I feel the need to clear my head and get down some of these thoughts as soon as I can muster them, because I don’t really feel like this that often. There’s always the chance of me growing more numb to the events as they pass, and sinking deeper into an apathy I’ve been fighting to escape from all this time.
I want to believe people are better.
I want to believe people are great. I want to believe that we can accomplish incredible things and look upon the work we have done and call it good. I want to not doubt the people around me and I want to view the world not with cynicism but with cheerful optimism. I want to believe the best of the people around me.
I have to try.
Because not to try would mean giving in to despair.
This is written in response to Devin Faraci’s extremely patronizing but well-meaning article, which can be found here. Any comments about the Chinese copying shit are very much appreciated, because we are so very damn good at it and we’d like some kudos for that.
Double disclaimer: this was actually written last week when I discovered the original article, and as such some of the timings referred to are no longer valid (weeks, etc.). Any information that has been revealed over the last week is therefore not referred to in this piece. If Devin Faraci would be willing to start a rational and non-hostile dialogue with me, that would be wonderful. The offer for beer and videogames does actually still stand.
Shown here is the fictional character Mort, from Gunshow’s Anime Club comics. It was, at one time, a far more accurate depiction of me than I would care to admit.
I’ve already said nearly all I want to about #gamergate in an overly sentimental and entirely too earnest plea for sanity on both sides. What I am going to talk about is something else that became readily apparent as the entire fiasco developed and matured into the royal rabbit clusterfuck warren that it is today. And I am going to do it while doing my best to remove my own moral judgment on the situation. I am not judging the actions of the people involved or what happens behind closed doors. What goes on behind those doors is for their ears only, and the only way we have of knowing what goes on behind those doors, realistically, is if someone on the inside opens it a crack.
What I am judging is the absolutely piss-poor ways individuals in the industry have conducted themselves publicly in the wake of these allegations. These public displays of self-humiliation have been so widely documented that there is an actual tumblr dedicated to recording harassment received from proponents of #gamergate, and prominent figures in both the indie games development scene and games journalism have come out and basically thrown themselves on their own swords live and on Twitter Technicolor. When you’re losing a PR war against goddamn 4chan of all people – the site that has a rather-well-deserved reputation as the “internet hate machine”, you have to be fucking up in so many ways that even people who only found out the internet existed sometime last Thursday would call you on your bullshit if they knew. So as an interesting little thought experiment in public relations, I am going to illustrate how I would have handled this if I personally was responsible for PR in the wake of the Five Guys scandal.
While my current title is Creative Editor, I have some modicum of experience in branding, marketing and advertising, and as someone who at least pretends to be professional from time to time I want to see how this could have been turned into a net positive for, if not everyone involved, at least some of the people who have painted targets on themselves while waving flags proclaiming their stand against internet misogyny.
We shall then compare this to how Zoe Quinn and her loosely-defined social cadre of indies and game journalists (“gamejournopros“) have actually handled events. Let’s give this a go.
Imagine, for a moment, that the Coca-Cola company suddenly became very health-conscious. Obesity in America, they decided, is a big problem. That day, they announce that from now on they will be producing nothing but vegetable juice. They will now be a competitor to Campbell’s V8 Juice. Not only that, but they publicly announce that all soda-drinkers are trash, and if they want to be accepted anywhere they will need to learn about healthy eating habits. Health groups are overjoyed and commend Coca-Cola on the decision. But do you know who’s even happier about this?
Kazerad’s got some wise words.
I’ve spoken out against the term “gamer” before. That was a year ago; it might as well have been sheer millennia in internet terms. Even then, I could smell the smoke from the burning schism in videogames. Things have come to a head in a way I would have never imagined could possibly happen a mere five years ago.
The schism has opened up into a gaping canyon, an abyss that threatens to swallow us all. People stand on either side while the entire twisted morass roils about in the chasm, smeared with all the filth of their corrupted, attention-grabbing gains. Now we’re standing on the edge of the abyss, and suddenly, I can’t think of one good thing to say.