Sunday, November 9, 2014

On Why I Support #GamerGate

Why I support #gamergate:

1) I absolutely agree that there are massive problems with Journalistic integrity that needs to be addressed, not just in gaming (which has been clearly demonstrated by participants in the gamergate phenomenon), but also in the larger mainstream media. Mainstream media is all a giant propaganda machine as far as I can tell. In fact the entire top down 20th century media model needs to go IMO, in favor of a bottom up emergence type of reporting and opinionating. See possible transformation of Government and Media vs the old system and an example of how we can help change.

2) I am pro gay rights, pro womens rights (including abortion), and for many other positions generally considered to be "left." I am even possibly for reparations for slavery if it was given with some specific stipulations on how the money would be used (teach a person to fish instead of giving them a fish). I also grew up as, and continue to be, a Star Trek and XMen style Egalitarian. And in my 10 years of software engineering experience, and 4 years of university before that, my experience is that most computer nerds are similarly egalitarian in some form or other.
In general we (computer/gaming/comic nerds) are not threatened by women in the industry. In fact all the men I have ever talked to about these issues were open, willing, and interested in being proactive about finding ways to make our hobbies interests and profession more accessible and appealing to a more diverse group of people. But just as feminists complain of being "slut shamed", we are generally a demographic of people who have grown up being "nerd/geek" shamed for much of our lives, often by women we very much wished to share these things with (and that in addition to those on the right who thought DnD was from the devil). But there have always been women who were successful and welcome in our supposed "club house". We have had highly regarded female game designers forever. Roberta Williams, for example, created some of the best computer games we remember playing as kids.
But in the last few years there has been a continuous stream of propaganda against gaming specifically, and technology in general (dongle gate for example), coming regularly from many sources including the mainstream media, about how how we are all a bunch of white male misogynists and brogrammers doing everything to bully women out of tech/games/comics and to objectify them, etc. And I find this to be just as dishonest, sexist, racist, bigoted and hateful, if not more so, than what they are falsely accusing their targets of being.
Further, having been a member of the internet Atheist community (ie seeing Atheism+ unfold), an observational supporter of the Occupy movement, as well as a software engineer and game developer, I have watched a very disturbing pattern of dishonesty, propaganda and outright bigotry from self identifying feminists who seem to have a belief system that mirrors all the worst aspects of the stereotypes commonly held about extreme right wing religious zealots, racists, homophobes etc. For just one example: notice Anita Sarkeesian is just the "left's" version of Jack Thompson, but with a prettier face and the added skill of crying a convincing wolf to the less technically savvy who apparently don't know that IP tracing, registered domain names, and server logs accurately pinpoint anyone stupid enough to be making threats online. And much of Patriarchy Theory (actually a hypothesis, not a theory) and it's arguments are no more valid under critical examination than "Creation Science". Their bullshit has been so extreme I have actually given a quite serious and attentive ear to various aspects of the MRM in the last year, which I probably never would have even considered otherwise.

A number of people have said that anyone who supports gamergate and has any decency should abandon it immediately because they are associated with racist and sexist bigots. But the gamergate participants are well aware that they have been painted as thus by the very media figures they have shown to be dishonest, for the sole purpose of discrediting them. Falsely calling gamergate bad names in public and trying to shame gamergaters only makes them/us bolder. Being bullied is something we as a demographic are use to. We are not afraid of you. Nor do we give a shit about your public scorn or ridicule. We have always had to deal with that.
We have spent much of our lives being insulted and ridiculed for being part of the 'untouchable' class of nerds and weirdos. And now it appears that the very people who have ostracized us all along, now that facebook is cool and video games and comics are multi-billion dollar industries, now they want to bully us further by painting US as nothing but bullies and misogynists who somehow kept THEM out of the cool club since before it was cool. They want to say that we are nothing but the evil white male patriarchy oppressors of the world who now must hand over our culture (which they refused to join), and let them dictate to us all their authoritarian, racist, sexist and bigoted views about us, and to have sole discretion in determining what can and cannot be said within something that they are not even a part of. They are not creating anything. They simply wish to take over a medium from the outside that they themselves do not seem capable or willing to participate in or contribute to.
Well as far as I am concerned, you can all get the fuck out! That isn't directed at women. It isn't directed at gays, lesbians, or any ethic or racial minority, nor at trans, disabled, or even at feminists, or even any flavor of extremist for that matter. You are all welcome to put forth your own work in this egalitarian club. You always have been. But you are NOT welcome to come in and hate on us and paint us all as your imagined villains so you can feel morally superior even as you bully others into submission of your hateful ideology. You want to make a game that puts forth your viewpoints. Go ahead and make it. If it's a good game people will buy it, and if it's a good idea, kickstarters will fund it. But this hateful "pop culture critic" horse shit that is trying to bully everyone while playing the victim, and this propaganda claiming everyone who is upset about the failures of journalistic integrity are racist misogynists, this has to be treated as scornfully as Jack Thompson and the Westboro Baptist Church.


Looking a little wider, I personally kind of wish that gamergate could grow into a full scale battle with the mainstream media, or possibly some kind of new "live and let live" political position or 3rd party (even though I don't consider myself exactly a libertarian as that article indicates).

From Fox and MSNBC all they way down, they need a good kick in the teeth for failing our democracy in favor of one sided propaganda, click-bate, and their bottom line. Neither the "left" nor the "right" supports the views or interests of an increasingly larger number of people. And I for one will probably not go back to, or follow any link to, the Colbert Report, The Daily Show, or in fact ANY comedy central content, until they have given gamergate a fair shake to counter their prostituting themselves to Sarkeesian and then shutting down all comments on that. I have been a follower of those shows for years, and feel that this is a betrayal to me on almost the same level as the "Gamers are Dead" bullshit. I expect this kind of extreme one sided bullshit from Fox, and to a lesser extent HuffPo, MSNBC, and even NPR (which I have financially supported in the past). I realize that Comedy Central has never been unbiased either, but I take Colberts sucking up as kind of a personal betrayal after many years of enthusiastically promoting his and Johns material.

The general lockstep nature that mainstream media has taken with game journalists is unacceptable IMO, and is yet another example of the absolute failure of modern news reporting. I personally hope and think many participants in GamerGate should seriously look beyond just gaming journalism in the future. It isn't just game journalists who fail miserably to represent us. It is also the mainstream media and the mainstream of left right politics as well. If we could get people as engaged as gamergaters have been in a wider social sphere we could potentially break the two party systems "either or fallacy" of Coke vs Pepsi, and left vs right one dimensional politics, along with the constant decent of having to vote for the "lesser of two evils" where Obama ends up being little to no better than Bush on the fascist and militaristic "War on Terror" while at the same time writing a blank check to the corrupt banking establishment. I understand many of us just want to be able to play our games in peace, but at the same time our republic burns while we are distracted by bread and games.