#GamerGate Blamed for Trump’s Election (A response to L.A. Times)

Man, here’s something I never thought I would be talking about again.  It’s been YEARS since GamerGate was a thing.  During the heyday battles, it was a conflict that ran the gamut of ideological participants.  It brought groups who absolutely despise one-another together for the common goal of striking back against the games media and how corrupt it had become.  How it was pretty blatantly shilling a progressive message and leaving any form of objectivity at the door.  A fact that was apparently championed by “consumer advocate” landwhales like Jim Sterling, who listened to a game dev talk about doxing people and nodded while saying “absolutely.”  Given his stances on Quiet and sexy women in games, that should surprise no one.

I’ve heard every group imaginable be blamed for Donald Trump getting elected.  Russia is the biggest one, for their alleged leaks of documents that not one person has been able to prove are untrue.  Assuming it is true, I say that we should be thanking them.  Russia didn’t leak some lie to the American people.  It was the truth.  The truth about Hillary Clinton having her entire party behind her and manipulating the electoral process as much as possible to destroy Bernie Sanders.  Huh, makes you wonder if the reason that people didn’t like her is because she is a vindictive bitch.  That’s not to say that I like Trump.  Although, when you think about the alternatives, he really is the best option.  Hillary was doomed, regardless.  Had it been Ted Cruz who won the primary, he would have taken the WikiLeaks documents and beaten her to death with them.

However, in addition to blaming Russia, Millennials, Bernie Sanders, and neo-nazis for Trump winning, now the L.A. Times wants to add GamerGate to the pile.  Oh boy, this should be fun.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

SEE IF THIS CAMPAIGN TACTIC sounds familiar: Rally white men who feel the world is changing too fast, leverage racial bias for the cause, and demean women along the way.

The strategy belonged to a radical corner of the gaming world that may have provided the winning playbook for the campaign that won the presidential election.

I’m gonna destroy the white men argument right out of the gate so I don’t have to bring that up again when destroying the rest of this bullshit argument.  Because this author clearly gets his news from BuzzFeed, I guess he didn’t know about the tag that came with GamerGate – #NotYourShield.  Here’s a video that may put it into perspective.  Alright, moving on.  I can already see the insane strawman corollary that is being drawn here, but let’s let him get into it a bit more.

“Gamergate” is the term now used to describe the movement in which Internet trolls attacked high-profile people in the game industry if they attempted to change — or even speak out about — the misogynistic themes of video games. They are the gaming world’s radical right, and they’re fighting back against what they see as the onslaught of politically correct culture.

Actually, numb-nuts, GamerGate supporters ran the spectrum of political ideologies.  There are left-leaning social libertarians like me.  You had classical liberals like Sargon of Akkad.  You had conservatives who tried to avoid the politics of it all like Internet Aristocrat.  You had left-leaning gaming commentators like Mundane Matt.  There were all kinds in this movement.  If anything, it was impressive in how it brought together not just people of different ideologies, but people from various gaming spheres.  GameFAQs and Reddit forums came together in a show of solidarity never seen before.  Boards that hated each other like it was no one’s business on 4chan came together.  And all of it was sparked off when Eron Gjoni wrote his post, which Mundane Matt covered in a video that got a DMCA flag, which caught Internet Aristocrat’s attention.  You can’t even make your caricature of GamerGate right.  But again, he probably got all of his news from BuzzFeed and the rest of the left-leaning media.  It didn’t matter how many people debunked what they were saying, the narrative stuck.

The trajectories of Trump and Gamergate could be practically charted by the same graph — guys (for the most part) that a significant portion of the country didn’t take  seriously pandered to humanity’s most base instincts and won.

Actually, they are very far apart.  GamerGate was tired of the social justice culture injecting itself into video games.  You say that we rebelled against news outlets talking about “misogynistic themes in video games” (citation, please), but that’s not true.  What we rebelled against was the injection of social justice where it clearly wasn’t wanted or needed.  I’m sure you will come on and say, “It was needed!  Gaming is misogyny!  Just look at how sexy that woman is!  That’s demeaning to all women!”  However, there were a TON of very well-educated voices who spoke out against this attitude.  Like this video by Christina Hoff Summers.

Donald Trump won the election because he convinced people that he was some big outsider who was going to fight against the corporate government establishment that people were so tired of.  He capitalized on the same energy the Bernie Sanders had.  I knew that Trump wasn’t some big outsider, because I actually pay attention to history.  He’s center-right, much like Hillary Clinton.  There really isn’t that much difference between them.  GamerGate started as a consumer revolt.  Donald Trump started as a con artist capitalizing on energy that a genuine believer already had stirred up.  The truth is that these two movements have almost nothing in common, outside of people being tired of the status quo, and fighting against it.

