[[UPDATED]] Pot calls Kettle Black…gamers give author grief…

You may have heard about this already…some psychologist (Cooper Lawrence, author of The Cult of Perfection) was on Fox News the other day talking about Mass Effect and using it as an example of how games objectify women, and how terrible that particular game is with full frontal nudity and explicit sex (marketed to young boys no doubt). Geoff Keighley was there to present the side of the game industry. You can see a clip of the segment (and the commentary by the “panel” afterwards over on Kotaku.

Ok, this is where things get fun. This woman has never played Mass Effect, she mentions some “research report” (if anyone can find a link to this let me know, I want to read it myself), her facts were all dismally wrong, and she actually called Geoff “darling”. Unbelievable.

So the backlash of this was that gazillions of gamers showed up on amazon and rated her book 1 star out of 5 and lambasted her, insulted her, attacked her, and in some cases got a little personal.

That’s pretty sad guys.

Yes, the woman made a mistake but I think the response was way out of line. There are plenty of anti-game industry people and politicians out there and gamers barely look up from their wii controllers to acknowledge it, much less do anything about it. You should be putting some effort there, not razing this woman for a really bad judgement. What really gets me, is that many of these gamers attacking her (and flaming the hell out of Fox News) did not read her book and don’t watch Fox News. I mean really, many of these posters look like total jerkwads. Is this representative of gamers? It’s bad enough that we still struggle with really bad stereotypes (see #2 dating red flags) but I don’t think the majority of us are so immature and puerile. Most “gamers” I know are smart (if a bit zealous). We would have been better served tearing up her book AFTER reading it, or better yet, defending Mass Effect and the industry in general on our blogs (or polite letters to Fox News asking for a correction or another segment).

And quit drinking the kool-aid about Fox News…I’m getting tired of hearing people scream that Fox News is of the devil and they are ultra conservative or filled with lies. Take a few days to watch Fox News and compare it to other news networks objectively, you might change your mind completely. I’d also suggest that if you are going to flame someone’s book for something they said on TV, do them the courtesy of reading the book first, and then giving it an honest review. Sure, I’d be pretty pissed if some talking head mischaracterized my game or something I wrote/corrected, but I wouldn’t be a hypocrite and turn around and flame something of theirs without knowing what I’m talking about. I’m smarter than that.

Anyway, check out the video clip on kotaku, and then if you feel so impassioned about it, write a nice letter to Fox News. Let them know that she was wrong and the gaming industry deserves better, especially from a large news network. Tell them they need better game industry consultants or researchers too. They generally get things right, but one guy said “world of monstercraft” a couple months ago (I cringe! I cringe!).

Some last notes:

Cooper Lawrence, I am sorry that you are getting flamed like mad from the gamer community…you should have researched what you were talking about before blasting it on national TV. You owe the game industry and the makers of Mass Effect an apology. I suggest writing something on your blog or a press release. I’d be willing to bet that the gamer backlash would stop if you were sincere about it. We aren’t all evil monsters.

To Jen on content dynasty: Grow up and get over yourself. You should be so lucky to date someone that plays world of warcraft or some other MMORPG. They are probably better behaved, smarter, and more intelligent than the usual guys you probably date. Your readers should date some gamers too, or at least get with the times. If you don’t know what a mmorpg is (massively multiplayer gunbusting? wtf?) they are sorely out of touch and live in a little bubble. And seriously, Myspace is so…5 years ago.

And now I expect to be flamed by at least one person. Bring it!

* * *


Rory reported that kotaku has an update to this story and points to a New York Times interview where Ms. Lawrence apologies. Will the gamer community follow suit? I doubt not. Much of the sentiment I’ve seen and heard was “well if she did it to us, we have every right to do it to her”, but I don’t expect that this works both ways. Maybe the industry will surprise me. By the way, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just my two cents.

Her apology (copied from kotaku copied from nytimes)

“…Ms. Lawrence said that since the controversy over her remarks erupted she had watched someone play the game for about two and a half hours. “I recognize that I misspoke,” she said. “I really regret saying that, and now that I’ve seen the game and seen the sex scenes it’s kind of a joke.

“Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it’s like pornography,” she added. “But it’s not like pornography. I’ve seen episodes of ‘Lost’ that are more sexually explicit.””

Thank you for apologizing Cooper.

31 thoughts on “[[UPDATED]] Pot calls Kettle Black…gamers give author grief…”

  1. It was a pretty immature response, but then again, I can’t say I was surprised that upset gamers took that course of action.

