Did I have a stroke? Have I been in some kind of an extended coma where my brain has frantically tried to fill in the gaps with false memories?
It seems that while I was sitting in my room with the blinds closed churning out dick jokes the outside world transformed into some kind of Orwellian nightmare in which the rational, clear-thinking majority has been beaten into submission by an overly vocal, outraged minority.
It’s become alarmingly apparent that we’ve all begun to walk in lockstep with this manufactured political correctness in fear of backlash, and it’s slowly destroying creativity, artistic expression and personal agency.
It’s not about PewDiePie
Not really, anyway. The absurd outrage over the Pewds was what got me ruminating on all of this this week in the first place, but let’s get two things straight – PewDiePie is an idiot. He’s also not a racist.
Everything about PewDiePie being an anti-Semite is 100% sensationalized bullshit, with pretty much every still image and video snippet you’ve seen being stripped of its context to make it into something it’s not.
Comedy since time immemorial has largely been offensive; the difference is now that a militant group of politically correct narcissists will tell you what is and isn’t acceptable within that spectrum. Making fun of Donald Trump’s hair, body, face, skin, whatever, all that is A-okay. Making fun of someone famous for being overweight? That’s fatshaming!
PewDiePie is still a moron – he’s contracted by Disney, and should have the common sense to know that that means he needs to tone down his content a little. But just because it was a shitty joke, doesn’t mean it’s not a joke – we don’t get to dictate what is “allowed” in comedy.
It’s okay to be an asshole if you’re right
The reason all this is a problem is two-fold. Firstly, the people who shout the loudest and the angriest are decreeing what is acceptable in the creative space. Secondly, everyone is so afraid of being called out that they’re pandering to it.
Very recently, this militant group of liberal absurdists lost their collective shit over Overwatch’s Mei appearing thinner in one of her promotional skins. Blizzard, mega-corporation Blizzard, one of the biggest game developers in the world Blizzard, came out and publicly apologized that it appeared that one of their characters had lost weight. Kiss the ring, Blizzard, and don’t let it happen again.
These people act as bullies. They will come after your job, your reputation, your money and your sanity – if you don’t conform to what they have decided is or isn’t okay they will justify their heinous actions by their being “correct” – even if that “correctness” is self-determined. That’s why it’s fine for everyone to witch-hunt PewDiePie and destroy his sources of income, that’s why it’s fine to get people fired over a Tweet you didn’t like or get GTA V pulled from shelves because it “promotes violence against women”. GTA V promotes violence against everyone, it’s egalitarian like that.
What’s this got to do with gaming again?
Gaming, like any other form of entertainment, has to pass under the cold, glassy eye of the ultra-sensitive internet thought police. With Blizzard being compelled to apologise for pretty much every fabric-clad buttcheek in Overwatch that isn’t attached to a man, we’re on a slippery slope into a place where creativity and artistic vision is funneled through a quality assurance process whereby angry internet bullies make decisions for a silenced majority.
In fact, gaming seems to have been affected far worse than movies. Many movie creators seem to not give a tin f**k what the internet thinks, but video game publishers are quick to grovel in the face of some controversy – perhaps as an industry it’s simply more connected to the digital space.
Remember when everyone swore they’d boycott Modern Warfare 2 if it didn’t have dedicated servers? Remember when it sold enough copies for Bobby Kotick to install that chocolate Jacuzzi he always wanted? Half of the people moaning about Tracer’s ass have never played so much as the Overwatch beta, they’ve just found a fresh batch of outrage to attach themselves to.
None of this is to say that creative projects can’t be criticised; gaming has made some good strides in their representation and portrayal of women because of it. Something like Quiet from MGS V deserves to be called out as a blatantly unnecessary titshow for 13 year old teens fapping in front of their PS4s, especially with that hilariously poor backstory of her breathing through her skin or whatever that particular wheelbarrow of horseshit was.
Look, I don’t need to break this down. We, as a majority group of people, need to be able to debate and discuss what is within the realm of “reasonable” criticism. I’m not saying adopt my viewpoint, it’s correct – that would be hypocritical.
What I’m advocating for is individual freedoms – to voice opinions, to create the content you want to create, to respect viewpoints different to your own. I’m not saying you’re not allowed to get mad about an Overwatch skin – you do you – what I am saying is you’re not allowed to bully and abuse someone until they do things the way you want them to.