Over at Avant Game, Jane McGonigal proposes the "Ministry of Reshelving Project." She suggests that people go into their local bookstores and reshelve all the copies of George Orwell's 1984, moving them from their "incorrect" location in Fiction to a "more suitable section" such as Current Affairs or True Crime. She describes this as a "revolution" and a form of play, a game.
What will be the impact of McGonigal's "revolution?" Principally, it'll make a lot of extra work for all the minimum-wage clerks who have to re-shelve the books she and her fellow vandals have moved; secondarily, it'll make it harder for those who want to read the book to find it.
McGonigal argues that neither of these will happen, because she's asking everyone who takes part to print out a little card, to be put at the location of the removed books, directing people to their "corrected" location. And since all of her revolutionaries will follow those instructions to the letter, and none of those little cards will themselves ever be misplaced -- well, that's a relief, isn't it?
It's hard to see what's really being accomplished here. As a form of political protest, this is entirely ineffective, and a waste of time and energy that could be spent doing something useful -- registering voters, perhaps. As a piece of performance art, it's trite. And as an act of "gaming?" It seems to me that once you start imposing your "game" on unwilling participants, it stops being a game.
And here's what really annoys me about this: It's so childishly solipsistic. As long as we're amused by our own cleverness, McGonigal seems to be saying, who gives a shit about the inconvenience we're causing to others? It's political protest as re-imagined by a 3-year-old.