    With regard to Jenn recommending her friends to steer clear of gamers: good. If a girl has a problem with gaming than I’d rather not deal with her anyway. There is no offense taken — I completely understand. There is simply no reason why I should find slaying Orcs and Dragons with my friends more exciting than working out at the gym, listening to indie rock, or blogging about reality TV. MMOs are a ridiculous hobby, I get it. However, I reserve the right to turn down women who are into NASCAR or are fans of Paris Hilton. Both pastimes are irrational. I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

  2. I have dated a gamer or two so I do speak from experience. I actually really loved the guy but I wouldn’t do it again because it felt like I was competing with the game, and I lost. To each his own right. FYI I’m not into myspace but I am into twitter.

  3. Point taken Jenn. MMO’s can become quite addictive, and I’m sure I can make a list of relationships that were ruined by online games to match the list of relationships made (and eventually married) through the same games.

    My comment about myspace was pulled from your “about” page.

    I may have been a little harsh in my commentary, but I took exception with the mere mention of MMORPGs being a red flag. If all they talk about is their warcraft character, then fair enough, but aside from that, it shouldn’t be a red flag.

  4. Another blogger seems to have found the “research report” mentioned. He links to the Washington Post’s take on that research and the first comment to his post links to an article written by the primary author of the article.

    I believe this is the actual article.

  5. I took quite the exception to the blog post, and then committed my comments on her blog as well.
    My personal feelings is that she maybe has “All about me…not about you” issues. She maybe is not willing to share in the hobbies of her partner, and would prefer the man to be all about her viewpoints and opinions…but, when he decides to share his interests…then all conversations are off.

    But, like her…maybe I have pigeon-holed Jenn as well..
    The street goes both ways is my personal thought!

  6. WOW, this post makes me dizzy. So, you are ripping on a person giving an unresearched and wrong report, and then ripping on the gamers that went overboard and attacked said person.

    Then you go and do the same thing in your report about people taking this too far by saying this:
    Grow up and get over yourself. You should be so lucky to date someone that plays world of warcraft or some other MMORPG. They are probably better behaved, smarter, and more intelligent than the usual guys you probably date. Your readers should date some gamers too, or at least get with the times. If you don’t know what a mmorpg is (massively multiplayer gunbusting? wtf?) they are sorely out of touch and live in a little bubble. And seriously, Myspace is so…5 years ago.

    So, was this irony? Were you trying to make a point? Because you look kind of silly here. I mean, if you were being ironic, then BRAVO!!

  7. Yay for irony!

    Actually, no irony was intended. My initial comments to Jenn were based on her blog and some of the replies there. Quite separate from the rest of my comments here.

    The point of my whole post wasn’t about over reacting as much as people attacking someone else without doing any work or research (the psychologist about games and gamers about the psychologist’s book).

    I don’t think I look silly here at all. After all, I’m not wearing my jester’s hat or my pirate eyepatch. I’m not even speaking with a fake British accent, charming though that might be (unless you are Britney Spears).

    There are quite a few gamer geeks out there that sorely lack in social skills and graces, and others that don’t know the meaning of the word “moderation”. However, that is still very much an inaccurate stereotype and I take exception with anyone saying anything game related is worth a red flag in a relationship. Maybe my point is to not believe “what everyone else says” and 1) play games before you review them, 2) read books before you review them, 3) play an MMORPG before you review it, and 4) date more than one gamer before you write them all off. After all, you can’t really judge all men based on one or two bad relationships, can you?

  8. While I wouldn’t personally leave a note on someone’s book or harass them like apparently has happened, I can’t in good honestly say they didn’t deserve it. Even with the thousands of bad reviews she has and the negative emails, etc. she will still have reached MILLIONS more people which, frankly, dwarf the book incident and any nasty emails she may have gotten.

    The tables aren’t even close, because the gamer community has no major outlet (G4 isn’t even close to getting Fox news numbers) for media, they tend to get a fucking awful rap because nobody does actual research for the media and everyone pretends they’re an expert because sensationalism sells. I also heartily endorse finding out more about your “competition” since as you stated, sometimes things might not turn out to be as bad as they appear since web snippets are usually the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I found BOTH CNN and Fox news to be equally bad at misrepresenting the facts with Fox news straying HEAVILY into right-wing and CNN leaning slightly left but mostly just reporting rumor and minute-by-minute reporting which usually makes for bad and inconsistent news.

