Posts Tagged ‘gamergate’

The Trump victory is a by-product of what happens when you spend years taking a colossal dump on everything that disagrees with you. I’m not a fan of Trump or Hillary but I can safely say none of this surprises me following the #Brexit shambles we’re all currently having to endure. The problem I have with modern day politics is that the Left and Right wing have been reduced to petty squabbles over first world problems with an unhealthy dose of identity politics thrown in for good measure. I see the suffering in the world as people die in places where oppression is a very real terror that haunts their every waking moment. Then I watch as so-called western activists cry over Frank Cho’s decision to draw satirical art. When all you see is the media attacking and slandering everything that stands against it. You really have to wonder why did so many liberals and former democrats vote for the Republican candidate. This is just from my own observations but #Gamergate signified a significant stage in the change of cultural identity. In the 1990’s and leading into the early 2000s the Right led by Jack Thompson attacked gamers, and the Left came to their defence and even despite Hillary  Clinton’s attempts to pass the Family Entertainment Protection Act that could have potentially hindered the creation of video games. It failed to go through. The Right  and Clinton lost against Liberalism and the freedom of expression.

You fast forward to 2014 and the collective-minded Liberal Game Journalists took the knife and drove it into the back of the people they had once ‘pretended’ to support. The Gamer Identity is over slander that came out as gamers realised the media that represented them was corrupt was just the beginning of this madness. The media loudly proclaimed the death of the gamer and then wondered why their audience was pushing back against the same diatribe they had once heard from the ‘religious right‘. Most of those in Gamergate were moderately liberal as hard as that is to believe. These people support diversity but realise there is a lot more to someone than their penis, vagina or skin colour. Unlike the mainstream media that continually time and time again put each respective group in their own little safe box. The Left wing has become more divisive than even it realises.

Gamergate exposed also the outright hypocrisy at the root of social justice. A movement that would sooner stab its allies in the back and actively followed the listen and believe mantra to its logical conclusion. For a movement that preaches equality, it has absolutely no shame in attacking people based on things they have no control over. When you have buzzwords like mansplaining, and manspreading and people freely saying that being white means you’re on the easy difficulty setting. It’s not hard in the slightest to understand why there is a push-back against the progressive mindset. When Liberals stare into the mirror they expect to see the Bogeyman they elaborately devised to blame all their problems on – Gamergate, MRAs, and the nebulous Alt-Right that is almost a reflection of them. Perhaps now all they see is themselves. Or maybe they will continue kicking and screaming and wonder why no one takes them seriously anymore.

The small events around Gamergate also had an impact on this changing mindset. They were small events but once the first domino fell, it’s no surprise it became a cascade. The Tim Hunt incident that resulted in him in losing his reputation over a joke, the attack on Corbyn by the Right wing media. I may not agree with everything Corbyn stands for but his character is in tatters because of the media. In more recent times there has been slander directed towards the developer behind VR and his girlfriend purely on the basis that she supported Gamergate. For me, personally, the media blitz on Matt Taylor after he had just landed a spacecraft on a comet was an eye opening experience. The poor man was reduced to tears regarding the art on his shirt that he was wearing. He was attacked by a shameless media who will never be held accountable for the destructive nature of its reporting. The funny thing is the shirt was made by a woman, Elly Prizeman. I know the Right Wing isn’t perfect, not by a long shot but I can’t ignore what I’ve seen coming from the Left lately. This is just a part of why I think Trump won. I’ve written a lot about what’s happening on campuses across the west but I also believe the activism there is also to blame for why people are no longer on the side with left wing parties and ideas in general.

Congratulations Progressives you have killed Liberalism.

For a long time I had no interest in politics, and looking back, I’m thankful that I was. The more I observe the spectrum, the more I realise it truly is a horseshoe. It, for instance, took very little time for certain left-wing game journalists to declare the death of their audience, thus leading to Gamergate and the pursuit of encouraging ethical journalism.

I can only assume that the writer of this hack job was high or something since he described Gamergate as;

‘What began as a critical discussion of female representation in video games, was adroitly exploited by Alt-right activists using misinformation to incite a huge explosion of hatred online against women and minorities in gaming.’

Guilt by association, the default strategy the press resort to. Whilst the situation with Zoe Quinn remained nebulous, the operations within Gamergate led to the exposure of GameJournoPros that more or less confirmed that journalists were, in fact, colluding with developers and were more importantly not disclosing their connections. But of course, like with anything the Left disagree with. All they are in the end is their bogeyman.
And that bogeyman is now the amorphous blob that is the Alt-Right. A group of people whose motivations are hard to pin down but depending on how you see them. Then they can come across as being the opposite of the Left Wing Social Justice Warrior but even then that truly does not describe the Alt-Right. But like Gamergate, they have had the same choice buzzwords thrown at them, that just ends up stifling all discussion in the end. The difference between the two is pretty simple. Gamergate consists of mostly liberals.

Essentially people who subscribe to left-wing views. Although as Progressivism strangles discussion by reducing it to a tit for tat over identity. More and more find themselves pushed towards conservatism, and I can hardly blame them.

