Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Video games were invented by THE DEVIL!!

Oh look, this is original! Some crazy lady blogging for the Orange County Register, who aptly calls herself "Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom," thinks that video games are horrible influences on her kids! And she blames Grand Theft Auto for the misgivings that negligent parents had after they allowed their underage kids to play it! (Props to for bringing this to my attention.)

She also laments:

This is a huge dilemma for me, because I always had this fantasy that my house would be the one that all the kids congregated at after school. I would be the “fun mom,” the one who made popsicles, the one in the TV commercial with all the kids crowded around the kitchen counter, demanding more of those little pizza nuggets.

Unfortunately, since we have neither video games nor a swimming pool, this does not happen.

Seriously? Your fantasy is to provide frozen foods for neighborhood kids? And that's what you think they'll find fun? What a barren fantasy life you must have, lady.

I've got some other theories about why this does not happen, actually. Those TV commercials are fictional. They're designed to trick people who fail at critical thinking into buying their crummy food products because, hey, if you stock your freezer with pizza rolls then kids with perfect teeth and cherubic ruddy cheeks will beam at you just like on TV! Here's some more information for perspective: Real kids do not barge into your home clamoring for "More Ovaltine, please!" Also, the Kool-Aid Man does not break down your wall to help you out when you're thirsty.

My kid plays plenty of video games, often right alongside me. He is also a voracious reader and a great student, and has an active imagination that constantly amuses me with drawings and lego structures — yes, some of which are based on video games, and some are not. I'm just sayin', maybe if you lightened up and figured out how to connect with your son, tried to understand his hobbies rather than ineffectually demonizing him, he wouldn't be a C student.

Oh, and I bet some people will think that FMAM is a Poe. I considered that, certainly, because she's just too perfect a target. Her picture even bears a striking resemblance to the Jeanie Teasdale character from The Onion. But I skimmed her other columns and concluded that they are far too dull to be anybody's attempt at comedy. So I'm pretty sure she means it, mkay?


  1. I noticed she's gotten over 540 comments, at a blog where her average comment threads run to about half a dozen. I'm guessing this one went viral in the gaming community and they've descended en masse! :-)

    While there's a point to be made that maybe some kids spend too much time gawping at video games instead of more worthwhile and stimulating pursuits, her approach to the whole "problem" is the sort of typically oversimplified hand-wringing we've seen from the "[insert thing here] is poisoning the minds of youth today" chickenlittle brigade since time immemorial. Once upon a time it was television, or rock music, or comic books, or...

  2. I became a gamer at the age of 5 way back in 1978 when my step dad brought home an Atari 2600. I played as much as I could back then, during my teen years on the Sega Master System and NES and continue to do so as a middle aged adult.

    I played and continue to play as much as time allowed throughout my life yet astonishingly I grew up, graduated high school, attended two years of college, and am successfully raising two daughters, both of whom play games along side me and on their own.

    Some of the games we enjoy are violent yet my kids and I have the ability to separate fantasy from reality. My oldest child who is the only one old enough to attend school is top of her class in all subjects and I suspect my other children will do well in school as well since my wife and I place a heavy emphasis on work ethic and the importance of education.

    This lady should examine herself and focus on building and maintaining a better relationship with her child. That kind of thing goes a long way and might improve things for both herself and her child.

    I can't believe that in 2010 this type of video game debate still exists. It was ridiculous in the 80's just as it is now. Comics, rock and roll, television, the internet and video games where or are the favorite scapegoats of parents looking for someone or something to blame.

  3. Get the kids into D&D or some other RPG.

    They'll be around her table for hours on end and be more than receptive to her pizza rolls or whatever shit she was duped into buying.

    Granted, I don't seriously expect someone like her to take that suggestion seriously (in fact it will likely make her tiny pea brain explode).

  4. And I'm sorry to say that if you're fantasizing about being're probably not fun.

  5. So wait, Russell, your argument for her not being a Poe is that you can't imagine anyone's jokes being so unfunny?

    That's argument from incredulity! Plenty of people just aren't funny, even when they try! ;)

  6. Maybe she should try ditching the soda and the purple stuff, and get herself some Sunny-D. Seems it's all the rave with the kids these days.

  7. "Video games were invented by THE DEVIL!!"

    OMG I didn't know... today I must have spent almost 8 hours in devil worship.

    I wonder how much you have to have before you are brainwashed into killing people in real life. This should be a testable, time for an experiment.. I'll be back later :)

  8. Funny how she doesn't seem to advocate that owning pools coincide with the same degradation of behavior as she claims video games do. By her own volition the reason the kids don't flock to her house is because she has no video games and no pool. Thereby implying they both hold the same value to the children who would otherwise be begging for pizza rolls.

    I'd be willing to bet that statistically pools have caused more harm and death than any video game console in the history of mankind. Just a thought.

  9. Man, we all knew the Devil had built a robot but video games too!?

  10. I blame Tipper Gore for setting this pyre aflame. But I can't believe that we are looking back at this issue, nearly two decades later, and there are still conservative groups decrying the evils of video games. Also, I was always nonplussed by the fact that the issue of Video Game censorship skewed across both political parties.

    I agree whole-heartedly with Martin when he said that VGs are just the new music videos, but I had just assumed that our society gets smarter and more saavy as the older generations start to die off. Sure your average Fox News watching suburban Mom is probably a slave to the discursive repetition of the Right Wing culture's general malaise.

    When are people going to cease being 'sheeple' and find out that these are just non-issues?

  11. I've been playing video games since I was about 6 or so and have only killed two people since then, so I guess everything turned out alright. Actually, I blame all those late night Hungry Hungry Hippos sessions.

  12. I saw the Kool-Aid man in person once. It was in the early 70's. They were running a giveaway - They traveled around in a van and if they stopped at your house, and you had 5 Kool-Aid packets, you won a Schwinn 3 speed with a banana seat and ape-hangers! The van stopped in front of my friend's house, and we excitedly waited for the Kool-Aid man to burst out of the back of the van, like in the advert! Instead they set up a ramp and 3 other guys had to help him down. It took about 20 minutes. The bike was real though... Shattered my young grade 2 illusions.

  13. I still have nightmares about Hungry Hungry Hippos.

  14. This story actually makes me sad. I have a sentimental spot I guess and it brings me down seeing someone's desire to be a nurturing and valued matriarch in her community hindered by her ideology. The fact that it was something so, mundane as Russel said, that was fantasized over, I think shows a deep need for affection.

    That's...really sad :(

  15. I know she's not a poe. My family got the OC Register when I lived at home, and her columns never ceased to amaze and disgust me.


  16. You've crushed my faith in the Kool-Aid man. Where will my morality come from now?

  17. I'm not even going to attempt to defend video games because it's so trite by now and because others here have done it so well.

    What I was interested in was from her blog: "Here’s my question: When do kids ever think these days?"

    This is just another lame attempt by an old person unhappy with her own life lamenting "what happened to the good old days?"

    It's sickening. There are no good old days. She thinks video games are stopping kids from thinking where apparently when she grew up, she was surrounded by little einsteins ready to figure out global warming and cure disease...oh but damn that atari came along. She obviously never played games and look how dumb she turned out to be!

    The GTA story she mentioned is a strawman at best, I don't think any problem in that household is due to the video games.


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