Game over, man, game over.

UPDATE: You can watch the whole segment exclusively at The Mary Sue.
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37 COMMENTS

  1. Guys and gals, I heard it was about responsiblity and accountability in video game journalism. THAT’S why all these women, and none of the men, are being harassed and threatened. Because, reasons.

  2. The videogame journalism angle was a smokescreen which was quickly debunked when a guy claimed his ex-girlfriend was in cahoots with a reviewer–a reviewer who never reviewed her game. After that was exposed it came down to criticism of female characters in videogames (one example was shown on the Colbert Report). It used to be that gamers had to defend themselves from accusations that videogames caused violence. Now gamers are threatening violence against female videogame critics. This was also discussed on the Colbert Report. Reasons.

  3. THAT’S why all these women, and none of the men

    Completely untrue. Guys associated with Gamergate have also received death threats, but this is unreported because it disrupts the narrative. After all, if Gamergate people are responsible for threats by trolls then doesn’t the same hold true for the other side?

    A quick google search will provide all the details you want on this. The three most egregious threats I saw were Milo Yiannopoulos, the guy who broke the story on the games version of JournoList, being sent a syringe in the mail, youtuber KingofPol being sent a kitchen knife in the mail along with a note to “please kill yourself,” and lawyer Mike Cernovich having to leave his house over threats of SWATing.

  4. You calling anyone who acts bad on the stupid gamergate side a ‘troll’ speaks volumes. Using the No True Scotsmen defense is severely lame.

  5. What created this was a woman had sex with a man, and it was misconstrued and misrepresented by agenda-driven fools as proof that she was sleeping with him for a good review on a game he didn’t review. She had sex, so she must have been wrong in some form or fashion. Anything else has been spin to try and hide away the fact that the initial stuff was all from a foundation of false facts pushed out by a jealous and mentally abusive ex seeking to use the internet to shame and degrade her.

  6. “Trolls” is the common term used for people that engage in online harrassment. I’m not sure why the use of this term offends you. Regardless, you’re trying to change the subject to be about me when I listed no personal views on the matter.

    I’m simply informing anyone reading that the harrassment and threats go both ways on this issue. News reporting on controversial issues tends to be heavily biased. This is why it’s my personal policy to be skeptical and research multiple news sources on anything controversial so that I can obtain facts rather than what any one side claims.

  7. Thanks for listing the names, Johnny. I’m not into games and had no acquaintance with any of these cases. I’ve seen some pro and con on the gentlemen listed, particularly Cernovich. But even if none of the three might be deemed a poster boy for Equal Harassment by Feminist Frequency, even one is enough to put the lie to Sarkessian’s claim.

    It would appear that in Sarkessian’s haste to construct a “poor pitiful me” narrative, she allowed herself to forget the rich heritage of harassment of males, by males. Has everyone forgotten the sixties (insert predictable pot joke here), when a guy with long hair was like a red flag, waved in front of the noses of buzzcut Minotaurs?

    This is not to say that women don’t practice their own brand of harassment. It’s just more subtle– like Sarkeesian’s misinformation.

  8. Oh god jesus, people, and because there is a “the rich heritage of harassment of males, by males” that means we shouldn’t examine the rich, prolific, appalling and dehumanizing current every day harassment of women?

  9. Jesus christ. why did neither of you respond to the reason for the original gamergate tag, but instead diverge into various offshoots? is it because there’s really no defense?

  10. WHAT ABOUT VIDEO GAME JOURNALISM IS SO WRONG THAT THE ORIGINAL WOMAN AND OTHER SUBSEQUENT WOMEN NEEDED TO BE HARASSED?

  11. Heidi, I don’t know if Sarkeesian is the first person to claim that only women had been harassed.

    But she did repeat what appears to be an untruth on the Colbert Show. Maybe she really believed it, and if so she may have been merely mistaken rather than lying. But there’s a strong possiblity that she framed things things that way is to encourage a narrative of gender polarization– and that she, unlike Colbert, may be a real advocate of “truthiness.”

  12. Heidi,
    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Chris,
    If it’s important to point out that the original accusation of tainted journalism was untrue, why isn’t it important to point out that one of Sarkeesian’s statements is untrue?

  13. This Gamergame crap is utterly bizarre to people (like me) who aren’t part of the “gaming community.” My video-game experience consists of playing Pong in the late ’70s and Space Invaders in the early ’80s. But I have been part of the “comics community,” off and on for 40 years, and I’ve seen plenty of misogynist behavior in my subculture.

