All posts by strivingally

Dug up from the Wayback Machine: “Another Post About Rape (3)” — Harriet J

I’m becoming increasingly sad at the need to keep doing this to save particularly excellent blog posts. This one is very important, especially for guys who don’t understand the dynamics of rape and question survivors on what they did and didn’t do.

(Harriet J, if you’re out there, I’m not trying to claim credit for your work. I think now, more than ever, people need to read the words you wrote.)

Wayback Machine link to original blog post


By the by, I consistently use that title because I mean for it to operate as a trigger warning. I write a lot about rape, but sometimes I write about other things, and I don’t want anybody taken off-guard transitioning from “help computer” into wtf rape-talk. Case you were wondering.

I was re-reading my five billion goddamn posts about rape and force, and I realized (surprise!) there is a more succinct way for me to express what I was thinking. I tend to go on and on, circling a subject, trying to get out everything in my head that possibly relates to it, and then sometimes find I didn’t really address the subject at all. So, here is what I wanted to say in those five billion posts about rape:

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

  • it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)
  • it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)
  • it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)
  • it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)
  • it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)
  • it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)
  • it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)
  • it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.

And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.

Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.

Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”

Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”

Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.

Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.

Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.

People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.

And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.

These rules for social interactions that women are taught to obey are more than grease for the patriarchy wheel. Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment.

Here’s a situation every woman is familiar with: some guy she knows, perhaps a casual acquaintance, perhaps just some dude at the bus stop, is obviously infatuated with her. He’s making conversation, he’s giving her the eye. She doesn’t like him. She doesn’t want to talk to him. She doesn’t want him near her. He is freaking her out. She could disobey the rules, and tell him to GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER, and continue screaming GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME every time he tries to step closer, or speak to her again. And then he will be all, “I was just talking to you! WTF!” and everybody else will be all, “Yeah, seriously, why’d you freak out at a guy just talking to you?” and refuse to offer the support she needs to be safe from dude. Or, the guy might become hostile, violent even. Ladies, you’ve seen that look, the “bitch can’t ignore me” look. It’s a source of constant confusion, as soon as you start budding breasts, that the man who just a moment ago told you how pretty you are is now calling you a stupid ugly whore, all because you didn’t get in his car.

OR

You could follow the rules. You could flirt back a little, look meek, not talk, not move away. You might have to put up with a lot more talking, you might have to put up with him trying to ask you out to lunch every day, you might even have to go out to lunch with him. You might have to deal with him copping a feel. But he won’t turn violent on you, and neither will the spectators who have watched him browbeat you into a frightened and flirtatious corner.

So we learn the rules will protect us. We learn that, when we step out of line, somebody around us might very well turn crazy. Might hurt us. And we won’t be defended by onlookers, who think we’ve provoked the crazy somehow. So, having your ass grabbed at the bus stop, having to go out to dinner with a guy you fucking can’t stand, maybe even having to fuck him once or twice, it’s a small sacrifice to avoid being ostracized, insulted, verbally abused, and possibly physically assaulted.

It’s a rude fucking awakening when a woman gets raped, and follows the rules she has been taught her whole life — doesn’t refuse to talk, doesn’t refuse to flirt, doesn’t walk away ignoring him, doesn’t hit, doesn’t scream, doesn’t fight, doesn’t raise her voice, doesn’t deny she liked kissing — and finds out after that she is now to blame for the rape. She followed the rules. The rules that were supposed to keep the rape from happening. The rules that would keep her from being fair game for verbal and physical abuse. Breaking the rules is supposed to result in punishment, not following them. For every time she lowered her voice, let go of a boundary, didn’t move away, let her needs be conveniently misinterpreted, and was given positive reinforcement and a place in society, she is now being told that all that was wrong, this one time, and she should have known that, duh.

For anybody who has ever watched the gendered social interactions of women — watched a woman get browbeaten into accepting attention she doesn’t want, watched a woman get interrupted while speaking, watched a woman deny she is upset at being insulted in public, watched a woman get grabbed because of what she was wearing, watched a woman stop arguing — and said and done nothing, you never have the right to ever ask, “Why didn’t she fight back?”

