‘O brave new world . . . .’  

By Karen Zautyk

More evidence (as if we needed any) that the world is going mad: According to the people who keep track of such things,  new parents have begun naming their babies after Pokemon characters.  

For girls, the names Eevee, Onyx and Roselia have been gaining in popularity, while Ash is a new choice for boys.  (I suppose I shouldn’t mock this, because I just found out there is also a Pokemon character called Karen.) 

While Eevee, Onyx, Roselia and Ash, are not excruciatingly weird, I will not be surprised if, a few years from now, pre-school classes are filled with kids named Gorm, Snattle, Squirtle, Geodude, Jigglypuff, Igglybuff and Wigglytuff. And more than one Pikachu.

The name game appears to be an offshoot of the recently launched Pokemon Go game that is sweeping the world. Humans, their eyes glued to the maps on their smartphones, are wandering hither and thither in search of Pokemon creatures,  hoping to a “capture” a record number.  

Problem 1: The hunters often do not watch where they are walking and wander out into traffic.  

Problem 2: The traffic includes some cars operated by morons who are playing the game while driving.

Do yourself a favor and Google “Pokemon car crashes.” 

As for the players on foot, two men in California accidentally walked off a cliff a couple of weeks ago.  You’d think one of the duo would have noticed they were nearing the edge. Luckily, they survived, reportedly with only “moderate” injuries. (Perhaps there should be a Pokemon character named Lemming.) 

Now, you might be wondering what the photo on this page has to do with Pokemon Go. The answer is: Everything.  

Last week, my colleague Ron Leir touched upon a disturbing problem with the game — the fact that among the maps players can follow are of sites such as the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, the Holocaust Museum in Washington and Arlington National Cemetery. Complaints have been filed, so the programmers may have removed these locales by now.  But the fact that these, and others equally inappropriate, were chosen in the first place is more than mind-boggling. 

It is frightening.

The game site that shocked us the most is the one in the photo. That’s the main gate at Auschwitz, bearing the sentiment “Arbeit Macht Frei” — roughly translated “Work shall make you free.”  (A sick joke if ever there was one.)

To think that Pokeman Go chose a concentration camp as a place where cute little characters could be hunted is nothing less than obscene. I cannot even think of a word to describe the sort of mindless person who would actually play the game there. Where would they look for Pikachu? In one of the gas chambers? In an oven in the crematorium? Would they be having “fun”? 

Are the younger generations (the prime game fanatics) that ignorant of history? Are they that ignorant, period? Or worse, do they simply dismiss history, and the existence of evil, as irrelevant to their selfish, egocentric lives? 

If so, God help them, and everyone else.

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