Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Death of Gaming and The Silver String Illuminati: How Deep Does The Rabbit Hole Go, Again?

So, for those who would like a firmly tongue-in-cheek primer for what this "Gamer Gate" bullshit is all about, please watch this. Most ridiculous and bizarre half-hour of your life you'll waste today, I promise you that. It may be "Part 3" with more details in prior videos, I... don't even remember, it's been one of those weeks where I think my brain if functioning at like 40% capacity.

Just ignore the intro, it gets better shortly thereafter.
I know, I know. Our side has shit production values...

That sums up the most salient points, and is close enough to accurate, insofar as I can tell. Short version is that once a sex scandal over gaming indie darling Zoe Quinn broke, personal ties and money flowing between both the independent developers and the enthusiast press were brought to light, leaving many in the community these developers, reporters and reviewers frequent to want to talk about what literally sleeping with the press could mean for impartiality in the industry. Discussions on the topic were censored en-masse, the hobbyist press flatly denied that there was any story to be had... and then the "victims" of the original scandal were hacked. Still no story. Then a charity that was literally crushed by Zoe Quinn's influence came to light. Still no story. Then Phil Fish - after making a spectacle of himself, as usual - is hacked... in what looks suspiciously like an inside job. That was a story, but a carefully edited and worded one to ignore the controversy leading up to it. 4chan's /v/ board was targeted as the culprit in all of this for 4chan being the Cathedral of Misogyny and all of that, so they vowed to support the charity Quinn crushed and keep digging.

With civil unrest flooding forums and social media, the gaming press started drawing lines in the sand over the weekend; first flinging insults at gamers themselves for being pasty neck-bearded women hating man-children, then suggesting that "gamers" shouldn't even be an identity because it's so infused with toxic behavior - literally, 12 articles were published over a 24 hour period, all saying that "gamers are over". They published these articles during Pax Prime, an independent convention for gamers that draws an audiences that... well, they stopped keeping track about 4 years ago when they started topping 70,000 attendees. But sure, let's all say the thing they're here to identify and communicate amongst themselves with is "dead". Or better yet, just keep calling them fat and too young to know better. That'll get them crawling back!

When I figured that was about all there was to it - a bunch of justifiably angry nerds wishing their grievances would simply be acknowledged in some capacity, rather than anything larger or more sinister - some genius put the pieces together on why all of this was happening, specifically why it happened once Zoe Quinn, an otherwise fairly small fry, was being protected by the gaming journalist scene in the first place:

This is the updated version which dropped some points but added many others.
What was removed we know. Why it was removed, well, that's anyone's guess.

Short version here is Silver String Media Group is effectively a PR firm that works several indie game developers (specifically women and minorities), the majority of the game enthusiast press, rigged the 2014 Independent Games Festival contest specifically for its clients, have a list of "approved" writers who have been pushing the 'No More Gamers' angle for the last several days, and are directly tied to both Zoe Quinn (represented by) and Anita Sarkeesian (as advisor), the respective lynch-pins of the "toxic gamer community" conversation that's been happening far and wide between, if you listen to either side, rabid social justice warriors and misogynistic trolls.

In other words, every tin-foil hat wearing bastard on this was right; there really is a social justice minded organization that's out to change the medium that they love, and they've got their talons in on both the creation and the coverage side of things. Anita Sarkeesian herself is on the board of the PR firm handling Polygon, Kotaku, Gamespot, Gamasuta, Destructoid and The Daily Beast - which explains why nobody will, ever, shut the fuck up about her, and equally why no one will disparage Zoe Quinn in the game journalism spectrum despite her harassment from last year getting as much coverage as as the average DLC. Silver String is that missing link that proves the indie game industry and the press that cover them really are as incestuous as a Lannister Family Reunion, and it's legitimately changed how I look at a number of issues that have been raised in the wake of all this.

The Independent Games Festival revelation is arguably even more troubling than the press connections, at least for a certain group of people trying to get their work known without an advertising budget; if you develop independent games for the English speaking market, the IGF is your goddamn Cannes. You pay to submit your game to the judges for not only a shot at a cash prize, but the press that comes with it, which can easily mean the difference between sales numbering in the hundreds to numbering in the thousands. What's going on there is fraud, at mimumum, with a small group of friends helping their own out - and as the video above shows, this isn't even the first time allegations have been raised. It's just the first time the focused spite of 4chan has been looking under every rock and double-checking that every 'i' has been dotted to confirm what a rigged system they've managed to construct for themselves.