She didn’t fight back because you told her not to. Ever. Ever. You told her that was okay, and necessary, and right.

You didn’t give her a caveat. You didn’t say, “Unless…” You said, “Good for you, shutting up and backing down 99% of the time. Too bad that 1% of the time makes you a fucking whore who deserved it.”

Nobody obtains the superpower to behave dramatically differently during a frightening confrontation. Women will behave the same way they have been taught to behave in all social, professional, and sexual interactions. And they will be pretty goddamned surprised to come out the other end and find out that means they can legally be raped at any time, by just about anybody.

I am focusing on women here. I tend to do that, being one and all, but let’s mention something about men. If men have been raised to behave aggressively, to discount what women and weaker men want and feel and say, to obtain power and social standing through force, to deny emotions exist, to feel that women are fundamentally a different species, to set a boundary and keep it NO MATTER WHAT, to make a decision and stick to it NO MATTER WHAT, to feel entitled to sex, to feel they will be ostracized and possibly physically attacked if they don’t acquire sex with women, to feel under threat of harassment and attack if they don’t constantly maintain a hyper-masculine exterior, to prove their manhood through dangerous and degrading physical activities…

if you have seen men behave in this way, and encouraged it, and thought it was normal, so normal you didn’t even see it…

then you never have the right to say “He couldn’t possibly have done that” when you hear that your brother raped somebody.

That wasn’t concise at all. What I mean to say is:

The way men and women interact on a daily basis is the way they interact when rape occurs. The social dynamics we see at play between men and women are the same social dynamics that cause men to feel rape is okay, and women to feel they have no right to object. And if you accept those social interactions as normal and appropriate in your day to day life, there is absolutely no reason you should be shocked that rape occurs without screaming, without fighting, without bruising, without provocation, and without prosecution. Behavior exists on a continuum. Rape doesn’t inhabit its own little corner of the world, where everything is suddenly all different now. The behavior you accept today is the behavior that becomes rape tomorrow. And you very well might accept it then, too.

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Dug up from the Wayback Machine: How To Be A Fan Of Problematic Things

This is an article I link back to ALL THE TIME. When I saw the Social Justice League website was having problems, and appeared to be abandoned, I decided I had to save this one from the Memory Hole.

Rachael, if you’re out there, I’m certainly not trying to take credit for your work. On the contrary, I want to make sure it endures, because it’s such a great piece of writing!

I like things, and some of those things are problematic. I like Lord of the Rings even though it’s pretty fucked up with regard to women and race (any narrative that says “this whole race is evil” is fucked up, okay). I like A Song of Ice and Fire even though its portrayal of people of colour is problematic, and often I find that its in-text condemnation of patriarchy isn’t obvious enough to justify the sexism displayed. I like the movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World even though it is racist in its portrayal of Matthew Patel, panders to stereotypes in its portrayal of Wallace, and trivialises queer female sexuality in its portrayal of Ramona and Roxy’s relationship. For fuck’s sake, Ramona even says “It was a phase”! How much more cliche and offensive could this movie be? Oh wait, remember how Scott defeats Roxy, his only female adversary, by making her orgasm? Excuse me while I vomit…and then keep watching because I still like the rest of the movie.

Liking problematic things doesn’t make you an asshole. In fact, you can like really problematic things and still be not only a good person, but a good social justice activist (TM)! After all, most texts have some problematic elements in them, because they’re produced by humans, who are well-known to be imperfect. But it can be surprisingly difficult to own up to the problematic things in the media you like, particularly when you feel strongly about it, as many fans do. We need to find a way to enjoy the media we like without hurting other people and marginalised groups. So with that in mind, here are my suggestions for things we should try our darnedest to do as self-confessed fans of problematic stuff.

Firstly, acknowledge that the thing you like is problematic and do not attempt to make excuses for it. It is a unique irritation to encounter a person who point blank refuses to admit that something they like is problematic. Infuriatingly, people will often actually articulate some version of the argument “It can’t be problematic because I like it, and I’m nice”. Alternatively, some fans may find it tempting to argue “Well this media is a realistic portrayal of societies like X, Y, Z”. But when you say that sexism and racism and heterosexism and cissexism have to be in the narrative or the story won’t be realistic, what you are saying is that we humans literally cannot recognise ourselves without systemic prejudice, nor can we connect to characters who are not unrepentant bigots. Um, yikes. YIKES, you guys.

