Convenient Anger

Look, I get why people are mad at Blizzard and I had lower expectations than them a long time ago, so not surprised by what they did. I also don’t play any of their games right now anyway, so I can’t boycott my non playing. Of course, there are some other voices out there that are not necessarily pro-Blizzard but trying to make some sense of it all and share different sides. It’s all over BlogNation these days.

Here is one. Here is another.

Here is a video, I think it is a comedic clip, but it’s still kind of funny (even if it isn’t meant to be a comedy. The perfect aged cisgender white male argument!).

Someone sent this to me, can’t link directly but you can see where it is from!

It’s not great quality but still has some “truths” to it.

The people boycotting have good intentions. But the interlinked-ness of China and our world is so close, that to truly boycott them means an awful lot of other things you would have to stop using / doing, lest you be just the same as Blizzard (or worse).

The computer I am typing on is built in China. So are much of the parts. The screen I am looking at is as well. So is my phone (or parts of it), where I will read all the hate posts later on too. Basically, our electronic world is China driven. Among other things (car parts, furniture, you name it). Heck, I think they even own some parts of some utilities over here in North America.

Boycotting Blizzard when every piece of electronics in your house and your life is touched by China in one way or another is, whats the word, a bit hypocritical? So the anger is a bit convenient. People are mad at Blizzard for not standing up to a human rights abuser, while using products and services generated from the same source.

I’m not saying don’t not boycott Blizzard, because that makes for a fun grammar sentence. But if you truly believe in the principle of it all we should also examine and explore further how our personal choices support the regime, not just how the companies that we support support them.

And this goes for other causes, environment, political, etc. It’s easy to lash out, hard to look at what we ourselves are falling short at.

21 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’d argue that feew people consciously realize how much of China is in their day to day lives. Walmart, Apple, and Costco are built on that ignorance or simple lack of caring.

    Ethics and capitalism just are not compatible.

    That said, all large changes start with small actions. Loot boxes are a good example. Maybe Blizz and other gaming companies take note..maybe not. But it’s something.

    1. And that’s really my point. If you have a problem with Blizzard supporting China, then take a closer look at all the ways you are too, and cut those out at the same time. It’s one thing to cut out a video game, it’s another to have to make real choices that impact your time and investment and your own “real life”

      1. I gotcha. Ethical sourcing is a conversation in my house, has been for a long time. We can afford it. Many folks can’t, which adds a level of complexity to this topic that really makes this tougher than it reads.

      2. Real change, requires personal sacrifice. Something not many people are prepared to do. However, sooner or later, there reaches a point where people have to make a choice and pick a side. Remaining neutral is a luxury that cannot be infinitely maintained.

  2. Not intentionally side tracking the topic, but I do see the irony of how we are up in arms about other countries trying to influence US policy, and yet here we are demanding that Blizzard should be standing behind this young man voicing his opinion of issues in Hong Kong.

    I could also take the slippery slope argument that allowing this to slide opens the door for others to make political statements. But I believe in all this there was mention that they will be adjusting the rule so this cannot happen again. Meaning they are going to expand it with specific topics you cannot talk about.

    In the end, it’s their game, their tournament, their rules, there rules have to comply with laws in what ever countries they operate in. If you want to play in their tournament, that’s the rules you have to follow. If you disagree with the contract verbiage, don’t sign it, and enjoy playing the game outside of the tournament circuit.

    It reminds me of people on Facebook posting

    I am stating that as of today Facebook does not have the rights to use any images I post, or use anything I say without my written consent.

    Lol, I have given up linking the terms of use clause stating that they most certainly can. By using their service you give them the right to do so. Your recourse is don’t use it.

    1. China is a dictatorship that routinely hides the truth from their population in the name of “peace”. Their great firewall ensures nothing gets through the internet that the government doesn’t want to. And they just take whatever they want from whoever they want. The courts actually recognize that they exist to support the party, not to support the truth/justice. China is fine with this. And the rest of the world is too, because we buy their goods and support their middle class because it benefits us in the form of affordable goods.

      So this, well, its just silly people are mad. Most of them are already supporting China directly, not indirectly through a video game.

      1. I use to think China was a Communist Dictatorship, but all this reading popped up that they are considered a Socialist Democracy. So I kind of chuckled when I thought about politicians here calling for us to become a Socialist Democracy and thought, no way I want this country to be like China. It may work for them. Maybe the majority of people there are happy. I know we have our portions of the population that hate the government.

  3. “Ethics and capitalism just are not compatible.” as Asmiroth says. Although they kind of used to be in the 19th Century, when ethics were tied up with paternalism, colonialism and the White Man’s Burden – I don’t think we want to go there again, either. I put much of this down to the unsustainable nature of what we were calling “late-period capitalism” last year or the year before. If we weren’t, as economies and cultures, so deeply enmeshed in that trap the circumstances that lead to oxmoronic stances such as Blizzard’s would arise far less often, if at all.

  4. This argument is like arguing we shouldn’t ban plastic straws because that alone won’t solve the Climate Crisis, and short of stopping any and all polluting, anything less is hypocritical. Big changes usually start from something small. If this incident and what is happening with the NBA makes the average person more aware of just how China operates, and that in turn leads to further changes in how non-China companies associate with China, that’s a good thing right?

