Sunday, November 09, 2014

Gamergate Comment

Based on knowing very little. I think there is an assumption that the fanatics in any culture are extensions of the everyday folk.  Or, in reverse, if we see something evil in the fanatics, we conclude that the everyday folks are watered-down versions of the same evil.  I think this is equal-opportunity for fanatics of all stripes.

Thus, we find people who devote their lives to a style of video game and we discover that many are misogynistic. Then we have fun trying to explain why they are this way, and assuming that people who devote a little free time to those games are also misogynistic, just in a milder way.  And we want to clean up the lot of them.

We read extreme feminists, who seem to devote most of their waking hours to grievance, and find all sorts of man-hating evil in many of them.  Then we have fun trying to explain why they are this way, and assuming that women who are just generally feminist as one of their collection of personal descriptors are also man-hating, just in a milder way.

Zip in "gamblers." Or "emergency preppers." Or "exercisers."

Not everyone who cares about germs is borderline phobic.  Not every dieter is a potential anorexic.

But you can make a name for yourself politically if you keep trying to force normal people to defend extremists you can squint and associate them with.  It doesn't matter if it's true.  It only matters if you can make people believe its true.

4 comments:

james said...

Theory and history play roles here too. Sometimes they conflict a bit.

Perhaps there's some sampling bias at work, but my leaky memory suggests that the video or desktop game-playing community almost never gets involved in any serious violence. They pretend a lot, and simple theories suggest that pretending and doing are related, so with Gamergate it looks to me as though theory and history conflict. (Plus something doesn't smell right about the business--I get the sense that some of the threats are fake. It wouldn't be the first time.)

I complained about Pakistani culture recently. Unfortunately attacks on Christians (and Jews) are a regular feature in Islamic history. Just as with the occasional Christian attacks on Jews, the kings would up being their protectors. The theory and history agree a little better here, so it isn't too much of a stretch to link the extremists with the rank and file. Though there is always a spectrum...

bs king said...

You know this was my grandfather's (Dad's dad) big cause de jour. He wrote an entire book on how often we presumed linear relationships when that made no sense. Especially when it comes to social phenomena, a linear relationship is likely to be the worst fit you could have.

I think I wrote this up when I reviewed a study about pacifier usage. Why we would think kids still using pacifiers at age 6 were anything like kids using them at age 2 is beyond me....and yet those authors fitted a straight line to the data.

Sam L. said...

"Thus, we find people who devote their lives to a style of video game and we discover that many are misogynistic." Many? Some, no doubt; many, probable. But "many" by numbers, or by percentage. Misogynistic, or just angry at being put down by women? I do not know, and I don't have the knowledge to even make a guess.

I believe your last paragraph is a true statement.

ymarsakar said...

Then we have fun trying to explain why they are this way

Amateurs play at tactics.