And even if you think that’s true (which scares the hell out of me), I don’t see you arguing for an accurate portrayal of everything in your fiction all the time. For example, most people seem fine without accurate portrayal of what personal hygiene was really like in 1300 CE in their medieval fantasy media. (Newsflash: realistically, Robb Stark and Jon Snow rarely bathed or brushed their teeth or hair). In real life, people have to go to the bathroom. In movies and books, they don’t show that very much, because it’s boring and gross. Well, guess what: bigotry is also boring and gross. But everyone is just dying to keep that in the script.

Especially do not ever suggest that people not take media “so seriously”, or argue that it’s “just” a tv show. The narratives that we surround ourselves with can subtly, subconsciously influence how we think about ourselves and others. That’s why creating imaginary fantasy and sci fi worlds that have more equal societies can be a powerful thing for marginalised people, who mainstream media rarely acknowledges as heroes. But even if you don’t think that media matters, there is still no reason to focus exclusively on unequal or problematic fictional worlds and narratives. If it doesn’t matter, why don’t YOU stop taking your media so seriously and stop fighting us on this? You with your constant demands for your narrow idea of “realism” (which by the way often sounds a lot like “show me naked skinny ciswomen, and gore”). If in your framework tv shows aren’t serious business, why does realism matter? Why can’t you accept that it would be totally cool to have AT LEAST ONE BIG MEDIEVAL FANTASY EPIC WHERE WOMEN AND POC WERE LIKE, EQUAL TO WHITE MEN AND STUFF. STOP TAKING IT SO SERIOUSLY.

Secondly, do not gloss over the issues or derail conversations about the problematic elements. Okay, so you can admit that Dune is problematic. But wait, you’re not done! You need to be willing to engage with people about it! It’s not enough to be like “Ok, I admit that it’s problematic that the major villain is a fat homosexual rapist, but come on, let’s focus on the giant sandworms!”. Shutting people down, ignoring or giving minimal treatment to their concerns, and refusing to fully engage with their issues is a form of oppression. Implicitly, you’re giving the message that this person’s feelings are less important than your own. In fact, in this case you’re saying that their pain is less important than your enjoyment of a book, movie or tv show. So when people raise these concerns, listen respectfully and try to understand the views. Do not change the topic.

Thirdly you must acknowledge other, even less favourable, interpretations of the media you like. Sometimes you still enjoy a movie or book because you read a certain, potentially problematic scene in a certain way – but others read it entirely differently, and found it more problematic. For example, consider the scene in Game of Thrones where Drogo rapes Dany (which he does not do in the books). One of my friends feels that it was portrayed like rape fetish porn, sexualising the act and Dany’s pain. But I feel that the scene focuses on Dany’s pain and tears in a manner that is not fetishising them (though even so the narrative is still totally fucked up because Dany and her rapist then go on to have a good, sexyfuntimes relationship…uh, no, HBO). I don’t agree with my friend’s interpretation but I recognise it as a totally valid reading of the scene.

Also, as a fan of problematic media, you need to respect the fact that others may be so upset or angered by media you love that they don’t want to engage with it at all. In fact, one of my best friends won’t watch HBO’s Game of Thrones because of the racism and misogyny. That’s a completely legitimate and valid response to that tv show, and me trying to convince her to give it another shot would be disrespectful and hurtful. If you badger others to see what you see in something when they are telling you it’s not enjoyable for them, you’re being an entitled jerk. You’re showing yourself to be willing to hurt a real person over a television show. That really is a sign you’re taking things too seriously.

As fans, sometimes we need to remember that the things we like don’t define our worth as people. So there’s no need to defend them from every single criticism or pretend they are perfect. Really loving something means seeing it as it really is, not as you wish it were. You can still be a good fan while acknowledging the problematic elements of the things you love. In fact, that’s the only way to be a good fan of problematic things.

