A Joystick Is Just A Penis With More Buttons

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Memo to Margot Carmichael-Lester: YOU ARE DUMB.

The fragmentation of what passes for journalism these days is worse than even I suspected. The dread curse of the puff-piece used to be limited to the back pages of your local paper's "People" section and those awful morning shows that try to be "Good Morning America" on a shoestring budget. Starring the kind of local personality that you find yourself imagining the painful death of after five minutes.

But now we live in the "Information Age", which is in many ways hella awesome. I mean, if I actually had a choice of which age to live in, of course I'd pick the one where I can have all eleven seasons of Good Eats at my fingertips over, say, the one where, even if I'm doing really well, I have to spend all day wearing a monocle and brushing coal soot out of my handlebar moustache. Give me the series of tubes any day.

But that doesn't mean we denizens of the Information Age are not without our crosses to bear. Such as people actually getting paid to write shitty articles for online dating websites. Websites like MSN Dating & Personals.

I don't know if Lester came up with the idea for her article herself, or was assigned it by an MSN Dating & Personals editor (a job that is a terrifying concept in and of itself), but someone thought women needed to know what their man's choice of game console said about him, and that person must pay.

Oh, sure, for Lester, it must have been great. Find four "experts", let them give you three sentences of complete bullshit apiece, cut, paste, intro, then it's back to Peggle for the rest of the afternoon. A great article for her. A bit worse for us, because we, unlike her, had to actually read it.

Her experts are a fucking joke. A psychologist, the head of GameTrailers, some guy from a gaming site I'd never heard of (and never wanted to see again after I'd researched it), and, I shit you not, the chairman of the DeVry Institute's game design program in Dallas. You know, DeVry. One of those infomercial diploma mills that tell you you can learn to make video games. Of course, the two zeebs in the commercial aren't making anything, and what they're not making bears no resemblance to any video game ever. Jack Thompson knows more about video games than DeVry.

So what do these experts have to say about the guy you're dating if he went with Darth Vader's bread box? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"This is your 21st-century individual who enjoys gaming and demands the best out of his experience—and probably his women. The PS3 guy enjoys life to its fullest. He is sophisticated, intelligent, enjoys competition and is willing to wait for a good thing. He is loyal as well." - Ted Owen, CEO of the ugly-ass GGL site, and an icky, icky man.

The GameTrailers guy said much the same, pegging the PS3 dude as someone who "doesn't wait in line to get in the club". Which is probably true. Odds are, he waits in line for the hostess to call his name at Champps. Hilariously, the psychologist said the guy is an early adopter with deep pockets, which isn't a psychological evaluation, it's just an accurate application of the terms "early adopter" and "deep pockets". I've gotten more insights into the workings of the human mind from a Wired magazine cover blurb.

The whole exercise is stupid and insulting. You can't tell anything about a guy just because he has a PS3. If you could, all you'd know is that if you're pretty enough, he'll spend a lot of money on you and not care how long you take to put out.

Meanwhile, the Wii owner is "social" and "smart with his money". And a 360 owner is either cooperative, a serious gamer, or waiting patiently to dismember you in your sleep. You think I'm kidding, don't you? ACTUAL OTHER QUOTE TIME!

"These guys tend to like extremely violent, visceral games, as well as the social aspect of connecting with friends online. They may be living out an active and social life through games, because they are a bit on the shy side. Xbox 360 fans tend to make good money and like to spend it. These guys are passionate about gaming and that transfers into the bedroom as well." - Shane Sutterfield, who does not, I repeat does not, keep his 360 at the bottom of a pit in his living room, occasionally sending down bottles of lotion and Microsoft Points cards in a basket.

Lester makes sure to include a disclaimer about how none of these are absolutes, under the correct assumption that her audience is both desperate and thick, and may need to have poop waved under their nose in order to realize it smells bad. It's a pity, then, that she felt the need to lie to us in the most blatant fashion, claiming "they should help you gain some solid clues about that videogame-playing guy you’re seeing". It's patently obvious that "gaining some clues" is nowhere near Lester's skill set.