What if Videogames Had Died in 1983?

18 11 2009

I really like Kyle Orland. As a games journalist his quiet ambition for pushing games journalism beyond what it is is matched an underappreciated talent. Sometimes though even a good writer can miss the boat. That’s what I think happened in his interesting but underthought series of What if? articles at Crispy Gamer. In the articles, Orland attempts to look at key gaming moments and ask what might have happened had a different course been taken. Some of the questions he asks are interesting ones — What if Magnavox had decided to enforce Ralph Baer’s patent for a “television gaming apparatus” and gone on to become the almost monopolistic holder of the video game industry through its Odyssey 3 system? What if Nintendo had never released the Game Boy? That sort of thing. It’s an interesting concept, but Orland doesn’t really think some of the implications of the questions he’s asking through.

Take for example his segment on what if Atari had avoided the videogame crash in 1983 and gone on to face Nintendo. He posits that a forward thinking Nolan Bushnell pushes the development of the Atari 2700 — a more advanced console replacement for the 2600 that would be backward-compatible with 2600 cartridges. The console takes the market by storm and Atari survives to push upstart newcomer Nintendo into a corner of the market by 1990. What he misses in this posit is that the Atari 2700 actually existed and it was a disaster. It was called the Atari 5200 and while unlike the Orland’s fictional 2700 unit it wasn’t compatible with 2600 cartridges, that wasn’t really the deciding factor in its eventual death. The 5200 had the horsepower to compete against both the Intellivision (which it was designed to destroy) and the Colecovision (which had more graphic power but horrible controllers). Even without the backwards compatibility, the 5200 was certainly no disaster right out of the gate and after the unit was redesigned to accept 2600 cartridges could have been a success under the care of a competently run company.

The issue was really the glut of poor Atari 2600 software, the proximate cause of the great videogame crash of 1983-84 from which the Western industry almost didn’t recover. Orland’s 2700 system — even with backward compatibility — doesn’t address this problem. Indeed, it actually makes it worse because one of the first things a 2700 user would do would be to buy the bargain basement software that was currently flooding store shelves because it would be cheaper than the newer 2700 software. That would have killed the 2700 through word-of-mouth much faster than the 5200 died in the real world thanks to corporate stupidity and neglect. The institutional rot at Atari was already a foregone conclusion by 1983 and the innovation that eventually saved the Western side of the business – the Nintendo Seal of Quality – only came about because the fledgling Nintendo of America had learned the lessons of the crash. Without the crash, it’s extremely doubtful that Atari would have come up with the idea of licensing third-party software developers for the 2700 by virtue of the fact that they never thought of it for the 5200.

More importantly, Orland misses one of the real “what if?” scenarios that jumps out of Atari’s crash and burn – the fact that even if Atari had managed to survive the great crash it would not have gone on to face off against Nintendo – it would have survived by becoming Nintendo! In 1983, Atari under the “leadership” of Ray Kassar was on the verge of inking a deal with Nintendo to distribute Donkey Kong on home computers – a deal that was designed to be the precursor to Atari distributing Nintendo products outside of Japan. Given that Nintendo’s reason for wanting the deal was Atari’s impressive worldwide marketing apparatus, it’s entirely likely that the Famicom (which became the Nintendo Entertaiment System in the West in our world) would have been Atari-branded. That would have been the Atari 2700.

The problem with that scenario would have been – once again – a glut of poor software. Without a Nintendo Seal of Quality and a system of third-party licensing, there’s no doubt that crappy software for the 2700 would have flooded the market soon after the system was released. Regardless of the quality of the games that would be produced by Nintendo itself (we’re assuming that Atari would recognize Miyamoto’s genius and not try to slap a license on Super Mario Bros., by no means a slam-dunk), the 2700 would soon be buried in a bunch of crappy Chase-the-Chuckwagon clones. Atari would still have collapsed – albeit a year or two later and this time it would have taken Nintendo’s hope of Western expansion with it.

