Via Ben Nelson, Jon Bois on Guy on the Internet. You know SIWOTI, someone is wrong on the internet? Like that, but GOTI.
Recently, as you may have seen, a feminist blogger/video gamer named Anita Sarkeesian started work on a project examining the representation, and portrayal, of women in the world of gaming. Anyone who’s played many video games lately knows that this culture isn’t quite an egalitarian Utopia. Sometimes the misogyny is sneaky and casual, and sometimes it’s almost unbelievably flagrant, but it’s perpetuated on an institutional level.
So somebody wants to examine this critically. Not militantly, not threateningly, not like she’s trying to break into your house and steal your video games. Just critically. And holy shit, did this bring out a clone army of Guys On The Internet. They harassed Sarkeesian, insulted her, and repeated “go back to the kitchen, go make me a sandwich” with the same rote, unthinking determination you might observe in the guy selling “mystical life stones” in a mall kiosk.
Imagine my surprise.
Humans have fallen for this gag for thousands of years: they’re tricked into thinking they’re fighting for a revolution, only to do and say the same old shit, the shit that’s shackled humanity ever since we decided to start living next to one another. They see a wave of people saying, “make me a sandwich, bitch,” and holy shit do they want to belong to this party. Holy shit do they want to buttress the status quo that has stood firm for eons before they ever came along, and totally does not need their help at all.
Maybe this guy is willing and able to think critically, realize that this sort of language is misanthropic and hurts everyone, and decide whether he wants to live as an individual.
If he doesn’t, he is Guy On The Internet. He is thoughtless and gullible. He’s firmly entrenched at the intersection of Mediocre and Cruel, which is just about the most weak, miserable place a person can find one’s self.
And then he gets to the part where he says what I’m always saying.
I recall Guy On The Internet being around in the mid-to-late-’90s. He’d go to public, visible places on the internet — AOL chat rooms, mainstream baseball chat rooms, etc. — and drop the N-word. As these venues became moderated, and as Guy On The Internet started to get shamed by the community, he cut the act, or at least retreated to some weird, shady corner of the Internet where saying “n—–” made you hot shit.
Later — through most of the 2000s, actually – I saw Guy On The Internet embrace homophobia. Certain large, popular websites dropped words like “f—–” on the reg. Not that this battle — and for that matter, the racism battle — isn’t still being fought, because it sure as hell is. But if Guy On The Internet uses that language these days, he’s far more likely to catch shit for it or be banned from further participation entirely.
But misogynist shit is a WHOLE OTHER totally different thing, and it’s perfectly fine. I was arguing with some dope called gimpyblog about this on Twitter the other day, and he called me intellectually dishonest for comparing “nigger” with “cunt.” Yeah right, I was telling a big fat lie, coz misogyny is TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Some other guy on Facebook did the same thing a few days before that – and called me a cunt for good measure.
I don’t see it changing any time soon, either.