The Game Is Rigged

The game is rigged.

It’s not a surprise, not a mystery, definitely not news to a majority of the country’s population — women, people of color, the LGBT community, the disabled, immigrants.

But the election of the Naughahyde Narcissist to the Highest Chair in the Land has given 2017 a near-perfect view of the game, exposed — all its crushing gears and choking chains, all the mechanisms laid bare. All the uneven scoring, all the tilted fields, all the corrupt umps.

Harvey Weinstein is a serial abuser, and Hillary gets the blame. The women who never spoke out get the blame. Obama gets the blame. Harvey’s own agency in his own rapist predations is cast further and further from Harvey himself. The women are told, yet again, they were wearing the wrong clothes. That they probably egged him on. And on the other side, the fact they didn’t protest, didn’t fight back against a system that would’ve crushed them, didn’t do more to protect other women, that’s a scarlet letter staplegunned to their sleeve.

Black Americans get executed in the streets by a police force out of control, so Black Americans stand in the streets to defend against that — but they’re tear-gassed, beaten, made to disappear, threatened, sued, told to find a place to protest quietly, peacefully, non-violently. They’re called animals and thugs, treated like criminals even when they’re just standing there. Colin Kaepernick kneels during an NFL game — protesting the deaths of Black Americans quietly, peacefully, non-violently — and he’s a traitor, a quisling, shut up and play ball, dance when we shoot at your feet, hurt yourself for the pleasure of those in the stands. Use your platform for good, they cry, and he does, every day, but they don’t notice, and they don’t care.

Nazis in Charlottesville are just good old-fashioned protesters, though, just exercising their First Amendment Rights — and, more importantly, their Second, am I right? — they’re ‘white activists,’ they’re ‘historical cosplayers,’ they’re ‘Nazi-adjacent freedom-seekers.’ They kill a woman, but it’s okay, and besides, didn’t someone introduce legislation where it would be okay to mow down a protester with a car? That makes it okay. It must.

A white man opens fire in Las Vegas, he kills scores, wounds ten times those that he murders, and so begin the stories of what a good man he was, how nice he was, he was a lone wolf, not one of our tribe, oh no, just a man without a home, a family man, a friendly man — and we’re told now isn’t the time to talk about guns, not now, and not tomorrow because another shooting will come, and not the day after that, because another shooting will come. But he’s not a terrorist, he’s not a thug, not an animal or a criminal, just a good man who went bad. Not his fault. Never his fault. If he were Muslim or black, well… those people…

Puerto Rico drowns in darkness. And it’s their fault. Something about loans or their economy, something about their woman mayor playing politics, and all the while the Ding-Dong Dictator pisses and moans about how now one appreciates him, how no one sees what he’s doing, because really, isn’t he the victim here? Isn’t he the victim because we don’t see the hero that he truly is, our Orange White Man, our Rubbery Russian Puppet, our Inglorious Leader?

Protections for our LGBT population are whittled once again to splinters because really, aren’t protections for them actually the opposite of that for us? What about our freedoms to religiously persecute them? Giving them equal freedom surely, surely means taking away the freedom we have now to discriminate against them. The disabled, too — why should they have access to healthcare and bathrooms and compassion, isn’t it really their fault for being born this way, and if they weren’t born this way, certainly they must’ve done something to deserve it in this Ayn Randian Hellworld we’ve built for ourself, where the rich are special, where geniuses deserve their power, where altruism is a disease and the uneven distribution of wealth is simply a rational principle like the way water and shit both run downhill.

Isn’t it really just about ethics in videogame journalism? It’s definitely not about the unwelcome presence of icky girls or queerness or disability or differently-colored skin in our videogames, oh no. It’s about objectivity in game reviews, obviously, definitely, don’t you say differently, SJWs, or we’ll dox you and SWAT your house and unleash literal years of abuse online, abuse that nobody ever does anything to fix, because that abuse serves the platform on which it is trafficked. And then that platform, unmitigated and unrefined, still trafficking in abuse, will help to elect the Grabber-In-Chief, the Racist Ringleader, the Tiny-Fingered Tyrant, to the most powerful office in all the world, and we will stumble, shrugging, toward nuclear war, toward unstoppable climate change, toward a depressed economy, toward the throat-cutting of American nobility on the world stage…

Toward both the bang and the whimper.

But don’t worry. It’ll be okay.

Are you white? Then we will protect you.

Are you also a man? Oh, boy howdy, then do I have good news for you.

Cisgendered? Able-bodied? Right this way, sir.

