Latest Entries »

While I have spent a good deal of time nibbling around the edges of the issue on Facebook, Nightline’s latest hit piece on GamerGate – completely devoid of any fact checking our adequate context – has pushed me to a point where I need to start actually saying a little more on the issue, because it has been so badly mischaracterized that most folks associate the entire GamerGate “thing” as a hate campaign, and for the overwhelming majority of folks on the other side, nothing could be further  from the truth.

To the extent that a new website has been created to “help victims cope with GamerGate”, all I can say is – Really?! The fact that media outlets are allowing this asinine narrative to continue is befuddling to say the least, but with exactly ZERO (0) crimes beyond online harassment (which IS wrong to be clear – and I will get to that in a moment, as there is a bit of an irony to the whole thing when comparing the reaction to the facts), it is becoming less of the so-called culture war that it has been characterized and more of the typical “victim culture” scenario, where being the biggest victim seems to give you the most credibility, despite being a victim of nothing other than baseless online banter and your expectation that people should care that you have thin skin.

As far as baseless online banter, I submit the following:

http://mic.com/articles/105272/one-woman-has-the-perfect-response-to-online-rape-threats

It appears that ONE (1) writer actually bothered to go the extra mile and see who was actually talking shit to them (and good for her). What was interesting, however, about this exercise is that the results were not what were expected. Specifically, it was a bunch of kids.

That is right – in the single instance that has been reported where harassers were identified, they turned out to be a bunch of friggin kids whose mothers, almost in every instance were appalled, and likely handled the situation at home. This is the big GamerGate conspiracy that Nightline presented as such a gigantic issue that poor Anita Sarkeesian needs police to escort her to speaking engagements.

The whole issue is a fabrication meant to drive thought, and it is AT THAT LEVEL that I have massive issues with it. It isn’t about whether more games are made with better representation of women – at all. If so, then it would have to be noted that women ARE seeing better representation in games, first, because second, more women are in the business of making games.

So, there is that. But anyway, I felt a proper fisking was in order – as sites like TheVerge have no qualms about talking about the whole story, I figured I would add in some much needed context.

The full story is here: http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/17/7628567/crash-override

The story is in italics, my comments are in bold. Enjoy.

Crash Override wants to help survivors of Gamergate and other online abuse

Gamergate’s first target wants to help other survivors

The headline is already a lie, as will be pointed to as you read.

Thanks to the actions of contemptible online gangs like Gamergate, online abuse has recently gained unusual mainstream attention. But survivors of online harassment and abuse are fighting back.

Ignoring the fact that “GamerGate” came about as a RESPONSE (read, none associated with GamerGate that are potty trained had any issue until something was done to them) to several articles that specifically targeted gamers, it is beyond disingenuous to refer to people that got nasty tweets and emails (wrong as they may be) as survivors in the same way that there are survivors of a terrorist attack.

Crash Override is a new “online anti-harassment task force” being run by Alex Lifschitz and Zoe Quinn. Quinn, game developer and creator of Depression Quest, was the first target of Gamergate’s angry mob, and has received vicious harassment ever since total fabrications about her personal life were warped into biting accusations and conspiracy theories about corruption in journalism. Others (mostly women) have been literally driven out of their homes by threats from angry and aggressive online harassers.

If we’re forced to use the “victim” status (which Quinn is far from), then it is worth mentioning that Quinn was NOT the first “victim” of GamerGate. Leigh Alexander was, as she wrote the source material that initially pissed off gamers. The “Quinnspiracy”, as it was known online, was something that was later brought into the GamerGate conversation, and rightly so:

http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/08/the-fine-young-capitalists-finally-bury-the-hatchet-with-zoe-quinn/

http://mattforney.com/2014/08/25/zoe-quinn-phil-fish-and-the-great-social-justice-swindle/

http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/cronyism-lies-and-censorship-what-zoe-quinn-and-feminism-bring-to-gaming-part-1/

http://howtonotsuck.com/viewarticle.php?id=95

http://talkingship.com/wp/2014/08/19/zoe-quinn-sexual-affairs-ethics/

In fact, early on in the discussion, it WAS about ethics, as even understood by feminists:

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/zoe-quinn-slut-shaming-the-feminist-conspiracy-and-depression-quest

Now, it is certainly something that feminists disagreed with, but the fact is that the argument against Quinn, from the beginning, was a matter of ethics. So, what exactly was she a victim of, particularly when considering the Fine Young Capitalists, whom she openly made every effort to tank? Whether her ex-boyfriend was a douchebag is fair commentary, but it is hardly able to be said that Quinn wasn’t engaged in some ethically questionable things with equally ethically ambiguous media folks.

As far as people being driven from their homes – there is no proof of this beyond the assertion of it. It has been demonstrated expertly on several other websites and YouTube videos; again, who are the actual harassers? As shown above, the only proven harassers known were a bunch of kids. Come on, really?

The site’s creators say that the effort is staffed by “experts in information security, white hat hacking, PR, law enforcement, legal, threat monitoring, and counseling,” and that its associates are all experienced survivors. Crash Override seeks to work with targets of harassment to help reduce harm, help them recover, and “disempower their harassers.” To accomplish this, the group says it will work with law enforcement, media, and “social infrastructure” in response to threats.

But, here is the natural question that should any rational person should ask – why not just work with law enforcement? Why is a distinct group needed for this if laws are being broken? What on earth are white hat hackers needed for? 

…and again, this is the response that you have for a bunch of teens? …and threats to what, exactly? Define threat? 

Not to mention – GamerGate itself has been very busy rooting out its own idiots.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2014/10/25/while-the-media-slanders-gamers-as-terrorists-gamergate-is-hunting-trolls-and-abusers/

oh…

Sadly, the desire to help others through harassment has drawn… harassment. Lifschitz says Crash Override has already aggressively been targeted by hackers, and the dim bulbs of Gamergate have already started thinking of ways to derail the effort. And right on cue, random Twitter trolls are mocking it:

You can go to to the site to see the tweets in question. Interestingly – the first tweet is just stupid and ironically, the same sort of tweet that got Brianna Wu into hot water with people:

http://gamergateharassment.tumblr.com/post/100182851963/brianna-wu-harasses-woman-w-autism-aspergers

The second tweet is fair commentary more than mockery. My question is this – in the context of the narrative, these were the best you could muster to show mockery or angst? It sort of shows where the discussion is at.

In the absence of help from companies like Twitter, Crash Override has a lot of work to do.

Yes, because Twitter understands that things like Terms of Service don’t just get bent to serve the purpose of any third party. 

This is where the whole thing comes into focus – these folks aren’t interested in anything but smashing any sort of dissent. Whether it is ABC turning off the comments on the Nightline video on YouTube, or Sarkeesian doing the same in her hit pieces on gaming – they don’t want a dialogue. They want you to “listen and believe”. Evidence of their claims needs not to exist, merely the claims.

There is a word for such things – propaganda.

Allowing Anger to Blind

This is what happens when anger takes your sense away from you – you get into league with people that have a history of poisoning the well.

But we will come to that. The central issue here is that you have A LOT of justified anger that exists out there right now, and no direction as to where to place it in any constructive manner. Examples of this start with people blocking traffic to the Verrazano Bridge, and end with protests at the Barclay’s Center. Neither activity is serving a purpose other than to annoy and frustrate other citizens – people that could be allied with your cause, but are turned off to it based on the misguided protests.

And, it is misguided. This belief that protest should disrupt anything and everything to promote the message is why the art of the protest has been a facile act since the late 60s. When is the last time a protest yielded any real result? Is it possible that the current form of protest isn’t successful by design by the folks that generally organize them?

Now, there are those that are trying to help, but simply “don’t get it” (read: pretty much anyone that is not African American). These folks will never understand what is fueling the anger, and as such, they will tweet “#AllLivesMatter” because they see the larger picture (which there is) and just don’t get the premise of what is fueling “#BlackLivesMatter”.

…and let’s be clear, I am no racist. The problem here is that a 21-year-old black man carries ID to avoid being arrested, while a 21-year-old white man carries ID to make sure he can get into a given bar. That is the reality, and as such, a white man really is not in a position of “understanding” the issue. That is isn’t racism, it’s truth.

But, does that make these folks the “enemy”, in any sense of the word? Not at all – which is where Chu’s special brand of social retardation is offensive to the modern liberal thinker as well as those black folks that actually are engaged and focused on the goal versus the means. Chu’s posts mean only to aggravate and insult, and in the process, turn away those that are sympathetic, but have personalized the issue differently.

This is EXACTLY what he did vis a vis his GamerGate posts. In hindsight, for anyone that has been following the whole discussion, nothing constructive came from his comments there – if anything, his comments just intensified the angst, to a level where each side of that debate is deeply entrenched, and the issue is likely a permanent rift in the gaming community.

We in the black community can not afford that. We can’t afford to represent 12% of the population and have created a line in the sand where you are with us or against us – we will lose. Having the moral high ground in the argument will have been wasted.

…and that isn’t an “Uncle Tom” viewpoint, either. We NEED more than just a mobilized black community, because this sort of rhetoric also exists in the discourse:

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/12/go_to_work_idiots_staten_islan.html

My personal favorite piece of overt-but-not-so-overt-that-white-folks-can-point-it-out racism:

Let the people who pay for your government cheese and welfare checks get through so they can get to work- so in turn you can continue to protest and not work. Losers.”

If it were a “white” issue, would that sort of rhetoric be used?

So, does it help or hurt to push away those folks on that side of the equation that DON’T have such views? Because a white guy believes the issue is about police brutality as a whole, does it help or hurt to turn them away? THAT is what Chu’s comments do – because he is a moron, and while he knows a whole bunch of trivia, he has zero intelligence when it comes to politics or social interaction.

