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Vox Day to David Pakman: #Gamergate is about the “right” of gamers and game developers to be immune from criticism

Vox Day: I ran his head through some Photoshop filters this time.
Vox Day: I ran his head through some Photoshop filters this time.

Yesterday, I wrote about Vox Day’s extravagantly evasive — yet highly revealing — interview with David Pakman. But the interview also featured a few striking moments of candor. One of these came when Day — a sometime gave developer as well as the biggest asshole in Sci Fi — offered his answer to the question: “What is Gamergate really about?”

Suggesting that the issue of “corruption in game journalism” was little more than “the spark that set the whole thing off,” Day declared that

what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being criticized for it.

Which is an. er, interesting perspective, as there is in fact no “right” to be immune from criticism.

If you write a book, if you make a movie, if you post a comment on the internet — you should be ready for it to be criticized. Because that’s how free speech works. That’s how art works. And that’s how ideas work.

Criticism — whether it is positive or negative — helps to sharpen ideas and make art less self-indulgent; it pushes creators to hone their craft and expand their vision of the world. And it helps the consumers of art not only to look at art with a more critical eye but also to appreciate it more fully, by helping to draw out the more subtle meanings of this art and to put it in a broader cultural (social, political) perspective.

Of course, neither the artists nor the consumers of art are required to listen to this criticism, but they have no right to demand that such criticism be eliminated.

But Vox is right in one sense: the elimination of criticism is in fact is what #Gamergate has been about all along — or at least the elimination of criticism aimed in their direction. Indeed, that’s what most #Gamergaters mean when they talk about fighting “corruption in game journalism” — shutting down those writers and publications that have dared to critique the prejudices of a backward portion of the gaming universe that is hostile to any challenges to the status quo ante — particularly from women with opinions different from theirs. That’s what drove the outrage over the “death of gamer” articles last Fall. And that’s what has driven “critics” of Anita Sarkeesian from the start.

Speaking of which: If you want to see how testy Gamergate types get when the criticism they lob at others gets turned back in their direction, even in jest, take a look at Jordan Owen’s new video responding to a post I wrote a few days ago gently mocking Owen’s recent plea for more money to fund The Sarkeesian Effect, the alleged “film” he and far-right Anton LaVey impersonator Davis Aurini are allegedly putting together.

Owen has devoted much of his life over the past several years to attacking Sarkeesian, a woman whose main “crimes” in the eyes of her detractors have been that 1) she raised more money than she asked for to produce a series of videos looking at sexist tropes in video games, and 2) that she’s taken longer than originally planned to put out these videos (which is largely because the extra money she raised has allowed her to research these videos more thoroughly and increase her production values, but never mind).

Yet Owen is outraged that anyone would even gently tweak him and his partner Aurini for going over budget and missing deadlines on their own film. Of course, Owen and Aurini are planning on charging their Patreon supporters more money at the end of the month unless these supporters specifically opt out; Sarkeesian herself never even requested any of the additional money she received.

In his video, Owen also compared me with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League which is, er, weird. But hey, it’s his right to criticize me, no matter how ineptly.

Here’s the video, if you’re interested. Alas, he did not film it in his famous bathtub.

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dhag85
5 years ago

Is “telling a story” the only thing that counts as “art” now? So, paintings and sculptures and all that stuff is out?

katz
5 years ago

There’s a whole class of art called found art that consists of objects that were not originally intended to be art and often not modified by the artist in any way. So that’s a class of art that has no authorial intent behind it. Duchamp’s fountain is the best-known example.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

Katz, I’ll admit I’ve sometimes wondered if Duchamp was just messing with us and seeing just how far he could go before everyone (including his fans) would go “No. Dude, no.”

(I still like him, though)

ARedFox
ARedFox
5 years ago

I was curious about what wlindsaywheeler’s deal with the “Frankfurt School” was about… and so I looked it up and noticed this section in the wikipedia entry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School#Conspiracy_theory

I guess I should that thank that reprehensible wacko for leading me to find out about the origins of the nonsense people are always spewing about “Cultural Marxism”. Interesting to see who made it up.

misha5678
misha5678
5 years ago

There’s a whole class of art called found art that consists of objects that were not originally intended to be art and often not modified by the artist in any way

I always get this impression when I’ve visited the Tate Modern – as though people wondered through their homes one day, picked up random objects like a toaster, a broken omelette pan or the cat, and said, “Is this art? Yeah, why not”.

