Link Roundup: May 2024

This month, the Ace Community Survey published a report on sexual violence.

The real story of Gamergate 2 (conspiracy theories, crybullying, and a consumer revolt) | NeverKnowsBest (video, 1:38 hours) – I’ve been loosely following the story of antiwoke backlash currently going on in the gaming community, but it’s pretty hard to take seriously when it’s founded on something so ridiculous and petty.  NeverKnowsBest clearly explains the sequence of events and issues of concern, and persuaded me to take it more seriously.  After all, the Gamergate of a decade ago also started with something silly and petty, but it snowballed into something bigger by galvanizing the alt-right presence within gaming communities.  Also, the media environment is very different from how it was a decade ago, with traditional games journalism being far less influential.

What these neo-gamergaters want is games that cater more to their political tastes, i.e. centering straight white men, dropping black & queer characters, making women sex objects again, etc.  That’s already hard enough to sympathize with, but then they add all these conspiratorial claims involving a tiny consulting company, and ESG investment.  When it comes to progressive politics in games, they can’t accept the more basic explanation that some game devs are pretty progressive, so instead they believe that investors of all people, are the ones pushing the progressive agenda.  This is so obviously wrong, just look at all the indie games, which are less beholden to investors and publishers than ever.

How Does Fiction Affect Reality? | Thing of Things – Ozy discusses the evidence regarding the real world impact of fiction.  There’s surprisingly little, although fiction can impact social norms such as norms around family size.  As a critic, when I criticize a work of fiction, the purpose is rarely to say “this work of fiction is causing harm and should not exist”.  Often, criticism is just an intrinsically fun and valuable activity, in the same way that fiction itself is just an intrinsically fun and valuable activity, independent of whether it has an impact on society.  Yes, there is criticism, such as feminist criticism, that wants to push towards positive social change.  But I think it’s more important for people to engage with criticism than to avoid engaging in the material being criticized.

Richard Dawkins: “Cultural Christian” or supremacist bigot? | Rebecca Watson (video + transcript, 11 min) – Richard Dawkins recently said in an interview that he was culturally Christian, and this really isn’t surprising if you’ve spent any length of time paying attention to the guy.  I’m also culturally Christian, in the sense that the religion that I grew up in was Catholicism.  It’s funny, because I’ve long heard people accuse atheists of being “Christian” atheists, as if it were a fatal flaw that many of us are ex-Christian and/or come from a predominantly Christian context.  We have the cultural background that we have, and it’s okay for us to respond to our personal context!  I would like to allow atheists from other cultural contexts the same freedom to respond to their own backgrounds.

But what Dawkins really says in the interview, is that he thinks Christian culture is superior, and laments that anyone would celebrate Ramadan instead of Easter.  So, basically he doesn’t like immigrants?  It’s hard to come up with any other interpretation.

Video Games for Difficult Times | Death is a Whale – Having read a lot of video game criticism, there’s definitely a genre of essay which describes how a video game helped them through a tough time.  These articles are frequently boring, but I feel a bit mean saying that.  I think this writer puts their finger on the problem: although it may have been a profound personal experience, from an external perspective the game is interchangeable for anything.

So, I have an anecdote.  I was having back pains, and they were causing me to wake up early every morning.  I figured out that I felt better if I just got up and did something.  So I started playing through the Baten Kaitos remake every morning.  What happened?  We bought a new mattress.  So I never finished the game.  I, uh, don’t really feel sentimental about it at all.

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