“Why do you even care? Fiction is just for fun!” – a tale of the most boring rhetoric
Any site that concerns itself with media criticism sooner or later starts getting this sort of comment occasionally. Some combination of “It’s just fiction!” or “Who cares?” or “Don’t take everything so seriously!” or “Stop making everything about social issues!”
arguments is always around in comments or forum threads/replies/reblogs. And let me tell you, it’s one of the most unclever fallacies/attempts at trolling possible. Which is exactly why a Female Armor Rhetoric Bingo square is devoted to it.
The basis of the argument hinges on the idea that fiction is not worth of serious critique. That entertainment supposedly exists only in the vague vacuum of “for fun”, so it has literally no influence on people.
Surprise surprise, that’s not the case in the world we live in. Studies have shown again and again that fiction influences the way people think and act all the time. Basically that’s what storytelling itself was created for.
While it is disingenuous and over-simplified to blame some truly awful behavior solely on, say, video games that depict them, there is correlation between real-life microaggressions towards various groups and the way those groups are negatively presented in media.
Here are some further reads on the matter:
- How Can Videogames Make You a Kinder Person? – PBS Game Show episode about “copassion games” genre
- Sex in Video Games – BioWare’s David Gaider talks about approaching sex and sexuality in video game writing
- Handy statistics of gamer demographics
- A general post regarding representation
“Caring” – the anatomy of hypocrisy
Probably the most hilarious element of this sort of rhetoric is the “who cares?” part. Easily the laziest non-argument a troll can raise, a derailment AND grade A doublethink.
Anyone who devotes even a minute of their time to type out a response clearly is invested in the issue (or at least in being an asshole to strangers) in some way, thus cares. Otherwise they’d just ignore it.
Not to mention, by antagonizing “caring” they basically admit to being a real-life Care Bears villain. And not the scary genuinely evil kind either.
Dunno, maybe all Internet trolls are just shapeshifting hellspawns who
wish they were real children? Well at least that gives us the hope they’ll redeem themselves sometime.