Thanks for joining me in my ongoing retrospective about Milo Yiannopoulos. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest reviewing my post regarding Yiannopoulos’s Catholic Guilt, Ambition, and Failure. That has the whole 411 about his self-hating homophobic bigotry, the Kernel employees he didn’t pay, the possibly fake engagement “to a woman” he announced in 2011, that graph from that spreadsheet he used to keep strategically ranking his friends, and so much more. This post will cover Yiannopoulos’s co-dependent relationship with #Gamergate, the poorly organized hate group willing to grant Yiannopoulos legitimacy provided he does the same for them. I expect to release two more posts about this guy, provided I don’t get totally fed up with reading Milo’s “journalism”, which is so divorced from reality it belongs on the ‘fiction’ aisle.
Milo Yiannopoulos became involved with #Gamergate in September 2014, around the same time he stopped writing for The Kernel (no longer owned by Yiannopoulos) and Business Insider. Despite his previous statements deriding gamers as “beta-male bollock scratchers and twelve-year olds” whom “no one has cared about, ever,” Yiannopoulos was sympathetic; perhaps because #Gamergate seems to hate women nearly as much as he does. Milo’s first article for Gamergate, originally titled “Lying, Greedy, Promiscuous Feminist Bullies Are Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart” marks his entree to the movement. In my opinion, it may be one of the most callous and hypocritical attack pieces he’s ever written:
Step forward Chelsea Van Valkenburg, who goes by the pen name Zoe Quinn. Quinn recently released an online novel called Depression Quest, described as an “interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression.” It’s an internet version of one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books – except boring, and as excruciatingly badly written as its promotional material suggests.
You can play it here, if you’re feeling masochistic. It’s barely a game at all, really, more of a hyperlinked Tumblr blog. Anyone could have made it, as this cruelly worded but factually sound run-down of the current controversy around Quinn points out. Quinn started furiously marketing her game just after Robin Williams died. Tasteless and opportunistic, sure, but many gave her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she was just trying to “raise awareness.” But what later came out, thanks to a startling series of confessions from Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, is just what an unpleasant and manipulative human being she is.
It’s hard to believe some of the allegations made about Quinn, who has been held up as an icon of probity by the liberal tech press, but web sleuths have provided copious evidence in support of their claims. Though she presents herself as a champion for depression sufferers, Quinn picked on a forum for depressed men called Wizardchan, misrepresenting content there to claim she was being harassed. She used her influence to torpedo a charity – a charity! – which was later hacked by one of her supporters.
First, the “copious evidence” Yiannopoulos links to is an unavilable Youtube video. (Sorry about that =/.) Secondly, the link Milo provides to prove this “charity” (which is not really a charity) was “hacked by [Quinn’s] supporters” states: “It’s unclear at this time who was responsible for the hacking”. So a lot of what Milo’s writing here is simply untrue; and the links he’s using directly contradict what he’s saying.
Third, Quinn didn’t “pick on” the shut-ins at Wizardchan; Wizardchan began harassing her once Depression Quest was listed on Steam Greenlight. The lonely boys at Wizardchan were pig-biting mad that Quinn, a woman, was releasing a pay-as-you-wish game about depression via Steam’s development channel, with some of the proceeds benefiting the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. In response, these lonely channers dug up her phone number and masturbated at the receiver when she picked up. So Yiannopoulos has got this backwards – unless making a video game about living with depression counts as “bullying depressed men”.
Quinn is not alone. There is a platoon of irritants in the media whose talents are vanishingly slight, but who generate column inches by the thousand for victimising innocents and manipulating their way around an over-sensitive industry. Some of them,such as Anita Sarkeesian, have no discernible higher purpose in life, except to bother innocent games developers.
These women purposefully court – and then exploit – boisterous, unpleasant reactions from astonished male gamers and use them to attract attention to themselves. What’s remarkable is how deeply unpleasant the skeletons lurking in their own closets often are, how completely those skeletons give the lie to their public image, and how uncritically their claims are repackaged by credulous games journalists.