The term “Gamergate” emerged as a hashtag in mid-August 2014. It described the attacks, particularly on women in the gaming world, by trolls and eventually their de-facto leader Milo Yiannopoulos, who became Gamergate’s Breitbart champion.

There were no leaders in this movement, dude.  None.  That was part of the problem.  The movement had no unifying message.  Some of its proponents took actions, and some didn’t.  Some chose to do this thing or that thing, but the truth is that all we had in common was a shared dislike of politics in video games journalism.  We just wanted to get straight news, and not have to hear about how Gone Home is the greatest game ever, just because it involves a gay chick.  Whoopty-fucking-doo.  Milo was definitely an ally of the movement, but he was not a leader.  I am really wondering where this guy got his news.

He goes on to make Milo out to be just like Trump.  This dude will take whatever he can to try and make these two things seem connected.  It’s kind of sad, if we’re being honest here.

Female game designers and journalists who spoke out about a more inclusive future for the medium were harassed on social media with threats of physical attacks, rape and death. Their emails were leaked (sound familiar?), and some saw details about their personal lives published online.

Let’s break this down, piece by piece.  I know what “game developers” he’s talking about – Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu.  Zoe Quinn was nothing to the movement but a launching point.  To be honest, we cared more about Nathan Grayson than we did about her.  After all, it was him that she was sleeping with, and him who had given her positive coverage (not a review.  People had said he reviewed her game, and that wasn’t true.  But he had written positive articles about her.  He is also crediting in Quinn’s “game” Depression Quest), which basically broke every rule about conflict of interest.  After she faded from the spotlight, she did everything she possibly could to pretend that the movement still cared about her.  Neat thing – Quinn was actually busted propagating a harassment campaign against a developer of an app.  Dead to rights, she was busted exploited personal information the app developer gave her to orchestrate a harassment campaign, and only stopped when the person threatened to go public about it.  Which they did anyway.  Well-played.

Next up we have Brianna Wu.  A woman whose 15 minutes of fame went on FAR too long.  She was one of the many people who came out and attempted to make the story about her.  Every time she could possibly find a way to make herself out to be the victim, she did.  Like when she exploited the death of a woman who wasn’t even remotely connected to GamerGate to sell her own victimhood.  An act so repulsive that I was openly venomous with her.  Using the horrific death of a woman to sell the fact that she is “in danger” was just sick.  Then, Wu was busted trolling herself on Steam to try and rack up victimhood points.  Guess she didn’t get the memo to make sure to switch to an appropriately-misogynistic sock-puppet account first.  Idiot.

As for the leaked emails, I’m assuming he’s talking about the GameJournoPros list that got leaked.  Neat fact about that – most of the emails and senders whose names got leaked in that were men.  This Todd really must get his news from a fantastic source.

“Lock her up,” Trump supporters shouted about Hillary Clinton.

“I hope you die,” Gamergate champions tweeted at Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent cultural critic who critiques games from a feminist perspective.

Yes, let’s equate what people said at a political rally to what trolls said to a con artist who used them to get victim points.  Sure, that sounds equivalent.

Gamergate advocates argued that gaming journalists were corrupt and were colluding to bring a politically correct makeover to the medium (read: take away our digital guns, treat women as something more than sex objects and cast someone — anyone — other than a white male as the lead protagonist).

Wow.  What gross hyperbole.  Care to back that up with a citation?  Because, from where I’m sitting, Internet Aristocrat made a truly fantastic series of videos detailing how the story played out (linked here).  I suggest you take a look at that before saying that we were all just losing our shit over nothing, which I take it is what you meant with this comparison.

Also, treat women as something other than sex objects?  Considering how many women were involved in GamerGate, that’s fucking sexist, dude.  That’s basically denying the women involved and their opinions on the subject.  Fuck you.

Those who bought into his words targeted their ire at female critics who sought to intellectualize the medium. Ultimately, they were only bringing to light gaming’s more regrettable traits: that it has long pandered to a male-focused, gun-obsessed community where women were damsels more often than heroes.

To intellectualize the medium?  Oh really? By disabling comments and not once responding to critics, many of whom were level-headed and who wanted honest debate with the likes of Anita Sarkeesian?  Gee, funny how that works.  Seems that revisionist history is alive and well.  But you are making comparisons to GamerGate and Donald Trump.  I’m not surprised.

