by Howard Hirsch

In Defense of Our Hobbies

In a past issue, I mentioned the plight of two hobbies: train collecting and video gaming - along with common misconceptions about both. It has occured to me that most if not all hobbies suffer this. A hobby is a great diversion from one’s job and other responsibilities when they don’t need immediate attention. They can involve any age group, either sex, and all incomes.

Here is the problem: somebody asks you what your interests are, you tell that person about your hobby, and derogatory replies follow. There are at least two solutions besides taking a lead pipe and beating the daylights out of that person (I wouldn’t recommend this - but there are those who probably deserve it!). Solution one: ask the wise-ass if he/she has a hobby. If the answer is “yes”, ask this question: “Would you like me to tell you what I think about YOUR hobby?”. If the answer is “no”, you can always insult that person with a “Get a life” reply, but of course that brings you down to their level. Instead, ask them this question: “Didn’t you ever have a childhood? Perhaps you were an asshole from birth?”, which of course, does not.

Another problem lies within the hobbyists themselves. There are people I call “Specialist/Snobs”. This is the type of person who concentrates on just one facet of the hobby. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, the problem occurs when Joe General Hobbyist comes along and is ridiculed for not taking the same interest, being unfocused, etc. Who the hell needs that? In my opinion, anyone sharing your interests should at least be considered part of that hobby’s community. Instead of hurting that member, help them out with the knowledge you have. Refer them to books, magazines, and videos about that particular subject. Here’s an example: one of the people I work with is a train collector interested specifically in Pennsylvania Railroad items. While I do not model them, I was able to share with him the location of a hobby shop containing books on Pennsylvaia Railroad items.

We’re all part of the same family here. Help, don’t hinder!

Stop The Stupidity!

Well once again, our erected I mean elected officials along with so-called watchdog groups are on a piss and moan mission regarding videogame violence, the effects on our children, and our morality in general. They say that the current ratings system is not good enough and the industry needs to do more. To save face, they mention that parents need to get involved. No shit, Sherlock!!!. The industry shouln’t have to make any further changes nor do we want or need any further regulation. Allow me to give you a little history lesson where other hobbies came under fire. Back in the fifties, there was controversy with some people sniffing the fumes of model airplane glue. A big stink was raised regarding it. The hobby industry quelled the controversy by intoducing a chemical that smelled so bad that it turned people off to sniffing said fumes. Thus, the hobby was saved. More recently, during the eighties, red flags were going up regarding Dungeons and Dragons. Some thought it was promoting Satanism. In one instance, if memory serves me. A child killed either his parents, a sibling, or a friend because he said he was a creature called a Mindflayer. I think he was charged with first degree murder. He tried to blame the game for his behavior. But it was not to be and D&D is still with us. My point is, use some common sense. Here’s the dillio. Gamers, If you have little ones tell them flat out that there are some games that are inappropiate for them and tell them why. If you let them play such a game, supervise, tell them that it is a fantasy, it’s not real, don’t even try to imitate. Keeping a watchful eye on them also helps. If you work in a retail enviornment and a kid wants to purchase a game full of sex, violence and inappropriate language. Tell that person to come back with the parent(s) and show the parent(s) what their offspring was interested in getting.

Another idea is to divide the games according to their ratings. Use color-coded stickers for better identifying. In the hobby shop where I work, color-coded stickers are used in the pricing of our diecast vehicles. It really works. Of course, it’s been said before, If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Let your wallet do the talking. I cannot stress this enough. If we use our heads, maybe just maybe, the bureaucrats and other nutcases will stay out of hairs. Don’t let this hobby go down the tubes. What are your ideas and/or solutions?



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Last updated: Thursday, May 27, 2004 02:03 PM