There’s not a lot of joyful, unabashed good times out in the world right now. The closest thing I’ve truly gotten to just disappearing into and away from the world is ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’, the 10-part docuseries on Michael Jordan’s time with the Chicago Bulls that lead to 6 championships. The Last Dance was pure nostalgia, a shot in the arm of when things were at the peak of entertainment, and notably for me, as a Chicago fan and ex-patriot.
I’ve seen a few posts here and there that serve as reminders that we shouldn’t revere our politicians too much because they’re human, and can fuck up and do bad things, which is true, but since we’re capturing a moment in time here during a fucking pandemic with what little joy there is to have in here, I’m making an exception.
On October 20th (what one may call a Tuesday), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired up a Twitch stream for the first time ever in a fit of joy to encourage people to register to vote or make sure they were already registered, and let me tell you folks, it was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time.
I hate to pull the ‘I’m a streamer’ card but as a streamer *Holds for massive-eye rolls and applause* not only was AOC doing all the RIGHT GOD DAMN THINGS, she was doing them very well. She hid her ‘Among Us’ code, which was smart because she was playing with incredibly high profile Twitch streamers like Hasan, Moist, and Pokimane. Secondly, she did push-to-talk! As one Twitter user put it….
Use your push-to-talk, assholes! AOC out here making you dumbfucks look… fucking dumb!
Now, I didn’t tune in for 100% of the stream, I cut off the beginning because it was a lot of setup, but of the actual gameplay up until the ending, I was actually surprised by the lack of politics that was in the stream. There were interstitials here and there, telling people to register to vote, to make a voting plan as that makes them more likely to actually vote, with maybe a zinger or two at Mike Pence about who can call her ‘AOC’. But AOC came to play.
Most notably what was fun about this was the pure innocence about what it was like to play a game for the first time ever, with a large group of people that were not bent on cursing her out if she happened to not complete her tasks or just kind of lollygagged around the map. There was no animus to any of this.
She started out hoping that she wouldn’t be an impostor on the first round, and then immediately was made an impostor within seconds of that wish. Oops! And also she self-reported, and somehow got away with it.
As an impostor, she also killed notable streamer ‘Pokimane‘. She was reticent to do it at first, with a, “I can’t kill Poki, Poki’s so nice!” before driving a knife into Pokimane’s back in Security. A lot of people have already made the comparisons that this is what it’s like to be in Congress, and it’s true! So why not play the game!
The other fun thing to watch unfold was her counterpart, Ilhan Omar, who secretly was really good at playing the Impostor role, and was also running a STUPIDLY stacked PC. As a rule now all politicians must disclose what kind of disgusting hardware they’re running because it puts a lot of our own machines to shame. Jesus….
I had an observation minutes into this, because I wanted to be weary at first at just enjoying what AOC already does, because obviously this could have implications for how much Congress becomes a part of the platform.
There’s gonna be a swath of people that come out and decry politicians for being an increasing part of the platform but the truth is they’re already here. Most accounts are now on EVERY platform imaginable to get the word out to vote or to find a place to make their case for their causes. AOC just happens to be really GOOD at it.
Ocasio-Cortez also SMASHED records, making her stream the third most viewed stream of all time. While she was getting jump scared by an O2 alarm, she peaked at 439k viewers behind the liked of Ninja and Shroud’s return to Twitch.
It felt like a cultural shift. You could see it in the tweets. EVERYONE was tweeting about it, from journalists I follow, to normal Twitch users, to people not on Twitch, and also… former GOP and now politically homeless Justin Amash?
Even Chris Murphy, who – next to Brian Schatz on the Democratic side, is also extremely online, wanted in.
It’s truly bizarre to watch one game that came out two years ago, not only surge, but surge so much our politicians are now playing it and with gusto! But now they have another way of connecting with constituents. For anyone who wants them to purely legislate and stay offline, you’re in for a rack of trouble here.
AOC has an immense well of power here. And if by having a good time playing Among Us helps get out the vote, by all-fucking-means, DO IT! AOC not only picked up the game fairly quickly, but also created hilarious moments like panicking trying to call a meeting, walking mere inches by the button in the center of the cafeteria, and came so close! She got by! She had FUN. I had FUN.
It’s of course good to be weary of your politicians, no one is infallible or perfect, AOC’s voting record is subject to scrutiny but she’s also allowed to participate in some of the other things out here in society, but there’s no doubt in one of our lowest points of this generation we were able to find something to come around on together.
It’s clear how much of an influence this was. And of course Twitch will run with this. It was a hit! There’s no telling just yet if in time before Sen. Patrick Leahy is playing War Zone or Tim Scott is playing Jedi: Fallen Order to get out the vote. Not all will do it will, some will fail miserably, but undoubtedly the younger generations will want to jump on opportunities like this, especially if they’re charismatic.
I felt a lot of my stress, my anger, and a lot of problems kind of melt away during her three hours of streaming. It was nice to just enjoy a moment for once. Of course those problems won’t disappear, and will need work, but it was nice to let off on the gas for once.
But AOC managed to hit the right buttons here. She of course got her point across, and talked about a few major issues, but kept it to the sides of the gameplay, she had fun, and she was great at it! Now someone just has to explain to Nancy Pelosi what the fuck just happened.
I too stream video games but who’s counting? Or you can just follow me on Twitter.