The concerted violence of #GamerGate has escalated and runneth over. Journalists were baffled by the controversy. They wanted a "fair and balanced" debate. And now a movement they would not take seriously is poised to commit harm they would not imagine.
"This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I'm giving you a chance to stop it."
Yesterday, Utah State University received an email promising a "Montreal Style Massacre" if the administration did not cancel a scheduled appearance by Anita Sarkeesian, the feminist media critic behind a video series examining misogynistic tropes in video games.
" . . . there are plenty of feminists on campus who won't be able to defend themselves. One way or another, I'm going to make sure they die."
Because Utah is an "open carry" state, the police were not able to implement adequate safety measures to protect Sarkeesian, and the talk was canceled.
And so it is that ambivalence to the callous cowardice of men in the face of critique has abetted the ransoming of random people's safety in exchange for the silencing of a woman's voice.
1999: gamers demand we stop blaming school shootings on videogames. 2014: gamers threaten a school shooting because videogames.
— Dead Cousin Squinky (@TheSquink) October 15, 2014
This is not bullying. This is a hostage situation. A bully does not force your face into a toilet while crying "journalistic ethics" to the hall monitor.
There's a word for this—when indiscriminate violence is leveraged for the removal of certain rhetoric from public and political space.
It'll come, I'm sure.
Some in the media thought themselves clever to trick Zoe Quinn into having a "debate" with the people who, in the wake of their success in shutting down Anita's talk, have released every address she's ever lived at to the public, and plan to camp outside her building. So eager for that "big scoop" that they didn't bother to look at what they were picking up. Or to check if it was toxic.
Don't expect the men of GamerGate—who wax and wane over whether their movement is modernist or postmodernist while women are forced out of their homes—to tell the difference between a feminist and a woman who won't look them in the eye. Or to care.
Women have had doxxed.
Women have been forced into hiding.
A woman has been driven to suicide.
A student body has been threatened with pipe bombs.
And it is, to no small degree, the fault of the media and other ambivalent or careless outsiders, of The Escapist, Huffington Post, Breitbart, APGNation, Game Informer, Wikileaks, Richard Dawkins, Intel, Uproxx.
The willful ignorance of the media, both mainstream and "niche," has fostered an antipathy without fear of reproach.
You have failed us, immeasurably, and in doing so, have failed yourselves—everyone. Because the violence won't stop at women who didn't like Dynasty Warriors. That is not, typically, how white supremacy operates.
Oh, you didn't know? Mayhaps a roll call is in order.
Adam Baldwin. Actor. Believes telling men not to rape is same as telling "blacks not to steal."
Davis Aurini. Co-Producer of The Sarkeesian Effect. White supremacist.
Weev. Hacker. White supremacist.
Milo Yiannopoulos. Reporter. "Admires" war criminal Margaret Thatcher.
Justine Tunney. Supporter/collaborator of The Sarkeesian Effect. Wants to bring back slavery.
Hint: Two of GamerGate's most prominent victims have had the last names Wu and Sarkeesian.
Don't mistake a reluctance to incur the stigma of the "supremacist" for a distance from white supremacist rhetoric. Comparing homosexuality to incest and dismissing "racism" as anti-white doublespeak are telltale signs of an unbridled rage toward "the other."
The public faces of GamerGate have something in common and it is neither a love of games or journalism.
Once the fight for video games has been "won," GamerGate intends to expand to other hobbies and interests—expelling women, minorities and "social justice warriors," violently if necessary.
And even if it isn't necessary. You could have just pulled a fire alarm on Anita Sarkeesian's talk.
This isn't about video games. And it won't be about board games or electronic music or anything. This is about the "excising of undesirables."
And you're deluding yourself if you think you and yours are safe from the blowback because you don't know what a Nintendo Wii is.
The harm of bystanders, including other whites, is accepted collateral in white supremacy.
And every second journalists sit there tapping their lip with their fingers, ahhhh I wish there was a word for people threatening to harm bystanders in public if their demands are not met, if only we'd gotten on this sooner—it emboldens the violence and brings the image of a future without those meddling feminists and non-whites ever closer to GamerGate's grasp. If only in their minds (which are horrid and hideous but ultimately well-organized places).
Yes, Virginia, there is a terrorist movement in video games. But it's coming for us all. And silence will not save anyone—but calling this for what it is can make way for a dialog on intervention and accountability.
So we need to come together on this. We need to be on the same team.
We have the skill trees. You have the extra lives.
I've exhausted my video game puns. Journalists: Just do your fucking job and acknowledge GamerGate for what it is before you lose someone or something you actually care about.