Why We Feel Guilty – Pop Culture and Those Who Make It

If 2015 was the death of our heroes, then 2016 was the death of the reputation of our heroes, as someone on Twitter once said.

Continue reading “Why We Feel Guilty – Pop Culture and Those Who Make It”

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Brain Food – Episode 65

Hello everyone, it’s been a while but here is a book review!

This time around, I’ve reviewed Zoe Quinn’s memoire, Crash Override – How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My life.

You can find Zoe Quinn’s website on how to deal with online harassment here.

There’s also Decent Security.

And The Coreal Project.

 

On Internet Harassment & Vidcon

It’s been over a week since Vidcon has come and gone, and the discussion on one of its highlights (for lack of a better word) is still ongoing, as I discussed in a previous post.

Everyone knows it by now, that Sargon of A Cad attended a panel Anita Sarkessian was on alongside other content creators such as Franchesca Ramsey and Kat Blaque, taking along with him several of his cronies friends circlejerk back patters like-minded companions to sit and occupy the first two to three rows.

Alexandra Erin had this wonderful thread on what went down that I invite everyone to read and think about, especially if you think that there was nothing wrong in what Sargon did.

Anita herself recounted what went down as well as sharing her thoughts on the matter on the Feminist Frequency website.

On Vidcon, Harassment, and Garbage Humans

And Polygon has an excellent article talking about the situation that I also highly recommend.

Anita Sarkessian’s Astounding Garbage Human Moment 

Now, as for the other side, those on the side of Sargon and his ilk, one thing I’ve been hearing said is the sarcastic reply of;

“Oh, sitting at a panel is harassment?!”

“Attending a con is harassment now?!”

And a friend on Facebook pointed out what this line of argument is, which is to take a single action out of context of what’s happening around it, making the person they’re debating against appear to be overly sensitive. By doing this, they hope to appeal to a lot of ‘centrists’ and other middle to left leaning folk and get them to listen to their side.

Except, attending a con and sitting in at a panel is harassment, because it’s part of a pattern of abuse that Sargon and his ilk have partaken in for years now. Heck, with this little stunt at Vidcon, I believe we can add stalking to Sargon’s list of actions taken against Anita.

This is someone who engages in targeted harassment while winking at his fans not to harass others, and it reminds me entirely too much of the actions taken by Anti-Abortion, Anti-women protesters who publish the private information of doctors and patients at Abortion clinics and take pictures of the license plates of their cars.

“Someone should really go and talk to them!” they shout from the front lines to their supporters. “Here’s how to contact them! This is where they live! Not that you should do anything violent or anything, but well, we can’t control how others might react or think or do!”

And then clinics are bombed, doctors are shot, patients are harassed.

It’s the same line of thinking not just with professional harassers like Sargon, Thunderfoot, and Davis Aurini, but with the hate movement Gamergate, when they’re not trying to derail the conversation with cries of virtue signalling or talking about how it’s really about ethics in video game journalism.

They may not tell their followers to harass and attack, stalk and send death and rape threats to basically anyone who they deem a threat to their hobby, but they sure as hell aren’t doing anything to prevent it either.

And what I find worse, and yes there is a whole other level of garbage to garbage humans like Sargon, is that they get paid for this.

Screenshot_35

This is a screengrab right from Carl’s patreon page. Over 6300 dollars a month he gets for him to rant on about how feminism is a cancer, make false accusations over articles he can’t even be bothered to read from beginning to end, and cherry pick from debates to support his own side.

And people happily give him the money for it.

I mean, look at that tagline: creating arguments. If that’s not a tacit admission of constructing drama rather than further intellectual discussions, I don’t know what is.

No, not all the harassment comes from Sargon and his followers, and this started LONG before Anita Sarkessian ever created Feminist Frequency or its huge, successful Kickstarter on Tropes Vs Women in Video Games. Heck, harassing women has long been a thing in our society and is online and offline. Ask any woman, and more than likely they’ll tell you about the harassment they face in every day life, from the simplest “Hey, smile for me!” to being followed in cars and into coffee shops, being begged and threatened for phone numbers and dates.

So it certainly struck me when someone on Twitter pointed out that Anita did was to confront her harasser in person, to call him out in public and point out what he does. That is a hard thing to do for some, because they’re very aware of their physical safety, and I can only commend Anita on her bravery and restraint.

Lord knows if it was me, I might have jumped over the table and started a riot, seeing the face of my harasser smirking at me.

But then again, I’m a guy, and my privilege is that if I were to do that, I’d be praised and celebrated. As a woman, Anita Sarkessian, and women everywhere when confronting the sexist and misogynistic bullshit that permeates their lives, has been called any number of names based on the sexism that calls such women screeching, irrational, and overly emotional, to name a few.

Of course, Hank Green, one of the founders of Vidcon, has his share of the blame to shoulder. He should have been aware of who was attending Vidcon, both as attendees and panelists, and not put Anita Sarkessian, Kat Blaque, and Franchesca Ramsey in danger.

And while that might seem like an overly dramatic reach, partly because I doubt Sargon himself would ever want to face the consequences of taking any physical action against Anita (or that he would want to personally, seeing as how responses to feminists are his bread and butter) , one has to take into account the kinds of people that Sargon and his ilk cater to.

In short, much like the fiasco at SXSW back in 2015, Vidcon shows us that online harassment is a very real thing, and that women are REALLY fucking sick of telling everyone it is.

 

The Toxicity of Gamer Culture

Hey everyone, here’s a video I did on the toxicity of gamer culture and why I believe it came to become a thing.

TRIGGER WARNING: In the video, I highlight some material that may be triggering to those of us who may have experienced sexual abuse and harassment. Take care when watching this.

