The Ready Player One “Easter Egg” That Bypasses the Backlash

this quick post plays
through three short stages

the third contains
the Easter egg

all three potentially
contain SPOILERS

Stage One: “Microreview”

if you haven’t seen?Ready Player One
(or read Cline’s book),
you really should;
particularly if you’re the
target demo:
a “nerd,” “geek,”
pop culture afficionado
of a certain stripe
(70s-80s gaming, sci-fi, etc.)
(more on this later)

but even if you’re not
the target demo du jour,
you should still see it,
cuz it’s a fun,
eminently Spielbergian,
bombastic popcorn flick
(tho, prepare to
suspend plenty disbelief
and prepare to groan
at the too-neat ending)

Stage Two: “Context”

if you’ve seen this movie already –
more certainly if you’ve
read the book,
have this kind of thing
on your radar, etc. –
you may have a sense of the
Ready Player One backlash
that’s been afoot:

e.g. 1:?Steven Spielberg?s Oblivious, Chilling Pop-Culture Nostalgia in ?Ready Player One?

e.g. 2:?The Ready Player One backlash, explained

(those two pieces are helpful
primers and there are others)

the gists of the criticisms
have to do with
Cline, Spielberg, or both
succumbing to certain
negatives of nostalgia and some
nasty exclusivity concerning
particular pet passions
(this involves something
called “Gamergate”)

i think there’s obv
plenty valid points here,
but delving in fully
is beyond this post

(for some
thoughts on nostalgia, see my
good, bad, ugly: nostalgia edition)

(for some
thoughts on how groups
(like gamers)
crave things like
ownership, community, etc. –
relevant to them
playing out negatively
re: Gamergate – see my
a pop invite to the church)

Stage Three: “Spiritual < Spiritual”

while in general i agree with
Rob Bell that
“everything is spiritual,”
i think some
senses of privation,
experiences of lack,
are more clearly so

in this instance, by “spiritual”
i mean something like
“essential to our being
as humans;”
i also mean something like
what’s at play here:

?If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.? ~ C.S. Lewis,?Mere Christianity

here, in other words,
spiritual =?supernatural

and HERE is where we discover
the titular EASTER EGG –
the “secret” that “saves”
Ready Player One
from some potential negatives
brought up in Stage Two….

Ready Player One, really,
is about?these spiritual/supernatural
specifically, i see
(the movie’s VR game world)
as a proxy for
desires for
things like:
love, belonging, community,
escape, freedom, victory,
meaning, enjoyment, passion

Ready Player One
says this about people:
people need
and they’ll do
whatever it takes
to get it
(including create
fictional worlds where they do)

but now notice how
Ready Player One‘s
counterintuitively anti-gaming ending –
when we’re told something like
“the real world is what’s?real” –
also says this about people:
real (read: spiritual) problems require
real (read: spiritual) solutions,
and *bigger* ones, too

in other words: spiritual < spiritual

it may seem like The OASIS
can give Wade (the main character)
what he needs,
but nah: he needs Samantha (the girl)
irl for that;
in this same way,
our ultimately
desires for
must be “solved” by something/someone
spiritual/supernatural –
and *bigger –

to me,
with this Easter egg
of perspective in hand,
Ready Player One
though imperfect –
communicates something
very valid,
about being a human

(for some
thoughts on how
humans often
sneak these kinds of
Easter eggs
into pop culture, see
what it means that you like things that are like other things that you like
Get Re-Enchanted: Stranger Things 2, Pop Culture & God)



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