Excuse me but The Walking Dead can politely suck my humanist nuts

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness
~ The Dalai Lama

Consider something ugly and rotten in the state of television – that Season 7, Episode 1 of The Walking Dead “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be Watching This Anymore” somehow perfectly summarizes the underlying misanthropic ideology at work in the show

The over-ripe smell of anti-humanism seemed to be growing particularly strong in the third episode of Season 5, “Four Walls and a Roof” where a bunch of fellow survivalists get hacked to death

Sure, within the largely unbelievable narrative ‘logic’ of the show, there’s “Yet another hard time to make tough manly decisions and get all existentially bunched up & silently stoic about it later” – and then there’s “Not-so-secretly delighting in the violence of Power

Imagine it’s as though the show basically beats viewers heads nonstop with the laughable (unspoken) idea that Rick and the gang are (somehow remotely) ‘good at heart’ – that beneath those tough, multiple-murderous exteriors lay righteous souls and consciences pure as the bone of a zombie’s gleaming skull under a full September moon

We are repeatedly told (indirectly, by implication) that these are people in and under a permanent state of extreme apocalyptic duress – that yes, they ‘kill’ –  hack, slay, burn alive, etc. – but (all together now) “Only-because-they-have-to

What feels more scary is not the characters themselves but the poor and lost  uncritically and readily identifying with them – “Yeah, he he basically does what I would in such a situation.. he seems a nice guy, you know, inside – beneath the guts of his last victim currently flopping across his blandly handsome, existentially-pained face” – all the while conveniently forgetting that it’s not what you vaguely imagine you are inside, but “relationship”: how you actively treat people from moment to moment, right here and now (blue faced undead outside the window looking in or not)

“Duh,” some say – “That’s the whole point  – the show is a sublime examination of apocalyptic morality in the face of a godless universe.. oh, right.” It seems The Walking Dead’s treatment of ‘how-best-to-treat-unpleasant-people’ has the faint, but clearly detectable whiff of Christian piousness – watch as the chosen smite down the wicked: “Kill everything that ain’t Us n’ Ours and let angelic Rick sort ’em out!”

Thing is, “Weeding out the non-hackers not ‘fit’ for our brave new world” is an ironic self-fulfilling prophecy, since the only creatures who would exist in such a terrible place would be psychotic bullies – not sane, pleasant people flatly unwilling to chop up random others at will, simply for the sake of their own skin – their own false sense of their divine right to life (what, exist as nothing more than some ‘cool killer’? Even if you’re cool, you’re still a tool)

Call nonsense on all that right now; Rick and his wandering gang of pleasant looking sociopaths do not automatically deserve their lives; they all suffer (willingly, it seems) from “Survival Sickness” and are obviously prepared to do whatever it takes to remain hollow souls armed to the teeth with self-justifying myths about ‘how human beings are’; people exist, only because of the kindness of other people. To be a human is to be humane – and passing that test is simple; immediately drop the gore stained, barb-wired club in your permanently clenched fist

Not only does this show paint a largely false picture about humanity for the sake of ratings and ever swelling profit margins of the few, its thoroughly miserable as all-heck; who needs such sickly cheerlessness in their lives? Let’s all stop pretending to be desperately entertained by the site of Glenn’s bloody eye bulging out of his deformed head for a moment, and instead consider an infinity of infinitely more positive options to spend our time. With others. Indeed, it seems many former viewers with discerning gut instincts have picked a fine time to leave you, stinky undead Lucille

Here’s to peace, love, rainbows and healthy balls
~ Robert What

On artful walking simulators and other Awkward Dimensions redux

Awkward Dimensions Redux is a strange, surreal game based entirely on the nonsensical dreams of one indie developer. It’s a perplexing scattering of ideas that defy logic and comprehension. Watch our five-minute playthrough and see if you can figure out what the hell is going on
~ Colin Campbell, Polygon

The following playspace scenario seems unsure of what (if anything) to say and how to say it

Consider a (deadpan) hilariously-standard Games Industry review of a distinctly non-standard notgame via developer Steven Harmon somehow still perfectly encapsulates the glaring psychological void between individualistic, idiosyncratic art and its common mass (media) perceptions

Ironically awkward and hesitant, one gets the impression poor Colin is perfectly performing the cliched impression he has no idea how to approach such a digital playspace – as though over a century of art theory and critique don’t exist; as though ‘having no idea what to say when facing such ‘arty games’ is the default, correct, normalized cultural stance. Here Colin – despite trying to understand, acts (badly) – as though

Player X: “What the hell is ‘an Arty Game’ anyway?”

While generally well meaning, Colin’s stumbling, bumbling review – as though experiences like this can be reviewed in a standard Games Culture Industry way – comes over like a dad who’s son has suddenly jumped out of the abstraction closet and says he wants to go to art school – instead of (say) pursue a solid career in what the mighty Jim Sterling calls ‘Garme Jurnalism’

Player Y: “What the hell is Game Journalism anyway?”

Thing is, as well as inherently failing standard games industry metrics for what makes a “Good Game”, Awkward Dimensions Redux does also strictly ‘fail’ as (say) a “Virtual Art Experience” – not that “Fail / Win States” even really exist or that such digital art aggressively ‘competes’ with anything else

Not that it doesn’t have the right to exist, as Players appear to suggest, but consider how its unthinking holy shoe-horn addition of “Interactivity” somehow dooms it – despite its existing (limited) artistic merit

Player Z: “You might as well watch a walkthrough video of it on Youtube”

For mainstream games culture however, art still appears as though out of nowhere, a large, luminous and terrifying train threatening to jump through the screen and run them over with its apparently overwhelming ideas