Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last Argument

I. Recently, in response to the new Mad Max movie, Anita Sarkeesian had some comments about the nature of violence. Specifically, the idea that "media feminism" often limits itself to the idea of women doing masculine things & being respected for it, even when those things are distasteful and hateful (i.e. "killing people").

I was thrilled, of course. You all know my thoughts about toxic masculinity by now. I don't support dehumanization, and I don't support tragedy being turned into positive, indulgent entertainment. As I've written before, it's possible for a character to be strong, confident and in control (the "positive" elements of masculinity) without being the kind of hateful person who goes around looking for reasons to murder people (the "negative" aspects of masculinity).

There are plenty of people who didn't like Sarkeesian's comments. This includes the obvious crowd, but there's a lot of people who support feminism and "progressive" ideals who felt slighted by those comments, as well. Again, I've written before about the phenomenon of people who feel that media does affect us and that some things shouldn't be turned into entertainment, but who still feel that violence is basically fine and normal. There are a lot of people out there who enjoy violence and want to make excuses about why they should be allowed to indulge in it. My favorite argument is the argument that violence is okay because it's "natural", even though the people making that argument are generally not okay with sexism, racism, and other things that are just as "natural" as killing is.

But it's not just the act of "killing" that's the problem. It's the culture around it. As always, people make the argument that they can separate fiction from reality, and then go on to prove that they absolutely can't.

II. When I talked about Rorschach a while back, I pointed out the fact that in Rorschach's world, he makes perfect sense. Rorschach lives in a world where criminals are not just people making mistakes; they are, almost universally, hardened thugs who cannot be negotiated with. As a result, Rorschach's methods make perfect logical sense, even if Alan Moore thinks they're bad.

That's the problem with violence in media. Not just "it happens", but the reasons it happens. Violence in media is justified because the bad guys are always slavering monsters who cannot ever be negotiated with. Ergo, the "last resort" becomes the first and only resort.

Who would build a world like this? Who would present a narrative where human beings behave like monsters? Imagine the kind of person who sits clutching a gun in their house, paranoid about "thugs" breaking in and murdering their family. That's easy enough to imagine, right? It's a concrete, well-established bloc in American politics, after all. "Paranoia" is the foundation of the Republican party. If we don't maintain order, everything's going to fall apart. The Muslims are going to blow up our cities and then the Illegals are going to take over what's left, and they're going to spend their welfare checks on lobsters!!

Here's the thing, though: those people? Yeah, those are the people who are responsible for our current ideas of "being a badass". Those are the "John Waynes" of the world, the kind of people who support stoic detachment because emotions might make you weak at a crucial moment. Those people wrote superhero comics and action movies. I mean, why the hell do you think superheroes spend so much time stopping bank heists? Who the hell cares about bank heists except for conservatives and people looking for an opportunity to "be a hero"? Nobody, that's who.

The mistake people make is thinking they can separate "violence" from "problematic elements". The entire concept - the dehumanization, the forced stoicism, the toxic masculinity - all of it comes from the same well. Nerd culture idolizes "badasses" because the people who created nerd culture a century ago had specific ideas about how men should behave. And even though some of the ideas from their time became unacceptable - overt racism and sexism, for example - the idea of "killing thugs" maintained its credibility because people were fooled into thinking that it's apolitical.

III. The thing about violence is that...well, let's back up. There's a lot of people who've been accusing Anita Sarkeesian and Jonathan McIntosh of being "pacifists", even though that's clearly not the case - in fact, I myself have been the recipient of that same accusation. The implicit statement being made by that accusation is that they (or "we") are naive and idealistic, blind to the ways of the world, which is why we think violence is bad when obviously it's very good and important.

