The Word Rabbit

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This article was written on 18 Jul 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Could Pokemon Go please fuck off?

People are retreating into a fantasy world, chasing thin, ephemeral fantasies that cannot hope to make them happy. Many stare into their mobile phones when in public places, seeking to capture something that remains elusive, often meeting like minds, and talking about this exciting parallel universe where anything is possible, peopled by strange and magical beasts. Of course, this is the Labour leadership contest with its cast of insane left-wingers, but what I want to talk about is the phenomenon known as ‘Pokemon Go.’

We’ve just voted to leave the European Union, in case any of the Pokemon Go players happened to miss it. There’s a Tory government and Scotland is, rightly, about to break away, which means that said Tory government will now be in power in England for the rest of recorded time, free to do whatever it wants, while the Corbynite rump of eight MPs attend seminars on Cuba and dream of some distant tomorrow. Society as we know it, then, is ending.

For the Pokemon Go players, none of this is relevant. ‘Government, you say? The European what? I want to catch a virtual cartoon character drawn by a staggeringly calculating Japanese artist who wanted to make it look cute. This politics stuff is all just so depressing, so I’m going outside to play with some other bubbleheads, despite the fact I’m a 38 year old account manager from Staines.’ You start to wonder, in fact, if this is some plot that has been hatched somewhere between the head office of Nintendo and Conservative Central Office.

Think about it – you want to distract people from the fact the Foreign Secretary is a racist idiot with all the people skills of Caligula, that you have no trade negotiators and the person in charge of talking to the European Union couldn’t put his shoes on unaided? That your party have a monopoly on power that even Pol Pot would consider excessive? You get a child’s game that can be played on your mobile phone, which every adult owns, put it on the App Store and watch them go.

I’m not saying, incidentally, that this is a real conspiracy. Merely that it’s been propitious for the Tories because, as reality gets steadily more shitty, more people are going to want out. There is clearly a tipping point, beyond which society becomes obsessed with novelty and can’t be saved and I’d argue that we’ve passed it. Adults become anxious to escape, politicians increasingly enjoy free reign and life, for most people, stays the same. For the people at the bottom, or on the margins, it gets a lot worse, but the fantasy-dwellers won’t care.

This is almost exactly the time when we need an opposition to stand up and be the voice of people, but they’re utterly absent from public life, speaking only to the converted and discontented. When you get people hymning a Labour victory in Bradford, a traditional northern heartland, which they’ve had to fight for with UKIP, a bunch of xenophobic lunatics who crap themselves if they see a Muslim, it really is game over. If Labour’s life now is about chasing the votes of people who think UKIP are a credible force – stupid people, incidentally – it’s best left alone.

While the right run free, people play Pokemon and the left decide that a wonky-toothed old Trot with as much chance of seeing power as I stand of being elected most desirable man, people need to make their choices accordingly. Mine is to get out of this country, either in my own tiny world or in actuality, and leave it to the idiots and imbeciles to get on with buggering up. And if I see anyone playing Pokemon Go or, for that matter, its idiot sibling, Candy Crush, I’ll try very hard not to vomit over them violently.

[EDIT – I’ve just found out that people have been doing Pokemon Go at Auschwitz. This doesn’t really need any commentary.]

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