On Cultural Apathy and Ignorance

I received in the e-mail this morning a the weekly sales promo newsletter from my old employer, EB Games. I get these about once a week, give them no thought, and hit “Delete” without much delay.

Today? I don’t know why I read it. But I did, and it… annoyed me.

I realize, it’s ad copy, but it’s ignorant and apathetic ad copy. It’s ad copy that plays to the twenty percent of Americans who can’t find the United States on a map. Because it’s just ignorant.

Let’s take a look.

Apparently, the game most of us at GameStop know as soccer is known as football everywhere else, and it happens to be the most popular game on the planet. After taking a peek at FIFA Soccer 08, it’s easy to see why. The action is faster than ever, and it’s also completely authentic, with 620 licensed teams, 30 official leagues and more than 15,000 players.

We’ve also just learned that, apparently, Tajikistan is a real country, and they happen to have a formidable soccer, umm… football, team.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive. Yet I read this and I see something that’s condescending — “apparently… soccer is known as football everywhere else” — something that’s ignorant of the world beyond these borders — “most popular game on the planet” and “apparently, Tajikistan is a real country.” I read this, and I come away with the message that, “They don’t play real football in countries with funny names.”

And that annoys me.

Maybe I’m expecting too much. Some kid wrote that, an ad guy making 25k at the corporate office in Dallas. The product of Texas public schools. Garbage in, garbage out.

The United States is not the be-all and end-all of culture. Seriously. We didn’t come up with Father Ted or Doctor Who. We don’t have wine gums on our grocery shelves. There are other cultures out there.

I wasn’t going to buy FIFA anyway. Nothing against soccer. I just don’t like spending money on Electronics Arts products unless I can help it — they produce high-priced shovelware. I’m just saying. 😉

3 thoughts on “On Cultural Apathy and Ignorance

  1. I’ve got The Bard’s Tale collection around here somewhere. I saw it in a Babbages about six years ago, and decided that it was more important for me to have it than to show corporate loyalty.

    As much as I loved Vivendi’s Bard’s Tale from a few years ago, it only shared the name — EA owned the concept, but Vivendi owned the name. I’m not really sure how that worked, but that’s how it was. Fun game. I have the flash game Vivendi did with the stripping barmaid on my hard drive. 😆

  2. The trademark expired, so InExile bought it, but the IP still belonged to EA.

    I actually found all three games in the early-to-mid ’90s, on the clearance shelf at Target. No idea how they got there. No idea of their provenance, at the time. Either the best or second-best game purchase I’ve ever made (with WarCraft II being the possible competition).

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