They are still lying about GamerGate, Trump supporters, and the Alt-Right.
The use of humor, irony and the destabilization of the truth is important. For years, my friends and I dismissed assholes in video game chat rooms spouting hateful rhetoric as performance artists and comedians. They didn’t mean anything by it, we told ourselves, they were just trying to get a laugh or a reaction.
“It is an extremist movement built on destabilizing meanings, making people distrust their senses and doubt reality, and deny responsibility by pretending to be joking or just playing,” Cross said. “Gaming culture, which has long shielded its native abuses by cleaving to the idea that it’s all ‘just a game’ was an ideal seedbed for this classic fascist two-step.”
It’s a tactic we’ve seen Trump employ repeatedly both on the campaign trail and in his presidency. Aside from the violence, the nasty rhetoric and the death threats, this destruction of objective truth is the biggest threat Gamergate and the alt-right represent — they make us doubt our senses and our sensibilities.
Which is why we have to fight. I love video games and, for years, I’ve muted or ignored the vile communities festering there. Most of the people, and I believe most of the men, playing video games aren’t racist, sexist or mean. But for too long, gamers have allowed the worst of us to represent the entire community. For too long, we’ve muted the racists instead of challenging their ideas. For too long, we turned the other way when someone creeped on women on the Counter-Strike server.
We can’t afford to do that anymore. We had the opportunity to shut these bastards down for decades and we didn’t and now they’ve spread from the chat rooms, message boards and online shooters into the real world. They’ve shut down public speeches, tortured journalists and run politicians out of public life.
Fans of video games watched the birth of a new fascist movement and we didn’t even realize it. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, we have to do our part to stop it. When you’re playing a game and someone’s acting like an ass, let them know. If someone threatens to gas the Jews or rape a female player, report them. If you’re brave enough, engage with them and try to dismantle their ideas.
If we don’t fight them online, and now, we may have to fight them in the streets.
It’s amusing that they are still pretending, nearly two years later, that they haven’t been fighting us online and in the media as viciously as they know how. It’s a little less amusing, though not at all surprising, that they are not honest about the way we are simply using their tactics against them.
Regardless, we know them. They do not know us. They simply refuse to acknowledge the truth about either us or themselves, which only works to our advantage.
If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
– Sun Tzu
To paraphrase something I wrote around the time I published SJWAL, both their history and their rhetoric is incoherent. They have to cling to the idea that their enemy is stupid – to do otherwise would risk harming their fragile self-esteem – but somehow this “abysmally stupid” opponent is a dangerous risk. This can only be explained by attributing the danger to evil that goes well beyond the pedestrian variety, and reaches the level of disturbing malignity.
So, they choose to believe in a very stupid, very malignant enemy rather than an intelligent and legitimate opposition. Needless to say, this violates the first principle mentioned above, which is to know your enemy. And they can’t afford to be sufficiently honest with themselves to do that.