JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2010/05/wtf-seriously-wtff.html (30 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1272935482-298  Ed at Tue, 04 May 2010 01:11:23 +0000

Sweet Jebus! This is just amazing. I don't even want to know whats next.

jsid-1272936443-95  DJ at Tue, 04 May 2010 01:27:23 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272935482-298

"I don't even want to know whats next."

Merit badges for taking a shit, but they won't call it that.

jsid-1272939238-414  Borepatch at Tue, 04 May 2010 02:13:58 +0000

Maybe they need to build an electric generator to power the game system first.

Got to admit, that would be cool.

jsid-1272989380-137  Rich at Tue, 04 May 2010 16:09:40 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272939238-414

Actually, building a home N. Reactor would be cooler

jsid-1272940055-710  gandalf23 at Tue, 04 May 2010 02:27:35 +0000

This is Cub Scouts.  Boys under the age of 11.  
And it's actually a pretty good thing, if you look at the requirements.  It's got time management requirements, comparative shopping (always a good thing to know how to do, right?), teaching others a game.  All kinds of good stuff.  It's not just "veg out and play some gamez" 
Now, I am annoyed that the Boy Scouts got rid of Masonry merit badge, but that's another topic.

jsid-1272940845-446  mac at Tue, 04 May 2010 02:40:45 +0000

I think the reaction to this is a bit overblown.  First, this isn't a Merit Badge, it's for a CUB Scout belt loop and pin.  It is purely an elective, for boys aged 6-11.  The awards are not a part of any rank achievement.


Sure, the take on this in our pack is a bit WTF?  I see it more about putting some parameters around video games and such. All the boys are already playing games.  But what about putting the activity into context?  I see a lot of parents who let their kids play games without any kind of restrictions.  Maybe this award will encourage a thoughtful discussion between parents and boy about what games are appropriate and when the privilege has been earned.


Furthermore, video games are not necessarily teh brain-drane.  Programs like Ticket-to-Read and VMathLive have really helped kids to learn the basics.  Well-built games have excellent reward systems.  They motivate users to achieve more.  This power can be used for good, or sloth.


Having said that, I do agree this round of new belt loops is a mixed bag.  It includes ones for good manners, as well as hiking.

jsid-1272947061-179  Mastiff at Tue, 04 May 2010 04:24:21 +0000

As with everything else BSA-related, it will all depend on how the local unit leaders implement it. I suspect the world will not end.

That said, I am a bit annoyed. Only a bit, though, because I know how much the Cubs play video games anyway, and if this thing will teach them how to set limits, it will have done a world of good.

Meanwhile, I continue to be thankful that I work with Boy Scouts and not Cubs...

jsid-1272948045-937  eeky at Tue, 04 May 2010 04:40:46 +0000

I can't wait for Virtual Scouts Online™!

jsid-1272950788-849  Dean in Az at Tue, 04 May 2010 05:26:28 +0000

At least it's not:

"Create an avatar in Second Life."
"Form a scout troop with the other members of your pack."
"Go virtual camping for a weekend."


jsid-1272979759-240  geekwitha45 at Tue, 04 May 2010 13:29:19 +0000

Here's an alternative take on the thing:

Cub belt loops are far from scout merit badges.  If anything, their main payload is to aclimate the proto scout to the idea that tokens must be earned through objective, structured achievements and demonstrations of proficiency.

One of the wiser thing I'd gleaned from the scout leadership manual is that you have to deal with each scout as you find them, and lead them from where they are to where they need to be.

It seems that this belt loop is a sign that BSA is trying to find a path/activity that engages kids "as they are found".

jsid-1272980076-794  geekwitha45 at Tue, 04 May 2010 13:34:36 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272979759-240

Oh, wait. I forgot. I'm not capable of critical thought.

I publicly apologize for emiting something thoughful, nuanced and not in alignment with the party/Kult line, as ordained by Beck and Rush.

{exits, dragging knuckles, still puzzling over how to open his bible, mumbling "Hulk smash!" under his breath.}

jsid-1272982670-129  GrumpyOldFart at Tue, 04 May 2010 14:17:50 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272980076-794

{exits, dragging knuckles, still puzzling over how to open his bible, mumbling "Hulk smash!" under his breath.}

You open it using the gun you're clinging to with your other hand. Duh.


jsid-1272992144-417  geekwitha45 at Tue, 04 May 2010 16:55:44 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272982670-129

But wouldn't that just make confetti? And isn't shooting a Bible considered sacriligeous? 
Well, here goes! 
That didn't open it. 
Need a plan B. (And a new Bible)

That plan's not working too well either. 

Gonna go find plan C.

jsid-1272999349-974  GrumpyOldFart at Tue, 04 May 2010 18:55:50 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272992144-417

Be glad it wasn't a Qu'ran, someone would be looking for you with intent to kill.... right about the time you run out of ammo.