This bit really illustrates the double standard Milo Yiannopoulos applies when it comes to women and online abuse. According to him, Quinn and Sarkeesian “purposefully court” abuse, but when gamers react by abusing them, Yiannopoulos minimizes it as “boisterous, unpleasant reactions from astonished male gamers.” And he sincerely believes women do this in a calculated manner, as if it was Quinn’s and Sarkeesian’s intent to be followed around by angry mobs who want them dead. But Milo has more to say about the death threats:
Let’s be honest. We’re all used to feeling a niggling suspicion that “death threats” sent to female agitators aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And indeed there is no evidence that any violent threat against a prominent female figure in the media or technology industry has ever been credible – that is to say, that any feminist campaigner on the receiving end of internet trolling has ever been in any real danger. Even in the most famous American case, that of Kathy Sierra, there is no evidence the target was ever at risk.
Basically, because none of the LWs have been stabbed yet, this proves precautions they take for their safety are unnecessary. This makes about as much sense as saying it’s unnecessary to lock your door if you’ve never had a break-in, and puts the targets of these threats in a double bind: if they take precautions for their security, they’re overreacting, and if they don’t, they deserve whatever happens to them. Yiannopoulos continues in this victim-blaming vein for quite some time:
But that doesn’t stop women like Quinn from using these admittedly feverish tweets and emails from angry men to change the subject (usually from their own shortcomings and misdeeds) and play the victim with the help of limp-wristed journalists. Tweets tagged #GamerGate, from video gamersfrustrated by the antics of women like Quinn and the journalists who ignore her sins, have been skyrocketing in the past few days.
They’re ungallant, obviously, but death threats are sent by bored, lonely people – or simply out of casual malice.What’s even more pathetic than taking to the internet to work off your anger, though, is using death threats to get sympathy, or to vindictively pursue your ideological opponents and see their lives destroyed with jail sentences.
Showing off injudicious responses from bewildered men has become something like a badge of honour for a certain generation of feminist campaigner, which gives you some indication of how seriously they take the implied threats. (That is: not in the least.) It’s a sort of online Olympics, where women strut and peacock and compete to show off the most explicitly-worded and imaginative hate mail they’ve received.
Often, they call law enforcement agencies, try to get perpetrators banged up, and even tweet about how they’ve been “forced out of their homes.” Broadcasting information about your whereabouts on social media is an odd strategy for a person who claims to be in fear for their life. The police tend to advise against it. But even drawing attention to that fact is enough to get you slandered on the internet these days, and branded a hateful bully.
Again with the double standard: Feminists are calculated provocateurs looking to entrap male gamers, but the male gamers actually making the death threats are merely “ungallant”, “bored, lonely people” “taking to the internet to work off [their] anger”. The threats are “admittedly feverish” and “injudicious”, but Yiannopoulos seems to think the men making these threats are the real victims here, not the women who receive them. Not only is this a really callous stance to take, but it sympathizes with people who send death threats as “frustrated gamers” and “victimize[d] innocents”. It’s doubly hypocritical when you consider Yiannopoulos has recieved threats himself, but still discounts the ones other people get.
#Gamergate has some unreliable allies. Two of Milo’s events have been evacuated by anonymous bomb threats this year, at least one of which came from #Gamergate’s doxxing and raid board, Baphomet. Unfortunately, Baphomet seems to enjoy doxxing Sargon of Akkad as much as they do SJWs. Yiannopoulos relies upon Baph users as sources from time to time, so he doesn’t retaliate against the board. Instead, he minimizes the threats he himself recieves, and blames them on SJWs:
“most of the threats come from either edgy teenagers, blue-haired bra-burners or the fans of former Jeopardy! winners… and aren’t serious in the slightest.”
But when his own ass is on the line, Yiannopoulos seems not to want to risk actual bodily harm to prove Internet threats are just the “ungallant” and “admittedly feverish” writings of people “work[ing] off anger”. When he’s the one attending the convention, Yiannopoulos hires an escort. According to him, the “real quantifiable threats” Milo Yianopoulos has experienced are different from the “odd disobliging tweet” feminists receive.
#Gamergaters basically welcomed Yiannopoulos, eager to have a journalist – any journalist – who would cover their movement favorably. That’s Yiannopoulos’s function within #Gamergate – to attack their critics and write puff pieces how glorious and great #Gamergate is. In his article “Gamergate: Angry Feminists, Unethical Journalists are the Ones Not Welcome in the Gaming Community” (URL Title:”The Gamergate Movement is Making Great Progress, Don’t Stop Now”) Yiannopoulos relates basically how the movement sees itself:
The video game community is perhaps the most inclusive, gender neutral and colourblind on the internet. It’s also remarkably diverse, producing such offbeat pleasures as My Ex-Boyfriend The Space Tyrant and Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme. So it was a strange choice of target for feminist culture warriors, who heaved ominously into view a few years ago, like the genocidal, psychopathic aliens in Independence Day.
