GamerGate: A Plague Ship in Need of Scuttling

Let’s get a few things clear up front: I’m a gamer, I’m male but genderqueer, and I’m a feminist. I’m not writing this to change minds. I am not taking the high road. (Although given the bar set by GamerGate loyalists, anything short of out-and-out harassment of the most vile and craven nature is going to seem positively lofty.)

No, I’m here just to state loudly and clearly that I condemn GamerGate and anyone who continues to support it. Yes, anyone. Even you, supposedly noble gamer who will insist ad in-fucking-finitum, that your hashtag crusade is about ethics in journalism.

It isn’t. It is not. Period. Full stop.

It ceased to be about anything except misogyny, harassment, vitriol, ignorance, tribalism, and the sociopathic ability of some gamers to disregard, utterly, the human dignity of those they see as threats the first time someone carrying this banner decided it would be good to try to ruin a person’s personal and professional life via a sustained campaign of threats.

“But we’re being painted with the same brush!” Yes, of course you are, you’re standing on the same goddamn canvas and refuse to move.

Earlier tonight, Felicia Day broke her silence about her feelings on GamerGate. It took less than an hour – less than an hour – for someone to post her physical address in the comments.

If you’re reading this, and you associate with GamerGate, I won’t even bother asking you to reconsider. If you’re still drinking from that well you evidently enjoy the taste of excrement. I’d rather give you a swift kick to the head, frankly.

But – and this is important – I won’t. Nor will I try to find out where any of you live so that someone with less of a compunction about causing harm to another human being can do it for me. I won’t even sit by if someone does it in my name or the game of the current reigning counter-hashtag, as I understand (and sadly believe) some already have.

Why? It’s called integrity.

The physical and emotional safety of your fellow human beings is paramount. There is no justification for associating with a group that has shown, repeatedly, that it is perfectly willing to harm others as a matter of course. Read that again, please. There is no justification.

You have had almost two months to come to your senses and extricate yourself from a boat with an increasingly dangerous and toxic payload. It no longer even matters whether you wanted to let plague-infested rats into your metaphorical vessel; they’re breeding in your cargo hold and the rest of the world has noticed. It’s way past time this ship was scuttled.

***

Like I said, I’m not here to change minds. I’m just here to add my voice to the growing – and overdue – cultural backlash against GamerGate.

If there’s anything this saga can teach us it’s that “don’t feed the trolls” is not (and never was) good advice. It puts the onus on decent people to indirectly manage the behavior of the worst elements of online culture. In any other arena this would seem patently absurd.

When people say and do horrible things, the worst thing we can do is remain silent. Let’s at least show the trolls and the people who abet them that we have no intention of putting up with their shit.

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