Thursday, October 30, 2014

Anita Sarkeesian Appears on Colbert Report

It is no secret that Anita Sarkeesian of the Feminist Frequency fully supported Suey Park's #CancelColbert, an online twitter campaign to force Comedy Central into dropping the show for "Racist" remarks against Asians.  A remark which in itself was a parody of Daniel Snyder and his efforts to ease the backlash against the name Redskins.  For a full report click HERE to read it from KnowYourMeme.

So naturally it came as a surprise to many that Anita Sarkeesian, a former proponent of #CancelColbert would appear as a guest on his show to discuss GamerGate.  Some, including Thunderf00t were almost salivating over what they expected Steven Colbert to do to Anita Sarkeesian.  Others, including myself were predicting that if any challenge to Anita's views it would be in the form of softball questions.  However, the end result is primarily an anti-gamergate segment.

It is important to remember that Steven Colbert the person is not the Steven Colbert of The Colbert Report. The Colbert Report is a parody.  It is a parody of right wing Cable News, specifically Bill O'Riley.  Thus any interview given on that show must be framed in that context.  As conservatives are perceived as anti-feminist, this might be why some predicted a hard hitting interview in which Anita Sarkeesian was taken to task for her misrepresentation of the video game industry, or her sexist views in which she blamed mass shootings to be the fault of masculinity.  

So what is Gamergate?  There are two answers.

Pro-GamerGate definition:  An online campaign to bring eithics into video game journalism.  It sparked over a TL:DR post in which a disgruntled boyfriend wrote a tell all blog about his ex girlfriend sleeping with video game journalists in return for positive reviews for the video game she developed.  All parties have since denied involvement and I will leave it up to you to decide whom to believe.  

Anti-GamerGate definition:  An online campaign aimed to push back against feminism and women in general from entering the video game culture.  Basically an all boys club and a few tokens resistant to change in gaming culture to be more inclusive.

MY GamerGate definition:  An online campaign that has merits on each side but has quickly become a troll paradise.  Trolls being trolls are doing what trolls do best, harass, drop dox, and stir up drama simply for the lulz.  For every threat or doxxing on one side I can show you the same on the other side.  I do see a need for more responsible video game journalism and I also agree that violent video games should not be silenced. Video game makers will only produce what sells, and that is currently the violent stuff.  While there will always be niche markets and developers who cater to them, video game makers are in the business of making a profit.  Gamers are more than just men in their mother's basement.  Male, Female, and Transgender people of all races both play and create video games and is room for all.

So let's go through the entire segment which Comedy Central decided to split into two parts.

Part 1:  Gamergate.  

At this time they have not uploaded the video to their YouTube channel but you can view it on the Comedy Central website.

  1. The Colbert Report immediately links gamergate to sexism and violence towards women, totally ignoring the pro-gamergate side that not only speaks out against violence but also has received threats as well.
  2. The Colbert Report mislabels gamergate as men harassing women who speak out about the portrayal of women in gaming.  Again, no mention of the other side receiving harassment, or the list of several reasons why people disagree with Anita Sarkeesian and her conclusions.
  3. The Colbert Report first does a quick segment on who Anita Sarkessian is, and then follows it with another segment showcasing news clips taking about harassment of women, again no mention of the pro-gamergate side being harassed.
  4. Towards the end of this segment The Colbert Report finally discusses the harassment the gamergaters have received but defines it as "a response to the things they have said towards women."
Part 2:  Anita Sarkeesian  The points she made and my responses

