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In defense of the humble ecdysiast
Monday, June 23, 2008   4:32 PM

From a defense of Grand Theft Auto IV in the latest Chronicle of Higher Education:

You need to be honest with yourself. Go outside and find a locked car — or go to the back alley where missile launchers hover in a glowing light waiting for you to pick them up, or go drive down that street in your town where all the strippers hang out waiting for you to pick them up — and see if you're tempted.

As someone who's finished GTA IV and who loved the game, I'll pause here to note that weapons no longer "hover" in this installment.

Nor do I recognize the mission scenario ("an epic shootout involving missile launchers and strippers") in the essay's lede.

Nor do I remember facing off against any of the "vigilante strippers" that the author alludes to elsewhere.

It would be nice if writers concerned with dispelling myths about GTA IV could refrain from creating their own misinformation; these distortions in particular are especially irritating because they make GTA look cartoonish, which it (mostly) isn't. This game has humor and satire, but it also has drama, verisimilitude, and (fantastic) characterization. It would help if its defenders could take it a bit more seriously.

So. As you may have guessed, I want to talk about the strippers. We all know what strippers are, right?

Certainly you'd expect Bill Blake, who, even if he hasn't played GTA IV, is nevertheless an adult and (this is what's known as the "kicker") a doctoral student in cultural studies, to be aware of this phenomenon.

[...] or go drive down that street in your town where all the strippers hang out waiting for you to pick them up [...]

Neither in real life nor in the game do strippers hang around on the street, waiting for people to pick them up. To put it simply:

Stripper ≠ prostitute

I don't understand how a copy editor — or any alert reader — could miss this. Say what you will about my dubious morals (or worse, my prescriptivism), but stripper is a fairly basic term, wrongly applied here, and I'm shocked that it made it to publication.

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