Photo via HBO

It’s great to see people speaking out passionately for social justice. So it pains me to tell you that you’ve accidentally been directing that passion towards a world that is total fiction.

This is an embarrassing conversation to have. Believe me. But if I had something stuck in my teeth, for example, I’d want someone to tell me about it instead of being “too polite” to mention it even as everyone laughed at me behind my back. Likewise, I feel compelled as a friend to tell you this hard fact: HBO shows are not real.

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They’re just made up stories.

Please do not interpret this as me trying to take anything away from intensity of the zeal you have displayed in taking HBO shows to task for their many transgressions. Thousands upon thousands of words have been typed—and, indeed, published—condemning Westworld’s treatment of women and black nudity and feminist potential and sexist distribution of guests and lack of male sex robots and lack of gay cowboys and complex masculine psychological landscape and arcane meta-politics. Journalism’s most incisive analytical minds have not been this exercised since they wrote many of the same things about Game of Thrones! We live in a golden age of activism in which our public intellectuals will not let HBO get away with ideologically objectionable practices on its shows.

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As great as it is that everyone is getting involved in public affairs, we do just want to reiterate: HBO shows are not real. They’re fiction, just like fairy tales. Westworld is not real. Game of Thrones is not real. Girls is not real.

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That’s right—even the girls that you dislike on Girls, with all their stupid privilege, are not real. They, like the dragons on Game of Thrones and the sexy, sexist robots on Westworld, can’t hurt you (unless you are an actor who is a cast member on an HBO show). Please do not take this as a criticism of your criticism—the shows are very realistic. Anyone could be swept up in their drama.

The real world has problems too, if you get bored of writing about the problems with HBO shows.