Thursday, July 3, 2014

Laboring under false pretences

"Christmas is a time when people of all faiths come together to worship Jesus Christ."
- Bart Simpson

I live in the states, so I've got no choice but to listen to the herd making big boom-boom in the sky around this time of year. I do wish I wouldn't have to listen to it in games as well. I've often remarked in the past that virtual worlds' time-keeping should be entirely divorced from meatspace, but what is to me a blatantly obvious core principle of escapism seems an entirely alien concept to others.

So fine, ignoring that for a moment, can we acknowledge how ridiculous it is for online games to be launching fake fireworks on July 4th?

For one thing, pretty much everything we do in these games is louder and more colorful than fireworks. You're a cyborg elf that farts rainbows year-round. Stop acting impressed by a dozen purple pixels. We don't need symbolic re-enactments of rockets' red glare. We all have rocket-launchers!

Then of course we have the issue of ethnocentrism. Those imperfectly indoctrinated or members of cultures outside the dominant empire of any period in history have learned to be pretty blase at imperialist grandiloquence and false assumptions of universality. You smile and nod, swallow your pride and let the ugly Romans / Spanish / French / Han / Americans assume everyone celebrates their holy days. And hey, if you're lucky, it might be a day off work.

But here's a shocker for those of you unfortunate enough to have been institutionalized into the American educational system and media theater: the internet is global. Those player-characters standing next to you by the teleporter or in the orcish market square or in the spaceship hangar, those weirdoes speaking Portugese and Russian and Mandarin?

They have every right not to give a rat's ass about your fanatical vicarious martial overcompensation.

Honestly, if you really must impose the reek of meatspace into online worlds, try something with a bit more relevance. Maybe Labor Day? No, not that one, the real one.

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