Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Peer Pressure

"Interesting how gaming was once seen as a somewhat niche and even a bit shameful activity for quite a long time (and still hasn't totally shaken the stigma, maybe), it's interesting how the practical skills that people have developed through gaming are being applied and are being shown to have benefits in quite a few practical fields now" ~ Core Gazer

Stigma? Where?

Rather interesting to find this in my Facebook feed less than an hour after I was ranting to my daughter on the phone about how gaming is now considered not only an OK thing to do as a hobby, but by those of all ages. GMTA.

Yes, 20 years ago it was a leisure time pursuit of young people, mostly, but they are 20 years older now and still playing. It's now perfectly natural, normal, and acceptable to find a middle-class, middle-aged married couple enjoying a game together.

And why not? 50 years ago a similar couple would have played cards. It's the same thing.

It has become so much part of normal life that the words "gaming" and "gamers" have come into existence. And nobody bats an eyelid to their usage. Not even me.

But now we have the opposite thing happening. Now you get the Spanish Inquisition if you DON'T play games.

I was actually criticized recently for not being willing to play XBox with my grandson. It wasn't in fun. It was essentially a judgement on my worth as a grandparent. As I am neither a "typical" grandparent, nor do I care about the views of others on my worth in anything, I told them to fuck off.

Anyway, that's by the by. It was not the criticism I objected to really, it was the whole

"It's what everybody does, what's your problem? What have you got against gaming?"


OK, so pay attention:

For the 30,000th time I have nothing against gaming, gamers, or games. You do what you please in your spare time, and I'll do what I please in mine.

My not enjoying your choice of hobby is no judgement of it. I have not criticized you. All the criticism has been coming the other way, actually. And I even took that in my stride. But I don't want to play, thank you, and have a nice day.

Same applies to many other things. I won't bother listing them. You've read my Golf blog anyway.


When I was a teenager it was daring and forbidden and respectable people didn't do it. Some of my friends did, and got into a lot of trouble. The respectable middle class, middle aged people were highly critical of any and all pot smokers.

Now they are middle-aged and still enjoying it, and whatever floats your boat. Do I criticize? No.

When they discover it's something I have never partaken, they are surprised, but they are not satisfied with being surprised. Suddenly I'm something lesser. Not adventurous enough, must be conservative, or whatever.

Doesn't matter that I support the campaign for legalization. No. That's not enough.

I don't join in, and that's wrong. I must secretly be critical of them. They behave as if I'm against them, despite no evidence that I am. Again, the criticism comes my way.

I could find plenty of other examples, but let's just say that many things have gone full circle. From being on the fringe to being acceptable. Well on their way to mainstream. And because I didn't go with the flow I must be in opposition.

(Insert some sort of emoticon of eyes rolling here, despite the fact I can't roll my eyes. It hurts.)

You know what? If you are so sensitive about the things that you do, that you need everyone else to do it too, to justify it, that's NOT my problem. That's your problem.

My daughter raised another one. Once upon a time you were a social anomaly if you didn't smoke. Now you are a pariah if you do. What happened there?

I remember the pressure, as a teenager in the early seventies, everyone wanted you to join in their new found rebellious habit. Had no effect on me, peer pressure just sort of slides off me. I was amused though..... no...... I was FASCINATED by this need to a) want to be like everyone else, and/or b) want to encourage others to join in (whatever it was), i.e. to make everyone else like them. Leaders or followers, they were all sheep.

Obviously, as a non-smoker I am happy that it's rarer these days, that most places are smoke-free, that fresh air is becoming fashionable again (although apparently replaced by scented candles in some homes, don't get me started). But I have to stand back and just furrow my brow at how people can do a 180 turn in their attitude.

Because what's happening is that their preferences are being guided by trends instead of their own real feelings. WTF is that all about?

And yes, we know WHY young people "join in", be it smoking, or the way they dress, or the slang they use, or the people they bully, or the music they listen to, or whatever. Because they want friends. They want to be liked. Except the people who are trying to get them to join in are not friends, they are pushers, and the reason they are pushing it is their own insecurity (see a and b in bold, above).

We also know that many young people aren't strong enough to resist peer pressure, or have yet to clue in to the big scam that it is.

But you'd think by the time they reached middle-age they'd have caught on.

So when I run into people my own age who look down on me for not following the crowd, I feel sorry for them, and that's the truth. They still haven't broken free. Sure, they may be doing exactly what it is they want to do, freely, without recrimination, AT LAST. And power to them.

Nevertheless, until they don't need me to join in, until they stop caring about what others do, they're still in the teenage trap.

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