The outrage the man refers to was not a product of the Alt-Right. That’s disingenuous. The outrage comes from oversensitive liberals who claim to be tolerant yet have a problem with a single group of people for whatever reason. A reason I can’t rationalise because it’s inherently racial and does nothing but provoke division. This outrage by the Left has led to DC pulling a variant cover, the changing of a joke in Pillars of Eternity to mock the controversy. Note the game also has a hanging tree, just to put the limerick into perspective. But now we got to protect the fragility of other people at the expense of the audience who just want to enjoy their games. There was also the case of Tracer’s Pose change that ended up simply doubling down, the Foaming Jugs in which Brianna did nothing but show hypocrisy and finally there is the complete failure, regarding the English translation of Fire Emblem Fates.
None of those things was the by-product of anything tied to the right. If anything those things happened because overly sensitive individuals played up to the mainstream media knowing it would eat up all they had to say. Whilst then attacking criticism that suggested this was leading to a dangerous rise of censorship. For me personally, as soon as that comic cover was pulled. I knew the first domino had fallen.

‘Star Trek gave television audiences their first interracial kiss in 1968, and Gene Roddenberry’s vision of mankind’s future continued to champion progressive ideas for many decades. Today “geek culture” is more diverse than ever, reflecting audiences’ hunger for a better world where the Ghostbusters can be women, and even Ms Marvel can be Muslim.’

A better world? I thought this was supposed to be fictional products. Now there’s nothing wrong with diversity but then it really is getting to the point where diversity is purely about the race or appearance of an individual and not the actual content of their character. Leading also to the point where the story becomes utterly worthless. Diversity doesn’t guarantee good writing if anything most audiences just want a good story. They don’t need social justice rammed down their throats every two minutes. It’s why more fans are slowly abandoning comics. There’s nothing new. Once you’ve seen one rehash, you’ve seen them all. The Ghostbusters is just another example of not knowing your audience, and then doing the very worst thing and attacking them for their views.

Perhaps inevitably, that growing diversity has met with a backlash. Recently, there was much debate surrounding the cult horror author HP Lovecraft becoming the “face” of the World Fantasy Award due to his well-documented racism. His passionate fans – most of who have never experienced racism – asked why such historical oppression even mattered anymore?

This invocation of the past is all too common. It’s easy to dismiss Lovecraft for his views that were of the TIME he was from. Do I need to emphasise that any more than I already have? Also if people actually looked up the life of Lovecraft. It wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses. I’m not for any second excusing his views but it’s the default tactic to attack someone based on their beliefs. Lovecraft’s fans love him for his phenomenal writing ability and more. That’s why he had an award dedicated to him. But being the overly sensitive illogical morons, you decided that because of modern perceptions. He’s not worthy of it. Thus defeating the point of an award based around writing.

Gamergate has done far more to empower feminist critics of gaming than to silence them.

Now this I wholeheartedly agree with for the simple fact is that I follow and support a fair few feminist Gamergaters, all of which are great critics. The article waffles on about the monstrous Trump and the Hugo’s, the latter, I’m saving for a separate article .

The conclusion then is that the Progressives in geek culture have their focus completely on the wrong thing. You should really be worried about how moderate liberals are reacting to this madness. And who knows when they do maybe then this crazy train will finally reach the end of the line.

gawker

Gawker is regarded by many as the click bait magnet of social media. It’s articles more or less pure gossip. And over the years, Gawker has been no stranger to controversy regarding its invasion into the lives of public figures such as Peter Thiel who had been outed as gay in 2007 by Gawker’s now-defunct Valleywag blog. Gawker’s downfall was inevitable following the Gamergate controversy that saw it lose over 7 figures in advertising revenue. Gawker has since failed to recover from that loss sustained at the hands of Gamergate and now faces the end since it filed for bankruptcy.

But what started this magnificent fall. Well, Sam Biddle learned the hard lesson that you don’t target ‘nerds’ of all people. This was what he posted on twitter and later deleted and apologised for posting. However, it was already too late.

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It would later be reported by numerous outlets that advertisers such as Mercedes-Benz and Adobe had pulled out from their advertising deals due to these comments. This was following a campaign by Gamergaters coined Operation Disrespectful Nod that originated on 8chan. Its aim was to contact advertisers and expose cases of unethical journalism. This extended past Gawker and included other sites who had deliberately gone out of their way to slander gamers such as Gamasutra who led the initial charge against gamers with this article titled: ‘Gamers don’t have to be your audience. Gamers are over.’  An article published by the Washington Post also mentioned why advertisers were pulling ads, with The Michigan Economic Development Corporation stating that it was pulling ads, ‘out of fears that it appeared to mock the “gamer” demographic’.

Disrespectful Nod wasn’t the killing blow that would end Gawker. No, that task fell on Hulk Hogan and to some extent Peter Thiel, with the intention to stop Gawker from profiting off of exposing details of people’s private lives. In the case of Hogan, Gawker had without any consent by him posted a sex tape, showing him having an affair with the wife of a friend of his. This act alone led to a back and forth court case and subsequent ownership of Gawker being transferred to Hulk Hogan. But if that escalation wasn’t enough for you. In a recent bankruptcy auction, Gawker was bought by Univision who will now go on to shut down Gawker, for good.

Gawker was just one of many that publicly slandered gamers and it has since paid the price for that. Gamergate as a movement showed that the public is no longer willing to stand by and watch slander or in the case of gamers. Be on the other end of slanderous hit pieces.

I guess all that’s left to be said is ‘Gawker is over. Gawker doesn’t have an audience anymore.’

#GameOver

mankindDeus Ex has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for the lore surrounding it’s newest game Mankind Divided. Deus Ex is a favourite among gamers not just for the immersive world you are placed in but for the underlying commentary.

Deus Ex is known for tackling hard issues,  and as far as fiction goes, in my opinion, it is one of the best pieces of science fiction to date. Now games journalists want games to be regarded more for their art and message,  as evidenced by games like Gone Home and Sunset. Widely acclaimed by a media supposedly representing the gamer. However,  for all their talk of wanting social issues tackled in video games. They appear rather shy of Deus Ex.

