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Obama and Leeeeeeeeroy Jenkins: Change we can believe in

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Just when the world seems in capable hands with the election of Barack Obama, some disquieting news comes out: The president-elect has hired a disciple of Leeroy Jenkins, the wacko who gained global fame by running beserk in the online game World of Warcraft. (To learn about the mild-mannered local behind this viral-video worldwide phenomenon, check out our story "The Legend of Leeroy Jenkins.")

Here's the skivvy. Last week, Obama hired Kevin Werbach and Susan Crawford, net neutrality advocates and virtual-world fans, to co-chair his FCC transition team. As Boing Boing quickly discovered, Werback isn't just a fan of online virtual worlds, he's a regular in one of the biggest, World of Warcraft. As you can see by Werback's character screen above, he's a high-level Tauren Shaman, whatever the hell that means. But what's really interesting is his name: Supernovan Jenkins. He didn't just randomly choose that surname -- he had to earn it.

A recent development in the game allows players to add the title of "Jenkins" to their characters if they kill 50 dragon whelps within 15 seconds -- an ode to Leeroy's failed attempt to do so in his now-famous video. So Werbach, who's charged with overseeing all of mass media, isn't just familiar with the insanity that is Leeroy Jenkins. He's so fond of it he went out of his way in the game to be named after the nutjob.

I don't know if we should be happy about this or really, really scared. - Joel Warner

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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