Of the many things I wrote in my book Dangerous
Gaymers Gamers, one that readers (the half-dozen of you) usually point out as surprising is my claim that the Internet kerfuffles and “controversies” surrounding entertainment and, especially, the so-called political bent, bias, or content that has been injected in video games, games, movies, books… (i.e. nerd and popular culture) is not really political. In fact, I even said that political thinking and sociopolitical content has virtually disappeared from popular culture. And I was right, and I’m still right.
Even when my argument seemed persuasive, it was usually met with considerable surprise since it seems to go so much against common sense and what many feel. Keep in mind, however, that I denied the political nature or content of the new products, not their politicization or readings. There’s a reason I focused on the writers, journalists, and so on, because that’s the source of the problem.
You can politicize everything, the same way you can use almost everything as a weapon, but that doesn’t mean a potato on a stick is a proper weapon. Ultimately, real weapons will win over fake ones, like real politics will win over fake politics and hysterical moral panics.
Reminder: Politics literally means, from Greek, “things of the polis – the city”, and the Latin equivalent was the word Republic, or Res Publica (“the public things”.) The modern expression “personal politics” is an oxymoron.
Has the situation improved? Has the Kommentariat finally seen the light and stopped writing shit and glorified nonsense? No, things have gotten worse. And no, what they write and the products they produce (not that they do that a lot) are still pretty much unpolitical trash, although many companies have realized that stocking the fires of social media controversies is a good marketing tactic.
Remember when they claimed Lando Calrissian could be some kind of pansexual, or those two guys from The Farce Awakens being homosexual? Yeah, no evidence of any of that in the new movies. Remember when an important video game company framed the reveal of their latest game (Far Cry 5) as some sort of anti-Trump, “this-is-relevant-to-current-politics” message, and all those
idiots pre-ordered the game to “stick it up” to the Nazis and “White Supremacists” that live 24/7 inside their brains? None of that in the real game. It’s just about a cult that uses some magical mind-control drug.
Nothing has improved, and the Wokening is still as stupid as it was five years ago. I’ll post here a few articles and “news” I have seen recently, and I’ll naturally focus on the commentators/journalists since this kind of cultural drama wouldn’t exist without them. These are the sort of deep, relevant, Important Issues the Woke Brigade is writing about (I usually use archive links but now I can’t be bothered):
Is an “Ungendered Fashion Utopia” Possible? – Mary Sue
And right now this is what The Mary Sue highlights:
So, four articles about Capeshit superheroes, two of them about Women™, and another about a transgender Scarlet Johansson. All very world-shattering and important.
Here’s a piece about the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 video game. Ah, cyberpunk, the genre where megacorporations own your soul, or they would if they had not managed to abolish it somehow! Surely this would be a good source for politikal thunking, more so in the current age of globalism and…
Cyberpunk 2077 Character Creator Doesn’t Have Non-Binary Gender Options Right Now – VGR.com
Ah, yes, the important controversies!
Oh… Well, let’s see what else I can find. Maybe on the creative side things are different:
Ok, fatty superheroes… Perhaps the RPG domain, with it’s monocled and intellectually elite members, is faring better:
Vampire: The Masquerade maker responds to accusations it caters to neo-Nazi groups – Polygon
Why I’m not surprised it’s about them “Nazis”?
One angry commenter:
I don’t believe a damn thing that comes out of ParaWolf. You don’t accidentally drop a 1488 into something you publish and you sure as hell don’t trip down the stairs and suddenly there’s a pederast player character in your playtest.
That’s the evidence, a “1488” in the book. Secret Nazi Numerology!!!1
(I have no idea what the “pederast player” bit is about, but I’ll assume the evidence is as solid and conclusive as this.)
This is the state of American (or English-speaking) progressive thinking in the younger generations. It’s all trash, irrelevant, and pathetic.
Now, all of this may be nonsense and unimportant, but it’s not insignificant. Disagreeing with those readings, analysis or observations in any way can brand you as a wrong-thinker or a monster, which can have real-life consequences. Or not. It’s really random, which is what makes the Internet a source of anxiety for so many people — it’s simply not possible to know what will trigger the crazies.
However, you can be sure that the authors of those articles believe they are making politics. And true enough, these controversies are perceived as political, but not because the content really is political, but because it can be used to mark you in a somewhat political fashion, using language (and hate) usually reserved for political struggles and civil wars. It’s the consequence, the politicization of your everyday life or even pastimes, not the content itself. It is only felt as political as long as there is the implied threat of social ostracism behind it. You are not excited about a genderless fashion utopia or fat superheroes? Well, maybe you are a Nazi!
