Right wing vultures start to circle #GamerGate
Not that there was any doubt, but the entrance of right wing ideologues into the faux controversy “#GamerGate” makes it almost comically clear how this is not, was not, and never will be about “ethics in journalism”, but about harnessing the inchoate anger of a bunch of people who feel left out by the Cool Kids and aiming it directly at the goal of eroding women’s right to basic equality with men. (For those who wish to argue that point, feel free to read this, and please comment there, in the wasteland where zero #GamerGate enthusiasts have yet to actually argue with any of my actual points.) It was a grassroots movement of 4chan misogynists who just want to punish individual women online to get back at women as a group for some incoherent sins against them (insufficient blow jobs, not sneaking into their houses to clean shit while they’re away), but now the conservative vultures are swirling. They see some marks and they, by god, are going to pick them up. And like watching a vulture tear into carrion, it’s simultaneously revolting and fascinating.
Two of the biggies are this asshole from Breitbart.com and female misogynist Christina Hoff Sommers. Oh yeah, and Adam Baldwin. At the top of the list of things these two could not give less of a fuck about:
1) Ethics in journalism (I mean, good lord, it’s Breitbart.com.)
2) Gaming (I mean, maybe Adam Baldwin plays games, but rest assured, he gives no fuck about the “gaming community”.)
I mean, they care less about these two things than they do about where their shit goes when they flush it. The only reason—only reason—that you’re starting to see figures like this inject themselves is because they see roadkill, and like good vultures, they are coming in for a feast. In this case, the “roadkill” is rageful idiot sexist gamers and the “feast” is channeling that rage into their own political ends. Which would be the promotion of misogyny and the general conservative agenda.
It’s kind of interesting seeing the right wing recruiting strategy in action, particularly in a nascent stage with a new set of marks. Watching it go down, I think I’ve figured out the strategy.
1) Find a weakness or insecurity of some sort. Perhaps the mark is bad with women. Perhaps he feels that he’s not as economically successful as he should be. Perhaps he knows he isn’t as smart as he pretends to be and fears people will find him out.
2) Stoke the mark’s insecurity while telling him that someone else—women, black people, gay people, you name it—is the real villain here. They are stealing from you. They are depriving you of what is rightfully yours. Think of how white people are encouraged to believe they would have all this extra money if black people weren’t using up all the welfare.
3) Create a sham theory to justify their screeching, bigoted rage. Using the welfare example: Tell them that this isn’t about black people, but about “fiscal conservatism” and “personal responsibility”. Some will handle the bullshit better than others, but as long as some perform the dance well enough, they might be able to hoodwink the mainstream media into buying it.
4) Watch as donations to conservative orgs roll in. Republican candidates promise that they’ll be able to make the people singled out in step #2 give you back what they stole from you, and they get your votes. Voila! You have someone who will likely be your stooge for life.
We can see how this is working out in #GamerGate. In fact, a lot of the work was already done for them. The sexist gamers themselves are all over #2 and #3, for instance. But let’s take this step by step, to show why the vultures think they have such easy carrion to chew on.
1) Find a weakness or insecurity of some sort. Easy enough for the vultures. They’re dealing with a bunch of nerdy young men here. Odds are sky-high they feel like they aren’t very cool and that their sexual prospects are diminished because of it. Not saying whether that’s true or not, but easy guess that this is what the marks themselves are feeling.
2) Stoke the mark’s insecurity while telling him that someone else is the real villain here. The #GamerGate screechers made this laughably easy for the vultures. They blame women for not giving them the sex they feel entitled to and they feel gaming journalists are Cool Kids who are shutting them out of the parties.
But despite that, you really see how masterfully the vultures are stoking the insecurities here. Breitbart douchebag is reprinting emails from some kind of gaming journalism/industry listserv, trying a redux of the “Journolist” faux-scandal. (Full disclosure: I was on Journolist.) Back then, the excuse was that the existence of a collegial listserv amongst liberal journalists was some sort of scandal because apparently we’re not supposed to be friends with each other. (Note: There are similar conservative listservs, but that’s different because reasons.) But the actual motivation had a lot more to do with the ongoing resentment many conservatives in media have of their liberal brethren, because, and let’s face it, liberals are just cooler. It really was a Cool-Kids-don’t-invite-us-to-the-parties thing. They’re victims because we laugh at them for not knowing who Girl Talk is. Not that they’d ever admit it, but there’s a reason that these kind of “wah, we’re not invited to their parties” faux-scandals only go one way.
I’m not saying liberals are cool, mind you. I mean, I am. *cough* But liberals are certainly cooler, and everything is relative when it comes to the politics of resentment.
Sommers doesn’t even try to hide that this is the game she is playing: “Well, now, gamers are dealing with a new army of critics: gender activists and, I don’t know, hipsters with a degree in cultural studies.” In other words, she’s trying to tell them that the girls and the Cool Kids that they already resent for supposedly shunning them are now trying to steal their games. It’s like yelling “Obamaphone” at a bunch of Sarah Palin fans.
3) Create a sham theory to justify their screeching, bigoted rage. Yeah, the “ethics in journalism” thing. “Ethics” being defined as “how dare you go to parties or have sexual encounters in which I and 5,000 other 19-year-old gamers you don’t know weren’t invited”.
4) Turn your new recruits towards political gain. Still up in the air, but I have little doubt that many of the guys being targeted now will soon be amendable to hearing about how they need to vote Republican to keep those sluts from getting abortions. You know, because of ethics in journalism or whatever.
But I do, as I’ve said before, feel kind of bad for some of the participants in #GamerGate. It’s hard to, I know, when you’re dealing with people who think a multi-week harassment campaign against some random woman because she has a normal social and sexual life is okay. But honestly, a lot of these guys are really young, like high school and early years of college young. Their youth is part of the reason the vultures are swirling, of course, because they know that if you get ’em young, you often have ’em for life. But that’s also why it’s really sad. A lot of these guys probably would probably have been okay. I was a a bit of a late bloomer. I’ll bet many of the people they are targeting with jealous rage were, too. But now a lot of people who might have otherwise been late bloomers who turned out alright are on the path to being seething, misogynist wingnuts. (Which is not going to help them in the getting invited to parties, people’s beds department.) They really are being targeted by vultures. I just hope some of them wake up and see what’s happening before they’re too far gone.