July 24, 2012

Every time we endure another comedian-related “€œcontroversy”€“€”two weeks ago it was The Daniel Tosh Rape Joke Experience“€”other comedians quickly rise to express their outrage:

“€œIsn”€™t a comedy club supposed to be the last place that’s still safe for free speech?”€

Then yet another comedy “€œcontroversy”€ pops up. And they ask the same question again.

Being a Canadian, I learned a while back that not only are comedy clubs unsafe for free speech, they can be Venus Flytraps of censorship. (You may recall how standup comic Guy Earle was fined $15,000 for heckling back at two lesbian hecklers at a Vancouver club.)

So I was convinced there was no place left on Earth where one could utter political incorrectitudes without arrest, firing, scolding, or banishment.

In a way, I was right”€”if by “€œon Earth”€ we mean what geeks used to call “€œmeat space.”€ But outlawed racial epithets and sexist remarks are downright encouraged in the oft-derided virtual world of video games.

I”€™ve never played a video game. Not even Pac-Man. After we started dating, my husband developed a “€œfirst-person shooter”€ obsession. He’s over it for now, thank God. Gaming widowhood is brutal.

“€œOutlawed racial epithets and sexist remarks are downright encouraged in the oft-derided virtual world of video games.”€

So I”€™m not predisposed to think highly of gamers. Like many conservatives, I”€™ve always written off video games as a sign of the end times. Not because they”€™re so violent, but because I get hives at the spectacle of tens of millions of men wasting their youth fiddling around with World of Warcraft while they neglect jobs, families, school, friends, and hygiene.

Then an irreverent article at Street Carnage (founded by Taki’s own Gavin McInnes) partially restored my hope for Western Civ’s future.

In the piece, M. David Enriquez explains that if you overhear your adolescent brother screaming homophobic slurs behind his bedroom door, he’s probably not really “€œa bigot”€ or even “€œinvolved in”€ something called “€œHipster Racism.”€

According to Enriquez, li”€™l bro is merely “€œparticipating in the politically incorrect Wild West known as Xbox Live,”€ a “€œden of political incorrectness, with enough forbidden words to make Oprah choke on Dr. Phil’s cock.”€

Further sleuthing reveals that video games are packed with villainous Chinamen (or, more accurately, “€œChina-pandas”€) and A-rabs. Racism is actually a “€œgameplay mechanic.”€ All those “€œstrong female characters”€ we hear so much about are mostly pushover sexbots. One guide to video-game design intones approvingly, “€œStereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.”€

I”€™m both saddened and heartened by all this. It’s reassuring to learn that deracinated young males have carved out a Title IX-free oasis where they can still interact like, well, young males. In our enervated, feminized, safety-first world, “€œvideo games are a simulacrum of masculine virtue: challenge, mastery, control.”€

However, this last bastion of burping, ball-scratching manhood is obviously ephemeral and ultimately impotent. Video games now gross more than the biggest blockbuster movies and command the passionate devotion of able-bodied youth across the globe. Yet the gaming “€œcommunity”€ wields no more political power or influence than a frat-house circle jerk.


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