    Sending death threats or rape threats to people who write or say something you disagree with is deranged behavior. It’s also a crime. It’s sad to see people here (and elsewhere) try to split hairs and make excuses for these thugs.

    Movie critics who pan superhero movies can now expect death threats … and rape threats, if the critic is female. Film critic Glenn Kenny was only half-joking when he wrote that he hoped his mixed review of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY wouldn’t prompt “death threats from easily irritated comic book fans.”

  14. Slate film critic Dana Stevens recently said: “Fanboy culture can be very toxic and sexist. … And whenever a female critic doesn’t like a fanboy movie, she is going to go through utter hell.”

    I’ve watched (on YouTube) Sarkeesians’s criticiques of video games. There was nothing in her comments to justify the outpouring of hatred and threats that she has received. You should read some of those comments; aside from threats of sexual violence, there was a nasty strin of anti-Semitism. Several posters commented that “This woman is obviously a Jew,” and pointed to her facial features to “prove” she is Jewish. (Sarkeesian was born in Toronto to Armenian immigrant parents.)

    I’m tired of male fans maintaining silence or trying to rationlize this sort of misbehavior. It’s not going to end until we guys tell other guys — as forcefully as possible — that this crap will no longer be tolerated.

  15. Can one find a lot of aggro comments by gamers? Yes, one can.
    Can one find a lot of aggro comments by comics fans? Yes, one can.
    This correlation led the first poster on this thread to conflate the two groups. But is it accurate?
    I googled “death threats” and “wrestling fans”: one of the first links led me to a piece about wrestler Ric Flair getting death threats.
    I googled “death threats” and “sports fans,” and the first ones up referenced Flair, Kyle Williams and Josh Morgan.

    It is not a rationalization to point out that this kind of crap goes on in many, if not all, walks of life. There are apparently thousands upon thousands of dumbasses in all those arenas who have nothing better to do than vent their aggressions with cowardly death-threats.

    All such offenses should, indeed, be met with the full force of legal retribution, regardless of whether they spring from “nerd rage,” “sports rage,” “politics rage,” or whatever. But the big reason such offenses happen so often is that you usually can’t find the schmucks.

    So yes, if you personally overhear someone making a death-threat to anyone for any reason, you ought to report it, or maybe even, in some circumstances, tell the sucker what you think of him. But if the sucker pulls a knife on you, maybe you will find out that some kinds of subculture are a good deal more toxic than what Dana Stevens is pleased to call “fanboy culture.”

  16. Fanboy/nerd culture HAS become more toxic and sexist over the last several years. I think it began in 2008, with the online campaign to have THE DARK KNIGHT proclaimed the greatest movie ever made (even before it was released), and to secure it a Best Picture nomination. The fans tolerated no dissent; any critic or blogger who didn’t think it was that great was bashed 24/7. The female reviewers got the nastiest comments.

    And it’s not true, as Gene implies, that such rage is common in all fandoms.

    In a recent essay for Film Comment magazine, Nick Pinkerton wrote that he’s never received the pitchfork-and-torch treatment from Alain Resnais fans. But say the wrong thing about Chris Nolan and you’ll be swamed as if you had just slagged One Direction. For some fans, their heroes (Nolan, Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson, the late Jack Kirby) are infallible gods who can do no wrong, and any criticism of their work is blasphemy.

    The Gamergame creeps, like sexist comics fans, remind me of Tea Party members: they’re guys who see the world changing, and they don’t think the changes will benefit them. So they’re striking back. Thanks to the Internet, cowardly bullies can hide behind phony names and post comments that would get them in major trouble if their real names were attached.

  17. George, I didn’t “imply” that rage was common in all fandoms; I stated that “this kind of crap goes on in many, if not all, walks of life.” Yes, you probably don’t get a lot of “fan rage” from Resnais-fans or birdwatchers or any other domain with a small coterie of followers. All that indicates is that the larger the community of followers, the more wackos migrate into it.

    My overall point is that people like this Dana Stevens are trying to stigmatize a particular stratum of fan culture as unusually “toxic,” apparently without stating what they’re comparing it to. If Stevens is comparing game culture to larger, more socially acceptable pastimes– such as sports– then he or she is also “wacko,” albeit in a different manner.

