I tried to ignore GamerGate, because I figured it was just another tempest in a toilet bowl. I’ll swear it by any demon you care to name. I tried, because while I play video games, I’m not a gamer and my involvement with the “gamer community” is peripheral at best. I tried to ignore this shit because that’s how our society says you’re supposed to deal with trolls and bullies.
The doxxing of gamer and actor Felicia Day was the last straw. Here was a woman whose love for video games and cameraderie with gamers is the foundation of her success, who apparently had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to admit on her Tumblr that GamerGate scared her because she is a woman.
I’m not writing this tonight because I give a shit about Felicia Day. I’m not a fan of her work. She’s no friend of mine. But she’s a human being possessed of the same rights I claim for myself: the right to be left alone, in peace. This is about individual rights, not ‘social justice’.
Enough of This Nonsense
Here’s the deal. I am not afraid of GamerGate. Why should I be? I’m a white heterosexual cisgender educated working man who can fake being Christian when necessary. The only privilege I lack is the privilege of wealth.
I’m playing on Easy Mode, so when women I respect speak out against GamerGate, my pride demands I follow suit. What good is my privilege if I can’t do something constructive with it?
The only reason I’ve held my silence thus far is that I am not capable of reason when it comes to bullying. I’ve been bullied, and I know what it’s like. I know how it looks when other people are being bullied. GamerGate are a gang of bullies. Show me a bully, and I reach for a gun.
So come at me, dudebros. Come and pick on someone your own size, you sons of syphilitic bitches — and buy a copy of my book while you’re at it. Make yourselves useful for once in your miserable lives.
I Will Fear No Evil
How can I say what I’ve said? Simple. I’m not afraid of these assholes. I’ve already talked smack about GamerGate on Twitter. See for yourself.
That’s right, folks. I compared GamerGate to Daesh. Care to guess what happened to me after? Absolutely nothing.
I haven’t been doxxed. Nobody has issued death threats. Nobody will. Why? Because they’re the sort of chickenshit bullies I used to fight in high school. They go after perceived weakness.
Do they scare me? A little, but I’m going to have my say anyway. People who scare me also piss me off, and there’s nothing like rage to wash away fear.
GamerGate is a domestic terrorist campaign, and should be handled as such by the United States government. Its members should be identified, arrested, and given the due process of law.
Does this sound extreme? It isn’t compared to what I would really like to do to GamerGate supporters. Rather than go into detail, let’s just say that Vlad Tepes would have known how to deal with them. However, allow me to address the arguments a hypothetical reasonable GamerGate supporter might offer.
“B-B-But GamerGate is about Ethics in Journalism!”
This is an objection to anti-GamerGate posts and tweets I’ve seen entirely too often, mainly by people using the #NotYourShield hashtag. They believe in GamerGate’s stated aims while doing nothing meaningful about their movement’s actual practices.
You can’t claim your movement is about ethics in journalism when your members harass women online, drive them out of their homes with death threats, and force them to cancel speaking engagements by threatening to shoot up the venue. That shit doesn’t fly here.
The end doesn’t justify the means. It’s the other way around. The means justify the end. When you use evil methods to accomplish good aims, you blacken your cause. Why do you think Communism gets such a bad rap?
Don’t expect me to believe a word any supporter says about GamerGate. This is the root of GamerGate. Eron Gjoni’s treatment of his ex, Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn, is the movement’s original sin. The attacks on Ms. Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Felicia Day, and too many other women put the lie to any high-minded rhetoric GamerGate might offer in its defense.
Whether he intended it or not, Eron Gjoni’s inability to suffer in silence stirred up an internet lynch mob. Nice going, Eron, you fucking dolt.
“B-B-But Feminists in the Media Say Mean Things About Gamers!”
Do I look like I give a flying fuck? Do I? So what if a bunch of feminist women with blogs are mean to gamers? I’m neither a feminist nor a woman, I’m being mean to you right now. Harden the fuck up, you pathetic losers!
If you’re a gamer who isn’t a straight white dude, the following doesn’t concern you. The rest of you better pay close attention. There will be a quiz later.
