WASHINGTON – Call it the age of PlayStation politics.
Where Bill Clinton went on MTV and Barack Obama seized on social media, modern-day Democrats see online video gaming as the next high-tech frontier for reaching young voters.
And a Canadian company is helping to lead the virtual charge.
Toronto-based Enthusiast Gaming was at the cusp of the presidential effort last year, helping to stitch Joe Biden’s brand and message into a customized map for the wildly popular game “Fortnite.”
Prior to the election, fans of Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” downloaded Biden and Kamala Harris avatars and decorated their islands with Biden-Harris lawn signs.
And two weeks out from election day, New York rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and fellow progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar attracted nearly 440,000 viewers — unheard of for political figures — when they played “Among Us” live on the streaming site Twitch.
The AOC livestream was so popular, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh quickly jumped at the opportunity to engage the popular progressive firebrand in a cross-border rematch — an event that raised more than US$200,000 for anti-poverty endeavours in the U.S.
For Adrian Montgomery, Enthusiast Gaming’s 40-something CEO, the intersection of video games and political campaigns in 2020 has been nothing short of seminal.
“This was such an interesting moment that’s going to change political discourse, and it was pretty cool to be a part of it,” Montgomery said in an interview.
He likened it to Clinton’s famous sunglasses-and-saxophone appearance on the Arsenio Hall show in 1992, or a Playboy interview in 1976 that nearly ended Jimmy Carter’s career.
“I see the Joe Biden campaign using video games and AOC and ‘Fortnite’ takeovers as similarily transformational, and I think it’s going to change how young people are treated in future elections,” he said.
“They certainly have proven that they do come out and vote and they can make a difference. And so I think that’s going to put wind in our sails.”
There was more to the Biden-Harris “Fortnite” map than just campaign billboards and “Build Back Better” sloganeering.
Gamers who took on the map were confronted with six unique challenges to complete, all of them steeped not only in the lore of the former Delaware senator, but also his campaign goals and messages.
Players were tasked with gathering industrial waste from “Aviator River,” retrofitting an auto factory to build electric cars with solar power; and installing 5G towers throughout the map “to ensure every American has access to broadband.”
Along the way, they were exhorted to send text messages or visit websites in order to receive detailed instructions on how to obtain mail-in ballots or vote in person on election day.
Montgomery will take part in a panel at the Canadian Club in Toronto on Tuesday, talking gaming and politics with Allison Stern, who headed up the digital partnerships project for the Biden campaign. They’ll also be joined by Heidi Browning, the chief marketing officer for the National Hockey League.
Video games, already a US$150-billion colossus that dwarfs both the music and film industries, represent an untapped resource that found an even firmer footing in a year when people around the world were forced to stay in their homes.
Online games, which can provide players with a unique sense of connection and community even from a distance, were made for the moment, Montgomery said.
And with speculation already rampant about the possibility of an election in Canada this year, he sounds excited about the prospects.
“It’s very rare when you can reach young people at scale, and you can do it in a way that they’d be receptive to,” he said.
“We’re not currently engaged, but I think we obviously have the track record. And it would be interesting to extrapolate that into other endeavours and other campaigns.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021.
Opinion | Peterborough letter: Women treated differently in local politics – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com
Much has been written in the last few days and weeks about the tone of our local, provincial and federal politics in Peterborough and the surrounding Kawartha Area.
If you have missed it, recently Mayor Diane Therrien and MPP Dave Smith got into a war of words over housing. The mayor pointed out that Mr. Smith was missing from the housing conversation in Peterborough, which then spiralled into a war of words on twitter.
However, while Smith’s statements are misleading, and the mayor’s frustration with Smith’s response (seen in her response on twitter) obvious, I am instead writing to address a consistent issue related to the way we frame political discourse in this community.
Simply put — there is a double standard when it comes to tone policing in our local politics.
Smith has repeatedly targeted the mayor, MP Maryam Monsef, and even Dr. Rosana Salvaterra in local media and on Twitter. In relation to the recent incident, after the mayor made a legitimate criticism of Mr. Smith, many called her comments unacceptable, but viewed Smith’s response as a “defence.”
However, when the mayor or Monsef defend themselves publicly, or criticize colleagues on policy, they are called out in articles, letters to the editor and on social media.
Reading Facebook comments on any post that mentions politics shows a disgusting slew of ad hominem attacks directed at the mayor and the MP, filled with derogatory terms. When posts are made regarding Smith, these types of attacks are largely absent.
It is clear that sexism runs rampant in relation to political leadership in our community — and even the media is guilty of this same double-standard.
Should our discourse be less vitriolic and more related to policy across the board? Absolutely, 100 per cent. But when tempers flare, we must remember that it takes two to tango, and not tone-police in one direction.