  18. “Yes, you probably don’t get a lot of “fan rage” from Resnais-fans or birdwatchers or any other domain with a small coterie of followers. ”

    It’s also true that art-house cinema fans tend to be educated, intelligent adults. Sci-fi/fantasy/superhero fandom has a lot of teenagers AND adult men who act like teenagers. Anyone who denies this is delusional.

    Here’s an article from the Village Voice: “A note to the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY fans who are calling our critic a ‘harlot.'”

    ed/2014/07/a_note_to_the_guardians_of_the_galaxy_fans_who_are_calling_our_critic_a_harlot.php

    Among the lovely comments that fanboys sent to Voice film critic Stephanie Zacherek: “She’s just pissed because she lives in the Village full of gay men and no one wants any of her old, dried out pie.”

    I call them fanBOYS because I doubt a fangirl would post a comment like: “Her opinion has no value, as with any woman.”

    It seems that guys who were once bullied on playgrounds have grown up and become bullies themselves — from the safety and anonymity of their computers.

  19. http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/village-voice-editor-blasts-guardians-of-the-galaxy-fans-for-calling-critic-a-harlot-20140731

    Another interest article. As commentator Sam Adams says: “Comic-book fans attacking critics who pan superhero movies is nothing new. But when the critic is a woman, the commentary takes on an especially vile cast.”

    Adams sums it up perfectly here:

    “(T)hese particular dudes — this tiny but vocal subset of angry crybabies for whom near-total dominance over the direction of popular culture is not enough to make up for the time their mom threw out their complete, Mylar-bagged run of “Cloak and Dagger” — are the worst imaginable ambassadors for the fandom they purport to defend. They make every male fan who’s kept a place in his heart, and on his shelves, for comics while maturing into a fully functioning adult look bad, and they tell every woman that she’s only welcome at the comic-convention table so long as she keeps her mouth shut. …

    “They validate every stereotype of maladjusted, basement-dwelling nerds at a time when lifelong fans like Joss Whedon and “Guardians'” James Gunn are trying, and largely succeeding, to bring an authentic comic-book sensibility to a global audience. “

  20. It sucks that a bunch of jackasses ruin it for everyone. There should be a look at the ethics of game journalism, as well as an accountability for YouTubers who are paid for reviews without divuldging that they are. Unfortunuately its been so distorted by the trolls that there is no easy way to separate it from the idiots sending threats. Of course it is the internet, so civility is a rare occurrence.

    I wish there was someone else besides Anita that people could rally against because its been shown that her studies are crap. She’s less credible than Andrew Wakefield, cherry picking data and misrepresenting facts to prove her points. No doubt there is more than enough data out there that fits, but you have to do research. don’t try to force the round peg in the square hole.

    There’s also a great video showing how differently she and Suey Park were treated when Suey started the cancelcolbert tag. Did they not factcheck that Anita was a vocal supporter of the tag? I get that its a comedy show, but they should at least do some due diligence on their guests.

  21. http://www.studio360.org/story/what-is-gamergate/

    The public radio show “Studio 360” discussed Gamergate today.

    It seems a lot of the backlash against Anita & Co. is coming from people, most of them male, who don’t want real-world issues like sexism, feminism and politics intruding on their pure fantasy world. These people say they play games (or read comics or go to movies) to escape from the complicated realities of our world, and they don’t want to be reminded of it.

    I’ve noticed this trend on various comics-related sites, which used to have freewheeling debates about political and social issues, especially in election years. But over the last few years, people who disdain such discussions have become increasingly vocal. They just want to chat about costumes, powers and battles with super-villains — and the most important topic of all, the continuity of the Marvel and DC universes.

    The video-game fans are also upset that games are now being reviewed like movies (which means the reviewer is going to express opinions), instead of the Consumer Reports-type review that used to be the norm.

  22. “It’s also true that art-house cinema fans tend to be educated, intelligent adults. Sci-fi/fantasy/superhero fandom has a lot of teenagers AND adult men who act like teenagers. Anyone who denies this is delusional.”

    The domain of alleged art-fanciers may have. *proportionately speaking,* as many know-it-alls who pitch fits when, say, Woody Allen starts imitating Ingmar Bergman. Maybe you just don’t hear about them as often as you hear about the so-called fanboys, because there are a lot more of the latter,
    overall.

    By all means, believe what you want to believe, though.

