Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Canadian Red Cross Sue-Happy Motherfucker: "I'm Not Really of a Generation That Necessarily Plays Video Games"

Let's get something VERY clear before we do this thing:

1.) We like Canadians. Love em'. We love their heated political debates on the radio, we love their ballsy journalists, we love poutine (the kind in styrofoam boxes, of course), we love beer; there pretty much isn't anything about Canada that Grandma and I don't like.

2:) The Red Cross as an international aid collection and distribution organization is one of the best. They do a lot of good.

Something that disturbs us, however, is Mr. David Pratt's crusade against the use of a red cross on health items within video games. Listen, asshole: we take issue with some of the comments you made in your interview with ShackNews, and you bet your ass we'll address them; but most importantly we have to wonder why you hate Switzerland so much. The Swiss have done nothing to you, leave them alone. You mess with Switzerland, you mess with GRANDMA.

Everyone knows that the little crosses on health packs in games has NOTHING to do with international aid. It is an homage to that beautiful European country whose stoic neutrality and brave, high altitude lifestyle gives us hope in times of need; such as in a video game for instance when your head is nearly chopped off by a six-armed steel-toothed she-demon. In such a scenario, you look for that one symbol that is recognized as the beacon of assistance, the almighty diplomat of health and hospitality: Switzerland. Why? Because only Switzerland can provide the necessary sanctuary for a calm, collected mediation between me and the she-demon. If peace talks break down, then at least I had time to reload and up my HP 50 points.

The people of Switzerland are some of the most friendly in the all the world; an amazing feat considering the droves of impolite power-tourists who visit the country every year to "climb big rocks." In truth, there is much more to Switzerland than visiting its majestic, Alpine peaks; or enjoying frequent, anonymous sexual encounters with foreign national college students in one of Zurich's many fine hostels; or celebrating a successful channeling of your inheritance from the death of Great Uncle Roger into a tax free shelter account by dancing the night away in a Bern trip-hop club, blasted on Ecstasy and delicious Swiss beer. SO much more.

Okay, so you say that the Swiss flag is a negated image to the Red Cross logo, and that I'm just being a Detail-Debbie about the whole thing. Let me tell you something, this little Detail-Debbie is going to come right back and call you a Negative-Nancy, so be warned: your ass is on THIN ICE. The Red Cross was birthed into this wretched world in GENEVA. The very reason your logo looks the way it does is BECAUSE of Switzerland. Oh, but it gets worse: if you really look at the Red Cross logo, you know just... stare at it for 15 seconds or so and then look away, what do you see? Go ahead, I won't laugh at you- get real close to the monitor, stare at your own logo for a while (try not to drool, it is difficult to get that off the keyboard) now.... wait for it....... OKAY! Look away! What do you see?

Unless there is something wrong with your eyeballs, chances are you saw a bluish cross, but you don't see THEM going around suing YOU because some shmuck stares at a monitor for too long and expects full dental coverage at your website, do you? And that's an INSURANCE company, man! They're SUPPOSED to be evil!

Alright, let's move on to your brilliant discourse on the horrors of inclusion:
"Our first step is education. It's letting people know that the Red Cross emblem is not just a trademark, It's also a protected emblem under international law. In that regard it needs special attention and information."

Translation: "I'll SUE!! I'll sue you in England!"

"I have personally been aware of this for about six weeks."

Huh. I seem to remember a certain Looney Tunes character being rescued by a certain St. Bernard under a certain banner you might want to be aware of. If you send me one of those cute little barrels of booze they tie around the dog's neck I'll help you catch the guy that did it. You'll need one of those nifty Red Cross Time Machines, though- it was in 1957.

"I'm not really of a generation that necessarily plays video games."

Grandma to douchebag: "Read a fucking NEWSPAPER, asshole; you can't use that excuse anymore."

"The Red Cross as a humanitarian organization is primarily focused on our international and domestic program. It's only within the last two months that we've done a lot more in the area of trademark protection."