  1. Sexy women in video games perpetuate the myth that women are sexual objects.  While I agree this is true to an extent, people should have the right to purchase the games they want.  Does anyone really want to play a Duke Nukem where he is sober and isn't surrounded by strippers?  Grand Theft Auto would suck if the gangbangers just rode the bus all day and helped old people cross the street.  Video games are a fantasy.  If you don't want to play a game full of violence and strippers buy a different game.  In fact many women do.  According to this recent New York Times article, women are making up over 40 percent of the video game market.  However, while men focus on first person shooter games, women are more focused on puzzles.  Due to the graphics required for the type of games men purchase the price is greater, thus there is more money to be made.  Sometimes people just want to play a game in which the main character is a bad mother lover.  If you don't like that game, don't buy it but don't shame others for enjoying it.
  2. The damsel in distress should try to save herself.  Ok fine, make your own game where the damsel saves herself, but leave Mario Bros alone.  If I wanted to spend 10 seconds on Google I no doubt could find several video games where the damsel saves herself.  I can also tell you that those games didn't sell very well.  People want to play the hero in Mario Bros, they want to save the princess.
  3. The threat at Utah State University was discussed.  The police determined no viable threat and nobody was in danger.  I will just leave this link to my blog for you to read up on it.
  4. Anita Sarkeesian could not name three male fantasy games that objectify women when asked on the spot to do so.  I am not even a gamer but I can name two:  Grand Theft Auto, a game where you can rape and rob hookers, Duke Nukem always surrounded by strippers.  I could cheat and look up a third on Google but on the spot I could only name two.  No doubt there are hundreds.  Now on Twitter some are taking her to task for not being able to name a single game.  However, this was a live interview and she had no notes to work from.  I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one.  Also, surely in the back of her mind was the #CancelColbert and surely she might have feared that subject being brought up.
  5. Why are only women being threatened and not men?  Obvious softball question is obvious.  Men HAVE been threatened over this.  Men have been doxxed.  They just don't get prime time coverage when it happens because men are not perceived as victims.  Men are to man up.  First of all, Anita Sarkeesian should be the last person to ask about threats as it has been proven that she has made bogus claims of threats in the past.  See my blog documenting the evidence here.  Women are NOT being harassed because women are wanting games to be more inclusive.  The harassment comes from trolls doing what trolls do.  Those who are critical of Anita Sarkeesian are challenging her conclusions that video games as a whole are misogynistic and that this causes problems in the real world.  This is no different than the preachers of yesteryear talking about how rock and roll is corrupting society.
  6. Gamergate is responding to the influx of female-centric games being introduced and that gaming can no longer be an only boys club.  No citation is given.  No response is needed.  There is no known Gamergater saying that. What is being responded to is people trying to influence male-centric games.
  7. The Ethics in Gamer Journalism is basically mocked.  I want to use a point brought up by AngryAussie.  He said that if journalists gave bad reviews they would not be given access to review any more games from that developer.  I can not disagree with this point more.  Movie critics give bad reviews all the time, as do restaurant critics.  Toy reviews are big on YouTube and some have made entire YouTube channels such as JeepersMedia mocking some of the worst toys ever made.  Rather this Ethics In Journalism is not only a response between the alleged acts of Zoe Quinn but more so on the video game journalists as a whole banding together to form one narrative.  Nothing speaks louder than this that every major site ran a featured article proclaiming the death of the gamer all around the same time.  There were speculations of talking points and secret emailing lists and so forth.
  8. Gamergate is about terrorizing women for being involved in video games.  I am not making this up, she actually made that claim.  Words fail me.
  9. Video sums up with Steven Colbert embracing the text book definition of Feminism.  Read my blog on the difference between text book definition of Feminism and Feminism as it is applied in modern Western Society.
Final Summation

Gamergate should not have started out with a butthurt man upset that his girlfriend cheating on him.  He should have just moved on with his life and be thankful that such a woman is out of his life.  If a woman cheats on you, game over and move on.  However, it is a movement that has taken hold and does have some merit but also some weaknesses.

Newsweek recently came out with a report that I will link to HERE that all the anti-gamergate media is eating up.  It shows that the majority of tweets are sent to people such as Anita Sarkeesian and others like her and NOT towards video game journalists.  I can concede their point but with a side of caution.

If you read deep into the analysis they attribute negative tweets as harassment.  Negativity is not harassment. It is not harassment to say that Anita Sarkeesian lied and then back up that claim with evidence.  Now I am not going to say that she is never harassed, I will say that she is on the internet and harassment is the price we all pay for being on the internet.  I was doxxed last year and my address sent out all over the internet and on every YouTube comment section that mentioned my name.  I had pictures of my apartment mailed to me and even my neighbors got mail.  

Neither side of Gamergate has a core central leadership or command structure, thus it is almost impossible to police and keep the trolls out.  There are trolls on both sides stirring up trouble just for the lulz.

There is a strong resistance to the influence of women in gaming.  However this resistance is NOT towards the introduction, development, or marketing of games towards women.  The resistance is the push to make male oriented games more inclusive.  The male gamers and the women who enjoy male oriented games are simply wanting to be left alone.

However, for those who do want a reform to Gaming Journalism may I remind you of what the conservatives did.  Back in the day, we got our news at 6pm.  We had CBS, NBC, and ABC.  For those of us who lived in the states.  Cable news started with CNN owned by Ted Turner at the time.  Two things happened.  One is the rise of talk radio and the other is the rise of Fox News.  Rather than push the established media to be more open to conservative views, the conservatives just did an Eric Cartman and said screw you guys I'm going home.  Fox News is now king of Cable News and turn on any talk radio station and it is almost all conservative.

If you are unsatisfied with gaming journalism as it is now, don't push for your agenda while at the same time resisting change to male oriented games.  Instead why not build your own journalistic community with the values that you share and endorse.

Finally, I don't fault Steven Colbert for having Anita Sarkeesian on his show.  In the end Television is all about ratings, and as more people talk about this interview the more money he and his show can make.own gamergate proponent who objects to the development and sale of games aimed at women.
Those who wish to discuss it please tweet at me via Twitter