The Difference Between Political Correctness and Fair Criticism

I read an IGN article today. Yeah, not the best of ideas. In it, the author argues that, no matter who it offends, games shouldn’t be restrained by the “thought police” that “the offended” make up, that things like Tomb Raider’s (supposed) exploitative use of sexual assault and Six Days in Fallujah’s setting in the then-still-ablaze Iraq War shouldn’t have been allowed to change the products because people were “offended”, because if games don’t “push the envelope” they’ll never be as well-accepted as other mediums.

Well, of course games should have the same standards of other mediums, as almost every games journalist has been so desperately pleading for practically since “game journalism” has been a term, but that is why the author’s argument is so poor. Yes, games should be able to push the envelope and explore issues that other mediums have, but they are not free from criticism in how they approach said issues. Just because someone takes offense at the treatment of an issue in the game, they are not invalidated as a critic of the game; they are not members of some “thought police” that want to keep the issue out of the medium entirely. There are methods of treating these issues intelligently. What is being defended here is the ability to exploit or belittle the issues for the sake of controversy.

Let’s take Tomb Raider, for example. The author argues that the “offense” over Tomb Raider was because one of the developers merely “alluded” to an instance of sexual assault in the narrative.

Have you ever seen an episode of Law & Order: SVU? How about the movie The Accused? Why are games held to an entirely different – and completely hypocritical and unfair – standard?

They’re actually not! Surprise, surprise. The thing about The Accused is that it doesn’t exploit the issue of rape. It’s treated extremely seriously, is shown to have horrific effects upon the victim, and so on. Law & Order: SVU, generally but not always, uses it in the same manner, and when it doesn’t, it is scrutinized just as much as it is with Tomb Raider. Law & Order has been treading that ground for decades, so the people who have argued against its issues have become less and less vocal as the years have gone on. It’s also quite strange for him to write that games are the only ones held to this with the controversy over Daniel Tosh’s “rape joke” still fresh in our minds. Criticism of how artists treat issues of this nature is not limited to games.

Tomb Raider’s problem is that its use of the concept is not, from everything the developer has said, treated seriously. The game’s narrative is supposed to show how Lara progresses from an average college student to the rough-and-tumble pseudo-archaeologist she is in the earlier entries of the franchise. With Crystal Dynamics’ statements on said story, on how they’re supposed to convince the player to want to “protect” Lara (instead of even treating her as a player character), the use of sexual assault in the narrative comes off as heavily exploitative and unrealistic. It is in there as a device to make Lara a stronger person, because, of course, rape victims end up stronger from the experience. Just ask them. There is no way to tell for sure since the game isn’t out and we don’t know the full narrative arc or the exact treatment of said issue, but it was controversial and people were offended because it is a poor use of the concept.

As a counter example, we have L.A. Noire, which treated the issue in much the same way Law & Order: SVU does, without being exploitative. It wasn't controversial because, guess what, it wasn't exploitative.

Games should be able to tackle the same issues as other mediums, I agree, but when they tackle them poorly, they are allowed to be criticized as such. That’s not being some member of a “thought police,” it’s free speech, just as much free speech that is granted to the people who are making games like Tomb Raider and Six Days in Fallujah.

The Benjamin Franklin and George Orwell quotes in the article apply to both the creators of the games (or any artistic medium) and their critics. They have the liberty to make stupid, offensive tripe, and we have the liberty to criticize them for it, as well as not support what they create.

I believe a comment on the article by user “Hatfieldnate” sums up the article quite well:

“George Orwell once said that “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I’m certainly saying something that some people don’t want to hear; namely that you being offended doesn’t matter to me, and I resent being subjected to the whims of the vocal when I don’t, in turn, project the things that offend me onto you.”

Your inability to grasp the irony in using a quote about being able to say things people don’t want to hear, while complaining about people saying things you don’t want to hear, is both amusing and idiotic.

If there is anything that can be gleaned from this article, it is that, as bad games journalists have been both clamoring for and denying in their great self-victimizing ways, games are still as valid a medium as everything else. Tomb Raider is now on the same level as 70’s sexploitation films and a shitty comedian.

