The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

All Of My Hate Is Not Equally Divided: #Gamergate Again

| 39 Comments

Let’s start with some Aristotelian categories (recognizing that such categories are more fluid and contradictory than Aristotle thought):  There are those who push agendas that are reactionary, wrong-headed, morally bankrupt; and there are those who are misguided supporters of such agendas.  There are agendas based on middle-class politics; and agendas based on blatantly anti-working class, right-wing positions.

Social justice activists are, in my opinion, wrong.  Very wrong.  Scarily wrong.  By either not seeing class distinctions, or by seeing them as merely another in a list of causes of oppression, they (in my opinion) dangerously misinterpret the world, and leave us open to attacks by reaction, and actively interfere with the effort to unite the working class and prepare it to do battle with our enemies.  We saw in the cases of Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Julian Assange how they gave aid and comfort to the most repulsive right wing elements.

Overt racists and male chauvinists, on the other hand,  are actively and consciously supporting our enemies.  That is an important distinction.  I don’t waste time talking to them.  We will have things out with the Beales of the world at the barricades, not in the parlor.  Any innocently misguided individuals among them are not going to have their minds changed by argument, but by the developing class struggle.

Certainly, some social justice activists are not worth talking to–many of the theorists consciously obscure the class issues while cynically solidifying their upper-middle class positions and comfortable lives by talking about how others need to recognize their “privilege.”  But many, many, many social justice activists are people who see the same problems I do.  They are honestly and legitimately outraged by  oppression of working people, of minorities, of women, of homosexuals, of those with disabilities.  We differ strongly on what to do about it, and often about the causes, but we agree about the problems.

So I’ll talk to them, and I’ll be as polite as I can manage and do my best to make convincing arguments.

And when there is a conflict between social justice activists and right-wing assholes, there is a time for saying, “This whole dispute is crap, the fundamental issues are the things none of you are talking about. A plague on both your houses.”  And then there is a time for saying, “Yeah, we disagree, but I have to take a position with you anyway,  always maintaining my right to express my differences as I do so.”  I never agreed with the non-violence of Martin Luther King, or with protest politics in general; but when his supporters were being beaten and shot, our first step was to make it clear that we were on their side against the cops–only then could we fight within that movement for a turn toward revolutionary politics and class unity.

In the case of #Gamergate, I was pulled into it by something intensely personal that happened, the details of which are unimportant.  But having been pulled in, it is obvious which side I’m on.  I do not blame or criticize anyone without a direct stake in the matter for staying out of this: on many levels, the whole controversy is trivial (of course, on other levels it is not).  But if you do take a stand on it, I believe that any decent human being, regardless of any disagreement he or she may have with the policies of social justice activists, needs to recognize misguided friend from foe.

 

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

39 Comments

  1. Well put.

  2. Regarding gamergate, are the black men who support it racist? Are the women who support it male chauvinists? Since the conversation is moving over here, I’ll repeat a link for anyone who thinks gaming journalism hasn’t had an ethical problem for ages: http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

  3. skzb

    Will: Why, it could NEVER happen that an individual could take a position against his or her own interests! Next thing you’ll be telling me is that some workers support the Tea Party!

  4. Okay, how do the people of #notyourshield have their interests hurt? Serious question.

  5. Oh, and did any workers support the Tea Party? I know well-off black and female conservatives did, because it aligned with their interests. But the only ostensible worker I can think of is “Joe the Plumber” who got the nickname after asking Obama, “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan’s going to tax me more, isn’t it?” That sounds like a member of the owning class to me.

  6. skzb

    Is there any reliable information to dispute the claim that #notyourshield was a bunch of sockpuppets? http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/new-chat-logs-show-how-4chan-users-pushed-gamergate-into-the-national-spotlight/

  7. skzb

    Yes, certainly there are misguided workers who supported the Tea Party. Given a choice between someone saying, “Here is the solution to all of your problems,” and someone saying, “Um, I dunno,” it’s not hard to see why.

