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Feature

The inglorious nihilism of Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V (2013) is a confidence trick; Rockstar is a fraud. They tell people to distrust capitalism and suspect politics—the entire world, and all its peoples, are venal. In the same breath, they promise sanctuary. “Are you young? Are you angry? Are you an iconoclast, too? Then Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto are here for you,” they seem to say. But it’s a con. Rockstar embraces cynics and outsiders, but only so it may reach a hand into their pockets. Generally, Grand Theft Auto is nihilistic, in a manner betokening not worldliness but arrogance. The chief villain of…

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Relive the Classic American Detective Story, now with way more animals

For a brief, glorious period in the mid-20th century, Jack Webb was the voice of every detective in America. Most famously, he was the voice—and, later, corporeal manifestation—of Sergeant Joe Friday on the ür-procedural Dragnet. Webb also provided the voice for the titular, simile-dropping lead in Pat Novak For Hire and a series of largely interchangeable policeman roles. Before franchises like Law and Order and CSI revealed the fictional investigator as being largely interchangeable—a different person can spout these clichés next year and the world will keep spinning—Jack Webb was starring in every interchangeable law enforcement show in the land. …

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Mortal Kombat meets Nigerian politics in devastating satirical short

Nigeria, Africa’s largest exporter of oil, has recently been suffering from a severe oil shortage. The country’s fuel marketers and distributors have spent much of May on strike over government subsidies that have gone unpaid. In response to the strike, black market fuel prices have soared beyond the government’s mandated levels and businesses have suspended their operations. Even though the strike officially came to an end on Monday, Reuters reports that African telecom giant MTN Group is struggling to resume operations in Nigeria. Oil shortages, particularly when they are accompanied by broader troubles, are not normally occasions for mirth. But…

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The Charlie Hebdo debate arrives in the videogame world

You’re not against free speech, are you? This interpretive trap awaits anyone attempting to publicly wrangle the legacy of Charlie Hebdo. In late April, the PEN American Center announced that its literary gala would honor the French satirical newspaper. In response, a series of authors including Junot Díaz and Joyce Carol Oates penned a letter arguing that PEN missed the distinction between “staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.” This furore goes back to January 7th, when two gunmen open fired in Charlie Hebdo’s office. Twelve people died in the attack. A further eleven were…