Pokémon Go and How We Engage with the Culture

My dog looking over his shoulder at a Drowzee in our neighborhood.

I caught at Metapod and an Ekans this morning while I was walking the dog. And grabbed a couple of Poké Balls and a potion at the stop by our house. So it was a pretty good time around the neighborhood.

Last night, I helped a mom and her 3 or 4 year old son figure out how to collect items at stops. The dog licked this little boy while the mom and I talked about how far they had walked and what kind of little monsters they had collected so far. They left while my dog was still sniffing around the stop sign, and I heard the little boy say, “Back to the adventures!”

The other night our kids set a lure outside the stop closest to our house. A couple of heavily tatted guys stopped by, one who was apparently excited to catch a Meowth there. They chatted until time ran out on the lure and then they moved on.

I’m sure the creators of Pokémon Go expected it to do well – those pocket monsters have been around for a long time – but I don’t know if they expected to become this kind of a phenomenon. Not everyone I know with a cell phone is playing, but a lot of people are playing.

It’s stupid, I know. Trends usually are. A few years ago, we all went apeshit over a frustrating game with a square bird that didn’t know how to fly worth a damn. Or rubber bands that were in the shapes of things. Or plastic shoes that gave you horrible blisters and ruined your feet. But I’ve done all of them (Except Silly Bandz. I had enough of those in middle school when they were just circles and we called them Jelly Bracelets. I had some really cool glowing ones back then that were almost as important to me as my sticker book and jeans jacket.).

Maybe I just like the distraction. God knows things are pretty gross right now. Black men are being shot and killed by people sworn to protect and serve. Trans people are the target of witch hunts. Gay night clubs are being shot up. Snipers hiding out, picking off police officers who are helping to keep peace. Terrorists are driving trucks into crowds killing dozens of people. Distraction from the madness seems pretty sweet, to be honest.

I see the need to engage with culture in meaningful ways. I can’t be a person of faith in this world and remain silent during times of tragedy. I can’t ignore the fear and anger and pain that grips the hearts of so many. I can’t and I won’t.

I also won’t ignore the parts of the culture that bring joy and happiness. Yes, I will devote time to listening to the activists of Black Lives Matter about the ways that we can address systemic racism. I will listen to what my LGBTQ friends say about the violence happening to their community. I will weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn.

And sometimes, in the middle of that, I will rejoice with those who caught a Meowth.

9 thoughts on “Pokémon Go and How We Engage with the Culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s