THERE. That quote. That's the money shot. Think about that for a minute. The clouds must have parted and the blinding Jesus fire of goodness must have shone upon the earth in the past few months where nothing is more important than a god damn lawsuit against video game companies and toy manufacturers. Congratulations. You're making the public VERY confident about all that 9/11 relief money we gave down here in The States.

"Actually what happened in this case, is we have a receptionist, a fellow who's in his early 20s. He plays video games, and he's obviously involved in the Red Cross and aware of this issue, and he brought it to my attention."

Well, THANKS A LOT FOR THAT ONE. I can just picture the scenario:

"Travis, do I have any messages?"

[beep-bob-booop] "Huh?"

"I said did anyone CALL today?"

[beep-beep-"KO!! FATALITY!!!"] "I don't know. Ask Steve."

"What are you doing? Are you playing a VIDEO GAME?"

"Hold on let me pause...okay what?"

"Travis, I understand you're new here, but you can't do this on company time."

"Dude, I was like um..... researching, you know?"


"Yeah, check it out, there are all these little red crosses and shit and... I think we should do something about it. You know, for the children."

"Oh! That's... that's good! I'll issue a press release right away!"

"Yeah! Cause it's um... copyright infringement, eh? People might confused or something and like, donate to the video game instead of us."


"Do you still want me to check your messages?"

"No! No, you keep doing what your doing, excellent work!"

"Sweet.....[beep-bob-"FINISH HIM!!"]

"Based on what I've seen in terms of some of the blog sites I've briefly reviewed, the gamers seem to be split. Some say, what's the big deal, why are these people all bent out of shape about this?"

What's the big deal? Why are these people all bent out of shape about this?

"Others who have presumably doing a little more research are saying, this is a legitimate issue."

You got me there. Although I think ten minutes on Wikipedia and asking some dude I know a bunch of questions is considered "research" in many universities as long as one uses properly formatted MLA citations (Lowenburg, 1988).

"Whether the gaming industry should or should not exist is not something the Red Cross should address, one way or the other. We're not involved in political issues in any way."

WOOOOOO!!!! Alright!! The Red Cross isn't going to firebomb Take Two Interactive!! I was worried for a minute.

"But we do have a responsibility to protect the emblem. I hope that would be clear to people who buy and use video games."

Alrighty. It's a thick stick with a slightly skinny stick crossing it. It's red. It's your own damn fault for making it so common. Shit, if you wanted to make it hard to copy you should have made it an image of a intricate, multifaceted dragon spouting the healthy flames of good fortune through its flaring nostrils. Better yet, make it a tattoo on some guy's arm, just in case someone rips off the dragon. This way, if it's a dragon breathing health fire, and it's on an arm, you know to send the lawyers.

"[...] I think it's impossible to note that we're not in a position to license the use of the Red Cross. If people want to produce educational material that is subject to the approval of Red Cross society, then I can't imagine a situation in which we'd object to that."

See, now you're talking. Work those phones, get people on board, license that logo out and in two or three years Somalia will have a surplus of food and you'll have the fine, lavish offices deserving of the Canadian Red Cross seal of approval. Don't be silly, man! Go for it!! I understand video games are a bit "new" to you, but you can make a god damn fortune getting the industry on board! That is, unless you start suing people.

Then you're going to start seeing Amnesty International logos on first-aid kits in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Is that something you really want to see, Dave?

Game on.


  • At 11:06 PM, Blogger Textual Harassment said…

    This is... idiotic.

    I can certainly understand getting after makers of medical products who use the emblem. There could be confusion whether they are associated with the real Red Cross.

    Would he be upset about a movie in which a character uses a first aid kit with a red cross on it? I don't see how this is any different It's not a trademark violation, it's a fictional account of a trademark violation.

    How long has the red cross simply meant "first aid" in the minds of everyone who sees it? This is an example of a time where you simply ought to give up your intellectual property to the people, because they've already taken it.