Talk about bad timing.

jsid-1272981226-988  DJ at Tue, 04 May 2010 13:53:47 +0000

I confess to a bit of projection here.

Way back in 1960, I became a Cub Scout, at least for a while. Shortly after joining, I became ill such that I had to give it up for a while, and I never went back.

I was amazed at the trivial things one could do to earn doodads to sew on one's blue shirt. For example, one could coil a length of rope and tie it such that it could be carried easily, which illustrates the level of skill required. They weren't challenges, they were things that I had been doing for years.

This is the source of Kevin's astonishment also. These kids are being challenged to do what they have long been doing.

jsid-1273019438-923  Randy at Wed, 05 May 2010 00:30:38 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272981226-988

For a lot of kids those types of things are challenges, if no one has ever shown them how it's done.  I worked with cubs as a Den Chief (70's) and later as an adult leader (80's and 90's).  

When I was working as an adult, many of the kids had single moms, and no one had showed them the basics that would make life easier for them when they hit WEBELOS and Boy Scouts.

That, and even then, schools weren't always reinforcing the idea of actually doing something besides showing up to earn "doodads".

jsid-1273082147-778  DJ at Wed, 05 May 2010 17:55:47 +0000 in reply to jsid-1273019438-923

"For a lot of kids those types of things are challenges, if no one has ever shown them how it's done."

I don't mean to make fun of them for such things, Randy. Many of the things I did as a kid are entirely foreign to kids today. But proficiency with selecting, buying, setting up, and playing video games is the other end of that spectrum, and the idea that such things challenge them makes my eyes roll.

jsid-1272983532-70  Stuart the Viking at Tue, 04 May 2010 14:32:12 +0000

Dude, what if they have to set up a mad gaming system for some blind ol grandma?  They need to prepare for that eventuality don't they.  Wouldn't be scouts if they weren't prepaired!


jsid-1272992291-882  perlhaqr at Tue, 04 May 2010 16:58:11 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272983532-70

You laugh, but my aunt has done precisely that thing at the senior living center she works at.  The old people apparently really love Wii Fit.  And the competitiveness has kept them more active than anything else that they've tried the last several decades.

jsid-1272983932-383  BobG at Tue, 04 May 2010 14:38:52 +0000

Maybe a merit badge for texting will be next.

jsid-1272989552-882  Marshall at Tue, 04 May 2010 16:12:40 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272983932-383

Maybe they should. I got a merit badge for listening to a short wave radio for 12 hours, an activity far less interactive than one hour of multi-player mode.

jsid-1272987036-288  Ambulance Driver at Tue, 04 May 2010 15:30:36 +0000

Merit badges for Twinkie consumption.

jsid-1272987069-111  CAshane at Tue, 04 May 2010 15:31:09 +0000

"Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty."

Does the manufacturer's warranty change from store to store?

jsid-1272987827-474  Ed "What the" Heckman at Tue, 04 May 2010 15:43:47 +0000 in reply to jsid-1272987069-111

Some manufacturers require returning defective items to the store, while others want defective products returned to the manufacturer.

jsid-1272999191-100  McThag at Tue, 04 May 2010 18:53:11 +0000

Not only is the resolution outside outstanding it runs in real time!

jsid-1273000854-191  Spearweasel at Tue, 04 May 2010 19:20:54 +0000

But the mapping errors can be a real bitch.

jsid-1273023813-103  Markadelphia at Wed, 05 May 2010 01:43:33 +0000

Completely agree, Kevin. My son is in Cub Scouts and I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It nauseates me beyond belief and I was planning on writing a column about it but you beat me to it. Now I can just link to yours in (rare) agreement.

Oh, and he won't be getting that belt loop 8-)

jsid-1273025702-114  Last in line at Wed, 05 May 2010 02:15:02 +0000

The act of sitting for hours playing video games is lame.  I must confess to playing Call of Duty with my little buddy Weston every now and then.  We were getting pretty good at killing those nazi zombies but the xbox broke several months ago and I haven't played since.

jsid-1273082351-533  LabRat at Wed, 05 May 2010 17:59:11 +0000

I find it a bit of a headscratcher, but I'm also in agreement with Geek; if the aim of the loop is to teach young boys how to responsibly manage their time and money doing something they're already doing anyway, that doesn't actually sound like a bad idea at all.

jsid-1273905799-337  Guest at Sat, 15 May 2010 06:43:19 +0000

I don't know what's worse, the fact that they give away a badge for video games or the fact that they promote ESRB ratings as "age appropriate" as if anyone F**king cares...Mature rated games these days are hardly worse than Teen ratings were when I was that age.

Yeah back when I was in cub scouts all my pack ever did was either play outside, or when the weather was bad play video games. We'd go on camping trips but out pack was the one all out of uniform that never showed up to lectures. Seriously, nobody ever bothered with the offical activities or belt loops or any of that stuff. It was fun, we hung out and did boy stuff and we still learned a lot and built stuff and whatnot...but nobody took the whole thing too seriously.

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