  8. The #notyourshield person who most interests me is Jason Miller, who was doxxed and then fired from his job. Sure, his rhetoric was intemperate, but getting someone fired is, well, what identitarians love to do, probably because they come from a group that doesn’t understand how hard it is to find another job in this economy. His twitter feed is here: https://twitter.com/j_millerworks

  9. Interesting in an “Oh, fuck, do I have to blog again?” way. Thank you, I think.

  10. skzb

    Then my work here is done.

  11. It’s probably not my place to interject anymore, but as someone who is very anti-GG, I think going after #nys sockpuppets is a huge mistake. Many of the #nys tweets are definitely legit. Correct response to #nys is Ken’s #8 in that post.

  12. What it really comes down to is that #gamergate is a hashtag used primarily by harassers, and secondarily by people concerned about game journalism and the ethics therein.

    Straight forward data analysis shows that a vanishingly small proportion of tweets using the #gamergate hashtag have anything to do with anything other than harassing women.
    http://www.newsweek.com/gamergate-about-media-ethics-or-harassing-women-harassment-data-show-279736

    I believe there are people concerned about ethics using that hashtag, but they should really just find a new hashtag, and they should commit themselves to actual game journalism problems (the quid pro quo that’s more common between big companies and big review sites) as opposed to philosophical critique (Sarkeesian’s work) or theoretical, minor and false problems (Quinn, her sex life, the review that was never written, and the money and favours that never changed hands).

    You can find plenty of women that are against feminism because they don’t understand it, and there are black people that think the police response in Ferguson is proportionate and has nothing to do with race.

    I won’t cast aspersions on the people in the #notyourshield camp, but they’d be better off supporting someone else. Just because they don’t feel victimised doesn’t make all this other stuff not true.

  13. Regarding the Newsweek analysis, people target the people who represent the issues they’re concerned with. See how many people in our community focused on Orson Scott Card rather than opposition to gay marriage in general.

    I blogged a response to the Popehat piece: http://sjwar.blogspot.com/2014/10/ten-short-rants-about-ten-short-rants.html

  14. Anita Sarkeesian doesn’t represent any part of the gaming media in any meaningful sense that gamergate is theoretically concerned with. She’s not involved in game reviews, and there’s certainly no collusion between her and game companies. She’s spending her time criticising the games we make. (Rightfully so, I might add.)

    Brianna Wu isn’t part of the media. She’s had a rough ride of it over the last few weeks for no reason other than correctly pointing out that at this point, #gg is BS.

    Zoe Quinn is where all this started, but the complaints against her are provably false.

    The only possible link in the gaming media chain is Leigh Alexander, but her essay was mainly about how ‘gamer’ as a term is meaningless and outdated because games are too mainstream now to associate yourself with it. It’s like calling yourself a ‘reader’ or a ‘TV watcher’.

    None of these people that receive the lion’s share of the harassment have anything to do with the actual corruption in the review system. And again, nobody really gave two shits about any of this until Quinn was written up by her jerk ex-boyfriend. Sure, there were a few isolated pockets of people that have been banging this drum for a while. I’m surprised that they’re not irritated at all these people that are undermining any valid complaints that they have.

    #gg was started in bad faith and continues in bad faith. That well is thoroughly poisoned. If ethics in game journalism is worth being concerned about, then it’s worth finding a new banner to campaign under. Otherwise, it’s all just justification for bad behaviour.

  15. VjGoh, I liked your summary. I am in no way part of the “gamer” community except that I play video games. ;>) I haven’t been involved in #gg in any way because the whole thing made no sense to me and I was not about to jump into that cesspool of immature hormonal rage.

  16. skzb

    Thank you for this, and thank you for the link to Ken’s piece; they were both greatly appreciated…

  17. From where I stand, this really looks like two sets of inmates trying hard to rattle each others’ cages.

    Eventually they will get tired of it.

    I don’t see that any action is required by anybody else. Too bad about the lost jobs and the ones scared of being physically stalked etc.

