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Cranky Editorials About Videogames 205

GamePolitics has a roundup of some game-related weekend editorials. Some of them are awful cranky and not terribly well thought-out. From the Peoria Journal-Star: "Many of my college students... seem to be less familiar with books than earlier generations. In part, you can blame the influence of video games in pre-teens' lives. If the choice is 'Moby Dick' or Playstation, I think we know which one a kid will pick... In other words, good writing means good salaries. Think about that the next time you choose between taking your kid to the video store or the library..." Another piece rails against the Columbine videogame, while papers in Louisiana are duking it out over the recently passed videogame legislation.
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Cranky Editorials About Videogames

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  • by richdun (672214) on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:36PM (#15381444)
    I think (and will not substantiate with evidence, as is customary on this Internet thing) that the biggest problem with arguments like those mentioned in TFA is purpose and perspective. It has long been the case that the previous generation doesn't understand the current or next generation simply because they somehow forget that just a few years back it was they who were misunderstand by their previous generation. Age tends to lock us into our own perspectives, and we forget to look for others. I for one have always hated reading the "classics" because they lack relevance and tend to contain language that was long lost - yet society seems to have continued without "thee" "thy" etc.

    I remember in senior English in high school reading passages from Beowulf, then trying to read the original text (in English, but in Old or Middle English). I wonder if the people in those times felt the youngsters were too radical and forgetting their heritage. Language is meant to allow for communication between people and cultures (and times, really). So long as we're able to communicate, and do so effectively, we're good.

    That said, I think the more important dilemna is not youth's rejection of classical education for video games, but the lack of communication that exists between many youth and their parents/grandparents/etc. In most cases, it's not the youth's fault.
  • Compare and Contrast (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nsmike (920396) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:05PM (#15381706)
    I have a BA in English. I can remember a few of my classmates who were a semester ahead of me in credits, and ended up in a Senior Seminar course with one of the most respected and well-liked professors of the English department (with good reason, he is an excellent professor). Unfortunately, for both him and the students, he chose Moby Dick as the subject for this seminar course. I never heard so many students turn on a good professor so quickly, and look so dejected and defeated after class every day.

    Pick something a little more upbeat and of interest than Moby Dick, please.

    P.S. - Even with an English degree, I still very much DESPISE the classics.
  • by kisrael (134664) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:06PM (#15381710) Homepage
    "In New England, the literacy rate was over 50 percent during the first half of the 17th century, and it rose to 70 percent by 1710. By the time of the American Revolution, it was around 90 percent. This is seen by some as a side effect of the Puritan belief in the importance of Bible reading.

    In the United States, one in seven people (more than 40 million people) can barely read a job offer or utility bill, which arguably makes them functionally illiterate"

    Don't forget the importance of mathematical literacy, especially in thinking about how statistics can be recast. You're talking 90% literacy in 1776, vs 14% of the present population being "arguably functionally illiterate" And presumably, that's illiterate in English, and some of those people might be perfectly capable of functioning in their native languages.

    Frankly I don't think it's basic literacy that's the core issue, it's that reading decent books is likely an aid to mental modeling and critical thinking. That's where the possible downside of new media comes to play. Like this slashdot conversation quoted [],
    [a] 7th-8th grade algebra teacher complained to me last night, "They can't figure anything out on their own. Even their video games don't teach them problem solving. It's all 'jump-jump-squat', over and over again."
  • by B5_geek (638928) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:06PM (#15381712)
    As a bored teenager many years ago I decided to read Moby Dick simply because it is considered a classic (and I wanted to know what the big deal was) {as a bonus, Picard kept making several references to it too}.

    While it was quite slow in places, I did enjoy the book. But I sence that my reaction to it might be unique.

    Am I the only person who thought it was (mostly) Very Funny?

    Disclaimer: yes there are some very somber parts, and humor was not the "all-encompassing" point to the book. Lest we forget the real moral to the story either.

    But, damn I was Laughing out Loud at several parts of the story. My mom would ask "What's so funny?" My reply of "Moby Dick", would only cause her to give me an odd look.
  • by Impotent_Emperor (681409) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:22PM (#15381829)
    I can safely say that High School destroyed my love of reading. I don't even want to read ubiquitous Star Wars books anymore. In particular, I blame Maya Angelou.

    Christ, one of the most entertaining books I remember reading was about the Longitude Prize and the Harrison clocks. But I'm sure the Literature Establishment will never agree with me.

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <> on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:38PM (#15381962) Journal
    Meh. Video games are too new to be the root of the problem. Look back to TV and radio, and the declining importance put on literacy by schools.

    Lot of people in this thread have said it already...Too much emphasis is put on "getting through" this period or that period of classic literature, and too little is put into fundamentals. I can't remember having quality grammar or analysis of structured argument in any high school course, and its wasn't in any of my required courses in college either.

    It wasn't in any of my required courses. Did I mention I have a BA in english?

    Don't be too quick to blame games. A lot of games require more reading than TV does.
  • by Cornflake917 (515940) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:52PM (#15382101) Homepage
    I have to say that High School destroyed my will to read also. In middle school it was awesome, we could read any book from the library we wanted. I read a few C.S. Lewis books, Jurassic Park, and I instantly became hooked on sci-fi/fantasy. I started reading Robert Jordan, Anne Mcaffery, Orson Scott Card. I remember my teacher was impressed that I could read books by C.S. Lewis. Then high school came along and we were forced to read the same cookie cutter "classics" that every other damn high school student had to read. 90% of those books where just complete chores to read. I've read maybe about 2 or 3 novels for entertainment purposes since high school. One of them including "America: The Book" by John Stewart.

You cannot have a science without measurement. -- R. W. Hamming