Just to confirm that you're reading that right, the same website responsible for leaking Jennifer Lawrence's nudes  is the same website sticking up for journalistic integrity for the shill-factory that tries to pretend that the Batman: Arkham Origins game was just as good as the previous two. No, I don't quite get it either. Isn't the future amazing?

Even if other sites like IGN, The Escapist, EuroGamer and so on aren't literally working with the company, they're still sniping juicy pieces from every other site in the same damned industry, to the point where - let's be honest for a minute here - everyone is more or less covering the same damned stories. That's the thing about enthusiast press; video games take a damned long time to finish and there's only so many genres that make money, so a lot of them are basically the same shit. When they have to start filling for time between the next annual review for Modern Warfare, of course they're going to assume that the other half-dozen sites talking about "social issues" - and taking a very particular stance on them, I might add - are going to assume that shit must be important to the audience reading, and try to create content to match. And on it goes.

Before you assume I'm projecting, the company itself makes no bones about pushing its agenda as a pro-feminist, pro-LBGT, pro-people of color company. Which, in and of itself, I have no problems with.The problem here is that they're not helping to make this medium more inclusive - they're simply promoting their own clients, sometimes directly at the expense of others, who are actively trying to do the same thing. The Fine Young Capitalists created a charity to literally help women make a game, Zoe Quinn and Maya Kramer - the latter of whom, again, is Zoe's Silver String PR agent - buried it. If that isn't an obvious fucking conflict of interests and shows that these people, regardless of what they claim to want, can't be trusted to stay on message, I honestly don't know what even could.

Pictured: Maya "legobutts" Kramer, making connections at their finest.
(But seriously, who am I kidding? I'd tarnish my integrity to hit that.)

When people like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian aren't a novel rarity or the victims of the vile male dominated community, their cardboard standee rhetoric and explicit parallels to how "problematic" content clearly has a real-world influence looks like the ridiculous sophomore year project drivel that it is. When Jack Thompson was still the game industry's Hitler for making the ridiculous suggestion that fantasy violence led to real violence, we all agreed he was full of shit. Somehow, when Silver String's various constitutes make the same argument for fantasy sexism, everyone starts to shuffle their feet and become unsure of what to say. This is cowardice, and the fact that this cowardice has been directed back at the people who are actively reading the websites meant to cover the medium is ridiculous.

Another thing I didn't get to mention last time: YouTuber "Jayd3fox" posted a parody of Anita Sarkeesian's scummy pan-handling techniques, and was both mocked en-masse, and doxxed by the people who found it less than funny that a non-white woman would call Sarkeesian on her Al Sharpton-level bullshit. She posted a video immediately thereafter washing her hands of the whole thing, which is what most actual victims do. She's back, and she's pissed... but she's still taking the high road, defending something she loves and refusing to buckle under pressure because some ass-wipe was a crappy person. The sad irony? She's an Asian American woman and a life-long gamer, exactly the sort of person Silver String Media claims to support, but you can bet your ass that the same gaming media that covered Zoe Quinn's harassment in 2013 isn't going to touch this with a 10 foot pole because that would acknowledge that the same bullying and public shaming that elevated Quinn and Sarkeesian in the first place is being used against the people by their own supporters. Even if we take everything said at face value and assume that both sides really have been harassed and attacked, it means that both sides are guilty... so now what's left to stand for? A push for a half-hearted social agenda willing to use the same bullying techniques that got them sympathy in the first place, or the people who are sick of being written off as monsters just because they've been playing and enjoying games their whole life?

Jayd3fox isn't the only one who's been given more than a fair share of shit in the last two weeks, either. The notion that "Gamers" are a collective of fat white misogynist men has been falling on its face when you factor in the people who have been threatened by the other side in this; Greek journalists, Hispanic war veterans, middle aged feminists and fucking ten year olds have all been openly mocked, berated and threatened for voicing a dissenting opinion about how people who play video games - you know, that 67-billion dollar industry nobody's ever heard of, much less thrown money back into - are just normal people, and that a handful of extremists sociopaths do not an entire community make. But again, all of that is being ignored by the gaming press... a press I'm less and less enthused to support via ad support every day that passes in this clusterfuck.

