LOOK, DOROTHY, IT’S THE QUEEN OF ALL SMURFS! [Author: lum]

The new required reading for all of us rude homophobes and spineless bottom feeders at Lum the Mad, Inc. (LUM on NASDAQ) is Biting the Hand, by Jessica Mulligan, aka Durga, aka the Most High Senior of Senior Counselors (MHSOSC to use the current pseudo-military terminology in fashion at Origin), which is mainly a somewhat off-key variation of the lamented and presumed late BitchX.

Ms. Mulligan has been remarkably quiet, save a puff-piece interview on CoB, notable only for a brave announcement that hundreds of new Seers were due to be enlisted (which is pretty hysterically funny, considering that OSI can’t find the time to support the 20 or so they have already), but his/her column (apparently she switched genders at some point, which, to quote Seinfeld, there is, um, nothing at all wrong with that) has run for quite a while now, and it has a few snippets of interest. I’ll quote them for you here, since happypuppy.com has been scientifically proven to, after long periods of exposure, turn you into a Pokemon. Take notes, class, there will be a test later.

First, of course, there is the warm glow of her hiring:

In one sense, there is some news in my personal life that will have some small effect on my writings here. If you haven’t heard already, I took a job with Origin Systems, Inc. Yep, that’s right, OSI, the folks who publish Ultima Online, the massively multiplayer game that I’ve taken to task more than once here and elsewhere. My own personal task at OSI will be to reorganize the volunteer programs, institute new ones and generally bring my experience to bear to help UO’s customer service become a world-class operation.

Don’t think I’ve missed the delicious irony of the situation. It’s one thing to be separated from the situation while making pertinent, if pithy, comments; it is quite another to be told, basically, to put up or shut up. So now I am ensconced in Austin, Texas, Live Music Capital of the World, working with my crew to figure out how to make it a reality. Hey, how the heck did that happen?

I was seduced, I tell you. Gordon Walton, VP online services, and Jack Heistand, formerly CEO of TEN and now the head of OSI, sang me a siren song of support and glory and hope. They raised me to the mountaintop and tempted me with visions of incredible game service, intelligently and compassionately managed. They painted a glorious picture of what could be, if only we worked together.

And I was a weak vessel. I saw their visions and I was tempted. I wavered. I contemplated and ruminated, I anguished over it night and day….

Okay, okay; I lie like a cheap rug. I went for it like a taxi-dancer getting a marriage proposal from the Aga Khan. I caved like it was sale time at Christian Dior and they were dangling a platinum card before my eyes. I put up the same amount of resistance that a gold-digger does in accepting a diamond necklace, i.e., none to speak of.

Come on; how often does a professional get a chance to work with the largest online game community in the known galaxy? Or to work with some of computer gaming’s top-tier designers and innovators, people of the likes of Richard Garriott, Raph Koster and Rich Vogel? Or skilled online veterans such as Gordon and Jack?

Ah, memories. Too bad she doesn’t work with Raph and Rich anymore; presumably Richard still puts in a day or two at the office occasionally. The honeymoon was shortlived of course, once she discovered homo dewdicus on the message boards:

And somehow, I just know this column is going to have little or no effect on them. Far from it; they’ll take it as a badge of honor. After all, these people think nothing of being foul-mouthed, dishonest, racist homophobes on a daily basis. What’s a little criticism from a transsexual columnist who’d like to think most people aren’t foul-mouthed, dishonest, racist homophobes? I guess I’m just gay that way

Ms. Mulligan has been gay that way for a while, judging from her column on the same subject a year ealier:

And why is online gaming such a wasteland, Jessica, when just three years ago we all expected to be rich as Croesus because of it? I’m glad you asked, my friend. There are several reasons why, but certainly one of the most poignant has to be the way the disgustingly low class of today’s online gamer drives away the people who might actually spend some cash to play.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by “low class.” Drop into any of the free online gaming sites, such as mPlayer or Microsoft’s Internet Gaming Zone. Just entering a chat lobby at one of these sites garners you a significant chance of viewing some variation of the following exchange:

Player One: Shut up, you pussy faggot!

Player Two: Eat sh**, dumba**!

Player One: F*** you, faggot!

Player Two: No, f*** you!

Player One: No f*** you, sh**-eating faggot-dork-loser!

And so on. Granted, you could sit in a lobby for half an hour and not see such. Or you could hit several lobbies and see it in every one. I see it happen often enough to grate on the nerves. I also happen to be a male-to-female transsexual, so use of the word ‘faggot’ especially grates, not to mention the other Anglo-Saxonisms.

As one might guess, the players most often resorting to this kind of infantile name-calling are not very far out of diapers themselves, the 12 year old to 16 year old ‘demographic.’ They hang out on mPlayer and IGZ because, of course, those services are free. They’d probably rather hang out where the really cool games are, such as Kesmai’s GameStorm or Simutronics’ Playnet, but that takes a credit card and who wants Mom and Dad to know just exactly what they are doing with that educational Internet thingamabob, anyway?

In a way, I lay this type of behavior at mPlayer’s door. You get what you pay for, and they were the first to panic at the lack of paying subscribers and turn their service free. And, as naturally as toast falls to the carpet peanut butter side down, in rushed the unsocialized young kids who can’t afford to pay and, apparently, aren’t getting any home training in manners or courtesy. Not to say that some supposed adults don’t do this, too, but the preponderance of my experience with it has been from kids.

Again, you get what you pay for. If the consumers are willing to pay for the development of quality online games, we could see a Renaissance in the industry. If many or most of the consumers aren’t willing to pay for such development, then we’re likely to be stuck with two kinds of gaming services. Patronizing one type will be those willing to pay for quality games and a safe haven from the rude little monsters of the world. Patronizing the other will be all those unwilling or unable to pay for online games and willing to settle for second best. The digital country clubs and the cyber-slums, if you will.

And if you don’t agree with me, you’re just a great big dork-loser. So nyah!

So how has this warm and cuddly columnist/community commissar/lecturer in tolerance of alternative lifestyles impacted our fine, fine volunteer program?

Well, judging from my email in-box, by walking into situations that she has little to no knowledge of, having not technically actually played UO, I’m told — understandable, there’s a lot of kids and other folks who haven’t tried switching genders yet on those servers — and basically informing the folks who’ve been in the trenches trying to make the programs they’re involved in work that they are without a clue, and from now on things will be done Her Way.

Of course, if you have a problem with that, you’re a crude, crass homophobic male oppressor type. Oh well, I should probably quit now, since, as she put it in her very first column, As the old Croat proverb says, “Tell the truth, then depart quickly.”

By the way, Jessica, in case the happypuppy.com gig falls through, I hear TwisTer is always looking for new updaters.

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