Does YouTube Make Any Sense Any More?
A recent controversy riling up the internet and the gaming culture in general is one surrounding the YouTuber, Shirrako. I’ve personally been watching Shirrako’s YouTube channel for months. I’ve not seen anything that deviates from most of the other stuff that I expect gaming channels like his to upload.
Shirrako has been regularly uploading videos about Red Dead Redemption 2 after streaming his whole play through of the game shortly after it was released. He normally cuts up different sections of his videos and uploads specific parts of the game with different titles to give you a greater context of what he was doing. Some of his uploads include doing different activities within the game, such as completing a story mission or finding a rare weapon. Shirrako also uploads videos of him just doing gamer things, like just messing around with NPCs or just showing how out of character the game world actually functions. Here’s where the controversy steps in.
Inside Red Dead Redemption 2 is a group of women suffragettes. Shirrako, through the normal course of gameplay, became annoyed one of the suffragettes because her shouting is near enough a player store. Her dialogue, when she talks, interrupts the dialogue between a player and the shop owner. So Shirrako decided, like all gamers would, to get her to shut up. He walked over and punched her and knocked her out. After doing this, he uploaded a short minute and a half clip of him just walking up and punching her.
Here’s where the outrage starts. This would have just been an isolated event, but the comments on the video of Shirrako punching the suffragette immediately picked up. People asked for follow up videos of him doing different things to get her to stop interrupting players. Shirrako agreed and uploaded some great hits, such as knocking the suffragette out, lassoing her and tying her in front of a train (oh, that’s dastardly), and even killing her and feeding her body to alligators and pigs. Shirrako was reported to YouTube for violating their policies, whatever those are, and his channel was hit with a ban. But this wasn’t just any ban. They completely shut down his channel, with nearly half a million subscribers, myself included. No three strikes, no notifications, just shut down and gone.
Shirrako’s channel was only down for somewhere I think around 21 hours, but it was a gross overreach of YouTube’s policy against content. And one that is very telling and worrisome. Shirrako was actually doing something correct, he was catering to his audience and giving them more of what they wanted in order to advertise and grow his YouTube channel. Isn’t that what the whole point is for someone to become a content creator on YouTube? YouTube shutting down his channel over this is absolutely shameful. In the context of the game, shutting down a channel completely over something as simple as killing an NPC in a thousand different ways is no different than playing the game normally.
There’s dozens of YouTubers who used Far Cry 5’s map creator system to kill the main bad guy of the entry, Joseph Seed aka. the Father, in a thousand different ways. They would use the editor to set up a Father that respawns after he is dead in the same place, so you can have your fun all over again. The weapons in Far Cry 5 include bats, guns, shovel RPGs, even vehicles. There was no outrage whatsoever over these types of videos being uploaded, why was there controversy over Shirrako?
Simple. Because feminist groups out there, who are devoid of any sense of humor, can’t take the amount of disrespect that a gamer showed to an actual cause in history. Even though he did no such thing.
Now, I’m certain that Shirrako has never hurt a feminist in real life; it would be all over the internet. But the idea that people could laugh and express some real emotions about how they wanted to do something similar to Shirrako’s actions in real life is what set everything off. It’s okay to be honest in the comments sections of YouTube. That’s kind of what it’s there for! If people are saying “that’s funny” to a video of a fake player character beating up a fake NPC, that’s fine. Is anyone requesting to do it a real life person? No. Certainly not. Something like that happening in real life would be tragic and scary. It’s a universal emotion, we would all feel that way. Shirrako was literally just being a gamer and being a troll. And he has that right. He has that right because every gamer out there with the freedom of choice can do it.
What’s to be learned from this? It’s that people need to lighten up. There was never any actual disrespect to feminist causes shown in the YouTube video. There wasn’t because there never could be! He was playing a video game! Things like this have begun to get me thinking about what other moments in video game history would be triggering for the people who can’t take a joke. A recent one that popped into my head was shooting Natalya in Goldeneye 007 after you had killed Boris. Natalya refuses to help you after that, and players most often would shoot her as a method of restarting the mission.
Do you know any other triggering moments from past video games that would cause outrage now? Let me know in the responses below. I’d love to hear about them.