Today I’m going to talk about something that I’ve been mulling over for a while, now. At the urging of a friend, who must have mentioned it about a month or so ago, today’s edition of the Amateur Professional will be all about entitlement – and what exactly that means.
Nowadays, the word “entitled” is bandied about as the ultimate in insults. Having someone label you as entitled is as bad as being called a hipster was at one time, and it’s become the epithet of choice whenever you want to derail an argument without actually refuting the point that someone just made. Even someone like me, who hates confrontation to the point that he wasn’t ever able to bring himself to join the debate team in high school, knows that just up and calling someone “entitled” instead of actually responding to their position is strictly bush-league ad hominem bullshit.
You may not realize this, but you’re not helping your side of the argument by accusing someone of feeling an inflated sense of entitlement if they come to you with a grievance. It makes you look like a smug asshole, and does nothing but infuriate the person who came to you with the problem initially. This isn’t to say that there are people out there that have this overblown sense of entitlement, but you can’t simply accuse someone of that just because you’ve got no valid rebuttal to their position.
Let’s get down to solid examples of this, shall we? The first one – and one of the ones that I’ve spoken of in the past – is how people who have taken issue with the recent failures on the part of Bioware/EA have been labelled as whiny, entitled children. There’s an amazing amount of vitriol out there simply because a very vocal group of very disappointed gamers have refused to simply roll over and take it lying down, and instead have spoken up and spoken out on how they feel that they’ve been let down by BioWare – especially concerning the ending of the Mass Effect series.
Now, it’s one thing to have an actual debate concerning whether or not Mass Effect 3‘s ending was garbage or not, but the campaign to dismiss the arguments against BioWare/EA’s handling of the end of the ME trilogy has focused not on a refutation of the opposing side’s core complaints but by discrediting those making their voices heard. Instead of saying, “we hear what you’re saying, but our position is X,” people have instead pretty much said, “you self-entitled crybabies, go fuck yourselves if you don’t like it. It’s our game, we made it the way we like it, it doesn’t matter what you think.” This is, of course, the same argument George Lucas uses to justify his fiddling with the original Star Wars trilogy and also to justify the shitfest that was the prequel trilogy; it’s not very surprising to know that LucasArts partnered with BioWare/EA in order to bring Star Wars: The Old Republic to life, which has also been subjected to very harsh criticism from gamers – and been defended with such vitriolic vigor as to wonder if there are BioWare employees that are being coerced into arguing in its favor with a proverbial gun to their heads – go to bat for their shitty games, or find a new place to work. I really can’t blame them; in this economy, I’d probably crawl through a sewer full of flaming shit if it meant keeping my family fed.
Speaking of economic issues, another excellent way to see people being accused of having an aggravated sense of entitlement is to look up some of the vile things people have been saying about the Occupy Movement. Google “entitled and 99 percent” and see what happens. Go ahead; I’ll wait.
Back yet? Good, let’s continue. As you can see, one of the main arguments against the 99 percenters has been to simply call them self-entitled lazy hippies who can’t be bothered to go and get a job so they decide to camp out in Zucotti Park until the NYPD throws them out. Meanwhile, Wall Street goes on forcibly mouth-raping the American taxpayer with a wink and a grin, laughing at the helpless, hopeless plebeians as they fruitlessly campaign for the assholes that caused the worldwide economic crisis that we’re still feeling the repercussions of to this very day to be actually held accountable. Most people get filled with a dark, blistering rage upon hearing how bank executives are still raking in massive annual bonuses even as the economy is in the shitter.
People are working two jobs just to have enough money to be broke, but they’re the entitled ones for pointing the finger at Wall Street and asking “what the hell, isn’t anyone seeing that these assholes are doing to the economy?” What kind of rich douchebag do you have to be to look at a family of six – a married couple and their four school-aged children – and call them whiny and entitled because both parents work and still have to go on food stamps to keep their kids fed? How many of these Wall Street chucklefucks have ever worked a day in their lives, and I mean really worked? Gotten on their bicycle and rode 10 miles to work in the rain because the family car broke down and they couldn’t afford to get it fixed right away and still have enough money left over to pay the rent? How many times have they had to serve their kids a weeks’ worth of ketchup sandwiches because their benefits don’t kick in until the 7th every month?
I may not be a statistician, but I’m relatively sure that the number approaches zero pretty goddamn closely. It looks like that to me, the only people that have an inflated sense of entitlement are the ones sitting up on their balconies smoking cigars they lit off of $100 bills and spitting down on the people gathered below them with the pitchforks and the placards. These are the same people who scream “you’re not entitled to my money,” but fall silent when those below them shout back, “we’re entitled to a fair fucking shot.” Funny how that seems to work.