I don’t know what these people are thinking sometimes

I make no secret of a lot of things in my life. Most of you guys know me as a devoted follower of Christ, albeit an extremely flawed one, first and foremost. Secondly, I’m a geek. I love technology, it intriguies me and I enjoy learning about it. Whether I also fall into the other stereotypes of geekdom, such as social ineptitude, well, that’s up to you guys to decide. For another time, however.

Being a Christian, I find myself agreeing with the conservative viewpoint politically most of the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean I vote Republican always, or that I always agree with the Republican party. The reverse is true for the Democratic party as well.

However, I have noticed that among tech industry employees/enthusiasts, it seems that as a Christian AND a conservative, I am in the minority. This was true at Baylor while I was studying computer science, and among the many people I have come to know in this field. A big portion of them are overwhelmingly liberal, and even more of them are non-Christian, and in many cases openly hostile of Christianity.

If there is an underlying cause for this apparent link, I have yet to figure out what it is. I’ll jump back to this in a second.

Let me also state that I used to be very big into Talk Radio, which is a field dominated by conservatives, with names such as Rush and O’Reily immediately coming to peoples minds, following by folks such as Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and others. Never was a big fan of Rush or Bill, I enjoyed Hannity and Beck a lot, but I mostly preferred the local guys who did both local and national topics. Nowadays, I don’t really care for it as much. I’d rather just listen to music. But I did respect a lot of these guys because I felt their opinions were well thought out and of sound reason.

Jumping back to that apparent link between tech interest and anti-Christiandom, I have to say that when Bill O’Reilly makes statements like these below, it A) doesn’t help that situation and B) makes me question his entire thought process. Read for yourself.

“American society is changing for the worse because of the machines… In the past to flee the real world people usually chose drugs or alcohol… now you don’t have to do that, Now all you have to do is have enough money to buy a machine…

Basically what you have is a large portion of the population, mostly younger people under the age of 45, who don’t deal with reality – ever. So they don’t know what day it is; they don’t know temperature it is; they don’t know what their neighbor looks like. They don’t know anything… because they are constantly diverted by a machine. Now what this does is it takes a person away from reality because they’ve created their own reality…”

He ain’t done yet folks. Continuing on about the PS3 which just recently came out….

“The newest thing is the PlayStation 3. Now this is a machine that allows you to play games in hi-def and all this other stuff… It’s the newest state of the art system from Sony…. It has a video game console, plays DVDs, connects you to the Internet, tells you how handsome you are. It’s six-hundred bucks. Now people lined up for hours to get this thing. Hours!

The problem with this stuff is that some people can deal with it constructively… but other people get addicted to it, just like opium, just like drugs and alcohol… So this is a big, big problem. It’s going to change every single thing in this country.”

Okay, here, he might have a point. It’s dressed up in extreme hyperbole, but it’s there. There are recorded examples of people whose addiction to videogames has lead to severe health problems, and in some cases, death. The problem, however, is nowhere NEAR as “big” as he’s making it out to be, and I seriously doubt that it’ll change “every single thing in this country”. Come on, Bill. Do you really have to resort to this kind of lame “Any publicity is good” kind of crap? Oh wait, he’s not finished.

“The have-nots are growing. Why are they growing? Because the skill set that is necessary to earn a decent living is being deemphasized in a fantasy world of football games and shooting zombies and all that…. Now you have the “knows” and the “know-nots”, because if you spend all your youth being prisoners of machines….. you’re not going to know anything…. You’re gonna fail.”

Hi, Bill. I’m Brandon. I grew up with a NES, a Sega Genesis, the Sega Saturn, and a PS1 at various points in my life, not to mention computers. I graduated High School. I went to College. During college, I frequently enjoying playing videogames on my PC, as well as on Xbox, PS2, Gamecube, and a whole host of other systems. In fact, I once took a course studying the videogame industry as a case study on diffusion theory. Hey, guess what? I have a B.S. in Computer Science from a nationally accredited program at a private school. I make very good money at my job which I’m fairly certain I’m underqualified for, and could probably make more further down the line. Sweeping generalizations aren’t usually good things. And once again, I’d like to point out that you SHOULD BE ABOVE THIS CRAP. And yet, you don’t get it, you make yourself look worse in this final tidbit.

“I don’t own an iPod. I would never wear an iPod… If this is your primary focus in life – the machines… it’s going to have a staggeringly negative effect, all of this, for America… did you ever talk to these computer geeks? I mean, can you carry on a conversation with them? …I really fear for the United States because, believe me, the jihadists? They’re not playing the video games. They’re killing real people over there.”

Hey Bill? YOU OFFER PODCASTS ON YOUR WEBSITE. Which I assume was put together by so-called “Computer geeks”!! Bill, I implore you, if this is what you have to reduce yourself to, just stop talking. You’re making this problem far far worse than Senator Ted “The Internet Is A Series of Tubes” Stevens ever did. Though, I dunno, you may not be able to understand and carry on a conversation with a computer geek such as myself. Coincidentally, I’d like to point out that our military, who are among those “real people over there” the jihadists are trying to kill, greatly enjoy videogames in their downtime, and in fact, often train on custom designed games.

Computer and technology enthusiasts and experts are not exactly a group of people you want to insult and ignore anymore, guys. The world has changed. Get used to it. Learn about it. Embrace it. Because for some reason, the party I find myself supporting the most due to their stance on moral issues that I care about has completely backwards stance on technology. Comments like these, Senator Stevens’, and the fact that most republicans are anti-Net Neutrality are only a few examples of this, and is probably a big influence on the dichotomy I mentioned above.

I know I’m not alone out here, there are plenty of people who are both Christians and tech enthusiasts, and given the rise of alternative media in the blogosphere, I know more of them are making their voices heard. I just hope we can make a positive change among politicians or put some into office who reflect both of our views.

Lunch be over, gotta end the rant and get back to work now.

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