    Overall, my opinion is that unless they are willing to bring on BOTH sides of an argument without their “moderator” host (which basically makes it a 2 on 1 90% of the time) I can’t muster any sympathy for them. They spread misinformation to a few million people along with not even bothering to represent the other side (unless you count reading a letter for 14 seconds). If gamers had an outlet to combat with things like this, it would be a different story, but clearly with the presidential candidates the predominate opinion about video games is based on shows and people like these.

    Two thumbs down for Fox’s news.

  9. Uh, no, sorry Nic but I’m not going to be giving money to Ms. Lawrence or Mr. Murdoch for the privilege of consuming poorly researched drivel.

    I will, however, call them on said drivel.

    I suppose one could argue that we’re judging Fox News unfairly by only commenting on the quality of one clip (atrocious as it was) without watching the channel over a longer period of time. You know, kind of like Fox News inferred that Mass Effect was a porno, based only on a 30 second sideshot of an alien breast in a 30+ hour game.

    If they don’t care enough to even play Mass Effect – or, as it would appear, any CRPG – before they call it “Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas” on national TV, then I don’t see why gamers are required to take the moral highroad.

  10. I was with you until you trotted out the “Give Fox News a chance” statement.


    No, I won’t. And this isn’t “drinking the kool-aid” or whatever, it’s based on years of… never mind. You’ll probably won’t believe me.

  11. There have been all of 36 1-star, and 10 2-star reviews of her book on Amazon.com.

  12. I’d have to concur on this one. If they want to research and discuss productively, we’ll research and discuss productively. If they want to lambast without knowing, we’ll lambast without knowing.

    Turning the other cheek is very nice and very christian maybe, but doesn’t really work. Like a proverb says, if you give good at those who give you evil, what do you have left to give when you’re given good? Instead, give good for good and justice for evil.

    If Fox (or whoever really) can base their piece and issue a judgement out of a 30-second clip, we can do the same. I did not go to Amazon to rate anything, but as far as I am concerned, this post is my 30-second clip and I’d be justified to go over and rate her book.

    Respect is a two way street but, like trust, it is never given. It must always be earned. We’ll respect when we’re respected. They are the ones putting out the viewpoints, not us. They are the ones that have to be respectful first.

  13. I find it both fascinating and amusing that in a post you talk about not flaming something until you actually read it, you apparently failed to read Jenn’s ACTUAL post. The whole thing, not just the headlines.

    The post is titled: “First Date Red Flags”

    It opens with: “Here are some red flags and warning signs to pay special attention to when on the all important first date.”

    Then she says: “Either of the acronyms “WoW” (in reference to World of Warcraft) or ‘MMORPG’ (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) escape his lips.”

    You apparently skipped over everything except that last part. You know the part where she was talking about *The First Date*. Not the relationship, not the second date, not even The Later Part Of The First Date If Things Go Really Well.

    If you bothered to read past the “WoW” statement, you’d have seen she also specifically mentions sports bars. I assume you’d jump to the (clearly incorrect) conclusion that she dislikes guys who are into sports? Ever been out with someone who brings up their ex-boy/girlfriend within the early part of the first date? Sets off a warning flag, no? We all have ex-whatever, but “good” dating leaves that for a later point in the interaction.

    I find it amusingly hypocritical that you’re railing on her entry that you’ve clearly cherry picked in a blog post about not cherry picking. You’re showcasing the same zealotry that the ANTI-gamer crowd is with this tactic, and your readers (at least a few) are jumping on the bandwagon.

  14. What are you smoking Jake? I read the whole post, and only referred to the part that was relevant…the bit about gamers. I could care less about the other red flags. My post also is not about cherry picking. I don’t even know where you got that from. Maybe you should start from the beginning and read everything again, but slowly this time. And take notes.

    Just for the record, I’ve talked to Jenn privately and she is very nice. My comments were in no way an attack on her.

  15. @Jake
    Quote: “I assume you’d jump to the (clearly incorrect) conclusion that she dislikes guys who are into sports?”

    The reason? She states there is nothing wrong with sports..
    Quote: “Sports are great. Men who love sports are great.”

    Now compare this to…

    Quote: ““WoW” (in reference to World of Warcraft) or “MMORPG” (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) escape his lips. If he uses both in the same sentence, run away fast. I have nothing against a man that plays these online games (that’s not totally true),”

    Even note the last line”I have nothing against,…”(not totally true.)”…Uh…she contradicts herself in the same sentence…and mind you…this was based on ONE RELATIONSHIP.
    So, due to ONE person, she has written off a whole league of men who are gamers..and made it a red flag?

