Saturday, March 7, 2015

An Appendix Regarding #Gamergate and Modernity

Yesterday, I wrote what I consider to be a preface to a series of blogposts I'm going to write about #Gamergate, social justice ideologies and cultural imperialism.

This blogpost is intended as an appendix to that particular blogpost.


If we accept the idea of video game culture as a singular front of the current crisis of modernity -- regardless of whether or not we agree that the crisis is manufactured -- then we must ultimately decide what role #Gamergate will play.

Is #Gamergate to be the counter-revolution, or something else entirely?

At first glance it may seem that #Gamergate is the counter-revolution, and social justice warriors (hereafter to be referred to as SJdubs) are the revolution. But first we must consider the attributes of each group and decide whether or not a role as revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries would be mismatched.

Is #Gamergate the revolutionaries -- who believed in a singular locus of modernity based strictly on "what has been discovered in the arts and the sciences can now be reorganized through usage, meditation, observation, argumentation" (in the words of Sir Francis  Bacon)?

Or is #Gamergate the counter-revolutionaries, who believed in a singular locus of modernity based strictly on faith?

Well, here's where the lines cross and become more obscure. Revolutionaries are, typically, challengers. In the discursive battle over video game culture, #Gamergate is not the challengers. Rather, #Gamergate arose in response to corrupt video games journalists who were in league with the SJdubs who set out to declare video game culture oppressive as a means of covering their own corruption. It's the SJdubs who are the challengers.

Yet it's the SJdubs who have adopted the faith-based modus operandi of the Renaissance-era counter-revolution, telling people that they must "listen and believe," rather than observe and consider. So if we agree that #Gamergate is the counter-revolution of this modern discursive battle over modernity, then we must also understand that the specific roles are very similar but reversed.

Must #Gamergate accept the role of counter-revolutionary?

If #Gamergate is to accept and adopt the role of counter-revolutionary, it will have to re-make that role. During the Renaissance, within the Catholic Church in particular, a prominent tool of counter-revolution was the Inquisition.

Admittedly #Gamergate is neither as powerful as the Catholic Church, nor (hopefully) as dogmatic. But there appears to be a direct corollary between harassment complained of by many SJdubs -- whether real, fabricated, or attributable to third-party trolls -- and the culture of intimidation and fear created by the Inquisition.

Even if one doesn't fully believe the stories of harassment told by SJdubs, many people do. What is perceived as real can be very real in its consequences. Even if it's not within the power of #Gamergate to completely dispel this fearful environment -- remember that no one controls a third-party troll (perhaps not even themselves, really; I find third-party trolls to be deeply-disturbed individuals, and suspect many of them may be severely mentally ill) #Gamergate can at least stymie it by refusing to participate in the harassment.

To #Gamergate's credit, the vast majority of its members (at least by my personal estimation) refuse to participate in harassment. It must also be noted that this refusal cannot be applied across a social media-based movement, and so it will be up to individual supporters to refuse, to stand up to those who do harass.

If this resembles the status quo to you, there's good reason for that: it's because this reflects the current state of affairs quite accurately.

In fact, the so-called "revolutionary" SJdubs have adopted the methods of the Renaissance-era (and later-era) counter-revolutionaries for themselves; conducting witch hunts for game developers and game journalists who don't echo their views, seeking to banish them from the establishment, and threatening them with blacklisting.

These tools may seem overwhelming. Renaissance-era counter-revolutionaries certainly used them to devastating affect. But as we can see by examining the result of that discursive war, the tools of the revolution ultimately prevailed.

Speaking for myself, I would urge #Gamergate to accept the role of counter-revolutionary, but use the tools of the Renaissance-era revolutionary. Therein lay the tools to victory.

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