Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Saddening.

There is a gameshop near my apartment, and though I haven't played RPGs in a few years, and will not spend more money on them as I have spent enough, I still go in from time to time and take a look at what's new. What I see depresses me immensely.

I have over 5000 hand-painted gaming miniatures and they range from almost museum quality (only a slight exaggeration) to ones that look like I dipped them in paint. Painting them was almost as much fun as gaming with them, maybe even more. Pride may be a sin and it may be foolish thing to be proud of, but I am proud of that collection.

Today kids play with perfect pieces that they don't even have to paint. They are largely prepainted (and costly too.) If I and a friend had copies of the same miniature you can be sure that they didn't look exactly alike in the end because he and I would paint it according to our own preference and vision. Now they are exactly alike because there is no individual artwork.

It's in so many things. Rockets used to be paper tubes, a balsa nose cone, a sheet of balsa and a few accessories. You put it together and painted it yourself. It may have been less than perfect but it was your own construction. YOU built that rocket. Now we have perfectly beautiful rockets coming preconstructed. You fly it but it's not really yours in the sense that the old rockets were.

Our local hobby shop's mainstay is model railroading and most of the people involved are my age and older. There are a couple of kids who are near fanatic railroaders but they are the exceptions.

When was the last time you (or one of your kids) built a model car or airplane? Me? I built Enterprise B a couple of years ago, have an unbuilt model of the Reliant, and built a model of the Titanic a few years back. I think about it but space is an issue. Plus I have quite a few hand-made model rockets (as well as a couple of pre-builds that came with the launch equipment.) Perhaps it's time to build another one.

You know I love computers but what about creativity. Creativity was, and should still be, at the heart of American Know-How and American enterprise. We built and created new things and new ideas. Today everything is made for us.

Does it apply to the micro-wave dinner concept as well? Perhaps so. Micro-wave dinners definitely have a place and real use, but how many people would be lost in a kitchen without either a microwave or prepared packaged food? I wouldn't be but I know quite a few people who would be like the poor girl I saw in a comic when I was a teenager. It showed a thoroughly befuddled teen girl surrounded by kitchen utensils and food ingredients and her mother is with her holding an egg and saying, "We'll start with the basics. This thing is called an egg."

OK we'll start with the basics. This is called a tool. You make things with it. This is a paint brush and this is your imagination. Use it.


Blogger Gayle said...

Really good point, Shoprat. Kids don't use their imaginations even half as much as we did when we were kids. Have you seen any kids even playing hopscotch or jump rope anymore? I haven't. It's very sad.

I can cook without a microwave or pre-packaged food, and that's exactly how I always cook, but I'm sort of a throwback. When I was shopping at WalMart for my elderly lady friend I was looking for a jar of prepared something-or-other (don't remember what) and had to ask a clerk for help. She led me right to it. I said if I ever bought the stuff I would have known where it was but I make my own. She looked at me like I had several loose screws! LOL!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Yay! A post w/o politics! Anyway, I'm SURE all of these things of your post are all on account of the evil liberal leftist moonbats!

When I took my son to New York last fall, we went to a comic book convention because a very good friend of mine, Mike Netzer, is a comic artist of some renoun, and as he now lives in Israel, I don't see him very often. I encountered the exact same thing. There were very few kids, it was all aging fan boys in their forties and fifties (like the "comic book guy" on the Simpsons) having indepth discussions on Batman. It was very disappointing to see another part of my childhood dying slowly.

I used to build model cars. All of my friends did. Building car just like dad over at Ford or GM. Of course, now none of us work in the auto industry.

Our kids won't have jobs where they "make" things, and they can be purchased pre-assembled from China, so the kids don't find them particularly relevent or entertaining to play with, much less build.

They are getting ready today for their future: Sitting in front of a computer screen.

As for cooking: I use the microwave to reheat leftovers or boil water. My kids look at me like I'm from 1000 years ago when I tell them that we had to put our Spagettio's in a pan and heat them on the stove instead of "nuking" them in the bowl. Or how we only got to watch cartoons for an hour or so after school on channel 50 because there was no cable TV or Cartoon Network. In fact, we only had 5 VHF and 4 UHF channels to watch, and, my GOD! NO REMOTE CONTROL! We actually had to get off our ass to turn the channel! How did we ever manage!

I think it would be fun to toss back a couple beers with you and talk of "these kids today". How many times did WE hear that from our parents? Somehow we turned out okay, so I'm not too worried.

2:16 PM  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

"When was the last time you (or one of your kids) built a model car or airplane?" My entire basement is filled with model trains, 600 railcars, 100 locomotives, hand made towns, mountains bridges and tunnels...
Not a fair question!!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Nightcrawler said...

I was a hardcore D&D player back in the pencil and paper days. I drew many a character sketch, painted many a figurine and designed many a crazy weapon... Today's kids just pop in a cd or log into a website and everything is done for them.

It's a real shame...

10:56 PM  
Blogger Nightcrawler said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

I'm so proud of my kids. They begged me for the parts to build a robot this year. So, I'm begging my Principal for the money to buy the parts. They have it all worked out how they're going to build it.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Americaneocon said...

I have to be honest in this one, Shoprat: I don't think I had the patience for models and stuff when I was little, although I think they're totally cool!

I think my parents got me a really complicated battleship or something, and I got frustrated with all the small pieces, and never went back to model building. I'm sure I could have a great time doing one today!

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Ah...a trip down memory lane...

Model rockets painstakingly crafted from balsa wood and tubes fired into the air and not knowing if they would be recovered....

Model trains also painstakingly assembled with all of the scenery detailed to that perfect scale...

Model cars assembled and painted so that the joints didn't show and the paint scheme didn't exactly show what was on the box...

And all of the above completed with the imagination running wild.

Sad that the children of today would rather play mindless video games and watch inane TV programs instead of that most precious gift - their minds.

2:43 PM  

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