Personal Preferences and Media Consumption

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Back on this date in 2017, I asked the following question on Facebook:

Parents: How much do personal preferences play a role in what media your child consumes?

The general response was that personal parental preferences play a huge role in what media a child consumes. I know that for years, in my home, I have curated and encouraged consumption of specific video games, shows, and movies. Part of that is me being an engaged parent; the other part of that is wanting to show my son what quality media looks and feels like.

Super Mario Odyssey represents quality media.

Over the years, my son has watched a few shows that have driven me nuts. There has been nothing wrong with these shows, content-wise, but the voice acting and plotlines just seemed inane. Something I’ve had to learn, as a parent, is that sometimes my kid is going to like something I do not.

The big bad video game, in my house lately, has been Fortnite. A typical match looks like:

  • Picking a place on the map to start out in
  • Scavenging for weapons
  • Trying not to make a lot of noise and survive
  • Engaging fellow players with the weapons I’ve collected while trying not to become a victim of the virtual Hunger Games.

I have found that I enjoy the satisfaction of staying alive and making it into the final 5 players alive. Knowing that 95 other players have been eliminated and that I’m one of the few remaining is a good feeling. But I dislike how aimless Fortnite otherwise feels. I dislike the lack of direction, objectives, and how I have to make my own fun while surviving at the same time.

Fortnite does not fit my personal gaming preferences. This has taken me awhile to realize/put into words. But I’ve learned that there are times, as a parent, where you need to be quiet and explore the things your kids love. I may dislike Fortnite for many reasons, but I enjoy the time I get to play with my son. I have to focus on that positive, co-op play, and ignore the “we could be playing such-and-such game instead because that game is designed better” thoughts. Play in the moment, right?

Gamers Are Stupid

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(Dear Reader, Please take a literal minute to view the above source material. You’ll thank me later. Promise. – B)

Grab yer pitchforks! Equip a torch or flashlight? Best prepare. We have now entered the land of the 700 Club. Where the still breathing Pat Robertson reigns. Doing good. Fighting the fight.

A viewer writes in:

Recently, I was looking through my daughter’s phone, and I found many pictures of a cartoon skeleton with one glowing blue eye and wearing a hoodie. When I asked my daughter why she had such demonic images on her phone, she told me there was nothing wrong with it because it was from a video game. How do I help my daughter not be attracted to such demonic things?

Pat Robertson was born during the Great Depression. Public Works project Hoover Dam, the dust bowl, and prohibition were headlines on March 22, 1930. Movies were the accepted gateway to escape, a retreat from harsh times. Video games a dream of dreams.

There’s got to be some video game that isn’t so evil, but those things are filled with violence…and brutality, it’s unreal.

Why would any self-respecting gamer expect an 85 year old to understand video games? Especially Pat Robertson. Gamers are stupid.

As Twitter lit up with this video yesterday (11/3), the bandwagon hitched, and Robertson declared a fool. But what wasn’t questioned, beyond Pat’s demonic assumption, is what are “demonic images”? This is where Pat failed. He ran with a blanket term and commented on a video game he knew nothing about. His viewer failed him; he failed his viewer.

Video game headlines on Pat Robertson are low hanging fruit. “Hey, let’s see what that crazy Christian guy is up to today.” I wish Pat had taken the time to dig deeper. To weigh his words. Gamers can be stupid. Don’t feed them, Pat.

Life After 9/11: The Avengers

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Living in a post-9/11 world, I view the world through a different lens. This past weekend I finally had a chance to sit down and watch The Avengers with my wife. As the movie raced towards its world-ending conclusion, with a portal opening above New York City, I found myself drawn out of the movie’s fantasy and into reality.

Helpless bystanders were running through the city streets, trying to evade the destruction going on around them. New York City was in havoc.  As taxi cabs were blasted through the air and skyscrapers were torn asunder, I became uncomfortable. I remembered scenes of people fleeing the dust cloud on 9/11; I remembered the repeated video footage of the planes that flew into the twin towers.

I don’t think I’ve ever realized just how much my perception of life has changed since 9/11. Even the movies that I used to think were fun, big budget action films, are tainted in messy reality.

Side Note: With all of the above being said, did anyone else notice that despite the falling debris from the skyscrapers, there was no dust in the air? The end scenes from The Avengers would have been almost unviewable had reality ruled. Hurray for viewable fantasy!

Super 8

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While my wife was busy prepping for school last night, I watched J.J. Abram’s Super 8 for the first time. I had a blast!

Behold, the lens flare of doom!

While the movie clearly felt like an older Steven Spielberg movie, the pacing and visuals easily surpassed his earlier works. I have to say that I enjoyed the clever camera shots that hid the “monster” until the appropriate time. I also loved the overarching theme of kids making a movie. Reminded me of all the films I tried to make as a kid with my friends.

I would have been the chunky kid…that eventually thinned out with time. 🙂

There was one particular scene, in the movie, that got to me a bit. Reminded me of how awesome it is to have home movies, especially of those that we love that have passed away.

This past June, on a vacation to see my parents in Southern California, my wife and I happened to spend an evening watching old home videos. In the videos, I saw grandparents who are long deceased moving, talking, and acting with all their memorable mannerisms. It made me cry.

Watching Super 8 reminded me of that night with my wife. Strip away the monster plot and Super 8 is all about a father and son living in the emotional aftermath of losing a wife/mother. What I most enjoyed about the film is that it focused on its simple human story, even when the town was being blown a part by the cliched “evil” military. Movies that are bold enough to be quiet and thoughtful are a rarity. Regardless of what critics or what you might even think, I enjoyed my night with Super 8 on Netflix.

UP

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Sat down last night and watched a bit of Pixar’s UP with my son. Ever since I first saw the movie, I have been wary of watching it again due to its emotional impact–yeah, UP makes me cry, I admit it–. Watching UP with my son, I cried so hard when the couple found out that they couldn’t have children. However, I was reminded that my wife and I have been blessed with a little boy. In that moment, I hugged him tight and told him that I loved him. Thank you Pixar for reminding me of what I have and to treasure the boring moments in life.