Saturdays are a Good Day…

…for doing a little distance learning on how it is people living reasonably comfortable lives of white middle class ease (comfortable enough to have lots of time for gaming) manage to work themselves into frenzies of butthurt fury about purely imaginary persecution at the hands of purely imaginary persecutors. The social and psychological dynamics here matter, because they hold up a mirror to the way the most privileged demographic on the planet manage to simultaneously enjoy advantages previous ages could not have have dreamed of while still convincing themselves they are plucky underdogs and persecuted victims.

I’m not much of a gamer myself. But I do like the old timey design of this game and might watch somebody play it just to savor that look and feel.

13 Responses

  1. It’s a fairly standard con trick:

    1. Create an imaginary enemy.
    2. Whip up hatred and fear of that imaginary enemy in as many people as possible.
    3. Leverage power and influence by portraying yourself as the only one who can save people by defeating the imaginary enemy that you just created.
    It works for YouTubers getting “likes” by ranting against non-existent opponents, and it works for populist politicians, too.
    Pointing out reasonably that the enemy doesn’t exist, or isn’t an enemy, is futile, since you are dealing with people who want to believe in an imaginary enemy and have believed in it without any evidence in the first place, and will happily believe (without evidence) that you are lying because you are the enemy too, because you are on the enemy’s side. The need for the enemy to exist overrides all other considerations.
    Often only external factors can end the con and release people trapped within it. The “enemy” is often a fake solution to real problems. The con will generally end when reality overtakes those running it and the fight against the imaginary enemy only makes the actual problems worse. It can end when real solutions to the real problems present themselves, but these solutions can only come from outside, since the fight against the enemy excludes any attempt by those inside the con to actually resolve the problems the imaginary enemy is supposed to be the cause of.

  2. What you were writing about, Mark, is actually fairly easily explainable. Classic paranoia, coupled Not un coincidentally with what I have written about many times on these very pages: religious megalomania, an over identification with God.

    Delusions of grandeur. Look at how special and wonderful I am, as well as in your terms, look at how privileged I am. God loves me and doesn’t love you. I can command God. I am gods best friend because I do everything that he tells me to, just like he does everything that I tell him to.

    You’re persecuting me because I am so special. You hate me because you hate God. You have a God sized hole in your heart, and only I can tell you how to fix it.

    There is another issue that is intimately tied up with this, when I call “second hand stupidity”. The Internet has placed the sum total of human knowledge into a small rectangle that you can fit into your back pocket. The end result of that is the people haven’t become smarter, they have become stupiderer. “My 30 minute Google search is far more informative and valuable than your eight years in a medical school, specializing in viral diseases.“ The proof is the underlying meme, “you hate me for being a smart as you are.” Same story, different chapter.

  3. I would just like to say that I have the game, and it’s fun and beautiful and crazy hard. I’m a fan of the bizarre pre-code Fleischer cartoons like Swing You Sinners, I Heard, Minnie the Moocher, and The Old Man of the Mountain.

  4. It’s a hard game! But there are some spectacular players, music, and art. Some people even just listen to the soundtrack.

    The art, evoking the era note perfect, has raised some criticism about the racist tropes that bleed a little into the game. Buyer Beast

  5. I run into this quite a lot.
    “Postmodernists are saying there’s no real truth!”
    “These BLM thugs want to throw out our ideals of liberty and justice for all!”
    “The insults and racism on liberal sites are just as bad as anything on conservative sites!”
    Really? Got a source? Who’s saying that? To what sites do you refer?

    Silence.

      1. About that Weather Controller. You should really tone it down this year, there are enough problems as it is.

  6. It be wonderful if human beings paid more attention to real life and less to fantasy and distraction. (I realize that many who post here consider Jesus fantasy and distraction)

  7. Two general fearful reactions to the existential crises of being human are to seek a savior and to be special. It is impossible to resolve these crises without being open to the inherent self loathing of not being good enough.

  8. By pure coincidence, right before reading this article I decided to take a break from playing Dark Souls 2. I had just beaten 3 bosses back to back; and cleared an area I had discovered (and died) previously. So at the moment I’m carrying a lot of souls, which are the rewards you get for beating enemies, and act as the in-game currency for most things.

    So after that last grueling boss battle that went down to the wire, I’m kind of feeling myself. As I exit the dungeon I spot a treasure I had missed earlier; all I have to do is make a jump onto a ledge from a drawbridge that’s hanging over a bottomless chasm.

    So I make the jump and grab the item; no problem. But on the way back, I fall to my death. Now, to recover all 400,000+ souls I was carrying, I have to return to the place where I died. If I die again before doing so, I lose them all.

    And of course, when I get there, I see I have to jump on to the ledge again. And in true Dark Souls fashion, I miss the jump this time.

    Yeah, time to take a break.

    1. The three laws of thermodynamics and the one law of chumphood.

      You can’t win, you can’t break even, and you can’t get out of the game.

      And if you think you can, you’re a chump.

  9. Okay, you just given me more reason to come here and comment without Disqus. I now feel bad for being late to this party and I missed this. But as a gamer (and a very dedicated one), I have to give my piece here.

    Now, I’ve only watched ten minutes of Shaun’s video and but I already think this just barely scratches the surface of the stupid, stupid, stuuuuuuuuupid phenomenon of American culture wars ruining everything.

    I must stress that I’m quite passionate about gaming (even more than I am about my own birth religion). If I was any bigger into this hobby (and a richer man), I’d be running both a YT and Twitch channel (where you’ll see me hopping across everything from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake on the PS4 to Fate/Grand Order on mobile).

    All that aside, my gaming passion is why it just makes me so furious to see and/or hear people dragging in all manner of this outrage nonsense. (And by nonsense, I am without prejudice. I am annoyed by people complaining about game companies ‘catering’ to SJWs as much I’m annoyed by people who think I’m a misogynist for my fanboying to Aerith Gainsborough.)

    Why, why, WHY can’t we just be left alone to appreciate, play and write about our damn games? Why must I constantly be bombarded by needless politicized culture war commentary? In the words of Tifa Lockhart, “I’m so sick of this. I’M SICK OF ALL OF THIS!”

    P.S.

    Played Cuphead, with my keyboard. Fun game, but I highly advise using a controller or you’ll end up suffering finger cramps like I did. (Man, even now, I can feel a shadow of the pain from watching gameplay clips.)

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