But that's not accurate, for multiple reasons. First off, there's a difference between being a pacifist and being against dehumanization, in the same way that it is possible to imagine defending yourself against a mugger without fetishizing the idea. Violent media is not just about making use of violence, it's about enjoying making use of violence, and feeling morally justified for doing so. That is the disgusting part. Violence can be justified, but dehumanizing people to justify mass slaughter? And then treating that mass slaughter like it's not only morally accepted but also fun? Reflect on the fact that, seventy years ago, a movie like Mad Max would have been about cowboys gunning down Native Americans.

Second off, reflect for a moment on the idea that pacifism is "naive". Earlier, I said that the Republican Party is founded on paranoia. "Pacifism is naive" fits perfectly into the conservative wheelhouse. It's the idea that if you try to be nice to someone, they're going to take advantage of you. It's the idea that if you show weakness, someone's going to break you. It's all the worst bits of toxic masculinity combined with the worst bits of conservative ideology and people really just don't seem to get it. So even if Sarkeesian, McIntosh & I were pacifists, which we aren't, the idea that "pacifism = naive = bad" is totally derived from the kind of mindset that people claim to hate.

Violence is a thing that exists. It has a place in narratives. But, like rape, it is easy to abuse its inclusion. It is easy to misrepresent violence, just as it is easy to misrepresent rape. It is easy to trivialize violence, to turn it into perverse entertainment, just as it is easy to do those things with rape. Violence is horrific. Violence is traumatic. Violence isn't a game, but "games" are where you see the majority of violence in your life. You're so exposed to the idea of this cleaned-up, sanctified violence that you might not even understand what's weird about it, in the same way that people are so exposed to the idea of "rape = stranger in an alley" that they don't really understand what "rape culture" actually is.

IV. Some of you may have noticed that the issue of violence and dehumanization has essentially come to dominate my blog, overtaking previous issues of realistic depiction, feminism, and sensible plots. There's a reason for this: it's the last argument that needs to be made. Everything else I've ever written about is pretty much common-sense stuff. You either accept the idea that women should be depicted as possessing agency, or you don't. You either accept the idea that realism can heighten people's tactile immersion, or you don't. But violence tends to be "the exception", because people are so used to thinking of it as an apolitical concept. People get the idea that media is important, and then they stop when they get to violence.

I've watched people argue about the unrealism of "boob plate", or the dehumanization of objectification, and then immediately turn around and make excuses about why it's okay to kill hordes of dudes who throw themselves at you until you grind them into pulp. It's our culture's biggest blind spot. People understand the value of realism and they understand that dehumanizing people for audience gratification is bad, and then they throw those concepts away because it might make them feel bad for participating in mass slaughter. Even people who claim they learned something from Spec Ops The Line will make this argument, which is why I'm so dismissive of that game: because it doesn't seem like it worked.

Right now, violence is the breaking point holding together two separate worlds. In one world, media affects people. In the other, it doesn't. Either you think video games affect people, in which case subject matter is important, or you don't think that video games affect people, in which case you're going to play whatever you want. The problem right now is that the people who live in the "media affect you" world are currently attached to the "media doesn't affect you" world by way of violence. They accept the premise, but they're still attached to the idea of being a murderous badass. They'll make arguments against objectification or rape or whatever else, but when it comes to violence, suddenly they don't want to.

The idea that media affects you is a prerequisite for any other discussion of media's effects on people. You need to accept this premise if you want to talk about anything else. Things like objectification and sexist design can't exist unless you accept that premise. That's why it's so disheartening to see people who claim to accept the premise, and then immediately shut it down as soon as violence gets involved. Because the fact is, until people do that, our "media culture" isn't going anywhere. You're going to end up trapped in a world where people make excuses for Hideo Kojima putting a vagina-bomb inside a rape victim, and then making a busty sniper lady who gets graphically tortured (but also, remember to buy her sexy figurine!). These are the seeds you're sowing. That is the world you're going to inhabit until you accept reality. Silent Hill was canceled because gamer culture is Silent Hill now.

