So video games aren't bad per se. Cognitively speaking, gaming has many benefits. But what about the shoot 'em up kind? What about the shoot 'em kind that take place in a high school that looks exactly like the one your kid goes to?
Seems a developer thought it would be cool to base a game—in which people go around gunning each other down—at his former school in Port Moody, in B.C. The article in CBC left me seeing red.
Needless to say, even though the game is not new and has been around for years, residents in Port Moody were (pun notwithstanding) up in arms over Counterstrike, the violent game and its school setting.
Rest assured the rainbow-coloured lockers are the only sunny thing about the game, which the developer staunchly (anonymously, of course) defended, saying he was "sufficiently mature to realize that the degree of freedom allotted to you in the virtual realm do not extend to your rights in reality."
"Additionally," he added, "people should realize this is simply a game. No physical harm comes from it. Guns in reality are generally lethal weapons. Guns in a video game can't hurt anyone."
The developers may lay claim to maturity, but what they are most certainly lacking is social responsibility and sensitivity. Really, does Newtown mean nothing to you? How can earn a living so insidiously? Can you not find a more positive way to harness your talent and your intelligence, for clearly you are not lacking in either?
It's not gaming I have a problem with. But I'm not convinced that what this world needs is another virtual shoot 'em up, much less that which is realistic enough to simulate violence in schools. We need games like Counterstrike like a hole in the head.
Interestingly, one commenter on CBC claims that simulating violence through games during high school was the only thing that saved him from commiting acts of violence at the time.
So that begs the question: am I overreacting? Are violent games like Counterstrike cathartic or suggestive?
Just what is Victoria's Secret, anyway? It plans to sell a new line of lingerie aimed at pre-teens and young teenage girls. And according to an article in the Blacksphere, the trademark upscale raciness hasn't been toned down for its younger market.
“Bright Young Things” is the name of the new brand, which apparently includes lacy thongs with the words “Wild,” “Feeling Lucky?” and even “Call me” emblazoned on them. Right, totally appropriate.
“They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic,” said Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer of the VS subsidiary, Limited Brands. He clearly has a good grasp on what young girls think and want.
Sure, girls are always striving to be old beyond their years. But as the writer points out, does that mean we indulge their wish by bestowing them with "condoms, co-ed showers, and marijuana ... so that they can be 'cool like the girl in college'?”
Ok, so while no one is forcing parents to buy the VS thongs for their young daughters, isn't there some social responsibility attributed to the brands and marketing teams themselves? At least Sears had the decency to pull its Playboy apparel marketed at tweens.
“If Victoria’s Secret is blatantly catering to 7th and 8th graders, that might be considered exploitative,” once said David A Morrision, President of the marketing group Twentysomething. Seems that whatever reassurances parents had have since been reneged.
Clearly young teens are a burgeoning market with incredible "spending power," which is simply too tempting for some retailers to resist.
So what is Victoria’s Secret? I now know. It's only too willing to cheapen our daughters simply to boost its own bottom line.
Hey, sweet tooth, how's Lent working out for you? Well, maybe now's not the time to tell you about this world-first: an 'edible hotel' in which everything is sugary sweet and everything upon everything is edible.
If it sounds like something straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss, believe it. This real-life sugar shack features a meringue and marshmallow rug, fudge windowsills, vanilla sponge cushions, and walls clad in macaroons. You can literally sink your teeth into the furnishings.
According to an article in the Daily Mail, the new Cake Hotel located in London's Soho was the brain child of Tate & Lyle Sugars. And the white stuff is something the hotel is not lacking. Apparently, decorators-cum-bakers spent 900 hours and more than 600 kilos of sugar decking the halls.
Guests can literally 'sample' from eight different themed rooms, and the bookings have already begun. You can almost smell the tooth decay from here...
"We think the cake hotel perfectly captures the excitement, inspiration and expertise behind the creation of our new range of golden and brown cane sugars," said James Whiteley, Tate & Lyle Sugars Senior Brand Manager. "We hope that through the cake hotel we can showcase the versatility of golden and brown cane sugars and inspire people to get creative in the kitchen."
Frankly, I feel a little sick just reading about it... Much like the summer I worked at Dairy Queen and went home reeking of hot fudge sauce.
Too much of a good thing? And what, pray tell, would you eat first? The caramel popcorn-filled bathtub, hands down.