Satire, GTAV, Etc

I watched MovieBob’s recent piece on forms of humour, and why GTAV is (probably) not satire. It’s not a bad watch, though it is kinda mean to be insulted for not enjoying the framing device, but you know, whatever. What surprised me at the end of it all was Bob’s seeming near-innocence as to why GTAV‘s proponents wanted to consider the game to be satire.

They want it to be considered satire, because if it’s satire, they’re not responsible for anything. If it’s satire, it’s not a bad thing that they made a sexist, transphobic, misogynistic with a sexual assault mini-game. If it’s satire, they’re not responsible for characters that can’t be liked. If it’s satire, it’s not their fault that they’ve made a game that glorifies terrorists. If it’s satire, they can’t be blamed.

“Why don’t they claim to be a different kind of joke?” Bob asks. Because they don’t want to be a joke. They want to be taken seriously, seriously enough to justify a billion-dollar take. They want to be taken seriously so they can make their gunshots realistic, so they can put the scene where you record a teenager having sex (but won’t sell it until she’s of age), so they can glory in praise that comes from being ‘serious.’

Then, when someone calls them on their bad writing, they want the satire cloud as a shield.

I don’t doubt he already knows this, of course; the video just asked the question, as if it didn’t know the answer.

They want to be considered satire because that’s the most convenient current shield. It’s like Christians claiming Paul doesn’t count, because they don’t like what Paul said. It’s just the same basic defensive tactic: Please do not recognise the bad things about this thing I like.


  1. The creepiest part to me is how intentionally it encourages indulgence in the kind of violence and evil that happens in reality to unexceptional, everyday victims all the time. I can understand fulfilling your dark antisocial revenge fantasies by playing, say, Prototype, but there’s something distinctly unsettling about GTA’s realism.

  2. I wrote an article on my blog that talks about how I think the game is actually very smart about its handling of women.

    The short version is I think the satire is quite well-done in GTAV. Showing a world which is grotesque because of its materialism and misogyny is not promoting it–quite the opposite.

    1. I’d leave that discussion to someone closer to the source material. I believe Aeevee Bee is better versed in it than I.

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