You like fun. That’s why you’re here, right? That’s why any of us are.
But not everybody likes fun. Recently, filmmaker and Internet celebrity James Rolfe released a video at his website Cinemassacre. In it, Rolfe, a self-avowed fanatic of the Ghostbusters franchise, gave a very reasoned and subdued explanation why he will not be seeing the new Ghostbusters movie.
Rolfe made his decision based on the movie’s trailer: The jokes fell flat, the effects didn’t impress him, and he didn’t appreciate its makers using the goodwill of the Ghostbusters name to put out yet another remake instead of coming up with a unique way to revive the franchise. Therefore, he won’t spend his money on the movie.
Mild stuff, and a very reasoned critique. In fact, isn’t that what millions of people do? Decide whether to spend their time and money at the movies based on the trailers?
However the problem for Rolfe, at least in his critics’ eyes, is that the main cast of this movie is female.
The reactions were swift but, to any student of our outrage culture, sadly predictable. Rolfe–one of the least political Internet personalities out there–is a misogynist, a sexist, a whiny manbaby, a loser, and so on. And even celebrities got in on the act!
To be fair, the bulk of tweets I saw were in support or Rolfe, which is a good sign. But it’s important to highlight the disproportionate level of vitriol directed his way.
Here’s the thing: Rolfe did mention the all-female cast, but only to wonder if, given that the movie has the same name as the 1984 original, people are going to refer to it as “the female Ghostbusters.” He finds this absurd since, in his opinion, the movie should have a different title to differentiate itself.
If Rolfe actually said something derogatory about women like “Women can’t act,” “Women aren’t funny,” or “I won’t see this movie because it has women in it,” I could see the reaction. But his video was as mild a criticism as it gets, and focused more on the editing abilities of those who created the trailer than anything else. So what gives?
The whole thing is absurd, but it goes to a bigger point: Rolfe’s sin was not enjoying what The Powers That Be deemed must be enjoyed in order to be a “good person.”
What we are witnessing is a war on fun. The reason this bothers me so much is because this war is trying to bully and destroy targets who have not inserted themselves into any broader culture war. And that’s what this is: all civilizations are defined by their culture, and he who controls the culture wins.
Without fun, life would get really boring, really fast. Imagine if all you ate was a turkey dinner. That sounds great for the first two or three days. After three weeks you’d be begging for even a little variety, a broccoli spear, or a nice saltine cracker. Anything to break up the drudgery.
We all have our own definitions of fun. But these are cultural forces determined to ram their own opinions down your throat and onto everything you see, read, hear and do.
Whatever name you give to these forces, don’t kid yourself. They fall on both sides of the spectrum and they’re interested in the culture. Some have just been more successful than the others. In the 1980s and 1990s it was the Religious Right. Now, we have SJWs (Social Justice Warriors).
I don’t want to care about politics. I really don’t. But it’s an oft-repeated maxim for a reason that if you don’t pay attention to politics, politics will pay attention to you.
These forces want to enforce a conformity of thought on all of us to correct what they perceive to be societal wrongs. Everything that doesn’t fit the narrative is racist and sexist, bigoted and homophobic, words which have been tossed around with so much frequency they’ve lost most of their meaning. And you can be a gay black female with a wife and a house in the suburbs, but if you hold the wrong thoughts then oh boy, you’re suffering from internalized versions of these -isms and -phobias. If this sounds like a mental illness, it’s because it probably is.
But don’t despair. They have the fix. They have the cure. Like snake-oil salesmen, they will help you correct past wrongs, real or otherwise, and–for a fee, naturally–help make your art meet their standards. But you know what you end up with?
Everything becomes the same. Blandness will reign supreme. This does not make for compelling art. Do you wonder why words used to describe the old Soviet Union were “bland,” drab,” and “gray”? It’s because the party heads controlled everything, including the culture, via top-down diktats defining the parameters of art, right down to the words you could write and the pictures you could create and the messages art had to convey. Our own culture warriors, in their similar pursuit of ultimate equality, would love to do the same.
These folks are creating a very beige world. Beige is a very boring, plain, neutral color that’s great as an accent but it doesn’t have a lot of visual pop. Our modern-day purveyors of beigeness are like the Puritans, but without the fashion sense and language skills.
Their goal is ultimate control over the culture. Once they have that, everything else will follow. Writer Rawle Nyanzi summed it up really well when he described the New Beige’s desire for a “captive audience”:
Social Justice believes that by bullying creators for having white characters, or shrieking at masculine males and sexy females, they will save the world. Because large companies such as Nintendo, Wizards of the Coast, Marvel, and others have so much market share and brand recognition, Social Justice uses them, combined with their control of film, TV, and publishing, to make sure that all high-quality content acts as propaganda.
They believe they will prevent society’s moral decay. Hobbies are not diversions to them, but social education.
“Hobbies are not diversions . . . but social education.” It explains the New Beige fixation with geek culture. They have to ultimately get at what you think, and the best way to enforce their conformity is through the culture.
My point is not to entice anybody to join a particular side of the right/left struggle, nor is it to lob personal attacks at anyone. It’s to highlight an ideological movement hellbent on forcing the word to think a certain way. This movement has been going after comedians, filmmakers, video gamers, and comic books. Nothing is safe. Everyone must fall in line.
If you thought the 1950s were bland, wait until you see what the next decade might have in store for us.
It’s tough to fight zealots who think that they are doing the right thing. But they are not. In order to help them figure out what is the right thing and what is the wrong thing, I provide here a simple guide, free of charge:
- Let people do what they want.
- If it doesn’t cause a murder or any other type of harm, great!
- If it does cause a murder or other type of harm, fight it with everything you’ve got.
- Hurt feelings do not equal injustice.
- Differences of opinion are okay. It does not mean people hate you. And even if they do, who cares?
- Distasteful speech is still free speech.
- Find a hobby or something.
I hope Rolfe doesn’t apologize or pull the video down. He did nothing wrong, and even if he did, we should celebrate his right to say it.
He also shouldn’t apologize because it will make things worse.
Fight the beigeness. Don’t let the world become drab and boring. Think, say, do, listen to, create, and laugh at whatever it is that tickles your fancy. Life is hard enough as it is without do-gooders trying to control what you can and cannot enjoy. This whole Ghostbusters situation is ridiculous, but these small battles have to be fought with the same intensity as the larger ones. Your mind depends on it.