Maybe We Don’t Need To “Resist” Pokemon Go | Vol. 3 / No. 38.1

Marx does not approve of your Pokemon collecting | Photo: fhwrdh, CC BY 2.0

The grouchy Marxists over at Jacobin have published an over-the-top editorial by Sam Kriss called “Resist Pokemon Go,” and while it’s not the usual fare of complete insanity I usually post on Mondays, it’s still nuts enough to be worth sharing. My chief criticism with it is that it creates a straw-man for what Pokemon Go is and represents, and then proceeds to set it on fire without adequately dealing with reality.

His primary issue with the augmented reality game seems to be that it doesn’t turn adults into children, which he thinks would have some merit, but instead — well, I’m not sure. He refuses to outright say what he thinks, only that others’ criticisms — that it somehow “infantilizes” adults into “vicious, sticky-fingered” children, that it’s turning our world into one in which “grown adults in their millions are milling about aimlessly, staring at their phones, collecting digital rats, reliving a stupid childhood, and shrinking all the while into inattentive sugar-zapped brats” — constitute “a strong critique of the game.” You should definitely read it for yourself to see if you can actually find a substantive criticism anywhere in there.

What I’ve seen of people playing the game is a far different reality: it’s free to download; you never need to purchase anything in it to play or enjoy the game (though many will, it remains voluntary); it’s having a great impact on people with social anxiety, depression, and other challenges; it’s making people more active and more social; and people are having fun. Now maybe this all takes away from the time they might otherwise spend confronting the sheer misery of a world where we think it’s okay for the punishment for not contributing labour to the economy to be starvation, homelessness, and death, but I think there’s probably room for a little bit of fun catching Pokemon while also hating your place in the work-based economy.

You can read the piece over at Jacobin if you’re so inclined.

Happy Monday, everyone.


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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.