If any of you have been able to tear your brains away from Left 4 Dead, you might’ve heard that President-elect Barack Obama is in the process of choosing his cabinet. What you might not have heard is that he’s selected two self-avowed “virtual worlds nuts” to chair his Federal Communication Commision (FCC) Transition Team: Kevin Werbach, assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and Susan Crawford, professor of communications and Internet law at the University of Michigan.
This important to me (and should be important to you) for two reasons. The first being that the co-chairs of Obama’s FCC Transition Team are both hard-line Net neutrality advocates. The second reason is that Werbach describes himself as a “hardcore” World of Warcraft player, and is a member of two guilds, one of which is “composed primarily of academics and other thinkers who study and write about virtual worlds,” he writes.
Werbach is apparently a Level 70 Tauren Shaman named Supernovan Jenkins, “Jenkins” being something of an honorific for players who have cleared the “Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy” achievement. The fact that Werbach is aware of, and embraces, the memetic nature of the Entirewebs certainly can’t be a bad thing.
What’s more, it seems that people are already trying to de-construct Werbach’s online choices:
The fact that he chose [to be a healer] (his build, under the Talents tab, is 0/8/53) means that he enjoys helping people, and being depended on. Again, this is exactly what I’d expect from someone aligned with Obama.
While it’s comforting to think that the co-chair of Obama’s FCC Transition Team is a nice guy who likes helping people like you and me, it’s much more likely that he thinks being a huge f*cking minotaur is just plain cool.