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The Art that Broke the Mold

I ended up really liking both seasons of Anita’s feminist video game show that she did with McIntosh. I was watching the episodes as they were released and they helped me get back into gaming with her encouragement to both enjoy and criticize media, which helped me to enjoy the good parts of these these disturbing games.

I was surprised that I liked them as much since I had thought (I wasn’t a crowdfunding backer); her first show (about tropes generally, not just games) was basic and overly 101 and “doesn’t everyone know this?” (Gamergate showed how very, very wrong I was about that, and now I think that show was good since those “101” basic points was not was universally agreed-upon and known as I believed.)

But tonight I’m rewatching (I also saw it when it first came out) this breadtube essay on Blazing Saddles and I’m thinking how much more successful Anita’s points would’ve been conveyed with a similar formula: absolutely gush over a piece of classic media and use it to explain points in a positive way. People like liking things and like hearing why the movie or game is good, actually, and how groundbreaking it was and how it illuminated the kyriachal structures.

And then I’m like “but with what games?” That Blazing Saddles movie did break ground, but it did so in the seventies. How are we gonna change problems that exist today? We can’t just always be chained to the past. I can think of a handful of outlier games like Pac-Man or Tetris or KQ4 or Warioware or Metroid but the path forward can’t just be limited to “make radical, outlier art and then gush about it thirty-five years later”. (This is how I write essays; I change my mind halfway through—”Anita should’ve primarily praised games because people like liking things and learn things better when they’re happy and proud fans” became “Wow, there’s a long way left to go and the culture is pretty soaked with same-as-the-old-boss while the subversive gems are free and far between” when I thought it through a bit.)

I am sad and bummed out and longing for feminism and the glory days of breadtube after learning about how thousands of Ukrainian draft-dodgers were captured and some had died trying to escape. My heart goes out to them. Unlike popular misconception, feminists don’t want men to die in war and in coal mines, or for men to get assaulted in prison. That’s the opposite of what we want. I know, I know, I’ve got terrible timing criticizing the West when there’s a complete fuck on the throne in the East but it’s just really important to me that the good side actually is good—it’s not enough to just have the right color jersey on. I can support the lesser evil but I can’t let the lesser evil stay evil. Let’s keep on working together to make the world better.