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The 13 Most Ridiculous Things #GamerGaters Have Said About Anita and Zoe’s UN Visit (Reddit Edition)

The sound you hear is a thousand #GamerGater heads exploding
The sound you hear is a thousand #GamerGater heads exploding

So a couple of days ago, as you probably have heard, Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn testified at the United Nations about online harassment of women. The two, along with a number of other victims of/experts on online harassment also paid a visit to Google Ideas to share their thoughts on the matter.

This is, in essence, what #GamerGate has achieved over the past year: By launching an unprecedented wave of organized harassment, mostly aimed at women, the Gators have brought about a new awareness of the seriousness of online harassment. And they’ve given the women whose lives and careers they’ve tried most energetically to destroy an influence they never would have had otherwise.

Naturally, Gators have been losing their shit over all this.

And so, as a public service of sorts, I would like to share with you the 13 most ridiculously hyperbolic pronouncements from Gators I have seen thus far in response to Sarkeesian and Quinn’s recent adventures. (On Reddit, anyway; I have not (yet) ventured into the wilds of 8chan or the Twitter hashtag to collect further examples, and I’m not sure I will.) Major props to the folks in the BestOfOutrageCulture subreddit, who have been energetically and hilariously documenting the man-steria, and who found a number of the examples below.

1) “We are literally fighting to save the world from an international alliance targeting the most fundamental human rights.

In a KotakuInAction post with more than 300 upvotes, someone called frankenmine declares:

Make no mistake, we are literally fighting to save the world from an international alliance targeting the most fundamental human rights. …

The problem is not the UN panel and report itself. The problem was not the Google Ideas meeting. The problem was not the Congressional hearing. …

The mere ability to get access to these platforms shows that McIntosh and his ilk is building up a progressively larger and more influential network fairly quickly. At the rate he’s going, he might be able to infiltrate actually influential organizations, at the corporate and/or governmental levels, fairly soon.

The McIntosh in question is Jonathan McIntosh, Sarkeesian’s video-making partner. Unable to believe that a mere woman could actually be in charge of her own life many GamerGater’s believe that McIntosh is the evil puppetmaster pulling Sarkeesian’s strings.

2) “Now GamerGate has to save the world from authoritarian, women-infantising control freaks?”

In another KotakuInAction post, this one with more than 1600 upvotes, _Mellex_ makes, well, basically the same assertion:

So now GamerGate is being mentioned in the same breath as the United Nations, and apparently KIA is at the forefront of stopping unnecessary government overhaul of internet protocol. What in the actual fuck? …

Ethics in games journalism: That’s what this was all about. And now GamerGate has to save the world from authoritarian, women-infantising control freaks?

These guys do an awful lot of world-saving for dudes whose greatest accomplishments basically consist of being belatedly banned on Twitter for harassing women.

3) “It’s amazing that it falls to gamers to play a key role in this pushback against authoritarianism.”

LEGALIZE-MARINARA gets a hundred upvotes for this comment, made in response to  _Mellex_’s post:

It’s amazing that it falls to gamers to play a key role in this pushback against authoritarianism.

Not big upping myself. I ain’t even a gamer, and I’m pretty late to this whole thing, and nor do I think it’s fair that so many politicians have abandoned their responsibilities in this manner. But that’s the reality we’re faced with.

So humble, these guys.

4) “If they win, if they get what they want, they kill free speech. For good. And the foregone conclusion is THX 1138 or Demolition Man.”

Ok, I cheated a little. This is evidently a rant from 8chan, which I found reposted on TheBestOfOutrageCulture subreddit. It’s a bit tl;dr, so I’ve edited a little and bolded the best bits.

Media is a tool. And corporations like to co-opt every single format for one purpose; to sell you sub par shit that you don’t need.

And the biggest threat to that is your ability to have just as big a soapbox to criticize their product as they do to push it.

That’s why they want to take away your ability to say mean things on the internet. It isn’t about poor little Anita. It’s about poor little Pfizer. Anita is a patsy. She’s a tool. Get everyone to rush to the defense of the damsel, take away the right to criticize and now you’ve got people going to jail for saying anything but “Coke is it! Coke is the best! Disney is the greatest! Nike totally doesn’t rely on third world child labor! Apple is an ethical company!” …

SJWs are useful idiots, savvy at narrative with their communications degrees, with social access to trend setting cliques. Those SJWs are the innoculation against those in the media who might break the narrative. They got Patton Oswalt. They got Sarah Silverman. They got Louis CK. They got the video games industry under lockdown. They have everyone in Hollywood except Eli Roth. …

The final result? Draconian control of THE most valuable social tool since Guttenberg. …

Gamers are the only thing holding the line right now, and I’m telling you, we can’t stop. Because if they win, if they get what they want, they kill free speech. For good. And the foregone conclusion is THX 1138 or Demolition Man. Then we all have to live in the subways, or live like them. And we ain’t got the cash to live in the good parts.

Well, someone’s got a vivid — if somewhat derivative — imagination.

5) “Not being a cuck is harassment.”

In a r/KiA comment with more than 900 upvotes, SinisterDexter83 sarcastically suggests that Sarkeesian and her allies are trying to declare everything and the kitchen sink to be a form of harassment.

Asking for evidence of harassment is harassment.

Questioning harassment is harassment.

Criticism is harassment.

Disagreeing with the harassing tactics of radical feminists is harassment.

Holding an opinion that contradicts the dogma of radical feminism is harassment.

Voicing an opinion that contradicts the dogma of radical feminism is harassment.

Holding an opinion that contradicts the dogma of radical feminism without voicing it is an especially sinister, underground form of harassment.

Continuing to have your own opinions after you have been informed of the official radical feminist dogma is harassment.

Not being a cuck is harassment.

He continues on for some time in this manner, but, really, what can beat “not being a cuck is harassment?” It’s Peak #GamerGate.

6) “Corporate enterprise is pushing this brand of feminism to isolate countries and decimate societies for profit.”

More conspiracy-mongering from this r/KiA comment. Sarkeesian and Quinn are puppets of an evil corporate plot to “decimate the public” because apparently decimating customers is a great way to make money?

Google Ideas, a think tank in NY, allowed the harassment to get high profile…

Google changes their monetization and wants more profit…

A new narrative (which is old to us) is put before the UN to spread worldwide.

What people should realize is that we’re seeing the rise of the corporate feminist which is a different type of feminism. This thing was okayed by a think tank to influence rates of growth for corporate enterprise. …

People are focused on fighting SJWs, they missed the bigger story and the article… Corporate enterprise is pushing this brand of feminism to isolate countries and decimate societies for profit. They mislabel gaming to justify cultural imperialism (we’re telling you what to make for our sake) and enact corporate friendly laws that decimate the public.