  23. “It seems a lot of the backlash against Anita & Co. is coming from people, most of them male, who don’t want real-world issues like sexism, feminism and politics intruding on their pure fantasy world. These people say they play games (or read comics or go to movies) to escape from the complicated realities of our world, and they don’t want to be reminded of it.”

    Do you yourself *invariably* like it when someone uses a work of entertainment as a platform to raise *your* social conscience?

  24. “Do you yourself *invariably* like it when someone uses a work of entertainment as a platform to raise *your* social conscience?”

    Entertainment can be used for all purposes and all kinds of stories, from total escapism to depictions of real-world problems. (Rod Serling used sci-fi to comment on racism and other issues because TV censors/sponsors wouldn’t allow it in “straight” dramas.)

    I don’t automatically go berserk and ballistic when confronted with a work that tries to “raise my social conscience,” which seems to be the reaction of the average superhero fan these days. And to think there was a time (the early ’70s) when relevance sold comics! Must have been another era.

  25. “I don’t want to be made aware of the objectification of women and other social issues in the media I consume so I’m going to threaten a woman with rape/defend rape threats towards women in an effort to make it stop.” #notallGamerGators

    GamerGators should have a flag with a bag piper crossed out because “No True Scotsman” is pretty much their mantra at this point. If you have to spend more time defending against what people in your camp keep doing then explaining what your camp is about then maybe you’re in the wrong camp. Rape threats aren’t a valid response to any criticism if you want to be taken seriously as an adult and not mocked openly like on Colbert…unless you’re trying to be the ISIS of the internet.

    I watched Anita Sarkeesian’s videos (I think the first two or three) when they first came out and found them to be totally measured and reasonable critiques of how most video games treat women. She even showed counter-examples of games that got it right in her opinion and opened me up to a couple that I ended up enjoying. The response to her just doesn’t match the tone she puts forth…and I’m not even talking about the rape threats and all that. It boggles the mind that people are so desperate for their power fantasies that constructive criticism is met with such aggression and vitriol. You don’t have to agree with it but come on!

    I have yet to see any solid evidence that Sarkeesian has faked anything other than “she’s a girl making things up for attention”. If she’s cherry-picking statistics or whatever was claimed above, could someone actually (and without childish angst) lay that info out somewhere? Regardless, it won’t justify what’s gone on but if the point that’s getting lost in juvenile anger is that she’s being dishonest then maybe the Gators should start focusing on that instead of feigning victimhood for what is, at best, retaliatory aggression by people who are sick of this shit and are pushed to desperation.

  26. George,
    You’re not precisely responding to the question. I didn’t ask you to approve in any way of the rogue gamers’ actions. I’ll rephrase it more precisely: regardless of whether you’ve enjoyed having social matters raised in *some* forms of entertainment, have you ever found one where you felt the social agenda was being shoved down your throat?

  27. ‘Rape threats aren’t a valid response to any criticism if you want to be taken seriously as an adult and not mocked openly like on Colbert …”

    There’s also a good chance you’ll be regarded as a criminal (which you are, if you send such threats) and will receive a visit from police or another law enforcement agency.

  28. ” … have you ever found one where you felt the social agenda was being shoved down your throat?”

    Gene, you’re obviously trying to create sympathy for guys who go berserk when they encounter something in entertainment they don’t like. I can take or leave (or ignore) anything I encounter in entertainment without getting upset. How about you?

  29. I’m going to follow Heidi’s lead and not respond to your further comments on this thread, Gene. You’re clearly trying to bait people and turn this into a philosophical, pseudo-intellectual debate. Gamergate doesn’t deserve that much respect.

  30. I’m not trying to create sympathy for the rogue gamers. I’m asking the question, Is there any aspect of their so-called “nerd rage” that non-rogues have themselves experienced? I would think that everyone here has experienced something like it at some time; we’re unfortunately not talking about troll-aliens from space, but dumbass human beings.

    It’s funny that a lot of pundits claim that they want to start a “dialogue” on a given subject– I seem to remember Sarkeesian saying something of the kind– but when someone challenges one or more of their pet theories, the desire for dialogue goes out the window.

    There’s nothing psuedo-intellectual about defining the ways our society chooses to limit, or not limit, self-expression. I’m not including death-threats as self-expression, of course, but I have problems with what Sarkeesian and others cavalierly define as “objectification.”

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