The first critical articles came up regarding the term mechanical apartheid. Its relevance in the Deus Ex universe relates to the division amongst Augs and non-Augs. Most Augs are seen as the lower half of society and as human revolution demonstrated they are often demonised and as the story progressed, they were hacked leading to them attacking and possibly killing other people with no way restraining themselves. In later missions, some of the living conditions for Augs can be seen as appalling. They are held to ransom by the black market  that makes a living off of their prosthetic limbs.

Polygons criticism of the term begins with the definition of Apartheid;

Apartheid (literally “separateness” in Afrikaans) was the brutal governmental system of political oppression and racial segregation used by white rulers in South Africa throughout much of the last century.

In truth, there is more to that definition. Apartheid is also the segregation on grounds other than race.’ Therefore it can be used to define the separation of natural people  from the augmented people as shown in Mankind Divided.

The writer Colin Campbell quotes a series of tweets made by Austin Walker stating “How might we feel if they called it ‘Robot Jim Crow Laws'” and “Apartheid isn’t just a general term, it references a specific period of great trauma and oppression.”

The general consensus is that it’s the wrong choice of term. This ignores the fact as fiction goes, the use makes sense as a reflection of the oppression faced by the Augmented. If we as writers hesitate over terms then how can fiction ever develop as a literary form? This approach by critics reflects how some regarded the Reader, a novel that later was made into a movie. The controversy spawned from the movie as publications moved to slam it and deny Kate Winslet an Oscar she was nominated for. The Telegraph reported at the time;

‘Movie critics are divided on whether Winslet should receive the best actress Oscar for the role. Voting closes at 5pm on Tuesday and supporters of rival films are said to be emailing Jewish members of the Academy in a last-minute campaign to ruin The Reader’s chances.’

And one critic Gabrielle Burton accepted that the film was “flawlessly crafted” with fine performances but went on to say how ‘it was too close to that scary genre ‘Holocaust palatable”.

Is it too much to say that this fear of dark fiction is what leads critics to get on a bandwagon of hate? Whether it’s Mankind Divided or even the Killing Joke. What stands out is how the ‘intended’ audience reacts. And usually, it’s positive because they, unlike some critics, realise perhaps that fiction should be allowed to tackle dark subject matters. Because it can serve as a way of reflection on our past, as well as looking to our future whilst also exploring our flaws as human beings.

This isn’t to say that people can’t criticise the term ‘Mechanical Apartheid’ but I feel in their haste to push a story, journalists and especially game journalists usually overlook key details in favour of pushing the story to publication.  The message conveyed by some of these people is that they want its removal. Campbell does refer to Giles Matouba’s rant on Reddit. Giles formally worked on Mankind Divided and goes into detail on why the term was chosen over other things.

‘When we decided to go all-in on delivering the experience to play as Adam Jensen, an Augmented, in a world aggressively segregating his own kind, we actually wanted to offer to our audience something unique. Something that was close and very personal to us: The experience of being torn between 2 worlds and 2 identities. Augs calling you the ‘uncle Tom’ of the non-Augs, non-Augs always insecure when you’re around, always deeply being scared or appalled by your mechanical body.’

Campbell’s criticism points at how segregation affected those native to South Africa, he also refers to gender apartheid and states that in regards to Mankind Divided;

‘The Augmented in Mankind Divided are a privileged and wealthy elite who mostly choose to put themselves above their fellow human beings through expensive technological enhancements. When these enhancements are manipulated by evil forces, millions of people are killed.’

This statement is misrepresentative of how many Augs are well below the poverty line and struggle even to survive. It also ignores the fact that Augmentation saved a lot of lives, especially that of a woman of colour who is mentioned in a newspaper if the player chooses to read it.  The revulsion and forced separation of Augs and Non-Augs by any means necessary is without a doubt a form of Apartheid that literally afflicts everyone who for whatever reason, whether wealthy or otherwise was deemed too dangerous for society. The trailers shown so far clearly conveys a world divided to the break point.

Despite the terms relevance, this hasn’t stopped other notable figures coming out against it. Zoe Quinn’s comments ignore that the man who coined the phrase Mechanical Apartheid and who formerly worked as one of the Directors on the game, Giles Matouba is actually a person of colour. However, she is not the only one critical of the game, Mass Effect developer, Manveer Heir in response to the use of ‘Aug Lives Matter’ among other things tweeted ‘Also, let’s pretend for a minute there was a ton of diversity on that Deus Ex team. It doesn’t mean they understand the issues well enough’ which in turn led to a response from one of the writers that the term Aug Lives Matter was purely coincidental.

Essentially we now live in a world where a critic can basically say ‘sod the content’ attack the creators. It’s why I personally worry that some people need step back and realise they are acting morally superior. Talent for writing is not and I repeat not decided by your gender or your skin colour. Perhaps Manveer should first realise this.

Inevitably, Jonathan McIntosh formerly associated with Feminist Frequency went on his own personal tirade against the game stating that ‘Sometimes when game designers set up “player choices,” the choice itself is immoral because it shouldn’t be up to the player to make it.’ To which I ask should the player be given any choice. Whilst true the game has programmed responses to every action, every consequence is shaped by how you play the game. It’s what makes RPGs so popular with gamers.

The problem with McIntosh’s approach is that it leads to conflating fiction with reality to the point they are indistinguishable when they are two separate entities entirely. Inspiration is natural by product of the writing process. In the end, the only way we will know that Mankind Divided is a success is how it sells and how the actual players respond to the game. Because sometimes I get the feeling that its critics who are actually out of touch with their audience.

