The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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dsheinem
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The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by dsheinem Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:06 pm

This was an interesting article sent my way the other day, and one which mentions video games as a part of what the author sees as the current malaise amongst 20-somethings in the USA.

http://www.phillymag.com/restaurants/ar ... _men/page1

They don't have jobs. They're dropping out of college. They play video games all day and watch porn all night. Even their sperm counts are low. Why won't guys grow up?


Game are mentioned several times throughout, but here's a snippet:

“The world tells us that white American men are extremely powerful,” says Harper. “Statistics show they are disproportionately advantaged in all sorts of ways. But individual white men don’t feel privileged or advantaged. People pay more attention to women, to minorities, and white men feel, ‘Nobody is paying attention to me.’”

That’s where video games come in. Like porn, they provide a sense of mastery. Research shows males prefer games in which they feel “emotions that sustain dominant masculine identity”—in which they drive fast, blow things up, kill things, and sometimes batter women. But it’s not the content that’s the biggest problem; it’s the time commitment. Half of all college students say video games keep them from studying “some” or “a lot.” A few years back, a disgruntled ­co-ed told the New York Times she’d sworn off ­gamers for good because “they’re choosing to do something that wastes their time and sucks the life out of them.”


I think this is an interesting counterpart to mjmjr25's thread about gaming as a life long hobby, and thought I'd see what people here - especially those it is referencing - make of the points raised about gaming (or anything else, for that matter) in this essay...

Oh, and please read the article before chiming in - that's just good form if you want to enter into genuine discussion.
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by brunoafh Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:27 pm

Being that I'm the type of person it's referencing (not so much anymore) I went ahead and read it.

I get where she's coming from but it's too irrational and is clearly letting her personal feelings on the subject alter the tone of the piece. It just reads like some angry middle-aged women looking for something new to blame her loneliness on. "It's not my fault! You men are all so lazy!" The part that I fail to understand is, why are only men being mentioned? Young women are often this way too. It's just a product of how things are these days. Things are handed to people much more often, technology has made loafing around easier than ever. The problem with today's youth being lazy and complacent isn't just going on with men.

As for the video game stuff, typical nonsense. I find the image at the top to be a little offending, suggesting that man as a whole went from fighting in wars/being brave soldiers to childish kiddies. I personally have dozens of friends from High School that enlisted in the military, and are gamers. They still game when they have the time. It's just a hobby, the demonizing of it is just ridiculous and holds no water whatsoever.

Also, I don't live in my parent's house, and independently support myself financially. So what if I don't want to get married and have kids? That makes me "not a man?" Maybe if women would stop acting the way this one does I'd feel otherwise.

/rant
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by Menegrothx Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:05 pm

Its funny how its great when women dont follow the outdated 1950s gender expectations (get married before you are 22, get pregnant, stay in the kitchen), but when men do the same thing, they need to ”man up” :roll: Naturally its all video games and young mens fault. There is nothing at all wrong with young women, industrial jobs escaping to third world countries, the fact that many jobs require longer education these days (and you have to pay for your education in the US), long term jobs are becoming increasingly scarce, and the fact that society, economy and the world in general have all changed a lot in the past decades.
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by BoringSupreez Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:21 pm

The article makes some great points, I think, even if it does make exaggerations. I myself have noticed how many males my age and and older still act like kids.

And as the article noted, I'm pressured by my family to remain living at home until I'm finished with college (I'll be at least 22 by then). Since my parents have seven kids including myself, like the article said I can't wait to be away from them and in my own place. My parents deny it, but they haven't and aren't going to treat me like an adult until I've been away from them at least a few months. It's natural, I'm sure, but annoying. I'll have to stay here until I can get some real money. As I said in another thread, I have a job now, but it's part-time at minimum wage. I can't support myself on that. Even if I decided not to go to college, $500 or so a month doesn't go far. It could get me a crappy apartment in a bad neighborhood and enough gas to drive to work, but nothing else. And of course, I wouldn't have much of a future living like that.

I don't think videogames are to blame in any way. Were they not to exist, the men the article describes would find something else to wrap their lives around. I think it's right about porn, though.

It's sad to see our society become so lazy and worthless, but I don't think we are unique. If I remember correctly, I read an article about a year ago saying young Japanese men are having the exact same problem. The women over there have more ambition and drive than the men. Not only that, their birth rate is falling because the men prefer to play their pathetic little sex computer games than to go out and find a girl for themselves, sort of like how college aged men over here are choosing porn over real women. I'd like to hear how things are in this regard in Europe right now. I now their youth unemployment is really high, but I don't know if they are suffering from these other problems.

One last thing: the point made on page 5, about gender identity being developed oppositionally, lines up with what I've seen in real life. Working hard at school and getting good grades and academic accomplishments is becoming a feminine stereotype.
Last edited by BoringSupreez on Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by Nemoide Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:23 pm

I think the article raises a fair point, although the complexity of the demographic only seems to be touched upon at the end of the article. I'm a young, unemployed man living with my parents, but it's a situation that makes me feel more than "a little" shame. I can at least find a bit of comfort that I have enough discipline to prevent myself from either giving up looking for employment or to allow my mind to stagnate.