The result would have been a videogame drought that makes our crash in 1983-84 look like the glory days of the PS2. Nintendo in our world had a hard enough time getting into retail because of how badly retailers had been burned by the crash – they invented R.O.B. the robot specifically so they could call the system a “toy” rather than a videogame. After the crash of the Atari 2700 there isn’t a retailer in the Western hemisphere that would have touched a videogame with a 10-foot pole. Most Atari 2600 gamers would have either moved on to PC gaming as I did or simply forgotten about gaming altogether – except for dropping some quarters into the occasional old Pac-Man machine at a local 7-11 (the arcades also hit a big slump in this period from which they never really recovered). It wouldn’t have been the “end of videogames” but it’s entirely possible that gaming would never have become the relevant cultural force it eventually became. PC gaming could never have taken the place of console gaming because it wasn’t gaming that drove the adoption of the PC – it was spreadsheets.

In my mind, the true frontier of videogaming in such a world would probably have been the handheld system. In that case Nintendo, burned by the failure of the 2700 would have focused on expanding its Game & Watch line of products, introducing the first GameWatch Boy in 1986 (later the name would be shortened to just GameBoy) packed in with Tetris. About a year later the GameBoy would be rivaled by NEC’s Turbo Express and the two handheld systems would split the market between them, though NEC played second-fiddle to Nintendo until about 1995. Atari’s Game Gear – a joint venture between them and Sega – never managed better than a distant third in the marketplace.

In 1995 however, NEC would expand the capabilities of the TurboExpress by utilizing its heft as a consumer electronics company to link the TurboExpress into the burgeoning “multimedia” revolution by incorporating PCLink capabilities that allow users to download applications – including music and video files – into the newly renamed “TurboPod.” Eventually the TurboPod relegates the Gameboy into a niche as a mere gaming toy while NEC faces off against its real competition – Sony’s new line of Digital Walkmans that perform similar functions utilizing technology developed by Apple.

I think somewhere in that world I’m playing a lot of pinball.





The Tipping Point: Polanski, Moore and why Hollywood Hates You

7 10 2009

Bookmark and Share

MaryAnn Johansen of at The Flick Filosopher lists this week’s box office numbers and asks the question why the re-release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are outperforming films like Whip It and Ricky Gervais’ The Invention of Lying. At the risk of restating an obvious theme, can I put out the possibility that it’s because Hollywood hates its audience and everything they stand for? We may have finally reached the tipping point where Hollywood realizes that it’s in trouble.

Before the obvious objection, I acknowledge that this is not the only reason for the precipitous decline. There’s a lot of technological reasons. The ubiquity of home video, a new universe of entertainment choices including video games, the Internet and all sorts of homemade entertainment options has to take a bite out of Hollywood’s pie but it’d be stupid not to acknowledge that that Hollywood’s screwed-up value system has finally started to bleed over into the work itself, producing films that either insult, sucker punch or fly right over the heads of their intended audience while dripping with contempt for the people they’re trying to sell tickets to.

Take Ricky Gervais’ “The Invention of Lying.” Here’s a movie that sells itself as a quirky romantic comedy with an interesting premise (What if everyone told the truth all the time?) that then devotes it’s middle third to lecturing its audience that all of their deeply held beliefs are just convenient fictions. It’s not that I have any particular objection to Ricky Gervais making a film about his atheist beliefs, it’s he (ironically considering the subject of the movie) then has to lie to us to get us to go and see it. First with a tremendously deceptive trailer, then by trotting out the classic John Stewart “I’m just a comedian” defense in an effort to salvage the film’s sagging box office numbers. If you’re going to make an atheist screed, have the courage of your convictions and be willing to accept that maybe you’ve just limited your own box office.