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The following article makes me imagine that it’s the 90’s all over again. Except instead of violence, it’s depictions of fictional women.

Joe Lowe begins by stating that ‘British opposition MPs have called for the U.K. government to follow France’s example and consider measures to clamp down on sexism in videogames.’

Here’s where I have to ask our French overlords – who says you can dictate fiction. Art at its core is subjective. So for all you might think a certain portrayal is sexist. Others may disagree. You can’t objectively claim something is sexist because it doesn’t fit your world view. If everything did fit your view of the world then strong well developed female characters wouldn’t exist. The Oracle comes to mind, considering how some revile The Killing Joke. Yet from that was born a memorable character. There a plenty examples of female characters pushed to their limits, will those instances count towards your judgement on what is or isn’t a negative portrayal.

The article further states how Axelle Lemaire, the French minister of digital affairs, met with senior figures in the country’s videogames industry in order to discuss measures aimed at battling negative portrayals of women. In other words Lemaire wishes to dictate the creator through financial incentives. And rewarding them for positive portrayals of women. But they also want to takes things a step further by labelling games that promote sexism.

Again my French Overlords games don’t actively promote sexism. It’s a drawn conclusion usually made by those who think they know the games industry. I also have to wonder, does this mean you would punish developers who have female Devs on team. Are those women sexist? For deciding the final designs of these characters. Are the men also sexualised? And should that also be addressed? Questions never posed or even answered because that’s the crux of modern games journalism. They speak on behalf of women, they act on behalf of women.That point is proven by the image and caption that seems to unnecessarily criticise cosplaying. Something many women love to do. And continue to do because they love video games.

The most absurd thing is that anything deemed sexist by our overlords will be branded 18. It’s crazy to even contemplate the path we are on right now. Especially from a fictional standpoint.

An Mp for the Labour Party has decided to jump on board with this too. Chi Onwurah, an opposition spokesperson for Culture and the Digital Economy, said to Newsweek:

I think it’s absolutely right that the government should be doing more to promote more women into the gaming industry, and that includes helping to identify when video games don’t have sexist and demeaning representation for women. So I’d like to be working with industry bodies so that we can celebrate the good examples and identify the bad ones.

Again to repeat myself. Who are you to judge what is demeaning or is a poor representation of women. How a character is portrayed should be critiqued but that doesn’t mean you people can just change the characters appearance or personality on a whim and expect the creator to just accept it. They have the freedom to make that decision. If they don’t, then there’s nothing you can do.

Onwurah goes on to say that she is considering sexism as part of the age rating system and is quoted as saying

That is something… I’d be very interested in working with the video standards council and also the gaming authorities to look at, because we consider how offensive films are [and that] impacts their rating, so I think there’s an argument that gender offensiveness should at least be signposted.’

Gender offensiveness. Ah so I could mention as an example when Alma rapes Beckett in Fear: Project Origin. It could be said that is offensive. Therefore, should that be removed? No and here’s why. Because it symbolises what Alma has become, that she manipulated you to this point and that you can’t do a thing to stop it. It’s a symbol of her power over Beckett. As such it’s one of my favourite games for the simple reason, Alma is both a terrifying and fascinating entity capable of tearing a mind apart through psychological terror. She is also a mirror of the gothic monster created by Frankenstein. It’s these things that make her such an iconic antagonist.

But no one ever mentions Beckett or cases of men being put in traumatic positions in video games. I have a feeling that Chi means Gender Offensiveness when it affects women. Such as Ellie perhaps in the Last of Us or Quiet in Metal Gear Solid. Quiet obviously for how she wears very little even though its stated in lore that she breathes through her skin. As for Ellie, shes a fan favourite, well developed and loved by the gaming community. Yet she could be considered a negative portrayal just for the fact she was captured at one point and is in otherwise vulnerable positions. Yet the strength of her character means she can overcome them. My view of these characters though is subjective, as are yours.

Another Labour Mp, Tulip Siddiq stated
in regard to issue the issue of online abuse of women, says:

Sexism in video games is more prevalent than one may initially think. The most famous video game franchise in history, Super Mario Bros., frequently sees a helpless Princess Daisy in need of rescue by Mario and Luigi. Why in the Lara Croft series, focusing on an ostensibly more positive role model, is she still depicted through such sexualized imagery?

You obviously don’t understand Art design, or development processes. Tomb Raider has come a long way since inception, the recent reboot has shown a dedication to character personality as well as making sure she still looks fit and athletic. After all she robs tombs for a living. Will she end up looking sexualised, perhaps. It’s a matter of interpretation. As for the Super Mario comment all I will say is the Princess is actually Peach. And besides she too has a come a long way. When you think of Mario, she comes to mind. When Nintendo release spin offs like Mario Kart, she’s featured. Maybe she was a damsel in the past but with any franchise. Things change.

Tulip further states that: “As examples they might raise a grin, but it should be possible for the videogames industry to embrace women as positive role models without resorting to sexism and stereotypes that we wouldn’t allow to fester in other creative industries.”

Stereotypes are a part of fiction they can be used for anything and limiting their use solves nothing. Women are already positive role models. Why can’t you see that?

“The government can do more to support a culture of equality across the creative industries. The issue of sexism in the videogames industry could be a part of a wider review by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. I take the broad view that laws and regulations must keep pace with technology, and in this case, they are clearly lagging behind.”

