Anita Sarkeesian will be discussing GamerGate at “All About Women” this weekend and before you see her, Jacob Lynagh would like to present his perspective on the issue.
It is clear to most that in the midst of fervent argument, facts become twisted, and it is hard to get a handle on what is actually going on.
This was the problem with GamerGate and why I refused to follow the controversy at the time.
Now that the smoke has finally cleared, it’s time to revisit the issue, see exactly what happened and how it evolved.
In the beginning, GamerGate became the war-cry of iconoclasts, legitimately concerned with the lack of regulation and ethics, and the degree of corruption in gaming journalism. They spoke of things like paid positive reviews, but someone had a problem with that.
Gaming media showed their guilt in the immediate and defensive way they covered the issue. To take the spotlight off ethics and corruption, we were all told GamerGate was about misogynists and few of us questioned that. The debate was successfully re-framed, and in response, credulous feminists organised an inexorable force to instigate a war against the movement. It was then that people realised just how much money they could make from it.
Anti-Gamergate advocate, independent game developer and well-known sensible thinker Brianna Wu made a name for herself by provoking GamerGate supporters online, and consequently being the recipient of some awful anonymous messages. To help her deal with being “a direct and sustained target of internet harassment”, she had secured an annual salary of $158,000, paid monthly by her supporters through the Patreon crowd-funding service at the time of writing – which has now dropped to a modest $40,000.
While advertising her Patreon, she secretly contacted Patreon staff in an attempt to get the crowd-funding accounts of GamerGate advocates pulled. She receives this funding not on the back of her development ability, but because she saw the profit that would come from exploiting idealogues.
She was recently featured on ABC’s Nightline, in which she describes her struggle as “terrorism against women”.
I didn’t know that Wu was a victim of terrorism…she’s like gaming’s answer to Malala Yousafzai, only about $100k better off…and never in any real danger.
Anita Sarkeesian, GamerGate critic, feminist and professional victim, was scheduled to give a talk at Utah State University in October, but the school received threats of violence and she pulled out. (Sarkeesian is speaking this weekend as part of the “All About Women” festival @ the Sydney Opera House.) You may have read about this as it was given more coverage in mainstream press at time than many other huge issues.
Feelings of vindication swept through the anti-GamerGate community. “See, we were right!” they shouted from the rooftops like a bigoted version of Network, “All men are evil and GamerGate is misogynist”.
Many people, myself included, took this as it came, but upon closer inspection not only do you find that the threat was not credible, there was no evidence to suggest it had anything to do with gamers, let alone GamerGate.
There was no talk at the time of the International Conference on Men’s Issues that, just a few months earlier, had to change venue due to the multitude of threats against speakers and venue staff by feminists. This conference, which thankfully went ahead without anyone being murdered, addressed some very pressing issues for men, such as homelessness, suicide rates and unfair sentencing.
It’s practically Orwellian.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Before the threat against Utah State University, the anti-GamerGate community consisted of entitled feminists, jocks and upper-class whities, belittling and teasing nerds (see: neckbeard, pissbaby, shitlord, basement-dweller) – they were not really taking it seriously.
Sarkeesian, who is well known for her sense of humour, stopped joking as soon as the threat went public and things got serious. The building bile in the anti-GamerGate assault reached critical mass, and things started to get out of hand. GamerGate was torn apart, labeled a hate group and conveniently lambasted in all of the media it was questioning. It became a dirty word as people felt uncomfortable being a part of the consumer revolt and support dwindled.
Motivated by GamerGate, Sam Biddle, at the time the editor of Gawker’s Valleywag, Tweeted…
— Daniel Dole (@DanTheGamerGuy) October 16, 2014
In response, GamerGate supporters raised over $16,000 for an anti-bullying charity.
When prominent GamerGate supporters had their personal information spread on the internet, many received threats. One man, @Kingofpol, had a knife sent to him in the mail, with a note attached telling him to kill himself.
In response, GamerGate raised over $6000 for a suicide prevention charity.
When a handful of feminists in media misrepresented GamerGate as sexist, GamerGate supporters helped raise over $70,000 for The Fine Young Capitalists, a feminist group geared toward bringing women into the gaming industry.
This altruistic attempt to help women in the industry they loved, was not covered by the feminist writers who were misrepresenting them.
I guess they were too busy trying to #BanBossy.
Most of the anonymous GamerGate Twitter identities had their personal information spread online. @shoe0nhead had private photos of her body exposed by people of the same ideology who criticise celebrity nude photo leaks. Men and women in the GamerGate community were repeatedly threatened. There were (mainly empty) threats from both sides, but those from the anti-GamerGate camp were much more pressing, as they took things out of the virtual and into the physical realm.
Milo Yiannopoulos, GamerGate supporter and writer for Breitbart.com, was sent a dirty syringe in the post.
First they came for the corrupt gaming media, and I said nothing, because I didn’t want to accidentally prick myself on the influx of tainted syringes the would be sent to my door.
You see, nothing positive came from the anti-GamerGate bullies…it was simply a whirlpool of vile negativity.
However, from GamerGate came dozens of cases of charity work, and fund-raising of tens of thousands of dollars. They still fight to have their genuine concerns of corruption in journalism recognized.
The anti-GamerGate guys are also still fighting; a key issue they are backing is the attempt to up the number of women in gaming, which is, unfortunately, an industry that they are largely uninterested in.
It just goes to show that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it stop talking about quotas.
Isn’t it telling that all of Gawker’s top writers mobilised so swiftly, and so defensively, against an anti-corruption movement? Within days, all gaming media had jumped to adamantly diminish the ethical concerns.
In the words of GamerGate advocate @shoe0nhead: “What sounds more believable: 10,000+ men and women being misogynist terrorists, or the media lying about the media being corrupt?”
These so-called human rights advocates, not just in the media but the feminists who were swept up in the battle, were acrimonious and malevolent in their assault. They swung from anti-bullying one day, to pro-bullying the next. They claimed to detest bigotry, yet championed it to an international audience.
I lean to the left on most issues, but this kind of irresponsible behaviour coming from my side of politics makes me uncomfortable and reminds me of the introduction to an old song by folksinger Phil Ochs:
“There are varying shades of political opinion, one of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects, ten degrees to the left of centre in good times, ten degrees to the right of centre if it affects them personally. Here, then, is a lesson in safe logic.”
The safe logic of the anti-GamerGate movement, left wing media, feminists and almost all bigots allows them to delve so deeply into hypocrisy to protect their own self-centric ideologies.
We writers do not come from a lineage of cowards. We should never refuse to write about, or to defend temporarily, unfashionable movements. It is time to recognise the flaws in aggressive and antiquated ideologies that espouse right wing despotism.
We will no longer be guided by fear, hatred and bigotry into subjugation and silence.