The current political climate is such that many people cannot help but air their grievances. Everyone has an opinion they want to express because they are so affected by current events. It is understandable, but political talk has gotten to a point where I see it in media I used to enjoy. Instead of listening to a funny review or reading a comic, I listen and read about the author’s politics, regardless of their spectrum. But rather than use political talk for deep introspection or satire, the author is trying to convince the audience or explain why they are right and you are wrong.
Some political talk is unavoidable no matter how hard you try. Many of the reviewers I follow are located in the Midwest and Northeast, two of the most Left-leaning regions in America. If you even casually follow mainstream news you know those same regions are currently losing their minds. Of course Obscurus Lupa is going to call the term “old man” ageist. Of course Todd in the Shadows feels depressed after Hillary lost. And of course Movie Bob is going to insult two-thirds of the country in every video following the election results.
Because reviewers specialize in entertainment media, inherently pointless issues related to said media becomes a part of their commentary. Not long ago other Left-leaning personalities made a big fuss (as they are want to do) over the casting of Scarlet Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, turning it into an insult against Asians. In a more significant case, Ghostbusters (2016) was declared an important feminist film until everyone discovered the movie was a giant piece of shit. Then others called Jessica Jones groundbreaking because there was a lesbian character.
The point I am trying to make is by talking about/injecting politics into their work, reviewers have missed the point. If you look back at their past work, they did not talk about anything except the subject. Spoony did not wax-poetic about the election of Barrack Obama while losing his mind over Final Fantasy VIII. Movie Bob used to be one of my biggest inspirations because he approached videogames with an open mind rather than condescend to his audience. The subject was the focus, free of outside influence because entertainment is escapism. You watch, read, and play things to forget that the world sucks, not to be reminded.
I believe a likely cause of this paradigm shift was a loss of self-awareness. Even though Doom (2016) is a masterpiece, it does not matter. Ripping demons in half with a shotgun does not pay the bills or get you a job. Real life is real and you cannot hide behind a controller forever. Eventually you need to get your balls up to do something constructive. To be self-aware, to understand the meaning of what you are, is to know the world. Most reviewers are content to live in their own, made-up worlds of entertainment. They grew up and instead of taking real life seriously they took works of fiction seriously to cope with the problems of being an adult.
I am not a psychologist or an expert in really anything, but the total lack of self-awareness and scale of seriousness are so incredible, there has to be something more. Why would anyone make such a big deal about fiction to the point they interject political sentiments into their rage-induced commentary? That is like calling comic books graphic novels or creationism intelligent design. Dirt is still dirt and there are no mental gymnastics you can do to make it otherwise.
The worst part of trying to take entertainment seriously is it stops being fun. You do not see a cool game or hear a great joke anymore. You see something problematic or offensive to a group of people you know nothing about. Jonathan McIntosh could not be happy that the Overwatch character Tracer was gay because he thought she was designed to “appeal to the male gaze.” Anita Sarkeesian, the matriarch of no fun, built her entire career on making others feel bad about playing games. Suddenly people that do not exist in fiction are oppressed individuals created by the Patriarchy to control women. At the same time, she will speak out against violence in videogames and movies, compounding the detachment from reality.
There is plenty wrong with people like McIntosh and Sarkeesian (especially mentally), but there is also an agenda they are trying to push not unlike many reviewers who proselytize. They want to shame gamers into hating themselves for having fun. McIntosh takes every chance he gets to project his guilt complex onto other straight white men for being straight white men. Then there is his blatant Anti-Semitism that I do not want to get into. Sarkeesian takes political talk to a whole new level by turning her videos into Marxist Feminist propaganda. In the series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, she took the time to interpret outdated clichés in games as misogynist attacks on women by the Patriarchy.
In the realm of comics there is Nick Spencer, Marvel’s new writer on two Captain America books, and the reincarnation of Joseph Goebbels. Both of his series are rife with Progressive proselytism. From Red Skull as an analogy for Donald Trump, to the use of Political Correctness rhetoric in dialog, Spencer wants to make a point and forgets he is writing about superheroes. I could go on about this guy and others losing Marvel valuable customers as a result of their proselytism, but I feel it best to move on before this essay gets any longer.
Now, I know I am guilty of political talk in my work. For anyone that reads my blog they know my proselytism boils down to “Fuck you, guns are awesome,” and other Right-leaning sentiments. By talking about my own beliefs I am a hypocrite. What gives me the right to criticize others for ruining their work with politics when I do it myself?
What I always try to do when I bring up the subject is to serve the overall criticism or analysis of the piece in question. In my Rogue One review I made it very clear my opinion that the diverse cast was just a marketing tactic. I also explained that it was not real diversity as if I had a formal understanding of the subject, which I do not. I went on a rant against the CIA in 13 Hours, talked about anarchy in Mockingjay, touched on class warfare in High Rise, and my opinion on Christian propaganda is well publicized.
Where I stand in terms of politics is obvious, but whatever I say is always in service to criticism. I lean Right, so the commentary I provide will stem from that side of the spectrum. You should always write what you know and because Right-leaning is what I know, that side of me will come out in my writing. In the heat of the moment, my pro-Capitalist/anti-Political Correctness ideals will reveal themselves. It is just a matter of keeping in mind self-awareness and that I am writing about movies.
There are plenty of better critics and Internet personalities that approach politics in the same fashion. FunHaus relatively avoids such topics all together in exchange for an anarchic style of humor. BroTeam takes the same approach a step further by making a joke out of politics and those who talk about them similar to Sam Hyde’s Million Dollar Extreme. The Rageaholic is very far Right, but he is articulate and competent enough to separate his beliefs from his commentary. ComicBookGirl19 opts for the spiritual side of things in a refreshing turn. Red Letter Media, probably the last bastion of great Internet criticism, makes a habit of critiquing the use of politics in entertainment while making jokes about it.
People like them give me hope politics have not completely taken over what I used to love. I wish we could just enjoy entertainment media like it was entertainment again. I want to see Rey from Force Awakens as a good character without someone who dyes their hair way too often explaining how she is the perfect strong female character or a Mary Sue. The more we try to politicize, proselytize, and take entertainment seriously, the more we stop having fun. Take heed and continue to enjoy the things you love while they last.