Another Orwellian suggestion. It was a book not an instruction manual. Inflicting laws or any kind of regulation onto the games industry will not solve your problems and they would only hinder and suppress the creator. Maybe I read too much into things. But I fear we are on this path where depictions of women will be monitored and scrutinised so heavily these overlords will make characters untouchable. I will oppose whatever law/regulation you try to impose on my creativity.

The article then brings up Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency. I will keep this brief, Sarkeesian can’t be trusted to critique games when she misrepresents games like Hitman. Yes you can kill prostitute but it’s a choice, and killing her is punished. Sarkeesian doesn’t mention this. Her content is scrutinised but she blocks or hides honest criticism. She’s only paraded around because of the established narrative that games need to change.

Like a hammer shattering glass we reach the mandatory ‘muh gamergate drop’. However it is actually a more accurate reflection of the movement instead of the usual lie that we are all sexist, racist alt right monsters. Aka the Bogeyman. It mentions how Gamergate ‘began in 2014 in response to false claims about alleged impropriety between independent game-maker Zoe Quinn and a journalist and how the movement has gathered into a broad coalition of resistance to perceived attempts to introduce social justice “agendas” into games and games journalism.’

The perceived agendas are already in place as evidenced by sites like Polygon and Kotaku, and besides most gamers vote with their wallet. They also aren’t a fan of ideology being pushed down their throat. We don’t want to be preached at. Political commentary is fine when done well just look at the Deus Ex series. But its done best when personal politics are put to one side. Allowing the player to easily immerse themselves in the world.

To conclude, the matter of sexism in games is debatable. And will remain so even despite plenty of women cosplaying or being drawn to so called sexualised characters. In the end like with all art. Interpretation of character is purely subjective. This article throws stones but never quite makes clear the final intention. I just hope these Labour MPs don’t have the power to impose these ‘regulations’ not just on games but on fiction in general.

Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth

Is a saying more relevant today currently than ever before. This has led to some news outlets running a story before doing any actual research. They will also sensationalize it for clicks. This doesn’t just apply to reporting on Gamergate either, it applies to everything. The Media will act like a leech just to force out a story that may in fact be completely false or a misrepresentation of the opposition. This is coming from what many would argue are reliable sources of information like Vice, the Guardian, Vox, the Telegraph, and the Independent just to name a few on both sides of the spectrum. So what happens when a reliable source is intentionally showing blatant bias whether its Gamergate or even a person. I suggest go digging, and report any error in the story, one way or another the truth is out there. If Gamergate has achieved anything this last year it’s shown how even the mainstream media has a habit of showing intentional bias in order to push a story. This has led to the Wikipedia page looking more one-sided because certain editors decided the neutral point of view rule didn’t apply to them. Wikipedia is important in this in that instead of verifying sources, its editors will usually just say; ‘oh it’s a trusted source so it must be right!’, Even if the article is riddled with bias.

The Gamergate controversy began in August 2014 and concerns sexism in video game culture (Ethics actually). It is most notable for a harassment campaign that sought to drive several feminists from the video game industry (There was no such campaign, merely trolls leaching off the controversy), including game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, and cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian. The campaign of harassment was coordinated in IRC channels and online forums such as Reddit, 4chan, and 8chan by an anonymous and amorphous group that ultimately came to be represented by the Twitter hashtag #Gamergate (The Hacker known as 4chan strikes again). The harassment included doxing, threats of rape, and death threats and was related to a threat of a mass shooting at a university speaking event. (But sure neglect to mention gamergate supporters faced the exact same thing…)

– Opening Wikipedia paragraph, Orwell would be proud.

The underlying point is tied to those involved in the controversy, specifically those referred to as Anti-Gamergate. They were given on a plate, the ability to manipulate the information to show just their side, as is particularly clear when you read Gamergate’s Wikipedia article. It tells only half the story and the rest is just propaganda. The controversy may have spawned off of the Zoe Post but it has evolved as time has progressed. The key thing with the Zoe Post is that it focused solely on Quinn’s relationships. Whereas Gamergate took it one step further and drew connections between the possibility of ethical breaches by certain journalists, such as Nathan Grayson. That also made the misogyny perspective write itself. It allowed those people, considered to be white knights to ignore or brush aside that there may have been breaches of ethics regarding those that reported on her games in a favourable manner without disclosing these ties. The narrative also came easily because of the Chans and the conspiracy in itself that some believe Gamergate was the spawn of 4chan. When in reality it was first tweeted by Adam Baldwin. Then to hammer the nail home that the games media had little care for its consumer base. Led by Leigh Alexander’s short post on Gamasutra, over 11 stories were launched within hours of each other that declared in the most click-bait way possible that; Gamers and their culture were dead. It didn’t just show possible evidence of collusion, it would give Gamergate longevity and a spark to propel itself ever forward. If the media, and its journalists had just observed some of the criticisms and didn’t react like brats spewing lies then Gamergate may not have lasted a year. If these sites had gone about making ethical policies in the first place then who knows what Gamergate would be now.

This doesn’t mean to say Gamergate is perfect. After all, every movement has bad eggs, that’s just part and parcel of the world we live in. People vary in their views, ranging from moderate to the most extreme. But is it fair to extend that allegation to everyone else. I’d say no. After all it would be wrong of me to suggest all feminists are bad people because of those that are radical. It’s just easier to lie nowadays than at least do research on your opposition. People put their trust in these journalists unaware of just how blatantly obvious their lack of impartiality is when it comes to any controversy. When Milo Manara did the Spider Gwen’s variant cover, the media reacted in outrage resulting in it being pulled by Marvel. When it was revealed the Batgirl cover was inspired by the Killing Joke, certain folk on tumblr pressured for DC to pull the cover. When a limerick was shown to be allegedly transphobic it got changed. Those are just a few controversies that have spawned since Gamergate began, all involving the forced change of art because it didn’t fit the sensibilities of these control freaks. What we see is a media that is consumed and digested, not picked at, not questioned, not even investigated. Then came Gamergate, and its wake they created their bogeyman.

