Some public bickering happened this weekend between Jason Schreier, Jeff Cannata, and Neil Druckmann. Jeff compared The Last of Us Part II and its artistic goal to the way he felt about Schindler’s List. I will not regurgitate, explain, provoke, or defend this discourse. If you are curious, start here and follow the trail.
This is not a defense of The Last of Us Part II. While I am clearly a fan, the game is not even publicly out yet. I have no idea if I will like it in the end or not. Rather, I will use this weekend’s squabble as a launch point for a far greater issue.
Empathy has all but vanished from any sort of discussion. Any room for level-headed critiques and courteous dialogue has been pushed aside by brevity. What was once the soul of wit has become the spirit of crassness. Opinion is passed around as fact. Understanding is no where to be found. Hot takes have melted cool conversation.
Twitter has become a mine field where the wrong tweet can spark a chain reaction of negative dog-piling. The loss of nuance, tone, inflection that quick-fire tweets naturally have can lead to misunderstanding. Emotion-fueled replies signal to thousands of followers that the original message is worthy of said response. A vast majority of folks take that at face value, never looking understand either party.
Twitter has been a source of poisoning the conversation around video games. My friend Logan has been dreading the discussion that surrounds The Last of Us Part II for these reasons exactly. It’s disheartening. It actively sucks the joy of upcoming releases. Fans don’t even form their own opinions anymore. It’s this person’s take or that person’s response. All black and white with no room to listen.
I’m quite tired of it.
Listen to people. Actually read. Ask questions. Reach out privately if you can. If a person is not respectfully engaging, mute and get on with your day. Do not feed the cycle of emotional hot takes. Don’t give bullies the reaction they thrive off of.
If you have more to say, make a blog.