Mini flag-swinging no doubt is the best finger exercise.
I’ve already written about how no, we don’t need to talk about politics. Because we evidently don’t. But if we do… couldn’t we be smarter about it? Like limiting the talking about politics to fiction that actually deals with politics or political themes at least?
Have you ever had the misfortune of being in an online discussion that somehow got dragged into the realm of politics and upon pointing out that we’re not talking about politics here, you got to hear something like “all art is political”?
Yeah. That. That is bullshit.
I’m not sure when that kind of phrase has managed to establish itself but we need to get rid of it because it’s a thoughtless non-argument meant to kill any form of productive exchange.
And, let’s just face it for starters: No, not all art is political. And that is very much obvious upon looking at… most of it, really.
But where does this line of thinking even come from? Well, see, some people like to claim that all art is political. Reason being that media is made by people and people are political. Because art and such reflects the artist. Therefore, all media is political.
This has for some reason been spread as an all-known gospel of truth of sorts, a rule of thumb even. But quite frankly, that line of reasoning is plain and utter rubbish.
First of all, not all people are political. There are plenty of people who aren’t. Look around you, they exist. Outside of your tunnel vision, sure, but that doesn’t make them less real. Just as some people care about football and others don’t, some people care about politics and others… well, don’t. For one, kids don’t. Lots of teenagers don’t. Heck, even several adults don’t. Ooga Booga from Bumfuck Island killing rattlesnacks and eating them in his self-made shack doesn’t either. He doesn’t even know politics exist. Most of the aforementioned probably do not make art or media – but some of them do. So I don’t see how their art would be political in the first place.
Also, just because a person does do or create something doesn’t mean an attribute of that person automatically carries over to the creation or actitivity at hand. So Nerd A makes games and he is also political as most people are. Does that mean his games are political? Does that mean the way he eats food is political? Does that mean the literal excrement he unleashes upon earth is political? There are also many people with religious beliefs. So when they go to Walmart, do they go to Walmart with a religious connotation to it in the act of going? Does someone who likes the color blue reflect that in all he does? Yeah, no. Do my fetishes reflect in all of my tweets? Alright, maybe they do but I can assure you, I am the weird one here, not the average.
The baseline here seems to be “Authors have views, therefore anything they touch is political”. Unless, you know, it’s not reflected within their works. I used to make my own pizza back in the days. And anyone who has ever laid his eyes on that abomination could tell it looked like a mess. But no, just because it looked like Ground Zero does not mean it’s a critique of 9/11.
So just because your sorry political ass likes to take a dump on everything within its shit-flinging reach doesn’t mean the media you consume is political. No, Terra Formars isn’t racist because giant cockroaches are black. No, Shield Hero is not about the #metoo movement and slavery in the age of Trump. And I don’t think Eurotruck Simulator is political because why would it be. And if you’re gonna pull some “CROSSING BORDERS IN A UNION OF COUNTRIES” drivel now I suggest you throw yourself in front of an actual truck. Maybe you’ll get isekai-ed to America or something. Which you might belong to anyway. The entire politicizing absolutely everything process is more of an American thing. And sadly, it has started to infect the rest of the world with its stupidity because if there’s one thing Americans are great at, it’s dragging everyone down alongside them.
I mean, with statements like “The universe is political!”, things do get out of hand. No, you just have an ego the size of the universe, that’s all. It’s called “I think, therefore I am.”, not “I think, therefore I am politics.” I do suspect that a lot of the folks who make the above-mentioned statement are also among the constantly expanding type however… hmmm…
Anyway, people who claim that everything is political usually don’t have much to say but just want to pat themselves on their back for “being socially aware”. It makes them feel like they’ve accomplished something even though they didn’t do anything at all. These are the same kind of folks who imagine throwing Harry Potter books at the police will make them screech “Be careful, they have wisdom on their side!” and run away. Oh, wait, I forgot, Harry Potter is no longer acceptable for that. As it stands, however, you will still not be taken seriously at the dinner table and isn’t this what this is all about?
Yeah, there is political media no doubt. And media with political undertones or themes. Hoshiai no Sora is political. The gay porn some fujo chick made, however, probably is not.
Granted, you can take Call of Duty’s “KILL THE RUSSIANS, KILL THE RUSSIANS” and say that’s political and I’d agree with you. Especially if it misrepresents history. War propaganda in disguise? Sure, why not! We do agree on something here! Political ideas can shine through artistic themes and plots even when there’s no suit-wearing government people involved, nobody denies this. But that Winnieh the Pooh game? Not political. Besides, I don’t get where this need to have your politics reflected in this rat race of identifying with media so you can feel special, acknowledged and privileged for once comes from to begin with – most of the politics in games and media is oftentimes decided by company committees anyway. It’s business suits handing you a mirror that best reflects your narcissism in your eyes so you will buy their product.
Also, to those self-obsessed twats who think the entire life revolves around their worldviews: “Political” and political attributes have pretty much become a marketing term, especially so with gaming. I mean, technically, that’s been done for a long time now with companies doing the rainbow color thing (and absolutely nothing actually consequential) now that LGBT is cool and hip because it costs them nothing but brings in cash (oh, they don’t do it for their Arabian branches tho, I sure do wonder why!) but I feel like it was around 2014 or so when more and more developers were using progressive points as a sales tactic, something that then created a backlash and nowadays you have Ubisoft stating “By the way, there will be no politics in our next game” and being celebrated/torn to shreds for it, especially when picking a setting that is political. Politics or no politics in AAA games as an advertisement factor is lip service to your ego depending on which stance you have.
With that said, “political” is a descriptive term and it doesn’t imply any quality to begin with. It doesn’t matter whether or not your new Ubisoft game is political. It will be creatively bankrupt either way. Execution is key. Heck, 86 is a political anime. It tells us that fascism is bad. That’s also about all it told us with its pedestrian “we live in a society” prattling so I’d rather call that a flaw than a strength.
Will this ever stop those weak of mind to overanalyze whatever media they can get their claws on? Of course not. The writers of Kotaku and tumblr essayists will never refrain from such inspiring critical thinking as “Why does Super Mario walk to the right… is he a rightist? Come to think of it, all the enemies in these games usually head towards the left… hm.” Really makes you think, eh?
And this isn’t to say that politics shouldn’t exist in media. I like politics in my media if it’s handled well. The Wire is deeply political. And there is a lot in terms of what’s wrong with laws regarding Japanese hospitals in Black Jack ni Yoroshiku. You also can’t watch Chernobyl without shaking your head at the political decisions made there. And Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku uses a lot of sociopolitical subtext and here’s what I had to write about it:
Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku Limited is many things. A magical girl story. An urban bloodbath. A worker’s plight. But it is also a story of staying true to your ideals in these unforgiving times of ours. And isn’t that at the end of the day what being a magical girl is all about?
So hey, there’s tons of cool stuff out there. Why not engage with that one instead of insisting that what isn’t political is?
So really, I’m sorry you constantly feel the need to validate your existence through cartoons or gaming from the other side of the planet. That must be terrible. The desperate attempt to lift something to what you perceive to be a higher plane by forcefully injecting politics into it so you can be taken seriously and point at how things are really important. All these Yucks, Oofs, Ewws, Ughs and Yikes to be had in the process. Because for when rational thought and proper articulation fail, the toddler noises clamoring for attention must take over.
Good for me and bad for you however that your verbal diarrhea is just that – noise.