33 comments:

  1. "Nerd culture idolizes "badasses" because the people who created nerd culture a century ago had specific ideas about how men should behave. And even though some of the ideas from their time became unacceptable - overt racism and sexism, for example - the idea of "killing thugs" maintained its credibility because people were fooled into thinking that it's apolitical."

    But nerd culture has infantilized itself to the point that, I guess specifically men, don't operate in accordance with these 'badassed ideals' and often act in direct opposition to them, with their manchildrenism and their $350 Japanese loli Batgirl statues or Assassin's Creed collector hats.

    These same people adore when badassed violence happens, I knew one who was literally orgasmic over the Vengeance Personified of that Shadows Of Murder game, but in a meat world sense, is so far removed from this 'How Men Should Act' so as to be a clinical opposite.

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    1. You're absolutely right. "Glorifying violence" and "glorifying masculinity" create all sorts of weird ideological loopholes that are insane to try to navigate.

      For example: people say "attempting to remove violence from games destroys masculine culture". They say this even though (1) they also claim games don't affect them, and (2) "masculine culture" does not endorse sitting on a couch interacting with fake people. It's a way to make themselves seem strong & cool despite the fact that games are so damn coddling.

      I mean, the thing is, people like that THINK they can handle violence in real life, even though they've never been exposed to it. They really want someone to try to break into their house or whatever so they can totally do some SWEET MMA MOVES. Of course, they spend all their time playing video games, so what would really happen is "they'd get killed", and that's not an option that the media has actually prepared them for.

      Basically, anyone who says "glorifying violence is good" is either a poseur or a psychopath. They're either a spoiled baby, protected from violence by society but pretending like they understand it, or they're a person who's been exposed to ACTUAL violence and says "this is cool and good, I enjoy this".

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    2. Classical Rome: poseurs and psychos.

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    3. That is correct, yes. More on the "psychos" side because they enjoyed actual bloodsports.

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  2. This doesn't scan:
    You're going to end up trapped in a world where people make excuses for Hideo Kojima putting a vagina-bomb inside a rape victim, and then making a busty sniper lady who gets graphically tortured (but also, remember to buy her sexy figurine!).

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    1. It scans perfectly well. If you accept violence, [you] are [going to] [end up trapped] [in a world where people make excuses for] [Hideo Kojima putting a bomb inside a rape victim, and then making a busty sniper lady who gets graphically tortured]. And then, as an aside, "but also remember to buy [the busty sniper's] sexy figurine". The purpose of the aside is to establish that Kojima is openly sexualizing the characters that he tortures & mutilates in his narratives.

      The purpose of that statement is that all those horrible, disgusting things are intrinsically connected to "how gamers treat bad things".

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  3. It's grammatically correct but doesn't scan by my reading because of the comma after "rape victim". If you think it's fine then that's fine, but at first glance it sounded like you were accusing the reader of "making a busty sniper lady who gets graphically tortured."

    You're going to end up:
    [trapped in a world where people make excuses for Hideo Kojima putting a vagina-bomb inside a rape victim,]
    [and then making a busty sniper lady who gets graphically tortured]

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    1. I feel that the tense agreement ("putting" & "making" vs "make" vs "making") links both verbs to "Kojima".

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  4. I'm curious about how you feel about Catharsis or how people have different mindsets when viewing media and preforming in the real world.

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    1. Your question is vague, but I'll give my views on relevant topics:

      1) When you're watching fiction, *something* makes you root for "good guys" and "bad guys". Even if it's fiction, you're using your own morals to judge who you think is Good and who you think is Evil. As a result, at some level, you CANNOT separate "fiction" from "reality".

      2) When people say they can separate reality from fantasy, they're often speaking from a position that's ignorant of reality in any case. People aren't all-knowing; everyone has gaps in their knowledge, and those gaps are often reinforced by inaccurate fiction. For example, "rape" in fiction is commonly depicted as being attacks by strangers, whereas in real life, the statistics indicate that it's usually done by someone the victim knows. However, most MOVIES use the "stranger" variety, and as a result, the average person thinks of rape as something done by strangers. Such people aren't in a position to REALIZE that they're ignorant; that's the way it works.

