So Boston Globe‘s Jesse Singal had a write-up about Gamergate. It’s a short account, but one that he obviously researched and is a good overview for those wanting to know WTF is happening who don’t care about games. (I mean, if you want meat and fat and all sorts of details, read Kyle Wagner’s epic piece at Deadspin.)
Anyway, someone in proGamergate reddit was not pleased, labelling their link as “Another poorly-researched hit-piece, from the Boston Globe”.
Singal, praise Cthulu, decided to comment on reddit itself and it’s incredible to behold.
Me: I don’t think this is really about corruption as much as it’s about discomfort with feminism. After all, a lot of the heat seems to be aimed at small female devs/commentators of a feminist bent.
GamerGaters on Twitter: Not true! So unfair! Go to KIA!
[Goes to KIA. Suspicions appear to be mostly confirmed.]
As someone who cares about ethics in media, I’m still waiting for what exactly Gamergate wants. So far, I’ve seen childish nonsense or completely debunked assertions.
Singal, a professional journalist remember, points out his initial and also overwhelming irritation – one that has had many of us frustrated with Gamergate.
“As a journalist trying to be fair-minded about this, you can’t fucking win. If I’m arguing with someone from the NRA or the NAACP or some other established group, I can point to actual quotes from the group’s leadership. With you guys, any bad thing that happens is, by definition, not the work of A True GamerGater. It’s one of the oldest logical fallacies in the book.”
Again and again, we point out what someone explicitly says in “the name of Gamergate”, then get told either that’s not Gamergate or “we reported them!” Good people in gamergate are spending their time yelling about True Gamergate instead of taking actual actions that benefit others.
But the meat of Singal’s post is this:
So what is GamerGate “really” about? I think this is the kinda question a philosopher of language would tear apart and scatter the remnants of to the wind, because it lacks any real referent. You guys refuse to appoint a leader or write up a platform or really do any of the things real-life, adult “movements” do. I’d argue that there isn’t really any such thing as GamerGate, because any given manifestation of it can be torn down as, again, No True GamerGate by anyone who disagrees with it. And who gets to decide what is and isn’t True GamerGate? You can’t say you want a decentralized, anonymous movement and then disown the ugly parts that inevitably pop up. Either everything is in, or everything is out.
This echoes what Chris Grant said in my previous post, that Gamergate’s view is dependent on whoever’s using the hashtag at the time. That’s not a movement, that’s a mass of confusion.
Stop pretending this is about stuff it isn’t. Acknowledge that you do not want SJWs in gaming, that you want games to just be about games. Again: I disagree, but at least then I (and other journalists! you do want coverage, don’t you?) could at least follow what the hell is going on. If your movement requires journalists to carefully parse 8chan chains to understand it, it gets an F- in the PR department.
I’m open about my politics. Denying politics is denying reality: Why can I admit my politics and perspective, and stand by them, but those who swear and hate my writing and want social agendas removed (lol wut?) can never do the same? It’s sad that instead of acknowledging their conservative positions, they hide them beneath claims of objectivity and neutrality – a fictional state of creative appraisal that simply cannot exist.
You know I’d be genuinely interested in a thoughtful conservative critique of GTA or The Last of Us; I’d love to read a review where the writer attempts a thoughtful view of why a sexy game character meant a higher score, rather than a lower one. But instead of diversifying – and thereby treating everyone as adults – we have this cowardly, childish perspective. Even game sites I otherwise respect have leapt into this boring idea of how reviews are meant to be, of how reviews are OK if they keep Property A out because it’s social and sexual, but Property B in because it’s graphics and sound – without ever justifying why social and sexual is not welcome, but graphics and sound are.
In his blistering response, it’s little wonder Singal speaks to many in Gamergate like children.