started on the boards of 4chan and made its way to Twitter, but
what exactly is the NPC meme, and why is it upsetting so many people?
who is familiar with video games will be familiar with the term NPC. It
stands for Non-Player Character, and is a term which is used to describe
a character in a game who is not controlled by the player, but is
instead pre-programmed by a computer via predetermined or responsive
behaviour. NPCs are the villagers in Skyrim and World of Warcraft who
give you quests and repeat the same three instructed sentences over and
over again whenever you address them.
term NPC is now being applied to people in the real world to describe
those who share the same uncritical worldview, are unable to think for
themselves, and those who regurgitate the same obvious talking points of
the mainstream narrative.
was going to give some examples of real-life NPC talking points,
however, what better way to demonstrate this to you than by showing you
the memes themselves?
NPC meme is a simple yet effective way to illustrate those who have no
agency and no capacity for independent and critical thought, yet often
choose to engage with those who do. This process, as demonstrated in the
memes above, often involves the NPC displaying faux public outrage at
more original and innovative ideas in a bid to demonstrate to their also
NPC audience that they’re towing the non-offensive mainstream line.
is perhaps the most interesting chapter in the NPC meme saga is the
response of the progressive left. The NPC meme was never meant to set a
divide between the right and the left, yet it has. In the same way that
the Jewish community adopted offence at Viktor
Orbán‘s comments about our enemy speculating with money and not
having its own homeland but feeling as though it owns the whole world,
the left have taken it upon themselves to adopt the NPC meme. If the
shoe fits, as they say…
quick internet search of the NPC meme will return an article by
Kotaku which complains about the concept of the NPC label and describes
it as “dehumanising”.
ONE THING TO CLAIM THAT A PERSON’S STRONGLY-HELD VIEWS ARE INFORMED BY
NOTHING AT ALL, BUT ENTIRELY ANOTHER TO IMPLY THAT THEY’RE COMPLETELY
ON AUTO-PILOT. THAT IS DEHUMANIZATION, A WAY OF RECONCEIVING YOUR
ENEMIES AS OBJECTS, PAWNS, STRAWMEN, TOOLS.
progressive left have also been channeling their inner “I am fine” Wojak
on Twitter, embodying NPC meme mode, and alternating between pretending
they don’t care and full-blown meltdown mode.
themselves have published an
anti-dehumanising policy and, following on from this, a number of
suspensions have been made over the last couple of days for accounts who
have displayed the NPC meme in their Twitter name or profile picture.
The most noticeable of these was Tolerant Fellow, one of our most
prominent and effective accounts who had over 40,000 followers.
is unclear at this stage why these accounts have been suspended as they
were masquerading as NPCs themselves rather than labelling anybody else.
What is clear though, is that the NPC meme has really touched a nerve
with everybody from Twitter, to journalists to the progressive left.
would advise at this stage if you’ve built up quite a following on
social media to resist the temptation to change your profile to display
the NPC meme. The images above should also be used at your own risk.
Some memes are just too powerful and should be handled with care.
suspect under these new “dehumanising” rules that Twitter will be
following suit and will also follow up on accusations of “Russian Bot”
and “Gammon”… Or perhaps not.
the memes really do write themselves.