Will we someday have a game with mainstream success that will tackle these issues intelligently? Probably, yes. Once we get more intelligent writers working on mainstream developers and we stop being locked up by, not the “P.C. Thought Police,” but the people who merely desire more sex, more gore, and more controversy in some bid to make the medium appear more mature to a benevolent cultural lord who will finally give us the unneeded honor of being a part of a group of mediums under the meaningless label of “art".

There are risks that come with “pushing the envelope.” What comes out of doing this is often very good at its treatment of its content or it’s exploiting it poorly. When it does the latter, it deserves criticism.

Such is the world of free speech that we live in.

21 Comments
21 Comments
Posted by JayHitcher

I read an IGN article today. Yeah, not the best of ideas. In it, the author argues that, no matter who it offends, games shouldn’t be restrained by the “thought police” that “the offended” make up, that things like Tomb Raider’s (supposed) exploitative use of sexual assault and Six Days in Fallujah’s setting in the then-still-ablaze Iraq War shouldn’t have been allowed to change the products because people were “offended”, because if games don’t “push the envelope” they’ll never be as well-accepted as other mediums.

Well, of course games should have the same standards of other mediums, as almost every games journalist has been so desperately pleading for practically since “game journalism” has been a term, but that is why the author’s argument is so poor. Yes, games should be able to push the envelope and explore issues that other mediums have, but they are not free from criticism in how they approach said issues. Just because someone takes offense at the treatment of an issue in the game, they are not invalidated as a critic of the game; they are not members of some “thought police” that want to keep the issue out of the medium entirely. There are methods of treating these issues intelligently. What is being defended here is the ability to exploit or belittle the issues for the sake of controversy.

Let’s take Tomb Raider, for example. The author argues that the “offense” over Tomb Raider was because one of the developers merely “alluded” to an instance of sexual assault in the narrative.

Have you ever seen an episode of Law & Order: SVU? How about the movie The Accused? Why are games held to an entirely different – and completely hypocritical and unfair – standard?

They’re actually not! Surprise, surprise. The thing about The Accused is that it doesn’t exploit the issue of rape. It’s treated extremely seriously, is shown to have horrific effects upon the victim, and so on. Law & Order: SVU, generally but not always, uses it in the same manner, and when it doesn’t, it is scrutinized just as much as it is with Tomb Raider. Law & Order has been treading that ground for decades, so the people who have argued against its issues have become less and less vocal as the years have gone on. It’s also quite strange for him to write that games are the only ones held to this with the controversy over Daniel Tosh’s “rape joke” still fresh in our minds. Criticism of how artists treat issues of this nature is not limited to games.

Tomb Raider’s problem is that its use of the concept is not, from everything the developer has said, treated seriously. The game’s narrative is supposed to show how Lara progresses from an average college student to the rough-and-tumble pseudo-archaeologist she is in the earlier entries of the franchise. With Crystal Dynamics’ statements on said story, on how they’re supposed to convince the player to want to “protect” Lara (instead of even treating her as a player character), the use of sexual assault in the narrative comes off as heavily exploitative and unrealistic. It is in there as a device to make Lara a stronger person, because, of course, rape victims end up stronger from the experience. Just ask them. There is no way to tell for sure since the game isn’t out and we don’t know the full narrative arc or the exact treatment of said issue, but it was controversial and people were offended because it is a poor use of the concept.

As a counter example, we have L.A. Noire, which treated the issue in much the same way Law & Order: SVU does, without being exploitative. It wasn't controversial because, guess what, it wasn't exploitative.

Games should be able to tackle the same issues as other mediums, I agree, but when they tackle them poorly, they are allowed to be criticized as such. That’s not being some member of a “thought police,” it’s free speech, just as much free speech that is granted to the people who are making games like Tomb Raider and Six Days in Fallujah.

The Benjamin Franklin and George Orwell quotes in the article apply to both the creators of the games (or any artistic medium) and their critics. They have the liberty to make stupid, offensive tripe, and we have the liberty to criticize them for it, as well as not support what they create.

I believe a comment on the article by user “Hatfieldnate” sums up the article quite well:

“George Orwell once said that “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I’m certainly saying something that some people don’t want to hear; namely that you being offended doesn’t matter to me, and I resent being subjected to the whims of the vocal when I don’t, in turn, project the things that offend me onto you.”

Your inability to grasp the irony in using a quote about being able to say things people don’t want to hear, while complaining about people saying things you don’t want to hear, is both amusing and idiotic.