But surely there’s a lot of “woke” stories and products! Games, movies, books have been infected with “SJW material,” which is political, and so forth… Yeah, well, yes to the first part (although it’s not as ubiquitous as you may think,) but no the second. Sure, you have the usual gender-bended characters, the Mary Sues, the token transgender, and all that stuff, but be kind enough to point me why any of those things have any sort of value as political statements or theses. Also, can someone point me to any Woke product where the “political” content isn’t about LGTB stuff, or where the controversy do not exists solely on Twitter or Facebook? I’ll wait.
“Hello, I’m trans” is not a political statement and it’s so stupid it cannot even be considered propaganda. It is only political in the sense that political language (and aggressivity) has been co-opted to deal with dissent, disagreement, skepticism, or even indifference, but you can do that with anything, even French fries. Remember the Freedom Fries? Internet non-troversies are pretty much that x100.
Read on any recent cultural “controversy” and I can assure you it’s about some trivial, first-world bullshit. Either women, trans, gays, fat-acceptance, Wakanda, or the assorted idiots from the cluster B personality disorder stirring up shit for online attention and drama. That’s pretty much the extent of the political thesaurus and knowledge of the Woke generation. And before you claim this is just because I focus on pop-culture trash, keep in mind that it’s they who focus on such bullshit — because they know nothing else.
Here’s an article by an anonymous, alleged ex-member of the SocJus online mob who later fell from grace when his “allies” went after him:
In my previous life, I was a self-righteous social justice crusader. I would use my mid-sized Twitter and Facebook platforms to signal my wokeness on topics such as LBGT rights, rape culture, and racial injustice.
Within the world created by the various apps I used, I got plenty of shares and retweets. But this masked how ineffective I had become outside, in the real world. The only causes I was actually contributing to were the causes of mobbing and public shaming.
Awful stuff! But pay attention to what caused the mobbing and public shaming:
Just a few years ago, many of my friends and peers who self-identify as liberals or progressives were open fans of provocative standup comedians such as Sarah Silverman, and shows like South Park. Today, such material is seen as deeply “problematic,” or even labeled as hate speech. I went from minding my own business when people told risqué jokes to practically fainting when they used the wrong pronoun or expressed a right-of-center view. I went from making fun of the guy who took edgy jokes too seriously, to becoming that guy.
I was shocked to discover that I had actually participated quite enthusiastically in the public shaming of Justine Sacco, whose 2013 saga following a bad AIDS joke on Twitter forms one of the book’s central case studies.
Note what I have underlined. This is not a piece by some autistic cultural warrior or a clickbait article from a craphole like Polygon, this guy was supposedly fighting the real fight, but look at the things he attacked: jokes, humor, comedians, and TV shows. That’s the saddest part, none of the targets of this Mob are actually important or relevant, and people’s lives are being ruined or made miserable over the stupidest, most irrelevant stuff you can imagine. Most of the issues aren’t even real; they exist only on social media.
The Mob doesn’t hound you for, let’s say, your opinion of corporate taxes or for your support or not of the increasingly militarized police. I’m pretty sure I could scream an extreme, Uber-Right Wing position on Twitter and nobody would attack me… but that’s because those morons would be too stupid to understand it. Hell, if I phrase it correctly, I’d be able to get them to cheer me. Unless it’s about some shitty animated show, superhero comics, or comedian stepping out of line, their atrophied and useless brains are unable to process it as “political.”
Extra insanity bonus: https://archive.fo/mY6VM/image
Still undecided? If you look up “controversy” on Google, what do you find?
Robert Lepage in controversy again over new production KanataMontreal Gazette–18 hours agoAbout 20 Indigenous personalities have denounced the lack of Indigenous actors in a Paris production of Lepage’s show Kanata.
The 2018 farm bill stirs conflict and controversyPRI–16 hours agoThe US Congress took almost two years to negotiate the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill is shaping up to be possibly even more divisive.
Trump avoids politics, but not controversy in ScotlandThe National–16 hours agoUS President Donald Trump just wanted to enjoy a round of gold at his luxury Scottish golf resort before jetting off to Helsinki for a major summit …
Papa John’s name removed from Louisville stadium following n-word …Fox News–22 hours agoThe University of Louisville announced Friday that it will remove the Papa John’s name from its football stadium as part of the growing fallout ..