I’m not quite sure how the evil folks at Google secretly convinced a battalion of angry gamers to send multiple death threats to Anita Sarkeesian over the course of several years, but I’m sure there’s some perfectly reasonable explanation for it.

7) “This is only the beginning. … If this … spirals out of control from here I could see a full blown revolution down the road.”

A comment in KotakuInAction, with more than two dozen upvotes, suggests that if Gamergate and other “free speech” movements like it don’t succeed, the masses might ultimately have to resort to revolution:

More and more it’s becoming evident that movements like Gamergate are necessary. If no one fought for the rights these people are trying to take away we probably would have lost them long ago.

I’m gonna make this prediction, so mark my words.

This is only the beginning. Between the authoritarian right and authoritarian left and whatever group has an agenda to push we’re going to start seeing more and more attacks on our rights.

Privacy and free speech are going to be constantly attacked and they’ll use whatever excuse they can to try and legitimize their cause. Harassment, terrorism, sexism, bigotry, criticism, you name it and they’ll use it to try and take away your rights.

Gamergate will just have been the precursor, eventually I think there’ll be more movements based around fighting for freedom of speech ethics. If this only spirals out of control from here I could see a full blown revolution down the road.

Well, of course you can. Because you clearly have no understanding of history and only a tenuous connection with reality.

8) “When the lunatic horde comes knocking, we stand up, stand strong, arms linked and spirits high, voices joined in harmony, millions of different pitches mingling into a rising crescendo of unity and strength.”

In an r/KiA comment with more than a dozen upvotes, Ferlion123 gets all inspirational:

Where do we go from here?

We go to our families and we go to our friends. We go on with our jobs and our lives. And when the lunatic horde comes knocking, we stand up, stand strong, arms linked and spirits high, voices joined in harmony, millions of different pitches mingling into a rising crescendo of unity and strength.

We will go on with our lives until the call comes, and when it does we will stand before the tide upon our shores and before our fires will they disperse. We will stand before any rush and we will not break or fall.

What we do is EXACTLY what we’ve been doing. We stand on our own legs, allies at our side, and we finish this fight.

Is this plagiarized from somewhere? I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure Ferlion123 means it all quite sincerely. 

9) “Now we are the only things that stand between them and world domination.”

In an r/KiA comment with 70 upvotes, Neo_Techni seems to have a hard time telling the difference between anime and reality.

It started with censorship, and the censors won. It was inevitable that they’d get drunk on that power and try to censor the world. Now we are the only things that stand between them and world domination.

It’d make a great anime so long as funimation doesn’t get to touch 1984 it up

No, I’m not quite sure just what that last, er, “sentence” is supposed to mean either.

10) “I can imagine SJWs one day coming up with a reason to defend diseases from being cured.”

In response to a comment in which someone called deathonwingz suggests, at least half seriously, that “I get the feeling this won’t be over until we’ve cured cancer, stopped world hunger, colonized mars and done many other things,” commenter FiveThou writes

Now you say that, but I can imagine SJWs one day coming up with a reason to defend diseases from being cured. “Viruses are living things that share our planet. How dare you be so cruel to them.” “Don’t go to see the doctor – he’s only going to AIDS-shame you.”

11) “You weren’t necessarily sent to the gulags for criticizing Brezhnev, but you never worked again.”

Tigers_ suggests that the power of Sarkeesian et al is comparable to that of the Soviet authorities in the era of Brezhnev. I suppose we should give him half a point for not going with a full-blown Stalin comparison.

I’ve been wanting to find a way to address these issues in an entertaining and accessible fashion for a few years now. Real life issues hold me back, but there’s also the incessant fear of something like that destroying any hopes I have at a career of my chosing for engaging. It’s not like there isn’t a massive risk. You weren’t necessarily sent to the gulags for criticizing Brezhnev, but you never worked again.

12) “Think feminism doesn’t kill people? Fucking yes it does, Srebrinca was possible because of feminist mindset.”

Xyluz85, meanwhile, gets no points for reining in rhetorical excess with this comment, not specifically referencing Sarkeesian but made in the wake of her UN visit.

It’s not about the fear that they can win this, it’s more about how big the damage will be when the time comes feminism goes away. And it get’s more horrifing by the day. I learn more and more about this mindset, and what it does to people. Think feminism doesn’t kill people? Fucking yes it does, Srebrinca was possible because of feminist mindset, Haiti women-only food pretty sure killed some people, lynchmobs killing innocent people surley happend.

I think I’ll just end this post here.

Oh, wait, I almost forgot TREASON.

13) “Don’t listen to the leftist lies: both Zoe and Anita (assuming she is a citizen of the United States) have committed a felony by explicitly and directly lobbying foreign governments for the abolition of Net Neutrality and the “licensing” of internet content providers.

HonorableJudgeHolden provided “evidence” for this assertion in the form of a meme-enhanced “info”graphic.

This is the only Reddit comment or post I’ve quoted here, in this Gamer’s Dozen, that #GamerGaters considered too ridiculous to upvote.

If you want to see what Sarkeesian and Quinn actually said at the UN, here’s a video of their testimony, courtesy of Laughing Witch.

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Vetarnias
Vetarnias
5 years ago

#6 and especially #11 are ironic since it was GG themselves who tried to get “corporate enterprise” to intervene in an attempt to push out undesirable reviewers.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

Megpie,
I’ve seen freeze peachers, when this is pointed out counter by saying that the principles of the 1st amendment should be held by private entities and therefore it doesn’t matter that Twitter or a blog or whatever is not the government.

Their criteria is so vague, perhaps purposefully so, that it enables them to change standards when its either convenient or inconvenient for them.

If a site is publishing articles or videos they like to read or watch, that site should do “whatever it wants”, but a site that does not cater to their sensibilities is suddenly an enemy to free speech and guilty of censorship – especially when that same site doesn’t just tolerate their constant bullshit. Nevermind that, y’know, they have no issue with a site doing that to anyone perceived as an “SJW” regardless of how little a disturbance they cause.

It makes me wonder if these people have held a job for more than a couple of days. Try threatening to rape and kill your boss or your clients at work and see how receptive they are to freeze peach arguments when they fire your dumb ass.

Having known people like that personally, in the past, I can say that they are aware what will get them fired from a job – they’re just hypocritical cowards who take out their frustrations on others, which is why they often like harassing people online. They feel safe behind the anonymity a computer monitor and the internet allows. If they were to actually meet the people they harassed face-to-face, they’d shut down completely and be unable to get worked up into a furor.

