4:26 PM, June 17th. Roger Ebert says via Twitter: "Find me a person who would value any video game above 'Huckleberry Finn,' and I'll show you a fool.'

4:28 PM, June 17th. I respond: "So tell me, which movie should I value higher than Beethoven's Ninth? Or higher than 'Huckleberry Finn,' for that matter?"

Ebert doesn't respond.

6:37 AM, June 22nd. Ebert quotes a Morning news article: "Video games don't yet (and maybe never will) replicate the experience of reading a good book."

9:37 AM, June 22nd. I respond: "Movies also don't replicate the experience of reading a good book. You of all people should know that."

Ebert doesn't respond.

9:41 PM, June 22nd. Ebert links to a survey he created, asking people whether they value Huckleberry Finn or a great video game more.

10:06 PM, June 22nd. I ask him: "Which do you value higher, Huckleberry Finn or a great movie?"

Feeling frustrated and pissy and degenerating into passive-aggressiveness, I follow that with: "I'm not really sure why I bother asking, since you clearly aren't interested in a dialogue. Or even intellectual honesty."

Obviously, Ebert doesn't respond.

Why on Earth am I talking to Roger Ebert? Why do I even care what he thinks about video games? Why is it so difficult for me to just accept that he's more or less being a troll at this point, and then move on with my life? Why am I becoming the kind of guy that people feel the need to throw that XKCD link at? I don't know, but for whatever reason, this whole Ebert/video game thing really has my panties in a bunch.

Well, that's not entirely true. I know why. Here's a man who can write a sensitive and honest appraisal of race and racism, who is willing to share a wonderful and personal remembrance of his father. A man who can produce writings that are familiar, insightful, and that inspire me to be a better writer. That he can also be pigheaded and unreasonable frustrates me.

Maybe I'm looking for someone to idolize. I don't have a lot of heroes, so maybe that's a void that I want to fill. Maybe I just want people (and, by extension, the world) to make sense. Maybe this is just the family tendency toward obsession and compulsive behavior coming out. I don't know.

What I do know is that trying to get anybody to be what I want them to be is a waste of both my time and theirs. Roger Ebert doesn't know me and has no reason at all to care whether I read his blog or follow him on Twitter. It's time for me to stop acting any other way.

What about you folks? Do bloggers and Twitterers ever get under your skin this way? What do you do about it?


Erik Slaine:

Yeah, I have to admit that I've unfollowed people; and that I've unfriended them on Facebook due to what they're posting.
Usually it's some hyper-conservative comment that can't be explained by hyperbole. I think it's probably better that I unfollow rather than exchanging. I tend to descend to their level, and that's not what I want to be about. As far as Mr. Ebert is concerned, what has annoyed me the most about it is that, whether or not a game has been made that might be considered art on that level, but that he's obviously dismissed the possibility that one could in future be made. I think that inevitably, it will.

Tom Davidson:

I'm not on Twitter -- or, rather, I have a Twitter account but follow only my Facebook friends -- precisely because I have no interest whatsoever in one-way communication. If you want me to know what you think, it's only fair that I get the chance to tell you what I think.

Mike Sakasegawa:

I don't think you understand how Twitter works, Tom. It's not one-way communication. Any tweet that contains @sakeriver, for example, will show up in my "Mentions" feed, whether or not I follow that person. It's the same for everyone. And one of the truly amazing things about Twitter is that most people seem to actually pay attention to their Mentions feed, even celebrities and other "important" people. I think that's actually one of the big draws of Twitter for a lot of people, and one of the things that separates it from Facebook: you get the opportunity to talk to people that you normally wouldn't, with a decent chance that they'll hear you.

Mike Sakasegawa:

Thus, when I send an @ message to Ebert and he doesn't respond, it could mean that he's not monitoring his Mentions feed, or that he gets so many mentions that mine got lost, or it means that he's deliberately ignoring it. There is strong evidence that Ebert, specifically, does monitor his Mentions feed, and moreover that he reads all or most of the posts in it--he actually responds to and retweets a lot of his mentions. I think that's part of what makes it so frustrating.

Not that it makes much sense that I would care if he *is* ignoring me.


I don't follow celebrities on Twitter, and I don't read bloggers who annoy me.

I was indifferent to Ebert's original article. I didn't bother to read it until Ted asked me what I thought about it. I wondered why people cared about the opinion of someone who doesn't game, doesn't understand gaming, and who clearly aggressively disdains gaming as a medium. He repeatedly displayed his ignorance of the medium and its nuances in the article, which was more than enough to discredit his opinion even without the campaign of belittling those who disagree.

Along with conversations with Ted, your post helped me understand why others cared; however, I personally still don't care what he thinks, because his opinion is aggressively uninformed and because I don't think his campaign will accomplish much more than annoying a lot of gamers.

Esther Sherr:

Wait. You've got panties?

There is an untold story here.


Hopefully it will remain untold...