We must be cognizant of how we treat women in power in our community, lest incredibly qualified leaders that happen to be women shy away from taking up the political gauntlet in the future.
Opinion | Power, Politics and Sexual Misconduct – The New York Times
Readers discuss their own experiences dealing with inappropriate behavior in the workplace and what the consequences should be for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
To the Editor:
Re “As Scandals Sap His Political Strength, Cuomo Resists Calls to Resign” (news article, March 3):
Now 79 years old, I experienced my share of minor sexual harassment through the years. When I was young, I had to tolerate it or suffer significant consequences and more “teasing.” But now women do not have to tolerate crude jokes, butt pats, breast grabs, unwelcome kisses, sly sexual remarks. Only in the last few years have women’s complaints been taken seriously.
Women my age took a lot of crap. The sexual bullies won. Gentlemen: Women are now complaining and making it stick. The rules have changed. If your behavior was “playful,” realize it was probably no fun for the woman. It’s time to clean up your act. Now.
To the Editor:
I am certain many women, especially those involved with the #MeToo movement, will disagree with me, but since when did women become helpless victims? I worked for a number of elected officials, as well as other employers, when I was young.
On many occasions I experienced inappropriate gestures and comments that might in today’s world be considered inappropriate. I handled them. I would simply say “Please get your hand off me” or “I am sorry, but I find what you are saying offensive.” In all cases, the offender backed down.
If women want to be treated as equals we need to take some control over these situations, rather than just being passive. Speaking up will empower us. We should be teaching our daughters to speak up about these matters when they happen, rather than waiting and making public accusations.
Garden City, N.Y.
To the Editor:
Donald Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct — including assault and rape — by at least 25 women. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of an unwanted kiss and sexually harassing comments.
Granted, any type of harassment is intolerable. But are these accusations equivalent? Might there not be degrees of such misconduct? Should they be treated differently? Will Mr. Cuomo lose his job, while the former president bragged about predatory behavior with impunity?
To the Editor:
I am a liberal Democrat and feminist. I have worked for a state legislature, for Congress, for many dozens of elected officials and candidates to elective office. I think the outpouring of condemnation against and demands for the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo are ridiculous and scary.
His misguided flirtatious behavior warrants a sincere apology and promise to cease and desist; that’s all. No one is perfect. To demand that every utterance, every action of public figures, be perfect is absurd. Asking too personal questions is not equivalent to threatening a person’s livelihood. Placing a hand on a person’s back is not equivalent to groping someone’s private parts. Asking to plant a kiss is not equivalent to raping someone.
People, what’s called for here is a sense of perspective.
Carole Lieber Glickfeld
To the Editor:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s disgusting behavior toward others is the result of his belief in the false privilege of rank held by so many politicians — that you are exempt from the rules of decent behavior and from punishment for your misbehavior. Thus, not only was it wrong for Mr. Cuomo to reportedly make the “strip poker” remark to another state employee, but wrong as well for him to believe that this did not warrant punishment.
His deeds are abuses of power and inappropriate conduct and are grounds for removal from office.
Stephen V. Gilmore
To the Editor:
Re “Why Democrats Aren’t Asking Cuomo to Resign” (column, March 2):
Michelle Goldberg notes that “many Democrats are sick of holding themselves to a set of standards that Republicans feel no need to try to meet.” I completely understand this dynamic but greatly regret the result.
After all, morality that is contingent on your adversary’s expected behavior under similar circumstances is not morality at all. Rather, it is mere political gamesmanship. And that is a real shame.
Paul E. Greenberg
To the Editor:
I don’t want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in the middle of a pandemic. Too many lives depend on his leadership. Yet I also want him to become aware of what he said and did to these women and understand why his behavior shouldn’t continue. How about he stays in office while working on his behavior?
Mr. Cuomo should hire the best sexual harassment prevention trainer and work with that person one-on-one or in a group setting. He should go through a journey of awareness publicly, but remain in office, leading in a crisis, to keep us from letting another talented leader fade into obscurity.
Jamie Nye: Athletes and politics do mix, and that's OK – CKOM News Talk Sports
If Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to collect his millions in soccer and keep quiet about political issues, he can go right ahead.
But then he should take his own advice and shut up and play.
Instead, the Swedish soccer star has taken it upon himself to criticize big-name athletes who are using their platforms to try and improve communities, lobby politicians and become leaders outside their realm of sport.
LeBron James is Ibrahimovic’s main target. Ibrahimovic believes athletes should be athletes and let the politicians be the politicians.
That’s all well and good but a caller to the Green Zone nailed it when he called the soccer player’s comments trash.
The caller simply stated that maybe more athletes would stick to athletics if the politicians were any good at being politicians.
I really couldn’t have said it any better than that.
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