As for the “regrettable traits,” there have been a TON of fantastic, well-researched, well-made videos that have shown the points that the likes of Anita Sarkeesian has made to be ridiculous.  Here’s one by Mr Repzion.  Here’s one by Triox.  These videos that Anita has done about the “regrettable traits” blatantly ignore context and use bad examples.  But since research clearly isn’t your strong suit, I guess you don’t really care.  Oh well.

The biggest, most visible games are still largely created by men for boys. Gamergate ultimately was driven by nostalgia and fear of change.

“Keep politics out of games,” was Gamergate proponents’ rallying cry, but they may as well have been saying, “Make games great again.”

Bullshit.  GamerGate was driven by the disgust we had at a blatantly-corrupt gaming journalism scene, along with the white knights who defended it.  This idea that we were just like people at a rally is stupid.  Not to mention – games are already great.  They were great before the SJWs decided to inject their bullshit narrative into gaming.  And since games have continued on the straight and narrow and are a billion-dollar industry, it seems they will keep being great.  Works for me.

There’s evidence that major developers are listening to their broader audience rather than being bullied by Gamergate, as recent titles such as “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” “Watch Dogs 2” and “Dishonored 2” have touched on mature themes with a wide variety of characters.

Another one of these hipster gamers who doesn’t have ANY perspective on gaming to realize that touching on “mature themes” goes back a long way.  Like how the character of Billy in Xenogears was a child prostitute to help feed his family.  Or how one of the biggest themes in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the tragedy of getting old and the inevitability of aging.  Not to mention the truly dark and dismal themes in the follow-up game Majora’s Mask that touched on why being an adult sucks, that time and death is inevitable, and that life goes on in even the worst of circumstances.  Then there is Final Fantasy X, which looked at the corruption of religion, atheism, and how faith can be used to control a population.  But please, tell me more about how gaming is just now getting “mature themes.”  What a brilliant researcher.  This guy must be making the big bucks at the L.A. Times.

For much of the last decade, the biggest game franchises — “Call of Duty” and “Grand Theft Auto” among them — were driven by guns and disparaging views of women and minorities. And unlike the Republican Party, the game industry has done this without lobbying money.

Man, how bad are you at research?  The most recent GTA had one of the protagonists as a black man.  I am sure you will say the disparaging thing toward women was the whole “have sex with a prostitute and then run them over with your car.”  That’s only disparaging if you think that 1. Having sex with a prostitute demeans women (if you do think that, you are sexist as fuck.  It’s a profession that plenty of women choose to do.  Some are forced into it, but some women do it out of financial desperation.  Are you saying those women are lesser for making that choice?  That’s sexist as fuck), and 2. you ignore the fact that you can run over every single character in the game with your car, if you want.

As for CoD, those games run the gamut in terms of ethnicities of the protagonists and antagonists.  And there are lots of chicks in the games too.  Where’s the sexist part there?  Still showing off those stellar research skills, Todd.

It may as well have been content unwittingly aimed directly at the so-called alt-right community, the loosely defined movement made up of social media-savvy white nationalists that has also attracted neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and misogynists.

Find me some evidence, ANY evidence, that this insane bit of hyperbole is even remotely true?  There isn’t any.  None.  You are so full of shit.

“The people who promoted Gamergate said they were concerned about journalism ethics,” read a post on PressThink, a site maintained by New York University professor Jay Rosen. “As a professor of journalism with a social media bent, I felt obligated to examine their claims. When I did I discovered nasty troll behavior with a hard edge of misogyny.”

Wow, a quote that has NO additional context.  I’d love to hear their evidence.  Maybe a link to the article, so we can review it ourselves?  What’s that?  Nothing?  Gee, it makes me think that you were just quote-mining for people who agreed with you that you could use to help make what you say sound good.  In fact, a single link at all in this article would have been nice.  You know, help the credibility thing along.

So Hollywood isn’t out of touch with the real — make that conservative — America, after all. The entertainment powerhouses behind the world’s biggest games have directly targeted it. And now the rest of the country  — the majority of voters behind the popular vote, if you will — can’t press the jump button to avoid it.

