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Every once in a while, the progressivism’s destructive effects penetrate so deeply into a story that they change the way people view the world. To the under-35 gaming crowd, #GamerGate may be one of those events.
I suspect many readers have no idea what I am talking about, or caught a primer through this week’s Radio Free Delingpole. Milo Yiannapoulos has covered it over at Breitbart. In brief, the community of people who regularly play video games (“gamers”) has significantly grown and expanded, to the point today where the image of the lone white young man in his mother’s basement is no longer accurate. It’s a diverse and widely tolerant community of people, mostly still under the age of 40 (Mr. Delingpole aside, apparently). The industry has exploded in size, rivaling — if not surprising –Hollywood’s revenue.
Increasingly, the gaming press has taken a progressive bent by injecting specious feminist arguments into reviews and coverage of games. Instead of providing insight into the industry and delivering advice on the best up and coming games and development trends in an unbiased manner, they have been weaving in feminist theories of misogyny in video games and objectification of women in a manner that is meant to steer the industry towards the development of more progressive titles.
So for example, when Assassin’s Creed was released, the gaming press bombarded gamers with preaching about how the game does not offer playable female characters. Never mind that the game’s story line is about a 17th/18th century brotherhood and that the gaming community, men and women alike, were more interested in a storyline that works rather than any social justice. We want women, we want them now.
The primary proponent of this feminism in games has been Anita Sarkeesian who has produced a series of Youtube videos analyzing the (alleged) the sexist content of video games. Her videos are full of mistakes, over-simplifications, omissions and polemical arguments, all disguised as facts. She has an argument to make, but the gaming press has adopted it as fact and never really questioned its validity. In turn, Sarkeesian has raised a ton of money off of sympathetic supporters and used that money to influence game development and reporting. Internet trolls post threats, which she uses as evidence of misogyny, she then calls the police, retweets the threats, and raises more money. The gaming press then print articles about how Sarkeesian is being harassed, even though internet trolls are just a fact of life these days, as anyone who has published anything can attest. Cycle restarts.
Recently there were revelations that some in the gaming press had been getting favors — both pecuniary and carnal — to support this progressive viewpoint. Indeed, the whole scandal blew up because the sex life of one of the feminist Social Justice Warriors was exposed for sleeping with one (at least one) of the journalists who was part of the cabal that reported favorably on her work and the work of others with the progressive viewpoint. Other corruption was subsequently uncovered, including fixing the winners of indie game contests and blacklisting entrepreneurs who are trying to promote women in gaming who are not part of the in crowd. It’s a mess.
In August, it all blew up. The gamers had had enough, and with the help of Adam Baldwin — yes, that Adam Baldwin, of Firefly fame — they began taking to twitter, reddit, 4chan and other social media platforms to decry the corruption. They launched a twitter campaign called #GamerGate. The gaming press fought back and, inadvertently, proved the point of the #GamerGate crowd by publishing very similar articles all lambasting gamers as misogynist white males within a 24 hour period. Thousands of comments on reddit sympathetic to gamers were deleted in an apparent attempt by the journalists and developers, who know the moderators on these forums personally, to shut down discussion.
Since then, Social Justice Warriors have issued false intellectual property threats against one Youtuber and had his site shut down to block discussion. Members of the gaming press, well-known names, took to twitter to denounce gamers as racist, misogynist hatemongers. Journalists were clearly colluding to press their viewpoint and in doing so, they rather stupidly criticized their own customers. They even had a mailing list to coordinate their agenda, very much like the JournoList debacle. Their customers were rightly furious, and as a result of this gamers are now completely boycotting the gaming press. It’s not a small movement anymore.
The gaming press is going to be fundamentally reformed as a result of this movement. Some sites have had their editors and publishers step in with apologies and new ethics standards meant to address concerns. Most other gaming press sites have thrown up the barricades instead.
So why does this matter? The reaction on Youtube, reddit, 4chan, Twitter and other places has been fascinating. Young people — generally, millennials — have found themselves on the receiving end of a progressive hate campaign for the first time. They’ve seen the progressive press and progressive critics using their megaphones to delegitimize gamers and their opinions. Instead of arguing the issues, they have been making hateful statements with the intent of making the gamers who have objected into persona non-grata. Gamers are beginning to realize that these progressives are making considerable money by creating conflict and maybe their motivations are not exactly pure.
Gamers are young people who tend to be open to progressive ideas. But being treated so poorly has induced them into making some very conservative arguments. For the first time, they’re arguing that our universities have created a group of progressives that are hostile to open inquiry and discussion. For the first time, they’re seeing gaming journalists and corrupt developers for the corrupt, entitled special-little-snowflakes that conservatives have been talking about for years. For the first time, they’re seeing the Far Left as the remarkably intolerant group of people it is.
And they’re not staying quiet about it. Many of them have put together blog posts and Youtube videos that amount to strikingly conservative defenses of free market game development instead of progressively-driven themes. They provide eloquent defenses of the importance of a press that is either unbiased or that discloses its biases and conflicts. They’re angered when the progressives take to their soapboxes and publish articles, blog posts, and tweets that are meant to delegitimize their opinions. Many of them have begun to draw the connections between how they are being treated and how progressives act on the national stage.
All this is happening because many of these young people never imagined they’d be on the receiving end of the pernicious tactics that progressive use everyday and that the Right has been warning about. And they don’t like it.
For more on #GamerGate, watch this video (warning, contains non-CoC language):