Understanding the Socio-Economic Processes that Lead to GamerGate
A few days ago, I considered writing two posts on the ongoing GamerGate controversy- or should we say manufactured controversy. Just so that you know, this post contains a lot of stuff that will upset established or wannabe SJWs.
It all started about two months ago (Aug 2014) as the fallout of some infidelity-related relationship drama between a manipulative fat white “woman” and her rather unremarkable boyfriend. While this dramatic bullshit might have remained localized in a previous less-connected age, the widespread availability and use of the web (especially social media) resulted in that toxic spat spilling over into, and contaminating, the rest of the world. FYI, I have no real interest in exploring the ethical issues stemming from the trade of sexual favors for favorable media exposure. As I like to say- to each their own.
This post is about why computer gaming has suddenly became so culturally relevant.
As you will see, this new-found cultural relevance of computer gaming is almost exclusively about corporations trying to sell people more crap. But why is this happening now? Why was computer gaming not a big cultural issue twenty or even ten years ago? What has changed? And why?
Well.. there are many reasons.
Advances in hardware design was the first necessary, but not sufficient, condition that made all this bullshit possible. Prior to the era of Microsoft Xbox-360s, Sony PS3s, Ninentdo Wiis, smartphones and tablets- most dedicated computer gaming occurred on Desktop PCs and high-end Laptops. To put it another way, the core customer base of computer games was fairly dedicated and almost exclusively male. Sure.. there were gaming consoles like N64s, Dreamcasts, PS1s, PS2s and Xboxs- but they too were mostly a male domain. Furthermore, computer gaming was largely (and perhaps rightly) seen as the natural habitat of socially-awkward and often poor males without female company. Companies that produced computer games in those days were often small or medium-sized and produced whatever appealed to their core audience.
This started changing in the mid-2000s, but especially after the introduction of reasonably good gaming consoles that could produce pretty pictures and more life-like scenery. The introduction of these consoles also came at a time when easy online gaming became feasible. Consequently, it began to attract people who would have otherwise not started playing them. Smartphones and tablets accelerated this trend further so that everybody and their grandparents started playing Angry Birds, Farmville and CandyCrush. Corporations saw this as an opportunity to sell more crap and changed their business model accordingly. The stagnation of growth in more established form of entertainment such as network TV, movies and sporting events also made corporations see gaming as the new frontier for growth.
To summarize my first point, computer gaming became more important because of stagnation and decline in profit from other forms of entertainment. It is therefore no surprise that events such as Comic Con now receive so much corporate backing and positive advertising. This corporate interest in profit-making is also behind an explosive increase in the number of “gaming-related” journalists or as I like to call them – paid shills.
While the previous three paragraphs explain the technological (and capitalism-linked) reasons behind gaming becoming “culturally” relevant, it is not capable of explaining how a toxic spat between a manipulative fat white woman and her unremarkable boyfriend has morphed into a another “culture” war.
To understand what drives the invective of SJWs and their supposedly “liberal” journalistic allies, you have to look at cultural factors- especially what they intend to gain. So what do they intend to gain anyway? What can they possibly gain from antagonizing hardcore gamers- who are almost exclusively male? Don’t they understand, or care, about the long-term effects of antagonizing the most important and reliable customer base for that industry.
The short answer is- they don’t care about the effects of their actions on the computer gaming industry because they are not really part of that industry. The somewhat longer answer does something like this.. All those SJWs and their journalistic “friends” writing ever more toxic rants about the core audience of computer gaming are in it for themselves. It is about attempts to gain power by screwing over other people under the pretense of helping “society”.
Let us first focus on what is driving the journalists, who are perhaps the less repulsive of the two groups- if not by much. Have you ever wondered what all these people would have been doing in the pre-internet age? The simple answer is that they would have been trying to advance their careers by shilling and writing hit-pieces for print media. Journalists, with a few exceptions, have always been paid sophists, shills and character-assassination specialists for their rich masters. Think of them as whores, though that comparison is kinda demeaning to real whores. My point is that most journalists, but especially those who are trying to climb up, will shill and whore for anything that has a chance of improving their career prospects.
But why are they focusing so much on GamerGate? Why are they not paying a similar level of attention to far bigger issues like systemic racism in the american judicial system, narco-wars in Mexico or the endemic corruption and patient abuse in the american health system?
Apologists might say that some journalists do cover those issues- and that is true. But media coverage and critique of those problems bears no proportion to their impact on people. Moreover, journalists who cover the big and difficult issues have always been in the minority. But why is that so? Why do most people who pretend that their profession is devoted to speaking truth to power shy away from it whenever they have an opportunity to do so? Well.. it comes down to money and the fear of reprisals.
Systemic racism against non-whites in the USA is, and has always been, state policy. Critiquing that beyond a certain extent is not good for your journalistic career. Nor is it unique to that issues as most journalists were willing shills for the case to invade Iraq under false pretenses in 2003. Similarly most american journalists have been extremely unsupportive of people like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange, inspite of the importance of their revelations. Similarly people who do actual field-based reporting on the government-abetted narco war in Mexico run the risk of losing their heads- literally. Therefore the vast majority of journalist will never focus on the truly important issues of that era.
So how do these shills maintain their public credibility- or whatever is left of it?
While the general credibility of journalists has been on a downward slope for many decades, they still attempt to make occasional attempts to maintain their credibility. But as we talked about just now, they cannot do so by antagonizing people who pay them or are likely to kill them. Most investigative journalism is therefore about issues, groups or people they can antagonize without fear of reprisal. That is why journalist spend so much time on subjects that can let them demonize or at least look down upon people. These include single mothers, drug addicts, black men, small time con artists and medium-sized scams.
Journalist who write about games are no different. They, and their colleagues at “social-issue” driven publications, have no real expertise or empathy for the subjects and issues they write about. I could have compared them to pimps, but that would be insulting to pimps. In a way, they are part of a trend sweeping american society in which the best pretenders (such as CEOs) make the most money and get the most power. The massive user response to recent and continuing biased journalism in computer gaming therefore represents an affront to their self-perceived power and importance. In a way, the response of journalists to GamerGate is not unlike the response of parasite to the host immune system.
However parasites, unlike journalists, never believe that the host exists because of them.
I will talk about my views on SJWs and their real “motivations” in an upcoming post.
What do you think? Comments?