When it comes to preserving your sanity online, there’s really only one hard and fast rule to keep in mind:
“Whatever you do, do not read the comments”
Maybe you found an innocuous article on the horticultural habits of mid-19th century Dutch immigrants? Or the migratory patters of canadian geese? Or why blue is a very pretty color? It doesn’t matter – Somewhere in the comments thread, someone is calling someone else to a nazi, or a “fag”, or just posting links to mind-bendingly awful scat-porn. And, even if that’s not happening, odds are someone in the thread is being a colossal jerk solely for the sake of being a colossal jerk. When anonymous commenting is the name of the game (at least, until yesterdays PRISMatic revelations…) the game is going to be fucking awful. So, again, whatever you do, do not read the comments.
Case in point: The Gawker-owner Kotaku video game site recently posted a new trailer for the latest installment of the “Wolfenstein” video game franchise. For those not familiar with series, the Wolfenstein games are first-person shooters in which you, as (the possibly Jewish) William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, walk around and kill as many Nazis as possible.
Here’s the most recent trailer for “Wolfenstein: The New Order”:
Now, okay, maybe this isn’t your cup of tea. But hey, it’s a video game – It’s not like people are gonna use this to try and make a serious point about, well, anything, right?
As Bryan Carr, host of Geek Speak Radio put it:
See folks, he’s got a lot of admirable qualities that were just tainted by “bad press”! No biggie, right?
This isn’t the first time a Nazi-themed video game has caused an uproar. And, to their credit, over 150 people have chimed in and tried to explain why this is, to put it nicely, “totally fucking insane.” But, this is the internet, and here common sense takes a back seat to rhetorical pugilism and unnecessary antagonization. Yippee ki-ay!
Anyways, if you’d like to join the chorus of “Actually, maybe Hitler was pretty lousy”, feel free to do so over at Kotaku.
Or, you could take our advice, and simply not read the comments.