This didn’t used to happen. Sure, Hollywood was always liberal — even leftist. But they used to know how to create great movies because they respected the intelligence and acumen of their audience enough to create stories for them — not thinly disguised lectures. It isn’t that the audience disagrees with you, it’s that nobody really enjoys paying $12.00 to be lectured by people who obviously hate us.

Even worse, our 24-hour news cycle celebrity-obsessed culture has simultaneously exposed the sick and twisted culture of Hollywood while at the same time holding it up as something to be admired and envied. Is it any wonder that Hollywood, a town filled with pathologically insecure, envious people desperate for the validation of others would begin to believe their own press releases? These are pathetic conformists who only exist inside a make-believe bubble and have the world telling them 24-hours a day that they’re better and more important than the regular proles who exist only to fill theater seats. It’s not wonder the arrest of Roman Rolanski inspired such outrage in the creative community. It’s not just that they arrested an artiste whose brilliant creative output puts him above such mundane concerns as a little child rape, it’s that they arrested him at a film festival! Check out this delightful passage from the petition to release Polanski.

“Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.”

When the Hell did a film festival become the equivalent of a foreign embassy? There’s no diplomatic immunity for directors! The thing is, to these people, there should be. Film festivals are where the Olympians gather to display their art. Why should they have to worry about petty matters like the law at such rarified heights?

To be fair, there are always idiots who validate this world view. They range from sycophants who can’t understand why someone would care about the forced sodomization of a 13-year old when there are wonderful movies like Chinatown to watch to the followers of Michael Moore. Moore is a millionaire capitalist whose latest film is an unvarnished plea for the overthrow of the very system that supplies him with cheap Twinkies and Ralph Lauren Polo shirts.

According to Fortune Magazine, Moore’s films have grossed over $300 million worldwide. His highest grossing film was “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which critiques the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq and earned over $200 million worldwide.

Moore reportedly was paid $21 million by Disney for producing, directing and creating the film.

Moore also earned 50 percent of the profits of his 2007 film “Sicko,” totaling $25 million plus DVD sales, according to Vanity Fair.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Moore would receive all of the profits made from DVD sales of “Sicko,” sales of which have been estimated at over $17 million.

(credit: CNS News)

One would think that Lord Moore would be concerned about his own image, considering the politics of those who believe every frame of his movies. Not so much:

The Capitalism: A Love Story premiere party was a study in decadent excess.

“The event, hosted by Esquire, doubled as the launch of the magazine’s “Ultimate Bachelor Pad,” a fully tricked-out, 11-room, nine-bathroom, 9,200-square-foot signature penthouse in SoHo, filled with flatscreens, sleek, modern furniture and luxury brands—each room meticulously designed around an advertisers’ theme. (The Hugo Boss bedroom! The Heineken lounge! The Lufthansa kitchen!)

As Esquire publisher Kevin O’Malley explains in the Esquire SoHo brochure, part of the reason that the magazine does this every year—alternating between New York and L.A.—is to meet its “advertisers’ growing need to create relevant and innovative new consumer touchpoints for their brands. Our affluent readers share a range of passions: a real desire for the best-of-class products and services that our advertisers represent.”

In other words, the pinnacle of capitalism. A fantasy in capital excess. A byproduct of the corporate greed Moore rails against in the film.

By the time Moore arrived, the party was in full swing, with revelers enjoying the 360-degree views of Lower Manhattan on the 3,000-square-foot terrace, top-shelf themed bars, sipping signature cocktails (there was a guy hired to blow dry ice on one pomegranate-and-melon-martini thing) and devouring skewers of filet mignon.

Esquire even hired models to strip down and slip into the obligatory hot tub.”

Yet Moore will get away with it because he’s our better. We need to do as he says, not as he does. And no, this is not about hypocrisy. It’s about an explicit call for the overthrow of the capitalist economic system and its replacement with the system that made economic and environmental paradises out of the old Soviet Union, Cuba and now Venezuela that he himself is not willing to participate in. Well, the leaders of the Party need their Black Sea dachas after all.

