People who want to go to Westworld, the theme park, are terrible human beings. Full stop.
There’s no debating that statement. We’ve seen that within the show the characters who greatly enjoy Westworld are bad people, but I feel the need to expand on that a little bit. The people outside of Westworld who hear that for only millions of dollars a week they can fulfill all of their cowboy dreams and decide to do it are paying that much to commit unspeakable crimes against other “humans.” Because the only draw of Westworld is getting to see the palpably realistic terror of a host as you kill/rape them, right?
Let me actually prove that last statement by proving all of the things that Westworld is not.
1) It Is Not Only A Fully Immersive Theme Park
“Maybe the guests just like the fantasy of it,” your contrarian fingers are getting ready to comment on. “It could just be that they like escaping into a world which no longer exists anywhere else.” Wrong. Bitches, I have been to the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and that shit is is realistic enough to make my mother cry (that is a real thing that happened. Upon walking into Diagon Alley, she was so overcome by the park, she actually cried). Sure, there are some elements of the park that betray its muggle reality, but those things could theoretically be fixed. Disney has spent decades working on parks that are more and more realistic in order to have that level of fantasy come to life. If these rich SOBs were looking only for the chance to visit a different world, they could spend the same amount of money renting out the Magic Kingdom for a week. That’s not what Westworld is selling.
2) It Is Not A High Stakes Cattle Drive
Let’s not even have the pretend conversation. These people aren’t here because they want to be cowboys either. That’s what dude ranches are for. City Slickers, that one episode of Modern Family, the seminal ’90s classic Hey Dude. We’ve seen not-millionaires live out their cowboy fantasies before. For a considerably lower price tag, the Man in Black could get some poor schmuck to build him a maze made of tumbleweed or round up a posse to go kill bad guys or drive a herd of cattle across a raging river. I’m pretty sure they could even recreate that scene where Billy Crystal had to deliver a calf if you paid them enough. People are already doing mostly fake cowboy stuff for fun right now. It doesn’t cost $200,000 a day or require hosts. Speaking of hosts …
3) It Is Not Super Realistic Paintball
Maybe there are a few people who want to visit Westworld to test themselves. They want to know, if they had to, could they pull the trigger. It’s not something that I personally am interested in, but neither are survival vacations so to each his own. And they want the chance to “kill” the bad guy to see if they can do it. Only that belies the purpose of the hosts. If some rich dude just wanted to see how well he’d do in a fight where he had no chance of serious bodily injury, he could go paintballing. Under the premise of just wanting to see how good of a shot he could be under pressure, the mechanics are the same. Not only that, but paintballs hurt like a bitch. So theoretical rich dude gets to find out if he’s got the mettle to aim under pressure and inflict pain on his “enemies.” Again, for much less and without the help of incredibly lifelike IA humans. And let’s just blow through this last one …
4) It Is Not A Wild Sex Party
I mean, on the one hand, yes, of course it is. Although maybe not for the women. But it is a place where you can engage in all kinds of hedonistic pleasures without any of the possible health dangers or society’s judgmental eye. Any where else would you be able to experience that? You know, besides everywhere? Because, goddamnit, people, no one should have to drop $8,000 an hour to have the kind of sex they want to have. Have these rich assholes not seen the internet? People are doing all kinds of sexy (sometimes weird, but I’m not judging) stuff. If there’s a sex thing someone wants to do, as long as it’s between consenting adults, there are ethical ways of having that sex. The only thing it requires is having a healthy enough attitude about sex to accept your own sexual proclivities, be willing to share them with possible sexual partners, and be patient enough to find someone you’re sexually attracted to who wants to do similar stuff. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s possible. And it certainly doesn’t require a vacation that costs the GDP of some small nations. Even the most outrageous sex acts can be attainable provided everyone involved is consenting. Which brings us to what Westworld actually is.
5) It Is A Place Where You Can Violate Other’s Consent Without Repercussion
When it comes down to it, this is the only thing that Westworld is selling. Here are incredibly human-like beings without human emotional reactions whose bodies you can violate as you see fit. Everything else is just window dressing. Sure, the narratives help to cover that that’s the objective, but consent violation is Westworld’s defining feature. And not just that you can violate them, but they react with the appropriate levels of terror. It is literally the only reason to make hosts lifelike. There are a bunch of different ways that people can engage in violent or sadistic behavior that makes it clear it’s just pretend. And Westworld got rid of all of that.
And there are people who actively want to go to this place.
This isn’t a “What happens in Vegas” situation. The point isn’t to let loose in ways that you can’t in real life. They have those places right now, and they’re called Vegas or spring break. The people who actively want to go to Westworld aren’t looking to experience things they can’t in the real world. They’re looking for the pain in the eyes of the host as they plunge a knife into their chest. The very real, very human pain. Keep that in mind if anyone in real life tells you they’d love to go to Westworld. And then run.