League of Legends

The Seraphine Twitter Campaign rubs me the wrong way.

LeagueofLegends5 - The Seraphine Twitter Campaign rubs me the wrong way.

Perhaps I am just speaking as someone who is steeped in extreme chaste innocence and purity, but the Seraphine Twitter really doesn't sit right.

Is it not the slightest bit questionable to have a large company publicly simulating the underdog story of an LA-inbound singer getting her big break? This is almost pedantic to say, but this 'entity' called Seraphine is manufactured by a team of artists and managers. And not just random tweets about home-cooked meals or visits with KDA members, as there are also tweets like this journal that try to add doubts or weaknesses to the character. They clearly want to make her journey believable.

An occasional light on Seraphine's doubts seems like a healthy counterbalance at first. It's all manufactured, though. Any doubts or problems this 'entity' experiences are already scheduled in advance. A team of people chose for Seraphine to be homesick. A team of people chose for her to miss her mom, same way they chose to have her cover be discovered and that she would be joining up with KDA.

It's storytelling, and not even a particularly novel method of doing so. Plenty of independent media out there, especially in the horror genre, fabricate accounts and personalities for the sake of Alternate Reality Games, or ARGs. ARGs are an absolute blast: they are wrought with smaller clues and puzzles for viewers to pick up on and solve. In the case of YouTube ARGs, many are presented as lifestyle vlogs. They might post normally for months, then suddenly 'disappear' or upload a horrific video. And viewers are expected to dig through those old, 'normal' videos to dig out the truth of what happened.

Alternate Reality Games work under the assumption that the audience will know to engage with the fabricated character, social media account, or other 'entity' as if they were real things. That's where the investment and excitement occurs–look at the subreddit NoSleep's rule against declaring stories as fake, which is to preserve a story's realism against the outside community.


But Seraphine is not an ARG: she is an Alternate Reality Girl, created by a marketing campaign, demanding to be treated as real. The end-goal isn't to have the participants solve a puzzle or dig into a deeper lore, it's to drum up hype, to get people emotionally attached to a character so she can advertise whatever is relevant at that time. Seraphine will never, ever, ever do anything to betray you or lose your sale. No politics, no hidden boyfriends they have to apologize for, no nothing. Just a curated timeline of victories and defeats.

We should wonder whether it is okay to have this sort of fantasy being commercially produced.

It's not hard to conflate Riot's synthetic idol group with the real thing. And even I am aware of the insane predilections people develop over these idols: Perfect Blue, a movie drenched in the subject of idol fanaticism, came out in the late 1990s. To stare down the 'slippery slope,' it is odd to imagine a society where people are so desperate to have untarnished superstars, are so incapable of dealing with the spontaneity of the human beings they wish to look up to, that they just pine for whatever can be made in a board room. Kinda like the fact scientists are racing to make fake meat to assuage the reality that we all lack the temperance or income to stop eating real meat. Extra like the fact the same restaurants that push our dependency on cheap meat advertise these engineered 'impossible burgers' and inspire pride in people for choosing the "cleaner solution." We're all fucking pathetic.

And I do recognize that the Twitter account often retweets and provides shout-outs to artists. Even something done wholesomely can have unwholesome consequences in the long run.

Wish Riot would stop bullshitting everyone and get back to releasing actual content for their game.

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