Dug up from The Wayback Machine: “I Am Not My Cock”

An old – but excellent – blog post from Ross Lincoln about rape and the expectations of men. It’s no longer at the site, but deserves to be immortalised. Ross, if you have a problem with me having this on my blog, let me know. Everyone else, I hope you appreciate the perspective!

I Am Not My Cock.

There, I said it. I never thought I was going to need to, but welcome to 2005, I guess.

Before I go any further with what is likely to be a profanity laden tirade, how about some background. The Blogosphere has been alit lately with a lot of discussion about the subject of rape, mostly centering around that poor girl in Aruba and the implication that she somehow may have brought her unhappy circumstances upon herself.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I welcome you to the planet Earth. I’ve set up an Earth-orientation tent to the left of this website. Please contact my office for further questions.

For the rest of you, the discussion of the Aruba girl’s disappearance has plopped the media back into its usual comfortable position, namely the chance to replace real journalism with MORAL OUTRAGE (age age age). Naturally, because our society’s morals are strictly organized around who should have access to pussy, media coverage has inevitably tilted to the “Just what was that girl doing in that place anyway?”

Atrios noticed this odious development early on, and made the following what-should-be-blindingly-obvious observation:

My guess is that they are very angry with the missing white woman for not providing them with a sufficient number of genuine news updates, so they’ll start pushing the “she deserved what she got” angle.

Having previously made mention of media sexism over at my own website, I find it ridiculous that anyone could possibly find fault with his observation. Hell, TiVo CNN, MSNBC or Fox during any given 24 hour period and you’ll be deluged with The Girl Gotta Have it imagery.

And yet somehow, someway, there’s always some douchebag political writer storing pent up sexism like water in a camel’s hump, patiently awaiting the moment when he’ll need to feed off of it for dear life, and inspiration. I fully expected conservatives to provide such dickheadery, but I was amazed to see it pop up on the left, from the mind of normally not a dickhead Steve Gilliard.

Steve, responding to the aforementioned Atrios post, started things off on the right foot. He rightfully pointed out racial and class bias inherent in coverage of the story, but then out of nowhere he turns into a pandering, fretting Ward Cleaver:

But what surprises me is that no one asked about the lax supervision on this trip. Because these were middle class kids, their drinking and screwing around wasn’t really a factor in the news coverage. Clearly, these kids were not closely supervised while they got drunk and picked up men. The chaperones who should have put clear limits on their behavior, well, were too busy screwing around on their own.

Um, I’m sorry, but did I miss something? Are 18 year olds no longer allowed to leave their houses without minders? Or is Steve being a moralizing intentionally obtuse prude? As if to answer my (only slightly rehtorical) question, the hole he dug gets deeper and he fills it up with complete bullshit:

Now, I’ve always been confused as to why a girl would go off with three guys. Was she going to pull a train? Or did she have two spare sex organs for them to use?

Steve, let me answer this one for you: Because it’s none of your goddamned business, that’s why. Got it? Let me add also that Who gives a goddamn why she goes off with three guys? Maybe they were talking about playing trivial pursuit. Hell, I once went to a hotel with 3 girls I met at a concert, in order to play monopoly and share cigarettes. Was I annoyed that none of them wanted to make out with me? Yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that Steve Gillard apparently gets turned on thinking about girls with more than one vagina. Ew.

I’m kidding, I swear!

Because otherwise, that sounds like a really bad decision. One which she should have been warned against. Boys in groups tend to do things they wouldn’t do alone. And the expectation of sex must have been high.

You know, and this is just me, but girls often do things in groups they wouldn’t do alone, just like boys. For instance, I wouldn’t think of playing soccer alone, because that would be stupid.

