Politically Correct

“Politically Correct” is a funny term. Once upon a time it stood for something. It suggested liberals (it’s always liberals) who went to such great lengths to follow the law and avoid discrimination that they sucked the joy out of everyday activities or fired people for mostly innocuous acts. A teacher mentions God in class and is fired. A company forbids its employees from wishing anyone a “Merry Christmas.” Things like that.

But, the time for PC to mean anything has come and gone. PC has become a strawman argument made by straight, white, middle class men who believe freedom of speech means freedom from criticism. PC is a strawman used by mediocre comedians who believe their racist/sexist/homophobic shtick is innovative and avant-garde.

It’s always straight, white men who complain about these things, as if political correctness is somehow limiting their ability to express themselves. How dare people criticize tit and ass ogling spectacles like Dragon’s Crown. All this PC bullshut is destroying freedom of speech. Why do we need more women/minorities in games/movies/tv? All the PC bullshit is limiting creative freedom! “Rape culture!” What PC bullshit.

PC whiners are very, very outraged that anyone would think to criticize their precious movies/books/songs/games/TV shows for political or sociological reasons. In their mind, media should be criticized only for how enjoyable it is. Any mention of politics is PC bullshit ran astray. This is especially potent in the sphere of gaming where people are FINALLY talking about angency-less female characters looking like fucktoys (although the issue of agency in games is a whole other “what is art” kind of discussion) and (to a lesser degree) talking about how all the characters are white.

A common complaint goes something like this:

“Game developers need to feel free to explore these issues if it fits their games story, but should in no way have to worry about political backlash because they didn’t have a protagonist that was a minority or enough non-sexualized women in their games. They should be able to tell their stories how they want.


Often, the commenter will start with claims that he or she is not in fact sexist/racist/transphobic. He (usually a he, but let’s be fair- women can be just as sexist and misogynist as men) points out a few examples so extreme he’d have to be blind not to notice them (e.g. Dragon Age). But this commenter does not understand what freedom of speech means. He believes that media creation is an altruistic act, an inspired, creative act. He believes that his precious media is motivated by the desire to make awesome art rather than the desire to make a buck. Writers, musicians, comedians, and game developers have never been able to tell their stories how they want. They always answer to someone whether it is their bosses or their customers. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of criticism. You can say you hate Jews. I can say you’re a stupid fuckbag. I can protest your game. I can call for a boycott. The freedom to assemble is, in fact, part of freedom of speech. It is not censorship. It is not PC bullshit. It is me, exercising MY freedom of speech. It does not, in fact, limit your freedom of speech.

You can’t have it both ways. If media is protected by freedom of speech, criticism of media is protected by freedom of speech. Trying to shut down this criticism is EXACTLY THE THING PC whiners are whining about. 

It’s funny, because the same people will complain if filmmakers cast a minority in a white role or if game developers squeeze i Ugh! Why are these bastards forcing their PC bullshit on me.n a homosexual romance subplot.

I don’t mean to pick on gamers. This was just the most illustrative comment I found in my google searching. Gamers occupy a large terrain on the net. Their medium is younger and, on average, less mature than the others I listed. They tend to be the most vocal whiners since games are undergoing A TON of criticism for favoring straight, white dudes.

Plenty of movie fans and screenwriters do this shit too.

As fans, we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of limiting discussion. We need to vote with our dollars and refuse to support media that strikes us as sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. As creators, we need to be aware of what we are creating. Sure, we can get away with a script where straight, white men save the world from German, Russian, or Muslim terrorists. But can doesn’t mean should. You can drink a 12 pack of mountain dew in an hour. But you certainly shouldn’t.


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