I'm going to go one step further and state that truth is always assembled by an audience.
When I watched the speech made by "Baroness Susan Greenfield":http://www.abc.net.au/tv/fora/stories/2009/10/09/2709586.htm (that's what _she_ said) I was incensed into a rage I have not had for a person since "Stephen Conroy":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Conroy and his internet censorship thing. I actually despise them both for the same reason: a profound disrespect for their peers.
Before I begin, it's probably a good idea to watch the Zero Punctuation "review of Wet":http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/981-Wet, not for the review itself, rather Yahtzee's implication that cinema is to games as text is to cinema... which is what a proto-life is to a human: inferior in every way. While I don't agree with him in a _concrete_ sense, the aesthetic appeals to me. His utter disdain for cinema and books cheers me up to an equal and opposite extent to the Baroness' (hereafter G-Dogg) irrational contempt for the internet and kittens.
Before I start talking about her _arguement_, let me tell you _why_ the G-Dogg has got me so angry. In order to do this. I'm going to play the part of a bigot. Imagine I'm talking about the female brain:
bq. Look at this woman's brain. Notice how it's smaller than a man's brain. I wonder what it says about her intellect.
Notice that I haven't _actually said anything_ here. I'm simply _wondering aloud_ about the intellect of a woman whose brain is physically smaller than a man's. I'm not _saying_ women are stupider than men, I'm just putting the pins in a line. Even my train of thought is tenuous at best (what does the _physical size_ of a brain have to do with its intelligence? Is this single woman's brain indicative of all women?). Basically, I'm being a douche, and this is G-Dogg's attitude to Generation Y.
Also, I _heard_ the collective sigh of relief you took just then: Oh phew, just kids. Not a minority whose rights _actually matter_.
G-Dogg's main thrust (that's what she said) seems to be that the youth of today is _out of control_: They are _living in the moment_ and are _stripped of cognitive conscience_. She does this by talking a lot of shit before getting to her point (about 30 minutes or more than half way through her talk). Again, because her arguements are based on loose connections and wondering aloud, it's hard to pin down _what she is trying to say_, only that her pins are in the line. She's definitely having a go at gaming, even though a lot of the examples she uses are what I see as being _positive_ influences on Generation Y, she clearly concludes the exact opposite.
bq. These are issues we should be talking about
She says this in reference to a person talking about his gaming addiction. He talks about how "whatever addictive quality [the NES] had quickly took hold of [him]". I guess that means he played video games? He's clearly trying to be sensationalist, and isn't talking about gaming addiction in any serious context. He talks about the NES being an "alternate existence". The NES. Considering he doesn't even talk about a particular game but a console instead has me raising eyebrows. He sounds like he's just making this shit up. Yes, he's talking about the same thing all us gamers speak _fondly_ of: Spending slightly too many hours playing X on the NES, only _he doesn't even mention the game_, and claims the experience was negative. Whatever he did, he can make films now. I wonder if he could've done that if he _didn't_ play video games. The story falls apart when he claims that he's "a video game addict, and it's not because [he's] spent a certain number of hours playing"... OK STOP.
In that case I'm addicted to cigarettes, and it's not because of _how many I've smoked, it's because I've had life-altering experiences in smoking areas_. However, even he says something interesting during the cllip:
bq. Play enough video games and you will really believe you can snowboard, fly a plane, drive a nine-second quarter-mile, or kill a man.
If you listen to what G-Dogg was talking about earlier regarding test subjects being asked to _play a piano_ versus being asked to _imagine playing a piano_, and how it affects the brain, I could argue that if you play enough video games you could _actually_ know how to snowboard, fly a plane, drive a nine-second quarter-mile, or kill a man. In fact, the US military's _banking_ on the final one. Play the right games and kids these days could grow up to be doctors before they even get to medical school. Of course, she doesn't follow this line of thinking.
She instead talks about books, what she grew up with (clearly we all want to be more like her). She quotes Kevin Kennedy who is patently wrong in the first line, where he says "Screen culture is a world of constant flux, of endless sound bites, quick cuts, and half baked ideas. It is a flow of gossip, tidbits, news headlines and floating first impressions". I could say the same about G-Dogg's talk, but the fact of the matter is, _bullshit_ transcends its medium. Even though it's also on TV, tabloid Journalism gets it's name from the written form. The second line is much better:
bq. Notions don't stand alone but are massively interlinked to everything else; truth is not delivered by authors and authorities... _but is assembled by the audience_.
