It’s a half-hour of his latest obsession, and it’s dreadful glurge that will make his fans happy, since they won’t actually think about what he’s doing. A short summary:
The first few minutes are the usual complaints that the threats against Anita Sarkeesian are not to be taken seriously, and that she was really dumb for publicizing them. This makes no sense, of course; many of the threats are public, we can see them on twitter and youtube comments, and they constitute a flood of hate. You can’t address that by calling out the FBI — what are they going to do, arrest every stupid man-child with an XBox? — you deal with it socially, by calling attention to it, and getting individuals to pay attention to what they’re doing and call each other out for it. But Thunderf00t is one of those binary man-children who seems to think the only two possible responses are arrest or applause.
But then he shifts gears, and the bulk of the video is an attack on…Joss Whedon. I guess that brief public rebuke from a celebrity really stung. It’s a really weird attack, too — he accuses Whedon of using sexist tropes in his movies. At length. Repeatedly. Repetitively.
There’s the scene of the Black Widow in the Avengers movie, tied to a chair and getting slapped around by Russian interrogators. Torture porn! There’s the scene where River Tam is smuggled onto the Firefly in a box. Women in Refrigerators! There’s Saffron, using her feminine wiles in Firefly to trick the crew into thinking she’s a nice person. Sexist stereotypes! There’s Zoe, making her husband Wash a sandwich. Do we even need to mention how trite that is? And look, Cabin in the Woods…it’s using the whole battery of sexist tropes from teen slasher movies! OMG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer wore makeup and had breasts! It’s bizarre, prolonged, and dishonest, and he seems to be playing it straight.
Never mind that minutes later, it’s revealed that the Black Widow is leading the interrogators on for information, and she breaks out of the chair and defeats the bad guys. The Women in Refrigerators trope is about killing women in stories to motivate the heroic men; River Tam was the fierce hero in the show. Saffron was a venal, wicked thief…and a very strong character who almost defeated the Firefly crew. Zoe, the loyal soldier and reliable badass? It’s somehow demeaning that she has a mutually loving relationship with a man? Cabin in the Woods entire conceit is an undermining of the stereotypical characters and sexist action in the slasher flick — of course it has a promiscuous woman in it, because the movies it is sending up always do.
And I hate to break this news to you, but sometimes women wear makeup and pink clothes and heels, because they want to. It’s OK. They also get to have sex and enjoy being women and have differences from men.
But wait, before you get all upset at how dishonest Thunderf00t was, that was his point. At the very end, he briefly declares his point — too briefly, given the 20 minutes of repetitive Whedon-bashing — that he was just doing what Anita Sarkeesian does, taking short bits of video games and displaying them out of context to make it look like they’re horribly sexist, just as he has done to Whedon’s work. Ha ha, smug laugh, see how awful Sarkeesian is?
Except he left out an essential part of the argument. You don’t get to lie a whole bunch of times, admit that you were dishonest, and then point to someone you don’t like and say “I was just lying exactly like her.” We’ve now confirmed that you are a self-confessed liar, but that doesn’t mean that you now have a valid example to demonstrate lying in others. What you have to show is that she similarly took examples out of context.
For instance, Sarkeesian points out that video game scene where the character sneaks past a room full of slavers, where naked women are put on display. You want to claim that’s taken out of context? Then show me the scene a few minutes later in which the women rise in rebellion and do all that kick-ass video game fighting stuff to defeat the bad guys. Sarkeesian shows a hit man beating up a bunch of strippers and then dragging their inert bodies around the room, boob physics on proud display, and then dumping them in a box. Context? Show me the part of the game where the women regain consciousness, team up, club the hit man into unconsciousness, and turn him over to the police.
It would also be nice if you demonstrate where all the misogynistic gamers are actually just doing a coordinated satire of sexist tropes, showing their fellow brave egalitarians a bad example, so that they all know not to do that.
If your argument is that context excuses all those examples of misogyny, it ought to be easy to show that. The absurdly truncated use of well-known scenes in Joss Whedon TV shows and movies is a great example — every one of those could be easily exposed and are trivially known to be dishonest to anyone with any acquaintance with them. So how come we’ve got all these videos accusing Sarkeesian of lying, with no good examples of context exposure, and now the only thing Thunderf00t can do is lie himself and claim it’s just like her?
Does he believe in sympathetic magic or something? Will his next video be an overlong demonstration of Thunderf00t sticking pins in a Barbie doll made up to look like Sarkeesian?