For the record, I begrudge not a single penny of the money Michael Moore has earned. It’s his. Let him keep it.

Somehow, I doubt that he would give me the same courtesy since he seems to want the government to take away yet more of MY money.

Before I sign on to Mr. Moore’s wholesale redesign of the American economy, I expect him to reduce his living standard to the equivalent of $150,000 a year and use the remainder of his money to purchase health insurance for as many uninsured families as he can afford. Socialism begins at home– his home. His multimillion dollar thousands of square-foot Sasquatch-of-a-carbon-footprint bulldozing-a-wetland home.

Somehow socialists are never willing to part with their own money while grabbing it away from those evil white RethugliKKKan businessmen.

This is the guy you want as the spokesperson for your movement?

Wondering why Hollywood is losing its box office power is like Marie Antionette in the cart wondering why everyone misinterpreted her remark about pastries.





Attention right-wing fruitcakes: You’re not helping!

1 10 2009

Bookmark and Share

From the “stopped clocks are right twice a day department” comes this story from Talking Points Memo about a Newsmax column by John L. Lewis suggesting a military coup against Obama. That last link goes to TPM’s reproduction of the column that was quickly pulled off of the Newsmax Web site. Reading it, it’s obvious that TPM is right. This is exactly the kind of incendiary speech that the Left keeps claiming that the Right is putting out there in its resistance to the Obama Administration. “They do it too!” really isn’t going to cut it on this one either. “They” are crazy. Their entire power base relies on appeals to emotion and narcissism that bypass things like logic and facts. I don’t care how many films or books they put out advocating the assassination of President Bush, we need to be better than that.

It’s not just because it’s the right thing to do, either. Consider that for all the assassination chic that came from our intellectual superiors on the left, they’re also the side that’s really big on gun control. I think one of the reasons that the right is better at controlling its crazies than the left is because we tend to live by the old Heinlein aphorism that “An armed society is a polite society.” Put simply, the right isn’t dangerous because we have guns — we have guns because we’re dangerous. When actually confronted with the details of the Obama Administration’s agenda, the people are starting to reject it. That’s good. When we wake up and take action, we’re effective. Think about it for a minute — it isn’t conservatives and libertarians who keep changing their name from “liberals” to “progressives” to whatever the left is calling itself this week. It’s still acceptable to be those things because our agenda doesn’t offend reason.

A column like this does nothing but hand a rhetorical weapon to our ideological opponents and — let’s be honest — stoke the crazies on our own side. There are a lot of reasons to oppose the Obama Administration and as the season of the tea party and the town hall rolls on, we can see what can be done within the bounds of our system. Our republic will survive Obama (and we can start by getting out and voting in the 2010 election!). What it can’t survive is the side that actually has the guns even entertaining the possibility of a junta. That is unacceptable. The Left will squawk, point and say “I told you so!” Let them. That’s what they do. Real condemnation for something like this must come from our side of the aisle.

Update: Newsmax distances itself from the article. Sigh. You don’t have to be psychic to see how this is going to play out.

9AB53AF6-FFFF-47ED-9B40-53A9CE383655_mw800_mh600





Stardock Takes a Stand for Fox News

28 09 2009

Bookmark and Share

I found this interesting, especially given the recent hullabaloo over the Shadow Complex boycott. Brad Wardell, the CEO of Stardock Software and an outspoken conservative, has decided to take a stand against UPS. UPS, the package delivery service, recently decided to drop all of its advertising with Fox News. Stardock, according to Wardell’s comments on his Facebook page, does a “non-trivial amount of shipping with UPS.” Upset by the company’s decision to pull its advertising from the network, Stardock Software will now be doing all of its physical game fulfillment through FedEx.

