I was born in the Deep South to parents who had migrated from north of the Mason-Dixon. My interest in the debate over display of the Confederate battle flag is limited to its place as a relic of a seminal event in American history. I have no vested heritage tied up in that history. However, I’ve decided to weigh in on this debate because I see in it echoes of a greater ill that plagues society and reaches even into such cultural kerfuffle as #GamerGate.
Reminders of the Confederacy are everywhere. For the past 20+ years I have lived in the capital of the Confederacy. My kids go to schools named after Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. A downtown street is lined with huge statues of Confederate leaders. So, go ahead, get rid of the flag, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Confederates were also Americans, and that cannot be erased no matter how much we try. It is baked into our cultural memory because we are all descendants of both sides of the conflict. The Civil War was a struggle that exemplified a problem that continues to infect society today; and, no, I’m not talking about racism. Rather, it is the belief that people who disagree are better off dead.
In 1854, the US government created the states of Nebraska and Kansas. The Act called for popular vote in each new state to determine whether the state would permit slavery. Activists from outside the states immediately went to work, especially in Kansas. In May of 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a blistering anti-slavery speech on the situation in Kansas, and delivered disgusting insults to a couple of Southern senators. House Representative Preston Brooks, cousin to one of the impugned senators, entered the Senate chamber three days later and beat Sumner half to death. Both Brooks and Sumner were praised as heroes. Two days later, John Brown led a group of men into a house in Pottawatomie Creek, KS and hacked five pro-slavery men to death.
The bloodshed had begun. It would end almost ten years and 650,000 lives later.
The Civil War began because one group of people decided another group of people should be put out of their misery. In the past 150 years, American culture—indeed, the culture in most countries around the world—has changed little. You can hear echoes of Civil War mentality in rhetoric surrounding race relations, gender identity, abortion, immigration, climate science, gun control, terrorism, religious freedom, healthcare, welfare…yeah, verily, even videogames.
Two thousand years ago a Jewish carpenter stood on a hillside and told an assembled crowd that just calling someone a fool was equal to murder. Today, every minute, thousands of these verbal murders are committed in the press, in blog posts, on social media, in private conversations. If we are ever to deal with these problems in a non-violent way, it will not be in removing a flag, or changing the name of a sports team, or putting the picture of a woman on our currency. It will be when we stop vilifying people who disagree with us and have honest, open, peaceful discussions about our disagreements.
No, the Confederate battle flag should not be flown over government buildings; it is a symbol of separation and segregation. But we can’t—and shouldn’t—bury it. So let us display it in appropriate venues, and when we see it, let us point to it and remind ourselves and our children this is what happens when you decide other people are better off dead. Then let us work toward living in peace.
 Florida; sort of the Cleveland Browns of the Confederacy.
10. Everything is designed for touchscreens. Hey! I still like to use a keyboard and mouse once-in-a-while!
9. Internet memes. Especially how they are obsolete so quickly. I’m just now starting to get the hang of the “One does not simply…” meme and my son looks at me cross-eyed when I use it.
8. Switching “alternate” functions on the function keys. I use F2, F3, F4, etc. all the time, but now on many laptops they change the brightness or turn off my wireless instead of their correct functions. Drives me nuts.
7. Cloud services. Let’s see, I’ve got Dropbox, and Google Drive, and OneDrive… All our data lives online now and people wonder why we don’t have any privacy. Well, it’s because…
6. Hacking. Seriously, if the average person understood how often Web sites and online databases get hacked, the Internet would shut down from so many people disconnecting.
5. Pace of change. I got a relatively new model phone less than a year ago and it’s already antique. :sigh: Now I have to slog through using such an obviously cheap piece of junk for another year before I can upgrade.
4. One-button interfaces. Thanks, Apple, for your “click-wheel.” Now “easy-to-use” interfaces are infecting everything from my digital thermometer, to my electric toothbrush, and even my car.
3. Click-bait Web sites. And the celebrities who share them.
2. Anonymity on the Internet is making “social” media very anti-social. Some of the stuff that pops up on Twitter would never be said to someone else’s face because you’d get punched.
1. Our reliance on the Internet. If the WiFi goes out in the house, it’s a national emergency. Thank goodness we get good cell tower coverage…
 OK, some of these are funny.
 Let’s be honest, the click-wheel wasn’t that great a control scheme anyway.
10. Replayability. Really, if the game is short, it’s probably not interesting enough to play again. If it’s long enough to be interesting, it’s too long to keep playing it over and over. Make the game so I can do everything the first time. And, really, do game devs want us to play one game over and over? Don’t they want to sell us new games?
9. Epic plots. “There’s a giant hole in the sky spitting out demons! Can you please find my lost cow?” The best games have more personal stories.
8. YouTube walkthroughs. Edit. We do not need to watch you “walk through” cutscenes and endless meandering about looking for stuff. EDIT!
7. Delays. Companies have been making video games for 40+ years. You would think by now they would have figured out how to make reasonable estimates of how long it takes. On the other hand, delays are better than…
6. Bug-ridden messes. I can live with a Day 1 Patch. But it had better work after that Day 1 Patch…
5. 1080p. Apparently, if we actually want to read text in a game, we have to own 60”+ televisions. Speaking of which…
4. Text. If I want to read a book, I’ll read a book. Please don’t throw tens-of-thousands of words of text at me in the game, and expect me to read it to understand everything.
3. Nintendo 2DS. I know, I should have sprung the extra $60 for a 3DS, but, seriously, Nintendo? This hardware is cheap. You can do better than this. You had best do better than this or your quarterly losses are going to continue mounting.
2. #Gamergate However, GG is doing one good thing in trying to fight…
1. Censorship. If I don’t like the content of the game, I won’t buy the game. I may even tell other people my negative opinion of the game. But don’t try to block the game being made or sold; that way lies madness.
Actual side quest in Dragon Age: Inquisition
No, I’m not going to even try. GG is the consumer-side of gaming eating itself.