One of the few good SNL skits in recent years, featuring Jason Sudekis (love that guy!) as the host of a show where internet trolls are forced to meet people who they were subjected to their vitriol. It’s exactly like that. They’re brave when they can communicate entirely through a keyboard or by recording themselves talking to a webcam in their bedroom – but that all goes away when it comes to personal interaction.

Not necessarily because they suffer from a social anxiety or have a form of high-functioning autism, but because they’re egoists who don’t know how to deal with people and too stubborn to admit any wrong-doing on their part. So, of course, it becomes about how it is everyone else’s fault and never their’s.

bvh
bvh
5 years ago

On the other hand, terrorizing individuals wit mass harassment and driving entire subcultures off the web is good, because it’s a grassroots movement of private citizens who are concerned about something.

They sell this to the uninformed who are unclear about what grassroots movements look like. GG otoh has more in common with astrotuf: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassroots#Astroturfing

This is much like the alleged non-partisianship claimed by GG, Big L Libertartians and similar groups, which in many cases turns out to be a front to hide unsavoury reactionary politics( like anti-semitism).

When called out on rightwing woo, the defence is “we’re not right or left!”. The counter response should be, “Claiming to be non-partisan does NOT excuse hiding racist/far right connections “.

Stella
Stella
5 years ago

Did that one guy actual drag out the old “it’s about ethics in video games”? Come on dude, that hasn’t fooled anyone in forever. That’s a punchline. It’s time to let that dead horse go.

Biot (on a different browser this time)
Biot (on a different browser this time)
5 years ago

Frankenmine and HonorableJudgeHolden…oh boy, those guys are among the worst Redditors that I have seen, and each one is a piece of work on their own.

Frankenmine is a hardcore Gamergater–he even runs two subreddits called “TorInAction,” which is all about the Sad Puppies and the SJW influence in publishing, and “WerthamInAction,” which is all things #comicsgate and is named after a comics censor from the 1940s-50s. He is also an absolute ass: he has devoted quite a few posts accusing the “Anti-GGers/aGGros” (yes, that what the gaters call us normal folks) of “SJW racism.” He doesn’t discuss things with people who disagree with him: he turns it into a “debate” where he demands that you concede the argument before he gives you any evidence to his claims. If you call him out on that, or keep pressing the point, he may just pull a fallacy out of a hat and/or proclaim “I accept your concession. We’re done here.”
The only thing that frankenmine’s good for is providing Grade-A grist for the mill for the BestOfOutrageCulture subreddit, but that doesn’t even cancel out a tenth of the things he says or posts on Reddit.

All you really need to know about HonorableJudgeHolden is that he’s a former moderator of Coontown and, thus, is an unabashed racist. As far as I can gather, all the racist drama that he gins up or revels in is just so he can have his jollies, and it looks like he’s migrated to become a member of KotakuInAction so he can proselytize against the ebil SJWs and make the place his own home away from home.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

NickNameNick | September 28, 2015 at 11:11 pm
One of the few good SNL skits in recent years, featuring Jason Sudekis (love that guy!) as the host of a show where internet trolls are forced to meet people who they were subjected to their vitriol. It’s exactly like that. They’re brave when they can communicate entirely through a keyboard or by recording themselves talking to a webcam in their bedroom – but that all goes away when it comes to personal interaction.

There was a similar storyline in a comic I used to read called Ménage à 3 (NSFW), where a girl who was new to the internet was trolled, so she tracked the kid down, slept with his mother, and convinced his mother to leave her cheating husband, all while she grinned at the kid from the other side of the breakfast table.

katz
katz
5 years ago

I would say GG is grassroots; it isn’t funded by corporate interests like the Tea Party and other astroturf movements. But it’s a reminder that “grassroots” doesn’t mean “good,” because a bunch of assholes can get together and form a “movement” to harass people just as easily (or more easily) as a bunch of nice people can form a movement to do something real.

Chrysler
Chrysler
5 years ago

As someone who specialized in Eastern European Politics as part of my IR degree, I am extra pissed off about the Srebrenica comments. Someone’s disagreeing with you, not machine-gunning you down in a field, you dickweasels.

LordCrowstaff
LordCrowstaff
5 years ago

The person you have harassed and threatened is now speaking before the UN and other important bodies. You are still sitting at home screaming and thrashing. You LOSE, GG.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

There was a similar storyline in a comic I used to read called Ménage à 3 (NSFW), where a girl who was new to the internet was trolled, so she tracked the kid down, slept with his mother, and convinced his mother to leave her cheating husband, all while she grinned at the kid from the other side of the breakfast table.

And they say revenge is a dish best served cold! 😀

As someone who specialized in Eastern European Politics as part of my IR degree, I am extra pissed off about the Srebrenica comments. Someone’s disagreeing with you, not machine-gunning you down in a field, you dickweasels.

It’s always repulsive when people try to equate their completely imagined infraction against them as being akin to an event where people, y’know, actually suffered horribly.

I’ve noticed this with people who have strongly right-wing or reactionary views: they’ll often use historical events, either recent or ancient, in an erroneous way in order to “prove” their point. They know people who know better won’t believe them, but they know the uninformed-yet-pretentious will eat it up and regurgitate it endlessly.

There’re even people like David Barton who will outright lie and use fictional material as if it is historically accurate, simply because it took place in a past time period, to argue against gun control. Glenn Beck is another example of someone who skews historical accounts to demonize Obama, namely by comparing him to Augustus Caesar. That’s like comparing fresh apples to rotten bananas.

Quantuminc
Quantuminc
5 years ago

I’ve been watching a lot of videos by Liana Kerzner. She is one of the few sensible critics of Anita Sarkeesian; though these criticisms reflect the old radical feminist VS sex-positive feminist debates; with Sarkeesian being the radical feminist and Kerzner the sex-positive. There’s a list of female characters that Sarkeesian has criticized based on male-gaze theory, and then Kerzner defended based on what those characters actually do in the game’s storyline. Apparently Kerzner is disagrees with male-gaze theory in general preferring gender-performance theory. Apparently Kerzner has also cosplayed most of those same characters. She identifies as a feminist, but more-so as a gamer.

Liana Kerzner has been harassed for daring to criticize Anita Sarkeesian. She characterizes her harassers as being out of control, and she even predicted that some of Anita Sarkeesian’s most zealous supporters would turn on Sarkeesian is she said the wrong thing. This paints a dire picture where both sides of this “debate” include some reasonable people, but also a massive swarm of people who want to attack “teh enemy” but refuse to think very critically about how to improve things. In the gamergate controversy Anita Sarkeesian’s actual words are pretty irrelevant, it’s just a fight between people who think they have to defend the status quo at all costs, and the people who think they have to save the princess. Sigh…

Orion
5 years ago

I think GamerGate got as big as it did because as it mutated it tapped into all kinds of preexisting fears and resentments, some more reasonable than others. Sure, it started with fear and resentment and women, but it didn’t end there — actually wait, it totally did end there, but it passed through some interesting spaces. Early on, I think they did lure some people from other issues into signing on; now they just appropriate language. They’ll take a reasonable issue and float it out of context to justify something both unrelated and reprehensible.

