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It seems like ages have passed in the month since I first took interest in GamerGate. I know, I was a bit late to the dance, and I can only imagine how it has been for the people who were there for the “first” salvos, whichever event they choose to define those as. I think I am gravitating to the “Gamers Are Dead” school of thought, myself. That particular gem deserves a snappy name, but a better one than I could come up with. Imagine with me, something that would read like a Venture Bros. alternate episode title. It could use a Spanish phrase, one evocative of danger and death. There would definitely have to be a “muerto” in there.
GamerGate is amazing, and it is frustrating. I am definitely not a person used to exercising a great degree of caution on the opinion side of things, but an early realization that came from hearing the voices in the story was that GamerGate was, and remains, bigger than myself or my opinion. I figured that I owed it to the spirit of wanting something pure in the world to hold my sarcasm down, in my funeral-best display of an approximation of reverence.
See, in my personal view, it has never been about “just” collusion in gaming media, or “just” an overstep of social justice, disposing indiscriminately of babies and bath water. To me, once I stopped holding myself far away from the controversy and sarcastically deriding both sides (I really did, before I paid attention), it began to look like a definitive generational struggle. If one were generous, they might accept the view of GamerGate as a revolt against a culture that has spent way too much time worrying about spinning narratives than addressing concerns. It is about a generation caught in the middle of a culture war, like divorced parents alternating between cajoling and guilting the kids in an utterly selfish battle for a love that they forgot they still had to deserve.
I feel compelled to criticize the Anti-GamerGate side over the use of what amounts to shame tactics. There always seems to be another lecture in the pipe, another feature in a nationally syndicated web magazine calling gamers spoiled brats and reminding them of the starving children in China. Eat your social justice broccoli, you little [expletive]s! And it came with a heaping helping of the worst kind of hypocrisy. GameJournoPros amounted to “Pay no attention to the journalists behind the curtain,” and you could practically hear those people frantically practicing their Jedi mind-tricks from the other side of their monitors. “This is not the scandal you are looking for,” with a limp and pathetic horizontal swipe of the hand.
People, you deserve better. You deserve cable news to be clearly labelled as opinion. You do not deserve to grow older worrying about what your kids are exposed to behind your back, by people who claim authority over knowledge itself while simply servicing the spirit of the times in a manner expeditious to their careers. We all deserve freedom of thought as a precursor to freedom of speech, and to expect that our kids will be around people who care more to teach them how to think than what. And something else while I am on an excited rant!
GamerGate, to me, has been the closest thing I have seen come to addressing all of that. It is the closest thing I have seen to representing a radical center, one that refuses to be moved by sweet nothings whispered with the promise of influence. A fortunate attribute of a leaderless movement like GamerGate is that nobody knows who to try to corrupt.
This year, I am thankful that I found all of this. I was well on my way to cynical. Take care, and happy holidays.
Blog by Brian Whittemore
Photo by Brian J. Matis – flickr License