A brief reminder of what "social justice" against gamers, evidently, looks like.
This isn't even anything under the microscope; this is actually some of the tame stuff.

Since I was a bit vague on the actual "complaint" last time, let's take a peek at Leigh Alexander's piece on Gamasutra that spear-headed the whole "No More Gamers" discussion. I've pulled a few highlights, and you can look it up if you so wish... but I'd rather not give these fuckers the traffic to begin with.

"‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games... But it’s unstoppable. A new generation of fans and creators is finally aiming to instate a healthy cultural vocabulary, a language of community that was missing in the days of “gamer pride” and special interest groups led by a product-guide approach to conversation with a single presumed demographic.

This means that over just the last few years, writing on games focuses on personal experiences and independent creators, not approval-hungry obeisance to the demands of powerful corporations. It’s not about ‘being a reviewer’ anymore. It’s not about telling people what to buy, it’s about providing spaces for people to discuss what (and whom) they support... 'Gamer' isn't just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Gamers are over. That's why they’re so mad.

These straw man ‘game journalism ethics’ conversations people have been having are largely the domain of a prior age, when all we did was negotiate ad deals and review scores and scraped to be called ‘reporters’, because we had the same powerlessness complex as our audience had.

Now part of a writer’s job in a creative, human medium is to help curate a creative community and an inclusive culture -- and a lack of commitment to that just looks out-of-step, like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion."

No, miss Alexander - I'm not mad because there are women playing video games. I'm also not mad because - despite myself having legitimate issues like speech impediments that prevent me from being comfortable in a variety social situations - I "don't get" how the real works. Which is about the most blatantly condescending argument possible you can target at anyone, by the by*. Personally, and forgive me for speaking my mind instead of you doing it for me, I'm mad because you think the old audience who's directly supporting you via ad-revenue having some genuine concerns about how thin the fleshy wall between the creators and the writers has grown, and it seems you yourself are part of that very problem. But go on, keep writing about how games need to change, despite sales on the titles you'd decry as "problematic" sell in the millions, while Zoe Quinn - posterchild for this whole mess - literally gives her shitty Twine game away for free. I'm sure Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would love to hear how you intend to replace us all.

* (Protip: The actual 15 year olds aren't even reading your bullshit, miss Alexander. They just want to know which retailer has an extra hour of content for Assassins Duty 25 so they can remind mom to pre-order it at Targetstop.)

Pictured: The History of Gaming Journalism in a nutshell.
(But now they're openly calling you a fat doritos munching asshole.)

Just so nobody misunderstands my frustration, I'm not completely retarded: I, and anyone who's watched gaming journalism for any period of time, has basically always known that it's kind of a bad joke. We've seen publishers offer free, personalized consoles to critics - who, of course, turn around like assholes and post pictures like it's "swag" rather than the basic tools to do their goddamned job. We've seen letters from publishers specifying what aspects of the game are and aren't okay to criticize, and that the score can go no lower than "X out of 10" before they cut off early screener copies. We all know that the EAs and the Ubisofts and the Square-Enixes of the world could crush any of these sites if they really wanted to, so keeping their metaphorical knob thusly slobbered keeps them abreast of any news and footage and exclusive tidbits they'd otherwise just be re-reporting from other sites hours after the fact. Publishers have the press by the balls - they always have, and we've never really been ignorant of the fact. That's why Geoff Keighley up there is better known today as "Doritos Pope" than for hard journalism; it's not his or anyone's fault, really, it's just the way this shitty part of the industry has always operated.

We always knew they were shills. We didn't know they thought we were a cancer on planet Earth, and that's the major shift that's got everyone's jimmies in a twist. A small, but relevant distinction.

I didn't ever expect much out of this, to be honest. All I wanted were a couple apologies of journalists and commentators realizing they'd gone too far by painting us with a broad brush - a claim they've been using as an insult towards us to begin with -  and some clarifications on how COI's might work. If you're donating to a developer's Patreon and then writing about their game for whatever passes for a publication these days, I don't even fucking care - just mention it in the review header, that's all most of us were asking for! It's not that difficult to disclose that you're giving a subject you're writing about money, is it? I expected a couple heads to roll, but honestly, what difference does it make? The way the gaming press is set up, they'd just be replaced by more poor bastards who either tow the company line, or get blacklisted for being honest (Case In Point: Jim Sterling and Konami's "fuck you" policy towards him after he dated to point out that the Silent Hill HD Collection was a rabid train-wreck). Sunrise, sunset.

