The new “NPC” meme mocks leftists by depicting them as unthinking and reflexive automatons. The meme has upset the left so much that Twitter is now banning people posting it for “dehumanizing speech,” but its humble origins are the computer-controlled characters of limited intelligence found in most video games.
The popular NPC meme trend frames its targets as non-player characters (NPCs) who reflexively spout neo-Marxist axioms in response to real-world events. Actual NPCs are computer-controlled characters in video games with limited scripted responses given the parameters of the games in which they appear. For example, NPCs may assign quests to the player in games like Skyrim, or join the player as a companion in Fallout.
Built on the long-running Wojak meme, the NPC meme mocks leftists as expressionless in appearance and bot-like in behavior. The universal standard appearance illustrates the left’s political homogeneity.
The trending NPC memes can be seen on several Facebook pages, and are spreading quickly on Twitter, Reddit, and 4Chan as well. Below is a selection showing the versatility and creativity of the right’s meme creators
News media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC are targeted by the NPC meme:
D.C.-based protesters agitating against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court:
The #MeToo campaign:
Descriptions of President Donald Trump as “anti-immigrant,” linking Trump to Nazis and Nazism:
Che Guevara t-shirts:
Christine Blasey Ford:
Taylor Swift and her recent partisan Democrat advocacy:
The Handmaid’s Tale:
The cancellation of Roseanne and its refacing as The Conners:
Left-wing gaming blog Kotaku addressed the aforementioned memes with an article entitled, “How The ‘NPC’ Meme Tries To Dehumanize ‘SJWs’.” It described the memes’ sentiment as “anti-progressive” and “dehumanizing” while heralding leftists as opponents of “racial injustice.”
Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio characterized the NPC memes’ spread as “a little scary”:
NPCs have no agency; NPCs don’t think for themselves; NPCs don’t perceive, process, or understand; NPCs arrive at the same worldview not because it’s authentic to their experiences, but automatically. As a descriptor, it suggests that those to whom it applies aren’t even human, but are rather, functionally, robots, or clusters of computer code. That this has resonated as widely as it has is funny, but also a little scary.
Twitter has banned dozens of users sharing and retweeting the NPC memes. One such banned user told Breitbart News: “I followed many NPC accounts (some followed me back). I retweeted some of them. I also answered someone’s (one of my followers) question about what the NPC meme is. Some people didn’t understand it right away. I can’t remember if I posted anything else that would be it. I’m pretty certain it was only because I followed and retweeted NPCs and probably ended up on a list or was mass reported by angry leftists who can’t handle what they see in the mirror.”
Despite the left’s insistence that the NPC meme is “dehumanizing,” there seems to be no similar outcry from the same people when conservatives on social media are dismissed as “Russian bots” by opponents.
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