It was time to do away with all that “fun” people were having, said these grievance-mongering killjoy arrivistes, and start taking seriously the overwhelmingly clear moral obligation to include at least six minorities, four gay dudes and a paraplegic illegal immigrant lesbian in every major video game release.
I’m exaggerating, obviously. But not by much: these bizarre campaigners, deploying a series of disingenuous and morally questionable tactics, such as goading people into making unpleasant remarks and then using those statements to publicly beg for sympathy and cash, have made gamers’ lives a misery these last few years.
There’s a lot to unpack in here. #Gamergate thinks of itself as “inclusive, gender neutral & colourblind”, but IRL this works the same as “no one knows you’re a dog on the internet.” The chan virtue of everyone being anonymous (and therefore, equal) also makes everybody male by default.
#Gamergaters also believe games are just fine as is, and that any changes would amount to “grievance-mongering killjoy arrivistes” shoe-horning “at least six minorities, four gay dudes and a paraplegia illegal immigrant lesbian” into what #Gamergaters perceive as “their” games. The idea that women and minorites do in fact play games, and that new games may be released to cater to those demographics is apparently the truth #Gamergate can’t handle:
To the feminist campaigners trying to ruin video games for everyone and a press that refuses to reform itself despite clear evidence of professional failure, gamers have responded with all the heroic defiance of Will Smith delivering a nuke into the mothership — and with just as much style. Through a series of fundraisers and lobbying efforts, as well as polite but firm advocacy on Twitter, they have begun to formulate a coherent intellectual and activist response to those who mystifyingly claim that their games and their culture are both somehow ugly, bigoted and evil.
Uh, I don’t think calling Anita Sarkeesian a “verified cunt” on Twitter is “a coherent intellectual and activist response”. But let’s agree to disagree, and consider Gamergate’s virtues:
#GamerGate has raised over $5,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, blowing past a $2,000 target in just an hour. This figure easily eclipses the sub-$1,000 donation that activist developer Zoe Quinn, whose personal and professional antics kicked off #GamerGate, says she donated to iFred.org.
Remarkably, users of popular messageboard 4chan in a single evening contributed over $20,000 to The Fine Young Capitalists, a charity drive for women in gaming that Quinn’s supporters attempted and failed to sabotage, according to organisers.
Posters on 4chan’s video game messageboard, /v/, helped to create a fictional character, Vivian James, an ordinary girl who happens to hate “social justice warriors” and love playing video games — like many women in the gaming community. The Vivian James meme is slated to appear in a future Fine Young Capitalists release and serves as a reminder that not only is the gaming community welcoming and tolerant but that it deals with insurrectionists with good humour, creativity and kindness.
As proof a movement isn’t “hateful, bigoted, and evil” this could be more compelling. “Creat[ing] a fictional character”, for instance, doesn’t prove “the gaming community [is] welcoming and tolerant”, because Vivian James’s catchphrases are “shut up and play” and “get off your high horse, bitch!” Nor does raising $20,000 for a glitchy game made by a for-profit guy with offshore labor and a reality-show concept selection process qualify as “contribut[ing] to a charity drive.” Even the $5k for suicide prevention gets all the niceness sucked out it, since Yiannopoulos can’t resist mentioning how that donation “easily esclipses” what Zoe Quinn raised from Depression Quest. Dude- I know you’re Catholic, but I don’t think the charity counts if you announce it with trumpets. After a few more paragraphs, Milo says this of gamers:
#GamerGate has exposed both the feminist campaigners and even some gaming journalists as completely out of touch with the very reasons people play games. Gamers, as dozens of readers have told me in the relatively short time I have been covering the controversy now called #GamerGate, play games to escape the frustrations and absurdities of everyday life.
That’s why they object so strongly to having those frustrations injected into their online worlds.The war in the gaming industry isn’t about right versus left, or tolerance versus bigotry: it’s between those who leverage video games to fight proxy wars about other things, introducing unwanted and unwarranted tension and misery, and those who simply want to enjoy themselves.
