Sevan A. Muradian, International Arbiter and International Organizer, and Illinois Delegate, posted a link to a skit on The Daily Show on the USCF forum, without making any comment. (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=21282&sid=a4a1a47dac15766671e98aa586184c71)
For those who do not know, The Daily Show is a popular comedy show. I recall some years ago reading something about more young people obtaining news from Jon Stewart’s show than from what is now called “mainstream” news sources, such as the antiquated “big three,” ABC, NBC, and CBS, Cable News Network, and the “Fairly Unbalanced” FOX news network. After watching what passes for news on FOX who can blame them?
Someone using the handle “chessdad 64” in Chicago left this comment:
“I like the Daily Show a lot, but I thought this bit fell flat on its face. Rather than it’s usual clever, and creative insights, this piece relied upon the age old tired stereotypes that characterize chess culture (nerds, boredom, et al). The lameness of this sketch reflects upon the failure and laziness of the Daily Show’s writing staff as well as that of chess industrial complex in the US which has done nothing to effectively dispel the popular culture of these tired antiquated yarns.”
It has been my experience that some, if not most, of those in the chess world simply cannot understand how the players of the Royal game are perceived by those outside the world of chess. Perception is reality. For example, consider this headline from December 10, 2014, Half of Americans Don’t Want Their Sons Playing Football, Poll Shows (http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-12-10/bloomberg-politics-poll-half-of-americans-dont-want-their-sons-playing-football). The next headline informs us of which half:
Poll: Wealthy, College-Educated Less Likely to Want Kids to Play Football (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/football-high/poll-wealthy-college-educated-less-likely-to-want-kids-to-play-football/).
Parents do not want their children maimed. This is the secondary headline in the latter article: “Women and elites in particular want to keep their boys off the gridiron.” Football is dying. It could be the game will still be played by those from the lower socioeconomic class, as is the case in boxing, but what has passed for football in this country has seen its heyday.
Chess people are quick to point out how many are playing chess these days. What they do not mention is the vast majority are children who are doing what they are told. When the children first begin to think for themselves and begin questioning, around puberty, they quit playing chess. Could the reason be they learn the perception of chess is that it is considered a strange game by the vast majority of the people in the world? Could it be the children realize there is much truth in the way chess is portrayed by the media? Could it be that many of the children want to be accepted by their peers rather than being ostracized for playing what is thought of as a “weird” game?
I laughed uproariously at the skit, especially the part about Rootin’ Tootin’ RasPootin’…Check it out for yourself here: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/oxku1b/chess-news-roundup