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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Randiah Green Editor-in-Chief

Marina Schaberg Business Manager

Vincent D. Scebbi Managing Editor

Jantzen Ridenour Forum Editor

- in our opinion -

Apathy, thine grip is tight direct action, caused by maligning efforts such as the Occupy Wall Street movement. Despite what some may think, direct action is not cowardly. It is also not practiced only by college students, privileged rich kids or desperate poor people. Direct action is only dangerous in a repressive political atmosphere, in which case it is even more important to object to such repression. Effective political movements in history, such as the eight-hour workday, women’s suffrage and civil rights, have made use of some form of direct action. From 1984 to 1989 the Black Student Union used direct action to encourage UT to divest its funds from South African related companies involved with its crimes against human rights – UT funds were fully divested. The locally founded Student African American Brotherhood uses direct action to unify, liberate and instill the importance of education in the African American community. They do so at a college, local and national level. Music students from the Center for Performing Arts rallied together in solidarity and used direct action to obtain $3 million from the UT administration in order to renovate their aged and withering building. This was done without aid from elected SG officials. Using direct action does not mean being against working with established political channels. It emboldens those involved and strengthens actions performed with these channels. It is only through active participation that apathy can be curbed and change can take place. There is no reason to accept the status quo, just an unwillingness to act.

One cannot help but notice the apathy of large portions of UT’s population, as well as locally and nationally. Available living space is decreasing in size exponentially due to the rise of the population of our species. In order to eke out a living, human beings are forced to interact with one another more than in the past. Innovations throughout the past five decades have played an integral role in the increasing interconnectedness of the world. Yet the question remains ­— if as a species and as a people we are growing more connected to the rest of the world, why do we simply not care? Or better yet, if as a people we do care, why is there such indifference in regards to action? With Student Government presidential candidates taking their first step on the campaign trail, the race for votes will soon begin. In the present age of apathy, will anyone vote seriously? It is doubtful. If they do, are they voting to see an elected official make the changes they want for themselves? At a college level as well as a local and national level, the answer is usually yes. This is not to say that voting is absolutely useless. With politics, however, certain supplications must be made by elected representatives, which hinder their effectiveness in regards to sustainable change. There is a viable alternative — direct action. This is the deliberate application of the power each person possess. Voting is usually done once a year, whereas direct action can be done at any time. The power given to an elected official is delegated power, meaning the power is given to them by the people. There are common misconceptions about

Questioning double standards Can being devout in fundamentalist religious beliefs hinder one’s ability to perform his or her job in a secular institution? What if that belief is to actively denounce homosexuals and refuse to acknowledge the validity of their relationships? What if this belief is held by university administrators and Human Resources employees? Here at UT the situation may be just as questioned. In 2010, the administration, through the Vice President of Facilities and Construction, paid for eight employees including several UT administrators to attend the Global Leadership Summit. The summit is held by the Willow Creek Assocation, a ministry based in Barrington, Ill. The interdenominational network of churches denounces same-sex relationships. The Global Leadership Summit is centered around the idea “that the maximum influence and impact of the Church is felt when all of its Christ-centered leaders are at the forefront of establishing and growing well-led local churches, companies, schools, governments and social enterprises.” In 2011 the Jacobs Administration sent another eight administrators, including Human Resource administrators, to the Global Leadership Summit. While on one hand the Jacobs Administration pays for UT employees to participate in the summit that denounces same-sex

relationships, on the other hand Jacobs fired the associate vice president of Human Resources when she publicly stated her adherence to fundamentalist beliefs. If an administrator is fired for expressing their beliefs, yet 16 are sent to summits to strengthen similar ideals, if not the very same beliefs, where does that leave the administration? Something analogous to a rather uncomfortable yoga pose as well as a state of hypocrisy. Should UT, a state-funded public institution, pay for these leaders to attend this summit, where beliefs are fostered which are mutually incompatible to “providing a safe, welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors regardless of race, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation or physical ability”? UT offers various religious studies programs and formed the university’s Center for Religious Understanding last year. These are appropriate means of education, study and dialogue between varying religions and how they relate to a post-modern reality. This is suitable for a state-funded public institution. Funds should be allotted to this particular method, rather than taxpayer money be used educating administrators to adhere to a belief that delegitimizes the love and pain of other human beings.

