internet rant: about some other ranting about ranting ranter rants

A story made “the cut” at PAreport today, which seems to tie into a bigger social problem I’ve seen rear up repeatedly over the past few months (years?). The problem: the consumer’s sense of entitlement.

I’m not 100% sure I’m in the right on this. Maybe not even 60% sure. But I can’t stop wrasslin’ with it. Does the audience have a right to tell an artist what to do?

here is a short rant I wrote up, replying to another dude’s rant, which was posted in the comment’s section of a PAreport simple referencing link to a Gamespot editorial by Laura Parker which summarizes some disgusting twitter attacks on a single writer, Jennifer Hepler, at a video games company, Bioware, that is known for story driven entertainments.
(basically, the writer said something kind of interesting years ago, but when she recently signed up for a twitter account she discovered a large community of foul mouthed immatures who hate her.) (and some dude named Kozality commented that consumers kind of do own games, and can decide if there will be a sequel – based on sales – which inspired me to comment RIGHT BACK AT ‘IM! KA-POW BAM!).

I respect your well composed comment, Kozality. But I think Barthes was talking about how the intent of a work of art passes beyond the artist’s control once it is shared with an audience. I don’t think he meant the audience should have any followup rights to control future works from that artist.

So, I find your claim that gamers DECIDE if there will be a sequel – very disturbing. (I would say instead that their dollars merely offer an INCENTIVE).

I think this Jennifer Hepler story is just part of a larger modern problem. I keeping seeing audiences who demand Half Life 3 (despite valve’s team having fun making other awesome things), who demand bluray transfers of theatrical star wars (despite already having them on VHS laserdisc and dvd), and who demand Watchmen prequels (despite the original author’s anger). I’m very curious if this is all just a sign of young Americans feeling abnormally entitled (which is what my gut says), or if it’s some sort of valid human “entertainment rights thing.”

Douglas Rushkoff wrote (in his recent short book “Program or be Programmed”) that internet comments represent less than 10% of real human communication. He claims internet comments aren’t just emboldened by anonymity, but that they represent a new sort of serious psychological deficiency. They are a symptom of more and more basement dwellers being cut off from meaningful interaction. To me, this makes all kinds of sense.

side note, this guy mentioned “Barthes theory” which he summarizes as “a [poem/game] does not belong to its author; rather, ‘it is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world beyond his power to intend about it or control it. The [poem/game] belongs to the public.'”
I was really excited to hear there was an established theory about all this. but when I looked up Roland Barthes it seemed that he was not talking about audiences control of future works. He was just saying that the way an existing work of art is received is beyond the author’s control. oh well. (? no? am I misunderstanding?)


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