Ultimately the media as a whole got what it want. A villain, in which all those other ‘villains’ can gather together to do villainy stuff. The Bogeyman it created, is why game-dropping has become a term. Article after article of reference, where none is necessary. And yet despite all this, despite the attempts to pin a label or paint a one-sided picture. Gamergate chugs on. There are some reading this, who may completely deny that there is an issue growing within all sides of journalism. Take Corbyn for instance, up until him taking leadership of labour. I’d grown familiar to seeing the same regurgitated nonsense from the left-wing but seeing how the likes of the Sun, the Telegraph and hell even the prime minister acted upon his victory. It shows how vile a combination of social media and politics is. As more recently a poem has been accredited to him, despite the two being completely unrelated. It’s once again showing the Conservatives as desperate if all they can do is demonize a man who simply has different believes. The Left has its Social Justice Warriors, the Right is slowly developing its own twisted version.

To conclude, this is coming from both ends of the political spectrum. It many ways it could be seen as the antithesis to rational thought and approach. Instead of the bigger picture. We find ourselves staring at the world through a looking-glass. We see after all, what they want us to see. They manipulate what they put into the story, knowing fine well it’s exactly what certain people want to here. If for instance they want to pull the empathy string and put a dead child on the front cover of every newspaper. They will. If they want to run a story on how video games are misogynistic then show some lazy excuse of research that is nothing more than confirmation bias, they will. It knows how a humanitarian crisis can evoke mass empathy. But most importantly, it has no quarrel with shaming an individual. In other words, the press, and social media do have a lot of power, and they continue to show how easily influenced we as people and as a nation are.

Or maybe, I’m just too sceptical for my own good. All Hail Big Brother eh?

(UPDATE: the blog ‘Everything’s a Problem’ is in fact satire, and as such is not a relevant example. A mistake that I hope to avoid in future when hunting for sources. Apologies for this misinformation. anyway.)

Frank Cho vs the Outraged

In the age of social media, a news story can break faster than ever before, and with the internet being such a vast place, this has given rise of outrage culture; which can be an article specifically designed to generate clicks or force a reaction. In many cases this kind of media pressure has led to the pulling of covers, limericks, and more because someone, somewhere deemed the content offensive . This pervasive form of journalism is called clickbait or sensational/yellow journalism. Clickbait is usually done in a manner aimed at evoking a response, and sensational journalism can result in the exposure of an individual or group. The Liberal Media has also made a habit out of regurgitating each other’s articles for clicks.  Certain, Conservatives outlets do the same but the Liberal Media has a louder voice, and uses that voice to beat others over the head with a stick. These articles have increasingly pushed for more political correctness and arguably the suppression of creativity deemed problematic.

One of the most well known examples of outrage being used to police content is the response to the Spider-Gwen artwork by Milo Manara and the later parody by Frank Cho. This crusade against creative freedom was done by many outlets, such as the feminist site the Mary Sue who ran with the title ‘Marvel, This Is When You Send An Artist Back To the Drawn Board’. The title itself speaks for the article, the Mary Sue regularly conveys its point of view to be nothing but the truth and that its readers should just listen and believe what they are being told. The Mary Sue claims that this variant cover is telling women to ‘run away and don’t ever come back.’ They then add that this variant cover could offend paying or potential paying customers, and that Milo was not the best choice to promote this comic. Of course despite this outrage, Mary Sue parodied this image in their own way. The observation however by those defending the art is that Gwen’s pose is actually no different from most depictions of Spiderman.  Inevitably Marvel, would pull Milo’s cover  claiming that, ‘it didn’t reflect the sensibility or tone of the series’ . This as such led to cries of censorship and the Mary Sue going on the defensive claiming their only issue was with Marvel’s choice of artist, either way, pressure from the political correct police got a cover pulled simply based on it apparently being offensive.

However, this wouldn’t be the end as artist Frank Cho parodied the cover, and like a case of déjà vu this did not go down well with the Mary Sue, whose title of choice clearly conveyed disapproval ‘Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should’. Their reasoning being ‘but by taking a shot at this particular cover, one that caused so much discomfort among lots of comic book readers, it shows a clear disregard for the perfectly valid outrage over Manara’s original Spider-Woman Variant’. They add this parody is misogynistic, and that it obviously poked fun at the easily outraged feminists. They also believe that even though it’s a joke, it can cause real harm to marginalised communities. I think the Mary Sue should learn the definition of critique, a critique of work aims at improving it or reviewing its features. It does not imply, call for removal or suggest it never be made .

The Mary Sue weren’t only ones offended by Cho’s art, Comics Alliance also took the bait despite the writer stating ‘they didn’t really care but the cover was pretty gross’. The underlying issue that Jannelle Asslin takes is that with both the batgirl cover controversy and Cho’s parody, ‘a publisher choosing to publish an objectifying image on the cover of a book meant to appeal to a new and/or diverse audience is a mistake’. I think it’s a mistake to assume that you think you can be the voice of all comic consumers. The writer then references a tweet by user Robbie Rodriguez (another person who thinks they speak for minorities or women).

