Today, the most pretentious, and also probably the most ridiculous GamerGate video I’ve seen so far.
Over black-and-white footage of assorted video game shooters, the YouTuber who calls himself PowerIndustry tries to provide a bit of inspiration to his comrades in the virtual trenches who have chosen, as he puts it, to “stand and fight.”
For those who can’t make it through the whole nine minutes– and there may be more than a few of you – here’s Mr. PI’s basic argument.
Be warned: his sentences can get a little long and convoluted and at times he doesn’t seem to know what the words he’s using actually mean. Roll with it.
He starts off with a description of GamerGate that might strike you just as a teensy bit overwrought.
This is a war. A war of the dialectics. A battle not just for the culture of gaming, for ethics in journalism, but perhaps the final battle of logic and reason in the modern Western world. Gawker, Kotaku and all the other political hacks know that they will have to break us and this movement, for if they do, with the most powerful medium at their disposal, they will be able to broadcast and control all intellectual ideas and messages for their corrupt and vile ideology, and video games, along with all mediums and media, will sink into a dark age not since seen or heard of, made only perhaps more sinister by the pollution of the pseudo-intellectualism that may very well dominate all it touches for generations.
Yes, that second sentence there was 92 words long.
But if we hold strong upon this war, if we endure upon the hit pieces and lies and fight back, if we remain sovereign and strong and respond with a resonating and sustaining yell of “no, not one step further” then not only will they be driven back to the idiological darkness from which they came but a new dawn shall shine its light back upon reason, back upon truth and honor. And not only will ethics return to journalism but the cultural Marxists who seek only to control and oppress those they pretend to speak for will find themselves for the first time in ten years on the defensive and the war taken to their front.
He goes on in this vein for some time, before finishing up with what he intends to be a rousing pep talk.
To you weary, who wonder now as I drivel on as I always have, wonder whether you will have the strength to continue, or if our battle has been in vain, and that soon GamerGate may plunge into darkness I say to you this: Do not despair. The shield of deception and lies has never once stopped even the weakest parry of the sword of truth, for it is truth that has driven back the darkness from the primordial age, it has turned huts to nations and nations to civilizations, it has pumped electricity into your home and put the sun at the center of the solar system, it has brought the world closer to becoming the sons of gods we were meant to be, [?] apes that we but a few million years ago closely resembled. …
Truth will prevail, as long as there are men who are willing to carry the light.
In his mind, the evil enemies of truth and gaming have
made a fatal miscalculation.
They have forgotten that we are gamers. That we on a daily basis fight and die a thousand deaths in a humiliating and ego-shattering fashion for perhaps a single taste of glory.
Or perhaps just a taste of Mountain Dew.
We are a breed that will fight a thousand wars for a chance of a single victory. … We will not stop fighting until the final boss falls at our feet.
He continues on with more of this “never surrender” nonsense, but I think you’ve probably gotten the gist of it. And I find myself too annoyed to keep transcribing.
Why? Because, Mr. PowerIndustry, YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING BATTLES, You ARE NOT FIGHTING WARS. You’re NOT SWINGING A SWORD OF TRUTH.
You are SITTING ON YOUR ASS PLAYING VIDEO GAMES.
You’re not defending TRUTH and REASON from the evil cultural Marxist Gawkerites. You’re HAVING A COLLECTIVE TANTRUM BECAUSE SOME VIDEO GAME JOURNALISTS CALLED YOU A BUNCH OF BABIES.
Which, by the way, YOU ARE.
Look , I enjoy video games too, including Call of Duty and other first person shooters.
But fucking hell, dudes, VIDEO GAMES ARE NOT REAL LIFE. REAL LIFE IS NOT A VIDEO GAME.
There are no “millions of gaming dead.” They’re PIXELS ON A SCREEN.
Your “movement” for “Truth” and “Reason” started off as a harassment campaign aimed at a female game developer. And at its heart it remains a harassment campaign today, albeit one with a somewhat wider range of targets and some nobler-sounding rhetoric.
Which often ends up sounding as ridiculous as this risibly bombastic little video does.
But the REAL problem with this video isn’t just that it’s ridiculous; that’s pretty much the only thing that makes it watchable.
No, the real problem is that it’s fundamentally dishonest as well. Its vague and pompous rhetoric is designed to hide what GamerGaters are actually doing in this “war” of theirs – that is, trying to ruin the lives and livelihoods of game writers (and critics and developers) who’ve gotten bored with hackneyed sexist tropes and endless Call of Duty sequels and who’ve dared to say so publicly.
In his famous essay Politics and the English Language, George Orwell tried to figure out just what made so much political writing so very bad. “As soon as certain topics are raised,” he noted,
the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.
That of course is a perfect description of the rhetoric in PowerIndustry’s little video.
Orwell realized that this kind of bad writing didn’t just stem from a lack of imagination. No, he argued, political language sinks into clichés and vague writing generally because, in so many cases, political writers are trying to obscure the ugly realities of politics with pretty rhetoric.
In our time [he was writing in 1946], political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. …Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. … Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.
Obviously GamerGaters aren’t razing villages or throwing peasants off of their farms. But they are harassing and in some cases terrorising their chosen enemies in the name of “Truth” and “Reason” and “Ethics.
And while few pieces of GamerGate are quite as ridiculously bombastic and overblown as “For Those Who Stand and Fight,” much if not most of GamerGate rhetoric is as fundamentally dishonest in its attempts, as Orwell would put it, to defend the indefensible.
Most of us outside of GamerGate can see this propaganda for what it is. Which is perhaps why so much GamerGate propaganda – including this video – is intended primarily for internal consumption, as a way to shore up the flagging spirits of new activists and convince them what they are doing is a noble thing.
The best way for us to fight rhetoric like the rhetoric in this video isn’t with detailed rebuttals but with laughter.
So mock on, comrades, we have a culture war to win! With your help, and a little luck, we can defeat GamerGate and plunge western civilization into a new dark age just in time for Christmas.