The truly sad part here is that had there not been a Zoe Quinn black-out in favor of this obvious side-stepping bullshit in the gaming press, a lot of these dots may never have been connected in the first place. The number of people who have any real influence over the press here is smaller than I'd have guessed, and they have a vested interest in keeping focus away from their own when they fuck up. Silver String is a fucking bombshell in a barren field, a moment akin to walking up to a hobo in his piss-soaked sweatpants and his shiny hat and telling him "Hey, sorry I called you crazy for suggesting that lizard people actually run Western civilization... they kinda' just had a press conference." It's galling - no, scratch that - it's hilarious that what I had  figured was just a clique-mentality brought on by a few years of being in a professional echo chamber actually has a lobby behind the scenes pushing the narrative one way while simultaneously avoiding anything that could undermine them...  even if the smoking gun that led us back to them was the fact that one of their own is just really shitty and keeping her pants on while in a monogamous relationship.

What can I say, topical Jurassic Park references are in short supply these days.

Have I mentioned that gaming news site TechRaptor was taken down due to complaints against its IP host when they refused to pull down articles referencing the Zoe Quinn scandal? And that the only defense the people who had it pulled in the first place was that they're on "The Right Side Of History-" a phrase so goddamn loaded with obvious lapses in common sense it makes me cringe? Yeah, that's a thing that happened. They switched IP's and seem stable enough now, but that's the sort of shit that anyone standing against Silver String and their pull have to deal with.

Recently, a bunch of "game developers" banded together to sign an open letter, asking for "hate-speech" in the community to stop. It started with 600 signatures, but has ballooned out to over 1,800 last I cared to look. Aw, isn't that a pleasant little diversion to take the heat off... too bad the power of The Internet means that we can fact-check this shit. Of the 109 names that started with the letter 'A', 69 are either not game developers, or have themselves join in the harassment towards gamers they themselves are now decrying. Seriously though, read through that list; if you've heard of more than 10 of them, you're a bigger fucking nerd than I am. The only part of this that truly upsets me is knowing that Tim "I'M A FUCKING SORCERER!!" Schafer is on that list. I guess if I can get over Rob Zombie being a PETA member, I'll get over this in due time as well.

You know what else popped up? A petition asking for the same thing, but for gamers to stop being the recipient of death threats and mocking at their own expense. It was started by YouTuber Boogie2988, who - as you may remember - is a man who loves this medium more than anything on the planet, merely called for people to remain rational as they picked through a mountain of evidence that may or may not mean anything, and has been openly mocked for being fat by the same audience who are upset that he didn't fall into their particular brand of "inclusivity" without questioning if there were ulterior motives. The mere fact that Bob Chipman, a man who's literally a ponytail short of being The Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, re-tweeted it speaks to the level of delusional superiority the "No More Gamers" side is clinging to.

MovieBob: A man who decided he'd take time to poke fun at a fat guy.
Because surely that wouldn't make him look like an XL Industry Grade Douche.

Once more, The Fine Young Capitalists are still trying to fund and release a game for charity and help get a new female face into the role of game producer. Both 4chan and Reddit have donated over $2,000 (collectively) each, earning them original characters in the finished game; The Escapist forum is the third largest donor, though they're still a ways off from getting Esce-tan or, whatever.  If you actually want to support feminism as it relates to video games, these are the ones to give money to. If you don't care, dude, I could honestly care less: I'm just disgusted by hypocrisy. Just don't be a hypocrite yourself and tweet about how "important" Anita Sarkeesian's bullshit is, please.The less we talk about her, the faster she'll retreat with all the other opportunistic cockroaches who think that Fez being a minor cult hit is enough to dismantle the patriarchy... in an industry where Grand Theft Auto V is still the gaming event of 2013. I certainly don't see any obvious problems with that.

Guys, let me be honest here: I'm 30. I'm white - mostly. I mean a really dedicated bigot could find a pinch of Cherokee in there somewhere, but I look pale as a kitten's belly. I'm straight - again, mostly, because give me one good reason I wouldn't suck Bailey Jay's dick. I play games a few times a week on top of working full time, primarily on consoles and PC, but I also own dedicated handhelds and fiddle around on phones and tablets. I've been playing games of all types since before I could even read, and I get excited for games from specific studios and creators that I've liked. I refuse to pre-order because I dislike the practice that comes with it, but I'm refusing to do that because I want to see more studios treat their products the way Yacht Club is handling expanded content for Shovel Knight... which in and of itself means I know way too fucking much about Shovel Knight.

