Please excuse the very crude title, but that’s who I felt at the time . And I don’t mean to refer to people who are homosexuals. I use the term “faggotry” in this case to refer to something severely annoying.
It was 9 in the morning and we were treated to a short lecture on “dissertation theory”, where someone from “contextual studies” (which sounds like a relic of my art college dies) talks to us about how best to write a dissertation, which follows three hours of “dissertation practice”, where one of the actual game design lecturers does kind of the same thing but we’re more oriented towards actually working on our dissertations (or researching for them in the early weeks). So anyways, the tutor addressed us game students, and since he was clearly unfamiliar with the games industry he jumped straight to Call of Duty as an example, which was cringeworthy enough as it is. Then he asked when the first game was released, I guessed 2003 (which indeed it was). Then he said, “what happened two years before then?”, and that’s when it occurred to me he was trying to refer to 9/11, which led me to believe.
In what I now consider to be sort of a misguided action (I’ll get to why later) I said “are you kidding me?” in a tone where everyone can hear me, and everyone looked at me as though I had said something stupid or unpopular. All I thought was “this game has no objective connection to 9/11 happening”, and I thought the idea was so outrageously retarded that I ended up vocalizing my disapproval. In his mind though, I was taking issue with him personally (who knows? maybe I was…). He even pretended to concede that I was right before sarcastically saying “and you know what else? 300 had nothing to do with Iran”, referring to some kind of political event or speech made about Iran in 2007 or 2008, I think. In my mind, the man was clearly either retarded or just being disingenuous or intellectually dishonest. Either way, it became obvious to my fellow students that I had developed nothing but contempt for the man and his reasoning.
And just to drive the point home further, he actually went on some spiel about how Back to the Future was probably based on the Jewish myth of the golem, based on invented connections between Jewish lore and the plot of Back to the Future. He even got the fucking myth wrong! He claimed that to bring the Golem to life you had to write the Hebrew word for “truth” (which he claimed sounded similar to one of the character’s names in Back to the Future, which to me is a weak basis of connection to the film’s story) and to reverse the effect you write the Hebrew word for death. That’s baloney! In Jewish lore, a Golem is animated by the magician putting a piece of parchment in its mouth, usually said to contain the written name of “God”, and to kill it the magician has to remove that parchment. He got it wrong, and I fucking knew it from the start!!
I remained frustrated with him for a good long while now, and talked with one of my colleagues about how I didn’t trust any academics other than my lecturers at game design for the sole reason that they are simply more grounded than him. That might be because they know the game industry and they’re dealing in a profession that requires them to actually be grounded in practical reality and not be flying in the realm of nonsensical pseudo-intellectual abstractions. Of course, the program director ended up having to talk to us about it because, unfortunately, I was seen as having made a scene. Fortunately we weren’t in any real trouble and nor did he claim to that we were or talk to us in a way that suggested this was the case. But it did seem that the dissertation theory tutor was not used to his game design class. Which I don’t find fucking surprising at all considering the dissertation theory tutor has nothing to do with the game design course. I ended up realizing that even though in my mind my frustrations are pretty reasonable and I’m right to have an aversion to nonsense in academia, my actions were more counterproductive than anything else and I’m probably going to get the program director in trouble if I repeat the same actions. I’m not an idiot, and I respect the man too much to do something that might get him in more hot water. Not only because he’s a pragmatist, a very grounded individual with an admirable attitude and he knows the games industry more than any new student who enters the course, but because he saved me from throwing away my potential as a game student based on emotion back in the first year. Were it not for that, I probably would have done something stupid and I might have taken somewhat longer to grow the way I have as a person.
But you know what? The program director told me that the dissertation theory lecturer said he recognized my brother, who now studies illustration in the same institution. My brother hasn’t been in university for very long and already he says he has to deal with bullshit academics. How bullshit you might ask? Then depends on how you take to a guy who tells you to consider “is the artist really an individual if he/she has to shop at Tesco?”. I take it as just fundamentally retarded. But my program director warns me that I might have to deal with more of it because of how hypothetical and theoretical the guy is and I’m expected to push through in third year. Personally, though, I think academia is supposed to be about learning and dealing with something in the way of objective truth, not pulling stuff out of your asshole and making spurious connections to look intelligent.