I always leave the Tate feeling slightly bemused. And guilty, as though there’s a point I’ve missed there that I would get if only I’d made more effort and been more cultured and shit.

I’m not a very arty person.

strivingally
5 years ago

@ARedFox:

You should check out the RationaWiki entry for Frankfurt School, which includes the appropriate amount of ridicule.

strivingally
5 years ago

Ergh. Of course the RW entry for Frankfurst School isn’t where the ridicule is – it’s in the RationalWiki entry for Cultural Marxism.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Every summer our city has a sidewalk art festival, where local artists set up booths and sell their works. Some of the art is really amazing. It’s very popular, and people come from all over to attend.

One year, students from the local art college set up a protest table smack in the middle of the booths. They had old telephones, used Bandaids, and other random junk on sale at exorbitant prices, along with a sign that accused the artists of being money grubbing sellouts, and the rest of us of being bourgeois sheep. I guess they were trying to be provocative, to make people stop and question “what is art?” but it wasn’t the right venue to do that. It came across as juvenile, snobby, and a slap at the exhibitors, many of whom earn their living through art. I was glad to see most festival-goers were giving them a wide berth.

As for the troll…wow, that was one of the dumber ones we’ve had. Metrosexuals vs. Islam? WTF?

I love how it never occurs to these people, salivating over their revenge fantasies, that they will also be among the invaded. No, dude, the conquerors aren’t going to set up a special VIP area with lawn chairs so you can sit there munching popcorn and thrilling to the subjugation of all the groups you hate. You’ll be equally crushed under their heels, whether you have hair gel and skinny jeans, or a shaved head and mixed-martial arts training. Tanks and drones don’t make fine distinctions like that.

It’s embarrassing, the way MGTOW trolls confuse their Mary Sue daydreams with reality.

One day, they’ll realize how wrong they are when Brad Pitt becomes President and falsely imprisons everyone who isn’t named Chad.

@WWTH:

I love how the right is terrified of Sharia law, yet they want a conservative Christian theocracy. They really lack self awareness.

Yes, but Yahweh is right and Allah is wrong…uh….

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Misha

I always leave the Tate feeling slightly bemused. And guilty,

And poorer? Stay away from the gift shop!

The best thing in the Tate Modern is when they don’t actually have anything exhibited in the main hall. Just as a huge enclosed space it’s pretty amazing.

Orion
5 years ago

I actually really enjoyed this troll. Kind of like Owly, a bit. Sorta like Pell, too. Definitely a fond memory of trolls past.

sunnysombrera
5 years ago

Never been to the Tate Modern and I don’t intend to…

Just thinking about it, apart from going for business purposes I haven’t been to London in aaaaages. I should plan a day trip with someone.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Alan Robertshaw:

The best thing in the Tate Modern is when they don’t actually have anything exhibited in the main hall. Just as a huge enclosed space it’s pretty amazing.

The best thing I’ve seen in that space was Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project, which was amazing: I was surprised at my emotional reaction to it. Gosh, was that really twelve years ago?

misha5678
misha5678
5 years ago

@Alan,

I naively visited the coffee shop area for a juice and a ham sandwich and nearly had to take out a personal loan.

I think I remember the hall – it was empty the last time I went, and there was a giant crack in the floor. I walked over and looked at the crack for some time. Then I looked hopefully at Mr Misha and said, “So … am I a hipster now?”*

*I know, I know, bad bad joke. Most art is not produced by people who drink frappacinos in fancy hats.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

in fancy hats.

Artists should be made to wear distinctive dress to avoid the embarrassment of saying “This is a pile of old tosh” when you don’t realise who they are.

[Happened three times now]

Pelagic
Pelagic
5 years ago

@Catalpa

“Ehhhh… I don’t know about that. I suppose it depends how you define racism. I certainly won’t argue with you that racism was/is used for justifying colonialism and slavery. But I’m reasonably sure that most conquered nations throughout history were exposed to discrimination by the conquering nation, because of their heritage. Jewish people have been dealing with discrimination for centuries or even millenia. Most minority groups deal with some kind of ostracization from the majority culture/ethnicity/race in whatever area they are in.”

