Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Looking through the Gate

I look at the way information is currently dissected and consumed on the internet, and in particular, Twitter, the way you dump black oil sunflower seeds into a hopper to funnel down and be devoured by birds. As long as seeds are in the hopper the finches and the sparrows happily munch away. They sloppily consume the endless, free buffet, until . . . the seeds run out.
Well, the GamerGate phenomenon has a lot of fucking seeds left, and it doesn’t look like they’re running out any time soon.
I’m not much of a gamer anymore, haven’t been since I was fourteen when I discovered guitar, weed, and girls (though my fingers only danced with two out of the three). The main issue, after reading countless articles and stalking countless timelines, is that Social Justice Warrior's/Feminists/Games Journalists are trying to push their narrative behind the scenes in gaming, and not looking objectively into matters. Now all those things they’d like to keep in the dark are having a flashlight shined on them. Like rats, they frantically try to scurry back into the dark, but the internet loves the light. In the last month, I’ve seen the word ‘misogyny’ bandied about so much that it has lost all meaning for me. It’s a string of meaningless syllables strung together, like ‘twattleshrub’, or ‘bingatworp’. The word ‘misogyny’ is so grossly misused in it’s over use, that I throw up in my mouth a little bit anytime that label is hurled at someone to refute a point. Just as vague and overused is ‘patriarchy’. These, and many other buzzwords, are used in conversations more as signifiers to like-minded individuals than as words that actually carry any heft. Quite simply, hysterical feminists have radicalized themselves into indifference. It’s painful to watch. It’s easy to spot a SJW type because, like a cult, they all speak in the same platitudes and use the same code words, the same patterns of speech. When I scroll through the timeline of a young gender warrior, it doesn’t take long before you know they’re infected with the SJW curse. “Damn,” I always think, “we lost another one.”

A few years back I became interested in Scientology. No, I didn’t sign up to be in the Sea Org, rather, I became interested in the (ahem) religion, the way an anthropologist becomes fascinated with the behaviour of a strange new race. It piqued my interest and I became a little obsessed. I consumed the must-read books on the phenomenon (Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman and Going Clear by Lawrence Wright were the best), though I never got around to reading anything from the man himself, L. Ron Hubbard—I don’t suffer sci-fi schizoid hacks gladly. To paraphrase the brilliant comic Sarah Silverman, his name is Ron. I know Ron’s. Ron’s can’t be God’s. I spent many late nights scouring the internet for articles, no matter how obscure, anything from personal blogs to Tony Ortega’s almost daily articles, to desperately going through comment threads with a fine toothed comb).  I watched every video on YouTube, from protests, to interviews, to promotional videos. Is there anything better than unintentional comedy? You want to laugh? Watch this minute and a half clip of a Scientology fundraiser:

You’ve got to admire their earnestness. Sometimes I pity these people, and then sometimes I can’t help but admire their zeal, the certainty of their purpose in life. I’m hopelessly devoid of direction in my life, depressed, and drinking too much. Perhaps I should play Depression Quest?
When I began exhaustively scanning the timelines of those directly connected to Gamergate, reading the blog posts, and watching the videos, I noticed immediately the similarities between SJW’s and Scientologists. It hits you in the gut. I’ve seen a few other random commenters point this out as well. They have the same hivemind speech and behaviour. They all stay within the playbook. You’ve heard one, you’ve heard ‘em all. Anyone who ventures off script will be swiftly dealt with.
SJW’s are just Scientologists who grew up watching the Simpsons and are tech savvy.  
            Peruse through any prominent feminist columnist/gender warrior on Twitter and you’ll find a lot of whinging. They point out others’ behaviour in the media and why it’s racist, homophobic, and misogynistic. Go and look through Jessica Valenti’s timeline, or Lindy West’s, and you’ll find them endlessly criticizing other people for their behaviour. It’s seemingly all they do. Their articles are the same thing done in a longer form. Sane, rational people look at their Twitter activity and most of their content and are surely turned off by it. We laugh them off as shrill, humourless, professional victims, but a small minority are taken in by all the exciting, radical language and talk of destroying the patriarchy. Unfortunately, that small minority goes full retard. They go trawling through all kinds of media for things to get offended by. They actively search for offense, which is truly bizarre, unhealthy behaviour.
During the summers of 2013 and 2014 I worked as a security guard at a wild beach resort located two hours north of Toronto. Loads of young people, usually those who have just finished high school and are destined for post-secondary education, celebrate the transition to adulthood in their budding lives with copious amounts of booze and drugs. For the most part, they’re normal, good kids from all over the greater Toronto area. I interact with thousands of young people from different backgrounds. Terms like ‘rape culture’ and words like ‘patriarchy’ are so obtuse and foreign to the majority of them, they look at me like I have a dick growing out of my ear when I tell them about those terms. This is obviously anecdotal evidence, but rarely do any of the young women identify themselves as feminists. Or even if they do, they’re sensible about the concept. They simply don’t care. Outside of Twitter, and more troubling, the corridors of academia, no one fucking cares about this ultra-modern turbo-feminism cultish bullshit. Not that they don’t care about women’s issues and equality, they do! They just don’t care about identifying themselves under the ‘feminist’ label. Conversely, a lot of the young women are extremely sexually confident and assertive. They show no signs of being oppressed by the patriarchy. Actually, the women appear strong and independent, certainly not intimidated by the males in the group. On Twitter, however, you’d think there’s some vast culture war going on, women fighting for equality. As a side note, I received death threats from real life drunk people, live in the flesh! Where were my trigger warnings! Please donate to my Patre--oops, don't have one.

