You know how bad science works? It’s simple – you start with a conclusion, and then you work tirelessly to find evidence to support that conclusion. It’s been the cornerstone of “research” for the videos done by the likes of Anita Sarkeesian, or that Rolling Stone article on the now-proven false rape at Phi Kappa Psi (for which the fraternity should sue the publication), or any number of other kinds of Puritan Feminist statements that have no real-world application, along with countless creationists who also don’t care about contradictory evidence. Now, however, it seems that the federal government of the United States of America has decided to get on the bandwagon of bad science and give money to the National Endowment for the Humanities to do said bad science. Confused? I’ll explain.
According to a recent article by Tech Raptor (linked here) the National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a grant for over $29,000 to study the “toxic rhetoric” of gamers. Wow. They immediately show their bias towards a conclusion. Right in their announcement, it’s blatant! Their assumption – gamers are toxic, and so is their rhetoric. That is just…amazing. It’s nice to see that a branch of the federal government doesn’t care about objectivity.
It’s so easy to demonize gamers these days, isn’t it? I wrote an article for Gambitcon talking about how we demonize adults who play video games, and how it is unacceptable. That we all get one chance to do this life thing, and you live it how you see fit. And yet, if you watch the endless coverage in mainstream media about GamerGate and video games in general, when is it ever positive? From the piece about rape in Grand Theft Auto V online space, with the traffic cones over people’s heads (right, ShoeOnHead?) For my entire life, gamers have been the media’s whipping boys. We are an easy mark for them to attack, because it is acceptable. Acceptable bullying. That’s America for ya! And it is bullying, make no mistake. They get to bully people they look down on, to make themselves feel better. Hell, a writer for Polygon, Sam Biddle, even advocated that bullying gamers is a good thing. I’m sure that Tweet isn’t going to haunt him until his career ends.
One can easily go online and find plenty of negative things that people have posted. Internet Trolls are everywhere. It’s the way of the world. Is it right? Absolutely not. Does it exist? Yup. These trolls are loyal to no idea. They don’t care about any group. They do what they do for the lulz, and beyond that, its meaningless. This is just a game, for them. People like Anita Sarkeesian can bring up their countless threats, and its easy to make an assumption about gamers. But then you have people like Liana K, Vivian James or myself, who all make it very clear that we do not support death or rape threats (obligatory statement that I, in no way, support death or rape threats) and have leveled fair and honest criticism without feeling the need to get ugly.
Anywhere on the Internet, really ugly things can be found. Look at any video from Ark Music Factory. Those things are cyber-bullying gang rape! Oh, I’m sorry, did I trigger somebody? My bad. But it’s true. Go to any popular video and look in the comments section and you will find a ton of people who have nothing but vitriol to say. Is it right? Absolutely not. Is that how it is? Yup. That is definitely how it is. It’s the nature of the Internet. If you are a smart person, you take it with a grain of salt and brush off the douchebags who attack you.
But if you are a person with a chip on their shoulder and an ideological axe to grind, then you can promote the trolls and feed them, making every piece of legitimate criticism leveled against you disappear, because you get death and rape threats! Who cares about what honest things people have leveled? You get death and rape threats! Isn’t that awful! Don’t you just want to talk about that, and not look at the man in the mirror? Of course you do.
So, how is the Endowment of the Humanities going to conduct this research into “toxic rhetoric?” Are they going to watch a bunch of Sarkeesian’s videos where she shows her harassment? Are they going to scan the comment sections of YouTube videos. In a better study, gamer rhetoric and looking at gamer opinions could be very insightful. An honest study into this would show that we gamers are not the sludge that feminists make us out to be. We are a vast ethnic group that encompasses a lot of people. But don’t tell Tim Schafer that. His sock puppet might be out of a job.
Tech Raptor pointed out that this study is not something to worry about. Since it clearly has a narrative to uphold, it won’t really do much to convince people who already have their minds made up about gamers. The real problem is that this study exists. And it has taxpayer money. We, the taxpayers, are giving money to bad science. That does legitimately piss me off. We castrate the budget of NASA, and replace it instead with this crap! How does that not blow anyone’s mind? Does mine. Blows it hard.
When will it be enough? This culture war in gaming is finally getting very ugly. People like Anita Sarkeesian are riding the high and using their clout to get more and more money. She’s a con artist, after all. Aside from making money, she couldn’t possibly care less about what she says. But the games media is feeling the heat. The tide of the battle is starting to turn, with developers now taking a stand with the gamers that the politicization of this hobby needs to stop. Gamers are banding together to fight for who we are.
Fighting for who we are and our right to be. Huh. You’d think that that would be something that a certain group of socially…just people might have a little sympathy for? Oh, wait, these people think that we need to not clap anymore, instead doing jazz hands. Hope for them is LONG gone…
Until next time, a quote,
“Have I ever told you the definition of insanity? Insanity is when you do the same shit, over and over, thinking that it will be different.” -Vaas Montenegro, Far Cry 3