What also needs to be discussed with women going overseas, even to a vacation resort, is the perception of American women, courtesy of Hollywood. Which is this: they’re easy. European men see American women on vacation. In a place like Aruba, it’s even worse. So they expect American women are easy targets, and even better, they don’t hang around, so if there are any “accidents”, they deal with them at home. This was even the source of a column in the Onion, where this girl was waxing poetic about this Italian guy and the Italian guy was bragging about banging this silly American girl. Well, there’s reality in that, and I’ve seen it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. The old men can’t help it/girls are stupid monster rears it’s ugly head, and my jaw hits the floor. I have to ask if Steve has ever even left this country. Every single nation in the world believes that the women in other countries are mad sluts. My dad told me, just before going to England, that European girls do it like “shaking hands”. English people insisted to me that the Germans were ho-nasty freaks. I met someone from Poland who told me that she got tons more play in England than in Poland. The grass is greener and way, way sluttier on the other side, no matter where your yard is. To act like this isn’t the case is willfully know-nothing, and beneath Gilliard’s normal level of discourse and knowledge. It’s embarassing even having to point this out.

Which bring me back to my original point: my cock.

I Am Not My Cock.

And guys, you aren’t your cocks either.

You see, as Gillard’s oddly obtuse observations demonstrate, there is a widely held belief amongst even liberal men, that male humans are predators. That they are first and foremost nothing but a cock. After that, balls, then eyes, then rage, and somewhere way down the line, they become capable of speech, thought, and memory.

Whatever.

I want to go on record as saying a big, mean Fuck You to every single man who has ever claimed that men are incapable of stopping themselves when pussy is on the line. Here’s why:

I have never raped anyone. I have never hurt someone because they wouldn’t put out. I have never gang raped someone. I have never died from blue balls. I have never exploded because some sideboob accidentally came into my line of sight. I have never raped anyone. Shockingly, I also think this is a pretty normal state of affairs.

This isn’t something I’m proud of. That’s because I can’t be proud of not raping people anymore than I can be proud of not shitting on myself whenever I laugh. Not being a rapist is the default fucking setting. Far as I know, most men have never raped anyone. I assume this means that rapists are a minority of men, and in a normal world you’d think that not being an evil, violent monster would make one more sympathetic to the victims of rape, who are also not evil violent monsters.

Hell, you’d think that most guys, who like me have never raped anyone would think to themselves “Hey, I don’t go around assaulting people. I don’t rape women. When a girl says no, or turns me down, I handle it like an adult. And now that I think about it, I think I’m kinda normal. I guess being able to not hurt and murder and rape is the norm. Why, that means rapists are fucking evil freaks. Golly gee willikers, who’d a thunk it!”.

Apparently, that’s not the case, as demonstrated by Gilliard’s well meaning but clueless observations, and by some frankly disturbing commentary on his and other sites. Tons of male bloggers and commenters are suddenly stepping over themselves to equivocate and fiddle back and forth on the subject of rape. Sure, they lazily toss in disclaimers about their sympathy to women who have been assaulted, but that’s usually followed quickly by a lecture on how women ought to behave.

These sad douchebags state with a straight face the manifesto of all sexist dillweeds who can’t wait to castigate women for being sexual beings: “Men”, apparently meaning them, “can’t control themselves”, and therefore women shouldn’t be surprised by being assaulted. Really? From this point of view, it’s somehow the woman’s responsibility not to get raped, rather than society’s responsibility to punish and prevent rape in the first place.

I Am Not My Cock. Seriously.

Think about what the argument that you have no control over yourself says. They are arguing that men are either animals, retarded children, or monsters without self restraint. who must therefore be carefully controlled and protected from women. Rape after all being, in their worldview, an inevitable outcome of coming within 3 feet of pussy.

Honestly, why would ANYONE want to go on record as even obliquely justifying sexual assault? And with the Corky defense no less? Are you fucking insane? What’s next, going on record as “seeing how NAMBLA has a point”? As far as I can tell, rapists, like murderers, are the bad guys. Then again, you can legally kill someone who is trying to kill you. So there is, occasionally, a justification for murder. There is no such analogue for rape. Rape is, simply put, evil inflicted through sex. There is no defense for it, and anyone who goes looking for one out to be ashamed of themselves.

Is it true that some people of both sexes behave stupidly, overly trusting or even self destructive? Do people of both genders deserve to be held accountable when they fuck up? Sure! But then, I’m thinking about criminal behavior here. Last I checked, fucking isn’t illegal. Neither is drinking, singing, staying out late, or acting stupid.