I’m a pretty loose, liberal guy. I masturbate to tranny porn, I watch cute cat videos, I applaud minorities in prominent positions, and I’ve read more than one Matt Taibbi book. But, I detest the road that liberalism in online media is going down. The overtly PC fringe left is wielding more and more influence at a lot of the journalism/entertainment sites that I frequent, which sadly, I don’t much frequent anymore. I tried, I really did, Salon, but you’re veering into post-modern gender warrior land. Vice, too, is going that route. The former disappeared into the woods long ago, while the latter has just entered the woods, not quite hopelessly lost . . . yet.
            Shit, look how crazy it’s got in the last month alone: I stopped visiting Salon and Vice almost entirely and now find myself reading articles by Milo Yiannopolous of Breitbart because he’s the only reporter digging beneath the surface of the GamerGate saga in any meaningful way. Breitbart for God’s sake! You can’t make this shit up people! The bulk of those supporting GamerGate, I surmise, are fairly liberal, yet the gaming sites—which are invariably ultra-liberal—are so insulated that they’re wholly detached from the sensibilities of their consumer base, and no one is there to regulate this mess. The fox is guarding the henhouse while the farmer is away on business.
            And in a way I sympathize with online publications like Vice. There is so much saturation in the marketplace, so many sites competing for eyeballs, that to maintain profitability they have to publish click-bait and other absurd tripe to harness our collective flash in the pan attention spans. Companies have bills to pay, and in that regard I don’t blame them. Things like journalistic integrity and ethics are neat concepts to be enforced only when a company is secure in their existence, with a firm grasp on its share of the marketplace. Online sites for news and entertainment don’t have the luxury of relaxing their tenuous grasp for one minute, lest they fall behind ahead of the latest click-bait bullshit from one of their innumerable competitors. They all use every ounce of energy just to stay afloat. The result is click-bait and hit-pieces from here to eternity.
            There’s something refreshing and exhilarating in this new media landscape about tuning into entirely independent voices. I don’t even know what you’d call people like Internet Aristocrat and Thunderf00t. YouTube personalities? Media personalities? Vloggers? These voices have become very popular on account of the merits of their ideas, the resonance of their voices. They don’t have massive companies behind them—they’re just people, like you and me! (except with more followers). Hit ‘record’ on that camera and boom! your message is transmitted to the masses sans filter. It makes me get all patriotic, and I think of the adage that through sheer human will and perseverance, anyone born in these United States can become president (full disclosure: I’m Canadian). They, and many others, are the punk rock voices in media. Just like when young people heard The Ramones in in the '70s and thought to themselves, “Hell, I can do that!” we’re seeing that same vibe now. What does Thunderf00t have that any other jerkoff with a computer in their house doesn’t already have, too?   
            What does it say for the games media in particular and media at large that more and more consumers are turning to absolute fucking nobodies, relatively speaking? These personalities don’t hold any formal positions in media. Rather, they are people who can sit at their desk wearing nothing but boxers, half of a soggy, pink Fruit Loop sticking to their lip, and postulate on the state of all things video game/entertainment related, and do a better job of it than those whose livelihoods depend on it. The consumer's trust in the media is not good at all. It’s all sorts of problematically toxic.

I would urge young women, and anyone really, to disregard writers like Jessica Valenti, Amanda Marcotte, Rebecca Watson, and Lindy West. Instead, check out women that you can really learn a thing or two from. Women like Lydia Lunch, Mary Karr, Sheila Heti, Miranda July, Lorrie Moore, Camille Paglia, Bonnie Macfarlane, Lena Dunham, Christine Sommers, Alice Munro, and Tina Fey. Maybe some of these women consider themselves feminists, and some don’t. I don’t really know or care; one thing they all have in common is that unlike the former list of writers, the latter are more versatile. They don’t make gender issues their raison d’etre.
          And praise Xenu for that. 


  1. Excellent editorial on the GG issue. I'm glad I fell for the click bate[ ;-) ] link for this article and came to read it in full.

    1. I'm just a nobody with a blog, so it's guerilla marketing for me! I'm glad you liked it.