Now, for further clarification, I don’t want GAMES to die off, I want gamer culture to die. It’s one of the biggest cesspools of ignorance, hatred, and bigotry for straight white dudebros I’ve ever seen and the subjects I talk about are but one of many that have happened over the years that does nothing but reinforce that.

More often than not, it’s the exception rather than the rule that women and other people are accepted, encouraged, and welcomed in gaming groups be it online or tabletop, and for them I’m happy. Gaming can be a lot of fun, but like any medium of entertainment it can only grow from critical thought and evaluation, and that can’t happen if the gatekeepers, dudebros, and gamergaters do everything they can to push, threaten, and scare away critics.

Here are the links I drew images from in the creation of this video. Please check them out for a more comprehensive view of the facts surrounding the subjects I talked about.

Nintendo Firing A Female Gamer Only Makes The Trolls More Rabid 

Nintendo Employee Terminated After Smear Campaign Over Censorshi, Company Denies Harassment Was Factor

Gamers Flood Baldur’s Gate Expansion With Negative Reviews After It Introduces Transgender Character

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Expansion Earns Ire Of Gamers Angry At “SJW” Issues and Trans Inclusion

Tabletop Gaming Has A White Male Terrorism Problem

Davis Auriri Admits He Never Actually Watched Any Of Anita Sarkeesian’s Videos

Back When People Thought Dungeons And Dragons Was Satanic

Mortal Kombat – Violent game that changed video game industry

Awesome Black Geeks!

Hey everyone! Seeing as how it’s Black History Month in the US, I figured I’d share some wonderful black geeks who celebrate and discuss geek culture.

They are podcasters, bloggers, and cosplayers, and they are passionate, thoughtful, and some of the most wonderful people whose content I’ve had the honour of reading, listening to, and consuming.

And in one or two cases, meeting.

First off, we have Black Girl Nerds, which features not only a myriad of awesome articles by its founders, and a number of guest posters, but a podcast and some cool merchandise!

You can find them on twitter as well at @BlackGirlNerds, which is where I found them and have been following them for some time.

The writing on the articles are wonderful, informative, and have changed my opinion on media I’d previously consumed. One example of this was the article by Mel Perez of Women Write About Comics called:

Mental Health & The Strong Black Women Trope

It was a poignant, personal look at the deconstruction of the strong, black woman trope as done through Sasha of The Walking Dead and how she deals with terrible losses in a very cruel world.

Remember the podcast I mentioned earlier? Well, they’ve got one, and for their latest episode, they had on a wonderful lineup of guests, starting with actress Rachel True, who I know best from The Craft, the originator of the twitter hashtag #Oscarssowhite, April Reign, and actor Stefan Kapicic, who stars as Colossus in the new movie from Fox, Deadpool!

So give it a listen here!

Next up, we have I Need Diverse Games, which started off as a twitter tag #INeedDiverseGames by @cypheroftyr because she was sick of not seeing herself in games, and instead saw lots of scruffy white guys.

@cypheroftyr also hosts a podcast called Fresh Out Of Tokens and has interviewed many a member of the game making community in her discussion of race, gender, and sexuality alongside her co-host, David L Reeves. He’s an editor, by the way, and a good one at that, so maybe hire him to look at your upcoming book!

And since we’re talking about games, lets talk about another game-centric podcast called Spawn On Me, hosted by those with the most, Cicero Holmes, Kahlief Adams, and Shareef Jackson! Broadcasting out of their homebase in Brookago, these three discuss issues of racism within a gaming industry that remains, to this to day, very white.

Not only have they interviewed a number of interesting guests, such as Tauriq Moosa and Livio De La Diamond, who wrote about how white The Witcher 3 is and how few people sided with Gamergate, but they’ve also hosted gaming events to raise money for people, such as the family of Eric Garner, killed by police for selling cigarettes.

It’s a funny, poignant, and thoughtful podcast, and one of my favourite episodes has to be Episode 38, The Great Debate, in which the intrepid trio discuss their favourite consoles and just why you should buy them.

I also mentioned cosplayers at the start of this post, and three of my favourites are easily Brichibi Cosplays, Maki Roll’s Chop Shop, and Jay Justice!

Not only are all three beautiful, awesome, and amazing cosplayers who make their own outfits, but they’re all wonderfully talented!

Maki is a burlesque dancer, Brichibi makes her own woodburnings that range from coasters to plaques, and Jay Justice is an LGBTQ and disability advocate as well as an actress.

Now, if you want to check out some more amazing black cosplayers, check out the twitter hashtag #29DaysOfBlackCosplay! The depth of skill and passon shown here is just breath taking and amazing, and shows that geekdom is not solely the domain of white people, despite what the gatekeepers and death eaters might tell you.

And while you’re on twitter, check out the group @WeAreWakanda which promotes and celebrates a number of amazing artists drawing black characters from all over geekdom. They also look at representation in comics, television, and movies.

Then, you should go to their website and buy some of their merchandise. After all, everyone’s got to eat and pay the bills.

Overall though, this is but a taste of the many, talented black geeks out there. Just about everyone I talked about is a gateway to many others who are content creators, who discuss how pop culture explores racism and sexism, or becomes lost in it, and who celebrate and uplift not only other black geeks, but other geeks of colour as well.

In short, for those who ask “How do I learn more?” you have only to google these people and others to start learning. Like, share, and support them with your money not only during Black History Month, the shortest month of the year, but throughout the year as well.

 

Brain Food – Episode 47

Hey everyone, it’s another episode of Brain Food!

And in this episode, I review Jeremy Robinson’s Project Nemesis, with artwork done by Matt Frank, best known for his work on the iDW series Godzilla – Rulers of Earth.

It’s, unfortunately, a book with some really disturbing elements to it that makes me unable to truly recommend it. You’ll find out within.

Trigger warnings for domestic abuse as quoted from the novel.