Sunday, December 17, 2006

Vote for your favourite member!

...not elected officials, as I missed doing as my birthday was on Election Day.

Rather, I'm talking about class superlatives. As seniors, we're involved in the creation of a student yearbook, printed and bound as well as video. on Thursday, we were handed out leaflets polling us on whom would fit for superlative categories. A few weeks earlier, though, I had approached the head of the yearbook development department and made a decision that shattered everyone: I asked her to omit and substitute my name if it were listed as a superlative. Only two weeks ago I had fought with my parents to not have my pictures taken, which I found to be extremely stupid in retrospect (I ended up getting them taken in the end). While the latter turned out to be calamitous for me, the former decision both surprised and infuriated the seniors. As people ticked off the leaflets, I found that my motive could have been justified by two details:

  • Two members short-listed me as 'rudest'.
  • I had, as I told Brandon on PC, done a right job of deceiving and berating people in a daze of thought of my own academic prowess. In reality, though, my grades were standard and I had been found to be unfairly advantaged by my middle school in the conclusion of a peer mediation session. I even found myself to be an entity apart from the rest of the class at times. Finding it hard to admit this, I simply wrote a short Word document and printed it to hand to my homeroom teacher in what was probably cowardice.
Not a decisive detail, though, was the declining respect I had for such a system. Back in middle school, when I was voted to be the most intelligent and artistic male, I saved face simply by not voting for myself or even skipping categories. These days, though, the desire to have a photo in the section became more and more compelling. One of the guys went around as we typed up paragraphs in the library and asked people to vote for him as the most attractive male; in reality, he was good-looking, but a pregnancy by him as well as his ostentation, which annoyed me chronically but not severely, beset him. One of the girls even shouted in response, 'If you go around asking people they won't vote for you!'

Point well made. Then, however, I realised that this was exactly what happened on forums, or could happen. As many readers know, the Pokémon Community manages to get away with Member of the Month threads without a mass of hype that would come as it did with the yearbook, even considering that there are less than 60 people in the graduating class. Some months, though, this is due to lack of interest or a narrowed field of acquaintance. Elsewhere, and I'm sure PKMN.NET has experienced this, such threads start generating 'VOTE FOR ME!' spam. Although such resorts indicate that the person behind it isn't nearly as qualified as those that would naturally be voted for (and it's a proven fact — do you see Forest Grovyle trying to champion her work?), they still do it, and the threads are eventually canned.

Although I don't like the system, I still go to the Member of the Month threads and vote. Over there, the honours are temporary and are unlikely to reflect the real person as known by real-life friends. In the yearbook, though, it'll be accessible to those in the family who want to inquire about the past, especially the kids. If it's seen in the yearbook that you were recognised as the rudest, it will reflect off anyone voting it. If it's seen that you were the most intelligent or artistic, they'll probably challenge it — and all they'll get is a subway or alley map. For that matter, they'll challenge you on your intelligence — Stephen Hawking, regardless of whether he had the honour in his yearbook, is probably challenged so many times. For me, the fact that I had made such a big point of my intelligence makes me cringe even today — I'm bombarded by questions even at the register, there are girls who appear to like me on the grounds of my supposed intelligence, and there are the guys at the corner who try to make me recall an image with my eyes shut or prophesy something. And I've done it for so long, sometimes arrogantly. And it needs to stop. But the cost of leaving it behind will probably mean the loss of many admirers, but maybe it is worth it if they're there to challenge me....

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