It's $15. No sales, ever - but all the DLC will be free, for everyone.
If the assholes at Ubisoft and Konami did that, I would pre-order.

I don't know that being a "gamer" defines me, but it's absolutely a part of my life, and it has been since I can literally remember. I like action. I like violence. I like scantily clad women. I buy DLC when I don't think it's a scummy cash-grab. I re-purchase classic games as HD remakes. I own dozens of shrink-wrapped games I haven't even played yet, and when I'm finished with one I really like, I talk to friends. I encourage them to support titles I thought were great. I am, in many ways, the same demographic that drives the section of the industry that all these websites are discussion ad nauseum... and they're calling me a bigot. Not because I actually called someone a sexist or racist or ableist name, or because I told someone to shoot themselves in the face, or even because I even somehow "support" less diversity in a medium I love... but because my very presence is somehow "toxic". Really, that's all it takes. Me simply existing has become the problem. What the honest, actual fuck did they think this was going to accomplish?

All of them in the little established cabal of the gaming press are reinforcing it, too. Even The Escapist, - which is, as far as we know at least, in no way directly affiliated with Silver String - posted a link to "Critical Distance",  Silver String's approved reading list the day before their connections to everyone else were made public, and openly recommended as a way to 'make sense' of everything. Come on, guys! You were the only place that didn't stifle the conversation - hell, /v/ is still getting threads purged when they venture into "no no" topics, which are slowly being pieced together largely by context as we speak - are you not listening to the people who are actually the community of your own site? Or are you hoping we'll be angry enough at this obvious, contrarian bullshit to fly into the forums in a rage and get those sweet, sweet ad-dollars on yet another thread dedicated to GamerGate? It's really looking like I should just bail on the editorial side entirely and Join the Nasian. One Korean dude updating me on a half-dozen projects I actively care about? Yeah, that should be good enough.

I also think that treating people with dignity and respect by a fault - a trait I'm told is called "Humanism" - is simply common sense. I'm also a firm believer in escaping the harsh brutality of the everyday by way of escapism, be it in film, or books, or games - which I think possess a very unique and powerful quality simply by being interactive. I AM the target audience for websites that are willing to put a critical spin on interactive entertainment... and all I see are people telling me I'm the bad guy. That's fucked up, and anyone who's spent more than 15 minutes sorting through this crap knows it.

But I'm not even the one who's going to be punished for this. At the end of the day, I can poke around YouTube and Twitter and keep tabs on what games I like - the sites delivering the news and opinions side by side are just a silly addiction I find myself unable to shake. Who are going to suffer are the people who work in this industry. Just yesterday, Benjamin Quintero - an engineer who's worked in the game industry for over 20 years - posted an "expert blog" on Gamasutra titled "Can We All Get Along?", questioning how in the past week we've seen an obvious schism with journalists antagonizing their own readers. Quintero's status as "Expert Blogger" was dropped immediately after it was posted, and only when the readership called Gamasutra on the hypocrisy of stripping his status as an actual professional because he questioned the wisdom of the site itself was he re-instated. That said, you can read the original post on his own website. I don't intend to give those Gamasutra fuckers a single click, if I can help it, so if you're curious what's worthy of being demoted from "Expert" to "Community Regular", take a peek yourself. Seems... rational, doesn't it? A little toothless, even? And yet rational discourse has no place when the hobbyist media wants a war with its own readership.

Perhaps the most intriguing question raised? Eron Gjoni, the bitter ex-boyfriend who opened the floodgates for everything that followed, updated The Zoe Post with the following brief update;

"I mustered what courage I could to provide you with this warning. I hope you never end up in the position where you fully understand why this needed to be done, and I hope you never learn the things I censored out of cowardice. But if you go anyway, at least go knowingly and cautiously."

Eron not only started the initial "QuinnSpiracy" by telling us only part of the manipulation, cheating and lies he experienced, but it was him that brought to light that Maya Kramer was influencing the IGF winners, which in turn upended the massive net of influence Silver String holds over the rest of the places reporting on their interests in the first place. That leaves me to wonder, what else do you know, Eron? How deep does the rabbit hole go? You've already started a storm in a teacup that's spilled all over the kitchen; could you take the whole damned house down, if you really wanted to?

