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Media literacy 102; The progress to Doomsday.


People taking a small possible thing in media as a slight against them and over-reacting again, say it isn't so.


(Source: The Guardian)

So there's been a bit of controversy, with people getting mad about even the suggestion in upcoming game The last Night that the dystopian future viewed, might be one where the concept of "progressivism" is taken to an extreme. I future shown suggesting that maybe said ideology has flaws that should be acknowledge. Yeh two different groups not looking too different now in their actions as they get mad at perceived slights against them.

(Source: Polygon)

So it's time once again for one of my overly condescending media literacy C-blogs because it very much seems at least some idiots on the internet need one. The idea that somehow things should be off limits for art to explore has always made me laugh considering the point of art is to be able to explore such things, to hold up a mirror back at our society along with also providing entertainment etc. It can even be said that entertainment helps take things seen as taboo to talk about and provides people with a method and way to talk about and engage in said discussions. Hell it's not as though art hasn't explore the idea of a "progressive" dystopian future already in multiple different ways.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World  depicts a future society where many of the social norms have broken down: collectivism has beaten out individualism as the features your share with others are deemed more important than you as an individual; Pregnancy is a thing of the past as all babies are now grown in "hatcheries" ; traditional family roles such as Mother and Father are seen as vulgar terms; The drug Soma is readily available and socially acceptable to take and also works as an anti-depressant and the idea of traditional relationships is one of the past and there's almost total sexual liberation including highly effective on demand government birth control.


In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron depicts a world where everyone is made equal. A world of total equalisation between people. Which sounds good until you realise this is done with the seeming base assumption that nature itself is part of the problem thus inequalities created by this have to be corrected by the handicapper general Diana Moon Glampers. Those deemed to have advantages caused by biology / nature are given "handicaps" to wear to balance them out with the rest of society: If you're Athletic, strong or move gracefully you're given a bag of weights strapped to you that weight you down; If you're considered beautiful you're forced to wear a mask; You're not allowed to speak in a pleasant voice and if you're considered intelligent you're forced to wear a handicapping radio that plays a variety of random sounds into your ear at random to disrupt your thought process.

In the tv Show Continuum the future dystopian world there is very much a technocratic future where the general populace have basic income; basic housing provided by the state and foods provided by the state. It also shows there's no energy crisis and the world runs and "green" energy generated from clean non polluting sources; there's also no meat anymore so all food is essentially vegetarian. However it also shows how there's no right to assembly anymore; how the corporate government structure is kept in check by keeping the populous essentially constantly in debt to the corporate government and dependent on them. Oh and also no democratic elections because you know people could vote in some-one deemed to not be in their benefit by the elites making the decisions.

 When some-one pointed out the possibility of The Last Night being based on a dystopia where progressivism has been taken to the extreme, I was actually more interested in it because of hearing that than merely seeing the dystopian aesthetic style. I was more interested because it's a dystopian style that's seen far less than the full on oppressive dictatorship or dystopian future based on technology turning against humanity.

People offended by the idea of someone using such concepts and themes in a video game are in my view little better than those offended at the idea having a character like Donald Trump being killed in a modern version of Julius Caesar. If people truly want games to grow up, it's not merely criticism of them from certain angles that must be accepted (that doesn't mean you can't criticise poorly done criticism) but them in turn criticising concepts and ideas in return and if it's poorly done then that in turn could be criticised. Merely deeming something bad or unacceptable for even the suggestion it's critical of an ideology is comedic but also should be concerning even to those who buy into said ideology. If your ideology relies upon shutting down any opposition via authoritarian methods to survive, rather than showing how the criticism are unfounded or even misrepresentative maybe the ideology itself is developing problems worthy of criticism.

Next C-blog: Likely my E3 roundup which is mostly the best of my Snark as judged by the internet.

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About Dwarvenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
Xbox LIVE:hobblejp
Steam ID:dwavenhobble


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