It’s been a weird week. I destroyed a Northern Lights cartridge from Double Delicious, and am working my way through some deep, DEEP Indicas.
I got a great deal on Ratchet and Clank at Best Buy the week it came out. Smart folks can always save money if they just take the time. I wasn’t a fan of the series, barely played it ever. Its heyday was a time when I was a more “serious” “gamer.” Too cool for anthropomorphic animals and big chinned, too-good-to-be-true superhero parodies. The new one for PS4 is a retelling of the first, so I guess I get to see what I missed.
It’s a pretty serious game, and that makes me a stupid idiot when I was younger. Ratchet and Clank is full of thinly veiled Iraq War/GWB references, and it takes on some pretty heavy topics like how the people you think are protecting you don’t know their assholes from their shriveled, sick, and stony hearts. And they don’t give a fuck about you, or the things you care about, or the people you love. In the end, like Ratchet, you’re on your own, and all you have to protect you are the people who love you and have your back. Your support system.
They’re the kind of themes that have no resonance in this post-racial/post-homophobe/post-mysogynist/anti-rape/anti-violence/anti-war country, while our citizens stare off at a future President Trump in wide-eyed awe as the brutal joy makes our collective heart burst knowing that America is, all at once, Great Again.
Speaking of weapons. Ratchet has an amazing arsenal, and it’s a joy spending time unlocking and upgrading the imaginative guns over the course of the game. Each one unique, fun and easy to use, fairly easy and painless to obtain. And once you obtain one, the upgrading begins, an addicting process in which you exchange rare gems, raritanium, garnered by destroying things, with a faceless voice at randomly located glowing blue boxes for incredible power-boosts and hot modifications. As your gun gets more powerful, the amount of beautiful destruction you are capable of multiplies exponentially.
These are fantasy guns in a fantasy world doing fantastic damage to a bunch of code, and in reality, no damage has been done at all, because the game is doing exactly as it was designed. One gun turns your enemies into exploding sheep, while another is simply a disco ball that causes victims to get lost in the music and forget about all their cares and simply dance, leaving them absolutely defenseless, at which point you are then free to mow them down and move on to the next level.
But it’s all funny, it’s all tongue in cheek, until I woke up on Sunday morning.
Forty-nine human beings were killed in one place by one man at a moment in their lives when their guard was completely down. At the club, a safe space where they can get on to the real business of life, being yourself. Forty-nine people were killed. In one place. By one man. But I can’t get mad right now. I’m not angry. I can’t write letters to my congressmen and women. I can’t post tweets about how easy it is to buy a gun and isn’t that horrible? I don’t feel rage.
I feel sad. I feel so sad for the loss of life, beautiful, precious life. People attempting to live authentically, people dancing, people having fun, loving themselves, loving each other. There’s no hate on the dance floor. It’s not that kind of place. It’s so sad.
I can’t get mad and point my finger at someone and distract myself with righteous indignation in order to not feel the sorrow of such meaningless loss of such beautiful lives. I must instead deal with the reality that we all killed those 49 people, just as we are all accountable for every mass shooting, for everything wrong in our society and world. We cede our power to these politicians, and hope that one of them is going to be our shining star, our Guy or our Girl, the one who’s going to do something this time, for god’s sake, because this is America, goddamnit, and we get shit done. Yeah fucking right.
America is in the middle of a moral crisis that has lasted since white man set foot on this continent. A litany of mistakes and atrocities, grand displays of progressive change, and then sweep it all under a rug. In the meantime, we rot at our core because we don’t take the time to process, to learn.
When society is disrupted in such a way, we react at the disruptor and forget to process the disruption, and every victim gets left behind as a result. From the Native Americans, to the African Slaves, to our Civil Rights Leaders, natural disaster survivors, our enemies in war, and our mass shooting victims. We relegate our poor to the outskirts or prison, and our sick and elderly to cold, fluorescent hospitals. We ravage third world countries to keep our oil tanks full and our consumer goods cheap. And each and every one of us is guilty.
I’m fucking guilty. I have to sit with that. I bought this computer that I am typing this on right now at Best Buy for under $300 dollars and I didn’t even ask the guy who sold it to me where it came from and who assembled it at the factory? Not once have I ever asked a salesperson either of those two questions.
There’s a lot of work to do, and we all have too much soul searching to do. But for now, I’m just going to allow myself to be sad, to mourn for and with my brothers and sisters. Life is precious. Love is important.
Anyways, Ratchet and Clank is a totally dope game. Its super fun and probably the first game where I actually wanted to collect all the secrets and upgrade all the weapons. The graphics are sweet, and everything feels really polished. A lot of care and love went into this game, and it shines so bright as a result. Insomniac, the developer, is making a Spider-Man game for PS4 and I bet that is going to be the shit. Can’t wait to get so stoned and play it.