Friday, August 22, 2014

A War of Echoes

This is the best article I've seen so far on the Zoe Quinn issue, and it's not even primarily focused on Zoe Quinn. Don't care about misogyny or sexism? Fine, (actually it's not fine, what the fuck is wrong with you?), but Paul Tassi points out that this is also a symptom of a society that has given up on journalism. People don't want reporting, or even discussion. They want echochambers:

"The problem is that when people don’t see their own biases or viewpoints reflected in the press, they get unreasonably upset."

Why bother with objectivity when there are hundreds of people who want to tell you how right you are? The internet has furnished us with subreddits, forums, and boards where assholes and whackjobs of every shade and hue can agree with each other until they are whipped into a red-faced frenzy, and they keep going until they explode. Appallingly, what happened to Zoe Quinn has become pedestrian (the woman who works at my comicbook shop is dealing with the same thing). Isla Vista is a more extreme example.

If you don't think Quinn is an immoral slut and gaming journalism is trying to cover everything up, you are part of a systemic conspiracy. The truly terrifying part is that those supposed conspiracies are like egregores. The people who hate these mythical systems of opposition and oppression actually will them into existence by militarizing their opponents. Those of us who disagree are united through hate, and we become an enemy army.

Rape threats? Doxxing? Reading about this shit makes me want to find an echochamber where I can join or found a private army that reflects my own impassioned beliefs (here's one: the prescription for those assholes is an aluminum baseball bat to the genitals. Apply as needed until symptoms subside). Oh look! I'm part of the problem now. I'm a writer, a supposed champion of communication, wit, and eloquence but I do not want to talk. I cannot fathom compromise. Societal progress is no longer the goal. Hell, it was never on the agenda.

What I want, what they want, what we want, is socio-political cleansing. Or rather, we type that we do, safe and masked behind our screens. We can get away with saying and suggesting things that were heinous even by the standards of the dark ages, back when decapitation was in the repertoire of discourse. That immediate threat of physical retribution is mostly gone (for the better), but so is the empathy. We don't have to see the pain and anger we inflict. No matter who we attack, or how we attack them, there are no consequences, save for the inevitable, faceless voices that will whisper praise.

1 comment:

Jonathan Lee said...

There's so much happening here.

There have been incidents of "white knight journalism," which people defend. I don't think this is a situation of defending anyone, but I do think it needed to be picked up upon by game journalism. Some of these allegations about industry folk is something that I think we all do deserve to know. The question is whether or not it can refrain from being an opinion piece, which most of these "game journalists" can't seem to separate from.

I don't necessarily know who's right or wrong in this situation because if she's an adulterer and a dirty marketer, she deserves to be lampooned in some way or form. If none of it is true, then she deserves none of the above. I think those who have been stated to have slept with her for preferential treatment should have some punishment to them too. And the ex-boyfriend deserves to be lampooned for bringing this to the trolls of the internet.