The Mind’s Eye 05 — Technodance:
Vision d’une Schizophrene
The Mind’s Eye 05 — Technodance:
Vision d’une Schizophrene
This year I am attending both Pax East AND GDC, back-to-back. I am leaving Pax East on Sunday and attending GDC probably first thing on Monday morning.
I’ve heard of people doing this before, and they always say it is exhausting and draining and that two conventions in a row is too much. But I’ve been to Pax East every year since its inception, so I’m not stopping now. It’s practically the only time all year that I get to hang out with my friends from college, too.
On the other hand, I’m also very excited to attend GDC for the first time ever. I hope to see some great talks about narrative design, and I’ll be handing out flyers and/or answering questions at my company’s booth on Thursday. This is not the first convention I’ll be attending as a “real games industry member,” but GDC is a step above most other conventions in terms of relevancy and depth when it comes to my continuing education in games writing and industry stuff, so I keep thinking of it as my “first real convention.”
Kent Sutherland, my writing partner from Second Person Shooter, will also be at GDC. In the almost-two-years since we’ve graduated college, Kent and I both went from unemployment to for-reals games industry employment to “associate producer” positions, in two different Chinese games companies on two different sides of the Pacific ocean. It’s pretty bizarre how we were both able to get the kinds of jobs we wanted, despite the economy’s weakness, and that we’ve had such eerily parallel careers so far. I know he’s also very proud with what he’s accomplished, and it will be great for us to meet up at GDC again.
If you’re going to be at either of these two conventions, I hope you enjoy yourself. And if you’re not, I hope you enjoy the bizarre glut of news that these conventions will spew all over the internet. Here’s a bingo card I made for the event:
I of course will be playing this bingo game myself and will keep you updated with results.
There isn’t really such a thing as “Ivy League culture,” but there are a few mannerisms that many students at Ivy League colleges do share. Most of them (that I can think of) have to do with how these kids admit and talk about their class or privilege to other people.
For example, students at Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth will sometimes refuse to actually state that they went to those schools. When asked where they went to college, they’ll say the name of the state or town instead. Harvard students will say “Oh, in Boston,” or “in Cambridge.” Yale students say “New Haven” or “Connecticut.” Dartmouth students usually only way, “Oh, uh, in New Hampshire.” They rarely say “Hanover, New Hampshire,” because nobody knows that Hanover exists.
When I was at Dartmouth, I said “New Hampshire” a lot. (I still do, sometimes.) When you tell someone you went to an Ivy League school, weird shit can happen. It can make them behave differently and can make you feel like an asshole for admitting it, even if the other person brought it up. It can make people treat you like an outsider or a jerk even if you haven’t done any of your classic jerk things yet. In my case, I mostly used “New Hampshire” because I didn’t want to intimidate people or make them think I was waving my privilege in their faces.
But I’ve wondered for a while if it’s really just embarrassment or humility that drives most people to use these code words. It’s not really humility when a Harvard student gets specific enough to say “Cambridge,” or when a Yale student says “New Haven.” If you are familiar with either of those schools, you’ll know that there aren’t really many other schools in Cambridge or New Haven to get them confused with. No, when someone gets specific enough to say “Cambridge” or “New Haven” (or if a Dartmouth student gets the incredibly dumb urge to say “Hanover”, as I’ve seen happen a few times, in trainwreck-style slow motion), those people are probably going out of their way to wave their privilege in your face. They’re basically initiating a secret handshake with you. The way you respond to “Cambridge” or “New Haven” reveals an enormous amount about you and your background, and gives the speaker a lot of clues about how to behave toward you in the coming conversation.
Basically, the more specificity in the question-dodge, the more the speaker is trying to figure out about you– and, let’s be honest, the more likely it is they’re actually some kind of asshole.
If someone says “Massachusetts” or “Connecticut,” though, you can be sure that they’re merely trying to avoid giving an answer. There are too many schools in those states, both public and private, for either of them to really give much away. There are so many tiny, tiny schools in those states that it’s not unreasonable for someone to avoid giving their college’s name just so they could avoid the long “Which one is that?” talk.
This leads me broadly back to Dartmouth, and to people (like me) who often choose to say “New Hampshire” instead. The dumb thing about New Hampshire is that compared to Connecticut or Massachusetts, there are basically only a handful of colleges there, and very few of them are widely known– if you’re saying “New Hampshire,” the people you’re talking to are going to be sifting through that short list in their heads, and there’s a good chance that they’re going to narrow it down to basically just Keene State, UNH, and Dartmouth. There’s no reason for anyone who went to UNH or Keene State to be anything other than open about their attendance there, so in the end, those of us who say “New Hampshire” are probably just as inefficient at hiding our school as the people who say “Cambridge” and “New Haven.”
I deal with it by telling myself: “Well, at least you didn’t say Hanover, you asshole.”