Here’s my take on the frank cho sketch cover. Your drawing dirty pics of one of my kids. Be lucky your never around me. #spidergwen

— RobbiRodriguez (@RobbiRodriguez)

The cover in question is of a fictional character, so for Robbie to say that it’s a drawing of one of his kids is absurd and crazy. He later backpedals and states, what he actually meant was that the gratuitous cover is tasteless because it objectives women. Robbie assumes that his country isn’t mature enough for this kind of art. I hate to break this to Robbie but just as before with the writer of this article, you alone don’t decide whether your country can handle something in a mature manner. Especially when the art in question is a parody done as a joke. I also note this is a similar argument to the Mary Sue in that they want art to change in a way that suits them and is for their benefit. Robbi makes a damning statement below;

If you, as pro, want this medium and industry to be taken seriously, like we have a chance to now, then start fucking acting like it and change with the times. The definition of body image has changed in of all entertainment in the last decade. And it’s not a matter of changing the style of your work – it’s a matter of thinking about your work outside of your bubble.

An extract from Robbi Rodriquez’s facebook post

In other words Robbi wants to control what you can and can’t create, because apparently fiction has only now become serious business. The whole point of being a creator is being allowed the freedom to express yourself either in a serious or satirical tone. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean everyone else shares that same sentiment.

The writer of article then moves onto another parody done by Frank Cho featuring Harley Quinn, and the Joker mocking the outrage aimed at the original piece. The writer goes onto state that ‘here’s where things get really messy’, and also quotes from Cho’s blog;

Wow. What a crazy couple of days it has been. My parody cover sketch of Spider-Gwen aping the infamous Manara Spider-Woman pose sent some of the hypersensitive people in a tizzy.

To be honest, I was amused and surprised by the uproar since it was, in my opinion, over nothing. It’s essentially a small group of angry and humorless people ranting against my DRAWING of a pretty woman. It’s utter nonsense. This world would be a better and a happier place if some people just grow a sense of humor and relax.

Now, I’m getting bombarded by various bloggers asking for an interview addressing this “scandal”. Instead of me wasting my breath and precious time over this non-issue replying to all the interviewers, I’ve drawn another cover sketch in response which will, hopefully, answer all the questions.

The writer adds the word’s ‘hypersensitive’ and ‘humourless’ are examples of how the same language is used to defend jokes that dehumanise women even though there are plenty of comedians out there who will joke about just about everything including themselves. It has a name: Comedy.

Fortunately many came to Cho’s defence, such as Liefield who on facebook came to the defence of Cho and a similar artist by the name of Campbell. The author refers to Campbell and Liefield’s conversation.

I just finished reading a disturbing rant by a fellow who took, in my humble opinion, uncalled for shots at two stellar talents in my industry, in our industry, Frank Cho and J J Scott Campbell. Let’s establish here at the outset that these two are a pair of comic book wizards, visual stylists that have been at the top of the comic book mountain top, and have entertained the masses for nearly two decades. Both men are famous for their renderings of the female physique, an art form once referred to as “cheesecake” by possibly the best illustrator comic books ever saw, Dave Stevens.

And its following this conversation where the author gets angry in their prose because god forbid that art could depict sexuality or even have a sense of humour. However, (NSFW) throughout history men, women, and it seems even beasts have been drawn in an very sexual way by many painters/sculptors throughout history but suddenly in modern times, people are incredibly thin skinned and get quite angry at the sight of ass or boobs. The writer however deflects and claims only the government is capable of censorship. Yet the definition of censorship is this;

The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security: the regulation imposes censorship on all media

Oxford Dictionary, definition of censorship

They also have the audacious claim that this is unrelated to free expression, when it is everything to do with freedom of expression. The writer claims these men are merely shifting goal posts, but then adds a critical detail – ‘it’s not censorship if these new readers don’t care for the exploitative ways women are sometimes drawn. This is how trends work. Styles change. Complacency means death of our industry.’ How are you the voice of an entire audience, what if new readers see these pieces of art and appreciates them. What happens then?

Of course the author is right, there is no call for these men to leave the industry but the overall message is that this style of art is unwelcome because it is ‘harmful’ to the readers of comics.

The Batgirl Controversy

Furthermore, Frank Cho is not the only artist to receive this kind of criticism. Another artist by the name of Rafael Albuquerque was also criticised for his reference to the Killing Joke in his comic variant featuring the Joker and Batgirl. The controversy began on Tumblr when the blog, ‘Dc  Women Kicking Ass‘ posted about the cover stating, ‘DC Comics got the last laugh again with more of their disturbing covers that reeks of, get your comments read, misogyny’. This complaint relates to the Killing Joke by Alan Moore, a classic but also widely despised comic by Social Justice commentators. In advance , if you haven’t read the Killing Joke, you can either buy it or find a version of it online as the following words will spoil a significant part of the comic. The part in question has the Joker shooting Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) in the spine and proceeding to take pictures of her semi naked body. The response to this one scene was accusations of fridging despite Batgirl going onto be incredibly successful as the Oracle and still managing to kick the Joker’s ass in later comics. There were also presumptions that the Joker raped her despite there being little evidence of this, and there is also the fact that Moore would go on to deny these claims. Even so, this is fiction, and Moore can write what he wants, it was after all a graphic novel.

Despite the Killing Joke depicting the psychological torment endured by both the Joker in the form of flashbacks and Gordon having to go through the process of witnessing the images of his exposed daughter. The Fiction Police focused fully on Batgirl. So it comes as no surprise that the Batgirl variant caused outrage. In the wake of this two tags appeared on Twitter #ChangetheCover and #SavetheCover that came later. The argument for suppressing the cover was that the target audience was mostly young teenagers. However, not one of these critics suggested alternative uses, instead focusing on scrapping the cover entirely.

