from Dark Dungeons ©1984 by Jack T. Chick LLC
(Because everyone knows when you die in the Matrix you die in real life.)
The following is an opinion piece with snippets of research.
If you don’t like what I have to say, well then I have no idea how the fuck you got here in the first place, but Cheers!. Carry on.
The selective memory of individuals with an ax to grind never ceases to amaze me. I have read a comic, a forum post, and heard stories and watched media portraying D&D (and by association other fantasy role-playing games) as agents of a real and dangerous spiritual force of destruction. Homicides and suicides have had certain people blaming role-playing games as the reason for violence or self-harm. Often Christianity and the Bible are stressed as antidotes to this spiritual threat. Which I personally find laughable.
Christianity, where various statues are prominently displayed depicting an emaciated man who was violently murdered by his peers by being attached to two wooden boards by nails through his flesh. The Bible, where whole cities of people are turned into pillars of salt and shrubberies on fire direct the path of an entire populace. Christianity, where people are mandated to eat the flesh and blood of a demigod whose spiritual essence has transferred into mundane bread and wine through the mystery of transubstantiation (if you’re Catholic). The Bible, where one of the most extolled preachers (Paul) wrote in his official letter to the faithful in Galatians 5:12 the ancient equivalent of the classic response to “You’re gay” (“NO YOU”) when he said “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” (aka cut their own dicks off, because they’re losers and posers.) And then only a few sentences later he says to treat your neighbor as yourself. (So I should circumcise myself? oh ok cool.)
What the fuck am I getting at? Am I saying religion is dumb? No. What I’m getting at is sometimes people are dumb. Religion is merely a tool that can be used either to build a solid foundation that stands through a tempest of life, or used to nail heretics to trees.
The Bible, Christianity, other sacred texts, and other world religions, all share something in common. Elements of the fantastical. Characters that are larger than life. Beings from beyond our normal waking world. Magic and Mystery. What’s the difference between the Jesus Fandom and The Tolkien Fandom? Mostly PR and the skin color of their protagonists. Jesus was from the Middle East (sorry folks) and Gandalf was from Middle Earth (anglo-saxon fantasyland). So in my opinion fundamentalists are just being the “Um…actually…” people that we all hate at the table. They’re rules lawyers. Nobody likes rules lawyers. They stop the flow of the game and everybody gets silently annoyed with them. Fundamentalists are people who are essentially saying “Your fun is wrong.” It’s dumb. It’s hurtful and ultimately it only drives sales, which is perhaps the funniest thing about it.
When D&D was faced with the Satanic Panic controversies sales skyrocketed as the forbidden fruit syndrome took affect and everyone wanted to check out this edgy new dangerous game.
When Pokemon came out I remember a story in the media that a preacher had ripped off the head of a Pickachu doll in front of a group of young children telling them to beware of the devil. Sales soared. Pokemon-Go did just fine these past two years.
When Harry Potter came out I remember stories that preachers were burning the books (guess what dummies you still had to fucking buy them so…). Man, that amusement park never would have got built without the help of angry fundamentalists. Oh and to make matters worse their evil charismatic cult leader J.K. Rowling is now a billionaire that lost her billionaire status by donating to charities. Likely to create a smokescreen against her homosexual wizard stories. Such a witch.
When I was in film school I learned about a very interesting concept about sociology and media that I still think about today. It’s called the “Magic Bullet or Hypodermic Needle model.” It basically says that a message is directly received and wholly accepted by an individual. For example people committing crimes in the video game Grand Theft Auto will directly affect those people so as to make them predisposed to commit similar crimes. Originally conceived of in the 1930’s it has mostly been debunked but for some reason it made a resurgence in the 90’s and now (apparently) again in 2018. The Wiki on The Magic Bullet model mentions contemporary “One-Step Flow” of media information:
More recently, the use of big data analytics to identify user preferences and to send tailor-made messages to individuals led back to the idea of a “one-step flow of communication”, which is in principle similar to the hypodermic needle model. The difference is that today’s massive databases allow for the mass customization of messages. So it is not one generic mass media message, but many individualized messages, coordinated by a massive algorithm.
Ok, that sounds fancy and correct, but what happens if we just don’t care? What happens if the algorithm fails? For example, I don’t drink. At all. Yet every fucking weekend Instagram tries to dish out alcohol ads at me and I just keep removing them and selecting “It’s not relevant.” Honestly I wish I could just have the option to not receive alcohol ads by selecting an option that says “I DON’T FUCKING DRINK ASSHOLES.”
Hollywood keeps cranking out “low-risk” movies. Movies with franchises or star power or whatever because its a safe bet for their finances. They want to make money so nobody is funding “risky” narratives. A lot of those movies I will never see. Or if I do seem them I won’t be able to stop making fun of how stupid the characters and the story is. Don’t even get me started about “Fifty Shades of Shitty Representation of Kinks.”
“So what was the point? Final summation? None.”