      3) "Catharsis" is provably useless & only makes aggression worse - it's been discredited for a long time. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/09/health/letting-out-aggression-is-called-bad-advice.html

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    2. okay, so why do people who claim to love fictional violent stories still detest real life violence then? There's gotta be some seperation

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    3. Who's "people" in this scenario, which "fictional violent stories" do they claim to love, and which "real violence" do they claim to detest? Because here's my counter: Many of the people I've seen supporting "fictional violence" ARE okay with violence in real life - under certain conditions. They're okay with killing "bad guys". The problem is that in media, almost every "bad guy" is a totally inhuman monster who can't be negotiated with. This gives people a skewed understanding of real-life violence.

      If you want to actually debate this point *specifically* you're going to have to offer actual people as examples, because essentially it's an argument of hypocrisy. It's like people who claim they can laugh at racist jokes without BEING racist - if you're not racist, the joke isn't funny. Similarly, if you're not in favor of violence, there's no reason to take joy from it. It's simply a question of one's motivations.

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    4. Okay first, how specific are we talking about? Because almost everyone I've seen talk about this subject or people I know of abhor real life violence. Funny enough the majority of people who justify violence/killing I've found outside of media discussion (far-right conservative sites, news reports of self defense cases etc.) Anecodotes are only useful for giving someone an idea of where your coming from or why you gained a perspective, not painting an objective viewpoint (e.g. just because you've never had anyone have anything stolen doesn't mean people don't steal)

      Secondly, the idea that it gives people a skewed understand of violence is only correct if it's the only source of information the viewer receives. Afterall nobody really believes that blood shoots out from a decapitated neck like a firehose.

      Thirdly, is it really hypocritical if the viewer accepts that there is a difference between real violence and fictional violence? violence in media is usually very well removed from and designed to not invoke real-life violence (masses of faceless mooks against one person, physics defying moves etc.)

      The racist joke parallel doesn't work because there is no "clean washed and removed" racism like there is for conflict. Jokes like that are always told to other people and are never put in a fictional context, instead relying on stereotypes of real groups of people.

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    5. >"Because almost everyone I've seen talk about this subject or people I know of abhor real life violence."

      Define "abhor". Most people think "violence is bad", but then make exceptions. That's how it works. And I wasn't asking for "anecdotes", I was saying that I can't point out hypocrisy unless you give me a person whose beliefs I can analyze. You were asking about a specific pairing of beliefs, and I was saying "I can't examine that unless you give me more details".

      If someone is truly a pacifist but still takes pleasure in fictional violence, the most likely answer is that they're responding thoughtlessly to their own instinctive reactions. "It feels good, so I'm going to do it." If that's the best justification you can offer for an action, you need to learn to think more.

      >"the idea that it gives people a skewed understand of violence is only correct if it's the only source of information the viewer receives"

      And it is, essentially, unless you're exposing yourself to real-life violence all the time. Compare the amount of fake violence you see to the amount of real violence. Even if you know it's fake, you're subconsciously developing that fake violence into your view of real violence. Look at how people react to violence on the news, or violence "in theory", and you'll see a marked difference with how people respond to violence that's actually happening in front of them, or happened to someone they know.

      >"Afterall nobody really believes that blood shoots out from a decapitated neck like a firehose...violence in media is usually very well removed from and designed to not invoke real-life violence (masses of faceless mooks against one person, physics defying moves etc."

      Make the same argument about rape. There's plenty of rape in fiction that's "cartoonishly removed" from real life, but it's still disgusting and distasteful. That's because the act itself is disgusting, and TAKING PLEASURE IN THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS is disgusting. It has nothing to do with the "realism" or the "particulars" and everything to do with the base concepts.

