  A society that refuses to let go of, and idealizes the carelessness of youth, is destined to fail. 

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

"People pay out the ass for stonewashed designer jeans for the worn-in look, but then commenters here look at him askance for suggesting that this tells us something about our culture? "

That, to me, says that some people enjoy certain things, and are willing to pay for them. Those people aren't cuturally wrong for doing so. Is it wrong to own expensive clothes? What about an expensive car? Or is it wrong to own every game console? No, the fact is, people can choose however they spend thier money. (Before the conservatives step in here, I meant the money AFTER taxes. :)  )

"Notice he doesn't find fault with people who wear denim for their trade; those who wear out their jeans in labor.  Maybe then you can see his point."

The point is, he is in the wrong for caring what other people wear or do. He should be focusing more on himself, rather than complain about how society is failing because people are more open minded and choose to be less serious and have more fun than they did in the past. Does that make them all children? Nope. It just makes them enjoy life more.

 

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

There's a difference between "less serious" and living in a culture where entertainment is the only measuring stick.  Again, you just plain missed the "jeans as metaphor," and now can't admit you missed it, and are thrashing about trying to justify an unjustifiable position.

And to follow your thread, which is irrelevent, yet still wrong -  if you can't see the sheer stupidity of buying pre-worn/torn designer jeans, you are part of the problem. 

To be clear, I have no issue with jeans, I wear them all the time.  However, paying out the ass for the worn in ragamuffin look tells me that a person cares more for appearances than utility; more for form and not for function. It's a sympton of a larger disease, that great segments of US culture has it's priorities completely backward, spending countless amounts on trivialities.  Luxury isn't wrong, and neither is spending money for things of high value.  But only spending on the appearance of value?  Stupid, and I'm not afriad to say so.

We live in a culture where Ashton fucking Kutcher is more "popular" than CNN.  Please tell me that with all your rampant college edumacations that you can see how this parallels the decadence that heralded the fall of Rome.

For instance take the informative post on Rome from above.  One of the historically "approved" reason for the fall of Rome was their increased reliance on mercanaries, and not the "Civic Virtue" which caused the citizenry to support the military.  The US is in a very similar situation.  Or at least one the eerily echoes it.  (Without getting too political, it's a fact that mercanaries like Blackwater are credited with being fundemental for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether you agree with the wars or not).

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

It's an age old lament.  Just like the people that have decried the dumbing down of English from Samuel Johnson to modern day grammar mavens.  It's to the point that I would roll this into the grand notion of what is human nature.  Nothing to get upset about, just smile and go about your life.

Besides, it may get to the point where we find ourselves talking about the good ol' days and how kids don't know a good video game from a hole in the wall.  We may be with it now but what it is does change eventually.

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue. -Greek Proverb

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

He definitely seems to be ragging on a bit too much, actually. Way I understand, the most recent Batman movies aren't "juvenilized", and I don't like how he associates video games with being infantile. As for jeans, I wear them because they're simple and comfortable. I feel smaller, more humble, when wearing black. Basically, I don't feel like his description applies to me, so I don't really have an opinion about the denim bit.

And yeah, the Alzheimer crack is not nice at all.

As for Rome: I thought their downfall was because they sought to force their civilization upon others, and eventually ticked off too many people?

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

To your Rome comment, you couldn't be farther from the truth. Rome fell for lots of reasons, but that definitely isn't one of them.

 

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They've got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however...

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Fascinating. A clear opinion stated as a fact without any arguments or facts supporting it. Entertain me more.

Or, I dunno, actually provide information rather than just a claim vs a guess.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Its been a while since I read the classics but the fall of Rome has been attributed to many reasons.

There are many arguments as to why they Rome fell but I think these were the most common

The use of Mercenaries in the military
Economics - Some historians say that the people were over taxed some say they were under taxed, other say it had something to do with how the tariff worked, or it could have been disruption of Mediterranean trade routes
Religion - I believe it was Gibbon who believed that Christiany was being used as social control which reduced the power of the government and Roman Civic Virtue
Technology - Other places began developing better technology which would help them win battles with the Roman army.
The changing of the Capital - Rome was no longer became the capital for different emperors I think it was in the 3rd century.
The split of the Roman Empire into East and west which I think lead to a civil war
There maybe more reasons, maybe all of the reason, or a combination.

Please read Gibbon, Pirenne, Bury, Toynbee, Burke and others to check my memory. Also please keep in mind that some of the historians writing about the fall of Rome were doing a period when the Church had tons of power forcing the historians to obfuscate their criticism on Christianity.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

I do believe the word "pwnt" is relevant in this situation.

Great response to a moronic comment.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Really? I just thought it was a well-formed, informative comment. Considering how my Latin and Greek classes didn't cover the Roman downfall, and my history lessons glossed over everything until the Renaissance, all I knew about the Roman downfall was that in the end, they were getting the stuffings invaded out of them, so

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

Ach, my bad. I thought he was responding to the "Rome Failed because of a Fun-loving society" comment. Thats what I get for scrolling too fast.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

I like this guy.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

He's just mad because no one reads newspapers any more... http://www.popularculturegaming.com

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

So I'm childish for playing video games and wearing jeans. He has a very original point.

I always wear jeans. Seriously, what's infantile about wearing something that's comfortable and matches well? I think he just doesn't want to change.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

"Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games --"

Thanks for clearing that one up, George.  I had a pretty good idea you weren't referring to Tiddlywinks.  Then again, I'm not really your target audience, after all, I don't need to mash my vegetables before I eat them.

"De minimus non curat lex"

"De minimus non curat lex"

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

George Will to young America, "Get off my lawn!!"

Enjoy the old folks home George.  The times they are a'changin....

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

"You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

While I will say that jeans are an unusual metaphor to describe modern society, I have to ask;

What's wrong with having a society that's fun? I mean, sure, we all gotta work sooner or later (well, most of us do, anyway...), but why should society be all work and no play? Why can't us adults retain our inner child?

We shouldn't have to be forced into a "no inner child allowed EVER" policy when we hit adulthood.

--- I do more than just play games. I draw, too: http://www.silvermelee.deviantart.com

--- I do more than just play games. I draw, too: http://www.silvermelee.deviantart.com

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

I'd be offended if only this guy wasn't an ancient relic.  I put fourth that old people should not be allowed to drive.

Re: Washington Post Columnist Takes a Cheap Shot at Gamers

I never wear jeans.  Can't stand them.

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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