  18. What makes me cross-eyed with irritation is the whole idea of “sides”. I would argue there are really no sides to take, because there is no cohesive group involved. The people self-identifying as members of this gamer movement have no corporate identity, no stated principles, no single goal they’re working towards and no solutions to offer anyone for anything. If a group of random people on a corner shot out a bunch of street lights then started arguing whether this star is Betelgeuse or that one is, no one would take them seriously if they later claimed to be members of the Dark Sky movement even though they had in fact darkened the sky for a short time. If 20% of them cared about astronomy but the others were vandals or practicing for their concealed carry license or afraid not to go along with the group, and the act itself was instigated by those who hated the Commissioner of Public Works and his henchmen who are just always putting up more lights and making it harder to mug people in empty lots, would anyone take their insistence they’re all star gazers seriously simply because they gave themselves a spiffy online handle like #betelgate?

    As may have been obvious, I become vexed when people suggest this amorphous phenomenon is a monolithic group of people engaged in principled action. I could have argued almost as feelingly against someone who refused to admit there was some sort of anger against video game sites involved in this ridiculous affray, if that person refused to acknowledge there is no single principle uniting those who willingly lump themselves under the hash tag gamergate.

    Things like this gain traction because people take them seriously and treat the horde like mature adults who deserve to be heard rather than like petulant children who should be ignored or laughed at. I think this is a great reaction from The Onion:

    http://www.clickhole.com/article/summary-gamergate-movement-we-will-immediately-cha-1241

    You say “the whole controversy is trivial (of course, on other levels it is not)”, and I assume the “not” is the death threats. That is clearly not insignificant, but unhappily it’s part of the power their defenders have given them. They feel strong and secure surrounded by their cohort on twitter, in blogs, on IRC and even respectable print media. They’re not a bunch of socially backward twerps anymore, they’re a Thing, and as a group they’re going to attack people they simply once hated in silence. Their non-gamergate supporters have given them a podium and have told them, “You’re important and powerful, because you’re angry. Tell us: What else do you feel strongly about?”

    “But having been pulled in, it is obvious which side I’m on.”

    Me, I recognize only two sides – inside and outside, and inside the movement is all inchoate anger, seething resentment and undirected, unprincipled activity masquerading as activism.

  19. “I would argue there are really no sides to take, because there is no cohesive group involved.”

    Then there is no need to take sides.

    “They’re not a bunch of socially backward twerps anymore, they’re a Thing, and as a group they’re going to attack people they simply once hated in silence.”

    Kind of like, say, feminists. Except of course there are no socially backward feminists. Feminists are wise and good and deserve to have social power. Maybe all the social power. But socially backward twerps should be ignored by society because they are socially backward twerps who by their very nature deserve no social standing of any sort.

    “Me, I recognize only two sides – inside and outside, and inside the movement is all inchoate anger, seething resentment and undirected, unprincipled activity masquerading as activism.”

    But there is no inside, because there is no cohesive group involved.

  20. L. Raymond, I think #GG is like #OccupyWallStreet: they don’t know what they want, but they know what they don’t want. What #GG doesn’t want are the new Mrs. Grundys policing their entertainment. Out of curiosity, why do you keep discussing the death threats on the other side and ignoring the death threats on yours?

  21. Will –

    Because there aren’t actually two sides. I would believe that #GG actually had an agenda involving something having to do with journalism ethics if anybody could point to a *single* ethics breach that occurred within the past 2 months to instigate all this outrage (as opposed to the Business As Usual of publishers advertising with the companies who review their products, which has been going on since the ’70s).

    Instead, we have a small group of people who believe that harassing and threatening women is a worthwhile and fun social activity, and the much larger group who think that while those people’s tactics are wrong, their goals are worthwhile…despite not having ANY IDEA WHAT THOSE GOALS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. There isn’t really an “other side”; there just happens to be people who refuse to sit idly by while that shit happens.

    Notwithstanding, if #GG is so obsessed with keeping THEIR entertainment free of social policy, why are they targeting independent developers whose games they would never in a million years buy, instead of the AAA titles they actually care about? None of #GG’s proponents would in a million years play Depression Quest or Revolution 60; so why are they targeting those games’ developers?

