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Class Dismissed

Posted on Friday, November 4 @ 13:05:29 PST by Joe_Dodson is kind of a funny place. It's a blog site where academics go to justify their addictions to MMOs by writing stuffy pieces like "Everquest-onomics," and "Is My Night Elf Sexy or Sexist?" Sometimes a really smart cat will take an angle on gaming you'd never considered, but most of the time the place is one big circle jerk, with academics opaquely ruminating on the "meaning of it all" while stroking each others' prospectuses. I pretty much only go over there when (a blog at the opposite end of the intellectual spectrum) says somebody wrote something smart, because Kotaku is always wrong, and I think that's funny.

Today, he enthusiastically pointed me to a piece posted on by Thomas Malaby, which wonders if "VWs" ("Virtual Worlds," or online games with lots of people, which normal people call MMOs) will "be sites for all the ugly aspects of society that we find all too familiar."

But the poster isn't worrying about middle-aged men partying with 14 year-old boys, serial slayings, or public flatulence - all things that happen in MMOs and reality all the time. No, his "ugly aspects of society" are country clubs, and his fear is that MMOs like WoW will someday have a classist edge to them.

He pontificates:

"In my view, WoW as the new golf, and the Country Club extenstion of the meme, point to the way in which cultural practices--like golf, drinking single-malt scotch, frequenting the opera, or online gaming--can become a marker of class."

OMG, ROFLMAO, what a n00b. To play an MMOG, you need to buy it, subscribe to it, and own a computer nice enough to play it. World of Warcraft, for example, is already a country club most people in the world aren't rich enough to join. The best part is, while this guy pretends to worry about elitism and the plight of the gaming proletariat, he cites Pierre Bourdieu, drops words like "meme" and happens to be an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He's a member of the intellectual elite, complaining about socialites farming lite mobs. In short, the man is proof of his own pudding.

But that doesn't mean MMOs are worse off with wankers like Malaby cluttering up the chat channels with their brainy ululations. His language may be strange, but the man is just a whiney nerd when you get down to it, and so am I, and so are you if you're reading this. So let us greetz our leet brothers, rich, poor, and academic, and kick some elite ass together. Can I get an amen?

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