David Jaffe is a veteran of the video game industry who is best known for his roles as director of the popular Twisted Metal and God of War series. Since his departure from Sony Computer Entertainment America, Jaffe has hosted regular livestreams on his YouTube channel which focus on a wide range of topics, such as his video game focused Geektopia streams or his own series of let’s plays aptly titled Jaffe Plays. One of these streams is named Impolite Society, wherein Jaffe and his audience discuss the current state of culture and politics.
During a livestream of Impolite Society hosted on December 3rd, Jaffe discussed his views on what appears to be a sweeping censorship agenda within American universities against persons, ideas, and opinions considered ‘right-wing’ or ‘conservative’:
I would argue though, that if my kids go to college, when I send my kids to college, and I spend a lot of god damn money, you’re god damn right I want my kids to hear dissenting opinions. Why would I want my children to go to a college, which is where their minds are supposed to be expanded, which is where they’re supposed to be exposed to new ideas? Think about how broken that is. I hate the KKK, I hate Nazis, and I hate white supremacists, I hated that Milo Yianno-f***-oulos, whatever the f*** his name was. But if I’m going to send my kid to a school, part of their education is exposing them to new ideas, part of their education is exposing them to ideas that are awful so they can learn how to properly, in a safe space, which is college, it’s not the real world, how they can properly learn to deal with information when it comes to them in a fancy suit, spoken by a beautiful woman like that Tami whatever-her-name-is on Fox News, spoken in a great environment with lights and microphones and things like that, so they can learn how to deal with information dressed up as legitimate, and they can say ‘This feels wrong’.
In recent years, there have been an alarming amount of incidents in which American university students have taken action to restrict or ban speech in favor of appeasing the most extreme modern sensibilities. Christina Hoff Sommers and a talk she scheduled to give were the target of students who believed she was a rape culture supporting fascist due to her criticism of modern feminism, students at CUNY Law attempted to shut down and interrupt a scheduled speaking event by conservative lawyer Josh Blackman because they disagreed with his opinions, and Middlebury College’s choice to host the controversial Charles Murray led to false fire alarms, a female interviewer being assaulted, and Murray’s car being physically damaged as a protestor jumped on the hood as he attempted to leave.
Though these are just a handful of examples, one could easily point to similar events at Claremont McKenna College, University of Chicago, College of William and Mary, or the University of Massachusetts, as well as the hyperbolic and patently false reasoning some protestors give for these actions, as evidence that said protestors are unable to rationally deal with a dissenting opinion. These protests have become such a staple of modern discourse that Forbes put together a list of “The Seven Most Ridiculous College Protests of 2017”.
Jaffe continues, further discussing why universities should continue to invite and host speakers from diverse schools of thought:
You’re goddamn right I want my children to go to a college where they’re encountering tough, challenging, awful, other people’s opinions, so that they can learn how to respond. And they can also learn that maybe, hey look, maybe they agree with those opinions; they have a right to agree with those opinions that I don’t. This idea that we’re going to protect people from ideas that we don’t like is absurd and dangerous.
Kids should be exposed to that kind of speech and they should be allowed to hear– they’re goddamn adults, they’re eighteen years old. If they can go to war, then they should be able to listen to ideas that you find problematic.
We’re missing out on the chance that kids can go to college and get bamboozled and brought into the seemingly warm embrace of horrible ideas and then have the experience of going through some pain to emerge from the other side to go “oh my god, I will never fall for that shit again. I will always put a critical hat on when I’m hearing ideas about country, religion, my fellow humans.” But instead, we’re putting these kids into babyproof rooms and saying ‘we don’t want you to ever hear any ideas that we think are bad.’
Jaffe has long been a vocal opponent of censorship in any form, particularly in video games. Jaffe has previously criticized the Australian classification board for attempting to censor God of War III due to offensive content, stated his support for the existence of controversial titles or stories, and laments the fact that heavy censorship of Twisted Metal Black was responsible for the series’ poor reception in Europe. Jaffe even commented on Sony’s decision to remove nudity and sex from their latest entry in the God of War series:
If I had directed GOD OF WAR PS4, I woulda kept the nudity/sex in the game. Cory made the right call removing it, but I woulda still done it! And I woulda paid for it with lesser reviews :/
— David Jaffe (@davidscottjaffe) October 4, 2018