The issue with the Jews throughout history has been their stubborn refusal to abandon their traditions. From the Assyrians through the Romans, Jews were persecuted because they refused to see the kings and emperors as gods in their own right. The Romans, for example, were very eager to allow native inhabitants of territories they conquered retain their religions – after all, it does keep them pacified – but only on the grounds that they obey Caesar’s (or the Senate before Caesar) as the law. For Jews this was not acceptable, since only *God’s* word is law. So conflicts arose there. It was even more pronounced when you consider other ancient cultures like the Assyrians and Babylonians who insisted their kings were also gods. The Achaemenid Persians, under the rule of Cyrus the Great, were probably the only culture which got along well with the Jews: they did not require the Jews obey Cyrus as a god, or that his word was above all. They required only that you pay taxes and send your levies in the event of war. Cyrus even rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem, which is the reason the Jews really fucking love the guy. Jews were persecuted for their religion, it wasn’t until more modern times that they were persecuted for their heritage.

The issue of race never appeared in the same way as it does now. Peoples of different ethnicities and skin colours interacted constantly. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire it was the Arabs who took up the mantle of learning and discovery. It was the Arabs who recovered Greek and Roman texts on medicine, science, math, etc. and translated them to all sorts of different languages. If it wasn’t for the schools in Baghdad we wouldn’t have the world we have now. But as a result of that, European intellectuals (and there were some, despite Europe’s backwater status at the time) travelled to and from the Dar al-Islam, and down to Ethiopia and China. Ethiopia at the time was also a powerful Christian empire (what the hell is a miaphysite anyway, I have no idea), and it was from there that the legends of Prestor John – a mythological figure who was always portrayed as being black – came from.

Race was a concept which came into being as a result of attempting to justify occupation and slavery of indigenous peoples. After all, why was it permissible for someone like Leopold II to so totally abuse the people of the Congo? Well, because European colonial rulers required them to appear to be less than human. It required science and medicine to exist in such a capacity that it could be used to justify the terrible deeds, thus the “science” of frenology. It was always bunk, but to laypersons who didn’t know better it told the story of the white man’s burden. The concept of race would be even more ingrained due to the outbreak of the American civil war, as the rich landowners of the South needed a reason for the poor in the South (who did not own slaves) to fight for their right to keep slaves.

Race, and the persecution of it, probably existed for a long time. However, it was never as systemic or ingrained into social fabrics like it is now. White people – which as a concept never existed until the American Civil War – were never afraid of black people until the rhetoric and narrative of them being barbarous and violent was fabricated to justify their enslavement.

mildlymagnificent
5 years ago

Artists should be made to wear distinctive dress to avoid the embarrassment of saying “This is a pile of old tosh” when you don’t realise who they are.

Long, looong ago, we went to an exhibition put on by the Royal Society of Arts here in South Australia during the Festival of Arts. It was early evening so we went straight from work and met up with a couple of friends from the university — also straight from work. One of them was studying Fine Arts.

It was one of those free wine with ghastly cheese events with lots of people — the members of the society — decked out in glad rags and jewellery, presumably because they’d later be going on to opera or the playhouse. We struck up a conversation with a couple standing in front of a painting they were seriously considering buying. Eventually the conversation drifted away from what was in front of us.

“And what are you exhibiting here tonight?” one of them asked. Ordinary office wear was apparently equivalent to turning up in paint stained overalls and a beret.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ mildlymagnificent

Ah yes, the delights of the “private view”; wine in plastic cups and unimaginative cheese based snacks. Even though I’m a complete philistine I do get invited to a lot of these.

On one occasion people kept coming up to me assuming I was a particular artist (in all fairness we do look quite alike). One couple refused to believe me when I said I wasn’t (“Oh, you’re such a joker”) so in the end I just borrowed a tenner off them.

I do legal work for the artist’s manager and when I told her about this a month or so later she said it explained a rather bizarre argument at a later exhibition.

guest
guest
5 years ago

There’s a scene in one of Sarah Caudwell’s mysteries (if you haven’t read them you’re in for a treat–especially you Alan R, they’re about partners in a law firm) where the narrator goes to an art exhibit, and says something like ‘I could easily tell the patrons from the artists–the patrons were wearing ripped jeans, Birkenstocks and billowy flower print dresses; the artists were wearing suits and ties or skirts and professional heels.’