So, gamers “play games to escape the frustrations and absurdities of everyday life.” They object to “having those frustrations injected into their online worlds”, causing them “unwanted and unwarranted tension and misery.” But if some feminist game really bothers them so much, couldn’t they just… not play it? It’s not like there are any shortage of “hardcore” games out there marketed towards straight male players. Are feminists ruining Gamergate’s life by making games targeted towards other demographics? Because it seems like what Yiannopoulos is saying is that because games like these make straight male players uncomfortable, they can’t be allowed to exist:
In any male-dominated industry, you’re going to find people who speak about women in ways you’d rather they didn’t. (That cuts both ways, of course: women when they get together aren’t shrinking violets when it comes to discussing the size of their boyfriend’s penis, and what he does with it.) And you’re going to find games catering to male sexual appetites by including explicit imagery of women. Game developers who pay heed to the conceited attention-seekers and useful idiots in the media are likely to see their creations fail in the marketplace.
According to Yiannopoulos, “any male-dominated industry” is a self-justifying phenomena. Because it’s male dominated, it has to “cater to male sexual appetites” (though notably not Milo’s own) “by including explicit imagery of women”, and anybody who makes a game that isn’t all Solid Snakes, cigars, and T&A “are likely to see their creations fail in the marketplace.” (Yiannopoulos is dead wrong – the Portal series, for example, features no “explicit imagery of women” or “catering to male sexual appetites” and guys still played it.) It’s weird how Yiannopoulos defends this status quo “natural” when he himself proves #NotAllMen are attracted to this sort of thing:
There’s an assumption in these feminist critiques that this is somehow a cause for shame or outrage. It is not. There’s nothing unnatural about male gamers enjoying attractive female characters. What’s unnatural is trying to police it. Feminist campaigners such as Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian won’t like this comparison, but what their mission represents is a new kind of sexually dysfunctional authority clamping down on the sexuality of the great unwashed, like politicians and some churches throughout history.
Wow. We’re getting back into that whole self-hating gay man thing; Yiannopoulos idolizes “male gamers enjoying attractive female characters” as “nothing unnatural”, and disparages feminists as “clamping down on the sexuality of the great unwashed”. Yiannopoulos always phrases this group as “male gamers”, too – as if the normal male sexuality is a heterosexual one, and the imposition of gay characters (or a “paraplegic illegal immigrant lesbian”, if you will) into a video game would be “sexually dysfunctional” authoritarianism. This guy is ruining games for everybody.
Unhappy, egotistical people will always try to spread their misery around. So it is with Quinn and Sarkeesian. But we should resist their attempts to cover this innocent pastime in shame and opprobrium, because their criticisms are entirely without merit. If there’s one thing #GamerGate activism is proving, it’s that there is no bigotry problem in the gaming industry: it’s an illusion, cooked up by people with axes to grind.
Wait, what? Yiannopoulos was just going on about how predominantly male, straight, and white gaming was, and how that reflects the tastes gaming’s customer base. But there’s “no bigotry problem in the gaming industry”? He can’t quite decide whether the problem is an illusion, or if it does exist, but it’s a non-problem because gaming is a refuge for traditional masculinity.
Frankly, Yiannopoulos posts about #Gamergate can get a little tedious, because it’s always about the damn feminists. Yiannopoulos even shoe-horns that subject into an article titled “Superman Actor Dean Cain on Gamergate: I’m On The Gamers’ Side”:
Having defeated Lex Luthor in the 1990s, Cain has now thrown his hat in the ring against a nefarious new super-villain: the rainbow-haired social justice warrior. On Steven Crowder’s show earlier today, Cain & I discussed the threat to artistic freedom posed by pearl-clutching activists whose fact-free rants about sexism and violence have infuriated both gamers and game developers.
While Cain disputes the idea games cause violence, Yiannopoulos seems as obsessed with SJWs as ever:
GamerGate supporters advocate for higher ethical standards in games journalism and reject the advances of feminist critics who say video games are overly violent and sexist and have a deleterious effect on the real world. They have been wrongly accused of rape and death threats by far-left social activists and bloggers. …
As regular readers will know, the mere mention of GamerGate is kryptonite for so-called SJWs – reason enough for right-thinking people to support it. Now closing in on its one-year anniversary, the hashtag has become a rallying cry for everyone with an objection to hand-wringing moral panickers.
If you want to signal your opposition to hectoring, bullying, public-shaming political correctness, there is no faster way to do it than go on Twitter and type “I support #GamerGate.” That’s what Cain did on Crowder’s show today.
