b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Pop Culture: Build Your Own Nation 

Don't like the government? Just create your own with NationStates.

This website reminds me of 9th grade U.S. History. During our class study of WWI, teacher Mike Horner separated us into groups and gave each group control of a country. The ensuing game of diplomacy lasted for a week or so, and each day we'd have new scenarios to deal with, similar to the events prior to the actual war.

As an honors class, we were all pretty bright. But remember that this was 9th grade, which means we were all pretty immature as well. One girl in our class, Jessica Staudlebauer, was a particularly annoying 10th grader that had somehow taken World History in 9th grade. She frequently flaunted that with show-off comments about things like the War of the Roses, or Napolean's conquests. Suffice to say no one really liked her. During the game's updates she would make dramatic displays of excitement that drove the rest of us crazy.

So we came up with a plan. I went to her groupmates and suggested that we take her out. My country intended to pay them to assassinate her. I even went so far as to make a check for $1M, in the name of our made-up homeland. Anyway, we couldn't officially enact the plan, since assassinating a classmate would probably reflect poorly in the project's grading. But secretly we'd laugh at how funny we were. As fate would have it, Jessica got wind of the scheme. I never knew how she did (perhaps we had a mole!), but in the middle of class, I remember her yelling, "YOU SCUMBAG! I HOPE YOU DIE!." She crumbled the "check," threw it at me, and stormed out of the room crying. We were mean little bastards, but such is High School.

Mr. Horner left the room for a good 30 minutes to console her in the hall. While he was gone, we all started to feel horrible, and we worked to find a peaceful conclusion before his return. He was happy to see us see that we averted a World War, but still he chided the assassination plot, reminding us that an assassination triggered WWI. He also said that in all his years of teaching, he'd never seen something as cruel as what we did to poor Jessica. This, of course, made me feel about two feet tall, but I got an 'A' for the project, so my remose was short-lived.

Jessica returned to class the next day, surprisingly harboring no ill will toward the rest of us. I suppose she realized that no one liked her, and petty 9th graders weren't going to change their minds because you broke down in class and threw paper at them.

I don't if NationStates lets you assassinate fellow world leaders. But it looks like a fun activity to explore. I'm posting my country's info below, so feel free to look me up on the game if you decide to play. In the meantime, I might try to search for the United States of Staudelbauer.

The Empire of The Longhorn Mafia
"Peace Through Strength"

UN Category: Free-Market Paradise
Civil Rights: Some
Economy: Powerhouse
Political Freedoms: Superb

Location: the West Pacific

The Empire of The Longhorn Mafia is a tiny, economically powerful nation, remarkable for its complete absence of social welfare. Its hard-nosed, hard-working, intelligent population of 5 million enjoy frequent elections, which are uniformly corrupted by big-spending corporations buying politicians who best suit their interests.

The tiny, pro-business government is mainly concerned with Religion & Spirituality, although Commerce and Law & Order are on the agenda. Income tax is unheard of. A powerhouse of a private sector is led by the Basket Weaving, Information Technology, and Uranium Mining industries.

Crime is a serious problem. The Longhorn Mafia's national animal is the fox, which teeters on the brink of extinction due to widespread deforestation, and its currency is the alba.


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