Bored games

08Apr10

What is it with the modern society we live in that causes companies to constantly search for new ways to contribute to the rapid erosion of the human brain, a.k.a., the dumbing down of the entire world?
The latest entrant into the contest to rot impressionable minds is Mattel, Inc., the manufacturers of that old hallmark of game-based grammar lessons, Scrabble.
As pointed out in the Globe and Mail’s editorial April 8, 2010, Mattel argues the proposed rule changes — which include allowing the inclusion proper nouns, such as company names — will make the venerable board game more accessible to children and teenagers.
The Globe argues that setting these new standards could grease the wheels for the bending or breaking of other grammatical rules — something that would make the game little more than a “random activity”.
My objections to the proposals are similar. But my major concern goes beyond just a mere board game.
I’m concerned with Mattel’s approach. “Making the game more accessible to children and teenagers”?
Aren’t we already doing enough as a collective society to ensure most teenagers can’t string a proper sentence together? It isn’t enough that modern technology, including texting and instant messaging, has introduced a whole new language of sentence fragments, abbreviations and atrocious grammar into the teenage lexicon?
I think Mattel is grasping at straws in an attempt to make Scrabble more appealing to younger folk.

I can picture the meeting now:

Mattel Big Shot: “Our studies show only 3 per cent of our purchasers are under the age of 30. What can we do to lure the young crowd?”

Spineless Corporate Sycophant: “Let’s dumb it down! Kids today can’t read anyway, so let’s just amend the rules to make it a veritable no-holds-barred idiot-fest.”

Mattel Big Shot: “Hmm… idiot-fest, you say… .”

Boredom and greed make for an ugly combination.

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