— Sarah Nyberg (@srhbutts) November 1, 2014
The other day, I posted a screenshot of an 8chan comment featuring the drawing above, a crude caricature of Anita Sarkeesian that’s a not-very-subtle variation on a racist and anti-Semitic cartoon that originally ran in a neo-Nazi newspaper.
Here’s the original, in all its crapitude:
Let’s face it! That is one fucking awful cartoon.
Now, if that picture — or at least the grinning fellow on the left — looks familiar, it’s because he’s been that’s turned into a meme (“Le Happy Merchant”) that’s proven popular with 4channers and Stormfronters alike.
Given that GamerGate itself has its origins on 4chan — and in an IRC channel populated mostly bey 4channers — it shouldn’t come as a complete shock that #GamerGaters, some of whom refer to Sarkeesian as “Jewkeesian,” have repurposed the image into a caricature of one of their most hated foes. Sarkeesian isn’t actually Jewish, but for whatever reason this doesn’t seem to faze her anti-Semitic non-admirers.
GamerGaters like to claim that this sort of bigotry “isn’t what GamerGate is really about,” and that anti-Semites and other bigots are fringe elements in their movement, if not “false flagging” feminazi shills trying to make GamerGate look bad. Here, one GamerGater makes that point with as much sarcasm as he can muster:
This would be a much more convincing argument if GamerGaters weren’t so quick to excuse and/or explain away the anti-Semitic imagery every time it rears its ugly head.
Here’s one active GamerGater who wants everyone to know that, actually, it’s about ethics in game journalism.
But she has a pretty unusual notion of what “not hate” is, given that she posted this picture several days later:
This lovely little drawing combines the racist caricature of Sarkeesian with another bit of neo-Nazi propaganda that’s been floating around the internet for a while, and which had already been repurposed as an anti-Muslim comic. In other words, @SlushStuff has posted a mashup of a neo-Nazi cartoon that’s already been used in another bigoted mashup.
We can’t blame @SlushStuff’s glee in posting this on her ignorance of the sources of the cartoon in question; she’s well aware that the picture is based on anti-Semitic propaganda. She just thinks this isn’t a problem, because reasons.
Then again, @SlushStuff doesn’t seem to have a problem with straight-up racism either.
This is a common reaction amongst GamerGaters when confronted with this particular work of, er, art. When srh, who tracks GamerGate bigotry on Twitter, posted the tweet at the top of this post, here are some of the reactions she got, in a seemingly unending discussion that extended over hundreds of tweets. (These aren’t all successive tweets; see here for the whole thread.)
Yep. That’s right. A guy whose avatar is a white dude in an American Indian headdress (comedian Jim Norton, FWIW) is lecturing people about what is and what isn’t racism.
At this point I “noped” out of reading the rest of the thread before my head exploded from all the nonsense.
GamerGate claims to have an anti-harassment squad, but when someone posts caricatures of Anita Sarkeesian that are not just inspired by but probably literally traced from Nazi propaganda, these are the guys who show up.
To quote the robot bartender in The Fifth Element, do you want some more?
After one anti-GamerGater posted a screenshot of Mary’s post featuring Sarkeesian painting fake threats on a wall, one #GamerGater had this response.
Here yet another GamerGater claims that the caricature is mocking Sarkeesian, so therefore it can’t be anti-Semitic:
— NappalmSam (@NappalmSam) October 26, 2014
Oh, wait, is this yet another GamerGater making the same terrible “argument?” Why yes, it is:
— Joshua AKA Capt When Will It End? (@BeninCitizen) October 26, 2014
And, oh, it gets weirder. Here a GamerGater responding to a critic who was pointing out an instance of GamerGaters using “Le Happy Merchant” in an infographic … by suggesting he was “Jew-shaming.”
And here’s a GamerGater who uses “Le Happy Merchant” as his fucking avatar … accusing Sarkeesian of anti-Semitism. And spelling it wrong.
I could keep going, but after this, is there any point?
Bottom of the barrel, consider yourself scraped.
EDIT: Added more info on the source of that second Sarkeesian cartoon.