Thursday, November 14, 2019

All Right, Let's Wade Into This

I wasn't going to write about this today, but since the flu-like fever dream has passed, I guess it's as good a time as any.

Yes. Blizzard, free speech, and Hong Kong.

First off, there's a very NSFW Jimquisition video: Blizzard is Pathetic. Everything he says, and the incendiary tone, is true. Blizzard is actually pathetic, and their "apology" at Blizzcon was a huge embarrassment.

If you haven't heard anything about this (I don't know how that's even possible), here's a quick summary: Blizzard suspended a professional Hearthstone player after a post-match interview in which he expressed support for the protesters in Hong Kong (longer summary).

Now, I'm going to do something I didn't think I would do: defend Blizzard. Maybe not in the way you expect, though.

There's one mistake in the Jimquisition video (which is both on-point and very funny): several times, he says that companies want access to the China market because it's worth millions in revenue.

Nope. It's not millions. It's billions. Billions and billions. An example: China's mega shopping event, Singles Day, sold more in 24 hours than Amazon sells in two months.

Blizzard is absolutely complicit. But then, so are we all.

Both of these things are true:
1. China is a anti-democratic, brutal regime.
2. The commerce relationship we have with China has benefited us to an incredible degree.

How do you parse those two things? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that no companies are refusing access to the Chinese market, and no consumers are refusing to buy things made in China, so we're all kind of in this together.

In that context, Blizzard's mealy-mouth non-apology (just like the NBA) makes sense. Trying to appease both sides is mutually exclusive, in this case, so they sound ridiculous. But people are trying to make their money, as people will do.

Which is very, very sad, because those Hong Kong protests are enormous and have the potential to cause seismic change, if anyone really cared.

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