Vultures circle GamerGate
The mainstream media finally discovered the Internet's latest subculture of hostile, cynical, easily-led youngsters. Matt Binder on the narcissists, grifters and creeps arriving in its wake.
If you’re a supporter of #GamerGate, your life is surely full of disappointment right now. You have failed to convince the majority that GamerGate, a movement built on sexism and lies targeting women who develop and criticize games, is actually a call for “journalistic integrity in gaming journalism.”
On top of your failures to pull the wool over anyone's eyes but your own, your own heroes have forcefully come out against you. Joss Whedon? He has betrayed you. Wil Wheaton? He’s swallowed the blue pill. Felicia Day? She can’t be a case of “see, we can’t be misogynists, this one girl supports us!” Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, Patton Oswalt, and countless other celebrity geek heroes have spoken out against GamerGate—and I’m not even getting into the big names in the video game industry who have come out against it.
Who does support #GameGate? The heroes of GamerGate—the celebrities and writers and bloggers who’ve acted as its megaphone—are right-wing conservatives who saw an opportunity to attack feminists and advocates for social justice.
If you were to call them the Anti-Justice League, most of GamerGate would take that name as a compliment. To them, the biggest enemy is the so-called social justice warrior. The SJWs--generally young, progressive women and their allies--are a fairly new foe for the hardcore gamer. But conservatives have long been seeking out battles with these online arch-nemeses.
Adam Baldwin, the rare GamerGate hero with actual geek culture bona fides, has turned his faded Hollywood career into a libertarian clown show focused on Twitter's bottomless audience of sexist, homophobic toads: he coined the hashtag itself after the first wave of internet hatred broke on game developer Zoë Quinn's life.
Milo Yiannopoulos, a columnist at Breitbart UK who weeks earlier ridiculed gamers as "weirdos in yellowing underpants" whose hobby was the key insight into spree-killer Elliot Rodger, was apologizing within days of GamerGate's inception--and ready with a stream of anti-feminist material to nurse its anger with.
After threats of a "Montreal Massacre-style attack" were delivered to a state college hosting game critic Anita Sarkeesian, the mainstream media finally noticed GamerGate, bringing its hypocrisy to relentless public attention and opprobrium. The movement, shocked and awed and desperate, is now ready for a new breed of combatant: the grifter.
Enter Mike Cernovich. Cernovich, the anti-bullying hero! Cerniovich, GamerGate’s newest hero. A bodybuilding lawyer from California who sells "Fit Juice" and Nietzsche quotes, he entered the fray presenting himself as an impartial advocate, challenging bullies in all walks of life. His wedge: Gawker writer Sam Biddle, who wrote a few sarcastic tweets, clearly intended ironically, about how the geeks who support GamerGate should themselves be bullied.
Placing himself at the forefront of a campaign to demand that Gawker's advertisers drop support for the site, Cernovich ranged far and wide. Among those he steered Gamergate's rage toward was entrepreneur and blogger Anil Dash, who spent the weekend buried under a barrage of rage after pointing out that Cernovich's earnest crusade was self-promotional bullshit.
Mike's also a big guy, so naturally he challenged Biddle to a boxing match for charity. For charity! How could this guy be bad?
For one thing, he doesn’t care a thing about bullying. Like other right-wing vultures, he cares only about one thing: to take advantage of the sadsacks who support GamerGate.
Oh yeah and he’s a big ole’ bully himself.
GamerGate claims to love their transgender supporters, and are LGBT friendly. Not this GamerGater.
In case you’re wondering what GamerGate’s anti-bullying hero thinks of women, here are just a few of his views on rape.
A new breed of GamerGater is in town. Less successful, so far, is Brandon Morse, a man who believes establishment Republican positions are "punk rock;" he's hanging tight to Mike.
What are these people actually getting out of GamerGate? They’re tapping a new, young audience, ignorant to the culture war and hopefully susceptible to tall tales about how the authoritarian left--feminists!--will take away their games. The right wing's future, perhaps... at least once those "yellowing underpants" are laundered.
In reality, “the other side” is where their sisters, girlfriends and wives already are. Playing games and having fun, just like them—but simply wanting more than the same old sad adolescent tropes.
Level two, “Amateur”, sounded so good that I suspected a joke was afoot. It was, but only the sort of joke a virtuoso like Rob Landes could pull off.
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