|Xbox vs. Blogging||June 13, 2005|
Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and no hands are idler than those clutching the joystick of an Xbox or any other game console. In my home, the Xbox represents the last and most immersive in a long line of electronic time killers.
It started when we were students, and we’d only bought a computer for schoolwork. Soon my husband Eric was spending time and money on computer games like Civilization and Sim City. Then it followed with sequels that we could ill afford. Then it was EverQuest, which had a monthly subscription fee. Then my husband Eric sprang for an Xbox with part of the money that I had set aside for little Park’s school clothing. Eric dislikes spending money at brand name stores, and he decided we’d set aside too much money. So I reconciled myself to purchasing Park’s school outfits on eBay. But things only got worse. Within just a few weeks, the Xbox began to dominate our lives. He spent more and more un-budgeted money on games. He’d come home from his night shift at the toilet paper mill at 4:00 AM and play frighteningly violent games like Splinter Cell or Close Combat until noon. And if this wasn’t bad enough, he had the nerve to ask permission to have his coworkers over to play with him. I can only imagine the noise and the mess and the cigarette butts on the front porch. I just don’t know what I can do to make him get it.
Never mind that I could use some help getting our 7 year old son and 5 year old daugter up and off to school if he’s going to be awake anyway. I’d rather that he went to sleep so that he could be up by noon and actually help me out around the house a little or provide some company. A few years back, we read Brad Bushman’s Ensign article about violence in television, movies, and video games and it all seemed so quaint. Now Eric’s primary sources of entertainment are saturated with grotesque violence. I wonder if I should begin to fear its long term impact on Eric. To what degree does this influence his ability to serve worthily in the the Elder’s Quorum presidency? How can he get ahead at work if all he does is play video games on his spare time? Shouldn’t he be spending this time improving himself? How can we accumulate a savings when he spends money on stuff like that? What kind of example is he setting for our children?
Last week I made my stand. I sold the Xbox on craigslist so that I could buy a bread maker and get some really fun MAC lip glass. The result: a change in venue. A single man on the shift named Ralph bought an Xbox, and the whole crew goes to his place after work. Now Eric returns home smelling like their smoke and their spilled beer. I cannot imagine anything that would make him less attractive to me. And this last part is of no small frustration to Eric as well, but not so much that it prompts him to change.
Eric is fond of pointing out that Nolan Bushnell, the inventor of video games, is a Mormons—as if that matters. We all know that idleness is bad, but why don’t we share for it the same zealous aversion that we have for other transgressions? I’m often concerned that we as Mormons do not recognize the gravity of idleness as a sin. Listen to Ezekiel 16:49, which describes the sin of Sodom before it was destroyed by a storm of fire and brimstone:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her. (emphasis added)
Eric claims that my blogging is equivalent to his video games, and I just don’t agree. I feel like I share in the fellowship of the participants in this and other blogs. I often find the practice of writing and reading comments and posts to be edifying and uplifting in character. I have no problem picturing Christ blogging. Can anyone really picture Christ on an Xbox 8 hours a day?
So that’s my answer. I don’t believe that blogging is of a piece with video game playing. But I want to know what the opinion is in general, and I’d love to hear some people playing devil’s advocate. Are we here in the bloggernacle doing the same thing as video gamers minus the gory violence? Is the kind of blogging that I do as destructive to my personal relationships as Eric’s compulsive video gaming is to his?