Leslie Jones, or I Got Questions ‘Bout Your Life If You’re So Ready to Kill

25 08 2016

I have a couple of questions for the people attacking Leslie Jones. Read the rest of this entry »


News From Under the Banner of the Rat’s Anus, or The Beat Goes On

17 10 2014

In the days since I posted about #GamerGate, another female game developer, Brianna Wu, has been threatened with horrific sexual violence, murder, and the murder of her family, with the person making the threats publishing her home address. Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a lecture at Utah State University when officials told her they would not be able to keep the forum gun-free, despite someone threatening to commit the worst school shooting in US history if she spoke. What horrible crime did these women commit? They expressed their opinions. For nothing more than that, Wu was threatened with strangulation with her husband’s severed genitals, followed by brutal rape. Sarkeesian has seen herself made the subject of an app allowing people to beat her face unrecognizable. She’s received countless threats of physical violence, often with a sexual component, and threats against her family. Again, all they did was voice their opinions.

It is absolutely reasonable to boycott businesses you disagree with. I’m disappointed by the fact that Intel pulled their ads from Gamasutra over Leigh Alexander’s posts, but they have to respond to their market, and apparently enough people voiced their opposition to Alexander that Intel took notice. There’s nothing wrong with that. I have boycotted businesses I disagreed with, and I’ll probably continue to do so in the future.

Boycotts are a valid form of expression.

Threats are not.

I thought my last post would have cleared that up. I don’t understand why the internet hasn’t fallen in line.

Unfortunately, I have a pretty strong feeling that more disgusting examples that demonstrate just how slight the notion of “humanity” really is will pile up between now and when I make my next post.

You Don’t Get to Be the Hero, Or Are We the Baddies?

9 10 2014

There’s a great sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look in which an SS unit is preparing for a Soviet attack during the German retreat. As Robert Webb’s straight man coolly anticipates the coming battle, David Mitchell’s funnyman asks about a new discovery he’s made. He’s just noticed that the badges on their uniform caps are skulls, and he can’t help but wonder if maybe that means they’re the bad guys. “Maybe they’re the skulls of our enemies,” Webb suggests. Mitchell counters with “Maybe, but is that how it comes across? It doesn’t say next to the skull, you know, ‘Yeah, we killed him, but trust us, this guy was horrid.'” He goes on to point out that the symbols of the Allied powers “are all quite nice – stars, stripes, lions, sickles […] I mean, I really can’t think of anything worse, as a symbol, than a skull.” Webb suggests “A rat’s… anus?” and pulls up a skull-shaped mug. The two look around and see the SS Death’s Head all around them, and promptly realize that yeah, they’re the baddies – at which point they run.

I thought of this sketch just now as I was reading Kris Ligman’s August 31st “This Week in Videogame Blogging” at Critical Distance – an excellent collection of commentary on the recent horrific spasm of harassment and abuse directed at feminists involved with games – most specifically aimed at Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn. The many pieces Ligman calls out (along with plenty of others) do a great job of explaining, lamenting, debunking and excoriating the breathtakingly wrongheaded fury, hatred, and threats being poured forth by “gamers,” so I won’t spend any time echoing what has been said so eloquently and effectively elsewhere. Instead, I want to focus on a thread that I’ve noticed a lot, in arenas as disparate as “Gamergate” and the 2008 presidential campaign. Read the rest of this entry »