And my point? I Am Not My Cock.

Contrary to what many men (even on the left) seem to think, most guys can and do meet women all the time without even once assaulting them. It’s really easy. You just, you know, not be a rapist. Most guys, far as I know, don’t lose control of themselves when they see even a hint of sideboob. So why in hell do we men feel the need to sympathize with, identify with, or justify the behavior of people who haven’t learned the first thing about civilized behavior, or worse, rapists? How can it be so difficult for us to realize that rapists are the lowest form of scum, and that their victims are, in fact, victims?

Rape Victims do not ask to be raped, and no matter how carefully or irresponsibly they may behave, they do not deserve to be raped, no matter what circumstances one may feel makes a situation hazy. Which by the way don’t actually tend to, you know, exist. Got it guys? Rape victims deserve justice, sympathy and support, not your judgment or advice.

Look, I know the majority of men, myself included, are raised in a horribly sexist culture that considers our cock-prerogatives to be of utmost cultural importance. We’re taught to look to the male perspective first, and it bleeds into everything. Sexism is a problem, and women should be ready to deal with it. But guess what dipshits – The answer to that problem isn’t to tell girls “Them’s the breaks. If you can’t handle it, fuck off!” The solution, for those of you not following me, is to fight the actual problem, which is sexism and male entitlement.

But most importantly, I am not my cock. Period. I am not my balls. I am not my hormones, my sex drive, or my lust. I am not my cock. I am a man, capable of making decisions, capable of self control, capable of thought, of reason, of love and hate and lust and boredom and choice. My cock obeys my commands, and not the other way around. Guys, you are not your cock either. You have total control and you are not a slave. Don’t fall into the trap of believing otherwise.

I am not my cock, and I’m really quite happy about it. Anyone who feels differently just isn’t a man.

Sargon of Akkad: A Thief, a Liar, and a Bully

Internet Famous Angry Men

Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad. (Source: YouTube/David Pakman Show) Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad. (Source: YouTube/David Pakman Show)

There’s no argument that Sargon of Akkad’s (real name: Carl Benjamin) antifeminist videos are in bad taste. Offending people’s sensibilities is part of the product, part of why the videos appeal to neoreactionary dillweeds. Sargon’s job is to be a bombastic asshole who “debates” recordings of people his fans hate, delivering the grade-school put-downs his witless viewers simply don’t have the mental capacity to compose. His job, essentially, is to spin the news into something his viewers will find palatable and entertaining, for which he gets paid around $870 per video.

Sadly, Sargon violates the rules of the platforms he uses to raise his money and to distribute his videos – and quite possibly the laws of his country as well. Specifically, Sargon’s unlicensed theft of other people’s videos as fodder for him to mock is a violation of…

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A thousand words

Better than salt money

That’s what we say a picture tells. This one does more than that.  It reveals the ugly stain of racism, which like the blood on Macbeth’s hands, cannot come off.  That’s a grim outlook, and one I’d like to think is wrong.  One that, twenty years ago I did think was wrong.  But then I see this picture.

Cop on Stone Mountain

That dude has two weapons.  Some sort of AR-15, and some sort of 9mm pistol.  It’s the pistol I’m looking at, because it’s the weapon he’s threatening people with.

Yes, threatening.  He’s not drawn it, but he’s ready to.  His thumb looks to have cleared the restraint. The guy behind the cop is scared, the cop’s body language is that of someone agitated.  I can’t read the body language of the other cop, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a pretty strong focus on this guy.

This guy has put…

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Allies, privilege, amplification, and self-care

the inadvertent feminist

Yesterday, New York Magazine went live with an article which was focused on amplifying the voices of 35 women. These women are only a portion of the total number of women who have come forward in recent months, detailing the sexual assaults they suffered at the hands of Bill Cosby. The cover photo, seen here, shows each of the 35 women, sitting in a chair, in stark black and white. There are 36 chairs. The last chair in the image is empty. That chair is haunting. That empty chair sparked a hashtag on twitter, #TheEmptyChair, which has become a platform for women who feel like that chair belongs, at least in part, to them. A platform from which they are telling their stories, explaining why their chair is still empty. At least one man on Twitter, Elon James White, offered his own profile as a part of…

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My 15 minutes of GG infamy

So the spotlight was briefly on me a couple of days ago, when someone came up with some truly Glenn-Beck-worthy tenuous conspiracy theory crap to “prove” that I was part of an orchestrated campaign of lies about GG.

