It’s not a great morning. The sun is shining, I got a lot done yesterday, I got a good night’s sleep, and my class notes for tomorrow are all in order, so I get to just kick back and relax today, but it’s still not a good day. I started it by catching up on my email.
Greg Fallis spent some time on the Free Republic website. They hate Obama and all that he touches; they fear the Muslim Menace; they worship Sarah Palin; they despise gays; they think more guns will solve all of our problems.
Ben Stein opened his mouth again. He is pining for the good old days, when we knew how to deal with uppity black men.
It’s a very sad state of affairs. I mean it used to be, there was a time … when lynchings of African Americans were not that incredibly rare. Now the lynchings are the police and it’s just an outrage.
For a moment, there was one bright spot: I was pointed to the work of Jenn Frank, a game reviewer who is also a fantastically good writer: read I was a teenage sexist and He’s still alive, for example. Then she wrote a short piece for the Guardian, defending Anita Sarkeesian’s work, and the howling mob descended on her. Jenn Frank has quit writing, out of fear and anxiety. But I Just discovered her!
Then the standard wave of misogynist emails are there: I have so much noise in my in-box from indignant young fedora’d gentlemen insisting that Sarkeesian and Quinn were con artists and liars and “bitches”, so they fucking deserved to be puked on with misogynist hatred — not because the pukers were misogynist, oh no, it’s just that the best way to deal with lying women is to demean their entire sex and slam them with stereotypes. I disagree. Even if Zoe Quinn had slept with game reviewers to solicit positive reviews (she didn’t), that doesn’t justify raging about “evil cunts” to me and the world at large. Even if Anita Sarkeesian had lied about what she was going to do to solicit donations (she didn’t, and actually seems to be delivering what she promised), that doesn’t mean she deserves to be raped or beaten to a bloody pulp or her family killed.
Could you boys stop yelling at me about how bad these women are? Because I don’t care. All I see is you, shrieking in hatred. Sarkeesian and Quinn and Frank aren’t writing to me about the good old days when gamers could be lynched, they aren’t whining at me about wicked gamers who must be silenced, but you are.
They aren’t 4chan. There once was a person in our FtB group (now gone, gladly), who’d use 4chan as an excuse. “They were just used to 4chan culture,” he’d say, “4chan makes you comfortable with that stuff — they’re just joking.” And I’d gag. That you think long exposure to sexist, racist, homophobic ranting of the most extreme sort makes slightly milder versions of sexism, racism, and homophobia excusable — it could be worse, it could be 4chan! — is a pretty good reason to detest 4chan harder. I used to think 4chan was just a collection of childish stupidity that had voluntarily confined itself to a ghetto, but that guy convinced me that no, they’re a bad problem, a kind of immature anarchist version of FreeRepublic. Learning now that they’re also fully into conspiracy and undermining other organizations…their existence disgusts me.
But one last bit of concentrated despair: there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do. We don’t believe in forced conversion, deportation, or the use of violence, unlike the people we oppose. Yeah, that link is to a Christian pastor declaring that it is not only acceptable, but obligatory, that we persecute and kill all Muslims because all True Muslims believe that it is not only acceptable, but obligatory, to persecute and kill all Christians.
The only tool we have is to keep hammering with words, over and over again, trying to use persuasion to explain that the behavior of all of those awful people up there is wrong. It’s tiring. It’s also really aggravating that these same advocates for hatred react to words and explanations with accusations of “witch hunting” and “lynch mobs” and “Stasi/Nazi tyrants” and such similar nonsense.
Maybe I should just go read about molluscs for a while. That’s much more cheerful — but nowadays I also feel a little guilt about finding happiness in a world so full of poison.