Is this cultural appropriation?

When I was younger, I spent a few years living in a small town in the heart of Corn Country, which you can imagine was a bad place to be the “weird kid”.

To this day, I joke that the first Google suggestion when you type in the name of the town is “how do I escape from…”, and this isn’t ENTIRELY true.  The first google suggestion, in reality, is “directions from xxx to mt rushmore” and I will point out that this is almost the same thing inasmuch as it is a request for a route to get out of town and to somewhere interesting.

In all fairness, now that I live in a coastal state, I kind of enjoy meeting other people who managed to get out of similarly…rural…areas, because we often find a sort of camaraderie in having, for lack of a better term, “hick-offs”, wherein we share anecdotes and try to one-up each other with how awful the places we came from were.

That said, there’s not much that raises my hackles more than being around someone who has never lived in the mid-west but still wants to make fun of the area or its residents.  It’s something you can only get away with if you’ve actually been a part of the culture.

With that in mind, I was a little hesitant to try Far Cry 5, because the first impression I had of it was that it was, in short, “let’s shoot some crazy hicks: the video game”.  I probably wouldn’t have tried it at all if it hadn’t been recommended to me by a friend who has a nearly 100% track record in turning me on to games, but he DID recommend it to me and it DID happen to go on sale on Xbox Marketplace shortly after he recommended it and the rest is something you can probably reconstruct.

I’ve put about three hours in, and I am pleased to report that its depiction of the residents of Montana is nowhere near as stereotypical as I’d expected.  There is, obviously, a cult, but most of the locals are just as unhappy to have an apocalyptic death cult in their midst as the player is, and they happily supply you with supplies and firepower when you show up and start knocking cultist heads about.

I will, however, feign offense at just how well a pair of Canadian studios have captured the essence of small-town America, and I don’t think any example shows this quite as well as the bar in one of the first towns you liberate:

There are also signs for a “Testicle Festival” along the roads, featuring a very shocked-looking bull… and, yeah, OK, you Canadians have us there.  I’m still reserving judgement on whether you have the right to poke fun at us, but I’ll at least admit that you’re doing a good job of it.

 

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