But maybe I'm over-reacting. It's not like people are so wrapped up in this that they're spouting--

Behold: We have reached the Social Justice Event Horizon.

Oh, just look at the stupid - I should probably go. Short of Anita Sarkeesian secretly being Mecha-Jack Thompson in a Scooby-Doo mask, this'll be the last time I talk about this. I have good faith that "gamers" - you know, the people who "like games", and are invested in them enough to bother reading websites dedicated to them - are smart enough to not take the abuse their supposed critics are flinging at them out of desperation. I also bet that once viewers start to abandon them in favor of literally anything else, the Silver String connections are going to be severed, one by one. The very columnists who have spent the last several years trashing their own audience will likely find they're far less necessary now than they were before YouTube and Twitter existed; I didn't even know who the hell Boogie was until this mess, but I'd rather spend time listening to a fat bastard who actually likes video games than get berated by a fat bastard like Bob Chipman for liking them myself.

Make no mistake; if every one of these sites disappeared tomorrow, sales for FIFA '15 would still set records. We, as an audience, don't need game journalist sites... we just happen to like it. Traffic is already dipping on some of these sites despite the controversy still being in full swing, and I'm very curious how many advertisers are going to react to seeing this whole mess when they see how many people aren't skipping an ad for Mountain Dew to see the latest Madden trailer. Sadly, as I understand it most of these sites are owned by media amalgamations who can take a loss on one site for a few months if need be... they'd have to bottom out pretty hard to start cutting losses. But if they literally have no audience left to insult, who knows how worth-while they'll think keeping the lights on is, long term at least.

Ah, cool. I'm only 35 pages or so behind on The Escapist Megathread, and now I'm seeing that Polygon literally banned everyone in their forum with an anime themed avatar... or maybe that's just Poe's Law. Things have gotten so incredibly goofy on both sides I'm not convinced anyone's sure what is and isn't a joke at this point. This is getting so fucking hilarious I don't even think I want gamers to win in this proxy war of progressive shills dictating their agenda overshadow things like "fun" and "accountability"; I just want to make a big ass bowl of popcorn and see how suicidal the gaming press will get just to re-establish some kind of dominance over its audience. Censorship didn't work. Condescending rhetoric isn't helping. Begging for peace on the matter is met with dwindling traffic... what's next? Short of game journalists taking off their shirts and shouting "Come at me, bro!" to every random guy who owns an Xbox they meet on the street, I don't think they've really got much lower to sink.

*Exasperated Sigh*

I'm afraid I've had my fun. Now I have to get back to real life for a while, and that's... considerably more depressing than any of this stupidity. It's been a hell of a week, friends.


Michael said...

Reposting... in the correct topic this time:

Thanks for breaking this whole sorry affair down so succinctly. I've been following the GamerGate scandal on and off for the last week or so with a mixture of confusion and horror. I first became aware of the incestuous relationship between games "journalists" and developers/publishers in 2008 during the infamous Jeff Gerstmann/KANE & LYNCH debacle, though I somewhat naively assumed that this was a problem exclusive to the big guns. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that the indie scene was engaged in such a literal and metaphorical circle-jerk too.

For the most part, I've avoided commenting on the issue myself because (a) there's so much speculation and hearsay that it's hard to see where the truth ends and conjecture begins, and (b) because there are some deeply scary individuals on both sides of the debate (and I got my head bitten off on Facebook recently by an acquaintance-of-an-acquaintance for having the temerity to even suggest that there might be wrongdoing on the "SJW" side). This issue is so toxic because it brings together the two biggest hot button topics in gaming -- the unhealthy relationship between developers and the people reviewing their product, and the "sexism in games" debate -- and pits them against each other in a fight to the death, even though in reality they are two almost entirely unrelated issues.

As for Sarkeesian, "pan-handler" is the right description. I've watched a few of her videos and come to the conclusion that not only is her analysis of the games she covers laughably superficial, I'm not even convinced she has any understanding of the debates she explores. Listen to the way she says the words "subject/object dichotomy" in her latest screed. It's like she read the phrase in a textbook and is parroting it back without any comprehension of what it actually means.

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