In case you haven’t noticed, video games are no longer the province of white middle-class teenage boys who sit in their rooms on weekends getting max prestige in Call of Duty: Nuclear Boogaloo or whatever EA calls their latest corn turd of a multiplayer military-themed shooter with a single-player campaign so short the game isn’t even worth renting.
They weren’t even the exclusive preserve of nerdy white dudes like me when I was a teenager in the 1990s, though I didn’t know better at the time.
Women play games now. Men who aren’t white play games now. QUILTBAG people play games now. They want to be represented in games. They want to be able to play as characters who look like them. They want to be the hero, just like you and me.
When you complain about games that let players create avatars who look like them, or speak in defense of game studios who refuse to provide such functionality, you look like a moron. From Software managed it in Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Dark Souls II. Capcom managed it with Dragon’s Dogma BioWare managed it with the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games.
There is no excuse for not letting players have avatars that look like them, if that’s what they want. None whatsoever, and I’m saying this as a white heterosexual cisgender man.
Whether you like it or not, Anita Sarkeesian and other feminist critics aren’t just talking shit about your favorite games to make you feel like misogynistic pigs. She says what she says because all of our entire cultures throughout human history, all the stories we grow up hearing and reading and seeing on screens, is centered around powerful straight men — and that shit has to stop.
It will stop, whether you like it or not, because white dudes won’t be the majority of the American population and haven’t been for quite a while. It’s time you quit your whining and got with the program.
“B-B-But You Won’t Persuade Anybody This Way!”
I’m not here to persuade GamerGate supporters. This article isn’t for them. This article is for decent gamers who know GamerGate is nothing but an internet lynch mob, a small gang of domestic terrorists whose ideology is nothing but rank misogyny. This article is me speaking because my privilege lets me do so with an expectation of safety that others lack.
I’m speaking up because I’m a man who respects women and thinks that all people should have the same rights in society. That isn’t just social justice. It’s a libertarian respect for individual rights, and (not that I give a shit) the Christian thing to do.
“B-B-But Not All GamerGate Supporters Are Assholes.”
Yeah, and not all men are rapists. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Christians are legalistic hypocrites who hate the poor and love money.
The problem with “Not all X are Y” is that that not all X have to be Y to make X dangerous to anybody who isn’t X. It’s the uncertainty, stupid. Remember what Felicia Day wrote? She used to be able to trust gamers. Now she can’t, because some of them might turn out to be hateful, misogynistic assholes.
“B-B-But You’re Fighting Hate with Hate.”
Damn right I am. I won’t apologize for the fact that I hate GamerGate, the misogyny and intolerance driving their actions, the disparity between their rhetoric and their actions, and everybody who supports them. I’m not the sort of person who fights hate with love. I save my love for those who deserve it.
The only thing GamerGate and its supporters deserve is the due process of law.
“B-B-But Your Header Image is Misogynistic.”
Make this argument, and you’re guilty of the ad hominem logical fallacy, and your argument is invalid. However, I’ll address this in further detail for people who might otherwise agree with me.
Vivian James isn’t a real person. She’s a mascot cooked up by 4chan to represent GamerGate. She is a symbol, not a person. I would not photoshop a set of crosshairs onto a photograph of a real person. I am an asshole, not an idiot.
I am using Vivian in this context to highlight the hypocrisy underlying GamerGate. This is a movement whose tactics have consisted mainly of harassing and attacking any woman who dares to speak out about problems in the game industry or games as an art form.
They hide behind a female cartoon character while targeting real women in real life. For this reason, and because Vivian James is a symbol, that symbol is fair game.
Also, I feel like trolling GamerGaters. These assholes troll everybody else; it’s high time somebody started ramming their own medicine down their throats.
You know damn well there’s at least one GamerGate supporter who has done worse than photoshop crosshairs onto pictures of Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, or Felicia Day and post it on 4chan. What I did isn’t in the same league.
A Final Solution to GamerGate
Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest that we deal with GamerGate by consigning them to a mass grave. Death is too good for them. Instead, we should subject them to the very thing they fear most…
…the contemptuous laughter of women and men who are better than they will ever be.
Laugh at them. Mock them. Counter their every public statement by challenging the disparity between their rhetoric and their tactics. If they want a war, let’s give ‘em one, and give it to ‘em good and hard.