To this day I regret not going to the weather project at the Tate Modern–honestly it sounded really stupid, but everyone I’ve met who went (including here! :)) said it was amazing.

http://www.tate.org.uk/node/237074/default.htm

sparky
sparky
5 years ago

what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being criticized for it.

Wait, I thought it was about ethics in game journalism? Way to let the cat out of the bag, Vox Day.

Gamergate is now in negative credibility territory. Not just no credibility. Negative credibility. That’s quite a feat.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

God, fuck, I can’t find a thread where I forgot who responded to me about how I said it doesn’t matter how long someone’s been playing video games and shit. I’ve been looking for the past 10-20 minutes. (May or may not be hyperbole.) May I get some help here, please?

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

THANK YOU ISIDORE YOUR SO AMAZING I MADE A GRAMMATICAL ERROR IN THIS POST BECAUSE I WAS BLINDED BY YOUR AWESOMENESS.

I owe you one. 😀

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

So, I was discussing the “games are not art” thing with a group comprised of a few friends of mine and some acquaintances of others on Skype, and I linked the group this post, linked to the original comment that kicked it off.

One person in the chat scrolled up, and said “Wait, that’s not what GamerGate wants!” and the goes off on one after I tell them I don’t support GamerGate because of all the harassment, doxxing, and threats.

Pretty much their argument boiled down to: #NoTrueGator talk, “But they have some good points that I can’t really explain!”, “But the other side has TERFs and SWERFs!”, “Zoe Quinn is a monster who stole from charity!” (Which I quickly disproved by linking right to the charity’s Facebook post on the subject that said she did), “I’m not really a Gator, I just lean towards them!” and then some Islamophobia. : /

The admin stepped in after another feminist and I raised quite a bit of issue with the Islamophobia, but unfortunately, he wasn’t kicked.

Good thing about GamerGate: It’s helping me weed out who not to talk to.

PiratePenguin
PiratePenguin
5 years ago

> what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being criticized for it.

…which they fight for by viciously criticizing any games, designers, and developers that don’t meet their criteria.

yutolia
yutolia
5 years ago

This actually is a pretty good encapsulation of what seems to be the main goal of the men’s rights movement. They are always complaining about how they are being “silenced”, etc, not allowed to use free speech (which no one actually has…) because finally their ideas are getting criticism on a wider scale. However, as most people here know, criticism and actual silencing are not the same thing.

Criticism essentially means “I disagree with your idea.” Disagreeing, and being allowed to disagree with your idea doesn’t actually silence it. You can tell it to as many people as you want, and they can all decide to disagree or not.

Silencing can work in many different ways. It can be a direct threat, like in the Soviet Union, or it can just be that your idea gets purposely lost in a nether world where it never comes to light, or other ways, but the main effect is that no one gets to find out about your idea ever, at all. No matter how good or bad it is, your voice gets erased. This is not the same as criticism.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted here.

I don’t think these people have experienced true silencing, at least not the way they talk about it.

katz
5 years ago

Katz, I’ll admit I’ve sometimes wondered if Duchamp was just messing with us and seeing just how far he could go before everyone (including his fans) would go “No. Dude, no.”

Well, obviously. His entire life was pretty much an exercise in messing with people. When asked what he did with his time, he used to tell people he was a “breather,” on the grounds that he did a lot of breathing and was very, very good at it.

I always get this impression when I’ve visited the Tate Modern – as though people wondered through their homes one day, picked up random objects like a toaster, a broken omelette pan or the cat, and said, “Is this art? Yeah, why not”.

I always leave the Tate feeling slightly bemused. And guilty, as though there’s a point I’ve missed there that I would get if only I’d made more effort and been more cultured and shit.

I’m not a very arty person.

There’s a whole story behind the urinal. Would you like to hear it? JK, of course I’m going to tell you anyway.

So there was this American art society that thought they were super edgy and modern and avant-garde and they held this show that was supposed to be totally open to everyone: Anyone who paid the entry fee could have their work displayed, there were no judges or prizes, and everything was displayed in alphabetical order.

