A Humble Suggestion to John Edwards (and Stephen Colbert)
Peter Tatara - April 10, 2007
I have been on the internet for a long time. My family was the first in my grade school to get a modem. During high school, my computer taught me the shape of a woman and how to make a bomb out of only a banana and a stick of dynamite. But my computer's lessons stopped here. I had (and continue to have) a Mac. What does this mean? It means it's an adorable and thought-out machine with the best creative hardware and software on the planet. What it also means is that it doesn't play games. Sure, there are games for the Mac, but they're few and far between.
Because of this, I was never part of the MMORPG craze. Going online with several thousand complete assholes and strangers to slay a low-polygon dragon and then do it all over again? I don't see the appeal here. But you know who does?
Politicians. Well, crappy politicians.
Second Life, an open-ended MMORPG without any dragons, allows you to build a digital facsimile of yourself and do all the mundane shit you do in real life -- online. Fun, no? The game's creators claim it has millions of users, Reuters has a news bureau there, and Coldwell Banker's recently started selling virtual land. What's more, U2 has given a concert in Second Life and John Edwards even gave a digital stump speech. The speech, by all accounts, was a disaster -- with Second Life residents wandering up on stage, asking Edwards his stance on furries, and getting busy in the seats.
I was speaking to an acquaintance about this recently. We'll call him, as he was called online during his college days, Lord Omnicock. Lord Omnicock rightfully criticized Edwards for his both tepid and pandering Second Life appearance, and he realistically put that if a presidential candidate wants to gain some gamer credibility, he's not going to get it from Second Life. Lord Omnicock, though, did propose a sound alternative. World of Warcraft. Second Life claims to have millions of players, but World of Warcraft does. Owning the majority of the MMORPG market, World of Warcraft has multiple-millions of subscribers in the United States and around the world. Chinese peasants are paid to dig up virtual gold. The World of Warcraft economy surpasses the Russian GDP. It's big. And to get noticed (and not snickered at) by the gaming community, Lord Omnicock suggests John Edwards sign up.
Now, I'm not implying Edwards or any candidate should create a greying suit-clad digital copy of themselves in World of Warcraft. No. Edwards should play as Elf Duke EdWARBRINGERds. You understand? He should play the game. I want to see Edwards, astride a griffin, leading a raid on the Horde fortress Hammerfall. If the raid's successful, the White House is his in 2008.
I, taking full credit for Lord Omnicock's plan, floated this idea by a friend who majored in politics for two years in college before dropping out to get a feel for how the Washington establishment would react to my proposal. He didn't think it would fly. I gave him $5. He thought it over and said he could get behind it. (In case you missed it, that was a bit of theatre parodying how American democracy works.)
Also, after beginning this article, I've learned that French presidential candidates Segolene Royal and Jean-Marie Le Pen both appeared online and, rather than debating each other in cyberspace, chased one another around lobbing -- I swear -- "pig grenades" at each other. In an appeal to your most jingoistic nature, are we going to let the French get away with this? For truth, for justice, and for the American way, we must petition Obama, Hillary, Biden, Dodd, McCain, and Giuliani to pick up World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
Pundits harp endless on America's youth not giving a shit about politics, but the moment you've got Master Druid Obamanator locking magic staff against the war axe of Sir Giulianicus the Red, the problem's solved. So, write to Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Bill O'Reilly, and Stephen Colbert. More, tell them to sign on themselves. Do I actually think anything will become of this beyond Mage Baron ColbertasaurusXXX? No, and that's a sad thing, but it's even sadder that if Biden started playing World of Warcraft, it'd work.