Overreacting Echosphere

So some time yesterday someone in the blogger/twitter-sphere picked up on an interview with James Cameron where he claims the Sigourney Weaver character in Avatar smokes because its “a negative comment about people in our real world living too much in their avatars, meaning online and in video games.”

Note:  He did not say, “a negative comment on video games and online culture.”  He did not say, “Video games derive us of the ability to enjoy life.”  The resulting eruption on gaming blogs would lead you to think that he did just that, and maybe killed Shigeru Miyamoto in the process as well.  The man lives and breathes digital tech.  He talked for an hour at a games conference about the game for his movie- a game that nobody even cares about.  He BUILDS SUBMARINES! This guy is no luddite.

This whole mini-controversey is a really telling example of:

  • How gaming culture is so incredibly sensitive about itself that it can not handle even the most slight criticism.
  • How quick paid-by-the-post bloggers are to seek controversy magnet headlines and write stories about them without thinking for even a second about what they’re writing.

Surely many gamers out there know someone who played a little too much WOW.  Girlfriends who left because of too much COD4?  PEOPLE WHO SPEND $300000 on VIRTUAL REAL ESTATE!?

In no way was Cameron indicting all gamers or even gaming culture, but simply showing that there are those who let go of their meatspace lives a little too much in favor of their online persona.  Is it so wrong to even consider the possibility?  The whole thing was so insignificant that no one even noticed until Cameron pointed it out in an article about smoking in movies.

The funniest thing about the entire episode is that in all of the above articles the commenters are more level headed than the authors.  How often does that happen?

Update (spoilerific):
AND ANOTHER THING: If then the movie contains a metaphor for living out experience online, what does it say that its crippled main character chooses to completely abandon his human self and that it is depicted as a triumph?