So Duchamp signed a fake name on a urinal and entered it into the show just to see if they’d display it. They didn’t, of course.

This was a lot more clever in 1917 than it is today, since now there are like 10 museums that have copies of that piece.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago

@katz,

When I posted that I was thinking ‘toilet’. And even though I was thinking ‘toilet, that damn toilet installation thing’ I didn’t want to write it, because I was vaguely aware that it is A Thing and therefore must have infinite hidden meanings that everyone knows about and I would make myself look a complete noob.

I am now glad I know about the toilet thing.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Misha

I once got told off at the ICA for walking across an exhibit.

The exhibit was a disco dance floor that they’d installed *on the actual floor*!

I think that’s a pretty good defence but probably just as well they didn’t have the urinal piece on display.

katz
5 years ago

I think that’s a pretty good defence but probably just as well they didn’t have the urinal piece on display.

XD

fromafar2013
5 years ago

I think that’s a pretty good defence but probably just as well they didn’t have the urinal piece on display.

Hahahaha! I wonder if anyone HAS ever tied to piss in the urinal? You know what? I don’t even need to Google that. I bet someone somewhere has.

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

I’ve been having some internal discussions about the What Is Art topic lately. I want to draw, but there’s an idea from somewhere that Art is what Artists do. Not being an Artist, creating Art seems. . . wrong, somehow, regardless of how well I do it.

The opposite idea, that an artist is someone who makes art, opens things up a bit more. Then there’s Warhol’s definition: “An artist is somebody who makes things that people do not need to have.”

A housemate of mine in college did a ‘found art’ exhibition in a hallway. One piece was an old spool-to-spool magnetic tape, stretched the length, spools mounted gallery style. It was called “Interrupted Conversation”. That was over thirty years ago, and I still remember it.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

My grandmother once announced at a dinner party that she had read The Horse Whisperer and it was horrible. Turned out, the author was there too. She said it was extremely awkward.

booburry
5 years ago

Iirc Pelagic was here before going on and on about how bad video games are and how she doesn’t want her kids playing them. If it wasn’t her…it was someone parroting the same opinions.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@boobury

This information displeases me.

isidore13
isidore13
5 years ago

Warhol’s definition leaves something to be desired, to me. People need houses/shelter, I guess maybe the not-needing comes in where people don’t really need pretty houses/shelter, just shelter full stop?

Falconer
5 years ago

@Robert:

The opposite idea, that an artist is someone who makes art, opens things up a bit more. Then there’s Warhol’s definition: “An artist is somebody who makes things that people do not need to have.”

::pensively:: NWOslave claimed to be a soda machine technician. People don’t need to have sodas. Would that make NWOslave an artist? Probably best not to tell him.

Moocow
Moocow
5 years ago

On the topic of storylines in videogames, how many of you have played the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series? Those are my favorite!

Spindrift
Spindrift
5 years ago

Haven’t played the games, but I seem to recall seeing part of a Phoenix Wright musical.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

I adore the Phoenix Wright series! It’s one of Capcom’s gems! (I kind of wish the writers for Phoenix Wright would work on Resident Evil, but I’ve become so used to shitty plots and character development that it’d be an absolute shock to see a ResiEvil game without them. : P)

I wanna play the Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton game so BAD!

Moocow
Moocow
5 years ago

Yeah the games got a musical adaptation! I think there are 3, I’ve seen the first which kinda sorta follows the plot of a ‘bonus’ case in the first game.

(Also, been lurker finally decided to join! Do I have to keep filling out my email/name each time?)

Tina S
Tina S
5 years ago

Watched the response. David, do you think you’re winning? At what? Makes no sense.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

Moocow | April 28, 2015 at 7:14 pm
(Also, been lurker finally decided to join! Do I have to keep filling out my email/name each time?)

Welcome! If you look to —->, you should see a scented FUCKING candle. If you click on that, you’ll get your welcome package!

In my experience, no, you don’t have to fill out your email and name every time. It should keep if you stay logged in to WordPress.

If you make changes, it’ll need you to make those changes a few times though before it sticks.

Tina S
Tina S
5 years ago

Wheeler troll: like throwing spaghetti at a wall and something will stick.

Silky
5 years ago

“Do you claim science at all?”

I want this on a T-shirt.

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