A funny and seemly harmless meme is driving the SJWs crazy:
From time to time, and especially if you’re a fan of science fiction, you may have had the thought that nobody around you is actually real. That sentiment has taken root in anti-progressive parts of the internet as a dehumanizing meme, and it borrows some familiar gaming terminology.
About a month ago, a meme along those lines took root on 4chan and among anti-progressive online communities. It’s called the NPC meme and it goes like this: Out there in the world, there are literal NPCs—the term for non-playable characters in video games—who have no internality whatsoever.
What makes this marginal, stale meme built on edgelord logic worth half a thought is what the idea of an NPC speaks to. NPCs have no agency; NPCs don’t think for themselves; NPCs don’t perceive, process, or understand; NPCs arrive at the same worldview not because it’s authentic to their experiences, but automatically. As a descriptor, it suggests that those to whom it applies aren’t even human, but are rather, functionally, robots, or clusters of computer code. That this has resonated as widely as it has is funny, but also a little scary.
It’s one thing to claim that a person’s strongly-held views are informed by nothing at all, but entirely another to imply that they’re completely on auto-pilot. That is dehumanization, a way of reconceiving your enemies as objects, pawns, strawmen, tools. At best, dismissing large swaths of people you disagree with this way betrays a lack of empathy for people whose experiences differ from yours, and an unwillingness to consider that if a vast number of people happen to agree over something, it may be good to examine why; at best, it is a great utility for spreading bogus conspiracy theories.
Besides an array of related memes, a large number of NPC parody accounts popped up on Twitter, all saying stereotypical NPC things at each other and generally having a good time. Twitter then banned them all. Somebody’s a little peeved it seems?