This article was as lacking in evidence was it was in ANY substantive connections between GamerGate and Trump.  I’m not at all surprised that the connection was made, but I was at least hoping that destroying it would be harder than this.  And I’m sure that Todd will say that researching all of this is difficult.  Well, I think I’ll let Milo destroy that argument to close this out.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’ve been doing it for a year.  It’s not that hard, you just gotta do the work.” – Milo Yiannopoulos

Peace out,

Maverick

Advertisements

Bad PR 101 (A response to Tim Schafer)

I recently graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Communication.  The second part is basically a really fancy way of saying PR.  I know how to run good PR and bad PR.  I know how to craft a narrative.  One of my classes opened with the Professor (one of the few in my department I respect) giving us an assignment.  We, the class, were given a fictional organization to represent.  It was a pro-cencoroship, hard-right Christian non-profit.  We had to do their PR for them.  The idea of this class was – if we could represent them, we could represent anyone.  I represented the shit out of them, even though I hated that group with every bit of passion I could espouse.  With that in mind, I have to say something to a game developer named Tim Schafer – what were you thinking?!  What you did tonight was perhaps one of the stupidest moves I have ever seen, and you had better believe that it’s going to bite you in the ass.  I know that you all need some context.  Let’s talk about it.

At the Game Developer’s Conference Awards, Tim Schafer decided to give a little speech.  In it, he had this little nugget of wisdom –

Yeah, that really happened.  Tim Schafer, a video game developer who has products that he wants to market, decided to insult minorities and women.  He decided to basically say that all the people in the #NotYourShield movement are sock puppets, and that their opinion deserves no respect.  How old is this guy, again?  The last time I saw something this stupid with a sock puppet, it involved that little worm Onision.  And both of those people showed the exact same level of maturity.  After having done this, Twitter exploded.  The reaction has been met with frustration, anger, and in my and many other cases – humor.  We got a good laugh out of it.    Let’s talk about this.

Tim, I’m going to address you directly – you’re an idiot.  For real, this was a VERY stupid move on your part, and you had better believe that you are going to pay for it down the road.  Why?  Where do I begin?  First – do you REALLY want to shit on women and minority gamers?  Is that really a smart idea?  These are people who could buy your products, Tim.  What’s more, these are people who talk!  Already, Twitter is lighting up with reactions.  These people are going to spread the word that you are a sexist and racist bigot who has said that all the women and minorities who disagree with you are nothing but sock puppets.  Does that sounds like a smart thing to say?

Next – that was so utterly immature, man.  I’m really trying to wrap my head around what would compel you to do something this asinine.  You are already getting something of a reputation for starting and not finishing projects, and now you want to add this to your resume?  Short-sighted doesn’t even begin to cover it.  If you want a career in a medium as public and as critical as gaming, shitting on your audience sounds like the last thing you want to do.  Gamers are critical in the third degree and that critical nature has sunk the reputation of more companies than one.  EA has born some of the worst of it, in recent memory.  Bioware is working as hard as they can to rebuild theirs.  Brianna Wu’s game was rightfully attacked for the lackluster schlock that it is.  Do you really think that you are above it?

Lastly – why did you do this at a developer’s conference?  There are people in the industry there, Tim!  You know what that means?!  That means that this is going to hurt them too.  Nobody in the audience laughed, man.  There were some awkward chuckles, and people who were making noises of discontent.  Your little bit at the end, saying that it’s not your fault that people say what your sock puppet says didn’t help.  You have turned something that is supposed to be respected into an immature game that nobody will take seriously.  For real, this event is going to suffer a loss of credibility for this.  So not only have you made yourself look bad, but you’ve made other developers and an entire conference look bad.  This was really stupid!

Following the release of the letter to Kotaku and Polygon that Mark Kern wrote, other developers are coming out in support of what he said.  The tide of the culture war that has been raging is starting to turn, as the SJW side is looking more and more immature.  You were in a hit-piece that ABC did on GamerGate, which they recently admitted was nothing more than click-bait.  Things are starting to change.  The lies of your side are becoming more known.  Kotaku, Polygon, and everyone associated with this whole mess on the media’s side is going to suffer for what’s happened.  Do you really want your credibility, such as it is, to die with them?

This was a stupid move, Tim.  It’s going to hurt you.  It was immature, asinine, and what’s more – nobody there thought it was funny.  That should have sent you a message.  I know that you are going to get on your high-horse and claim that you are in the right, but the lack of anything but uncomfortable laughter should be telling of which way the river flows.  I guess we’ll see how it all turns out.

Until next time, a quote,

“Tim… You fucked up there. All you did was make yourself look like the misogynists you claim to be against. You seem to have forgotten one tiny little detail…

Without us, your games won’t sell. Without us, you’ll wind up taking a HUGE loss in profits. You kinda need gamers to play your games, and most of those on your side have admitted to hating video games.”  -Shadow Paint Lisa

Peace out,

Maverick