It’s a bit confusing. Whereas Cain expresses solidarity with #Gamergate by being a gamer himself, Yiannopoulos says #Gamergate “has become a rallying cry for everyone with an objection to hand-wringing moral panickers.” Talk about scope creep: I thought #Gamergaters just wanted to play video games, but Yiannopoulos seems to think of them as a personal army.
Yiannopoulos personally is certainly more invested in attacking individual feminists, over and over again, like he does in a post titled “Zoe Quinn is the Perfect Person to Address the UN on Cyberbullying”:
A failed game designer and professional victim most famous for cheating on her boyfriend and inspiring a year-long hate campaign against video game enthusiasts has tweeted that she will be speaking at the United Nations this week as part of a panel called “Cyber Violence Against Women & Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call.” …
Quinn is the video game developer – in the loosest and most forgiving definition of that term – who served as a flashpoint for #GamerGate, the consumer revolt against the authoritarian Left’s incursion into gaming and the unethical gaming press that serves as its entry point. Quinn hasn’t done much developing recently, because she is busy with a Kafkaesque “anti-harassment” project called CON. (The “Crash Override Network”… I wish I was making it up.)
I say Kafkaesque because Zoe Quinn, like most of the intersectional feminist left, exists in a quantum superstate between aggressor and victim, provoking, demonising and ridiculing people she doesn’t like and then instantly crying foul when they respond in kind, retreating into damsel-in-distress mode and calling on men she’s slept with (allegedly) or tried to sleep with (allegedly) or who have tried to sleep with her (allegedly) in order to brand her enemies – most of the rest of the world, it seems – as “bullies,” “abusers” and “harassers.”
Once in a while, Quinn descends from her lofty internet perch of hypocrisy, self-aggrandisement and malice, taking a break from the exhausting duties of being a white middle-class feminist to lecture the world on precisely the sort of behaviour of which she herself was guilty before she realised that, to the media and the authoritarian-progressive political establishment, victimhood is a perfectly acceptable alternative to talent. …
The only problem with this argument is that the real quantifiable threats are almost always against people Quinn doesn’t like: that is, gamers, not feminists. Sure, feminists get the odd disobliging tweet, but real-world bomb threats in Florida and even Washington, DC have only ever been deemed credible by the police when directed at gamers.
Does this all sound a little… familiar? This post is in many ways exactly the same as that other post about Zoe Quinn, although Yiannopoulos wrote these articles about a year apart.
Reading this, it seems like #Gamergate is in the exact same place they were 12 months ago – they’re angry at women in tech, they’re angry at minorities in tech, and they’re angry other at cis, white, het gamers for not respecting their authority. They’re so desperate to be taken seriously that #Gamergate’s been exploited a bunch of times for money, pageviews, and as a recruiting ground for terrorists.
That is really the most dangerous thing about this Yiannopoulos guy – he leaves the door open for creeps like Weev, who described Gamergate as “the biggest siren bringing people into the folds of white nationalism.” Yiannopoulos worked with Weev on articles attacking his ex-girlfriend magazine editor Shanley Kane, including an interview with the man himself. By acting as #Gamergate’s publicist, Yiannopoulos attracts other scumbags he works with, like Weev and Roosh V to the movement. #Gamergate has been exploited dozens of times for money, time, and upvotes, and Yiannopoulos in particular exploits #Gamergate for pageviews. Another benefit is that Yiannopoulos has got #Gamergate in the tank when it’s time to defend Roosh V’s character, or attack abortion rights, or bitch about female Thor.
I could continue linking to ridiculous, repulsive things Yiannopoulos has written or said in #Gamergate’s defense – truthfully, Yiannopoulos has been banging on about #Gamergate for so long I’m surprised his editors at Breitbart haven’t told him to knock it off – but I think I’ve made my point. So I’ll let Milo finish himself off, with this Hair Club for Men style endorsement of #Gamergate, taken from an article by him titled “Sneaky Little Hobbitses: How Gamers Transformed the Culture Wars”:
So, here’s a confession. I don’t just call myself a reporter covering GamerGate any more. I am a proud member of the movement myself. And it’s a wonderful, remarkable group to be in, packed full of some of the quirkiest, smartest, funniest, most welcoming, tolerant and warm people I’ve ever met. Here’s to another terrific 12 months, shitlords!