AN OPEN LETTER TO BLOGGER DUNCAN LINDSAY, OF METRO.CO.UK:
RE: POKEMON GO, REAL MONSTERS, and keep your gamers the hell away from all things Holocaust.
I woke up Sunday morning and checked the breaking news, only to read some blogger off in Newcastle on Tyne, U.K., calling me a “judgmental moron”. What? Excuse me? He did this because I am one of the many people who has become immediately and passionately critical of Pokemon Go.
In this little epistle, I will take apart the blog points of Mr. Duncan Lindsay—a man whose real job, as he proclaims on his Facebook hagiography, is to render critical analyses of soap operas. I think that explains a lot.
Here is the article, for those who—oh screw it; I don’t know who would want to read it. Unless, of course, as a grim harbinger of the future. http://metro.co.uk/2016/07/17/why-those-looking-down-on-pokemon-go-players-are-the-ones-who-need-to-get-a-life-6011601/ (Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Two minutes and twenty seconds of your life that you will never get back.)
Lindsay, you call people who are troubled by Pokemon Go (which has now caused car crashes, cliff accidents, robberies at gunpoint, and shootings) “judgmental morons.” Quick rhetorical tip for you, Lindsay. Unless you have a damned good argument to follow that up—which you don’t—calling someone a judgmental moron for having an opinion kind of makes you a judgmental moron. No wait. It doesn’t “kind of” do that. It does precisely that. You, Lindsay, are a judgmental moron.
The bald fact is this: Pokemon Go players, in massive numbers, are barging, oblivious, into places where people worship their God, mourn their dead, and live their private lives. This is, folks--and you will hear this again, in this blog--STUPID, RUDE, and DANGEROUS. And that’s not just my opinion. That is being proven out by incidents … and by … how to phrase this delicately, for your particular ears, Little Lindsay--that is REALITY. And to your possible parry that I am cherry picking incidents—the fact that you CANNOT play the game WITHOUT ignoring the real world around you, but must INSTEAD keep your eyes glued to a screen, absolutely guarantees that we will see much more of this. What would have happened, I found myself wondering, if that infernal global GPS system had placed a highly desirable Pokemon at the Bosphorus Bridge? Would PokeZombs just go trundling onto the bridge, not noticing that pesky military coup, or that helicopter firing down on innocent civilians?
Lindsay, your arguments are all straw men—a typical symptom of writers ensnared in eternal adolescence because they don’t bother to read actual books. Writers who don’t reason, but tweet. Who think emojis trump the OED. But back to the game: You defend Pokemon Go with a brief but broad swath talking about how gaming helps “problem solving skills, decrease anxiety and develop motor skills.” You can say the same thing about Lincoln Logs. Of course all those benefits are possible, if gaming is enjoyed in moderation, like good wine and soft porn. Lindsay, nobody has a problem with that kind of gaming. It’s when it turns to addiction, and gamers have to wear adult diapers so they won’t have to leave the game, and eventually they pass out from dehydration. And sometimes die. Gaming is an addiction for many people today, and that is what we judgmental morons are worried about. Addiction is worrisome. That doesn’t make the worriers morons. Nobody ever died from playing a board game.
You compare Pokemon socializing to people holding “cans of beer” at parties. Here’s a wee difference. The people holding cans of beer are usually making eye contact. Looking at each other, and talking. As YouTube after YouTube reveals, Pokemon Go players spend virtually (hah, joke) all of their time staring at the screen, ignoring important features of the landscape like other humans, approaching buses, and large memorials to the dead. This is not cool. Nobody has a Pabst while they are at mass, I’ve never seen anybody playing whist beneath Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and you don’t see a lot of Selfies being snapped at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It is almost as though there is something more important going on in that location than “The Self”.