If there is anything that can be gleaned from this article, it is that, as bad games journalists have been both clamoring for and denying in their great self-victimizing ways, games are still as valid a medium as everything else. Tomb Raider is now on the same level as 70’s sexploitation films and a shitty comedian.

Will we someday have a game with mainstream success that will tackle these issues intelligently? Probably, yes. Once we get more intelligent writers working on mainstream developers and we stop being locked up by, not the “P.C. Thought Police,” but the people who merely desire more sex, more gore, and more controversy in some bid to make the medium appear more mature to a benevolent cultural lord who will finally give us the unneeded honor of being a part of a group of mediums under the meaningless label of “art".

There are risks that come with “pushing the envelope.” What comes out of doing this is often very good at its treatment of its content or it’s exploiting it poorly. When it does the latter, it deserves criticism.

Such is the world of free speech that we live in.

Posted by d715

In other words. They're using a plot device a 14 fangirl would use for their fanfics so make there main character feel "deep".

Nice job

Edited by DoctorWelch

First of all, can we please stop talking about this?

Second, everyone needs to stop assuming they know everything about a game they have never even played because one guy misspoke in an interview. If anything, this whole controversy reveals how illogical and unqualified most "game critics" are when it comes to actually informatively and intelligently discussing games. It doesn't have to be an either or situation. The game can be kind of sleazy, while the criticism is equally as horrible.

Edited by plaintomato

@JayHitcher said:

Hatfieldnate

“George Orwell once said that “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I’m certainly saying something that some people don’t want to hear; namely that you being offended doesn’t matter to me, and I resent being subjected to the whims of the vocal when I don’t, in turn, project the things that offend me onto you.”

Your inability to grasp the irony in using a quote about being able to say things people don’t want to hear, while complaining about people saying things you don’t want to hear, is both amusing and idiotic.

That quote sums up your opinion; not the article. The article was essentially about how annoying, and potentially damaging, all of the endless whining can be.

It's a question of degree: Which is more annoying, and potentially damaging?

  1. A producer generates content you don't like.
  2. People who produced nothing endlessly rail against what was produced, whining and balling and even demanding the content be altered.
  3. Somebody complains about all of the self-righteous whining.

My vote for most annoying, and most potentially damaging to the "right to say things people don't want to hear", is definitely for number 2. That's where you fit in, see? In number 1 content/expression (good or bad) is produced, in number 3 the right to produce that content/expression regardless of its merits is defended - it's number 2 where the closest thing to an attempt to restrict content/expression is happening.

Posted by Doctorchimp

@JayHitcher said:

It is in there as a device to make Lara a stronger person, because, of course, rape victims end up stronger from the experience. Just ask them.

Did anybody else read this?

What the fuck is your problem? Jesus, this is why internet white knights are the creepiest.

By all means enjoy your creepy videogames where the videogame manipulates you into feeling sorry for the female avatar that you want to reach in and hold just like the developers want you to. You have a goddamn right to do what you want.

I have the goddamn right to ignore that shit.

Posted by WorkerOne

@plaintomato said:

@JayHitcher said:

Hatfieldnate

“George Orwell once said that “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I’m certainly saying something that some people don’t want to hear; namely that you being offended doesn’t matter to me, and I resent being subjected to the whims of the vocal when I don’t, in turn, project the things that offend me onto you.”

Your inability to grasp the irony in using a quote about being able to say things people don’t want to hear, while complaining about people saying things you don’t want to hear, is both amusing and idiotic.

That quote sums up your opinion; not the article. The article was essentially about how annoying, and potentially damaging, all of the endless whining can be.

It's a question of degree: Which is more annoying, and potentially damaging?

  1. A producer generates content you don't like.
  2. People who produced nothing endlessly rail against what was produced, whining and balling and even demanding the content be altered.
  3. Somebody complains about all of the self-righteous whining.

My vote for most annoying, and most potentially damaging to the "right to say things people don't want to hear", is definitely for number 2. That's where you fit in, see? In number 1 content/expression (good or bad) is produced, in number 3 the right to produce that content/expression regardless of its merits is defended - it's number 2 where the closest thing to an attempt to restrict content/expression is happening.

