Ron and I were talking on Discord about D&D play culture, especially the contemporary play culture among younger people (people for whom 5e is their first experience really playing and for whom 3.5e would be considered old). Ron suggested that I post about it. For a bit more context, we were talking about the origins of the kind of bipolar silly/killing squad style of play (with plenty of GM railroading, often seemingly out of the terror that play with devolve into the players making jokes and randomly killing every NPC they meet), and especially the way bards are played.
It makes sense that this would be associated with 5e. A month or two ago I did a kind of anthropological investigation on YouTube of popular D&D content and was kind of horrified at what I found. This mostly revolved around 5e (“4e is terrible! 3.5 is too old”). There are videos on YouTube with millions of views describing how to play D&D with what we are talking about as the desired goal, or perhaps, the grim reality, with plenty of GM complaining about how terrible and unruly players are. It is kind of reminiscent of the shift in liberal dialogue from before the collapse of the Soviet Union to after (before, capitalism was almost Utopian in the liberal economist’s mind, after it became the best of the bad options, a grim and broken thing but better than nothing) when viewed in contrast to the OSR community fetishization of D&D play.
I also linked to a video, which has 4 million views and is a prime example of this. Watch with caution, and if you dare go further, look up “Abserd” on google images.
This kind of widely viewed, and mostly unchallenged content is what I think is primarily defining the strange type of play that seems rampant in the generation of players mentioned above.