Take the guy in 13 — he claims that Anita Sarkeesian is conspiring with the UN to repeal Net Neutrality. That’s absolutely ridiculous, but it is true that Net Neutrality is important and that if there were an actual campaign to repeal it we should protest against that. Basically, what I’m saying is that not everything a Gator says is automatically wrong; it might be a good idea violently misused. If there is one thing GG has accomplished in popular discourse (not counting driving individual speakers out of it), it’s provoking a kind of intellectual friendly fire, where whatever positions they glom onto lose their initial credibility. Thus:

Megpie,
I’ve seen freeze peachers, when this is pointed out counter by saying that the principles of the 1st amendment should be held by private entities and therefore it doesn’t matter that Twitter or a blog or whatever is not the government.

I would actually agree with this statement. GGers don’t actually support “1st amendment principles,” but freedom of speech is a value that everyone ought to be invested in, and “censorship” is not exclusively a state practice.

When trolls complain that comment moderation violates their freedom of speech, it’s very tempting to shut them down with a statement like, “The 1st amendment only restricts the government’s actions; the 1st amendment does not apply to me.” While true, it’s beside the point. A blogger is legally entitled to ban people from their blog, and those banned are legally entitled to call that blogger a bully and a coward for it (on their own blogs if not here). This has nothing to do with whether the blogger did the right thing. “The law is a scoundrel’s refuge,” as the saying goes.

(I just googled it, and apparently that’s not actually a saying; but it should be)

We say “the 1st amendment does not apply here” because it’s faster to write than “Although as a liberal I believe that the general good flourishes in societies that enable free expression of diverse and unpopular viewpoints, and that this requires the cooperation of readers, teachers, and publishers as well as the non-interference of legislators, I do not believe that hosting your content is a good use of my resources; either (a), your speech is not an attempt to participate in discussion but actually an attempt to chill it, (b) your ideas have already been considered and set aside in this forum, (c) I am using my site to promote and showcase other ideas which I consider more valuable, (d) this website is less like an electronic town hall, newspaper, or public square, and more like an electronic cocktail party, or (e) all of the above.”

Still, I hope that the long version is what everyone here means and that we remember that that’s what we mean, because we need to be able to invoke liberal/democratic principles when it comes time to shame wealthy businessmen for suppressing counter-culture content.

Orion
5 years ago

@quantum,

I was pretty sympathetic to your posting up to “save the princess.” Do you want to re-think that one?

Orion
5 years ago

Some of Kerzner’s videos are REALLY long. Can you recommend one?

Orion
5 years ago

Long, aggressive, and gobsmackingly condescending.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@katz:
Good point, and I’d agree. However, there’s more than one way to astroturf.

Cory Doctorow coined the phrase “time-rich, money-poor” to describe the situation of unemployed first-world people whose needs are provided for by the phenomenal wealth of their society and so who can dedicate themselves to full-time political activism. The time of connected, dedicated people is a currency that can be spent on astroturfing just like money can; and #GG has definitely indulged in that in the wider sphere. #Metalgate and the Puppies, for example, both read to me as #GGers trying to persuade people that there exists a grassroots base of support in those communities when there really isn’t one.

Similarly, I’ve seen some farcical attempts by #GGers to expand into the BDSM community.( It wasn’t as hilariously bad an idea as it sounds because of how heavily the BDSM community has migrated to the internet as a means of organisation.) However, the scheme failed hilariously because half of BDSMers are modern progressive feminists and half are unreconstructed old-school patriarchy sorts, and neither group has any time for whiny #GG nonsense. But they still tried, and did the whole sockpuppetry thing etc.

saitonexus
5 years ago

You know what’s funny about the freakout over the GamerGate comment in the Prison School dub? That is EXACTLY the kind of mild social commentary couched in humor that they should be defending, if they had any ideological consistency. Surely their “platform” would fall down squarely on the side of defending the content and its creators from excessive criticism if said content had a raunchy joke, or some dark humor touching on a real-life tragedy, or say…. a part making fun of a political group. SURELY they would be all over that with their cries of free speech and anti-censorship and if you don’t like it don’t watch it and whatnot.

This is just yet more proof that they don’t really understand shit about their own supposed goals, and that when you cut through all the bullshit, it’s really just about them wanting content to cater to them and people who think like them, and being upset that that’s not always happening so much anymore, and being even MORE upset at being made fun of. It has nothing to do with the purity of artistic vision or whatever.

I was pretty sympathetic to your posting up to “save the princess.” Do you want to re-think that one?
I dunno, personally I’d paint the entire second half of that post as dubious.

Quantuminc, I don’t know anything about Liana Kerzner or her videos but the aforementioned second paragraph reeks of “both sides do it!”, which is complete nonsense. If Kerzner has gotten nasty, “this isn’t criticism it’s harassment” behavior from ardent Sarkeesian supporters, then yeah, that’s bad, should stop, and the people responsible are assholes. Harassment is never okay.

But that is NOT equivalent to GG and doesn’t make GG’s general “opponent” (the so-called “anti-GG”) the same. Not even close. GG is nothing BUT harassment, misogyny, hypocrisy, easily bruised egos, and a complete lack of understanding of nearly every concept they claim to be about. That’s IT. There is nothing else to gamergate, except for the large (possibly even majority) group of self-identified GG’ers who may not actually themselves be all those things, but enable them for the movement at large by defending GG, attacking “SJWs”, etc. It’s a giant frothing ball of hate – a.k.a. a hate group.

“Anti-GG”, as nebulous and nonsensical a concept as that even is, is absolutely not their counterpart. There are not “two sides” that both contain “a massive swarm of people who want to attack “teh enemy” but refuse to think very critically about how to improve things.”, and characterizing people who have backed up Sarkeesian or Quinn or Wu or (etc), people who have fought back against GG’s unrelenting toxicity, as people who “think they have to save the princess” is gross and demeaning to all of them.

saitonexus
5 years ago

um okay I’ve been blockquote monster’d… sort of. My blockquote tags didn’t produce a giant accidental blockquote, they just… didn’t work at all. lol Not sure what happened there, but the line “I was pretty sympathetic to your posting up to “save the princess.” Do you want to re-think that one?” in my third paragraph is a quote from one of Orion’s posts and was supposed to be blockquoted.