I completely disagree. You're mischaracterizing all criticism as whining and balling, and ignoring its impact on future work. "Producers" don't create in a vacuum, completely by themselves. Do they have an obligation to respond and/or address to all criticism? Of course not. But somehow trying to argue that criticism of criticism is more valid (or less annoying) than criticism alone seems a little crazy to me, and is based entirely upon your subjective "side" in the argument.

Posted by plaintomato

@WorkerOne said:

I completely disagree. You're mischaracterizing all criticism as whining and balling, and ignoring its impact on future work. "Producers" don't create in a vacuum, completely by themselves. Do they have an obligation to respond and/or address to all criticism? Of course not. But somehow trying to argue that criticism of criticism is more valid (or less annoying) than criticism alone seems a little crazy to me, and is based entirely upon your subjective "side" in the argument.

I agree with your point in a general way; criticism is important and constructive. They even have a name for that kind of constructive criticism, crazy enough it's called "constructive criticism". But this, for the most part, hasn't been that. I would say, for example, that the whole thing about the borderline-falsely-advertised ending to ME3 falls under a more productive type of criticism.

What we've seen with Tomb Raider is more politicized. And I'm not saying people don't have a right to whine and complain; I'm saying that this idea that an article complaining about what happens when political correctness is enforced by whiners is somehow idiotic, is the real idiocy here - in terms of intrinsic value. I'm saying there is a value differential between creating something, providing criticism as feedback, and providing criticism as a push to enforce political correctness.

Political correctness can have value in terms of promoting more responsible thinking; but when it becomes a crusade for mob-rule censorship it has negative value, it is less valid, and it is more annoying. The frequency with which political correctness shifts from a call for awareness to a call for penal enforcement is why the term carries a negative connotation with so many people.

Posted by d715

@plaintomato said:

@WorkerOne said:

I completely disagree. You're mischaracterizing all criticism as whining and balling, and ignoring its impact on future work. "Producers" don't create in a vacuum, completely by themselves. Do they have an obligation to respond and/or address to all criticism? Of course not. But somehow trying to argue that criticism of criticism is more valid (or less annoying) than criticism alone seems a little crazy to me, and is based entirely upon your subjective "side" in the argument.

I agree with your point in a general way; criticism is important and constructive. They even have a name for that kind of constructive criticism, crazy enough it's called "constructive criticism". But this, for the most part, hasn't been that. I would say, for example, that the whole thing about the borderline-falsely-advertised ending to ME3 falls under a more productive type of criticism.

What we've seen with Tomb Raider is more politicized. And I'm not saying people don't have a right to whine and complain; I'm saying that this idea that an article complaining about what happens when political correctness is enforced by whiners is somehow idiotic, is the real idiocy here - in terms of intrinsic value. I'm saying there is a value differential between creating something, providing criticism as feedback, and providing criticism as a push to enforce political correctness.

Political correctness can have value in terms of promoting more responsible thinking; but when it becomes a crusade for mob-rule censorship it has negative value, it is less valid, and it is more annoying. The frequency with which political correctness shifts from a call for awareness to a call for penal enforcement is why the term carries a negative connotation with so many people.

Who cares, about political correctness. The bottom line is video games are and will always be an form of entertainment first and foremost. The player character is you. And I don't know about you but I rather not play "I spit on your grave: the video game" And by the outrage most people don't want to either.

Rape isn't fun.

A woman getting rape and as a result she becomes badass and kills isn't new its been done to death and is now seen as a poor way to make characters AND sexist (as men rarely get raped in media)

Like I said wend I posted you're defending something a 14 year old would come out for their shitty fanfic. Also the games' lead developer just stated their is no rape in the first place.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnyegriffiths/2012/06/13/crystal-dynamics-tomb-raider/

Edited by plaintomato

@d715 said:

Who cares, about political correctness. The bottom line is video games are and will always be an form of entertainment first and foremost. The player character is you. And I don't know about you but I rather not play "I spit on your grave: the video game" And by the outrage most people don't want to either.

Rape isn't fun.

A woman getting rape and as a result she becomes badass and kills isn't new its been done to death and is now seen as a poor way to make characters AND sexist (as men rarely get raped in media)

Like I said wend I posted you're defending something a 14 year old would come out for their shitty fanfic. Also the games' lead developer just stated their is no rape in the first place.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnyegriffiths/2012/06/13/crystal-dynamics-tomb-raider/

I totally get your point.

