Friday, May 11, 2012

MTV Redux

Rock the vote and all that stuff, including this story about MTV's latest attempt to get young people to participate in the political process.  Here's an interesting, and somewhat depressing, graf that sums it up nicely (and sadly):
First, MTV is gaming the election. “Data indicates that viewership of sports increased with fantasy sports, especially among women, so we want to translate that to voting by applying similar mechanics to the election,” Rzepka said.
Neil Postman had it right.  We're amusing ourselves to death.

Is it wrong to turn politics into a game just to attract young voters?  Not really.  Journalists, especially the TV folks, and most especially the cable TV folks, turned politics into a game long ago.  This is just the next unfortunate step.

As the story notes, "fantasy election gamers" earn points for registering to vote and tweeting and similar actions.  You get rewarded for watching debates or Meet the Press.  Hell, you get rewarded for watching a party's convention.  On that one I think we all agree -- someone deserves a reward (or several drinks) for sitting through those staged events.

So I come across with a mixed message above.  I find the whole idea of turning politics into a game as rather sad, and yet I recognize that journalists and TV talking heads did this very thing many years ago, so it's hard to blame MTV and anyone else from really really really making it into a game.

Sigh.  Sign me up.

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