So now we face yet another aspect of the Shadow Complex boycott issue. What’s good for the goose and so on… If liberals can boycott things that offend them, then so can conservatives. While I doubt losing Stardock’s business will result in a significant hit to UPS’ bottom line, this doesn’t strike me as a terribly healthy phenomenon. There are lots of CEOs out there, and lots of companies much bigger than Stardock and what happens when everyone needs to start signing an ideological bill of particulars before someone else will do business with you? If I have to have my voting record perused every time I go for a job, I might as well move out of California now. As lovely as I’m sure Texas is, I have no desire to live there.

To everyone’s credit, the discussion that came about as a result of Brad’s post was pretty civilized as such things go, but the gaming industry is a pretty small neighborhood. That tends to encourage civility. The rest of Red and Blue America? Not so much.

And on a completely unrelated note, if you’re at all interested in strategy games and have never played Galactic Civilizations 2, drop what you’re doing and play it now! You’ll thank me later.

UPDATE: This story got picked up by GamePolitics which prompted Brad Wardell to e-mail with the following:

My Facebook comment was taken considerably out of context. I could care less about Glenn Beck or whether someone advertises on their show or not. But UPS is boycotting the entire channel which annoyed me enough to ask my publishing director to look into whether it was true (it was) and have them look into Fed Ex which provided competitive pricing and make use of them for our uses.

This is completely and 100% true and was true when I first put up the story. This is why this story was labeled “Stardock Takes a Stand for Fox News,” NOT “Stardock Takes a Stand for Glenn Beck.” However you feel about Fox News, I wanted to make sure that Brad’s stance was clear.

Update 2: Brad Wardell comments on his personal blog

new-2





Is it Right to Boycott? Peter David Responds to “The Turn of an Unfriendly Card”

9 09 2009

One of the great things about living in the Internet age is sometimes the little bit of attention you garner for your work can draw in the very people you’re discussing to put in their two cents. That’s what happened with my Angry Bear article “Turn of an Unfriendly Card (Read the original article here.) In the comments I came across a response by none other than Peter David himself who has a decidedly different take on the whole issue. Here’s what he wrote:

I think you make a lot of valid points in your very balanced and well-reasoned view of the situation (and thanks for the shout out on my work on X-Factor.)

The one place where we diverge, I suppose, is whether boycotts are a free speech issue. I feel they most definitely are, because the endgame (as you put it) is ultimately to restrict free speech. They are designed to put people who have voiced unpopular ideas out of business, and they are designed to make sure that anyone who possesses unpopular ideas think twice or three times about saying anything for fear of facing economic sanctions and potential loss of livelihood. The underlying strength of a free society is, “I disagree with what you have to say, but will defend to the death your right to say it,” not, “I disagree with what you have to say, and will do everything in my power to punish you for saying it.”

Should free speech mean freedom from consequences? Well, no. But the answer to free speech is always more free speech, and that should be the only consequence of speaking your mind. Boycotts are not free speech, no matter how much the practitioners of them claim that they are. Boycotts–particularly as utilized by those who take issue with opinions that are in opposition to theirs–are attempts to bludgeon someone into submission economically.

It’s not that people are offended because, for instance, the CEO of Whole Foods has opinions they don’t like. They’re offended because they KNOW his opinions, and the reason they know them is because he availed himself of free speech in a free society. So they’ll boycott Whole Foods and shop at Pathmark or Shop & Stop, and for all they know the CEO of the former is opposed to gay marriage and the CEO of the latter thinks that abortion should be criminalized. So unless they’re performing due diligence to check and see the corporate record of every store they’re frequenting, I’m forced to conclude that this is entirely about free speech, because it’s the use of free speech that’s getting people in trouble and it’s the intolerance of free speech that’s causing the boycotts.

I suppose what it comes down to is this: Protecting popular ideas is easy. Unpopular ideas are the ones that need the most protecting, if for no other reason than that many of the ideas we accept today as truth or even simple common sense, began their existence as unpopular ideas. The Church boycotted Galileo because he opined that the Earth moved around the sun; is that really the lead we want to follow?

