July 11th, 2006

July 4th has come and gone–and hopefully none of us have lost our oh-so crucial body parts to the hazards of bootleg fireworks.  Down in Florida, I spent my Independence Day watching sunburnt families hanging out in parking lots, leaning up against their SUV’s, and downing cases of beer.  God bless America.

Here at Heroine Sheik, we’ve talked about holidays before:  What makes them sexy, what makes them deviant, how they fit into game space/time.  But I was thinking the other day, as I picked my way through the red, white, and blue litter that coats the ground in Philadelphia, about how holidays are themselves a lot like games.

Holidays, ritual days, exist outside the normal logical flow of society.  Habits and customs are turned on their head; we are permitted, even expected, to do things we never would otherwise.  Gamers, starting to sound familiar?

Maybe it’s hard for us to understand holidays in this way when we think of contemporary American celebrations: brunch for Mother’s Day, a Memorial Day cook-out.  But if we go back to the root idea of holiday–a day that’s separate, with separate rules–we see that things weren’t always so watered down.  Any latin dork worth her weight in macrons knows the planned social upheaval that was Saturnalia… the predecessor to our modern-day Christmas.

Play time, like holiday time, stands apart.  When we play, we step outside certain social and logical bounds–and enter what some might consider a more innate state of interaction, of being.  

Both play and holidays are necessary counter-points to the regimented structure of “normal” life.  They are escapes, of sorts, but ones which are themselves part of the larger system from which they break away.

Tags: Blog

3 Responses to “Play Days, Holy Days”

  1. Player1 Says:

    I like playing lots of videogames on my holidays.

  2. FerrousBuller Says:

    “I like playing lots of videogames on my holidays.”

    Me too. But since I like playing lots of videogames every day, what is this “outside the normal logical flow” Bonnie speaks of? :-)

  3. Bonnie Says:

    I like playing lots of videogames on my holidays.
    I wish ;). Doesn’t anyone else have these annoying relatives that want to “spend time” with you on holidays, insteading of leaving you alone with your games? People!

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