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LONG BLOG

Thing this Old Man Doesn't Understand No. 3792: Twitch

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Alright so I have been on Twitch recently checking out footage for Bloodstained to see if it would run like shit or not on Switch.

(It does.)

This informed my decision, ultimately and unfortunately, to cancel my preorder, and buy Hollow Knight instead. Actually, it may have been a Godsend...I'll find out in a couple of weeks. But this was my first interaction with Twith in awhile apart from an incredibly brief stint of streaming when I got my PlayStation Waste Of Money...I mean, Camera, to try and stream some games before losing interest because I kept getting called a "fat fa**ot" in the chat. Not that I mind really, but I can get called that anywhere, and I don't need a forty dollar peripheral to do it, thank you very much.

Anyways, maybe it's because it was in my Google algorithm or something, but Twitch videos kept coming up in my feed. Alright whatever - I get the point of Twitch, sort of. I can understand wanting to see how a game plays, certainly. When Playtonic was getting everyone hype AF for Yooka-Laylee, they streamed some footage, and talked about the game. Very cool! I loved it, I watched half an hour for it, and it informed my decision to buy the game.

And yes, I like Yooka-Laylee. Yeah I know, it ain't no Mario Odyssey, but it's cute, and colorful, and the soundtrack is the bomb.

But one came up that was really specific, and it was of this guy named Destiny, and all about incest.

Um, incest...the game? New Game of Thrones game?

Of course, my curiosity got the better of me as it often unfortunately does, and I clicked it. I also did that thing I do where I skip about the first 1/8th of the video, expecting a long boring intro explaining the video before the video plays, because YouTube.

What I saw, and only watched a fraction of before my brain exploded, was about 4 hours of a man debating in circles about why incest is morally okay. Or...something, and his right-wing counterparts on the other side, and I am paraphrasing here, calling him a "fat fa**ot."

So this Destiny guy is a streamer who plays games, sometimes I guess, but mostly seems to debate right wing characters like Sargon, and one time JonTron, which eventually led to the controversy where JonTron's opinion got him removed from Yooka-Laylee as a voice actor. (Full circle!) Destiny's method is this:

1. Use rational, logical arguments to deconstruct a concept down to it's bare essentials.

2. Conclude that there is no objective standard for truth, morality, or anything, and that just about anything, including incest, can therefore be morally justified.

3. Be yelled at by angry men who are bad at having an argument because this is incredibly frustrating and they don't understand basic principles and forms of debate.

4. Call everyone "my dude", swear and get visibly frustrated, and generally look sad and miserable through this entire procedure.

The thing that is so frustrating about watching this is that it's really hard to get an idea of what Destiny stands for if you are "green" to his debates. Based only on anecdote and accusations from his opponents, I am pretty sure he does not like Donald Trump. He does not like right wing people. He has a razor tongue and doesn't mind hurling hundreds of petty insults and curse words. 

That's about it.

I don't usually watch these kinds of things anymore. I used to listen to Sam Harris a lot, catch the odd Joe Rogan podcast here and there, but these personalities generally boil down to being super annoying, so I have kind of stopped. Twitch has apparently come a long way, because it's no longer necessarily about watching a narcisisstic asshole sit in front of a camera while people throw money at him. Now it's also about hearing him talk about politics while people throw money at him, but the core principle of "sit in front of a camera so people throw money at you" is still there.

The best Twitch streamer, objectively, is AlaraShade, whos lives on a farm and plays Diablo II and brandishes weapons. But these lesser, nobody streamers who don't live in the wilderness and play with goats and stuff (and therefore can never be trusted) are a strange breed.

I guess I don't understand the point of debating for nothing. Most productive debates are two people who believe in something particular amicably discussing a topic while a moderator carefully monitors their time and directs the conversation in productive ways. And sometimes I don't mind listening to these; they can be eye opening at times, or open you up to new ideas. They can also be occassionally productive in this current and vicious battle of left-right politics in helping people come to more generalized conclusions about big ideas, and try to find the most reasonable path for everyone. I personally have my convictions, and my wife and I don't agree, and sometimes we will engage in this sort of healthy conversation, and I will understand her a little better, and she will understand me a little better, even if we end up still mostly in disagreement about the subject at hand.

Destiny's Twtich battles end up with him making mocking facial expressions, eye rolls, visible sighs and head shakes, usually insulting his opponents before the debate even begins. And the people who chooses to debate are usually low-grade ax-grinders who immediately leap to character assasination, so in a way, who can blame him? But frankly the guy looks utterly miserable, and I have no idea what he believes in, and if I should also believe in it, because he spends so much of his time engaged in the logic loop that nothing ever actually gets discussed, decided, or agreed (or disagreed) upon.

As a parent, it worries me tremendously that this kind of crap is basically setting a new standard for what can be construed as "entertainment". On TV, you have very few actual "personalities" to get addicted too. In this medium, you can literally sit there and monitor someone Big Brother style, sometimes eight hours a day or more due to the immense difficulty of being partnered and monetized which pushes a lot of these people to put their entire lives on display if they want to gain any traction. 

It's hard to imagine what that does to the soul, and to the ego. I have met a couple of "big" streamers when I was working at a popular shop building machines for clients. Two, both of who will remain unnamed, both of who were incredibly snobbish and arrogant and demanding to the point of frustration for anyone who was unfortunate enough to deal with them. This personality cult can't be great for anyone involved, whether they are viewers, or the content creators themselves. 

I mean, take this all with a grain of salt - as I have said before, I am also someone who would prefer to live homeless on a beach if I didn't have family responsibilities. Being so immersed in this technology, I have come to distrust and dislike a great deal of it. I don't have social media accounts, I barely use a phone, I spend as much time outside hiking, fishing, shooting as possible so that I have the emotional energy to sit in front of a computer long enough to do my job, and yeah, here and there, sneak in some gaming. So I am going to be in the extreme minority when expressing that as a wierdo old man who would happily live in the woods, that this stuff seems so thoroughly toxic and soul-ruptering to me.

When I had finished with my Destiny curiosity, a few odd hours of looking through videos and Wiki articles to try to decipher just wtf was going on, I felt kind of bad. I had a dirty, noisy feeling, like I had just filled myself with some kind of psychological junk food, that I had to listen to some nice music or get away from the computer to be "clean" again, but mostly, I imagined what it would be like to be in the shoes of a guy whose every move was on display constantly, and who was basically forced by an algorithm to argue and yell and be yelled at. I skipped to the end of one of those four hour stints, and he was visibly physically and emotionally tired - rubbing his eyes, squirming in his seat. He looked exhausted.

Destiny - I didn't like you at first, but it feels like your heart is in the right place. I don't quite get what you are about, but I might get it more than some of your "enemies", even if some of my own beliefs or ideas are closer to theirs than yours. But if you are reading this - take care of yourself, my dude. All this anger and yelling has to take its toll eventually. That goes for everyone on the internet. Maybe I am just tired of it all which is why I have chosen to recede so much, even if I still write and share it in some limited capacity. It definitely has its fun, but sometimes its depressing - like when watching a man debate in favor of bestiality and incest, not because he wants to do either, but just to play devil's advocate and "win".

I hope that has its own reward, because it sure isn't apparent exactly what that is. At least I have finally found something on Twitch more confusing to me than watching a person play a game already was.

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About Joel Petersonone of us since 8:14 AM on 11.07.2013

I write the things other people don't write, with liberal fart jokes thrown in for good measure. I like old games, old computers, old consoles, and old pizza.


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