PAD

As much as I respect Mr. David, I’m afraid this is an issue where he and I are going to have to disagree. I told him so in an e-mailed reply:

“Boycotts aren’t free speech. What they ARE are other elements of freedom that are just as important — freedom of association, freedom of commerce and freedom of conscience. Note that none of those things necessarily make boycotts moral or ethical to use but by your argument I give up some freedoms (association, commerce, conscience) to protect the freedom of speech of a man I disagree with.

1xfv1

I’d have to reject that. I don’t believe my choice to buy or not buy a game prevents Card from saying what he will. If he chooses to modify his speech in the face of such things, that too is the free market in action and it works for both the right and the left. I have the right to, for example, choose to purchase my groceries only at markets owned by Caucasians or refuse to buy a game created by a designer who has donated to the Republican party (bye bye Sims!) and I should bear the full moral burden of exercising those rights (including the disapproval and possible boycott of those who disapproved of my actions). In doing so though, I don’t believe anyone else’s rights are endangered. These interactions are how societies get ordered in the first place.”

Peter responded again with the following:

I don’t think boycotts are free speech either. We don’t disagree on that point. What I was pointing out was that people who believe in boycotts contend that they ARE a form of free speech, of free expression, equal to and on par with voicing one’s opinion through the media or on line or wherever. And that if someone says something or puts forward an opinion that they find disagreeable, then it is an equal and appropriate response to declare that they are going to cease supporting that individual’s work and, even better, try to get as many people as possible to follow suit.

Except it’s not. Boycotts are not free speech (as you yourself say). They are a punitive measure designed specifically to get someone else to shut up, or to destroy their income in retaliation. Does the act of buying or not buying a game prevent Card from saying what he will? No. But it is an ATTEMPT to STOP him from saying what he will. It is an attempt to punish him for doing so. What else is punishment except trying to ensure that the target of the punishment ceases the behavior that the person inflicting the punishment finds disagreeable?

To say, “I have the right” to shop wherever you wish is utterly beside the point. I’m not contending that you don’t have the right. But just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do something. If you truly believe in a free market society, then where you shop should not be determined (to use your example) by the color of the shop owner’s skin. It should be determined by who has the best product for the best price. Everything else is beside the point unless you choose to make it the point.

Boycotts that are started up purely to shut people up have a chilling effect in a society that is supposed to value the free exchange of ideas. There’s a superb book on the subject by Nat Hentoff: “Freedom of Speech for Me, But Not For Thee.” It’s about the lengthy history of the right and the left to shut each other up.

I didn’t want to respond directly to Peter (though he is, of course welcome to elaborate further and I’ll be happy to print it) because I think we’ve each outlined where our disagreements are and while we’re actually not that far apart, they come right to the crux of the morality of using boycotts. Put in simple terms, each of us agrees that boycotts are a private act and as such, shouldn’t be subject to some sort of government interference. Each of us as individuals have the “right” to boycott. The question is — and this is what I was wrestling with in the article — is it “right” to boycott? Is it morally and ethically correct and if so, what are the rules for doing so? These are the questions we as a society are not answering, although Peter’s already given his. He says “no, boycotts aren’t moral.” I envy him that level of clarity because I haven’t found my answer yet.

In a larger sense, we’re throwing economic clubs and brickbats at each other and we don’t seem to be concerned with where they’re landing. It’s really easy to envision a future where every corporation and small business has to have a position paper on every controversial issue in the public domain in order to do business at all. That is after all, what the “Buy Blue” campaign was all about and is what powers sites like Buy Blue USA (no commercial endorsement implied in that link). I don’t think I like that very much and I’m a little frightened about whether we can get off the ugly road we seem to be on.

On a lighter note, if you’re interested in Mr. David’s work, why not check out his blog? I’m also adding it to my blogroll at the right.

Bookmark and Share





If a Communist Falls in the White House and There’s No Microphone To Hear It, Does He Make a Sound?