  22. From what I’ve read, I am guessing the #GG includes a lot of stereotypical young male trolls.

    You see this type on comments for many young male oriented sites or videos. If you like the new Mustang GT and say that in a car comment string, somebody will say you are the stupidest possible a**hole in the world and deserve to die horribly because you didn’t like the Camaro Z28 instead. Amazingly, young women are starting to talk in similar tones. Equality is coming.

    Apparently being anonymous brings out the worst in some people. Some of the trolls get it off on trying to hurt others verbally. You can guess what kind of emotional deficiency this shows. And should the reply succeed in zinging him, the anger is unlimited as they want to be in control.

    I don’t think it is our responsibility to try and dig whatever useful information could be present in that seething mess. Rather, it is theirs to present the information clearly and in a civil tone if they have anything worth supporting.

    The “Occupy” movement made it’s position clear; that people are more important than banks and profits. Not something those in power want heard.

  23. I remember hearing most of these same complaints about feminists, a long time ago. They were full of rage, they didn’t know what they wanted. They wanted to control everything and not leave any place like private men’s clubs for them not to control. They wanted to control giant corporations when they had no reason to think they were competent to do it. Hey, they wanted to take men’s jobs and decide for themselves what they’d get paid! Like the iron laws of supply and demand didn’t apply to them! It was inevitable that they’d typically get lower pay because they weren’t in it for a long-term career, pretty often they’d quit the job to get married. But they insisted that they had the right to decide their own salaries!

    And they objected to male logic. They’d say something outrageous and illogical, and if you argued with them they’d say you couldn’t force them into male logic. But it was just logic, and they were being illogical, it wasn’t *male* logic.

    They talked like all the men were bosses, but if you tried to explain that you weren’t a boss and just as bullied and subjugated as they were that got you no brownie points at all.

    I listened to these men making all these complaints about feminism, and now listening to you guys it brings back the memories. I’m not saying it’s the same thing, no doubt the men who complained about the angry women were wrong, and you complaining about the angry GGers are right.

    But it does remind me, it sounds now like it sounded then.

    Just saying.

  24. J Thomas, you must live in a different world than me. I don’t remember any women acting the way you describe. Maybe some had some oversensitivity, but never to the extent you describe. Besides, feminists can have some legitimate complaints.

    We can’t complain about wolves because look how they said bad things about bears.

    What is the point of trying to make this comparison? Does it serve a purpose?

  25. David, I remember *some* women acting somewhat as I described, but that isn’t the point — I vividly remember men complaining about all the things I said. It very much seemed that way to them.

    I find the memories compelling.

    “I don’t think it is our responsibility to try and dig whatever useful information could be present in that seething mess. Rather, it is theirs to present the information clearly and in a civil tone if they have anything worth supporting.”

    Yes, they definitely said that about women. It took awhile for the media to focus on women who did that.

    Similarly with people who were disadvantaged, they were supposed to talk the way that educated people wanted to hear, and if they couldn’t lay out their arguments in the proper logical format then too bad for them.

    And now it’s gamers who are poorly socialized, who do just fine organizing themselves into raids etc in their own contexts, but who don’t know how to talk to old fogeys. They need to talk in a civilized, subservient way if they have anything worth listening to.

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3246

  26. Subservience has nothing to do with it.

  27. J Thomas, I don’t see the women’s movements and #GG as having much to do with each other, other than maybe angry people. Just because women were verbally abused by misogynists, that doesn’t mean that the angry #GG people must have a good point and need to be listened to.

  28. “Just because women were verbally abused by misogynists, that doesn’t mean that the angry #GG people must have a good point and need to be listened to.”

    Strongly agreed. Just because a group gets ignored, and then laughed at, and then despised, says nothing much about the group itself. One of them can be saints and another devils, one can be deep thinkers and another idiots. What they have in common is that when they can’t be ignored they get laughed at, and when they can’t just be laughed at they are considered bad and stupid and angry.

    It just works out that way pretty much independent of the group.

  29. Eric Steiger, what kicked off #GG was covered in one of the basic principles in the SPJ Code of Ethics: “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.”

    As for “we have a small group of people who believe that harassing and threatening women is a worthwhile and fun social activity”, yes. They’re on both sides. At least three female GGs have been doxxed and harassed.