Orion
5 years ago

I tried to watch Kerzner’s videos, and gave up. They are extremely unpleasant, but worse, they’re just recordings of her talking to the camera. If there’s no visual content, I refuse to spend 30 minutes listening to someone read me a 10-page essay. These videos very nearly dissuaded me from even looking at her writing…

Which would have been a damn shame. Anyone here who is following the Sarkeesian story because they’re interested in gaming rather than because they’re tracking misogyny should definitely try this series: http://metaleater.com/video-games/feature/why-feminist-frequency-almost-made-me-quit-writing-about-video-games-part-1. Skip to part 2 if part 1 bothers you. (Part 1 is her opinions on FeministFrequency; Part 2 is a discussion of game criticism in general)

It’s hard to believe they’re the same person, honestly. The articles have more and better visual content than the videos, and replace the videos smug aggression with a moderate, generally compassionate tone. I definitely do not agree with everything she says, and she takes a few really unjustified cheap shots, but it’s still quite interesting.

Orion
5 years ago

Mind you, I don’t find her criticism of Sarkeesian very convincing. Kerzner’s basic formula seems to be “Take an uncharitable reading of one of Sarkeesian’s talking points -> dismiss it as simplistic and misguided -> develop a more nuanced reading.” Kerzner’s counterpoints are good, even when she’s responding to strawmen.

Kootiepatra
5 years ago

Warning: Teal deer incoming.

@Orion – So article 1, Kerzner has:

– Repeatedly referred to Sarkeesian as angry–even though Sarkeesian’s videos are some of the most even-toned commentaries you will find on YouTube today
– Bashes crowdfunding as somehow being crooked
– Starts off by saying she knows of troubling personal details about Sarkeesian and McIntosh, but then she won’t go into them because they aren’t relevant–but this is still effectively a “These are bad people” smear
– Also starts off by saying “Well these old school video game characters don’t bother ME”, which is fair enough, but also completely irrelevant to whether or not those characters have problematic aspects
– Already getting into What About teh Menz, because Sarkeesian suggested women should be believed about the abuse and harassment they have suffered
– Again with WATM because “Tropes vs. Women” only goes into depth about how tropes affect… women
– Also What About teh White People
– The abuse she claims to receive from “Anita’s supporters” are that she has been called racist and transphobic, supposedly based on quotes taken out of context. But a) she does not cite the accusations or provide a refutation of them, and b) “transphobic” and “racist” are criticism—in theory, perhaps even completely wrongheaded criticism—but are not doxxing, death threats, or abuse. Also, the author references her own transparently transphobic joke *in this piece*, and then gripes about people’s lack of a sense of humor
– Calls supporters of Sarkeesian a “cult”
– Claims that both sides do it
– Blames Feminist Frequency for creative decisions made in Dragon Age (?!?)
– Claims that everyone gets abused on the internet, so it’s not really a big deal
– Surprise, also doesn’t like Leigh Alexander’s article
– “thought police”
– Utterly misrepresents Feminist Frequency’s critique of hypersexualized female characters
– Uses the terms “Mean Girling” and “Queen Bee Tactics”, wtf
– Compares feminist critics to a nagging wife or girlfriend

In article 2:
– Claims that pervasive sexism in games doesn’t exacerbate sexist behavior in players, but does claim it will make the world look like a meaner, more dangerous and sexist place than it actually is, thus making the players needlessly afraid. But then doesn’t act like that needs to change.
– Acknowledges the problematic treatment of prostitutes in GTA, then claims (without meaningful citation) that Sarkeesian ignores the opinions of sex workers, waffles a bit about player choice and the ability to mow down unarmed pedestrians, and doesn’t ever say anything that proves Sarkeesian wrong
– Claims Sarkeesian is wrong about objectification in Dishonored, because there’s an important woman whose opinions matter in it
– Bloviates about what the game “allows” versus what it “forces” or “encourages”, which is a point Sarkeesian herself explains in her videos
– Claims Feminist Frequency has failed to identify a specific problem
– Claims Feminist Frequency has failed to prove sexism in video games
– Claims Feminist Frequency has presented themselves as “the cure for sexism in gaming” (which they patently have never done)

So far, article 3 is completely dismissing sexual objectification, because all the avatars are art, so therefore they are objects.

For pete’s sake. Look, I don’t think that Anita Sarkeesian is some kind of goddess who is immune to error, but her videos—her actual project that she actually set out to make—are mild, even-toned critiques. And though I don’t doubt that there are people who enjoy her work, who have then gone out and done and said bad things on the internet—Sarkeesian is not managing a community. She is not cultivating a fandom. She has not sent her followers on harassment campaigns. She can’t be held responsible for a handful of people (and/or sockpuppets) who are mean in how they argue about her work.

And as far as “damseling” and “rescue”, the ONLY reason Sarkeesian has become a spokesperson against internet harassment is because of the torrent of abuse she received. That’s not something she set out to do. It’s not a context she sought to create. It’s something that happened to her, and she’s stepping up to the plate to deal with it in response. She was making “Tropes vs. Women” videos about media long before the internet decided to blow up on her, so it is unfair to gripe about her supposedly making herself a victim.

Kernzer used a transphobic joke and thinly-veiled misogynistic name calling (“Mean Girling”). She inflates her own harassment (“I have 95% approval on my videos, but some people have called me racist and transphobic”), and minimizes Sarkeesian’s (“it’s the internet, it happens to all of us, so whatever”).

Her counterpoints are vague, often talking about completely separate issues than the ones Sarkeesian raises. She acknowledges feminist theories, but dismisses them as being only useful for media formats that aren’t video games, because apparently the fact that video games are interactive is enough to exempt them from any analysis that overlaps with traditional media.

So yes, I am interested in this as a gamer, and I think Kernzer’s articles are willfully obtuse and are pretty much just saying that the status quo doesn’t need to be challenged. She is much more even-keeled than your average Gator, but her points are not well argued at all. And though she shows some grasp on a number of feminist concepts, she has a bizarre number of anti-feminist dogwhistles in her work, so I don’t buy the “sex-positive feminist” label at all.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

I dunno, personally I’d paint the entire second half of that post as dubious.

It was the latter half of the first paragraph for me – considering that narrative justification doesn’t mean the male gaze isn’t somehow involved. It’s a thing I notice from a lot of Sarkeesian critics: they seem to assume Sarkeesian is being dismissive of those characters because they are subject to the male gaze, but that’s just jumping to a conclusion. Ironically enough, that logic seems to ignore how many narrative justifications are often flimsy even within context.

