Failed To Dodge

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Memo to horrible gamers: GODDAMMIT.

I have been putting this off, probably for too long. I've been putting it off because, well, I know certain things. I know that a lot of nerds are awful, and an even higher percentage of gamer nerds are awful. A lot of them are men, a lot of them have met with a lot of rejection over the years, and a lot of them have really shitty attitudes about women.

This attitude tends to erupt on a semi-regular basis, usually somewhat localized, usually when women in gaming have the gall to suggest that a lot of gamer nerds have really shitty attitudes about women. These gamers then prove they don't have shitty attitudes about women by attacking women for being women and being in gaming.

I generally don't cover this stuff, because to cover this stuff, I have to pay attention to this stuff, and to pay attention to this stuff, I have to wade hip deep into it. And quite frankly, even I'm not desensitized enough to do that very often.

But the latest outbreak has fully erupted into the mainstream media thanks to threats of a massacre forcing the cancellation of a speech at Utah State University by Anita Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian's crime? Putting videos on the internet that criticize the deep-rooted sexism in gamer culture.

A criticism that was answered by an e-mail threat that said, in part, "Feminists have ruined my life, and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all others they’ve wronged," which should go a long way to quash the nasty speculation that this might be about misogyny.

As far as I can tell without digging deeper than I'm comfortable with, this latest eruption was sparked by a female indie game developer whose ex-boyfriend publicly outed her relationship wiith a Kotaku game journalist. Which led to accusations of pussy-based impropriety in regards to positive coverage of the developer.

Now, if you're not familiar with games journalism, or are an asshole, you might think this isn't about hating on women, this is about accountability in games journalism. If you're familiar with games journalism, you know there's no such thing as accountability, and that the combination of a multibillion dollar media industry and a review structure where even the biggest players are only big by internet standards means you've got a lot more to worry about than one indie dev dating one potential reviewer.

And when I say "asshole", I mean of course "Adam Baldwin", who is a known moron with a known agenda who coined the term "GamerGate" and is pretending this is all about journalistic ethics because he's a wingnut who hates feminists.

One way we know this is about gender, by the way, is that even if the accusations were somehow both true and important, it's the female developer receiving all the hate, while the male journalist pretty much goes about his business. Another way to know this is about gender is how many other women are being harassed for not actually violating journalistic ethics, and a third way is just to pay attention to what's being said by most of the horrible people involved.

Now, the fact is, the threat of a massacre at Utah State probably wasn't serious. For every actually violent crazed nutjob on the Internet, there are 10,000 vile assholes who are nothing but talk. And for every asshole who's nothing but talk, there's another nerd who doesn't really hate women per se, but gets off on finding whatever shitstorm is taking place out there and deliberately being the worst person in it.

But since Utah law prevented the campus from keeping people with guns from entering the place where a mass shooting had been threatened, well, I think most of us like video games and fighting sexism, but we wouldn't take a bullet for it.

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