I'm going to go one step further and state that _truth is always assembled by an audience_. That is to say, _you shouldn't believe everything (or anything) you read_. Again, G-Dogg doesn't go in that direction. Paraphrasing, she says "books, they are freaking sweet". Because, again, this is just vile prejudice, she talks about the book "Everything bad is good for you":http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Bad-Good-Steven-Johnson/dp/1594481946%3FSubscriptionId%3D08WX39XKK81ZEWHZ52R2%26tag%3Dws%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D1594481946, where Steven Johnson argues that playing video games _increases the IQ of the player_. But, she "counters", _some people think multi-tasking is good, and you clearly don't want a toilet seat in your office_. Zing! But seriously folks, she shows a picture of a brain. Good news, but she doesn't make a link between multi-tasking and playing video games. When playing video games you generally _only_ play the game. In fact, I'm under the impression that gamers can actually concentrate on a task for _longer_ than a non-gamer. She also mentions Ritalin, but again, the link is tenuous at best.
Now she does something which just flat out pisses me off -- she lies to the audience pretty much straight to their face. She shows a trailer for Project Entropia, which, like all trailers has a lot of fade-to-white and techno music. Then she says "Are you tired by that? Imagine what would that do to your synapses, do you think, if you were doing that 6 to 7 hours in a day?" Doing what for 6 to 7 hours in a day? Watching a trailer for an MMO? Over and over again, or do I get to watch _different_ trailers? Is she implying that's what the game is like? She "[suggests] that one of the changes is a shorter attention span and a world that instead of being metaphorical... is much more primitive(?) that raw sensation, that excitement". She knows as well as anyone that the game is not like that. It's a freaking MMO, it's going to be dull and lifeless, like G-Dogg's hair. She goes on to suggest that gamers, like children, are more easily distracted. Her tiny female brain cannot fathom how wrong she is...
She goes on to make bigger and more ridiculous claims: You can't create metaphors _visually_. I think she probably hasn't looked at paintings, or watched movies, or played any games, because it shows a lack of understanding of these mediums. If you were from a different culture, she claims, you couldn't understand the idea of honour through a picture, or a movie, or a game, not realising that if you spoke another language, you could _never_ understand what honour is from the word itself. She puts up Onimusha and claims that you learn nothing about honour from this game, when in fact you'd probably learn a great deal you _couldn't possibly learn while reading a book_. That is to say, you couldn't possibly learn things through _content_ that you can learn through _process_, whereas she is claiming the opposite.
She mentions second life briefly.
When I recovered from my coma, she put up a caricature of Blogger, Flickr, Youtube, and Twitter (incidentally, she's totally right about you crazy cat people!). When she talks about twitter, it's immediately apparent that she doesn't quite understand what it is:
bq. What kind of people, what kind of identity do these people have that they need constant reassurance -- a readout of the most banal things they're doing... Who cares really?
This exemplifies her attitude: She doesn't care. She doesn't understand and she doesn't care, and most importantly, she doesn't respect the people who are using these mediums enough to _assume_ the best of them. Rather she assumes the worst, that somehow reading a book makes you smart and participating in an activity, whether social or interactive, somehow disengages you from the world.
bq. What have they done? They've blown their minds. They're _out of_ their minds. They've... let... themselves... go.
When I started driving a manual it was complicated as fuck. In fact, it's the only thing I've learnt as an adult where I've had to re-train my brain and muscles. I can imagine that walking would've been as difficult. Now it is second nature, and the difference is extraordinary. Whereas before I saw a thousand things I needed to do in order to drive, I now see the extra control I get, and the complex movement and high level thinking fades away into (roughly) co-ordinated movements and simple, rational decision making. Because G-Dogg doesn't understand the world she's in any more, she can only see it as complex, as non-sensical, as overflowing the sensory information so people can lose control. Only we haven't lost control. It's second nature to us. What we see as a calm and rational world is chaos to her. Perhaps she is the one who needs to grow up and understand the future.