Hideo Kojima made Quiet in MGS5 show off a lot of skin on the excuse that she “breathes through her skin” as if she’s photosynthetic – it’s a facade that quickly falls apart when she’s doing highly sexualized poses around a male main character, which is obvious for titillation.

I mean, shit, I love the titular heroine of Bayonetta as a female game character. Except I’m also not deluded enough to claim her sexy dance moves or showing off skin wasn’t based on male gaze, even when they have a narrative reason for it.

The difference between Kojima and Hideki Kamiya is that the earlier was being totally disingenuous while the latter was honest about it from the start. I prefer the latter.

I tried to watch Kerzner’s videos, and gave up. They are extremely unpleasant, but worse, they’re just recordings of her talking to the camera. If there’s no visual content, I refuse to spend 30 minutes listening to someone read me a 10-page essay.

Just like all of Sarkeesian’s other “critics”, eh?

It’s a personal rule of mine to not watch 20-30 minute videos on YouTube, if they are little more than just someone talking to a webcam. It’s the next worse thing to being forced to listen to right-wing radio on a long car drive, except you can also see the smug asshole talking down to you instead of only hearing them.

saitonexus
5 years ago

Well. I still haven’t seen any of Kerzner’s videos, so I don’t know how they compare to her writing, but her writing is… awful.

Oh sure, it’s coherent, it does present itself better than most GG garbage, it’s well-written from a purely technical standpoint, but it’s –

Well, Kootiepatra summed it all up REALLY well, above. I wasn’t going to go into nearly that much detail, partly because it’s 3 in the morning and I need to sleep. I was going to just call it “a load of crap.” But your deconstruction of just why it was a load of crap was excellent. I especially noticed how quickly she reduced things down to the usual GG/anti-feminist talking points of “hating men/white people/cis people isn’t helping! Don’t demand diversity, that only closes doors!(?? somehow?)” etc.

Sorry Orion, but all I can say about it is it’s the same nonsense that most people who regularly post here have no doubt heard or read a million times.

@NickNameNick – ugh, Quiet. That is such a colossal pile of nonsense. Not only with the poses, which obviously have nothing to do with breathing through her skin, but also the fact that when you look at her outfit, it’s not even consistent with the idea of “she needs to expose as much skin as possible”. If that’s true then why the crud are her legs mostly covered?? If she was wearing like… a sports bra, short vest, and shorts, that’d expose more skin. It’s just an excuse to have her boobs hanging out, and an opportunity for yet another male video game developer to demonstrate that he does not understand how boobs actually work.

I kind of get what you mean about the difference – male gaze courting objectification isn’t OKAY by any stretch, it’s still a problem and is quite tiresome at this point, but at least if a game is upfront about it, you know what you are getting into. We can enjoy a problematic thing while acknowledging the ways in which it’s problematic. But this weak-ass attempt at “justifying” it, and even going as far as Kojima talking down to people about it with that “you will feel ashamed of your words once you know HER REAL STORY!” crap, does somehow seem worse.

And now it’s three-thirty, so I really need to get to bed!

Orion
5 years ago

Kootie,

I would agree that virtually all your observations are accurate. Kerzner misrepresents Sarkeesian’s arguments, makes unjustified personal attacks, and trots out tired anti-feminist talking points including “what about the men?” Her agenda (or bias) is transparent and I reject it. She also makes a huge mistake by refusing to think about why creators choose the plots and situations that they choose.

However, I think that people of bad politics, or even bad character, can still be good writers. Sometimes they’re worth reading because they are good thinkers or at least observant viewers. Sometimes they’re worth reading because their writing is personally revealing; it shows you enough of what it’s like to be them to get a clearer sense of how someone ends up in the place where they are. Kerzner’s writing has some of both. Here are some of the reasons I am glad I read it:

Substantive
–Observes poor gender ratio in Inquisition (I didn’t notice)
–Introduced me to the phrase “cultivation theory”
–Draws a distinction between content in film (which viewers are forced to watch) with content in games (which players choose to play)
–Draws a distinction between the agency characters wrt to the narrative and the agency characters have wrt to the player
–introduced me to the phrase “gender performativity”
–proposal that good design reduces player’s awareness of own gender (I don’t agree, but it was interesting)
–suggestion that the chaos mechanic in Dishonored represents Emily’s observation of Corvo (never occurred to me)
–notes that Pac-Man is unmarked because he’s assigned male, not assigned male because he’s unmarked
–points out that breasts are not the same kind of signifier as bows, pastels, or makeup
–points out that some sex workers Sarkeesian describes as background decorations are actually plot points (possibly still sexist, but a different trope)
–behind-the-scenes info on Lara Croft voice acting

Personal
–describes why she loves Ivy and Bayonetta (I am almost always interested to hear why people like what they like, even if I don’t like what they like)
–talks about the way she has experienced her body in social spaces and how it affected her worldview
–makes us aware that online harassment is not a strictly right-wing phenomenon (though it is a mostly right-wing phenomenon)
–explains why some female players enjoy hypersexual female figures (to be clear: I’m not saying that a game can’t be sexist if some woman somewhere likes it; I’m saying that it’s interesting to hear why that woman likes it)

Matt
Matt
5 years ago

It’s positively adorable watching the neofascists that make up the backbone of GG handwringing about “global totalitarianism”. The only thing they have against it is that they’re pants-shittingly terrified THEY won’t be the ones in charge…

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

“Draws a distinction between content in film (which viewers are forced to watch) with content in games (which players choose to play)”

I, um, what? If anything I’d rather walk out of a <$10 movie than give up on a $50+ game, but the purchasing of both is the same level of choice.

Orion
5 years ago

@argenti,

I meant that while playing a game you have some choice about what content to see, but while watching a movie you don’t.

LordCrowstaff
LordCrowstaff
5 years ago

@Orion: With most games, I really don’t have much of a choice. Even heavily modular games still feature many situations and characters that you always or usually encounter. If Shephard’s armor from Mass Effect was designed as a cyber-bra with space panties, you’d always have to look at it. You cannot chose NOT to view it without boycotting the game entirely, just like a movie.

Also, just because you can in some cases not look at sexist scenes (or play around them) doesn’t mean the stop existing.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Experiencing disturbing content in a game affects me far more than watching it in a film. It’s why things like Spec Ops: The Line are as effective as they are.

Kootiepatra
5 years ago

Also, just because you can in some cases not look at sexist scenes (or play around them) doesn’t mean the stop existing.

