Some thoughts on recent #GamerGate controversies

I'll start by pointing out the obvious: I'm not really a part of #GamerGate. I'm not even a gamer. I'm a journalist who has written about it, sympathetically though not always uncritically. I think that GG is an important movement not only for ethics in journalism (gaming and other) but also against the quasi-totalitarian "social justice" cult (of which radical feminism is a subset) that is currently doing serious damage to cultural and public life in North America and elsewhere.

So, take my advice for what it's worth.

1. The Margaret Foy situation: many people at KiA and in GamerGate generally are upset about the Breitbart story targeting a college student who tweeted an admittedly dumb and nasty joke about a murdered cop (whom she didn't name), and who got deluged with online abuse and then telephone death threats as a result of the Breitbart piece. They saw it as Gawker-style tactics, and I think rightly so. There's some argument about whether Foy was joking when she suggested the cop deserved it; yeah, I think it's pretty clear that she was making a joke and also trying to make the point that when a black person is killed by a cop, people are quick to wonder what he did to deserve it. I think it was a pretty bad joke under the circumstances as well as a pretty stupid point. (Yes, when a cop kills someone of any race in the line of duty, people tend to assume the dead person was probably a lawbreaker. It's common sense.) But does it deserve an expose? Hell no. Foy was a nobody. She had made one tweet with the #BlackLivesMatter tag. She was not an active part of the movement. She was not exactly a Twitter celebrity. The only argument about the number of her followers is whether it was 20 or 80. Come on. (FWIW, I also think that the Facebook posts where Foy is said to "relish" the Twitter attention are also her trying to humorous about it.)

2. Apparently there are some who feel that GamerGate (or rather GG members, GG is not a single entity that does things collectively) shouldn't be criticizing Breitbart because Breitbart (especially Milo) took their side when the mainstream media were shitting on them. Sorry, but GG shouldn't give up its independence because a media outlet praised it. To take a "don't bite the hand that feeds you" stance is basically to accept the position of a lapdog that gets fed and owes loyalty in return. Again, I certainly don't claim to speak for GG, but I don't think that's what GG wants to be. I've seen many GG members say that while they think Milo has done some great reporting on GG and related issues (and I agree, btw!) they don't have to agree or like everything else Milo writes or does. The same goes doubly for Breitbart. Yes, that site has done some excellent reporting on cultural issues (Allum Bokhari's recent piece on cultural libertarianism was top-notch). Unfortunately it's also run some very unsavory stuff, including fairly overt race-baiting.

3. I'm seeing people make statements along the lines of "You don't throw your allies under the bus" and "We have to fight dirty because it's a war and the other side does it." As I said on Twitter, this is how movements get hijacked by their worst elements. (Also, not everyone who wants to glom onto your cause is an ally.) A culture war in which both camps fight dirty and neither camp rejects the extremists, zealots and bigots in its ranks is most likely going to have no winners, just an escalating vicious cycle of polarization and ugliness.

You can't say "Look how awful anti-GamerGate is -- they openly say that there are no bad tactics, only bad targets!" and then follow that with ".... yyyeaaaah, and we're gonna have to adopt the same attitude if we want to win." Nope.

4. I'm also seeing people say that those who are uncomfortable with certain far-right allies are trying to appease the left. I don't think so. There's certainly no appeasing the SJW left. However, I do think that GG can succeed best if it can be a big tent that includes conservatives like Adam Baldwin as well as libertarians, moderates, and anti-SJW liberals and leftists (who are growing in numbers, by the way). Alliances with genuine extremists, bigots and bullies are bad not only as a matter of principle and integrity, but because they alienate far more supporters than they bring in.

5. Because people have suggested that the anti-Breitbart backlash is an orchestrated attempt to neutralize Milo's coming expose of Sarah Nyberg/Butts: I don't want to comment on this situation too much so far, but I will say that from what I've seen so far I think this is a legitimate story (I disagree with Brad Glasgow here). Nyberg apparently made numerous allegations of GG being associated with child porn via 8chan and repeatedly tried to smear people. She's not just a random person on Twitter but a leading anti-GamerGate figure. As such, I think she's a "combatant," and from what I've seen the charges against her are based on strong evidence of possibly illegal behavior. Do I like the fact that Milo has made prison rape jokes on the subject? No, I don't, but that doesn't invalidate the story (which I'll be waiting to see).

That's all I've got to say for now. Unfortunately I won't be able to participate much in discussions in the next few days because of multiple deadlines (for stuff some of which will be of interest to you guys... :-) ), and I kind of feel bad about throwing this out there and then deserting the battlefield.... but I just felt it needed to be said. Carry on.

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