Editorial: Silly Rabbit, Bullying is for Kids. Right?

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If it’s one thing I vehemently dislike it’s folks being discounted simply because someone thinks being passionate about a game is horrible, and automatically sees the player as less of a person. I found a prime example this morning…

During my daily meta-blog reading I came across an article on the Aussie version of Gizmodo in which the author [Alyssa Bereznak] meets a guy on OKCupid, finds out he plays MTG competitively, and chooses not to see him again based on that fact alone… because [this is my interpretation] she feels she’s too good for someone that participates in such a hobby – too good for a nerd. In her closing paragraph she states: “Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal bearded guy with a job, only to end up sharing goat cheese with a world champion of nerds.” As if she shared a charcuterie plate with a serial killer.

To be clear that this not just about how one woman views geeks/nerds/gamers [it just started the vitriol today]… in one of his articles called “A Reminder of Why You Should Hate Nerds” Ferdinand Bardamu espouses such lovely sentiments as: “These are people who NEED to be bullied, in order to beat them into line and keep them from polluting the Internet and the world with their Aspie drivel.” [Though he’s going after wikipedia editors and sci-fi movie enthusiasts, in a round about way he’s also talking about you and me.]

It’s prevalent in the media, too… as Linda Holmes’ article for NPR about jabs taken at Scott Pilgrim’s intended audience by the press makes pretty dang clear.

This is a societal issue, a continuation of high school cliques… and the descriptors are not accurate for a majority of the gaming/geek community. There are some living stereotypes walking around out there, but that’s not everyone. For every wargamer I’ve had a social moré issue with, I’ve met 20 that I don’t. I’m sick of this community being given the verbal equivalent of a swirly by the rest of society like we need to be put in some place where they don’t have to look at us. That we should be ashamed of our hobbies – be it wargaming, CCGs, board games, or RPGs. I’m also rather ticked that the folks that play the video games based on what we play on the table top, and people that play other strategic card games like poker, are some how more socially acceptable. When did they magically get a pass?

We’ve become a huge consumer base… take one look at pop-culture right now and it’s pretty obvious that we’re driving it [take one look at what ComicCon has morphed into over the last 10 years]. It’s not like we’re some tiny group that’s going to die by name calling. Is this all just left over high school posturing, or is something nastier at work here? What do you think?

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