Yep, and this is actually something Sarkeesian addresses in her videos. Like, okay, you don’t NEED to brutally murder the strippers in Hitman, but the game is set up in such a manner that you MAY do so. This means that the game designers anticipated that possibility, and created the framework for players to do it, knowing that some would be delighted by it. You don’t NEED to hire a sex worker to restore health in GTA, and you don’t NEED to shoot her afterwards to get your money back, but you *can*, because the game developers know that people would want to, and so they gave them the tools to do it.

And yes, you brutally murder all kinds of people in both of those games, but there is a super problematic degree of titillation that is designed into the senseless, intentional murder of women (especially, but not only, of female sex workers), that you never, ever see with male NPCs.

All that Sarkeesian says in her videos is that this is pretty messed up, and that it plays right into existing societal prejudices against women. Which I find hard to argue with—especially since she doesn’t even call for boycotts of those sorts of problematic games, much less blanket bans. She’s pointing and essentially saying, “That’s gross,” and people are howling about it like she’s calling for some sort of virtual book burning.

anemonerosie
5 years ago

You know what? I might just need to bring Rosie back to Reddit for this sub right there.

NickNameNick
NickNameNick
5 years ago

ugh, Quiet.

“Ugh”, indeed!

That is such a colossal pile of nonsense. Not only with the poses, which obviously have nothing to do with breathing through her skin, but also the fact that when you look at her outfit, it’s not even consistent with the idea of “she needs to expose as much skin as possible”. If that’s true then why the crud are her legs mostly covered?? If she was wearing like… a sports bra, short vest, and shorts, that’d expose more skin. It’s just an excuse to have her boobs hanging out, and an opportunity for yet another male video game developer to demonstrate that he does not understand how boobs actually work.

It’s some of the most nonsensical character design I’ve seen, next to the latter-day Final Fantasy games.

To be honest, besides Snake-Eater, I don’t really like the MGS series that much and Hideo Kojima’s creative choices are a big reason. His plotlines are pointlessly convoluted, his characters are either one-dimensional or reworked archetypes than anything unique or complex. those same characters interact as if they belong in either a daytime soap opera or a straight-to-video 1980’s action movie, and he seems incapable of blending the contrasting tones of being a realistic “war is hell” drama and an over-the-top action anime. It’s difficult to take it seriously on any level, which Kojima wants you to, when you’re also witnessing characters who can summon whales and flying unicorns made out of flames.

MGS3, being a prequel done right, was fairly accessible as a stand-alone story (even when referencing events that take place after it) and thus vastly more enjoyable as a result.

It’s also something of note that one of the main antagonists is properly attired female super-soldier but does show off some skin…to reveal a very unpleasant-looking scar she got on the battlefield. Even the other prominent female character, who shows off for titillation, is a Mata Hari-type spy using “honey pot” tactics to infiltrate and gather information. It’s weird to know these two characters were made by the same guy who created Quiet and defends her appearance using emotional blackmail…

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Kootiepatra:

All that Sarkeesian says in her videos is that this is pretty messed up, and that it plays right into existing societal prejudices against women. Which I find hard to argue with—especially since she doesn’t even call for boycotts of those sorts of problematic games, much less blanket bans. She’s pointing and essentially saying, “That’s gross,” and people are howling about it like she’s calling for some sort of virtual book burning.

The more reasonable she is, the louder the howling. If she were a book-burner, she’d be easier to dismiss. But someone making such measured points, while taking care to point out that it’s still possible to enjoy media which has problematic elements? That gets listened to by people who matter, and that’s a real threat.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Orion,
As far as I’m concerned, the point of the first amendment isn’t that everyone can say what they want and be an asshole anywhere, anytime. The point is that you can’t have democracy if the government is shutting down dissent of those in power. It’s not there to stop internet or workplace policies. It’s not oppression to get banned from Twitter or have a subreddit shut down.

Orion
5 years ago

Crowstaff,

Could you please try to read me a little more charitably? Yes, I’ve played games, I know that there’s a lot of mandatory content; some games are *all* mandatory content. I noticed the grammatical ambiguity and considered revising my paragraph to emphasize that only *some* content is optional, but this is an informal conversation and I hoped that people would do me the honor of not taking me for an idiot. I don’t want to get tl;dr’d so I do trust readers to cut me some slack.

The point is: some content is optional, and it demands a different critical approach than content in other media does.

Speaking of which: it’s pretty condescending to preemptively rebuke MRA arguments that I’m not going to make. I was never going to say that optional content should be exempt from criticism, because that is ridiculous. Of course optional content should be criticized; it just presents an interesting new set of critical questions.

GTA infamously lets you murder sex workers and arguably rewards you for doing so. That’s not good. But if Tony Stark murdered a prostitute in Iron Man 2 and it was never mentioned again, that would have been much worse. I think it’s clear that making content optional is mitigating, though not exonerating.

Anyway, the questions that interest me are not about bad, skippable content, but about choices that fork narratives and how to analyze them. Consider a fantasy adventure game in which the protagonist has a girlfriend (the protagonist can be male or female, but they have a girlfriend either way). The protagonist also has a younger sibling of opposite gender. Early in the game you make a choice which has nothing overtly to do with gender: ally with elves, dwarves, or dragons. Later in the game there is a kidnapping plot. If you sided with the elves, your girlfriend is kidnapped and you have to rescue her. If you side with the dwarves, you are kidnapped and your girlfriend rescues you. If you side with the dragons, your sibling is kidnapped and you team up with your girlfriend to rescue them.

If you were a critic, how would you review this game? Would you average out the storylines and say something like “this game has an admirable commitment to gender diversity, allowing all genders to appear as rescued and rescuers”? Would you treat the 3 paths as separate works of art, and say something like “the elf campaign is a tedious rehash of tired damsel tropes?” Would your opinion be different if your player knew the consequences of their choice? Would it be fair to use footage from the elf campaign in a TvW video?

Kerzner just assumes that Sarkeesian doesn’t understand or respect this issue and uses it as a club to bash Sarkeesian with, which is wrong. But I think they’re interesting questions and I’m glad she raises them. I would be genuinely interested to find out what Sarkeesian thinks about them, not as a “gotcha” but because she’d probably have something interesting to say.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

The more reasonable she is, the louder the howling. If she were a book-burner, she’d be easier to dismiss. But someone making such measured points, while taking care to point out that it’s still possible to enjoy media which has problematic elements? That gets listened to by people who matter, and that’s a real threat.

I agree 100% with this.

A lot of the worst things people say about Sarkeesian stem from, I think, the knowledge that she’s making the public conversation about games more thoughtful and insightful; and this makes it harder for them to be oblivious, selfish assholes.

Orion
5 years ago

It’s not oppression to get banned from Twitter or have a subreddit shut down.

