The Man in the Mirror
Alexander Gordon Jahans
I recorded a short letsplay series of minecraft today. There was no plan, no epic cuts, no script, probably quite rubbish but for the first time in a long time I felt like I was having fun. Growing wheat while tying to avoid creepers, the sense of failure and catastrophe but with slow progress while putting on a show for people who aren't really there . Kind of a microcosm of all that my life is and has been for the past year but this time it wasn't about politics or how I'm such a git. Then as it rendered I decided to finally bite the bullet and listen to School of Movies take on Gamersgate as it mostly passed me by as I am too verbose for twitter and priviledged with the ability to be ignored in that respect.
Of course then movie maker decided it didn't like the fraps footage and after faffing about for an hour trying different programs I gave up and decided to just listen to Gamersgate and deal with the issue later. This is what I wrote on facebook regarding the insight the podcast gave me:
Halfway through the school of movies podcast covering Gamersgate and if anything I think the info is mellowing me on what I thought from ignorance. yes Gamersgate started from bigotry and hatred and dreadful acts were commited in its name but it is hard to really condemn it especially for misogyny when I have also been subjected to 4chan raids and it seems gamers are generally entitled - No. That's wrong poor phrasing. It seems Entitled bigoted provocative people have a propensity for being gamers.
Don't get me wrong I'm not saying this shit isn't fucking wrong and that I don't understand why feminists of any sort would see this as just part of the epic struggles and there is definitely a segment ogf the Gamersgate community to whom the appellation misogynist is wholly appropriate.
To brand the whole movement as misogynistic though is clearly wrong. Games Journalism, like all journalism (*cough* BBC and the Guardian included) has a problem with corruption, laziness and generally shitty work and clearly some people have joined the Gamersgate movement because here was apparently an uprising campaigning for ethics in journalism. If you asked the right people at least.
And it's not exactly like on the one hand you had a braying mob, some of whom had legitimate criticisms and were asking nicely, some of whom spoke in threats, slurs and doxxing, and then on the other were a bunch of frightened women running for their lives. If that were the scenario then sure the good soldiers could be called out and the movement simply criticised. That didn't happen. this is the internet and twitter was no man's land, There was clearly abuse coming from both sides. I'm not condemning feminists for fighting back in kind but it makes the claims of the good Gamersgaters so much more understandable when they witness abu7ser from both sides.
So far I'm just like harrassment of any sort is bad and wrong but you know what ethics in journalism is a fucking important subject that deserves discussion. Clearly Gamersgate was a clusterfuck and not the right way to discuss ethics in journalism but I think that actually if you are a Gamersgater I might be willing to believe that you are a good person who didn't abuse anybody and earnestly believes in their goals. Obviously if you think any movement or ideal gives you the right to issue death threats or rape threats, doxx somebody, or hound them with abuse then you're a monster but that should really go without saying.
This was the about half way through and I decided fuck it I've still got Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 on my laptop and it worked. Hallelujah! Fully registered, my letsplay could begin rendering and then I listened to the rest of the podcast.
I still stand by the above statement, broadly speaking, though I now feel like I got the proportions off and that it's predominantly negative and awful though the conclusion still stands. I understand I feel a whole lot more meh to it but that's from a privileged position, I mean it's not like I get regular plees that I commit suicide, death threats and have had people phone me up at home because they disagreed with me online... Oh wait! Yeah... Yeah, I totally have. So I know it really isn't fun.
Here's the thing though 4chan have raided me on a regular basis and as a result I've kind of internalised their logic and as I listened to Alex Shaw nail down the coffin of Gamersgate for me I realised I understand a hell of a lot of where there despicable people are coming from. Somewhere along the way the persistent raids turned me into their shadow.
So at the end of this 3 hour long podcast Alex Shaw delivers an article by Felicia Day on the gamersgate movement and it's a piece that is moving and inspiring and frightening and brave, talking about confronting fear to face the joy of life. Then he delivers the stinging end note that exactly the feat Felicia Day talked about in the article was then carried out by Gamersgate. It is delivered like a finishing blow, like a bone crunching "These guys are monsters!" and to me it felt like a punchline.
Now maybe my interpretation comes from relative priviledge but what I have found from the beast with many heads that keeps attacking me is that it's almost not about hate and reasons. 4chan doesn't attack to make a point, it attacks because it can. Like a gamer it seems the glowing weak spot and goes "Ahah! I shall attack there!"
Don't ever talk about your fears of being doxed by these fuckers because you're just pouring chum into the water and saying "Here little fuckwits, come get your noms, you know where to hit me."
That's not victim blaming, not intended to be anyway. All abuse is horrible but this is what they do. Top be a feminist or an SJW is to brand or have branded the weakness needed to get to you and once that happens of course they're going to attack that weakness. Because it's easy and it's funny to them.
I am the man in the mirror because I am the mirror to that monster I despise. The pathetic young white man with a bruised masculinity, problematic opinions and a roiling hatred that needs to go somewhere. And heck look at the shit I write I try to have my cake and eat it where I can but there is no way what I write is feminist.
Sort of appropriate that confront my shadow as I look set to finally move out into the light again. I have internalised the 4chan logic, the constant hyper awareness of weaknesses. The need to defend and beat off the stupid kneejerk lashings. I have let it infect me. My favourite Doctor once said you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies, well how pathetic am I then?
See you can't destroy an instinct so basic and crude. Oh you can stop those who take it beyond a comment but as that dreadful punchline shows all it takes is a comment, a single comment to destroy you. Except of course that I am lucky, I am priviledged. My enemies don't want to fuck me. I
t's that little twist of sexual frustration that I think turns a kneejerk need to hurt and a dislike for the unlike into a full on vendetta because if they fancy you but they hate you then something must be wrong with them and that surely can't be. Hell, I probably shouldn't be speaking about this but I think that's why they attack women. If women are not people but objects for your arousal then how can they dare disagree with you? It's all so very freudian.
Says a man who writes stories about people keeping women as pets and toys and eating them alive. But at least I acknowledge that shit's fucked up and don't hide behind a cause and I keep that side of me to fiction. Indeed I try to counter the fucked up shit with depth and character development and an emphasis on respect and agency.
In the end though 4chan doesn't bother me any more, it can't. I've got approved comments only on my youtube channel, I'm not on twitter, I don't care about my reddit and I'm used to them now. The shock has gone. I am afraid for my life but not in case some strange fucker turns up on my door. Maybe that's part of the afforementioned privilege but also because I've felt fear and dread lately I've felt the very real possibility that it could all be over in one bad day. What the fuck is 4chan against that? They're pests, nothing more. They want so dearly to matter, to be noticed, to be hated but they're just pigeons flying about, shitting up the place.
No, the bigger issue is the man in the mirror. I have been carrying this sixth sense of what the fuckwits would think with me for so long and it is time to let that go, to let my self loathing go. I am flawed in many ways. Perhaps in more ways that I have been or will be. I am no saint but that does not automatically make me despicable. I will be a better writer and I will contribute more to society, to help people but I won't keep up the running commentary of self loathing anymore. Time to let myself be happy again.