----- Original Message -----

From: Markku Eskelinen

To: Julian Kuecklich

Cc: Rune Klevjer

Sent: Friday, June 18, 2004 3:13 PM

Subject: Re: First Person


Dear Julian,



I finally found the time to read your so-called response. Your piece shows all the signs of a fetishist reading (according to Barthes’ typology): you just singled out a few words and syntagms (like “colonisation” and “independence”) to your liking and got all excited about them.


So excited that, more seriously, you say next to nothing about what I actually argue and show in my article. You even fail to quote me fairly and correctly. You remove the word “directly” from the sentence where I write: “It should be self-evident that we can’t apply print narratology, hypertext theory, film or theatre and drama studies directly to computer games, but it isn’t”. As should be self-evident, your omission dramatically changes the meaning of the sentence. The result of such carelessness, bad will (or whatever) is that, once again, you’re attacking your own fabrications and nothing else. It also means you don’t even deserve a proper reply.  


To make matters even worse, you have a strange habit of replacing analysis by rather hysterical adjectives. To take one example: you claim that when I transform narratological concepts (indirectly by going into their roots) into ludological ones it is aggressive. Well, first of all, what I do is just a classic interdisciplinary move you might have been too agitated to notice. Secondly, please ask yourself as a wanna-be-academic is it really such a hostile act to ask that those making narrativist claims should at least know their narratology? Ever since 2001 when I wrote the piece (you might not have realized it yet, but most if not all papers in First Person are from 2001) you tried to respond to the only force blowing gasoline on the embers of the ludologists vs. narrativists debate have been the ignorant little league narrativists with their shot from the hip intuitions about narrative. To the detriment of any sound academic discussion and debate they usually don’t bother to define the contested concepts they use and seem to be quite happy to apply the word narrative as pre-teenagers use the word fuck (putting it everywhere without knowing what it means).     


Your understanding of the academic world is astonishingly feeble. First of all, it is not a monolith; you can already see both regional and national differences in the acceptance of the field/discipline of game studies. Secondly, the status quo arguments and rhetoric of you and Marinka applied could have been and have been used against any emerging academic field or discipline at any time from film studies to your very own favourite media studies. Or inversely, your rhetoric could equally well be used for the inclusion of ornithology, as it too studies kinetic objects. One thing (among many) lacking in your equation is the ludological evidence (accumulating in the research done for several years by Gonzalo, Jesper, Espen, me, Aki and many others) for games being different enough from and irreducible to film, literature etc. to justify the existence of game studies as an independent field and/or discipline. Needless to say (except to you) the existence of such a field doesn’t in any way rule out interdisciplinarity. It just rules out, just like Rune was kind enough to point out, the direct application/projection of any theories and approaches without the knowledge of game ontology or “the formal language” of games. Thirdly, and to return your tasteless reference to xenophobia (how German of you): I wish you all the best in the construction of Julian the Apostate’s 1000-year Reich of media studies, as the question remains: if there is nothing lacking in the existing fields, what are you doing in game studies in the first place? And if literary studies (or media studies) is such an open, inclusive place, why aren't you still there?    


To show that I’m not totally without compassion, here’s one stylistic tip: if you still want to keep up the appearances of a literary scholar, be sure you at least select the right kind of second-hand sources: it is deconstruction not “deconstructivism” (a word coined and usually used by the ignorant opponents of deconstruction at least ever since the early 80’s).     


Unfortunately, I have neither time nor cruelty to take part in the continuous amateur hour of your blogging and to ridicule you in public, so this confidential and semi-private mail has to do (I hope you don’t mind I cc this to Rune, as he too seems to take some interest in correcting your misconstructions). 


To conclude, please stop bothering me with your anti-intellectual spam.


With no respect whatsoever,