Politics and Culture: How can intelligent men turn into Gamergate-addled bastards?

You don’t need to be any kind of genius to know that I am a fairly liberal-minded feminist.  My few political posts and my most recent reblogging of coverage of the recent Gamergate idiocy should tell you that.  I wasn’t intending to write much original thought on that pile of crazy, but as an avid video game player in my free time and reading so much hatred and misinformation coming out of the mouth of men that seemed otherwise to be intelligent individuals, I found myself wondering about it so much I had to put it into an article.

How can men who have to be intelligent, who are obviously in-tune to some degree to the flow of information on the internet and in the world, be so easily duped into believing proven lies and, on top of that, to back up a movement that was founded on hatred of women?  What has made them so devoid of common sense to throw themselves behind a movement that is on the wrong side of the march of progress and history?

Almost half of the world’s video game players are women and that number continues to rise.  Do these men think that their supposedly beloved past-time will survive if they alienate half of the income their game designers rely on?  It defies logic on so many levels, then it continues to stomp on logic until it’s a bleeding, broken mess.  After that, the movement then proceeds to ambush morality for a second round of beatdown.

My first thought is that we are seeing a classic reactionary conservative (not meaning that in a political party sense, though they could be related, looking at overall Republican Party platforms in regards to women) action.  Quite often, when an entrenched group of people who enjoy privilege find that their culture and society are progressing past them, threatening their place in that culture, that group rebels and throws up every possible roadblock, no matter the logic or morality involved.  Most often, this is to do nothing else other than to silence their opposition through fear and intimidation.  They know, deep down, they are wrong, but continue to thrash like babies forced to take a bath, trying to stall the inevitable.

My other idea is that, for the rank-and-file of Gamergate, they are simply too trusting of what their fellow ‘gamer buddies’ say and think themselves ‘too smart’ to get duped.   Instead of actually looking into the issue through the majority of the world’s viewpoint, they instead ensconce themselves into the echo chamber of their friends, having the false storylines of the Gamergate movement reinforced in their minds to the point they see all outside information to the contrary as obvious falsehoods.  Here, too, their conception of their own intelligence is part of their stubbornness … to admit that they bought into GG’s lies and upheld them would be to also admit they were both intellectually and morally too lazy to question what they were fed.

So, there it is.  Those are my thoughts on it.  All I can ask is for those people who have fallen onto the side of Gamergate to wake up, stop supporting a misogynist, hate-filled cause that has made multiple terrorist threats, and, if you REALLY care about ethics in journalism, direct your ire and scrutiny on the oft-lamented connection between major gaming review sites and AAA developers.  If you decide not to do that and, instead, want to continue to whine, thrash, cry, and commit FELONIES, go for it.  The day will come when you’ll find yourself sincerely regretting your pride and foolishness.

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6 comments

  1. While I’m not a ‘fairly liberal-minded feminist’, I am asking a similar question. My wife and I were discussing this a little bit last night (I wrote yesterday about the GamerGate nonsense) and I told her I really wish I could say with confidence that I believed the majority of this was the work of Mom’s-basement-dwelling misfit children.

    But I know that’s not only inaccurate, I think the majority of the voices in this space are not close to that stereotype: they are probably adult males with jobs of some sort who spend their down time spewing hate and bile and getting high off the sensation of virtually slaughtering their friends in free-for-all multiplayer environments.

    While I have my suspicions, I don’t fully understand what it is about the internet that makes people feel they have to pound opposing views into submission. It’s starting to bleed more heavily into reality though; and the end result of that internet mindset isn’t going to be pretty.

    1. I think what started the internet-vitriol-spew was the power of anonymity. When people could say whatever they wanted with few consequences, they became bolder and more extreme until, well, this. I doubt that’s the ONLY reason, but I think it’s a pretty big factor.

      1. I definitely agree that that’s where it starts. I’m starting to wonder if the ultra-polarized political wasteland is a result of something that started there. I plan to write about that soon, but I don’t want to make points that haven’t entirely percolated yet!

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