      Also, if you're so certain that this cartoonish, exaggerated violence has nothing to do with real violence...why do you want it so much? If you're so certain that it's "not really violence", why do you want it? You want to kill people, but you also want to act like you're not really killing people. You absolutely want pretend murder in your games, but you don't want to ask WHY you want pretend murder in your game. Your reasoning reads like a drug addict's: "I CAN quit, I just choose not to."

      >"The racist joke parallel doesn't work because there is no "clean washed and removed" racism like there is for conflict."

      Oh? Try making that argument on Reddit. Watch how many people act like you can separate racist jokes from racist ideas and get angry at the idea that you can't. You say jokes can never be in a fictional context - but jokes ARE a fictional context. People laugh at the idea of black people eating watermelon and fried chicken in the same way that they laugh at the idea of people being shot or stabbed. They justify it by saying "it's not real, it's just a made-up story". And yet you believe that racism affects people in real life, because it's RELIANT on real stereotypes. And I'M saying the exact thing about violence - it affects people in real life because it's RELIANT on real ideas about violence.

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    6. "Most people think "violence is bad", but then make exceptions" you mean like self defense?

      "You were asking about a specific pairing of beliefs, and I was saying 'I can't examine that unless you give me more details'." well neither can I so I'm gonna have to put faith in your assertion that the people you call hypocrites really are and that they make up a sizable influence above others and are not a vocal minority.

      "Even if you know it's fake, you're subconsciously developing that fake violence into your view of real violence." No you don't.

      "Look at how people react to violence on the news, or violence "in theory", and you'll see a marked difference with how people respond to violence that's actually happening in front of them, or happened to someone they know." That's because people are distant from the violence. Fictional violence is as far as you can get and it's victims are, not real, usually don't have any characteristics of humanity (literally and figuratively) and have no consequence in real life. Violence on the news does the same because the victims and perpetrators usually have nothing to do with the people viewing it.

      "(on rape) That's because the act itself is disgusting, and TAKING PLEASURE IN THE SUFFERING OF OTHERS is disgusting" Your right, but conflict or fight scenes in media don't involve sadism most of the time. The time it takes for a mook getting shot is far less than someone being forced upon and usually it's more about stopping a threat than watching people suffering. That's why action movies provoke the emotion of triumph and badassery over the emotion of horror that torture does in films. Even when heroes torture someone for interrogation it's still portrayed as uncomfortable.

      "Also, if you're so certain that this cartoonish, exaggerated violence has nothing to do with real violence...why do you want it so much?" Did I say that I do? I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I'm trying to find out where you draw the line and how you can say people can't disconcern reality from fiction.

      'You absolutely want pretend murder in your games, but you don't want to ask WHY you want pretend murder in your game." It's not killing, instead it's beating challenges. NPCs whether they hurt you or give you quests the ideas is to accomplish the task.





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    7. By the way, is there any specific type of violence in media your referring to or just violence in general. There is a difference between the "shoots hundreds of enemies" fights like Call of Duty and Kill Bill and the one on one fights with enemies that have character like Jojo's.

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    8. >you mean like self defense?

      Yes, like "self defense", quote unquote. As in, the justification that cops (or vigilantes) tend to give when explaining why they shot an unarmed child. The kind of justification that creates a paranoid "shoot first" mentality because you can't trust people of a certain group. As in, a mindset that has very clear real-world ramifications. That's self-defense, and most people are okay with it.

      >conflict or fight scenes in media don't involve sadism most of the time

      There's a reason action games are differentiated from survival-horror games, and that reason is "action is about enjoying it". "Killing people" is directly equated with "fun". You kill people in stylish, badass ways. Don't try to tell me that it's purely utilitarian and those characters are "just doing what they have to do to survive". It's obviously not the case.

      >It's not killing, instead it's beating challenges.

      And there's the rub. A HUMAN BEING is reduced to an OBSTACLE. Not an interactive consciousness with its own mindset and values, but an object to be destroyed because it is in the way. You could call that...objectification. In the same way that women are objectified sexually, "hostiles" are objectified violently. They are dehumanized for the express purpose of player gratification. They are permanently hostile because if they surrendered or fled it would make the player feel bad. That's it.