Go read the thread on KiA.

Now. Assuming you haven’t already consumed the Flavoured Beverage Favoured By Cultists, what you saw there was me, a piddly little Tweeter with <100 followers, being replied to by Zoe Quinn. Followed by an unrelated tweet in which I mentioned a bunch of people whose updates on GG I’ve been reading and have appreciated.

For those not willing to descend into the maelstrom of SJW-hate that is KiA, here’s a couple of their screencaps that I’ll borrow:

loltweet1

And:

loltweet2

Here’s their smoking gun. I made a comment to Brianna Wu, which Zoe Quinn gave her perspective on. In an unrelated tweet I mentioned a bunch of people who I have been reading to follow this atrocious clusterfuck.

Somehow someone got the idea that I’m now a lieutenant in the SJW army, or some such bullshit? Iunno.

More believable is the truth: I have some sympathy for the women who’ve had their lives destroyed, and I appreciate people who trawl through far more of GG’s garbage than I’m willing to in order to highlight their hatred and hypocrisy.

A couple of days ago I had 72 notifications on my Twitter when I logged in. Since a normal day sees maybe 5 or 6, maybe 9 or 10 if I’ve been particularly talkative, I was wondering why I had the sudden attention.

Once @srhbutts alerted me to the fact I’d been mentioned in KiA it made a whole lot more sense.

Seriously. This is all it takes. Some asshole making up a conspiracy theory in their own head and then feeding it to the mob. Thanks for justifying my initial decision to remain pseudonymous, fuckers.

GamerGate Link Farm, 3-11-14

A summary of GamerGate in ten graphics. As a rough precis for newcomers this is actually pretty good.

A couple of great Storify links next: UnseenPerfidy with a beautifully angry rant about the obvious problems with GamerGate’s “apolitical” stance that’s unashamedly political in nature, and Lars Flyger writes about the stupidity of the false equivalence dialogue surrounding GG.

Related to that, Zoe Quinn herself also writes an open letter to anybody claiming they want “neutrality” or “to hear both sides”. In her words:

The simple fact of the matter is that GamerGate is *not* about games journalism, and even if it was, their targets are disproportionately powerless in the industry, disproportionately female or feminist, and disproportionately *not games journalists*. Their methods are centered on destroying the livelihoods, safety, voices, and mental health of who they oppose, and that’s the primary progress they’ve been able to make thusfar.

Running on from that, a pair of articles about the way GamerGate’s positioned within the broader political climate: one from Elias Isquith about why calling for moderation or compromise is essentially pointless when GG’s supporters and critics aren’t even trying to have the same conversation, and one I find more contentious from Ezra Klein which asserts that GG is merely a new theatre of war for the Left vs Right debates and “neither side” cares about games. I think Ezra needs to acquaint himself with the fact that so many of GG’s targets have, in fact, been people who care deeply about games (Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu are devs, FFS). Also, the attempts to make GG a new front in the ongoing culture wars are mostly related to non-gamers throwing their oars in on the GG side – Yiannopoulos, Cernovich, Sommers, Baldwin, Aurini & Owen, do I really need to continue? Compare that to the list of targets who’ve actually had something to do with games, it’s enlightening.

An interesting statistical breakdown weakens the old accepted wisdom that mobile gaming is overwhelmingly female – it turns out that gaming is becoming more accessible thanks to mobile devices and that’s resulting in more engagement across the board with people who are already gamers, male and female. Women make up a larger proportion of “light” players in the mobile market and men make up a larger proportion of “heavy” mobile gamers, which could definitely form an area of future qualitative research to investigate the reasons.

Finally, a look at the way Google is addressing unconscious bias amongst their employees in an effort to become more aware of sexism and how it might be impacting on their corporate culture. A promising start, and it ties into the Laralyn McWilliams article I previously linked to.