Coffee Break. 22 May 2014.
Hello folks and welcome back to the Coffee Break for the 22nd of May 2014. Today’s article is from Gamasutra.com and it talks about how the game of chess was once subject to the all so familiar moral panic – a topic that also once engulfed video games, and to an extent still does today. The writer of the article – which I will post at the end of this coffee break – talks about how chess back in 1859 in the US was deemed as a time waster, and that it captured young peoples’ minds and kept them from doing more productive things in life. Indeed the words used were (and this is direct from the article, and not the original article from 1859): “No young man who designs to be useful in the world can prosecute it [chess] without danger to his best interests,” (Gamasutra.com, 2014).
Moral panic is a phenomenon that occurs when the public suddenly becomes troubled by a new trend, or in the case of the article, technology. When video games first appeared on the market, some parents voiced concerns over their children’s new found hobby. Indeed there were some movements to curtail the spread of video games, all of which were just part of a “wave” – per se – that occurred due to a lack of familiarity with technology. Like our ancestors before, older generations will always criticize the younger generations: the example to be used will be military basic training.
New recruits today are sometimes touted as being “too soft,” which also occurred in 1998 when some Royal Navy sailors were asked the same question. Funny thing was – and this information was from Jingle’s youtube channel – when the sailors saw the time of when the quote was taken, they were shocked to say the least. Some background before going forward: Jingles the youtuber – his channel titled the Bohemian Eagle – had served in the Royal Navy before retiring and starting his own youtube channel. Now when his fellow crew members were asked this question they all replied in the same manner as anyone would in their shoes: however the quote they were shocked to see was taken from an NCO in the 1930s. Yes folks, back in the 1930s soldiers still called recruits “soft.” These supposed “soft” soldiers went on to fight in World War 2, Korea, the Suez crisis, and various other operations British Forces were engaged in. The fact of the matter is if soldiers today are “soft” how do you expect them to do their job well? Come on now people they have just recently finished in Afghanistan and without a doubt they did an excellent job in carrying out their mission to the best of their ability.
Older generations will always criticize the younger generations, and history can tell us this fact if you look hard enough: whether or not they are right to criticize younger generations is on a case-by-case basis. Coming back to the article from Gamasutra.com, yes indeed it is no surprise that the game of chess was once subject to moral panic: these waves happen, and like the author of the article says: “it is exactly that, a wave.”
Moral of the story is look into the phenomenon and do some homework before going into panic mode and demanding radical steps to be taken: after all if we truly stand for individual liberty and freedom of choice, then we must act accordingly. The full article is located below: thank you all for reading, and I will see you next time.