Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:42 pm
You'll find Raymond Champs, senior pictographer, seated in Row 8, Pod D, where he draws, day in, day out, instruction manuals for assembling furniture starring Mr. CustomMirth, the mascot of an Ikea-like furniture company called LokiLoki. Raymond may strive to give Mr. CustomMirth's potato shaped body the right amount of whimsy each day. But whimsy, or any type of feeling related to happiness, is what's missing from Raymond's life. And he suspects he's not the only one.
It may have been "mad" as in angry or "mad" as in deranged. Either way, almost 40 years ago, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky anticipated the future of television news. He envisioned a nasty, profit-oriented industry that would literally kill for ratings. (Network was — after all — satire, not a documentary.) Dave Itzkoff's account of how the brilliant, stubborn and pugnacious Chafesky did his research, wrote his script and, ultimately, imposed his vision on the film is elegantly executed.
Pokemon is the wildly popular Japanese Nintendo video game, first released in 1996. Its goal is to collect wild creatures and battle other trainers to become the Pokemon master. Simple enough, right?
Now imagine trying to play the game with tens of thousands of people looking over your shoulder, telling you which buttons to press. That's the latest social experiment going on in the gaming community. At any given time, thousands of people are controlling a single game of Pokemon Red — the original game of the series — at the same time.
When you're faced with something as heinous as the Holocaust, it's tempting to turn it into a simple morality play. This isn't to say one can't pass moral judgments — Hitler and his cohort were undeniably evil. But judging can become a form of lazy evasion, a way of closing the book on the tricky realities of failure, guilt and complicity.