Just like with Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 respectively, people calling for peace will inevitably be labelled as unwitting (or even witting) supporters of the Chinese government. This has always been a strange accusation, but seems even more misplaced now. As Afghanistan clearly shows, war very rarely punishes the guilty or benefits the innocent.
Couched in the hollow language of customer care, consumer surveys are just one aspect of the all-pervasive feedback systems and practices that flourish in the digital realm and are embedded into the fabric of our everyday lives. Ultimately, their semblance of care for the customer benefits the corporate bottom line while diverting attention from the interests and welfare of workers.
How permanent are the puritanical elements of our society? Where did our sense of enchantment go? What does it mean to be magical? Rivka Galchen’s latest novel Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch (2021) and Shola von Reinhold’s debut novel LOTE (2020) are semi-fictional revisitations of historical records that spill into these questions of our present moment.
From public housing tower lockdowns to the deployment of generals to leadership positions and soldiers to the streets, to the imposition of nighttime curfews that do little if any practical good, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided state and national governments with even more opportunities to look tough in the face of what is in essence, like climate change, a crisis of health rather than law and order.
It’s clear that the definition of what constitutes a gamer and the debate on difficulty settings are intertwined. The gaming industry has already started shifting its focus to include more diverse audiences. However resistant ‘traditional gamers’ may be, difficulty settings have well and truly arrived and are here to stay. For plenty of people who don’t fit the stereotypical gamer mould, that’s a good thing.