October 10, 2012

B===D--- A new love story by Shakespeare

My own particular bullshit

A friend recently posted a note that he is dissatisfied with the current political state, and (perhaps jokingly) suggested he would run for president when he is eligible. I know and like this guy (to prerequisites for being friends) and I've thought along similar lines. Why, if America is in such dire straits that we can't get a budget passed without a political showdown, should I not throw my hat in the ring and magically make it all better?

I think this is like the idea people get in their heads when they can make their buddies laugh - "I should go into comedy". "I can talk about politics - maybe I should run for office." And with as much shit as I'll talk about both parties, maybe I should insert money where I've previously only put my mouth.

Hmmm. I guess that homoerotic innuendo fits. Anyone who talks such has tasted at least the tip of the glorious, glittery cock of corporate media politics. And that's the problem. If I went in, as I am now, putting aside the ludicrously low chance of winning (and complete lack of knowledge of how to win) I'd be like a liberal Tea Party. And that's not helpful (the motto of this podcast is, of course, "Fuck it and fuck you").

And if I could put aside my anger and recalcitrance, I'd at best end up like any other politician. I don't like the anti-gay-marriage laws in place, but they're coming down, albeit slowly. That, apparently, is how things work in a democracy. The people support the bad laws their representatives create, until they don't, and then the laws are overturned. As tempting as it would be to try and "fix" everything, even if it were possible (and it's not) it wouldn't be the will of the people. You can't make people be good or kind. At best, you can try to keep them from getting worse.

And that's assuming I didn't become corrupt. I know myself moderately well, and I, like many others, see myself as the hero, never the villain. It's usually not until after the fuck up that I realize I was a real douchetard. And even that level of introspection doesn't fly in politics. You've got to be right, someone else has to be wrong, or you won't stand a chance. And if you can't get elected, not only will your brilliant vision not come to pass, but some bastard's horrible plan will be implemented. So tell a little lie. Exaggerate a bit. It's all for the greater good (and hey, you can make a few bucks off of it).

This, then, is my own particular brand of bullshit; Famous Anus, of course. For all your baking needs.


Of course, I do think some of my friends are suited for helping run the country well. Here's a prototype campaign poster I thunk up:

He keeps his campaign promises.

I think I is broken

I've talked before about vidyergeeme morals and such, but I think I'm broken now. Spec Ops: the Line started my descent and now Dishonored has destroyed my ability to indiscriminately murder.

It's tough to rationalize.

In Bioshock you have to kill a fuckload of people, but it's cool, they're junkies. They attack you. The choices made are between being a cock and not being a cock (which doesn't actually make you a good person). This is true for most games: the player is thrust into a situation which requires a healthy pile of bodies to surmount.

Spec Ops is the same way, but it asserts that, because you, the player, chose to play the game at all you are fundamentally flawed as a human being. The protagonists have no choice but to follow player commands and the story, but the person behind them loaded that shit up. The story reflects this, as every decision to move forward, to pursue the mission, is met with harsher consequences. You are punished for playing the thing the developers made for you to play, and you deserve it.

Dishonored takes it a step further, or perhaps simply reinforces the terrible feeling I have from killing nameless minions. It's a stealth game, but it doesn't have to be. You can gleefully murder your way through everyday people doing their jobs. They stand in your way, but, as with Spec Ops, the decision to confront them this way makes you awful. I can't play without wandering who I've widowed (something the guards specifically mention), and early on the Outsider gives you a fucking heart that tells you secrets about people. That guy? He wanted to open a gift shop. She makes ten cents an hour and is paying off her father's debts. You're a monster.

There are videogames that don't require you to harm anyone, but they're typically kid games. Violence is a part of the medium, same as with books and movies. What's interesting (and the reason I feel like a bastard) is that you don't feel responsible when Gimli or Legolas decapitate an orc, when Dorothy smooshes the Wicked Witch (or goddam melts her sister). But in a videogame, regardless of what the story requires, the player makes more decisions in the narrative, even if the only decision is to play the character.