The Revolution Will Not Be Streamed
The Intellectual Culture of Twitch Streamers
New Books Network 2022
It was billed as “the biggest event in the history of the terminally online.” A debate: socialism vs. capitalism. On your left side, the esteemed Marxist economist Richard Wolff. On your right, a StarCraft player-turned-online intellectual: Steven Bonnel II, better known as Destiny.
But this debate didn’t take place on TV, or in a university debate club… it was on Twitch.tv. The online streaming platform that is mainly used for watching other people play video games.
We dissect the debate, and its limitations. But more broadly, we ask, why are gamers becoming an emerging political commentariat, and what does that mean for the rest of us? Twitch is reshaping political and intellectual discourse, whether we like it or not; is it making that discourse more vibrant and more inclusive, or more phoney and more bro-y?
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