October 16th, 2018 8:25 PM
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON THE NPC MEME
-What is an NPC?-
NPC means ânonplayable characterâ or ânonplayer character.â Itâs a term, borrowed from the world of video games, for a character that is controlled by the computer rather than by a player. An NPC often advances the gameâs plot by saying scripted lines, or assisting the playable characters in some way.
-What does this have to do with politics?-
Several months ago, users on 4chan and Reddit, started using the term NPC to refer to liberals. Liberals, they said, join the anti-Trump crowd not because they are led by independent thought or conscience to oppose President Trumpâs policies, but because theyâre brainwashed sheep who have been conditioned to parrot left-wing orthodoxy, in the manner of a scripted character.
A Reddit user, explains the appeal of the meme: “NPCs are completely dependent on their programming, and canât do or think on their own.â
–Is there more to the NPC meme?–
Sort of. There is NPC Wojak â a crudely drawn, gray cartoon avatar with a pointy nose and a blank face. NPC Wojak is a variation of Wojak, an old cartoon (also known as âfeels guyâ) that represents the mindless liberal, and has become a kind of collective mascot for the far-right commenters online, to use to ridicule the left.
—And this is a thing â¦ why?—
A group of young, extremely pro-Trump internet trolls have spent the past several years mocking anti-Trump people as whiny, easily triggered snowflakes who are primarily motivated by social acceptance rather than by logic and critical thinking.
Many of Mr. Trumpâs supporters put their support for him in the language of freethinking rationality and paint the other side as being motivated by blind loyalty and identity politics. (Which is True.)
This NPC meme fits neatly into this narrative and offers Mr. Trumpâs online supporters … (Actually it’s not that they’re trump supporters but using Trump to retaliate against social justice warriors: NPC’s) … an easy shorthand way to paint liberals as humorless prudes (‘bots’) who say âDrumpfâ because the HBO host John Oliver told them to, who march in protests and put on pink âpussyhatsâ because theyâre the popular things to do, and whose views canât withstand scrutiny. (Because they’re just scripts.)
And then, when progressives object to a meme that portrays them as unthinking automatons, it becomes another piece of evidence: See? The left canât take a joke.
— So? —
Mostly, it appears to be a 4chan joke that spiraled into some mild voter suppression. And no, they’re not russian bots.