Who cares about political correctness? Konami. Greece. Crystal Dynamics...which is why all the backpedaling. And most people that aren't total bigots, to some degree or other. And also bigots, when the incorrectness is about them. People just don't like to call it political correctness because the phrase makes you think of walking on egg shells so you don't get kicked out of the Olympics.

Rape isn't fun? No argument here. But I'm sure you're not suggesting all of the other tragic back-stories behind video games would be fun, so...I guess maybe I don't get your point. At least we can agree rape isn't fun. But a lot of people seem to agree that pushing fictional characters to extremes is entertaining.

AND portraying breasts must be sexist too? I mean, men rarely have breasts in media.

And so the lead dev says there is no rape. So what does that mean? Rape is sexist but implied sexual aggression, clarified by the dev to be to some degree less than rape, is not? I'm not following your bottom line...

Come to think of it, I don't see a point to totally get.

Posted by d715

@plaintomato said:

@d715 said:

Who cares, about political correctness. The bottom line is video games are and will always be an form of entertainment first and foremost. The player character is you. And I don't know about you but I rather not play "I spit on your grave: the video game" And by the outrage most people don't want to either.

Rape isn't fun.

A woman getting rape and as a result she becomes badass and kills isn't new its been done to death and is now seen as a poor way to make characters AND sexist (as men rarely get raped in media)

Like I said wend I posted you're defending something a 14 year old would come out for their shitty fanfic. Also the games' lead developer just stated their is no rape in the first place.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnyegriffiths/2012/06/13/crystal-dynamics-tomb-raider/

I totally get your point.

Who cares about political correctness? Konami. Greece. Crystal Dynamics...which is why all the backpedaling. And most people that aren't total bigots, to some degree or other. And also bigots, when the incorrectness is about them. People just don't like to call it political correctness because the phrase makes you think of walking on egg shells so you don't get kicked out of the Olympics.

Rape isn't fun? No argument here. But I'm sure you're not suggesting all of the other tragic back-stories behind video games would be fun, so...I guess maybe I don't get your point. At least we can agree rape isn't fun. But a lot of people seem to agree that pushing fictional characters to extremes is entertaining.

AND portraying breasts must be sexist too? I mean, men rarely have breasts in media.

And so the lead dev says there is no rape. So what does that mean? Rape is sexist but implied sexual aggression, clarified by the dev to be to some degree less than rape, is not? I'm not following your bottom line...

Come to think of it, I don't see a point to totally get.

Good job missing the point of everything I said.

in human mind set rape is seen as worst than murder, that's why a in the Elder Scrolls Molag Bal is viewed as the most evilest of the Daedric Princes because he's a rapist.

That's why we don't mind Batman's parents getting killed, but an outcry wend Black Cat origin was recton into getting date raped.

That's why everyone hates FATAL (well the main reason)

And like I said, female characters having rape in the backstory is rather common, to a point were writer Gail Simone posted a site listing every female in comics with rape in their back story (or was added into it) or gets rape for drama just to show how many there are.

This isn't "art" its a cliche.

Posted by plaintomato

@d715 said:

This isn't "art" its a cliche.

Now that's a point I can completely agree with. I'd have to say the old 'kill-their-family' chestnut probably ranks a little higher though.

@plaintomato said:

a lot of people seem to agree that pushing fictional characters to extremes is entertaining.

Posted by mlarrabee

Let people make what they want, whether art or "art."

Just look at the films of the 1920s, watch the transition to Hollywood censorship, and the transition out into the '60s and '70s.

We're watching a repeat.

Posted by Oldirtybearon

Let people make what they want, whether art or "art."

Just look at the films of the 1920s, watch the transition to Hollywood censorship, and the transition out into the '60s and '70s.

We're watching a repeat.

The hilarious thing? It's not even coming from parents who just don't understand, it's coming from the fucking people who play these games and understand the greater context for them.

I'm all for ignoring shit you don't want to see/listen to, but where I disagree with the OP is when that tip toes into telling other people what they can enjoy/what they can create. That crosses an ethical boundary that art - serious art no less - has been fighting up hill twenty miles knee deep in the snow with no shoes on for centuries. I find it appalling that this perverted attitude exists even today.

