The Worst Things On the Internet 2
It’s the much-anticipated second installment of the series you never asked for! I must be on to something, because last time I mentioned the insufferable Holderness family, and Jezebel wrote about them today.
Seriously, I might change the name of this to Worst xoJane post of the week, because I believe they will be up here every week. Hey white people, you know how to confront racism? Write incoherent, rambling navel-gaving posts.
If you were able to watch me in the past week or two on the subways of Seoul, you would have seen me with a phone in my hand and my head down, trying to blink and wipe away the tears. If you were to also see what’s on my phone when I’m crying, it would seem ordinary enough. Email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr. I cycle through them methodically, like when I see nuns praying the rosary in movies.
If you are on the internet, which I am sure you are, you may have heard about #gamergate, where the ex-boyfriend of a (female) game developer thought he was doing a service to the world by exposing all her sexual exploits. It’s gross, but you can see it here.
The good news is that many prominent men in the “geek culture”, and I hate using that term, but that’s another story. This piece by Andrew Todd knocks it out of the park as to why this is happening and a wake-up call to the gaming community.
Central to the self-centred psychology of these people is that they see themselves as the targets of a grand conspiracy of feminist, progressive journalists and game developers that seeks to destroy their ability to…something. They have no actual issue. It’s all perceived persecution at the hands of political correctness. These “theories” are so narcissistic, so devoid of substance, that the only way to explain them is through delusion. And I mean, I get it – justifying one’s shitty behaviour with a made-up conspiracy probably feels better than confronting the painful truth that one is an asshole. They think they’re part of a “silent majority”, but the real silent majority is the one that either isn’t aware of their ridiculous conspiracy theories, or understands that there’s simply no reasoning with people who are so obviously out of their minds. It’s the same kind of fictional oppression old white folks claim about foreign immigrants who are still generally less well-off than they are. The moment a woman – or even someone who empathises with women – muscles in on “their” territory (which hasn’t actually ever been “theirs”), they’re off, spouting slurs, giving the fingers at intersections, and publishing their banking details on hate sites.
Also from Badass Digest and one of my favorite film writers, Devin Faraci wrote a great personal piece “Why I Feel Bad For – And Understand – The Angry #GamerGate Gamers”:
For people who have never been real outsiders, who have never known what it’s like to sit in a room full of humans who treat you alternately as invisible and a target for nasty harassment, it’s hard to understand why the gamer identity matters so much. I was a comic book nerd in high school, and I was a horror nerd, and I was a movie nerd, and these gave me identities. In the real world I would get beatings and be teased and ridiculed, but in private these identities offered solace. The whole world of normal socialization was a club to which I couldn’t belong, but these communities – and later punk rock – offered me places where I could be among people who thought like me and often looked like me. They were safe places for me, and as the tide of geek chic rose I was horrified to see that the kind of people who had abused me for my fringe-interest identifiers were now co-opting them.
I love the internet for what is has done for fringe communities and brings them together. But this is also a result, and it is fucking tragic.