When I use the word “pundit”, I do so derogatorily. There are few things more loathsome to me than a pundit of any kind. It’s something I grew to be baffled by in my previous endeavor of a blog where I would refute or mock editorials by media pundits. It got tiring over the course of few years, but I learned how to suss out bullshit nonsense quickly when I started covering the culture wars a couple of years back.
When #GamerGate arose, several “video game journalists” began to try distancing themselves from the moniker after it had become noticeably tainted in the aftermath. It was alarming just how awful they were at trying to call themselves anything else, I mean these people write and “create” for a living…surely they could do better than something like “Oh…uh…were just some doods who make silly videos on The Internets”.
I started calling them pundits. Sometimes with the moniker “video game pundits”, but mostly pundits. And wouldn’t you know…it caught on with some of the more “vocal” amongst them.
I will not be so egotistical to believe that I started this “pundit” uprising…but it is surprising just how apt it apparently is considering the turn of all types of media from something resembling information to nonstop opinions.
Couching of all of this usage of punditry is the notion that media critics no longer seem to grasp the ability to analyze a work or say anything without inserting anecdotal bullshit in to their work. For some reason, I know the sexual proclivities of several writers. In all cases, it was completely unrelated to the topic they were covering. Nevertheless, there it was on display, because they could.
On top of this, several critics have essentially stopped reviewing media and started recollecting what the media did to them.
It’s more apparent with millennial critics as of late. It’s as if they have zero capacity to leverage a fair critique perhaps because they’re generally stupid, and therefore must rely on the anecdotal to have anything worth noting about the media they’re attempting to consume and review for others.
It’s fair to say that they may not even be stupid…just ignorant, that perhaps they’re “lowering” themselves to what they think the average internet denizen may think of their piece. Maybe an editor is telling the reviewer to make the review more clickbaity to garner those sweet sweet clicks from traffic? Because several of these writers are college educated in fields (film history, and the like) that you think would lend well to a better review.
However, time and again you have field reports about how a movie didn’t have enough women doing something for a reviewers taste. Alternatively, my personal favorite, being a joke scientist and attempting to explain that they don’t like a dick joke…because they’re a lady? A certain brand of humor doesn’t quite hit them in the “Ha-Ha Zone” and suddenly a comedy film is trash because it didn’t make the reviewer laugh enough times? Yeah, this is what we’ve come to with our current state of critique.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for this type of critique or writing. It’s best suited for a diary with a tiny locket to be stuffed haphazardly under a bed. Not for the eyes and ears of an audience looking to make an educated decision on their entertainment dollar.
Perhaps too is the notion that because you can doesn’t mean you should. It’s that in order to bridge the gap of ignorance in the field of media critique several people have lazily filled their output with anecdotes to perhaps “relate” to their audience. However, that’s the problem with being a vaunted “gatekeeper” you’re not supposed to be relatable; you’re supposed to be a “sage” of an informed opinion. Whether you like the color purple, or hate dick jokes because of a bad blowjob one time when you’re in college doesn’t help inform any kind of opinion on the media in question.
Mostly, it makes me wonder where in the hell these editors pluck these assholes from in the first place.
The thing with pundits is that they don’t honor consistency and in fact, if you were to line up their output you would find mounds of hypocrisy. Granted, this is probably inevitable with the mounds of prolific output pundits tend to get up to, since they’re paid by amount not the content of their work.
Pundits love anecdotes, it helps them appear human, and since the bulk of them never cast a shadow near a real office door, they use them often. The bulk of our current media functions in much the same way these days. For the games press, you need look no further to sheer amounts of video games press that don’t bother to attend events like E3, yet somehow feel compelled to “cover” it for their respective tiny audiences.
It’s where you begin to realize that this inability or lack of public interaction is what can lead to things like #GamerGate rising up in the first place. Where its fuel is purely based on audience alienation.
In fact, this continued alienation is fueling things on a larger front. The Internets has opened up the entire world to people, yet we find ourselves more insular than ever before. Now we can find all the confirmation bias we need in one or two places, we don’t need to have our ideas challenges and we don’t have to physically find our community anymore.
Therefore, you can begin to understand just why we’ve seen a collective dimming of the bulb in our “free thinker” pundits on down to the lowly asshole “ranter” on YouTube.
A pundit is a vestigial element of a less insular time. Add to it the democratization, for better or worse, of The Interents and we find ourselves awash in a useless sea of collective opinions that are like assholes: everyone has one, and they all stink.
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