Why Am I Writing About Pokemon?

I don’t get fads. Well, that’s not entirely true. I get the ones I like. I could debate for hours the simple brilliance of Star Wars; the original trilogy, of course, but, and here I must confess I harbor a deep, dark secret, I think Harry Potter is incredibly overrated. Oh sure, I get its basic appeal–it’s a fun, decently written tale–but I cannot fathom in the slightest how it became a multi-BILLION dollar franchise with millions of fanatical fans worldwide. That said, fads come and go so I usually pay them no mind unless I’m personally interested for some reason. Thus, it is with some confusion I look upon all the shouting over Pokémon Go. I know next to nothing beyond the most basic mechanics of the game and its concept, and I couldn’t care less, so I stand on the sidelines scratching my head at the fervor of both its adherents and those going out of their way to denounce it in its entirety.

In a recent podcast, Matt Walsh excoriates the very idea of adults playing this children’s game and declares his generation just needs to grow up. He uses a very flawed analogy of changing dietary desires from children/teens to adults; yet this is at least in part due to literal physiological changes of growing not just metaphorical maturity. A more apt analogy would be how kids grow up playing sports, then become adults who obsess over sporting events or teams to varying degrees. In that sense, it’s not in the least bit surprising that a generation which grew up glued in front of video game screens and which has now completely immersed itself in portable gaming technology would find their free time diversions with these ubiquitous devices rather than bowling leagues or softball nights.

Walsh prefaces his rant with the sadly necessary observation that you can no longer criticize something without being bombarded with accusations of “hating.” Herein lies the most cogent real point of this nonsense, and it relates back to my previous post on our inability to shame anyone for anything anymore. More on that in a moment. Courtney Kirchoff similarly falls victim to a deluge of “hating” accusations and had to update her post with numerous clarifications to narrow her target, all while missing the real point. It’s not that millennials have a newfound “desire to explore and conquer” and need to “go win something meaningful” with it because that’s not the true driving force behind their excesses; it’s from a sense of entitlement.

It isn’t a desire to win which leads one to play a game in the HOLOCAUST MUSEUM. It takes a very special snowflake to declare:

“It’s not like we came here to play,” said Angie, a 37-year-old member of Dustin’s group who also declined to share her last name for privacy reasons, “But gotta catch ’em all.”

No. No, you do not, you insensitive, blithering idiot. You don’t get that way from an overwrought since of winning, but from an oversized sense of self-importance which overrides all common sense and even common decency. And you know it’s not just an isolated incident. You know there’s a bigger problem when Auschwitz and Arlington Nation Cemetery put out requests for visitors to not play a game on their hallowed ground. Likewise, it takes a special kind of snowflake sheltered from even the most basic rigors of real life to waltz into the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone because not even nuclear radiation should be allowed to intrude upon YOUR diversion, YOUR choices, and YOUR life. To be fair, it looks like, so far at least, this is just a preemptive declaration–though, again, why is it even necessary. Sadly, it was prompted “after the incursion of three teenagers into a  nuclear power plant in Ohio.” Good job, Murica.

But why does any of this even matter? Is this just semantics or arguing for the sake of arguing? Well, no. Because Right leaning commentators reflexively ranting about the latest fad reinforces the stereotype of Conservatives as the No Fun League. It doesn’t matter that it was actually the wives of Democrat Senators getting in a dust up with Dee Snider, or that their modern day progeny are killing comedy. Even at their worst, fuddy-duddy Conservatives are generally just saying, hey, you probably shouldn’t behave like that, while fuddy-duddy-authoriatrian Leftists are saying, hey, you’re an evil jerk for behaving like that we’re going to prohibit you from doing it! But perception is reality and it’s that perception we’re trying to destroy which is nigh impossible when too many of us rant against some new thing the kids are into. Moreover, the philosophy of the Right is one of Individualism. We judge people by their actions, not their associations (except in extreme and rare circumstances, of course). It’s creepy and terrifying and tyrannical and just plain gross that the Left wants to blame gun owners for all the ills of society.  Instead, we judge the specific bad actors for their specific bad actions, not the thing in and of itself.

On the other hand, yes, it shouldn’t need to be said. We shouldn’t have to put warning labels on clothes telling you to remove your child before washing. But until we return to a level of societal sanity where such obvious truths no longer need to be said, we need to make sure our criticisms are direct and on target. Blanket statements of scorn and ridicule do nothing to advance the cause of educating and elevating our culture. They simply turn off the audience while obscuring the message. On the other, other hand, you people getting righteously indignant someone criticized your thing are also part of the problem. You’re the same people standing around saying, what’s the big deal if everyone gets a trophy? you must hate kids or something! which leads to the dilemma in which we currently find ourselves mired. Rather than shouting at the critics, why don’t you join in and tell the morons, hey, stop ruining it for the rest of us. If we can’t “fat shame” people who are dangerously unhealthy just because you have a few extra pounds, then no one is ever going to improve individually which leads to improving society as a whole. Get the point? Both sides? Good. Now here’s a thematically appropriate cat video: