In all of the distracting, hysterical, evidence-free and unfair allegations of misogyny and bigotry hurled at supporters of GamerGate, the consumer revolt thatcontinues to surface outrageous misconduct in the video games press, something is being forgotten.
GamerGate is remarkable—and attracts the interest of people like me—because it represents perhaps the first time in the last decade or more that a significant incursion has been made in the culture wars against guilt-mongerers, nannies, authoritarians and far-Left agitators.
Industry after industry has toppled over, putting up no more of a fight than, say, France in 1940. Publishing, journalism, TV… all lie supine beneath the crowing, cackling, censorious battle-axes, male and female, of the third-wave feminist and social justice causes.
But not gamers. Lovers of video games, on seeing their colleagues unfairly hounded as misogynists, on watching journalists credulously reporting scandalous sexual assault claims just because a person was perceived to be “right-wing” and on seeing the games they love attacked and their very identities denied and ridiculed, have said: no. This will not stand.
The reaction in the press has been bewilderment and, then, apoplectic rage, driven at least in part by a media establishment that sees video gamers—the supposed dorks and basement-dwellers of popular imagination—mounting a credible and effective defence against the liars, frauds, neurotics and attention-seekers who have already destroyed morale and wrecked culture in the comic, sci fi and fantasy worlds.
In other words, some of the bitterness comes from people who are shocked that it took video gamers to say, “No more of this, thank you.”
Because hard-core gaming is overwhelmingly male—don’t believe cherry-picked statistics that tell you women now make up 50 per cent of gamers; they don’t, in any meaningful sense—and because those men are often of a stubborn, obsessive, hyper-competitive and systematic bent, it has produced an army finally capable of launching offensives against the censors—using the censors’ own tactics, such as advertiser boycotts, against them.
And thus a front has opened up in the culture wars; an opening through which others might peek and from which others should be seeking inspiration. The language of the authoritarian Left is quite often outrageously hateful—you can regularly hear even mainstream journalists talking about “killing all men” and excluding “all white men” from industries and cultures.
What gamers have done is draw insistent, unapologetic attention to the fact that, were the tables turned, such language would be regarded as socially unacceptable. They have exposed it for what it is: bigotry and hate speech. And they have not shied away from revealing the personal shortcomings of some of the far-Left loons who seek to poison their hobby with finger-wagging about “sexism.”
They are right to consider those shortcomings. The opponents of GamerGate include a former soft-core porn actress who claims to have stabbed someone in the face and killed him but not reported it to the police, and who, by her own definition, is a rapist.
They include a neo-Nazi who has written that Hitler was “my f—cking idol” and has written things about Jewish people not repeatable here. They include a dishevelled, psychologically unstable transsexual, said to have been the subject of a restraining order, who is a proven liar yet whose claims are repeated uncritically by a credulous press.
No arrests have been made as a result of her reports and many suspect her threateners are figments of her own feverish imagination.
And they include a former multi-level marketing scammer turned feminist heroine, who has never really been particularly interested in video games, but who can be seen at conferences revelling in her newfound fame and wealth which has come about not because her critiques are effective, but because she embarked on a massive press tour off the back of threats she says she received, not a single of which has ever been traced to a GamerGate supporter.
This is the pantheon of self-promoters, opportunists and oddballs who have made gamers’ lives a misery over these past few months. And yet: gamers are not going away.
For years, it was accepted that once the finger-wagging feminists moved in on your industry, you would capitulate quickly to their pseudo-academic treatises on the “male gaze.”
Video games, and GamerGate in particular, have bucked the trend, showing that with politeness and persistence bogus feminist critiques can be rebuffed and self-obsessed attention-seekers can be subjected to the same degree of scrutiny they set out to shine on others… with occasionally gruesome results.
There are signs of political consequence to this awakening—a realisation among gamers that in fact their hobby is intrinsically what we might call libertarian, since it focuses on individual agency, personal responsibility, ties between allies… all in service of goals and specific achievements. That is the essence of libertarian psychology.