      Mechanically, it would be the exact same game if the characters were replaced with robots (a la Binary Domain), or some kind of zombie (a la Resident Evil 4/5/6). And it's not like the STORY needs waves of human beings throwing themselves at the protagonist, because those characters almost never factor into the story itself - they're chaff for gameplay purposes.

      The only reason killing exists in games is because players enjoy the idea of killing people. They enjoy the idea of having an enemy to HATE - not just "defeat" or "overcome", but actively DESPISE. You can't hate a robot or a zombie; there's no intelligence in it. But you can hate a person, and that's why games are about killing people so often.

      > There is a difference between the "shoots hundreds of enemies" fights like Call of Duty and Kill Bill and the one on one fights with enemies that have character like Jojo's.

      Why on earth would you chose Jojo's as your example? I mean, half the enemies in that series are vampires, an eighth end up becoming protagonists, and the remaining 3/4ths aren't even necessarily killed (and/or are brainwashed or whatever else). It's not really useful to a discussion about killing human beings in media.

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    9. "That's self-defense, and most people are okay with it."

      Those examples you listed aren't self defense. if you have to lie about it or be on the offensive can it really be defense?

      Honestly though it sounds more like you have a problem with killing fictional character rather than violence in general. I actually can't argue against the idea of killing off faceless mooks being objectifying because I actually kinda agree with you.
      I thought you were talking about violence in general.

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    10. >"Those examples you listed aren't self defense."

      The hair-trigger response occurs due to a fear for the individual's life. The fear exists because the individual EXPECTS that members of a certain group are innately dangerous, hostile, unreasonable, etc. The lies generally come afterwards.

      Games, of course, clean this up by making it so that all enemies truly ARE unreasonable, and it is very rare to shoot a surrendering or non-hostile enemy by mistake. Subversions to this exist in the cases of games like SWAT 4, which require you to offer enemies a chance to surrender before using lethal force, or in the case of games like Heavy Rain, which deal with combat as a multi-layered encounter that also uses dialogue and subterfuge.

      ...well, until Shelby's attack on the mansion, which is just goofy no matter how you cut it.

      >Honestly though it sounds more like you have a problem with killing fictional character rather than violence in general.

      I'm okay with "competitive" setups (i.e. fighting-as-sport, like UFC) and I'm okay with brawlers. Someone can get punched and learn something from it; they can't learn anything from being killed. Of course, there's still problems with the fetishization of violence in general, but at least those cases aren't about murdering people.

      Also, as implied by earlier posts, I'm okay with destroying non-sentients, i.e. robots, monsters, zombies, demons, etc. Things that aren't supposed to be able to make higher-level decisions and/or don't possess a consciousness.

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  6. "Imagine the kind of person who sits clutching a gun in their house, paranoid about "thugs" breaking in and murdering their family. That's easy enough to imagine, right? It's a concrete, well-established bloc in American politics, after all."

    No, it's a caricature. Usually one trotted out to downplay a legitimate fear of crime, or to make people who own guns look paranoid and dangerous in order to induce fear.

    I hope you can appreciate the irony.

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    1. You havin' a little trouble with that comment system, Fuck Off?

      Anyways, I *can* appreciate the irony, as it happens - just not the irony you were hoping to indicate. I appreciate the irony of a person responding to accusations of paranoia by saying "uh no actually they ARE out to get me, and also THE ESTABLISHMENT is trying to make me look crazy". That's pretty ironic. Have you ever considered the fact that you're dumb, and also wrong? Please take that possibility into account. I hope you can appreciate that earnest, common-sense advice.

      Hearts,
      J.Shea

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    2. "You havin' a little trouble with that comment system, Fuck Off"

      I've changed it to something less insulting. Perhaps I shouldn't have.

      "uh no actually they ARE out to get me, and also THE ESTABLISHMENT is trying to make me look crazy"

      You're quoting something I never said; a straw man to prop up another straw man. Just for the record, I've never owned a gun in my life, so how this relates to me I'm not entirely sure. What establishment are you talking about, by the way? The media? Government? (Which government? Which media?) Who's this "they"? And are you seriously denying that weapon prohibition (or any other kind for that matter) isn't at least partially motivated by fear?

      No doubt there are a tiny minority of people who are convinced the government is out to get them, just like there are a tiny minority of inner-city gangster-rapping drug dealers and feminists who want to "kill all men", but these are still caricatures, all used for similar reasons.

      "Have you ever considered the fact that you're dumb, and also wrong?"

      When I see evidence that my arguments are actually wrong, I'll gladly take your earnest advice. Until then, no.

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    3. >I've changed it to something less insulting.

      You do realize you're just coming off as a moron no matter what, right? Because of lines like this:

      >What establishment are you talking about, by the way?

      >Who's this "they"?

      Where it's really clear that YOU need to answer that question first:

      >Usually one trotted out to downplay a legitimate fear of crime, or to make people who own guns look paranoid and dangerous in order to induce fear

      See? Pretty much every criticism in this last post of yours is basically an indirect criticism of YOUR OWN ORIGINAL POST. You criticize me for providing "no evidence that [your] arguments are actually wrong", but felt unconcerned by the fact that YOU YOURSELF didn't provide any. You see how this works? You basically rolled into my comments section going NUH UH ACTUALLY GUN OWNERS ARE TOTALLY OPPRESSED. And then after this, you complained that (1) I thought you were sympathetic to gun owners, (2) I didn't provide evidence, and (3) my wording was vague, all of which are rooted firmly in your own post.

      Realtalk: what are you trying to accomplish here? Because if anything you've only given me more proof that the defense of gun culture is rooted in paranoid ignorant shitheads unable to realize how fucking crazy they are. So, like, congrats on that one, champ.

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    4. >You do realize you're just coming off as a moron no matter what, right?

      Get over yourself. No one with any modicum of intelligence - at least no one who wanted to be taken seriously - would have written anything like this:

      >"Paranoia" is the foundation of the Republican party. If we don't maintain order, everything's going to fall apart.

      Leaving aside the phoniness of the whole US partisan political circus (do you seriously buy into that? It would certainly explain a lot.) I've just looked up the origins of the US Republican party and it was apparently founded by anti-slavery activists. I'm not sure how exactly one supports abolition out of paranoia, but then again, I'm not American. And "If we don't maintain order, everything's going to fall apart." is pretty much the justification of every government that has ever existed.

      >>Usually one trotted out to downplay a legitimate fear of crime, or to make people who own guns look paranoid and dangerous in order to induce fear
      >See? Pretty much every criticism in this last post of yours is basically an indirect criticism of YOUR OWN ORIGINAL POST.

      No. Not at all. You began by creating a caricature, claiming it represented an *actual bloc* and I responded by pointing it out for what it was. The only reason people draw caricatures like that is to make groups they don’t like easier to attack. Considering that elsewhere in the article you’re mewling about “dehumanisation”, this adds another layer of irony to the argument.

      >You criticize me for providing "no evidence that [your] arguments are actually wrong" but felt unconcerned by the fact that YOU YOURSELF didn't provide any.

      I'm not required to, Ace. The onus of proof is on you to prove that this "bloc" exists. It's not up to me to prove it doesn't.

      >You see how this works? You basically rolled into my comments section going NUH UH ACTUALLY GUN OWNERS ARE TOTALLY OPPRESSED.

      No I basically didn't do that at all. I never mentioned anyone being oppressed. This is just another straw man.

      >And then after this, you complained that (1) I thought you were sympathetic to gun owners,

      It doesn't make any difference if I am. I never said or implied that "gun owners are totally oppressed". The only one who's saying that is you. Again, the only purpose of such a caricature is to paint gun owners as paranoid and dangerous in order to make them easier to attack.

