Monday, November 20, 2006

the courage to hate the olympics

I’m a vigorous, lusty man of grandiose gestures and consuming passions, and I live life to the fullest. Sometimes I sit for long periods of time, and – this is where it starts to get tricky; don’t try this at home – sometimes I lie down for long periods of time. As if that weren’t enough, sometimes I even play video games while sitting or lying down. One of my many extreme sports hobbies is interactive fiction.

Interactive fiction is basically just a fancy term for text-based computer games. They were popular in the 1980s. The most well-known game series was called Zork. I always liked these games because, like reading a book, they allow you to use your own imagination to picture what’s going on. Only within the last couple of years have video games started to have good enough graphics to compete with the mental pictures I used to draw when I played text adventures. Anyway, I’m still quite interested in the genre and often re-play old games or try some of the new homemade games being created by enthusiasts. I even programmed a very short game myself in Inform 6 for a grad school project this summer.

Anyway, while I was looking around at online interactive fiction resources the other day, I came across the writings of a text game author, a Mr. Stephen Bond, and to my surprise found that there is actually someone who’s more critical than I am. This guy hates the Olympics. That takes a certain pessimistic genius, and my hat’s off to him. I can’t argue with him, either – The Olympics do pretty much suck; I just never would have dared to take such a bold ideological stance on my own. I have no point here except that I wanted to give him a shout-out for providing me with some funny and thought-provoking reading material. Here’s an excerpt from a post I particularly liked, called “how to recognise people who try to command, control and influence people”:

The Only One in Control
The schemer must always appear in control of the situation, even when the situation does not require control of any kind. In fact, schemers usually lose control of things in a real crisis, but that is beside the point. One way in which the schemer maintains the appearance of control is by making out that the surrounding people are losing it.

For example, a schemer may tell someone to ‘take it easy’, even when that person is taking it easy, or say ‘Relax, we have plenty of time,’ even when the other person is relaxing and is well aware that there is plenty of time. Other typical phrases are ‘It's important that we maintain a sense of focus here,’ and ‘Let's keep our minds on the task at hand.’

Schemers believe that they can bend other people’s wills by the power of mind alone. They are often seen attempting a form of hypnosis, which involves staring at someone in the eyes, addressing them by their first name, and telling them to do something.

“Tony, you'll do that for me, won’t you.”

The hypnotism attempt is sometimes accompanied by a pat on the back or some other physical contact. If the victim is demoralised enough, the hypnosis will actually work.


Fiwibabe said...

Hoorah! Checked your blog today and found lots of great reading. Keep it up - you are the funniest man on the internet ;-)

Jinna said...

Hilarious. I half want to give that man a big hug and half want to run away from him