With Great Power, Comes great Responsibility
So it is going to look like I’m writing a editorial about Spider-Man, but stick with me.
I tend to consume my news from many different sources, so I come across stories others might not have heard of. Last week I came across a review of Insomniac Games’ new Spider-Man game.
The review was posted on Deadspin, which is owned by Gawker. The piece was written by Tom Ley, a managing editor for Deadspin.
“The game turns Spider-Man into a friggin’ cop!”
That is the tone the “review” starts with. As someone that has always been and will always be a huge Spider-Man fan, stumbling across someone using him to push an uneducated opinion made me “unhappy” to put it mildly.
The job as an editor above all else should be to verify the content your organization is putting out is a fair depiction of the subject. At one point in his article Ley said “I’m not grasping for as many straws as it may appear,” which leads me to believe he knew what he was doing in writing the “review” the way he did. If you want to call yourself a journalist, you should be dedicated to truth; plus you don’t mess with a nerd’s favorite superhero.
I have played the game, and if all someone takes from it is that Spider-Man Works closely with the police chief (who is a personal friend–not some authority controlling Spider-Man), then you…
A: Didn’t really play the game or, B: Only care about your narrative and will twist things so they fit.
In the spirit of fairness, Tom Ley, the reviewer did say, “I am only a few hours into the game,” but I don’t feel this relieves him of any responsibility.
I completely support the right of people to consume information and then voice an opinion, but if you have a large following and people listen to what you say, you have a responsibility to those people to be honest and to not manipulate. People deserve to get the facts and make up their own minds free of your influence.
Your opinion is not news.
It is for those reasons any message I get that includes pathos, I become hypercritical.
For the record, I do realize the irony of this topic in what is essentially an opinion piece.
Our 24-hour media cycle is oversaturated by negativity; it is too easy to find the bad in this world, and fear is the most powerful emotion you can attach to a message. Most of the major news stations keep people watching by playing on fears we have or instilling new ones in us.
When something good happens, like your favorite superhero gets the game they deserve and you get to really feel like you are a superhero, and then someone takes that and twists it into something negative, it pisses me off.
Peter Parker (the real identity of Spider-Man, but don’t tell anyone) is smart, funny, kind and all of that fuels his motive in doing the right thing. That is the key message here: do the right thing. Why did this writer care who is on the right side?
If someone is trying to make the world a better place or help others, why should anyone care what costume they wear? Spandex, a badge, nursing scrubs or even a press badge.
If the person that wrote this review had played the game, he could have told people how one of the police officers you meet and work through a mission with not only dies being a hero, but the game programmers have you fight alongside him at one point (all he uses in the fight against armed men is his stun gun).
“What this new game does is put Spider-Man up on a perch where he doesn’t belong. He’s no longer performing heroic deeds out of just the goodness of his heart, but also for the purpose of solidifying the existing power structures grip on the city.” Ley wrote.
Peter spends a lot of time saving people and working for free to develop prosthetics for amputees (a war veteran, to be precise). He ends up evicted from his apartment because he can’t pay rent, and ends up staying in a homeless shelter with people he has to help at times throughout the game.
There are a ton of additional items I could point to that not only show the devotion to source material that went into this game, and times the developers addressed some rough social issues with care and respect. But I won’t, because you should play the game and read the article before making up your mind about not only what I have said but whatever anyone else has said.
Our ability to reason and question our world is a great power, and we all know what that comes with.