    As for Wu and Quinn, haven’t they been advocates for their side? Part of free speech is getting criticized for your speech.

  30. I think part of the problem is that “their interests” (for all values of “their”) is never simple or single-axis. Will’s discussion of a well-off black man is a good example. He has economic interests as well as racial. Which interests are more important? That should be up to the person in question, but others take it upon themselves to make that decision, in the process fully dehumanizing the one they are making decisions for. And that’s arrogant. Conscription is not a good thing regardless of whose army you are in, whose officers are spending you, or which foreign field you’re buried under.

  31. “Eric Steiger, what kicked off #GG was covered in one of the basic principles in the SPJ Code of Ethics: “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.”

    And the real or perceived conflict of interest was Zoe Quinn sleeping with a journalist months after he didn’t actually write a review of her game. So naturally, the ton of bricks falls on her, not the actual journalist.

    “As for Wu and Quinn, haven’t they been advocates for their side? Part of free speech is getting criticized for your speech.”

    Except that “their side” in re: Gamergate is “please stop harassing and threatening us.” Nobody’s saying that gaming journalism is a paragon of moral behavior, but when the kickoff for the Campaign for Ethical Journalism is a series of death threats to outspoken women, the message of ethical journalism gets basically thrown to the side. The reason the focus has been on the death threats from “your side” is because they are what started this entire ball rolling.

    Questionable conduct in games journalism has been going on a lot longer than 2 months. I happen to like this Penny Arcade from 2005: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/05/13. But it wasn’t until Eron Gjoni decided to get some payback against his ex-girlfriend that it got international attention.

  32. “And the real or perceived conflict of interest was Zoe Quinn sleeping with a journalist months after he didn’t actually write a review of her game.”

    At the time, people didn’t know what he’d done to advance her career. And they still don’t know what he did behind the scenes. You also left out the part where she had sex with two of the judges of Indiecade. Whether that was a factor in her winning, we can’t know, but it was certainly a conflict of interest.

    Do you know who issued the first death threat? I got mine from an SJW in 2009. Zathlazip got hers in 2008. The notion that SJWs don’t love death threats is understandable, because they don’t talk about the ones that come from their side, which encourages their threateners to issue more. It’s easy to find #GG advocates calling for civility—a notion that SJWs mock as “tone policing”.

  33. I am a game developer. I have been one for twenty years. My primary work is on an extremely long-running multiplayer game which is internet-accessible, and therefore is continuously vulnerable to attack — unlike standalone software which, like a book, can simply be released into the wild and then exists forever regardless of what anyone thinks of it.

    I have had to deal with the rancid stew of consumer entitlement and political reaction that is the heart of GamerGate for years upon years before it even came onto any of your radar. I have kept my head down and avoided the self-promotion that might have led to what can only be sensibly called my life’s work, at this point, becoming more than a footnote to a footnote, because of that work’s, and my own, vulnerability to these scum. I have watched friends in the exact same situation as me have their own work destroyed, wiped out like it never existed, as a mere result of being less cautious than me. Less terrified.

    I also happened to be watching, with my own eyes, as #TheQuinnspiracy morphed seamlessly into #GamerGate, in what has to be the most transparent, cynical, and clumsy adoption of a risible political cover for a brownshirting campaign in history.

    When you talk about that the people that I live in considered, rational, and demonstrably justified fear of, whose eagerness to destroy anything that challenges the ideology of their supremacy they’ve been suckling from glass teats for decades could be transferred to me at a moment’s notice, and tell me their utterly hypocritical smokescreen about ethics has some kind of validity to it? That they aren’t such bad people and I should concern myself with what the “other side” is doing?

    You cannot fucking imagine the cosmically deep visceral loathing this inspires in me for you and all that so much as reminds me of you.

  34. And I can say pretty much the same about the sjws who have doxxed and threatened and terrorized people for so many years. A plague on both your houses, says me.

    But seriously, if I had been a nominee when Emma was a judge for the World Fantasy Awards, people would be right to be outraged, and it would have had nothing to do with sexism.

Leave a Reply