Zero Pronunciation

I am a big fan of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation reviews at The Escapist. They’re laugh-out-loud funny, irreverently witty, and more often than not, very much in agreement with my own tastes (if you can read between the lines and figure out which games he actually likes despite slamming them). I also think it’s hilarious that when you google “Yahtzee”, the Zero Punctuation gallery is the top result, indicating the disproportionate influence that geeks wield in determining what’s relevant on the web.

But that is not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about “Zero Punctuation: Achieving the Cross-media Transformation of Ludological Hermeneutics,” a recent article from the Escapist. The author critiques Croshaw’s reviews as themselves critiques of gamer culture and gender norms. At first, I found it pretty spot-on, if a bit unnecessarily obtuse. Then, I started wondering if it was actually intentionally obtuse. I honestly wasn’t sure of what to conclude until I got to the end, where “Max Steele” claimed to have a Ph.D. from Miskatonic University.

I relate this anecdote for two reasons.

First, that’s a pretty funny gag right there.

And second, Lord help me, but I still found the article interesting, despite being nigh-impenetrable. I can’t decide whether this is a credit to the author or a sad commentary on academics’ willingness to inure themselves to overly complex writing. Maybe both. Or maybe I just used the word “inure” in a sentence without even thinking about it.

3 thoughts on “Zero Pronunciation

  1. Heh. I didn’t finish the first sentence before realizing it was a send-up of academics.

    It goes on too long, of course, but you can’t really do a *concise* send-up of academics…

  2. Just from the title “Zero Punctuation: Achieving the Cross-media Transformation of Ludological Hermeneutics,” I would think it is a reference to Sokal’s hoax (“Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”). Combined with your description of it in this post (“unnecessarily obtuse”, “nigh-impenetrable”, “overly complex”), I am sure of it.

    Now I will check out the link.

  3. Related note: I have a Miskatonic U Alumni tag on my car. I entertain serious inquires about this imaginary institution on a regular basis from the uninitiated.

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