Steam of Conciousness

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Imagine you're playing a video game with your child when you realize the game is taunting one of the characters who's adopted.


Not a big deal, right?

Agreed.  It's good to see that some people in the media aren't fear-mongering vultures.  Thank you, Brigida Mack.  Now, on to more important mat—

But a local father said it was a big deal to him and his family.

(damn it)

Neal Stapel was playing the game with his 10 year old daughter, whom he and his wife, Marsha adopted from China.

Be right back...(10 seconds on Google)...Here we go.  Neal Stapel’s Facebook page.  Let’s see … his interest include: Glenn Beck, Conservative, Tea Party Patriots, RightChange, Michele Bachmann, Republican National Committee, Rush Limbaugh Page, Conservative Thinker and Mitt Romney.   Oh, this ought to be good.

The character in Portal 2, a popular kid's video game…

Wait a sec… “kids?”  Now, I'll admit that I'm only speculating (not that anyone here’s gonna have a problem with that), but I’m guessing the average age of a Portal player is late teens at best, probably closer to mid-20’s.  Not really what you’d consider a “kids” demographic.  I'm betting you're not a gamer, though (you don't mention it in your bio, anyway), so we'll just let that one slide.  No harm, no foul.  Anyway, you were saying...?

The character in Portal 2, a popular kid's video game, is taunted for being adopted. "Alright, fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty, fatty no parents," are the exact words in the game.

Yeah, I remember that part of the game.  The character who said it was this incompetent idiot, unlike the first game’s protagonist, GLaDOS (the potato you show in your accompanying video.  By the way, thanks for spoiling the end of the first act for everyone.  Dick).  Actually, earlier in Portal 2, before becoming a potato, GLaDOS also teases your character about how you might be adopted and that your parents didn't love you, but she did it a way that was clever and more subtle (so I'm guessing it went over ol’ Neal’s head).  But that's why the incompetent robot says, "Fatty, fatty. Adopted fatty."  Because he was trying to show that he could be just as clever at insulting you as GLaDOS was, but he obviously couldn't.  Because he was an idiot.

But look at me, trying to add context to this story.  Sorry, B-Mack.  For a second there I forgot which one of us had the journalism degree.  Please, continue.

While Stapel and his wife have never hidden the fact their child is adopted,

(snort chuckle)

 they says they wanted to wait until she was ready to talk about it. 

"It throws the question, the most ultimate question that child is ever gonna have for you

Why is my dad such a knee-jerking douchebag?

and it just throws it right in your living room," he said.  "It says it's rated "E" for everybody and I'm thinking maybe it's rated "E" for everybody except for orphans.

Actually, it’s rated E10+ for everyone age 10 and older.  Except for orphans.  And for knee-jerking douchebags.  Honestly, I'm amazed they sold you the game in the first place. 

Stapel also said the most people won't even think the joke is problematic.

Thank you.  Now, let’s move on and focus our attention to more important things, like the fact that our debt ceiling has—

 "If you're not an adoptive parent it's probably not that big a deal to you," he said.


"If you are it's literally the worst thing I could have probably heard."

Really?  Literally the worst thing?  Not anything involving...I don't know...death?  Or rape?  Or some horrifying, crippling illness?  A teasing robot in a video game is what breaks you?

I'm curious, when you play video games, do you take the time to step completely down from your cross, or do you only undo your hands so you can hold the controller?

Stapel isn't sure if his daughter heard it,

so he immediately called a local reporter and put her on TV, just in case her friends at school watch the news.  I’m kidding, of course.  No one under the age of 60 watches the local news these days (literally).

but says he and wife are prepared to talk about once she is.

"She's sticking to her guns that she didn't hear it," he said. "And to me, that message means she's not ready to talk about it and I'm not gonna force it."

Actually, the message was, “Dad, I reallydidn’t hear it, at least not until you started making a big deal out of it and bringing a news crew into our house.  Even then, I’m secure enough in who I am to not get upset over somthing as trival and meaningless as this.  Because despite what the internet is currently saying about you, you are a good father, and you and Mom have taught me self-respect.  Or maybe that was Hanna Montana.  Either way, would you please stop embarrassing me?  I am starting to miss communism.”

In all fairness, though, it's hard to hear your children when you have your head that far up your ass.

WBTV contacted Sony, who distributes the game.

because my research for this story began and ended with looking at the box the game came in.

They told us to contact Valve, the company that actually created the game. We did, and have not heard back from them.

wbtv logo.jpg


on 2011-05-19 03:55 by Mark Matthews

That first link originally went to the above article, as it originally appeared on WBTV's web site (minus my snarky comments, of course), but it's since been replaced with an updated version of the story.  The original story seems to be gone, as far as I can tell (they can do that?), so I'm glad I grabbed it when I had the chance, to forever preserve it's awfulness.