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March 12, 2010


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Andy Havens

Question for the academy: are sports real?

They're played in real life, but they are games. Right? People get paid (sometimes) to play them. Whole industries and media revolve around them. But they are...



I'm a writer and marketing guy and designer by trade. I've spent 85% of my career using words and images to overlay meaning on top of mediated communications related to the buying and selling of stuff. Is that real? The words were written on computers. The images are in Photoshop and InDesign and on Web pages. Is any of it real? None of it can be eaten, worn or lived beneath... but I've made a comfy living at it. And I've helped sell services that contribute to others' lives.

Was that all a dream?

When I play Magic the Gathering with my son on the dining-room table, is that real? We also play on the Xbox. Is that less real?

These discussions make me tired. Life is life. It's all real. Calling it "virtual reality" just makes it easy for lazy reporters to make inane distinctions.

Novels are VR. Sports is VR. Movies are VR. Plays, TV, ads, songs.

In one sense, anything related to language is virtual reality, as words are not the things they describe, are transient and open to multiple meanings.

My avatar, my checkbook, my journal, my diploma. My life. All of which is tired on this Friday (arbitrary, virtual designation) afternoon.

Carl Roberts

The Korean couple were obviously suffering from mental trauma/exhaustion/stupidity. Had they chosen exercise as their drug of choice, I doubt that there would be such a media firestorm over the issue.

I am a school teacher (argument by authority), and let me tell you something: parents neglecting their children is more common than anyone will admit.

More than a clash between worlds, there is a generational clash over the identity of the digital meme. The Baby Boomers, horrified at their inability to wield the reigns of power, are seeking a scapegoat for their collective failure.

Look for more fear mongering and finger-pointing in the decades to come.

Bryan Alexander

Well said, Andy. I thought the "but is it real?" stuff was left behind in the 1990s.
...your sports analogy is *excellent*. I'm going to use it.

Agreed, Carl. It's typical of fearsome internet journalism to foreground the presence of technology, then minimize everything else.
...agreed about generations, too. Say more about the Boomers? Surely the generation including folks like Howard Rheingold, Sit Tim Berners-Lee, and Ted Nelson would be better at this.


Awesome post!

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