    We are seeing this play out in real time with the impeachment push; you go from 40% support to 60+% support in a short time because now more people are able to grasp what is happening, even if the ‘what is happening’ has been happening with Trump from day one (and before). China is Trump here, and even though China has been China for a long time, this and the NBA thing are the Trump Ukraine phone-call of a wake-up for many.

    1. As mentioned I am fine with it for what you mentioned. However people are always quick to hop on movements when it doesn’t inconvenience them, was my “other” point.

      And on the straws, paper are actually worse than plastic, but it’s easier to just ban than educate. (reusable metal straws are the only real solution there). Paper straws aren’t biodegradeable or recyclable and end up in the ocean as well, and the USA is responsible for only 1% of all plastic dumpage in the ocean, and 1% of that is straws. The rest is from Asian countries, by a gigantic margin. Banning straws won’t actually fix the problem, but it makes people feel good about hopping on board to do their small part.

      So that lines up too 😉 But yes, 1% of 1% is still better than 0%, and the people “not playing” blizzard games is probably also 1% of 1%. BUT, as long as someone cares at the big office, they may care. But they won’t change their minds because so much more to lose on the other side.

      1. You have a reputable link to that “plastic is better than paper” claim? Because while its true paper has its drawbacks, they are still overall better than plastic. And my original comment addressed that replacing the straws doesn’t ‘fix’ the problem, but as you yourself wrote, 1% of 1% is more than 0. Cancelling a Blizz subscription is exactly that, and that ‘something’ is better than ‘nothing’, because ‘nothing’ is exactly what China wants here.

        1. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/paper-straws-wont-stop-climate-change/596302/

          Is a good one.

          I’m agreeing with you that it’s still a good step – I’m just arguing if people really care, they should investigate other areas of their life to make a difference. Some is better than none for sure, but they are very much supporting the regime in bigger and more impactful ways (whether they know it or not, or are blissfully ignorant).

          I honestly dont even know if it’s possible to decouple the relationship and dependence on/with China.

          1. That link supports my point, hell even the text in the link drives it home (of course paper straws won’t stop climate change…).My contention was you said paper straws are WORSE than plastic, which is just outright wrong. They aren’t a miracle cure for climate change, but they are BETTER than plastic.

            And really plastic straws vs paper is a perfect example of canceling a sub to influence china. No one is claiming that a single sub cancel is going to close the internment camps in China. But it is correct that cancelling a sub and letting Blizz know you did it because they aligned with China does send a message. That message is only worth $15 a month, and it along won’t be noticed. But if a million individuals all do that one small step, Blizz is going to notice a $15m monthly revenue decrease. No one person can be that $15m, but you absolutely aren’t going to be PART of that $15m if you do nothing (and most importantly, ‘do nothing’ is EXACTLY what China wants. They want to be able to censor and dictate to others with zero consequence or resistance).

  5. Hi Isey! Your argument is falling into Sunk Cost fallacy here. The items you already have in your home from China / made in China are already yours, and the money spent on them already theirs. There is no point in ditching anything as it won’t really affect them. It’s when you make a new payment (like to renew a subscription) that you need to think about the source or the provider. 🙂

  6. I know we all have to choose our battles, but it still doesn’t cease to amaze me just how many people choose video games as theirs (because let’s be clear: they are boycotting Blizzard for how they treated a streamer, not the government of China for how it’s treating Hong Kong – China doesn’t give a crap about your subscription status).

    Similarly to the whole lootbox controversy earlier in the year, I can’t help but wonder how different the world would be if more people could muster the same amount of energy to be this loud and passionate about causes like climate change, poverty or political corruption. Oh well.

  7. It’s worth making a key distinction here. Consider:

    Strategy 1, boycott China to force democracy there, vs.

    Strategy 2, boycott ActiBlizz as part of a social movement pushing companies and governments outside of China to limit the Chinese government’s attempt at controlling political expression outside of China.

    I have zero interest in Strategy 1. First, I don’t think there’s good evidence that boycotts etc. are an effective way to encourage democracy. See, e.g., Cuba. Second, I am deeply in favor of the idea that the huge proportion of humanity that lives in China should escape poverty.

    Strategy 2, though, makes good sense to me. We may not be able to do as much as we’d like to help encourage freedom and human rights in China. But it’s far more reasonable to draw lines around Chinese efforts to control civil society outside of China. Companies like Google have in the past mostly withdrawn from China rather than play along with the “authoritarian straddle” (https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/07/the-nba-should-learn-from-google-china/) that government imposes.

    Maybe people on Twitter are doing a bad job explaining their social movement, shocking as that would be. But the structure, targets, and timing right now point toward the much more reasonable Strategy 2.

    1. That’s fair Athie and very well put to text. I am a big fan of well thought out, mature decision making based on what consumers can control. And any dialog or instance that brings these issues to light are also good for society to understand and talk about. Which, of course, can’t be done well and Twitter and can’t be done well without further examining what we are trying to impact and why.

      As well as learning more and better ways to have the same desired effect, if that really is true.

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