Grand Theft Esteem

Or: Snowflakes and Privilege

I pretty unapologetically love video games. Most of the time I don’t even have the decency to feign embarrassment that it’s one of my hobbies. I have been known to go on long and frequent rants against the idea of video games are only children’s entertainment. We think of it in this way because we are the first generation of adults that grew up playing them. As we have aged, the medium has changed to accommodate our taste. But I digress.

Because I’m a gamer, I logged dozens of hours on Grand Theft Auto V, just like everyone else out there. No matter what the stressful ailment of the day was, a bit of gratuitous mayhem was the cure. I don’t bring up GTA:V to talk about robbing banks, beating hookers to death, or murderous rampages. I bring it up to discuss snowflakes and self-esteem, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise given the very rigidly constructed contents of my blog.

Yes, Grand Theft Auto V takes a few stabs at the snowflakes. When something makes the comic relief part of a video game, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s pretty prevalent.

One character’s son is in his early twenties, and spends his jobless days at home playing video games and taking bong rips. To make it more obvious, he has a neck tattoo that reads ‘Entitled’ which is explains during a mission by yelling about being entitled to what he wants. A snowflake if there ever was one. But that example alone does not warrant any discussion.


And here he is, neck tattoo and all.

The more interesting jab at snowflakes takes place between two of the main characters – Michael, an aging Italian-American mafioso type; and Franklin, a younger African-American who is trying to get out of the ‘hood’ and leave criminal activity behind him. They are driving to or from some mission or another and Michael starts ranting about kids being lazy and entitled. Franklin points out that the whole entitlement thing is ‘middle-class white shit.’

Despite the source material, this is a really valid point.

While race certainly factors into the equation for a number of different reasons, I’ll be focusing mostly on the class portion of the argument. Not only do lower-income families have less expendable income to instill their children with a sense of entitlement, they simply don’t have the time or cognitive energy to invest into it.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs dictates this – people with lower socio-economic status are often struggling to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, and safety. Until these are consistently being met, any energy you have is instinctively devoted to meeting these needs. Only then can you move up the pyramid and start worrying about higher-order needs like self-esteem.

People who have no actual needs to worry about, start to focus on these things as though they are needs. Self-esteem is a good example of this. Middle and upper-class families need status and esteem, because the overwhelming majority of their other wants and needs are being met and require no effort. They can’t worry about housing, food, or safety, so they busy themselves worrying about something else. It’s kind of industrious when you look at it in that way.

This focus on self-esteem as though it were a physiological need created our dear snowflakes. They want things to be fair, which means they get their way. They don’t want to be corrected. They don’t win or lose with grace. They expect the world to make adjustments for them. Rules are suggestions. Truth is relative. Their feelings and opinions are more important than others.

Franklin is mostly right. Snowflakes are middle-class white shit. The vast majority of kids I’ve noticed for their mastery of the snowflake arts have been white kids. Most of them are white, but all of them are at least middle-class. So it is a matter of privilege, but not necessarily white privilege. This is not to say that there are not shithead kids and adolescents of every cultural and economic background, because there absolutely are, it just seems that the specific breed of shithead that are the snowflakes are at least middle-class.

If something is evident and terrible enough that a game makes fun of it, there is a pretty good chance it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

The only solution I can come up with, and I fully admit that it’s pretty extreme, is for all the middle and upper-middle class people to give me their money to prevent the cycle of snowflakes to continue. That way they won’t have the time, energy, or means to focus on self-esteem. I’m willing to take on this tremendous burden, I promise not to let you down.

To quote the late, great Henry Hill: Fuck you, pay me.



  1. When you remove the aspect of race your premise is spot on. Feelings of entitlement are interracial and cross cultural. My observation is that those who start near the bottom and actually have to work their way up the ladder seldom have a great sense of entitlement but those born on third base always feel that somehow they personally hit a triple. Do your kids a favor, spend their inheritance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep – there have been studies that have shown that people born into privilege feel as though they have earned it. Learning the value of a dollar and earning what you have are very important lessons that upper class children sometimes don’t get to learn.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s