My DRM-free ebook, “Dangerous Gamers: The Commentariat and its war against video games, imagination, and fun,” is available on Amazon. Currently, it’s only in ebook format, but I intend to upload a paperback version as soon as possible (Amazon is giving me problems with the formatting of the Table of Contents and a few footnotes, and I need a new and better cover.)
Edit: The book has been updated (grammar, typos, etc.,) be sure that your version (in the “copyright” page) is at least version 1.1. If it isn’t, turn the autoupdates on.
The book is, in fact, two books in one. The first one (Part I) is more sociological and, for lack of a better term, philosophical (¿intellectual?). It deals with the “Commentariat,” the name I have used to describe a new class of social and cultural commentators whose job is to comment and problematize (i.e. pathologize) everything under the sun. In the second “book” (Parts II, III, and IV) I use the recent manufactured controversies about entertainment (from books to games) and violence, sexism, and racism as examples.
My focus is on video games because they have been the target of the most recent controversies but also because games (video or not) represent unique psychological and sociological phenomena, but their critics analyze them as if they were just another form of “text” to problematize at will. In any event, and because they are all the same and employ the same intellectual framework, I also comment other controversies from related mediums in the entertainment & arts industry (from literature —including “High” literature— to comic books.)
If you have followed this blog for a while, you probably already know what’s my main thesis. However, the book is not a collection of blog posts and except for one or two chapters (there are 37) the content is original. Here’s a short resume of each Part so you can get a small idea of what to expect:
Part 1: The Commentariat.
The Commentariat as a new intellectual underclass in an over-bloated class of cultural commentators. These new critics and their relation to previous moral panics and how they differ. Attacking games vs. attacking the players. The game of criticism as a runaway performance of one-upmanship. The limitations behind the idea of “media effects.” Pseudo-politics as the mask of the commentators. Political content vs. politicization or partisan readings. A bit about “message” and meaning in art. The decline in art and entertainment quality. The anti-politics of modern so-called “political” art. Taboos and cultural inquisitors. Cultural Criticism and the Public Intelectual (I use Roland Barthes as an example.) The Curse of something being considered Art.
Part 2: Violence and games.
A bit about the psychology of play and the limitations of game criticism as another application of “textual” analysis. Playfulness in other mammals. On moral panics II. The limitations of the science of aggression and violence. Ten big laboratory paradigms that study violence (and, indirectly, sexism and racism) criticized. Competition, “testosterone-poisoning,” challenges, and games. “Murder simulators” and game “violence.”
Part 3: Sexism and games.
Anti-male biases or female preferences in criticism. About being objectified. About objectifying yourself. Rescuing women. Tropes vs. Women and the abuse of the psychological concept of “reinforcement.”
Part 4: Racism and games.
The Commentariat and racism as the epitome of Western evil. Imaginary and real racism in entertainment, and the need to rewrite history and the canon. “Diversity.” Academic attacks on video games, the criticism of Sid Meier’s Civilization games. “Anti-racism” public performances as preemptive protection against possible slander and accusations of racism. On Lovecraft. Games and social walls.
And two Appendices (N & Z)
+94 references and notes.
The book is quite long and “dense” (I had to remove quite a lot of material) but it doesn’t need to be read in order (although that helps.) Parts II, III, and IV have been written so you can understand them without constantly referencing Part I. It should be possible to start at any chapter or just read those that intrigue you.
You can leave any comments or questions here my blog. You can also e-mail me about anything that tickles your fancy (email@example.com.) Criticism, comments, and questions are welcomed, and if you see something wrong (from typos and grammar blunders to mistakes or errors in content) you can (in fact, should) also email me.
You can buy the ebook on Amazon for 5,94
PS: As an homage to my now-defunct previous blog (and its patron saint, Joshua A. Norton) I have changed the name of the blog to its original one. That only applies to the site title up there at the top. The URL is still the same and you can still link me as frisky pagan or, to use E. Reagan Wright’s phrase, Brisky Fagan.