Are you wealthy? Then please, accept this bag of money, and this nice car, and this beautiful house, not to mention these endless safety nets, these trampolines to always catch you and bounce you back up no matter how rampant your mediocrity, we will always protect you, here is your blame-resistant tuxedo, here is your bubble of clean air, here is your perfect place at the center of the universe where nothing can touch you, nothing can hurt you, everything is warm like bathwater. Nothing is your fault, don’t worry. You will be safe. Because the game is rigged in your favor. The doors will always open for you. We’ll give everything to you. It doesn’t matter if it destroys the world — there’s an underground bunker with your name on it, and a rocketship that will allow you to depart for cleaner, freer skies.

* * *

I don’t have any good call to action here.

I wish I did.

Just be aware of this stuff, People Like Me. Elevate voices that aren’t your own. Listen to those voices. Hear them. Pass the mic. Boost the signal. When you see the system working for you and against others, say something. Try to do something. Don’t worry about perfect, just be better, for Chrissakes. Stand tall for people who can’t, for people who will be crushed underneath the machine. Get out of the center of the universe. Give money to good causes. Vote for interests other than your own. Find empathy and critical thinking. Do something. Don’t just sit there and be the casual, happy recipient of love and favors. Share the road. And see the game for what it is, and how someone has cheated for you on your behalf.

[Note: comments are on and open, but the spam oubliette is open and ready for trolls and other shitbirds. I need not abide your nonsense.]

75 responses to “The Game Is Rigged”

  1. Spectacular. I intend to moor at the vacant space Oly left on the dock. You’ve not only earned a new reader, but an honest-to-goodness fan. Well said, in exactly the way I’d like to say it myself.

  2. Every word in your blog echoes the feelings I’ve been struggling with. It’s hard not to drown in anger and frustration when our own government is trying to silence us and thugs feel free to harass everyone. The only thing that helps is knowing that most of America is still decent and has a conscience and a heart. Thank you for expressing what many of us think.

  3. Please don’t take this wrong, because I am very happily married, but as a woman, an author, and someone who cares about others and has worried about these issues since long before we got an ignorant Cheeto as President, and our country exposed its vast, reeking, pustulant underbelly, I LOVE YOU!

    That’s all.

  4. It’s…. I wanted to write something snide and sarcastic, wanted to deride the dumpster fire that is the world, turn my nose up at it, and be a comedian in the face of darkness.
    But I can’t. Not today. Maybe not ever.

    Thanks, Chuck. For continuing to eloquently shine a light on the endlessly putrifying mounds of cockroaches and self-tanner that flood my eyeballs day after day.

    Keep up the uncomfortable conversation. If not you, if not us, then who else?

  5. Solidarity. I’m your people. You’re my people. We’re together. I’m with them and they’re with me, for whatever that’s worth, coming from a chubby old white guy on the internet.

    Look out for each other!

  6. For the conservatives out there–There is a difference of opinion, sure. But if your difference means that you take the NFL protest as a protest against the flag, you’re just flat out wrong on that fact. If your difference means that gay people don’t get the same rights as straight people, that’s not different point of view–that’s bias and phobia. If it means that a woman is not allowed to make the decision that is the best for her, then you’re overly intrusive in the lives of others. If your conservative stance means that your “pro-life” while taking away food from children, you’re a hypocrite. If it’s blaming women for rape or harassment, then you’re wrong on that too.

    I want to respect a different point of view. But, as my 20 year old son said to me recently, why would I respect anyone who’s a bigot? President Trump has brought bigotry to light. The fact that mostly white people are so offended at the flag protest while not being offended by the reasons behind it, tells me all I need to know about Trump’s America.

  7. You said everything that’s been so heavy on my heart lately. I am sick over the way the rabid racists have taken over our country and are dragging us into a cesspool Banana Republic. I keep speaking out, but it feels hopeless and I feel helpless to stop it. Nothing seems to stop it. When the Republicans in power (and their voters) continue stand behind and continue to support an insane despot, despite clear evidence he’s unfit and downright dangerous….what the hell can we do? It’s all about power for the top dogs and a cult mentality for the howling mob of Trumpsters. I fear for our future.

  8. After this turd bucket got elected, I’ve been feeling very helpless. Like there was nothing I could really do that would make a difference. While I feel that way now, I truly believe as long as we continue to make our voices heard, change will happen. I also think starting off doing small things and working towards bigger things will help. I’ve already started signing different petitions about things that matter to me. But now I’m thinking of donating money to various organizations once my finances are more stable, and maybe even writing my own political post like this on my blog. Whatever I can do to help, to try and make things better, I want to do.

  9. Hi Chuck, I’m a regular reader of your blog, and when I initially read this post several months ago, it started the gears turning in my brain. I agree with everything you say and wanted to translate it into the mosaic medium in which I work. I’ve finally finished my project, I hope this link will come through. And, I hope you don’t mind I’ve borrowed your title for my piece, “The Game is Rigged”

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