- Letter To the editor A response to last week’s letter to the editor concering Students for Justice in Palestine and Israeli apartheid

week was written by The University of Toledo Students for Justice in Palestine. Due to the length of the

letter it cannot be published here but is available to read at http://www.independentcollegian.com/forum

Game On Two weeks ago, Braeden Gilchrist wrote a column recalling his negative experiences with video games. While Braeden’s personal experiences are his own, I was upset and confused by the gross and inaccurate generalizations within the article. Russell The vidAxon eo game medium has existed for over 60 years, evolving from simple, flat dots to complex, layered graphics. With this evolution, a social stigma has developed that blames games for misogyny, social awkwardness, laziness, stupidity and violence, among other issues. Several of these issues were referenced in the aforementioned article. This stigma, however, presents an incomplete picture mired by ignorance and assumptions. Perhaps the greatest myth in gaming is the teenage, male-dominated audience. This idea stems from a bygone era where the 18-35-year-old male demographic comprised a vast majority of video game buyers. Today this stereotype is outdated and misleading. According to a 2011 report by the Entertainment Software Association, females comprise an impressive 42 percent of active gamers, a number which is consistently rising. In fact, the report notes there are more female gamers 18 years and older than male gamers under 18. This demographic change is reflected in society, with video game endorsements by celebrities such as Beyoncé and Mila Kunis, as well as the presence of successful professional female gamers such as Katherine “Mystik” Gunn and Bonnie “Xena” Burton. Additionally, the report concludes that people of all ages are playing video games. The average age for a gamer is 37 years old, and 29 percent of gamers are 50 or older. When statistics from other countries are factored into

the equation, the video game community becomes massive. It is such that one must purposely lock themselves out of this community to make gaming an anti-social experience. In the same way that disparate individuals who have viewed the same movie or read the same book can find common ground, an instant connection is established between people who have played the same video game.

Video games can help supplement real world experiences.

These connections can transcend class, age, and in many instances language. Online capabilities now allow, for example, a UT student to share a gaming experience with gamers in England, Egypt, South Africa, Japan or New Zealand, just to name a few options. On a smaller scale, families can share video games. The ESA report shows that 45 percent of parents play video games with their children, with over 80 percent of those parents saying video games are a good opportunity to socialize with their children. Personally, some of my earliest memories are of my father and me playing “Tetris” and “The Legend of Zelda.” These are memories we still talk about – between praising the “God of War” trilogy. The myriad of gamer demographics show the innovation video games have made in the last few years. More video games today demand active and physical gamers. Much like the myth of the pock-marked teenage gamer, the couch-potato caricature has faded, too. Motion-based gaming systems, especially the Nintendo Wii, and locomotive gameplay — e.g., “Rock Band,” “Just Dance,” “Wii Sports,” etc. — keep gamers on their feet. These innovations have also led to pragmatic usages for video games. According

to the Jan. 9, 2012 issue of “Newsweek,” playing video games — specifically violent ones — improve brain health and mental capabilities. A handful of video games build upon these benefits by establishing new goals such as rehabilitation, education and training. Doctors use controllerand motion-based video games for physical therapy patients, and the U.S. military commissioned multiple war-themed video games to teach soldiers movements and tactics. There is no study that shows men are worse at reading body language, but those who wish to improve that particular skill should play “L.A. Noire,” a mystery game that requires players to decipher characters’’ audio and visual cues. Some gamers use video games as creative outlets for other endeavors. Rock bands like I Fight Dragons and Anamanguchi mix real instruments with programmed sound bites from hacked NES’s to create unique songs. YouTube is full of videos where gamers propose to their significant others through reprogrammed video games. Such acts require knowledge, talent and dedication; these are impressive feats from individuals who some have deemed an “unimpressive stock.” These instances show that video games can help supplement real world experiences. However, Braeden’s article was correct to cite moderation as an important element for gaming. Video games are compelling — not addictive — and therefore can be responsibly handled through healthy habits, such as taking frequent breaks and limiting playing time. Keeping this in mind, there is no reason video games should be excluded from a renaissance person’s repertoire. A true renaissance person should experience as much of the world as possible, and video games offer players a limitless number of worlds to be explored. ­— Russell Axon is the IC Copy Chief and a senior majoring in English.

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