    Can anyone think of a symbol that would serve as well to subconsciously represent "medic" on someone's arm? Me neither.

  • At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Tim, its Samantha (from Canada) and I'm sorry, really really sorry, but Mr. Pratt (unfortunate name btw) has a point, under Canadian law anyway, and I really hate that he does.

    =( sorry
    /me hugs her OGHC t-shirt.

  • At 12:50 AM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…

    textual harrassment-

    "Would he be upset about a movie in which a character uses a first aid kit with a red cross on it?"

    Yes. The man does not want people to equate the red cross symbol as a generic icon for health, something that I think has already happened YEARS ago. It's going to be hard for him to close such a floodgate if that's his purpose.


    You don't have to be sorry! :) We're not going to hate you for having a contrary opinion! In fact its just the opposite; we LOVE opinions, especially Grandma because she likes getting e-mails!

    We just think it's rather silly. So we posted a rather silly reply! If we were dead serious about an issue, the name of the blog wouldn't be Old Grandma Hardcore and it wouldn't have silly pictures of things embedded throughout.

    That said, I think Mr. Pratt is going about this thing the wrong way, and as such- is an asshole. (We have a very specific set of criteria for one to be declared an asshole.)

  • At 1:21 AM, Blogger Leci said…

    Here's how I see...

    During an emergency, say, someone fell out of a tree and broke their arm. You're freaking out, trying to find a way to help. You see a big ass red cross. First thought that crosses your mind is band-aids, neosporin, gauzes, wraps, etc.

  • At 1:32 AM, Blogger Bi-coastal Eddie said…

    OK, now everybody needs to just calm the fuck down here. Looks like the Red Cross got a man on the job just in time. Since this isn't political and there's no hidden agenda then we can assume that the people responsible for the transgressions below will be pursued just as adamantly.


    I'll bet that drunk guy's gonna be surprised because he didn't even remember going to a party and now the Red Cross is on his ass. Jeez! Somedays it ain't even worth getting out of bed in the morning.

  • At 7:31 AM, Blogger ivorynetsuke said…

    The only thing I can say after reading this is ... Don't they have better things to worry about?

    If the Canadian Red Cross had formed recently, I'd see his point. But for Christ's sake, the organizations and symbol associations have been around forever. Hell, you would think he'd take a point of pride in this fact that people immediately associate the "red cross" with aid.

    So instead of using a red cross in video games, maybe we can substitute the picture of a panicky human with every limb broken and bleeding from every orifice and other multiple wounds? Because that's usually the sorry-ass state I'm in before I find one of those damned boxes.


  • At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The way I see it is... Cross either equals JESUS, or I dunno.. A HEALTH SYMBOL. Most people see that when you see a cross.

    Red is a bright attractive colour. People see it better then.. Oh I dunno.. a yellow cross?

    Just because games do that doesn't mean people have to get all excited and going "OMG! SUEEE!"

    Btw, I'm Canadian too :P

  • At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Its sad to see the red cross has nothing better to do with their time. Silly canucks.


  • At 9:51 AM, Blogger virtuadept said…

    Lets go ahead and change all video games so that instead of a red cross we have a big red hand on a white background, with a big red middle finger sticking up. Who wants to start the mods?

  • At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    *hugs Tim* yay you still luv me! I agree its silly and honestly I think its gone to far as I too think of medical services or at least help when I see their logo. So legally if it wasn't protected by the genevia convention I could see an argument for it being in the public domain ... darn that genevia convention. Other than that I'm very interested in following this as I work in Corporate Law (no I'm not a lawyer and not in Intellectual Property so don't kill me please).

    Samantha (from Canada ... again)
    *hugs Grandma* go get em Grandma

  • At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    *hugs Tim* yay you still luv me! I agree its silly and honestly I think its gone to far as I too think of medical services or at least help when I see their logo. So legally if it wasn't protected by the genevia convention I could see an argument for it being in the public domain ... darn that genevia convention. Other than that I'm very interested in following this as I work in Corporate Law (no I'm not a lawyer and not in Intellectual Property so don't kill me please).