…and I am not naive. I know what “#AllLivesMatter” is – I can read between the lines. But why is my community unable to think more than a second ahead? The response to this shouldn’t be snark – take the hashtag and use it. It can convey the EXACT SAME POINT. “#AllLivesMatter” can easily be morphed into the premise of a black life mattering as much as any other life – just as ANY life matters as much as another.

It humanizes the issue beyond race, and creates allies if used in such a way. Why is it that the most vocal of my community doesn’t want that? Why is Arthur Chu being made relevant by the most vocal? Is the goal to lose?

Because, Arthur Chu’s tweets and the protest strategy, to me, point to a group that isn’t interested in the end game, but interested in burning shit to the ground, and the reality is that the other 88% aren’t going to allow that to happen.

Don’t let outrage cloud your judgment. Focus on the goal and attain it.

Epiphanies are interesting things, and more people should have them.

For the last few months, our country has been embroiled in a series of social and cultural battles that ultimately come down to the will of the establishment versus the will of social progressives. This ranges from issues of inclusion in gaming and ethics with respect to #Gamergate all the way to police brutality and over militarization of the same with respect to the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

For today, the latter issue is where a light turned on for me, and the picture has become so very clear that it is almost too overwhelming to write about it.

For the past few months, my argument has been that both shootings come down to an issue within the black community – my community – where thuggery and disregard for law and order are par for the course. My argument has been, to simplify it, that if we don’t want to see issues with the police be a state of “normalcy”, then we need to address why the police presence is needed in our community.

I maintain this position, as it is a fundamental truth.

(http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/11/pharrell_williams_why_aren_t_we_talking_about_michael_brown_s_bully_behavior.html)

With that said, I have egregiously made the same mistake that many others on both side of the issue have, and that is to equate the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, when the reality is that the two incidents couldn’t be more different at a fundamental level.

Both sides of the argument cast these two issues as a matter of overzealous police officers. The discussion was rooted around a premise of the police, in its totality, carrying out an uneven level of justice against the black community.

Full Disclosure: My brother is a cop in the NYPD, and he is white. While I am inclined to ally with my African American community on most issues, this one has been personal for me, and I make no equivocation as to why. I don’t ever want to be a pall bearer for my brother, and not only that, but I hope that the men and women around him are able to keep him as safe as he is able to keep them.

I am passionate about that view, and as such, I default to a position of being allied with the establishment as a result.

So what has changed for me?

After reading through some of the data dump out of Ferguson (available here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/25/us/evidence-released-in-michael-brown-case.html?_r=0 ), there seems to be a near unassailable fact that greatly changes the nature of the Brown case, and has had me rethink my position on Eric Garner’s death.

Michael Brown physically engaged Officer Wilson, not the other way around. ALL of the forensics support the account that Wilson gave to at least that end. Brown struggled with Wilson while the latter was still in his vehicle, and it is clear that the struggle was for Wilson’s weapon, and in the course of that struggle, Wilson was assaulted. Everything that came after that has to be seen through that prism; you can not divorce the outcome from the causality.

So, sitting back and considering the Garner incident, I placed that same prism on the issue.

Eric Garner never engaged Officer Pantaleo. Yes, Garner was under arrest, and yes, his diatribe and body language can be considered to be resisting arrest, but he never assaulted the officer.

Now, I can actually feel the collective of the NYPD rolling their eyes at that, but it is the truth. The issue should have always been a matter of “justifiable homicide”. While there may be people burning down Ferguson, and some may read what I am about to say and considering setting me on fire for it – the shooting of Michael Brown can be justified. The death of Eric Garner really can’t be justified – even when the wide latitude of the law that police officers have is considered, there is really is no way to look at the Garner incident and come to a conclusion that the man dying during the course of that arrest makes any sense.

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/current-law-gives-police-wide-latitude-to-use-deadly-force/2014/08/28/768090c4-2d64-11e4-994d-202962a9150c_story.html)

Neither of these men deserved to die. No one does. But one of these men played a very direct role in his own death (kiss my ass about victim blaming – suicide by cop is a real thing  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_by_cop) while the other one didn’t. While the aftermath of the grand jury decision for the Michael Brown incident is a tragedy itself, it is nothing compared to what will happen if there is no indictment regarding Garner… because my epiphany has even someone like me, who generally defaults to the side of the establishment, considering buying some bricks to put through windows if that happens…

There doesn’t just need to be an indictment in the Eric Garner case – there has to be an indictment. There is no clear justification for the death of Eric Garner, and a “no true bill” being returned in that case truly does create the perception that a black life is not worth a damn thing in this country.

Now, keep in mind, I am not calling Officer Pantaleo a murderer – but the death of Eric Garner needs to have a trial associated with it. No question.