An Open Letter to David Jaffe, Re: the Sony NGP

THE SONY NGP  Is this a Magic Eye image? If I cross my eyes and back away, will I see a pussy?

I realize this controversy happened a week and a half ago, but it still makes me want to punch a wall until my hand falls off, so here we go.

Mr. Jaffe, you may recall saying the following statement about the new Sony NGP:

"New hardware is like new pussy. It's exciting at first but after you've experienced enough fresh vagina over the years - while there's still always a bit of excitement when something new comes along - you learn that sooner than later, the new and exciting becomes the standard and dependable and so it's best to just stay focused and [grateful] on what you've got at the moment and if you need to make a change, it'll just happen organically." (The original tweet is here.)

Later that day, you tweeted on this topic again: "AND new pussy is not hacked yet so there are no STDS to deal with and you don't got pirates fucking ur lady."

When people got up in arms about these comments, you wrote that you were trying to be amusing and that you didn't see "pussy" as a negative thing. You're right; in this case, that's not how you used the word. If you call someone a pussy and you use it to mean "pathetic, spineless loser," then I take issue, because there's nothing pathetic about pussies. I have one, and pathetic is the last word I'd use to describe myself. I don't take any issue with the word pussy when it's used to actually refer to genitalia, and that's what you're doing here, so, that part's fine.

You also said that you thought people were being "uptight," and that you were just being humorously vulgar to get a reaction. I can understand that, too. I happen love jokes about genitalia, as immature as they are. For example, last Sunday, I was looking at my new Wii MotionPlus expanders for my WiiMotes. My WiiMotes have these little rubber sleeves on them. And, now that the MotionPlus extension box is at the bottom, they look long enough to resemble erect penises. Look at this picture of a WiiMote with MotionPlus in a rubber sleeve -- it's the one on the left. The one that looks like a dick. Obviously. I spent altogether too much time giggling about this last Sunday night. (It doesn't help that my boyfriend insists on referring to those rubber sleeves as "condoms.") And you know what? I'm not ashamed. Because guess what? Sometimes, genitalia jokes are funny.

You could've said, "The NGP looks like a pussy." I would have been baffled, because I don't see the resemblance, but I wouldn't have been offended. You also could have said, "The NGP is like a pussy because I love pussy. Sex is great, and playing video games is kind of like sex, because video games are also great!" I would've thought it was presumptious for you to assume that everyone who plays games is attracted to women (and, by extension, pussies), but, hey -- I'd still be willing to see your point and write off the comment as a poorly thought out attempt to express your excitement about the NGP in an accessible way. After all, my WiiMotes remind me of dicks, and I do love both dicks and WiiMotes, so I can see where you're going with this.

The problem I have, and the problem that I'm guessing many people have, is your use of the word "new" to describe pussy. First of all, it fetishizes virginity, which is creepy, because in this day and age, 75% of women have lost their virginity already by the time they're old enough for you to legally date. The fact that you went on to mention STDs only extends this virginity fetishization. If you don't know about the concept of slut-shaming, you should really read some shit. Also, you're 37. The women you're seeing at your age have probably been around the block a few times, so get used to it. It doesn't make them "slutty," whatever the hell that means. It just means they're normal women who enjoy sex, which is what you theoretically want, right? Not some inexperienced, frightened child young enough to be your daughter? Because that's what "new pussy" sounds like to me.

Secondly, I have a problem with your implication that women -- or, sorry, the word women makes us seem too much like people, doesn't it? -- your implication that pussies should be, or even COULD be, upgraded or traded in. How often do you hear about aging actors trading in their wives for a "newer model"? Sometimes the new model literally does modeling for a living, so this is a fantastic pun (not). This practice suggests that women are not people so much as interchangeable fleshlights. Is your old sex toy getting worn out? Better mail away for a new one, dudebro! Oh wait, except we are talking about actual human beings and not handheld plastic devices. Whoops!

All of this, combined with the fact that extremist misogynists loooooove the idea of controllable robot women replacing real women, means that comparing any hardware device to women at all has problematic implications. After all, the Sony NGP has buttons that you can use to tell it what to do. Women don't. And you shouldn't want them to, unless you're the kind of person who gets off on controlling other human beings against their will. And before you even go there, even BDSM practicioners place high value on consent. (I spoke about the cultural fetishization of robot women in my post about Android Karenina as well, if you'd like to read more on this trend. See also: Real Dolls.)

You've managed to slut-shame women, act like Kelsey Grammer is a cool dude to imitate, and say that you equate plastic toys with women, all at the same time! And you think the big problem is the fact that you used the word "pussy." Seriously?! Picture me giving you a slow clap and head-desking at the same time. It's no small feat. But I'm managing.

So, Mr. Jaffe, you're welcome. Now you know the real reasons why people are saying you're an immature idiot, and the fact that you used a word that might be considered foul by some is only the tip of the iceberg! Or maybe I should be thanking you, since now I have a post to link to when people ask me why I refer to the video game industry as a boys' club.

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