6 09 2009

A cautionary note on Van Jones

It seems that Van Jones is resigning. Well, good. In typical Obama fashion it was a quiet deed done in the dead of night with no one around to hear the wheels of the bus go thumpty thump over a man who’s motto seems to be “better-red-than-dead.” Allow me to sound a cautionary note to those that are currently parading around the halls in triumph — Van Jones was low-hanging fruit. Hiring him was the kind of galactically stupid move only someone who’s never actually run anything other than a political campaign would make. It dovetails nicely with the colossal level of incompetence the Administration’s shown over the last nine months.

The thing is, this won’t last. Obama’s greatest weakness is that he no longer has a higher office to campaign for so he’s finally being forced to actually try to deliver. He’s not stupid, though. It’s a mark of just how powerful Obama’s position is — especially when it comes to the legacy media — is that what’s seen as a triumph for the Right is occurring in the dead of night with nary a peep from the New York Times and outright flackery from CBS.

Obamagician

Put simply, the Obama Administration will never be weaker than it is right now. If over the next year or so up until the mid-term elections the opposition can’t get it’s act together, articulate a coherent alternative that turns the Republicans into a party worth voting for and translate Obama’s mistakes into electoral victories, than low-level triumphs like this are all we have to look forward to for the rest of our soujourn in the political wilderness. Enjoy the moment, folks. I don’t want to take it away from you, but Obama’s still President for the next three years. This fight’s far from over.

If you’re looking for a great round-up of Van Jones goodness, you might want to hit up Stacy McCain’s site.

Edd Dricoll’s got lots of good stuff too.

Bookmark and Share





And The Latest Person Kicked From the Raid…

5 09 2009

Would be Van Jones, President Obama’s “green jobs” czar. As has been making the rounds in the right-wing blogosphere, it seems that Mr. Jones has shall we say — a somewhat sinister view of the events of 9/11 (H/T Five Feet of Fury’s Kathy Shaidle). Oh, it hasn’t happened yet and it still might not, but given Mr. Obama’s predilection for jettisoning “inconvenient” people the moment that they’re no longer of use to him, I’d say that Mr. Jones is probably being encouraged to “spend more time with his family” right about now.

It’s actually funny. As Stacy McCain points out:

And yet, somehow, despite all his success, this Ivy League-educated Fortunate Son sees nothing but misery and oppression everywhere. Am I the only one who finds this bizarre?

That would only be because Mr. McCain has never raided with someone like Van Jones. I have. To extend the whole Obama Administration as a bad raid metaphor, Van Jones is the kind of raider that whines and cries and fiddles with the DKP system to make sure he gets twice as many points as anybody else in the guild and then complains that “it’s not fair!” when the boss doesn’t drop any equipment for his class. No matter how close he is to the guild leader, eventually everyone else is gonna kick him out because every time he opens his mouth he runs down the guild’s reputation.

In honor of Mr. McCain’s Rule 5 and the bent of this blog, I am putting up a picture of a sexy Night Elf from World of Warcraft. Post continues after this.

1571654953_1b90430f8b

In more real-world terms, there’s a subsection of the left who have made their bones and fortunes using interest group grievances and get caught flat-footed when they’re suddenly thrust into a position where results actually matter. Actually strike that. He’s the “green jobs czar.” His results don’t matter but they will be measured which is roughly the same level of kryptonite. What’s happening to Jones is probably what would happen if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton were forced to get a real job. Or a job.

Given that the Obama’s social circle seems to be filled with these sorts of people and their vetting process is less than stellar (and why haven’t those people been fired?) this is probably going to keep happening. So far, the only people who seem to be completely safe in the Obama Administration are Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs. Gibbs is probably safe because he’s basically Renfield to Emanuel’s Count Dracula and Emanuel — well, because he’s Dracula.

And yes — this post was generated in shameless subservience to Rule 2.

Bookmark and Share







Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.