I've never really been a huge fan of traditional gender roles, so while the popular image of masculine youth has been drinking and partying, I'd be more inclined to stay home and read. I do think there is a problem in how young males can be encouraged by popular media portrayals to goof-off rather than seriously challenge themselves, push forward with their abilities, and form true/honest connections with people around them.
The concept of the gentleman seems to be dead.

I find that video games can sometimes be a dangerous hobby because they can trick me into thinking I've actually accomplished something by playing them. "Yeah, I could appreciate my health and get more exercise... or I could get through the next dungeon in some RPG."
The difference is that one can actually improves the self and the other is probably just a fun way to spend some time. I think finding the balance between personal progress and fun can be tough sometimes. It's not like games are bad but they can waste time if gamers aren't careful. And time is a pretty valuable thing! But then, the enjoyment they bring can be pretty valuable too! I'd hate to tell some miserable individual that they should feel guilty for doing something that gives them some sliver of happiness. Balance!

(Sorry if this post is convoluted, I'm just kind of typing out thoughts!)
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by Erik_Twice Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:29 pm

Sorry, dsheim, but what the fuck is this crap? :lol: *

I mean, oral sex now makes you a loser? Or are women more gay because they are more succesful? The article doesn't even make logical sense, it's a hodgepodge of several topics that aren't connected at all.

Also, the author obviously doesn't get laid. She should stop belittling men for not "going out and meeting girls" and realize that she is not entitled to it.


Anyways, I don't think this represents any point of view. While the sexism of the piece is not surprising on itself, only the smallest amount of people hold it close enough so as to write six "pages" on it. It's no different than Daily Mail's stance on black people or inmigrants, it's a joke you do to sell newspapers to people with self-steem issues.


*EDIT: Not to mean you agree with it, whole or in part, just that wtf, how did you find this shit? :lol:
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by J T Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:03 pm

There are a lot of leaps of logic in terms of where causality is assumed. It is assumed that men are becoming losers and that this explains a lot of data, such as reduced sperm counts, higher amounts of gay and bisexual behavior in females than males, and fewer men with jobs. The article even presents a few other explanations (like economic downturn) and brushes them aside as if they were inconsequential when they are not.

Reduced sperm counts are also related to keeping a cell phone in your pocket, which has become an increasingly common thing to do in the past two decades (this cause isn't considered). The difference between self-identified gays and lesbians is also not simply a factor of there not being enough good men for women to find (and many a lesbian I know HATE the notion that they "just haven't found the right guy"). The usual explanation for the discrepency is that it's less socially acceptable to be out and gay as a man than it is a woman. And there are no shortage of "God hates fags" posters to suppot this point. And economic downturn combined with population increase, the rich getting richer, a globalized market place, and everyone getting higher education degrees these days all play a much greater role in men not finding jobs today than does the XBox360.
Last edited by J T on Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by Menegrothx Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:04 pm

General_Norris wrote:how did you find this shit? :lol:

”Location: Northeast Pennsylvania”
phillymag.com
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by MrPopo Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:05 pm

This is a pretty terrible article. It hits on some very real issues but comes up with a long series of wrong conclusions. So I'm going to post my own thoughts on things.

First, we have the issue of people moving back home after college with little-to-no stigma and continuing their pre-college life. That blame rests squarely on the parents in question. If you don't push your children to be independent of you they won't; why should they give up a cushy lifestyle?

Second, the silly video game point. Let's be honest here, this is a complete red herring. Guys of yesteryear spent their free time following sports teams which is just as worthless in the grand scheme of things. The point about it cutting into studying time was more an indictment of how unengaged people are with academics.

Third, the point about porn. Speaking as someone who consumes A LOT of porn but also highly enjoys sex, this is also crap. Masturbation is a completely separate experience from sex and it's foolish to compare the two. It seems more like a general detachment issue.
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Re: The Sorry Lives and Confusing Times of Today's Young Men

by gtmtnbiker Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:05 pm

The article seems to be one big hyperbole to me. Parts of it are true (easier access to porn, helicopter parents, more kids living at home).

I think parents are a big part of the problem. Too many parents are not strict enough with their kids.

A friend of mine went to MIT and has 4 kids. His oldest, a son, is smart and got accepted to RPI. After the first semester, his grades were poor. He took his son out of college and sent him to a local state college (much cheaper). He said that until he shapes up, he's not going back to RPI.

Contrast that with my aunt and her youngest son. He's on the 6 year (4 year degree) program at Penn State. This past semester, he failed many of his classes because he didn't attend them. He just played video games. But did my aunt/uncle get strict with him? No, they're still paying $40K+ for him to attend school at PSU. Pathetic. They've always babied him all his life (e.g, did his homework in highschool, did the college applications, etc).

You have to let kids fail and accept the consequences of their actions. It's the only way for them to learn.

I came from a family of 3 kids and we all left the house right after college graduation. There was never a question of living at home.
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