Day #262: Some Musings on Discourse

Last week was a long one.

Odd, seeing as I’ve been saying to anyone that will listen just how quickly the month of September seems to be flying by.  Part of that is probably because my birthday is coming up.  It’s always my least favorite day of the year; when I feel like I have to take inventory of my life and what I did with it the previous 365 days.  After all, you don’t get another chance to be 18 or 20 or 27.  Considering how my brain works, I wonder if it’s actually possible for me to be satisfied with the work I’ve done, constantly feeling like I’m years behind where I should be.

I try to combat this by keeping busy, obviously, but also by attempting to stay relevant; constantly studying, researching, keeping my ear to the ground, watching the discourse, or lack thereof.  When trying to determine what I should write about today, I thought about what recent things people were angry about on social media; Nintendo’s hunting down of fan games, the Steam review policy changes, someone still grumbling about ethics, etc.  The problem is that Twitter (and social media in general) sort of distort these topics to a point where it becomes nearly impossible to parse what’s true without stepping away entirely from that form of discourse.

Truth be told, I never liked arguing about anything on Twitter.  It’s a platform designed to eliminate all nuance, to reduce arguments to a series of “no, you“, without room for any further consideration.  It doesn’t help that we’re also in an age where everyone is expected to have an opinion on just about everything.  I don’t know if it’s because we simply fear to look uninformed, but the “hot take” culture is such that any voice, even those completely ignorant to the subject matter, are given a platform.  If the words are clever or caustic enough, it doesn’t matter if they’re also well-reasoned.  The internet is full of people that want to be the first to shout from a mountain and go “look, this is how it really is”.  It makes sense.  No one is paying attention to the person that stays out of the conversation.

More often than not, however, I find myself being that person.  Like anyone else, I have a desire to be recognized and admired for my insight, but I’m also smart enough to realize that I don’t know everything.  More importantly, I’ve reached a point in my life where I understand that not knowing everything is totally okay.  I was reluctant to tackle the Steam reviewer issue because it feels like it’s still developing, with both sides of the argument making very salient points that I hadn’t previously considered.  The Nintendo fan game story is a bit simpler, though I’d be lying if I told you I had an intimate understanding of copyright law.  I do know that personally, I wish those people would have spent all of that talent and effort on making something new, even if it was still strongly inspired by that Nintendo property that they loved so much.  Unfortunately, that sentiment doesn’t lend itself well to memes or a “take THAT”, so it almost feels useless to even say.

I certainly don’t want to say that we’re in a time period where those sorts of conversations are impossible.  I hear enough generalization about my generation and I don’t care to add to that, but I do think we need to get over this fear that inaction is always a negative; that everything is a fight and we have to stand our ground and choose our side.

Sometimes it’s okay to be Switzerland.

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