OPINION: Can’t We Criticise The Things I Enjoy, But Not So Much That I Feel Bad Or Have To Change In Any Way?

Everybody has the right to an opinion, and doubly so if you happen to have a website.  And while it’s good and healthy to be able to use that right in order to criticise things, as we reach the end of 2019, it feels more and more like perhaps we are going too far – that we are crossing the very important line from “me feeling okay” to “me feeling slightly bad”. And surely we can’t have intended for me to process basic emotions?

Not a lot of people know this, but if I feel bad, I might have to change how I behave. Can you imagine it? Sure, “making changes” sounds good, even responsible, on paper, but here’s the thing: it’s kind of hard and I’m pretty comfortable right now. So when you think about it, it’s just one big slippery slope and I’m the one perched perilously at the top of it, while all of you “critics” get ready to give me a big and frankly unwarranted shove. That’s not what we, as gamers, fought for.

I like a lot of things, and if we’re being honest, I don’t have the time to examine why I like a lot of those things. And if I did, maybe I wouldn’t enjoy the experience! Maybe I would actually discover something that I didn’t like at all, or even something that made me angry – maybe even angry about myself! Awful. I’m getting upset just thinking about it.

So the question you have to ask is: why would I do what you’re suggesting, when I could simply keep doing what I’m doing instead and keep getting the positive reinforcement I crave? Don’t you sound like an idiot now, huh?

It’s not that I’m trying to censor anyone, and certainly I think it’s fine to criticise things! At least, I can conceptually imagine that there is value to someone, somewhere to be gained from that. I’m not an unreasonable person. All I ask is that we keep any criticism away from my niche and highly specialised interests, such as Star Wars, or Batman, or really pop culture in general, or any of the various brands I wear and eat, or any political parties I have voted for. That’s all I’m saying.

I’m quite a progressive person normally – I always make sure to cheer extra hard when I see the cops at the pride parades, and I hope and pray that one day, with enough leaning in on my part, one of the eight men who control more than half of the world’s wealth will be a woman instead. So don’t tell me about “systemic injustice” or “inherent ethical issues”! I’m busy! I’m trying as hard as I can and if I learn that I have been doing it wrong I will be very upset!

If you really need to criticise the things I enjoy – and again I definitely won’t stop you, haha – surely we can find a way to keep any criticisms at an agreed surface level, like the taste, or the special effects quality, or the voice acting! Arguing over these things sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon, and will free up a lot of spare time because I won’t spend the rest of the evening thinking about it and wondering if I am doing something wrong (which I am not, thank you very much).

So, next year, if we can all just stop and think about our criticisms before we air them, that would be ideal. Will they make me feel bad? Will they require any change on my part? Will they cause me to instinctively react on an emotional level because I’m too close to the consumer choices I have made, and have conflated them with my own personal identity? 

Words have power, and like our favourite web-slinger says, “with great power comes great responsibility to obey authority figures and not question the system”. I think there’s something there for us all to ruminate over this holiday season, and I look forward to not hearing what you have to say about it. Women do not belong in Battlefield.

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