    Samantha (from Canada ... again)
    *hugs Grandma* go get em Grandma

  • At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is the most ridiculous thing ive heard in a while and I like knight37's idea!

  • At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, this is retarded, and its not even legal. In order for a trademark to be recognized, it must be sufficiently distinctive. Guess what, a big old red cross ain't.

    Second, any mark thats been used long enough to denote a common thing like "first aid" is considered generic, and is not protected under the law.

    Finally, virtual depictions of trademarks in games and movies are not covered by the law anyways, only products that are produced to be sold. Think about it. Do you think that huge corporations wouldn't sue every time an unflatttering documentary comes out that uses their name? This guy is an idiot.

    for more info, see http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/fisher/domain/tm.htm

  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger hugz n drugz said…

    canadian chicks are the HOTTEST, i love them!

  • At 3:09 PM, Blogger DDREEK said…

    Well the common concencus here is this guy is an idiot. I agree full hartedly

    Doesn't it seem counter productive.

    The Red Cross renderse international aid.

    In vedio games the First AID boxes are marked my a Red Cross.
    Last time I checked the vedio game industery wasn't making any money off of the red cross being in there game. and isn't it a good thing to be associated with AID

    just a thought

  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger Collin said…

    I think that the industry, as a whole, should switch immediately from using a red cross to using a red plus sign.

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger CtrlAltDelete said…


    You are a genius ;)

  • At 11:58 PM, Blogger Textual Harassment said…

    I saw this and immediately thought of this debate.

    Poor Nana. She has no arms and legs; now is she going to get sued by the Red Cross as well?

  • At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If the Red Cross is going to sue, there are bigger injustices out there than videogames! The US ARMY Medical Corps has been using this symbol since WWI. Thats nearly 90 years of trademark infringement! The nerve of our Armed Forces, dragging the good name of the Red Cross through the mud by fighting wars and such. The Red Cross should probably sue post-haste.

  • At 9:57 PM, Blogger KenDD said…

    I can see it now, 20 years from now, some other aid organization that is smart enough to realize that it can create a symbole simple to see will have the the free advertising in video games and first aid kits. Then kids will be asking there parents "What is that red plus sign for?"
    "That was the symbole for an aid organization that everybody forgot about."

    Here is another item, will this silly man sue all the math text that use red ink to print a plus sign?
    How about all the keyboard makers?

  • At 1:55 AM, Blogger Me said…

    Red cross, white background = high contrast against whatever else is in the level. Makes it stand out. Wonder if UT saw this coming and hence made all their little health pluses blue...

  • At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not related to current post, but something that grandma is proof positive of:


  • At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok now on the related topic...
    First the CYA statements:
    I am not a lawyer
    I do not have a copy of the geneva conventions handy...

    But from memory, the geneva conventions protect the symbol of a red equal armed cross on a white field to be a universal symbol of neutrality as it directly relates to being able to treat soldiers or civilians in conflict zones. As the Red Cross was founded on that idea they are the primary (but not exclusive) users of this symbol... i.e. it is allowed (I believe) for medical units in war zones regardless of their affliation to display the red cross as long as they treat everyone and don't fire or something like that.

    Now a videogame is a work of fiction. Fiction depects either complete fantasy or plausabile speculation or historical recollection... in all the uses I have seen of a red cross in a video game it is used to denote a medical item used to treat "soldiers" or civilians in times of armed conflict.

    Sounds like a legit use to me.

    But again, I am not a lawyer nor do I have the geneva conventions handy, just going off of 10 year old recollections of them.

  • At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    its seems that Grandma has made it to the lovely joystiq people!!.

    Huzza for Grandma.

