Fred Meyer's Experience

So last week I was in line at Freddy's, at the entrance near our place, which has one checker who runs a checkstand and three self-checks. We at the checkstand were held up by some dude trying to buy a pack of Beyond Seven prophylactics, whose coupon wouldn't work. I relay this to you because Syd ordered me to, as she found it amusing. The guy handled it well, didn't turn red or pee himself or any of those other embarrassing, common condom purchasing mishaps, no doubt because of his apparently above-average wang. I know, this can't compete with the majesty of Joe's bonerstravaganza, but it's the best I could do.
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Thinking of the children

FYI, this post probably won't have a logical flow or come to a conclusion.
Grand Theft Auto IV comes out on Tuesday. I am extremely excited; it looks amazing, Rockstar is said to have fixed the crappy aiming system, and everything I've read says it's superawesome. Syd is not; she doesn't think there is a story, and doesn't like all the prostitute killing, and would rather I get Mario Kart instead. Before we all mock her for her love of Mario Kart's finely crafted narrative, I think her complaint stems from my habit of driving around blowing shit up if I'm stuck on a mission. The ability to do this was what made GTA different and great, but apparently it is not so great for the spectatin'. Anyway, it's got me thinking about mores and generational differences of perception and so on, so here are a few random thoughts that came to mind.
  • GTA San Andreas came out while I was at guitar school. I was watching this guy Cameron who was a few years younger than me play, and one of the other guys was like, Dude, do that one thing! So Cam obliged and stealth-snuck up behind a random pedestrian on a crowded sidewalk and slit their throat. Everyone thought it was hilarious but it just seemed a bit too much for me. Of course, my roommate and I in college thought the greatest thing ever was cranking up the enemy endurance in GoldenEye and turning off their threat detection, and then shooting them in the butt over and over to watch their agonized, but comical, animations.
  • One of Syd's brother Aren's friend's favorite activities was gettin' it on with a hooker for the concomitant health boost, then killing her and getting his money back. There isn't really a penalty in the game for that; I'm surprised Rockstar didn't throw in vengeful pimps.
  • I clearly remember that while driving back from some lake in Missouri when I was 11ish, an impromptu sing-along to GnR's Mr. Brownstone broke out with my sisters and the kids from the other family.
  • The Paris Hilton South Park was on the other night, and it struck me how bizarre it is that the fact that at the end Mr. Slave crams Ms. Hilton entirely up his butt doesn't bother me at all, and aside from a significant surprise the first time I saw it, has neatly settled into my concept of the world.

So yeah, the game's rated M, but plenty of kids will play it, including any kid in my class with the means, because ultimately it's the responsibility of the parent to regulate what kids are exposed to and my students have bad parents. I don't think it'll adversely affect them, just like Aren's friend doesn't, to the best of my knowledge, frequent prostitutes and then kill them for his money, Cameron didn't walk the streets of Nanaimo throat-slashing, I've never shot someone in the ass to see them clutch their buttocks and dance around, and my sisters aren't riding the White Horse. I don't know about the Atkinson kids. And if Cam is cutting citizens' carotids, I'm sure he would be with or without the game's influence. I guess my point is that I don't think video game violence is a big deal, but I'm really more interested in this huge shift in what is and isn't socially acceptable. Is it a linear progression? Will our kids think nothing of their virtual reality vivisection game? Maybe it's logarithmic, and there's some indecency asymptote we can never quite reach.
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My new favorite thing

I stuck around to watch the basketball team of the pseudo-highschool I work at play a month ago, and got roped into running the clock, and it turns out it's really fun. There are two officials, who I assume are paid, and are really good, and a scorekeeper, and then I kept track of the clock, score, and team fouls. So there was another game today, and I stuck around to support my students, ostensibly, but I was really in it for the clock operatin'. I find it oddly satisfying; it's sorta like a videogame. Our team lost, but I got my fix. I tried to find out how one becomes a professional clock operator/time keeper, but all I found was that in 1989 the Atlanta Hawks clock guy made $25 a game, so apparently I can hope for about 15 hours of minimum wage a week if I reach the highest level of the profession; maybe they unionized in the last 20 years. I think I'll send my resume to the Hawks anyway; Science knows I couldn't do a worse job.

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