Scarlett Johansson bows out of trans drama Rub & Tug after controversyPolygon–Jul 13, 2018The controversy intensified when Johansson defended her casting, telling Bustle: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared …
Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – What is the controversy about?Deutsche Welle–14 hours agoWhat is it for: Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline that would allow Germany to effectively double the amount of gas it imports from Russia. In 2017 …
The controversy over “Kylie Jenner, self-made billionaire,” explainedVox–Jul 13, 2018Being a billionaire is like being pregnant: You either are or are not. You either have a billion dollars or you don’t have a billion dollars.
Kylie Jenner sparks controversy after piercing her five-month-old …
Yahoo News–Jul 13, 2018
Is drill the most controversial genre of music?British GQ–13 hours agoWe speak to drill artists Headie One and Harlem Spartans about the latest genre to ignite controversy in London …
Puerto Rican T-shirt video controversy results in officer’s resignationOrlando Sentinel–Jul 12, 2018The Puerto Rican T-shirt controversy at a birthday celebration has resulted in the resignation of a police officer who refused to intervene as a …
A T-shirt, a birthday party, a cop fired. I don’t even know what this is about but I’m sure it’s a waste of my time.
It’s all endless trash for people with no real life who want to believe their Internet fights and their Twitter witch-hunts are the real deal. Only the non-American or non-English papers use the word controversy in a somewhat reasonable way. But you can bet the “journalists” and commentators who write about this trash believe they are the vanguard of a political movement.
Going back to popular entertainment and its controversies, how do you think the “politicization” of, let’s say, a popular setting like Warhammer 40K would look like? If you said that it would be pointing out that the W40K setting is a subversion of the classical Utopian science fiction, with the “good” guys being a tyrannical, oppressive, intolerant, and insane regime of techno-religious fetishists and ur-fascists that employs genocide as part of their political toolkit, and that in its first edition the Empire of Man even used child soldiers, penal companies, and suicide bombers in their army (a reference to a known real-world religion,) you are a strange man who has failed to notice how politics have evolved and transcended such irrelevant themes. You know pretty well that the politicization of W40K and the consequent online drama would be about genderless pronouns and the lack of women space marines. Because that’s really what politics is all about and what the game needs to finally be “mature,” not… all that other strange stuff.
What about a game like Deus Ex? No, I don’t mean the original game, which dealt with political philosophy, transhumanism, finance, state terrorism, paramilitarism, corporate power, religion, God, power legitimacy, and quoted all manner of thinkers and writers, I mean this:
Note that all the usual idiots said this was “controversial” or even a “politicization.” Not the original game that calls out real-world political institutions, their founders, and their policies… no, no, they mean a concept art with the phrase “Augs Lives Mater.” Because that’s what makes the series political and controversial — not the fact that the original game is basically every conspiracy theory in existence crammed inside a surprisingly coherent whole. And remember, the recent Deus Ex games have had removed pretty much all that sociopolitical and philosophical content. So yes, I was right: games and entertainment are now LESS political than they were before, and your token minority characters, your clickbait articles, or your delusions that you are fighting “Nazis” with your inclusive RPGs or comic books is BULLSHIT. You have absolutely no idea how the world outside your social media bubble works or looks like.
Now, in case I’m being too subtle, here’s a short resume of what I’m trying to tell you, the members of the Controversy Class:
NONE OF THIS MATTERS. YOU ARE NOT POLITICAL COMMENTATORS. YOUR VIDEOS GAMES ARE NOT IMPORTANT. YOUR SUPERHERO MOVIES ARE NOT SOCIALLY OR POLITICALLY RELEVANT. YOUR GENDER DYSPHORIA MATTERS TO NOBODY. NERD CULTURE IS GARBAGE. YOUR “POLITICAL” ENEMIES ARE IMAGINARY. YOU HURT AND ATTACK PEOPLE FOR NO REASON AT ALL. YOU ARE NOT POLITICALLY WOKE, JUST MENTALLY UNSTABLE.
YOU ARE PATHETIC.
You think I’m wrong? Well, point me to those woke works or “controversies” that do not (1) exist only on social media and (2) are not about LGTB nonsense, representation, or inclusivity. If you need help to see if something is political, here’s a non-exhaustive list of traditional political themes or issues:
War, international politics, diplomacy, commerce, finance, working conditions, state religion, ecology, class warfare, status, private ownership, intelligence/espionage, state terror, family/clan/tribe, race (and I don’t mean Wakanda-type discourse on race,) civilization vs. barbarism, social engineering, ideology, manufacturing of consent, state vs. individual, land issues (land speculation, economic booms, etc.,) propaganda, and terrorism.
I’ll be waiting.