    No, sorry…there is a big difference, and in no way was it hypocritical of Nico to berate the specific issue of Jenn “targeting” a gamer as a bad relationship..
    As I stated, my thought is she wanted more attention, and the gamer was not willing to bow down to her needs 24/7. Just like the “sports” bar guy…why would she want to be somewhere that the man may not pay attention to HER tthe whole time..
    I call those “Me” issues


  16. As far as gamers getting pissed off and taking revenge by doing their thing (gaming the Amazon review system): Go, team, go!

    Sorry, but she goes on Fox News to pimp her book, having been invited to be a talking head about something she literally knows nothing but what she heard from the assistant producer who showed her to makeup? Goes in front of millions of people and spouts drivel? Pardon me if I fail to see how she is the victim here.

    She gets a few points for apologizing, but only a few seeing as how the apology and correction won’t get anywhere near the coverage of the original interview.

    If gamers are starting to grow a political awareness of their status as the new minority it’s safe to bash and hitting back, good for them.


  17. @Openedge1 First off, this is a personal post on a personal blog and it’s somehow turned into a crusade against people who think poorly of gamers. Ugh.

    I still stick with the larger point: Context matters – she was talking about First Dates and what not to do on a first date. Regardless of your interest/hobby/obsession, her point was go lightly on sharing that ON THE FIRST DATE.

  18. Way to go, Jake. It’s nice to know that reading comprehension is not totally lost on some of the people reading Nico’s blog.

  19. Well
    @Jake: Again, I have to disagree…As Angela stated after your post…reading comprehension is key…so lets decipher the beginning paragraph

    QUOTE: “I’ve been doing a little bit of dating these days and it’s working out well for my personal blog, but not so much for my personal dating life.”
    (OK…so, we start the blog with our author stating her personal viewpoint. It is not about another person, but herself. she continues…not in a new paragraph, but in the SAME paragraph)

    “Here are some red flags and warning signs to pay special attention to when on the all important first date.”

    This again makes it personal. It has not been taken out of context…but is in the context of “Myself”. The reason the paragraph begins with “I’ve”. The author has taken ownership of the paragraph, and makes this post about herself, and not about say…the gamer…stating they are a gamer.

    So, according to your post Jake, you believe that she is “warning” others what not to do on a first date…but, is instead stating what those going on the date should be looking for..
    i.e: Do not get involved with a gamer, as they will be bad news..

    No…what is at issue is that by the fault of media, movies, tv, the press, we have viewpoints skewed by so many, putting a face to a gamer to make them a less than satisfactory model for relationships, or for having control of their lives (example: The shooting last month of a university student who killed himself…Why?…because of World of Warcraft…yet, further investigation has shown that WoW actually was a saving point…a high point of his life if you will, and he had many friends within the game who tried to help him..)

    Now, this fodder will continue until the government feels AGAIN they must control another aspect of our lives…
    Pure and simple…and yes, from a simple personal blog…we see how these viewpoints have presented themselves…giving a false visual to be associated with gamers..

    Sorry, but I stick to my guns on this one. The persons whole post on their blog proves to be closed minded, and how people put tags on other people to cover their own shortcomings.

  20. Ehhh. I’ll give Jenn the benefit of the doubt, even though I fall firmly in the category of men she’s warning women against (fortunately, my wife is just as much of an MMO gamer as I am, which directly tied into how we met).

    Being an MMO player is a lifestyle choice. If you’re at all serious about it, there’s going to be times you’re going to tell your SO “I can’t go on our date, we’re raiding” or something similar. If you have *any* sense at all, you’re going to keep that to a minimum (real life SO action much more important than ordinary MMO action).

    Some women are comparatively high-maintenance, seeing everything else in a man’s life as competition for his attention. I can’t say if Jenn is, but she’s certainly entitled to offer advice on who she thinks is worth a second date.


  21. So yes Nicodemus and I have spoken privately and I think he’s a nice guy too. I hope to turn him on to twitter (my current obsession that happens to scare guys off when I mention it on a first date).