That’s ridiculous. It might or not not be oppression to be banned from Twitter. You can’t say without knowing the details. Banned for tweeting death threats at journalists? Not oppression. Banned for being a member of the communist party? Totally oppression.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

If Twitter chooses to be an anti communist site, that’s their right. You don’t need a Twitter account to have a decent quality of life or to have freedom or participate in democracy. I would argue it’s assholish for them to ban communist accounts. It’s not the same as the government ordering Twitter to shut down communist accounts. To argue that it is is completely disingenuous.

Road to Servitude
5 years ago

Poor little MRA trollsickles don’t even understand that ‘radical feminism’ is actually quite a specific term, and doesn’t mean their strawman notion of ‘bad-nasty-cruel-fanatical-feminists.’ Seems MRAs know nothing about the history and key concepts of gender and gender critique. Now why doesn’t that surprise me!

Orion
5 years ago

Good thing that I never said they were the same, then.

You say “assholish, ” I say “illiberal, undemocratic, contrary to free speech principles.” 6/Half dozen?

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Orion, you’re an intelligent person who has said many smart things in their life. Please don’t go down the road of “I never said X” because it’s not going to end well.

LordCrowstaff
LordCrowstaff
5 years ago

@Orion: but Twitter does not have to be democratic or devoted to liverty, since it is not the government.

Orion
5 years ago

EJ,

What would you recommend I do when people attribute things to me I don’t believe I said or implied? I am honestly interested in your opinion, because the responses I have tried in the past have not worked out well.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

Apparently Kerzner is disagrees with male-gaze theory in general preferring gender-performance theory.

She identifies as a feminist, but more-so as a gamer.

… *blinks*

The idea of somebody dismissing the entire concept of objectification out of hand then claiming to be a feminist is so bizarre, misses the definition of feminism so fucking hard, I can’t even think of a humorous simile for it.

Orion
5 years ago

SFHC,

Well, technically she agrees that objectification exists. In movies. But there’s no objectification in video games. Because reasons. Look, there’s a lot of stupid stuff in those articles, and maybe my tolerance for bullshit is too high. I just thought that she had some cool observations and an enjoyable prose style and figured I’d pass it along. Actually, my bullshit tolerance is definitely too high. I do cringe that I ever described it as “compassionate.” On my first readthrough, I did notice some of the stuff Kootiepatra flagged (personal attacks, insults, sexism), but completely failed to see how pervasive and vicious it was.

Orion
5 years ago

Why is democracy good?

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@Orion:

What would you recommend I do when people attribute things to me I don’t believe I said or implied? I am honestly interested in your opinion, because the responses I have tried in the past have not worked out well.

My own rule of thumb is to assume that if people attribute such things to me, then it’s because I fucked up my communication. When we write something on the internet, we hold opinion A, mean to express view B, write thing C; then the reader reads it as D and believes you hold opinion E. If A and E are too far apart, that’s because we were unclear when we wrote it.

This is why posting quick rebuttals when you’re angry is a bad idea, because our ability to consider it and think “what will the E look like if I write this” becomes distorted by our desire to defend ourselves. If in doubt, disengage and reconsider.

Why is democracy good?

It isn’t good in and of itself. It’s just that we’ve never found a workable alternative that raises the total human utility by the same amount. If we find said alternative and can see that it works in the wild, I’ll happily support it.

magnesium
magnesium
5 years ago

I really can’t figure out how anyone could describe Anita Sarkeesian as a “radical” feminist. Even using the incorrect definition that anti-feminists like to throw around (they seem to think it means “extremist”). How does someone decide that mild criticism of video games is extreme? I guess if you can be tricked into believe that “good” feminists are women like CH Sommers who make whole careers out of telling women to shush up and obey their male superiors…

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

@megpie71

Unless there is an actual government bureau involved in removing naughty words from your rants, or blacking out parts of images, you haven’t been “censored”. Unless you have to submit your works and words to the government for approval prior to publication, you haven’t been “censored”.

I actually think that there’s a case to be made that ‘censorship’ can come through unofficial channels. To put it in pre/non-internet terms: Imagine there was some guy writing – I don’t know – pro-Catholic editorials for the local paper, and a neighborhood group of staunch anti-Catholics decided to put an end to it. So, they break down this guy’s door, burn all his manuscripts and reference books, smash his typewriter, and tell him that if they ever see another pro-Catholic editorial around here, there will be some even-more-serious consequences. Now, this example doesn’t involve anything happening in any official capacity, but if it’s not ‘censorship,’ well, what is it? It could be referred to as ‘silencing,’ ‘intimidation,’ etc., but since it involves a group exercising its power to prevent someone from creating a type of media, ‘censorship’ feels like an accurate description. And then, there are also many real-world examples of powerful, non-govermental organizations exerting control over media (i.e. the MPAA) – maybe not technically ‘censorship,’ but it makes sense to view it through that particular lens.

So to come back to the discussion at hand: it’s always super-ironic to see GamerGate yelling about ‘censorship,’ since if anyone in the whole GamerGate fracas has been implementing something that can reasonably be called ‘censorship,’ it’s GamerGate themselves with their myriad silencing tactics.

@Kootiepatra

Like, okay, you don’t NEED to brutally murder the strippers in Hitman, but the game is set up in such a manner that you MAY do so. This means that the game designers anticipated that possibility, and created the framework for players to do it, knowing that some would be delighted by it. You don’t NEED to hire a sex worker to restore health in GTA, and you don’t NEED to shoot her afterwards to get your money back, but you *can*, because the game developers know that people would want to, and so they gave them the tools to do it.

Yeah, well-put. I’ve tried to internet-argue the Hitman: Absolution thing several times now (to which one might say “Gee, Mike, is that really the best use of your time?” to which I might say um… yeah… shut up and stuff). What it always comes down to is: people insist that you can’t hold the developers responsible for those in-game actions, because those are just a few of an endless array of choices open to the player. Of course, the truth is that the options open to the player in a game like Hitman: Absolution are not endless at all – they’re actually profoundly limited, with most aspects of the experience having been carefully engineered by the game’s designers. I think that this actually speaks to something kind of, well, scary about the ways interactive media can affect perception, with people treating a somewhat-open in-game scenario as if it has the same degree of potentialities and possibilities as any real-world situation; it’s something that I hope some people are actually looking into…

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Orion,
You didn’t explicitly say it, but you sure are implying it by saying that a website should be democratic. Twitter is not a democracy. It’s not a great business model for a social media site to restrict account holders to people with certain points of view only, but they want to, they can. Because again, they’re a social media site. Not a nation. Not a democracy. A website is under no obligation to provide a platform for everyone who wants one. Not providing a platform does not equal censorship.