I tend to think of things in video-game terms. That's understandable since I get paid to review and cover the video-game industry, but sometimes I find that there are certain aspects of modern life that are just best expressed through the lens of digital play.
Let's take same-sex marriage, an issue that is particularly hot right now as the Supreme Court considers whether to uphold or strike down California's Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. As a passionate supporter of my many gay friends and colleagues, I'm obviously hoping for across-the-board marriage equality. Many of my conservative and religious friends are not.
The fight against same-sex marriage continues, but frankly it's beginning to manifest itself in very strange ways. What was once an over-leveled juggernaut charging against easily defeated opponents has become and constant pwnage at the hands of the previously easily pwnded. The resulting counterattacks have all the madness of desperation.
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For instance, recently Sue Everhart, Georgia GOP Chairwoman, took on the boss fight that marriage equality is to her party. She's obviously seen that spammable attacks such as the Leviticus spell and weapons like Save the Children (Holy elemental, and +50 percent deniability stat) no longer have the power to defeat this beast they quest against.
Instead, she told the Marietta Daily Journal that homosexuals would take advantage of marriage equality to commit benefit fraud.
You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow. Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you're gay, and y'all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it's unreal.
If that sounds like the plot of an Adam Sandler movie that's because, well, it is. It's such a flailing and ridiculous attack to make, and I knew exactly what it reminded me of.
My current favorite role-playing game of all time is Final Fantasy XII, which is the closest thing to an MMORPG that I get to because, ironically, I don't like being called faggot by 12-year-olds hopped up on Red Bull. Since I have spent my life playing fairly linear RPGs, I was very surprised to discover something I didn't understand.
On your first trip out in the game from the city of Rabanastre, you end up hunting low-level enemies in the Dalmasca Eastersands. Yet among all the wolves and a sentient tomato you have to kill, there's a giant T-Rex. If you don't bother it, it won't bother you.Flashback 4 Most Ridiculous Moral Panics in Video Game History
"I think that might actually be out of my range," I said to my wife the first time I played it.
"Nonsense," she replied. "If you couldn't kill it, it wouldn't be right there in the beginning. Poke it in the butt with your sword."
I did, and was murdered so quickly I swear the polygons themselves laughed at me. Still, I refused to give up. So I tried again. I tried every spell you could get. I tried a little level grinding to get stronger. I tried throwing whatever items I had in my inventory at it in hopes that one of them would do the magic trick.
It was pointless because it wasn't a matter of me getting a lucky shot in, or finding a secret weakness. The T-Rex is simply too strong to be beaten at that point in the game. You can't do it. You just have to wait and come back later if you want to kill it.
That's the way I'm starting to see the fight against marriage equality in America. After complacent years of being able to walk over anyone in their path with enough force and a little luck, the opposition is confronted with a battle that is simply stronger and better than they are. The response is the same as mine when fighting the T-Rex, or those giant gogol enemies when you get into the wider world of Xenoblade. You walk up, you try, and you get whacked because you're taking on something that you are not going to beat.
And I'm sorry to tell them this, but those that oppose marriage equality? They'll never reach the point where they can beat this particular boss again. It's leveling up just as fast as they are, and barring some freak accident we're looking at a brave new world for same-sex couples in a very, very short time.
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I think same-sex marriage opponents know this. A staunchly anti-gay friend of mine recently told me...
I have no power to affect the culture. I am perfectly happy being left behind by what the rest of the world calls progress. It doesn't change the truth, just as legal slavery didn't change the truth.
In other words, the time to admit defeat is here, and you can either get on and play the game forward, or you can turn it off and walk away. The T-Rex doesn't care one way or the other. All it ever wanted to do was to be left alone in the first place.
For more political video game fun, ask me Why the United States of America Is My Favorite RPG. Or you can discover the 5 Most Heartbreaking Moments in Final Fantasy You Can Totally Miss.