  • At 5:23 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    you know, i don't think i'd miss it if they didn't allow red crosses in video games. and i love your article by the way. personally speaking though i prefer LIPOVITAN! lipovitan is a great energy drink in a tinsy little bottle that reminds me of the ampoule's from silent hill. everytime we'd run low on energy or hp's we'd all start screaming, "LIPOVITAN, LIPOVITAN GRAB THE LIPOVITAN BEFORE IT BITES YOU!!!!!!!!!!" lipovitan is MY fav health item. LOL

  • At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Maharet: I think you are on the right track, but wrong drink.... we should use the drink of drinks... BAWLS...






  • At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kinda OT
    The BF and I will be there in April.

    Game On!

    Mama Lombax

  • At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Making that big of a deal over red crosses in video games is a bit inane. Does this man have nothing better to do? Aren't there still people who need aid somewhere? Is the world that free of strife that this man has the time to do "research" on this subject?

  • At 3:02 AM, Blogger Leci said…

    I am worried about you guys. ;_;

  • At 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ...it seems to me that this guy doesn't have much to do with his time if he's going to complain about something like that. I mean, first aid kits have the red cross on a white background. So when a video game has a first aid kit as a healing item, it's going to have the same emblem on it. Does he plan to go after everyone who has a first aid kit in their home or workplace?

    On an unrelated note - I'm a huge Fatal Frame fan - so much so that even though I had the second game game on PS2, I bought it on XBox as well so that I could see the Promise ending (only available on the XBox version) and play the Survival Mode (also only available on XBox). If Grandma hasn't already done that, she should - Survival Mode is a real test of your nerves. Oh, and if Grandma ever wants to try FF1 again, hit eBay. There are tons of FF1 games available there, both for the XBox and the PS2 (XBox has a few extras in terms of endings and stuff)

  • At 3:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, after reading this I went and read the Geneva Conventions (I love the web, you can find anything) and I'm kinda confused.

    The conventions clearly state that the red cross on a white background is reserved for military medical units, but that the red cross will be allowed to use that symbol. How do you trademark a synbol that you don't own?

  • At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Besides some quick settlement cash for the Red Cross what good does this do to the wartorn regions of the world? I didn't know anyone could be this retarded.

  • At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In working for The Salvation Army Disaster Services and now heading it in my area I agree with the aspect that a trademark is a trademark, HOWEVER I do not agree wtih this one. Before there was the Red Cross there was that little health symbol in approx. the 1500's on dentist and doctor offices. The Red Cross was the first to trademark it but they took an already popular and widely used symbol to logo their company. I say the guy taht thought it up (I should say his family) should sue them for billions for stealing his idea before trademarking was around!

    Thank you for your time.

  • At 4:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's not a trademark. It's an emblem protected by the Geneva Conventions. Each signatory to the Conventions has to protect the emblem from improper use in its state.

    Any use not expressly authorized by IHL constitutes a misuse of the emblem. There are three types of misuse:

    * imitation, meaning the use of a sign which, by its shape and/or colour, may cause confusion with the emblem;
    * usurpation, i.e. the use of the emblem by bodies or persons not entitled to do so (commercial enterprises, pharmacists, private doctors, non-governmental organizations and ordinary individuals, etc.); if persons normally authorized to use the emblem fail to do so in accordance with the rules in the Conventions and Protocols, this also constitutes usurpation;
    * perfidy, i.e. making use of the emblem in time of conflict to protect combatants or military equipment; perfidious use of the emblem is a war crime in both international and noninternational armed conflict.

    Misuse of the emblem for protective purposes in time of war jeopardizes the system of protection set up by IHL.

    Misuse of the emblem for indicative purposes undermines its image in the eyes of the public and consequently reduces its protective power in time of war.

    The States party to the Geneva Conventions have undertaken to introduce penal measures for preventing and repressing misuse of the emblem in wartime and peacetime alike.


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    First aid Kits are some of the most important items that you can keep around. First Aid Kits are absolutely essential to maintaining a good preparation in the face of emergencies.

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