Stop Hating Pokemon Go (and also everything else)
I like Pokemon Go.
My boyfriend and I were early adopters, downloading the app as soon as it released and spending the subsequent weekend wandering around the neighborhood. We enjoyed it. We’re buying a house, there’s a lot going on for both of us personally and professionally, tons of changes, tons of stress, so an innocent little game that allowed us to check out for awhile was a welcome relief. Plus it allowed us to connect and bond in that stubborn competitive way that works so well for us as a couple when it comes to games (which is generally that he’s usually better, but I’m nipping at his heels.)
After a great weekend of play, I rejoined the world on Monday, sunburned, mosquito-bitten, and honestly more rested than I had been in awhile. And I get this fire hose of animosity towards Pokemon Go. Like, genuinely venomous hatred.
Of course I immediately wanted to spout off the benefits of the game, which include increased socialization, increased exercise, the acquisition of the indisputably good fresh air and sunshine. That was my knee-jerk impulse, but I held off and just watched, and listened, as people started coming out of the woodwork, mostly on social media.
“This is stupid”
“This is a scheme set up by *insert company conspiracy here* to get your money”
“It was weird, seeing people outside wandering around”
“Why aren’t you worried about real problems?”
And then basically repeated distorted echos of those same arguments over and over and over for days.
At first it made me sad in that “oh no, I’m not cool” kind of way that you never quite grow out of, despite knowing how ridiculous it is. Then I got angry. Then I felt indignant, surly, and annoyed. I watched fellow Pokemon Trainers fire back. I saw arguments for community, for exercise, for fun. I saw it flying back and forth. It was, quite honestly, like watching a battle at a Pokemon Gym. No real form, just whirls and lightning. I made a snarky comment here and there, but I stayed pretty quiet in public, just obsessing over the game with my friends.
Then ultimately, I reached this decision:
The haters are right. So are we. And there is NO REASON for any group to hate another.
Look, there are a million ways to live your life, and you’re never going to please everyone. Or anyone, most days. If your job is right, your spare time isn’t being used well enough. If you have a fulfilling private life, why don’t you have more family time? If you do spend a lot of time with your family, what kind of person doesn’t have more friends? There’s no way to win.
Except that WE ARE ALREADY WINNING. We’re spending time doing something that we enjoy that we feel is good for ourselves and, by extension, other people. I look at it this way: I think vegans are nuts. I am perfectly fine eating meat, and don’t think I would ever go vegan. I am sure they’d stack up a list of reasons why veganism is the moral and ethical choice, and I’d stack up a delicious pile of reasons why I would never go vegan. Ultimately if we’re living our lives in a way where we respect other people and don’t hurt each other, who cares? Them being vegan doesn’t hurt me. My being a meat eater doesn’t hurt them. We just have to agree to disagree, and if we oppose the other one that much, we probably won’t be friends. And that’s okay.
The world is so terrible right now. It’s genuinely heartbreaking, folks.
Maybe, just maybe, we can stop hating on each other for things like which apps we have on our phones. I would hope that we can stop hating each other period… but clearly that can’t be healed in a day.
A nasty facebook post condemning a person’s game choice certainly doesn’t have the same violent impact as a post that condemns another person’s race or religion (and I am NOT comparing Pokemon Go haters to racists, LET ME BE CLEAR ON THAT) but spewing any kind of hate is probably not the way you want to go.
You have every right to think the game is stupid. I don’t blame you. It is kinda. I still enjoy it though.
And that doesn’t make either of us a bad person. So let’s just be cool, okay?