      >Because if anything you've only given me more proof that the defense of gun culture is rooted in paranoid ignorant shitheads unable to realize how fucking crazy they are.

      You’ve created a caricature and then used someone objecting to it as proof that the caricature is true. Nice circular reasoning, there. Anyway, enough of this "paranoia" crap. Some people don't want others owning guns, watching certain movies, listening to certain music, using certain drugs or worshipping certain gods. Some of those people are willing to create moral panics in order to stop people from doing it. Pointing this out isn’t evidence of paranoia. Creating the panic in the first place probably is.

      And I don't recall offering any defence of "gun culture", whatever the hell it is. I'm guessing another collective hallucination like "rape culture"?

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    5. Holy shit, you wrote all that and fucked it up in your VERY FIRST POINT:

      >I've just looked up the origins of the US Republican party and it was apparently founded by anti-slavery activists.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rich-rubino/democratic-and-republican-ideologies_b_3432210.html

      I didn't read after that because, holy shit, how do you not know that, and if you don't know that, WHY WOULD YOU TRY TO DEFEND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

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  7. Thank goodness you were able to find that one point that let you dismiss everything else he had to say without reading or adressing it

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    1. Yeah, it's pretty convenient, "Paul", that a person came into a discussion about the American Two-Party System without a basic understanding of where those two parties originated, what they stand for, and what values they represent in American culture. It made it incredibly easy to point out that he was essentially ignorant of every fundamental concept that he was attempting to discuss.

      I mean, seriously, the rest of his post was basically just admitting his ignorance and the fact that he's not an American, and thus has no idea what American gun culture is like. How exactly am I supposed to address this? The dude has provided zero evidence, zero articles, zero support for his claims, and the most effort he's put into this has been denying that he supports gun owners. What, exactly, do you expect to happen, "Paul"? At what point does a person's obvious, self-admitted ignorance allow me to say "hey, idiot, maybe stop talking about things you admit you don't know about"?

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    2. I mean let's be frank here, Paul: the dude denied the existence of "gun culture", which is something so firmly entrenched in American Politics that it's like denying the existence of the Tea Party, or denying the existence of the Abortion debate. And then he was like "it's probably not real, just like Rape Culture", which is basically a signal flare indicating that the dude is a huge ignorant piece of shit.

      But just in case he's reading, and not just sulking somewhere like an idiot:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_culture_in_the_United_States

      http://www.salon.com/2015/04/06/a_gun_lover_sees_the_evils_of_gun_culture_white_supremacists_obama_haters_and_me/

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/15/what-makes-americas-gun-culture-totally-unique-in-the-world-as-demonstrated-in-four-charts/

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/12/26/commentary/world-commentary/americas-gun-culture-and-the-manly-virtues/

      These are just grabs of the first results from Google but I'm pretty sure they establish that "gun culture" is a concept that's acknowledged by a pretty broad variety of establishments and not just "a phrase I made up just right now".

      So, again, I ask you: how ignorant does a person have to be before I can just ignore their flailing attempts at "arguments"?

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  8. "Who the hell cares for bank heists except conservatives and people looking to "be a hero"? That's right, nobody!"

    What about the people running the bank, and the people who store their money under their bank accounts? ;)

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    1. People who store their money in banks are insured in most countries. I suppose it could be problematic if you were in Greece or something but most bank robbery movies take place in America. In fact, many of them have the robbers *point out* that the money is insured and nobody has any reason to get involved.

      As for the people running the bank: I'm pretty sure they're already conservatives.

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  9. http://boingboing.net/2015/09/24/undertale-game.html

    What do you think of this game? It's few and far between but hey they made a game following close to your parameters.

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    1. I like Undertale for the most part. I think it's kind of weird that the enemies attack no matter what (until you release them) but, you know, a game's a game. For the most part I appreciate the message.

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