    I guess I hit a nerve with the MMORPG crowd, which really wasn’t the intention of the post. I stand by red flag #2 because obsession with MMOs, like any other obsession, is unhealthy and I need a man who has balance in his life. I personally feel that first dates are like casual interviews and both parties should want to present their best qualities. The dating process is meant for getting to know someone, that’s the whole point. You would never reveal on a first date that you had credit card woes or a gambling addiction, unless of course you’re a little on the unstable side. The funny thing about people is that once we get to know each other the less than attractive or quirky qualities sometimes become attractive or endearing. If you think that the person across the table from you wouldn’t mind hearing how you reached level 60 in two weeks, then you’ve probably already established a strong enough bond, making the person more receptive to what you’re saying (instead of turned off by it).

    @Openedge1 I sent you an email after you commented on my blog, but I guess my words didn’t register or appease you? Let’s get real here. I never said “don’t get involved with a gamer, as they will be bad news.” I would never say that, because I don’t believe it to be true. Since my relationship with an obsessive gamer, I have dated at least three other guys who were gamers and I liked them all for different reasons (I think I have a thing for IT guys but that’s another post altogether). These guys had balance. They played their MMOs, but didn’t feel the need to discuss it on the first date. It gradually came up in conversation later, but it clearly wasn’t an obsession for them.

    @Dave I think it would be bad form to cancel a date for a raid, but I wouldn’t mind if a guy made arrangements to raid prior to scheduling a date. I’m all about doing my own thing and I need space (because I probably am high maintenance), so I would never want to take that away from a man, but if a guy cancels a date for an MMO then the message he’s sending me is that my company is less of a priority. I’m not sure it would make sense for either party to continue dating at that point.

  22. Well said. And her apology gave me a good laugh. Not at her, but at the zealousness that she described. She deserves respect for finding out that Mass Effect is nothing, and then admitting that she overreacted.

  23. Setting aside the matter of the author….

    I’ve watched Fox News, sometimes inescapably (around here, lots of restaurants play it). It is no Kool-Aid; it really is biased, and to really sucks, and it really does inestimable harm. Of course CNN sucks too, but at least they aren’t endlessly banging a conservative drum.

    -1 to Kill Ten Rats.

  24. re: “apology”

    …one of the most sincere non-apologies I’ve ever heard. She barely admitted that she was wrong, but this was certainly no, “I’m so sorry to the gamer community; I’m sorry for labelling all gamers as 12-year old porn fiends, I’m sorry for the lost sales that BioWare/MS/EA has had and will continue to have because of my idiocy; I’m sorry to all the people out there that worked so hard on an awesome game that did not deserve this blasting and may now be getting misjudged as “smut-peddlars”, etc etc”

    I think she needs to go back on to the exact same show, same bat-channel, same-bat hour – and issue a formal apology and explanation. That’s the only way that she’ll be able to address the same nerfherder-audience that received, believed and acted on her message. That’s the only way to undo the bulk of the damage that she’s caused. …maybe then, she can get some of her “credibility” back – if she does this, I’ll be certain to give her new book a 5-star rating…I’ll even read it for the two hours that she watched Mass Effect for. :)

  25. I’d be happy with journalistic integrity anywhere. But I’ve almost given up. I sure don’t watch FOX, nor read the NYT, nor listen to NPR or watch PBS (FOX for liberals but you have to pay for it). They are all simply awful. I try not to read the AP esp with the scandals at AP and Reuters the past few years, especially with their photos.

    Of course well I can’t live in a shell and have to read and keep up, but I find the multitude of blogs out there to be very helpful. Experts in all sorts of fields weigh in on topics, people debunk the media and each other. Sure they are all biased, but in a way it’s good to actually see people’s bias up front instead of realizing they’re only telling me half the story after I already bought it.

  26. It’s both unfortunate and embarrassing that the tone of gamer response was so immature, but not surprising. It’s also mighty big of Ms. Lawrence to admit her error and apologize when she found out she’d been misled. I hope that in the future we (i. e. gamers) can act like adults in situations like this. It would help if certain news outlets wouldn’t make up lies out of whole cloth, fail to do even cursory research on bogus reports, or serve as propanganda outlets for fanatical religious groups.

    To be frank, it’s astonishingly naive to think of Fox News as anything but the propaganda wing of the extreme right, as I think even a cursory examination of their “mistakes” would indicate, as would a review of the facts behind the various statements O’Reilly and Hannity, or that guy who says “Barack Hussein Obama” every time he says the man’s name. This morning one of their hosts called Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama “hate speech,” and the other day a commentator on Hannity’s show compared Obama’s Chicago church to the KKK. Fair and balanced, my ass.

Comments are closed.