Child Man Meet Man Teen

katemuir.jpg

Wow, there are a lot of hateful women out there. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are just as many hateful men out there too, but none of them have been given the space in large newspapers to spew their anger at video games and the men who play them, so I'll limit my ire to them in this post.

Last week we wrote about the Dallas Morning News' vitriolic rant against men who (gasp) dare play video games. The child-man, Kay Hymowitz writes, lingers in "a new state of semi-hormonal adolescence." That's nothing Kay, you really should have dug a bit deeper. Like, say, Kate Muir, who likens men who play video games to Manatee.

Who knew that the generation who first became addicted to Pac-Man and Super Mario would turn out to be boys who never grew up? Man-teens sitting before their kiddy consoles like huge manatees.

It gets worse. Video games, as disgusting and immature as they are, are only a symptom of a far worse epidemic.

But the games addiction is only a symptom of the extended childhood of the 21st-century hominid. Marriage, families and children are being delayed for as long as possible, replaced by conspiratorial flatmates and microwaved gastropub ready meals. Italian men stay at home with their mother; the British and Americans want to lead a life like an endless episode of Friends.

Perhaps the man-teen's retreat into a fantasy world of titans and totty merely reflects his lack of comfort in the real world, where daring, muscle and aggression are no longer valued. And how different is it from women slipping off into chick lit? If there is a crisis in traditional masculinity, perhaps the online game world provides a safe haven. Computer gaming offers a convenient escape from the domestic into the masculine, just as, last century, the gentlemen's and working men's clubs did.

I can't imagine what it would be like to meet this person, her views so myopic, so hemmed in by self-created blinders, that all she can see is the tip of her nose and perhaps the inch of air in front of it. I know I don't need to tell you, readers, that gamers aren't just unmarried men, or even just men. That we are all types: Married, single, women, gay, straight, politicians, lawyers, religious leaders.

Maybe the problem isn't us, maybe, Kate, it's the people who find fault in other people enjoying something that is strange and new. Just like with movies, books and music, video games are a form of entertainment that can easily be enjoyed in moderation, and often is.

Perhaps next time Kate should come up with her own ideas, instead of lifting them from the News.

The dark ages [Times Online]


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