You may by now have noticed that I’m often very slow to jump on bandwagons and crusades and campaigns of outrage that go careening by us all at Twitter-enhanced speeds. There’s no shortage of the things, so it doesn’t really matter which side (of whatever controversy or cultural struggle) you are on; you can find a bandwagon to fit your taste without any trouble at all, and if you’re internet-plugged-in, plenty of them will find you. I’m not immune to that, but even when the militant controversies are relevant to my interests and to ErosBlog topics-of-interest, I often tend to tune them out.

Why? Well, sometimes it’s because I’m just out of the loop and don’t learn about them until they are all played out already. But often, I’m uncomfortable with the moral subtext of these things, or with the calls to action that accompany them. You can’t participate in an internet conversation of outrage and condemnation and angry social criticism without treading perilously close to the dreaded tropes of Something Must Be Done, There Ought To Be A Law, No Right-Thinking Person Would Associate Themselves With Doings Of That Sort, and Nobody Should View Or Enjoy Morally-Bankrupt Things Like That.

I can’t bear to stand in any of those camps with my voice raised. It’s one thing for me to avert my electronic gaze from an offensive thing, but quite another for me to shout with the mob of voices clamoring for somebody’s silencing. And there’s never been a good internet bandwagon from which the noise of that particular hue and cry was inaudible.

Which is why I don’t mind saying, I found considerable resonance within myself with the following:

The swooning and fainting and so forth about this stuff, the fever, is comical in its preening intensity. There is clearly some kind of competition to determine who is the most scandalized. It reminds me of church, frankly; I don’t do church, either. I have no common cause with perpetually shocked viziers of moral pageantry. Indeed, I think it is fair to say that I am their enemy.

The answer is always more art; the corollary to that is the answer is never less art. If you start to think that less art is the answer, start over. That’s not the side you want to be on. The problem isn’t that people create or enjoy offensive work. The problem is that so many people believe that culture is something other people create, the sole domain of some anonymized other, so they never put their hat in the ring. That even with a computer in your pocket connected to an instantaneous global network, no-one can hear you. When you believe that, really believe it, the devil dances in hell.

You could show me that on a sign carried by a random stranger, and I’d say “Yeah, I’m with that guy.” (And then I’d inevitably be humiliated when he tried to sell you and me some Lyndon LaRouche literature or a wearable Faraday cage or a Birther book.)

So who is “that guy”, this time? Turns out it’s Jerry Holkins, also know as “that Penny Arcade guy, Tycho, who pissed off a lot of people a few years ago over the internet dickwolves dickishness.” The big blockquote is from the blog post (as opposed to the webcomic) where he’s currently weighing in about a controversial video game trailer.

Yeah, you did read that correctly. There’s a culture-fight going on about the trailer for a videogame, yup. The trailer is said to feature battle nuns who die in ugly fashion. Google “rape culture hitman” (or just contemplate those search terms for a moment) if you want the flavor of the debate. Alternatively, if you’re feeling nostalgic, google “grand theft auto prostitutes”. Me? I stayed out of the GTA thing and I’m staying out of this one. Y’all have fun. And don’t forget to make more art.

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