I know I'm usually the person who shoots down "pass this on!" emails as
hoaxes. But I know this one is true, because I'm writing it.
There's an online comic by the name of Penny Arcade (http://www.penny-arcade.com
) that is primarily about video games, for gamers. One of the greatest stereotypes gamers have been hit with in the last decade or more is that children who play video games grow up violent, self-centered, and/or societally maladjusted. The two men who create this comic decided this year that rather than battle this stereotype with words, the gaming community needs to do it with actions.
They created Project: Child's Play. This was a call for aid to fans and gamers worldwide to help a good cause: aiding local childrens' hospitals with donations of toys (both video game-related and not), money, and time.
It happened over the course of December, and the results were both amazing and heartwarming. The toys and gaming equipment bought by people around the globe totaled a worth of nearly $200,000. In addition, cash donations added up to $27,000. While the project was in its final stages, some news crews came to take photos and interviews about the project. Although the
project was being chronicled in photos and text on the web site, publicity was a welcome addition: the main cause for the project was to help the hospitals. The secondary cause was to demonstrate to mainstream society that we're not a group of violent, antisocial freaks. We care, and we want to help, and when we rally together we are a formidable cause for GOOD, not Columbine-esque distasters.
The story aired.
But according to the mainstream media, the value of the toys was reduced to $1,000. But aside from that, the news is now reporting the project and donation as being created by a Catholic School.
The commentary from one of the two site creators: "What we - this is a grand We, which includes you - what we did was completely amazing. It was worth doing purely on account of its own virtues. But the other part, what we might call the 'Secondary Objective,' was to promote the idea that we are not fucking murderers. This is an effort to combat media portrayals.
Here's the trick, the dark revelation, the Empire Strikes Back which produces our moment of darkness: we need to rely on that selfsame inept machinery to broadcast our new message as well. They're simply not capable of it. I understand that there's just no story in people being good to each other, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened from time to time."
This Christmas season was one dominated by fear the media told us to feel. Fear of terrorists, fear of economic collapse, fear of the unknown. And a then project designed to dispel fear and promote understanding is gutted and misrepresented by these same agencies. As an American, this sickens me.
The full story is documeted here, by the individuals directly involved: http://www.penny-arcade.com/childsplay/
Please pass it on. If you are a gamer, or the parent of a gamer, or are just sick of stereotypes propagated on fear and media hype. This is the truth.