Political Gamer-Hate

Colleen Lachowicz was attacked by the Maine GOP for playing an Orc Rouge in World Of Warcraft. It's ridiculous that politics has come to this, and shame on them for trying to turn online gaming use into an issue. But Lachowicz herself didn't help matters any; as a politician, she should be savvy enough to know that posting things like “Now if you'll excuse me, I may have to go hunt down Grover Norquist and drown HIM in my bath tub” is tremendously unwise.

It’s 2012, guys, and you’d think that by now, a lot of social ills would have been cured: homophobia, racism, sexism, world hunger…

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Gamer-Hate?

Unfortunately not. And how counter-intuitive! Gaming is becoming mainstream fare, after all. And even though there are negative connotations attached to the hobby, they’re certainly not scandalous or salacious enough to constitute being used as a notorious October Surprise, right? Political October Surprises of yore include the revelation that George W. Bush has a DUI on his record and that President Obama had a relative living in the U.S illegally in 2008 (but was granted asylum in the U.S in 2010) . Totally not on par.

Psych, yeah, it is.

It is so rogue, in fact, that the Maine GOP was compelled to create an entire website to warn voters about  needlessly demonize a Senate candidate who enjoys playing a little World of Warcraft.

See ColleensWorld: A site populated by years-old posts make on WoW forums by Democrat Colleen Lachowicz. ColleensWorld capitalizes on the antiquated, offensive notion that gamers are unproductive, violent layabouts who reject the real world in favor of fantasy. Among the posts taken out of context:

“So I’m a level 68 orc rogue girl. That means I stab things…a lot…Who would have thought that a peace-lovin’, social worker and democrat would enjoy that?!”

Who among us hasn’t said something like that regarding our in-game person? In fact, just yesterday, I said that I really like shooting my foes with my Ranger in Guild Wars 2. Naeima shoots things. Imayen, conversely, has not and probably would never pick up a bow, let alone shoot one. The Maine GOP is appealing to their base, however, who may hold fast to inaccurate stereotypes. And, of course, it is to be expected that they would employ the by any means necessary to make themselves look more fit for office. For this reason, I have to place some blame on Lachowicz herself.

“Politicians would never throw low blows or run comments out of context to exploit the fears of their constituency!”

…said no one, ever.

Anything you say can be switched up and turned about to make you look like a nut – let’s be for real here. It is bad enough for the layman, when your Facebook status update can be used as gossip fodder. I’m pretty conservative on social networks for that reason. Multiply this need for discretion by a million (give or take) for a politician. The political sphere is primarily for mudslinging (as opposed to getting shit done), and your opponent is going to be on the lookout for something to spin and release without proper context. Don’t give them something as golden as:

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I may have to go hunt down Grover Norquist and drown HIM in my bath tub.”

That plays right into an established prejudice and is extremely unwise.

It’s low down how the Maine GOP exploited innocuous comments about an MMO, and they should be more focused on her politics than how she spends her down time. Lachowicz should have been on her game, though. Hopefully being a gamer won’t kill her campaign.

Remember: Anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of politics.

What say you? Is anything put on a publicly-accessible forum fair political fodder?

 

 


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Author
Imayen Etim
Imayen Etim is a freelance writer and GameSkinny contributor based in Gainesville, Florida. She can be contacted at imayen.e [at] gmail.com