Posted tagged ‘Gamer Culture’

WTF Is Wrong With These People?

August 28, 2014

By these people, I mean (some) male gamers:

Earlier this week, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian posted the latest in a series of crowdfunded videos called Tropes vs. Women, devoted to aggregating and analyzing games that portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters….

…Since the project launched on Kickstarter way back in 2012, the gaming community has been treated to an incessant, deeply paranoid campaign against Tropes vs. Women generally and Sarkeesian personally….now, she’s apparently spent the night with friends after contacting law enforcement about “some very scary threats” against her and her family. She’s published a page of extremely violent sexual threats from the person who apparently drove her to call the police; in it, the user mentions the location of her apartment and threatens to kill her parents, who the user names and claims to be able to find.

Hemessen,_Jan_Sanders_van_-_Tarquin_et_Lucretia

Sarkeesian has tweeted out that she’s safe.  The good news is that some very prominent people in and around gaming and tech have weighed in on her project.  The bad news is that such public encouragement may be making Sarkeesian even more of a target:

In this case, the vitriol might have been compounded by the support her latest video received from popular developers and media figures. Joss Whedon and William Gibson, among others, mentioned it, and Tim Schafer of Double Fine — known for Psychonauts and the Kickstarter-funded Broken Age spent several hours fielding responses after urging everyone in game development to watch it “from start to finish.”

I started to write here about how this is a test of the gamer community, and the need to shame and shun and all that, but we know.  We do.  Take it as read.

And, of course, it ain’t just gamers, though it’s pretty damn obvious at this point that tech in general has a dude-bro problem.  I’ve recently been engaged in efforts to respond to gender bias and sexual harassment on my own patch, science writing, so I know better than to suggest that this is an isolated pathology.  The hate and genuine danger may vary by degree, but it’s hardly confined to one corner of contemporary life.

IOW: if this is a test, it’s a test that we’re all are taking.  Judge for yourself whether, when or if we manage to pass it.

Jan Sanders van Hemessen, Tarquin and Lucretia, before 1579.

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CPAC, Rendered

March 16, 2013

One of the joys of middle-aged fatherhood is the gift of the absurd — which is to say whatever entertains Kidz Theze Dayz — offered up by one’s sprout.

My son’s a gamer — Starcraft, TF 2 and WoW much of the time, but with an enduring love of Minecraft as well.  He’s an avid consumer of E-sports stuff on the various Youtube channels as well. If you’ve missed names like the Yogcast Yogscast, Day 9, the Cynical Brit (aka Total Biscuit, and known in this household as Whole Crumpet) and so on, you’re (perhaps blissfully) unaware of a huge segment of pop-culture.

I’m not sure I minded my long ignorance of the subculture of ‘casters and pro-gaming as entertainment, but once made aware, I have to admit it’s amazing — if only for the way that the gamer community constructed the entire infrastructure of a sports-entertainment industrial complex substantially (though not entirely) from the grass roots up.

1909_Stag_at_Sharkey's

There are significant sociologial and cultural insights to be gained from understanding that process and its results– or smart colleagues of mine think so:  we talk a lot about the political reach (or not) of the digitization of experience and the rise of social networks, and here’s a whole universe in which this is taking place that one can study absent the confounding variable of political passions.

But forget the high-falutin stuff — given his gaming and Youtube passions, my son regularly expands my horizons by showing me stuff I simply would never think to discover on my own.  And because I’m no sober scholar of modern tech/youth culture, I have my own interpretative lens that colors what he finds.  So, as a non-gamer DFH would-be yobbo anti-pundit, I’ll just thank my son for showing me the 36 seconds that captures the pure essence of CPAC:

 

So, as you read about CPAC neo-confederates wondering how Frederick Douglass had the presumption to forgive his former master, who, in their view, had merely provided food and shelter, think this vid.

Image:  George Bellows, Stag at Sharkey’s, 1909.