I’m not scared of desperately uncool cultural reactionaries like Jack Thompson or anti-witchcraft Harry Potter burners. I’m scared of the people who do hold cultural power, who have the loud voice, who are, in fact, the cool kids, but think they’re embattled underdogs. I’m scared of the people who think that because disco was “taking over music” they had the right to “fight back” bullying and attacking disco performers and fans.
I’m scared of people who look at someone like Zoe Quinn, an individual who makes free indie games, or Anita Sarkeesian, an individual who makes free YouTube videos, and honestly think that these women are a powerful “corrupt” force taking away the freedom of the vast mob of angry young male gamers and the billion-dollar industry that endlessly caters to them, and that working to shut them up and drive them out somehow constitutes justice. The dominant demographic voice in some given fandom or scene feeling attacked by an influx of new, different fans and rallying the troops against “oppression” in reaction is not at all unique. It happens everywhere, all the time.
But let’s be honest: It’s usually guys doing it. Our various “culture wars” tend to boil down to one specific culture war, the one about men wanting to feel like Real Men and lashing out at the women who won’t let them. Whenever men feel like masculinity is under attack, men get dangerous. Because that’s exactly what masculinity teaches you to do, what masculinity is about. Defending yourself with disproportionate force against any loss of power? That’s what masculinity is.
The worst part is that this system of masculinity is what ostracized many of these men in the first place. They were bullied or felt cast out in their youth because they didn’t fit the societal norm for what constitutes Being A Man, and found solace in games.
Now they have power and influence within the industry that sheltered them, and instead of making games a welcoming escape for others whose circumstances with which they should be able to empathize, they have created an approximation of the very same system that brought them low. The bullied have become the bullies, and they are swinging down at people they feel are threatening their position at the top of their newfound hierarchy.
What is ultimately a vicious vocal minority is manipulating their fellow men, those who still feel downtrodden and undervalued, who then lash out at people who rally for changes in toxic attitudes and behaviors—largely women and minority groups—because they have been indoctrinated through language and anecdotes that dredge up painful memories to believe that they are the oppressed party. That being lumped in with the violent misogynists and trolls in their ranks is the fault of those who are calling out the behavior, and that rather than joining forces in ousting these malicious individuals, they must take these criticisms personally and devote their energy to insisting that they, as an individual, are not responsible for perpetrating this vile behavior so stop generalizing.
This constantly derails the conversation, forcing the subject away from the terroristic treatment of their peers whose gender and/or skin color doesn’t resemble their own and refocusing it on policing language to minimize their own discomfort.
Saying “I’m not like them, I’m not responsible!” convinces no one without action. You aren’t endearing anyone to your struggle with cries of “not ALL men” and “not ALL gamers”. We know that already. Everyone knows that. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t insist you do no harm when you are complicit in facilitating an environment that, at a minimum, obstructs those trying to take action against those who do.
Your feelings are valid. Your hurt is valid. But the suffering you have or possibly continue do endure is not made less by acknowledging the suffering of others, and you do additional harm to yourself and those who would help you by refusing to recognize that your pain and theirs comes from the same shitty, oppressive system.
The mistake Abdul Dremali Makes is temporal ie one of rate of flow, you can not get unlimited bread sticks all at once as they would collapse in on themselves and form a black hole. Effectively removing themselves from the universe and resulting in a basket too heavy for the average server.
By limiting how many bread sticks are available at one point they can have a constant stream of matter from the kitchen to the customer to the bathroom to various cleaning and recycling steps out in to the world and from the world back to the grain field to processing to the kitchen to the customer. Making an unlimited amount of bread sticks (for at least the next 100 trillion years) with a limited amount of matter.
I’m going to believe this, if only because I really want it to be true.
college is apparently not where vermithrax learned that maybe the problem is vermithrax isn’t actually charming or handsome
With all the heat Anita Sarkeesian gets for her Tropes series, you’d think it was a new topic, but Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert had a discussion on a similar theme when they were talking about the influx of slasher movies on their show in 1980.
34 years later and this is STILL relevant
I love (read: hate) that the conversation hasn’t budged from this for as long as I’ve been alive.