On Pokemon GO and Stupid People

So, apparently, there is a game called Pokemon GO, which you can play on your smartphones that has people trekking all around their neighbourhoods, collecting cute Japanese little monsters. To say that it has been a wild success is understating things.

Indeed, the success of Pokemon GO is a bigger a news story as Pokemon GO itself. Its popularity has shocked people for coming out of nowhere, and it has led to no shortage of dog-bites-man news stories. Wandering players have come upon dead bodies. China believes Pokemon GO is a US/Japanese conspiracy to locate Chinese military bases. But for many people, Pokemon GO gives crotchety people the excuse to say “damn kids, get off my lawn!” Literally.

It hasn’t helped that some players have done some stupid things while playing the game. This video, screen-captured below, is one of the more egregious examples I’ve seen:


For those who don’t know, this is an individual playing on his cellphone, walking down the middle of the subway tracks at Union subway station in Toronto. I found this screen capture on the Twitter feed of Brad Ross, the Toronto Transit Commission’s chief public and media liaison officer. He went ballistic, and for every good reason. It’s hard to think of a more selfish and stupid disregard for one’s own life, not to mention the psychological wellbeing of the subway driver who runs him over, the cost of emergency services that attend to the scene, and the delay this could have caused to thousands.

There is no question: the player is a grade-A idiot. But I cannot accept one of the Tweets that followed, wherein an individual states, “This generation is embarrassing.”

Way to paint with a broad brush, there, guy.

Indeed, I’m pretty familiar with this generation. My children are at the tail end of it. I’ve seen and worked with students at high school and university. They offer as much of a range of skills, passion, hopefulness, cynicism, intelligence and stupidity as my generation did in the eighties. For every idiot playing Pokemon GO on the Toronto subway tracks, there are literally thousands of teenagers and young adults who are working hard at school or at their jobs, who are investing their time wisely and passionately for all our futures.

You rarely see and hear about those people who knuckle down and work hard. They’re not the squeaky wheels that get noticed. Do not judge an entire generation by those few who attract your attention, displaying the worst the generation has to offer. Trust me, our worst was just as bad, and we have as much right not to be so judged.

And the same goes for Pokemon GO users. The media only captures the most stupid, because they’re the ones which are newsworthy. “Thousands upon Thousands Play Pokemon GO Without Injury” is not a particularly compelling headline.

Furthermore, Pokemon GO has been successful in getting people out of their homes. That includes stupid people. So, of course you are going to see more stupid people around now that the game is available. Before, these people spent their time trolling online newspaper comment sections.

Update 17:00: It gets worse: that wasn’t a Pokemon Go player. From a Facebook comment: To be fair, this person isn’t actually playing Pokemon. He’s an actor, filming a comedy video on the dangers of playing Pokemon Go (without authorization from the TTC). Which is possibly even more dumb.

Definitely more dumb!

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