Tuesday, August 20, 2002

"Honey, come and take a look at this!"

(or, Four Posts And Still Alive!)

Hi, all. I'm back! Hey, this thing's really addictive! That's right, I'm hooked, so all you people out there who're all groaning and stuff right now (yes, I mean you people there at the back!), well... I guess you'll just have to put up with me for quite a while. The random punk is here to stay!

Now, a few notes about the web log's name... it's also about raging against the "system", something I sympathize with. What I really hate is following the standards set by a moral majority. Most of those standards I could care less about, but censureship, while done in the best of interests, limits the freedom of the immoral minority. And that's just plain wrong.

At the risk of belaboring an already aged issue, let's take one case in point: the late Pat Pulling's attacks on the D&D game and other role-playing games. This mother has blamed D&D for her son's suicide, and has even founded an anti-rpg organization, Bothered About Dungeons And Dragons (B.A.D.D.). She said that D&D teaches the players how to cast real spells and make real weapons and even contact the Devil himself. Wow. I must be doing something wrong then; I've been playing for about 13 years now and I still can't cast spells, forge weapons, or even know Mr. Satan's number. As it turned out, however, her son was just another troubled teenager, pressured by family problems and other non-RPG stuff, who just couldn't handle the stress. Mrs. Pulling might have saved her son's life had she only payed attention to him.

At the root of all this is man's need to blame anyone else except himself. Kids need their parents' love and understanding and guidance, especially in the turbulent crosswinds of adolescence.

A more recent issue is the U.S. "Zero Tolerance" policy now implemented in schools to combat the growing cases of kiddie violence. The Zero Tolerance policy means that if you fit the FBI-proscribed profile, you are a murder suspect, even without the occurence of a murder in the first place! And no, they're not using pre-cogs like Tom Cruise did in Minority Report. The profile includes the following characteristics: above-average intelligence, non-conformist, computer wiz, likes to wear black, plays D&D or any other RPG, plays violent video games, listens to heavy metal. Heh, if I were still in school and in the U.S., I'd be Public Enemy No. 1 in no time. Heck, I still fit most of the profile even now. Maybe I better get my priorities straight and start murdering some people. Right.

In the aftermath of the Columbine incident, a teacher asked her class what they felt about it. Most of the kids said they felt sad and scared. Then one boy said that he was also sad and scared, but also that he could understand how the perpetrators felt because it's just so terrible to be ridiculed and picked on. He was immediately suspended!

It's such a shame that the teacher hadn't picked up on the boy's idea. Being different, being on the outside of the majority, being uncool, is such a pressure. It's really sad that people are over-reacting and rushing madly about pin-pointing something to blame when instead they could be trying to understand the minority's feelings and helping them.

Freedom of expression is neither a crime nor a sin, unless said expression infringes upon other's rights of freedom.

"The great thing about the internet is its leveling effect; online all opinions are equally WORTHLESS."
--Grant Morrison