It was only a matter of time before it finally happened — before the giant, churning digestive tract of humorless hyper-liberal outrage over at Salon crapped out an article so completely ridiculous, so breathtakingly self-serious, so relentlessly silly from start to finish that it could very well be the dumbest thing the site has ever published. I’m talking about a piece that reads exactly like something you’d find at The Onion — a work of hallucinatory, Poe’s Law-proving, honest-to-Christ art that reaches a kind of odd state of Zen and which is truly deserving of responses in the comment section like, “If I become retarded in the next few days, I’m blaming you for sharing that article,” “It’s weird that someone spent time on this,” and, “This is, hands down, the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. And I’ve been forced to look at Breitbart.”
I won’t link to it, since there’s no way in hell I want Salon to be allowed to benefit from the kind of hardcore trolling they were aiming for when they decided to post the piece, but I do think it needs to be seen far and wide. It deserves attention simply to prove once and for all that Salon has either lost its mind or is willfully just fucking with everybody at this point. This thing makes the site’s war with Patton Oswalt look like the work of amateurs; it makes Falguni Sheth’s pious ramblings look positively astute; it makes the five-year-long stint of Glenn Greenwald look like a side-stage warm-up act.
The piece, which was posted on Saturday, is called — do you have your hands over your ears to keep your brains from trying to escape through them? — “‘The Legend of Zelda’ Is Classist, Sexist and Racist.”
I’ll now give you a minute to walk away and collect yourself.
It’s written by a guy named Jon Hochschartner, who’s described only as a freelance writer from upstate New York; in other words, he’s a nobody whose only reason for being published at Salon is that he shares the site’s strident politics and outsize sense of aggrievement. Hochschartner’s got one previous piece to his credit at Salon, and it was the almost equally dumb “‘Grand Theft Auto’ Maker: Video Games Hate Liberals.” Obviously, he has a bug up his ass when it comes to video games — either that or he’s hoping to get Anita Sarkeesian to sleep with him.
The “Zelda” column starts off as follows:
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the release of “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.” Critics frequently laud the Nintendo 64 title as the greatest video game ever. And yet the ways it deals with class, race, gender and animal rights are all deeply problematic.
Right off the bat you’ve got everything a Salon editor could ever ask for. Every conceivable shibboleth has been uttered, including the favored accusatory descriptor of the liberal superintendent class: “problematic.” Whenever you see that word in an article you can pretty much be assured that what you’re reading is a bunch of pompous cultural policing spit out into the ether by a comically indignant asshole.
From there, as promised, it takes the video game to task for all of its supposed slights against the various genera of underprivileged, those desperately in need of a “Link”-like hero to save them from their oppression.
There’s the ugly display of classicism:
The relationship between the self-described “boss” of the carpenters and those he calls “my workers,” appears to be one of a guild member and apprentices or journeymen. The boss refers to himself as a master craftsman, and says the workers were hired by the royal family to improve the village. Karl Marx described this relationship as one of “oppressor and oppressed,” comparing it to that of “freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, (and) lord and serf.” “Ocarina” portrays the apprentices or journeymen as lazy and shiftless, and the boss as the only one willing to work.
Then there’s the racism and religious intolerance:
The racial, ethnic and religious traits of the “good characters” and the “bad characters” within the game also demonstrate a certain xenophobia. All of the good characters, such as the Hylians and Kokiri, are white. In contrast, all of the bad characters, such as the thieving Gerudo and their king, Ganondorf, have brown skin. The Gerudo live in the desert, and in case it wasn’t clear what real-life group of people they are based on, the original Gerudo symbol is strongly reminiscent of the Islamic star and crescent.
The title’s perspective on sex is arguably summarized in an advertisement for “Ocarina,” which asks, “Willst thou get the girl? Or play like one?” The game utilizes a damsel-in-distress trope that suggests women are weak and in need of male protection. Just like in every other game in the series, Princess Zelda is incapacitated and in need of rescue from the central character, Link.
And of course, the fact that this Nintendo game fails to give kids a realistic view of the hellish existence endured by animals doomed to a life indentured servitude to man:
In the game, domestication is portrayed as a mutually beneficial, voluntary arrangement. The anthropomorphized cows of Hyrule speak to Link, literally saying, “Have some of my refreshing and nutritious milk!” Of course depicting a relationship as anything like symbiotic when one party kills and eats the other, as well as the latter’s children, would be laughable if it weren’t so appalling.
There’s more, but you get the picture. The whole thing is such a flawless parody of a Salon column that I can’t help but think it’s actually the intricate work of a brilliantly subversive satire site and that “Jon Hochschartner” is a carefully crafted but entirely fictional character. I mean, think about it: When people claim that most liberals are self-satisfied elitist blowhards bent on saving us all from ourselves — because only they can — this is the kind of shit they’re talking about. This thing has to be a joke.
Either way, look for the new game “The Legend of Zelda: Adventures In the Land of White Male Privilege and Oppressive Heteronormative, Cisexual Orthodoxies” — coming soon from a sufficiently chastised Nintendo, in conjunction with Salon.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.