Yes, Little Lindsay, to return to your shallow arguments, people may criticize that Pokemon is not real, but as is so typical of those who do not read much or interact with the living on a regular basis, you have missed the nuance of their point. Nobody has a problem with fantasy. Ever since the world stood up to applaud and adore a little girl following a white rabbit down a dark hole, in a book written by a grown up man for a very fetching little girl—long before that, and ever since—the world has adored a good fantasy, escapism. But what we do not attempt to escape—when relishing that fantasy in the privacy of our homes, or the safety of a darkened theater—are core survival tactics like rules of the road, traffic signals, large warning signs, and basic human courtesy.
Lindsay, you compare Pokemon to “Game of Thrones”, but people don’t climb over walls plastered with clear warnings and fall down cliffs to get to their TV remote. And for all the future tragedies that are impending, I have just two words for the victims: Darwin Awards.
Little Lindsay, since apparently you think that the way to show you really feel something strongly is by using capital letters—as opposed to, oh, using a more scintillating vocabulary, let me make clear to you the real problem with Pokemon Go. IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE (again, small joke, for those engaged in the debate about the literal meaning of words, and mourning the demise of the dignity of the word “literal”), AGAIN, IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAY THE GAME WITHOUT SPENDING VIRTUALLY ALL OF YOUR TIME STARING AT A SCREEN. THIS IS STUPID, RUDE, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, DANGEROUS. Little Lindsay, I am so open minded about this whole thing (my writing partner is teaching me Cid Meyer’s “Civilization” as we speak), that I would be just fine with Pokemon Go and its playground of augmented reality, if it were set up more like a traditional scavenger hunt, where players actually did commune with each other, put their heads together to figure out clues, and mind the WALK/DON’T walk signs.
And Lindsay, you threaten that Pokemon Goers who are criticized may look through my social media and peruse the kind of commentary I wield at the world. Please do. I/We are moviesforyourmind.net. And we write about the real world, which is falling apart because wanna--be journalists like yourself who produce little polished turds called “blogs” are drowning in a pond of Narcissism, while the real world screams for your real help and attention.
Little Lindsay, in a world where people are discovering real wonders, taking on the real monsters, creating great art, and spending their time helping others, your little Pokemon Go-Obsessive lives will never be taken seriously. As I am one of the rabid critics of Pokemon Go, I am apparently one of the people whom you feel needs to get a life. Hmm. Let’s see. I have published eight books, publish a longform blog, I own a miniature museum (involving yes, a lot of fantasy and escapism), I have taught at three universities, I am in the American Forensics Association Hall of Fame, I have worked extensively with animal rescues and assorted political campaigns, and, most importantly for our purposes, I have traveled the world while actually looking at the things in it. Specifically, most of the states in these United States. Also, most of the countries in the E. U., having developed a particular fondness for the cities of London, Bath, Paris, Hon Fleur (even though I got food poisoning there, admittedly the one bad thing that can’t happen to you while playing Pokemon GO), Rome, Pisa, Venice, and Naples, Malaga, and Morocco. I have also traversed Teheran, Chiraz, Persepolis, the jungles of Panama, the mountains of Peru, the wilds of Mexico and Ecuador—and you know what, Li’l Linds, I never saw one Pokemon. And I had a marvelous time. You know what I DID see, Little Lindsay? I saw Chartres Cathedral, our nation’s capital, The David, my first Van Gogh, Machu Picchu, the crown jewels of England, the Eiffel Tower, the Panama Canal—and oh yes, the monument to the war dead at Dachau. I didn’t even take a camera, much less a Pokemon tracking device.
Because I understand that there are already some very moving photographs of Dachau available to me. Along with some very interesting stories about the place and the people who lived there. Correction. Were murdered there. Don’t ask me to articulate it, but that just felt, oh, more important than stalking for Pokemons around the crematoria.
You talk about the up swell of naysayers to be as predictable as the sun rising in the east. Lindsay, what’s the last time you or your ilk even WATCHED a sunrise? That, my friend, is the whole fucking point.
How dare you tell me to get a life, you little Pokemon Fairy Fart. YOU get a life, but before you can do so, you will have to get some manners. Perhaps you and your father should go looking for Pokemon in the woodshed.