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The cover may have been censored by DC but the aftermath led to parody after parody after parody by those fans who had appreciation for Rafael’s art.

Lionhead Controversy

Hot on the heels of Batgirl’s variant cover outrage came outcry directed at Lion Head Industries for posting artwork from their game Fable 2 in the #NationalCleavageDay tag on twitter. The artwork was an old asset of a barmaid with two foaming jugs of ale referencing an in game tavern called the ‘Foaming Jugs’. Like moths to a flame, the Social Justice Mob descended and cried the usual claims of sexism and misogyny. At first Lionhead doubled down and posted a picture of a male character depicted in a sexual way.

However, further pressure led by game developer, Brianna Wu led to the image being deleted and LionHead issuing an apology. It should also be noted that only a couple of hours earlier Wu posted a far more revealing image of the Sorceress, and in doing so shows her blatant hypocrisy by attacking Lionhead.

The game Fable has always be known for its satirical mockery of British culture with characters like Swift donning the handlebar moustache. The setting of Fable 2 also parodies England’s Industrial Revolution. As with the Batgirl cover, the Streisand Effect led to further distribution of the image. This was also reported on by the games media with Nardmode stating that it was a publicity blunder and that the tag itself was ‘ludicrously sexist’. The writer then makes this statement;

lion

Once again, another male thinks he can speak for all women, and completely misunderstands just what goes into the Fable universe, in regards to satire of British culture.  He also uses his wife as confirmation bias despite just as many women coming out in support of Lionhead. However, this incident perhaps shows how out of touch gaming media is becoming in regards to its own audience.

The Firedorn Limerick

In Pillars of Eternity, backers were given the chance to inject their own creativity into the game with custom gravestones. One gravestone in particular had a limerick that describes a man named Firedorn who happened to bed a women that turned out man. This led to him running off a cliff in shame. In a game that has a hanging tree, it’s hardly anything to get worked up over. But then there’s always someone, and in  this case it’s Ice Queen Erika who complains in a tweet that this limerick was ‘transmisogynistic’. This led an entire discussion on Obsidian forums and the original writer claiming it was their decision not Obsidian’s to remove the ‘offensive content’.  Furthermore,  another cultural critic jumped in to the fray, known as Jonathan McIntosh, he claimed;

“Transphobic jokes aren’t a problem because they might be personally “offensive” they’re a problem because they’re culturally oppressive.”

– The Twitter Post

I think someone should notify McIntosh that this was a limerick, in a video game. It has no sentience, therefore it cannot be oppressive. The following below is Ice Queen’s rant using the tag #killallmen;

In the end, the limerick was changed to mock the entire incident. Despite this sites like One Angry Gamer, The Ralph Retort, and Reaxxion came out in defence of the limerick and how it was ‘self censored’. This incident showed that not even something as obscure as a limerick in a video game can escape the eyes of the Political Correct Police who by being offended can get something that someone put  $500 towards changed to cater to their precious feelings.

#Shirtstorm

In 2014, the Rosetta Mission aimed to land a spacecraft on a comet, the first in human history. During the livestream, of the event.  A scientist named Matt Taylor was interviewed wearing a colourful bowling shirt featuring scantily clad clothed female cartoon characters. Whilst everyone marvelled at the success at what some would consider an impossible feat, some on twitter reacted differently. A user by the name of Rose Eveleth tweeted are sarcastic remark next to the image that gained over 1000 retweets. This would lead to Chris Plante and Arielle Duhaime-Ross writing an article titled ‘I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing’. Even though the shirt was actually produced by Elly Prizeman a friend of Matt Taylor.

The outrage at his decision to wear Elly’s creation led to a tearful apology during a time the man and his team should have been celebrating. The Verge writers go onto say that ‘Taylor’s personal apology doesn’t make up for the fact that no one at ESA saw fit to stop him from representing the Space Community with clothing that demeans 50% of the world’s population.’ Firstly, citations please, 50% is a very specific number and secondly, yet another man is trying to tell women how to feel, this is quite a trend when it comes to these kinds of controversies. They then make the audacious claim that this sort of ‘casual misogyny’ is stopping women from entering certain fields.

News Just in: Scientist’s shirt has become self aware! and is now physically stopping women enter stem.

To conclude these controversies spawn from a collective group of social justice advocates picking offense with everything and anything. They claim to be critical yet their wording implies otherwise, that they would rather censor the creativity of others, if it meant protecting the sensibilities of the few. These are a few examples of the media and individuals getting together and attempting to be the gatekeepers of creativity, this trend also effected the game ‘Hatred‘ that was banned from Twitch after they coincidentally changed their policy to ban adult only games and there was also a campaign to ban it permanently from steam and other outlets. Another game that has been under fire in the press includes HuniePop for its sexual themes, and it’s developers blamed SJWs for negative reviews. In addition, a romance novel came under fire from Jezebel for having the audacity to depict a Nazi and Jew falling in love. Bustle quoted a review by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books that claimed it was ‘problematic’ and hoped this lead to a change in the romance industry. When Jack Thompson, attempted to ban violent video games in the early 2000s, gamers and games journalists of the time defended their hobby. However, the new face of censorship has changed to that of the Authoritarian Far Left.  We now live in an era where even the freedom of expression is rallied against, and the ability to draw, write and, animate is policed by those who delude themselves into thinking they represent you, me, and the general consumer.