Posted by golguin

How about people just stop being offended for others? The white knights who have come out because of this game are really pretty disgusting. I read the IGN review by Keza MacDonald and I feel that I've come to know a bit of what she's about by the things she talks about on podcasts. She seems pretty easy going and she loves Dark Souls so I trust her opinion on the game.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/02/25/tomb-raider-review-2

Going through the text of the review I picked some choice snippets to show what she thought.

"Over the course of the game we see this intelligent, resourceful young woman become something closer to the Lara Croft we know, fearless in the face of danger. It is a greatly successful origin story, a series reboot that feels both authentic and hugely exciting."

"...throughout this adventure you'll really feel for Lara – she is just not having a good time out there. It is a compelling reading of the character; we see Lara's vulnerability, but she is never disempowered, and never less than totally capable in extreme danger."

"Tomb Raider is well-written, sympathetic, exciting, beautiful and just incredibly well-made. The single-player rarely makes a mis-step, and though Lara's quick transformation into a hardened killer seems at odds with the narrative at first, the game quickly moves past it. It is a superb action game that brings a new emotional dimension to one of gaming's most enduring icons, and repositions her alongside Nathan Drake at the top of gaming's action-hero heirarchy."

You can comb through the review of the text and not find a single instance of the word "sexism" or "misogyny" or any of that kind of stuff. She openly spoke out (on the podcast) against the backlash the game got in the press as being overblown and lacking context as no one had actually played the game. She said people could criticize the game once they actually played it and it made zero sense to drum up controversy over an offhand comment made by a developer.

I suggest everyone chill out before going on some crusade at least until the game comes out.

Edited by LiquidPrince

What are you talking about? Have you played the game yet? Because I have, and they treat every aspect of the story super seriously. In fact I'll just copy and paste the message I sent to Patrick on the Bombcast page:

I feel like you're putting words into Crystal Dynamics' mouth by saying "we're going to fuck her up!" I don't ever recall the team talking about hurting Lara for the sake of hurting her. Every interview I've read or watched has always stated that she is going to go through a difficult time which will forge her into the iconic character that people recognize. And that is exactly what happens.

I mean from what I've played of it so far, granted I'm only an hour and a half in, she hasn't taken much that Drake hasn't suffered through. Drake got stabbed in pretty much the same area. The difference between this Uncharted and Tomb Raider is in my opinion Uncharted is a little more pulpy, where as TR is trying to set a more realistic tone. Which is why when you die in very specific scenes, you get those bad kill animations. It's like Dead Space in that way.

I just feel like you guys are playing this up because it's Lara Croft.

EDIT: Didn't realize this was posted like 6 months ago...

Edited by Nettacki

@liquidprince: Hold the phone. Where did you get an early copy of Tomb Raider?

Edited by LiquidPrince

@nettacki said:

@liquidprince: Hold the phone. Where did you get an early copy of Tomb Raider?

My friends uncle works for Nintendo... XD

A ma and pa shop near my place got them in early.

Posted by Funkydupe

Call SWAT on him NOW. IP Track and triangulate. Hunt and exterminate.

Posted by audioBusting

Guess I'm late to the party, but I agree with that point.. "art" being politically incorrect does not make it immune to criticism on whether the incorrect part is used effectively or not. And when it comes to Tomb Raider I feel like this whole rape and sexism thing is just played up by parts of the gaming press before anyone even played it. Reminds me of Mass Effect and the whole sexbox thing.

Posted by 8Bit_Archer

Okay guys after reading most of the post here, I think we all need to take a second and cool down.

When I get this upset I watch this and feel better

Posted by haggis

Narratives are manipulative. That's what they do. The writer convinces you to feel a certain way about characters by doing things to them--often, quite bad things. The most frequent advice given to writers (of novels, at least) is to basically put your characters through hell. It's all about manipulating the reader into feeling what the writer wants them to. That people complain about this drives me a bit nuts.

Granted, I get tired of seeing authors use sexual assault to induce sympathy for characters. But it's not new, it's not uncommon, and honestly, it works. It's not always treated well, but mostly it is. What sets protagonists apart from non-protagonists is that they take the negative things that happen to them and rise above them. If they didn't, they'd fail. The problem with applying political correctness too much to narratives (whether in video games, movies, or novels) is that it has the effect of flattening stories. It makes them boring. The world isn't politically correct. Politically incorrect things happen to people, and they need to be shown without that filter.

That's not to say things can't be exploitative, but nothing I've seen so far about this game makes me think that it is.