July 10th, 2014All Roads Lead to Cake
Anyway, The Day the Laughter Stopped. I’m sure it’ll surprise no-one that there’s people who manage to miss the simple point it makes entirely – if anything, I’m actually surprised that there’s so few of those. But there are some, and now we can watch them missing it in video form:
Now, I suppose it’s kind of flattering that it had such an impact on them that they couldn’t let it go for months. After all, you don’t invest hours of work to mock a 5-minute jam game pretty much nobody has even heard of just for the heck of it. But of course I can’t really enjoy it, and not just because it’s about four minutes too long.
This isn’t actually the first I’ve heard of these people. A few months ago they published some rambling and a review of The Day. I don’t really have much to say about those that I haven’t written about extensively before, except maybe that it’s impressive how they manage to paint a clear picture of what the game does and still not get it. (You’d think that after the endless repetition of how the choices work it would occur to someone that it’s not in fact a role-playing game, that it’s not about how you would act, but about a specific person who only has these limited options available. But yeah, I’ve explained how the character and the choices work already, so feel free to look it up if there’s any confusion.)
But it’s not so much the mockery that bugs me. If you wanna make fun of me or my work, that’s fair enough. I’m a ridiculous person, you’ll have an easy time. But this is not just about me. The game talks about the real world, so by commenting on the ideas expressed therein, you can’t avoid commenting on real people and real problems. And those comments are a bit fucked.
Not All Victims
For people who like to cry NOT ALL MENZ every chance they get, they sure like to conjure up weird generalization that aren’t anywhere to be found in the game or the surrounding discussions. Nowhere does it say that this is what every single victim’s experience looks like, or that women as a whole don’t have any agency (and, as I mentioned in my explanation of the design choices, I don’t agree that she doesn’t have agency. Rape is about taking agency away.)
The reason she can’t act the way most of us – adults sitting in front of a computer screen playing a game that is very clear about where it’s going – would, is that she’s young, inexperienced, insecure, has no-one to talk to about it, and thus such crushingly low self-esteem that she always assumes that she’s in the wrong, that it’s a fault of hers that she doesn’t want to go along with what he wants to do, which must be right because he’s almost an adult and cool and knows stuff. She’s a lost child and he’s an authority figure to her. Someone she cares about. Someone who, most of the time, makes her feel good about herself. She trusts him and questions herself first, not him. That’s what he takes advantage of.
But I’ve said all this before and I’m too tired of repeating myself to go into everything wrong with their attitude. Just follow the links. Instead, let’s just jump directly to the part where this whole thing falls apart.
The Fundamental Flaw
It’s not that she doesn’t actually go against the choices you make in the game. It’s in this one, prominently featured, frequently repeated sentence:
Want another bite, honey?
You know what that is? That’s asking if she wants it. That’s asking for consent.
It’s still problematic if discomfort or pressure to say yes is ignored, but just asking for consent is a huge step in the right direction. It’s also something the guy in the game never does. He doesn’t ask if she wants to be kissed, if she wants to hold hands, if she wants to have sex. He just does it. He force-feeds her the cake, saying, “I know you want it.”
That’s a bit different, isn’t it? That seems a bit wrong and disgusting, having someone shove cake into your mouth because they just feel like it, not asking if you actually like or want cake, not asking whether you’re full, just pushing it in for their enjoyment? Seems absurd, doesn’t it? And you know why? Because we’re not supposed to let others put cake into our mouths. It’s not normal. It is, however, expected to be flattered by male advances and to ultimately reward them with sex if they’ve been nice to you for two seconds.
Actually, let’s turn this whole thing around. Imagine someone trying to shove cake in your face because you chatted with them for a moment and then complaining that you lead them on and what a bitch you are for putting them in the Cakeless Zone. Yep, now we really have something here.
Even when trying to mock an argument for consent, they included consent. Just wouldn’t seem right without it, would it? So why not extend that to sex, why not stop expecting everyone to “want it” and to vocally, repeatedly, and firmly refuse if they don’t, and actually ask them?
Really, what is so bad about that? Why put the responsibility on the person who stands to take damage from your actions instead of making sure your actions are welcome? It’s just a fucking question. It’s just “Want another bite, honey?”