10 votes

The Comicsgate movement isn’t defending free speech. It’s suppressing it.

11 comments

  1. [2]
    dubteedub
    Link
    I think this is an appropriate way to frame these harassment campaigns and the free speech debate in general. In my experience, the most ardent "free speech" fans tend to only ever defend the...

    The right wing in our era has wrapped itself in the mantle of the First Amendment; even fascists claim to march in the name of free speech. But Comicsgate, and other geek culture reactionary campaigns, show that this is a lie. When you set yourself against diversity, you also set yourself against diverse voices. The effort to keep certain people out of comics, or games, or geek culture, is also an effort to silence certain perspectives, and to prevent certain people from speaking. Free speech for certain people isn’t free speech at all.

    I think this is an appropriate
    way to frame these harassment campaigns and the free speech debate in general. In my experience, the most ardent "free speech" fans tend to only ever defend the speech of racists or those attacking women or minority voices.

    It drives me nuts when I see people online claiming free speech in one breath then attacking "social justice warriors," "globalists", or LGBT folks for writing stories that interest them or highlight their experiences.

    It has seemed obvious to me that these folks only use "free speech" as a cover for their hate.


    More discussion of Comicsgate on Tildes here

    Comicsgate is a nightmare tearing comics fandom apart, so what happens next

    12 votes
    1. Exalt
      Link Parent
      Not everyone who supports free speech is like that. The fandom stuff seems crazy to me. In general I think the diversity people are onto something when it comes to games/movies, even if I...

      Not everyone who supports free speech is like that. The fandom stuff seems crazy to me. In general I think the diversity people are onto something when it comes to games/movies, even if I frequently disagree with their tactics. I snickered at the shirt caption and it would never have crossed my mind to be offended at it, even though I'm a fairly heavy gamer. Some of my favorite characters (inasmuch as I have them) are female and I frequently find myself annoyed at the endless sexualization of women. If I wanted that stuff I would go watch porn.

      I'm not particularly interested in reading LGBT stories, but I'm not averse to it either -- and if I like the story for other reasons I wouldn't care in the slightest that some (all?) of the characters are LGBT. One of my favorite stories has a really weird half-transgender/half-mental thing going on and it didn't bother me at all. I actually thought it was kind of cool because it meshed nicely with the themes of the story and underscored how powerful the main character's mode of thinking was. On the other hand I'm against anything that alters pre-existing material, which seems to be a favorite thing to do these days. That's not just limited to token diversity things though, it also includes reboots and more mundane discontinuities.

      The free speech thing seems to me to be more important than better media though, because once that's gone it's very hard (impossible?) to get it back. Worse, the rush to strip it away suggests that the people driving it are impatient and thoughtless. That's like shooting bullets in a spaceship -- it's just stupid. Nobody wins.

      I'm against the racism, the stereotyping, all that crap on a very personal level (even though I, as a white male, benefit from it). Why? Because using it creates a flawed view of reality and I see that as the one thing I absolutely can't allow myself to do. It's madness. You can't make correct decisions if you're starting with incorrect information.

      I suppose that in the end I view the diversity push in much the same way I would view the cops busting down my neighbor's door and arresting him for running a meth lab out of his basement. Yeah, it's a good thing, but it would make me nervous. After all, they've never done that in my neighborhood before. What if they decide my (currently legal) weed operation is next? Call that slippery slope if you like, but the one constant in history is that power is always abused. The only variance is in how long it takes.

      With all that said, the craziness on the right seems much more broad than the craziness on the left. I'd rather take my chances and hope diversity loses steam once its goals are accomplished than go along with the religious nightmare the right would like to impose.

      1 vote
  2. rkcr
    Link
    As much as I agree with the sentiment of the article, I don't feel like this is a good read. It's just an alphabet soup of names and events; it becomes confusing keeping track of who did what....

    As much as I agree with the sentiment of the article, I don't feel like this is a good read. It's just an alphabet soup of names and events; it becomes confusing keeping track of who did what. There are better articles summarizing this out there, e.g. this one I just found from the Guardian.

    11 votes
  3. [3]
    pleure
    Link
    As a rule of thumb I don't take any controversy that appends "-gate" to a noun to form its name seriously. If your "movement" can't even come up with an original name its almost certainly...

    As a rule of thumb I don't take any controversy that appends "-gate" to a noun to form its name seriously. If your "movement" can't even come up with an original name its almost certainly manufactured outrage.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      determinism
      Link Parent
      I hope there's a conspiracy surrounding the generation of these -gate controversies, some shadowy organization that orchestrates the outrage so that we can have our "-gate"-gate.

      I hope there's a conspiracy surrounding the generation of these -gate controversies, some shadowy organization that orchestrates the outrage so that we can have our "-gate"-gate.

      7 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        Steve Bannon admitted that when Gamergate first took off he saw a huge opportunity to align them with the altright and jumped in to manufacture more controversy. That is why he pushed Milo to be...

        Steve Bannon admitted that when Gamergate first took off he saw a huge opportunity to align them with the altright and jumped in to manufacture more controversy. That is why he pushed Milo to be Breitbart's standard bearer for GG.

        Steve Bannon learned to harness troll army from 'World of Warcraft'

        https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/07/18/steve-bannon-learned-harness-troll-army-world-warcraft/489713001/

        In describing gamers, Bannon said, "These guys, these rootless white males, had monster power. ... It was the pre-reddit. It's the same guys on (one of a trio of online message boards owned by IGE) Thottbot who were [later] on reddit" and other online message boards where the alt-right flourished, Bannon said.

        Green postulates that Bannon's time at IGE was "one that introduced him to a hidden world, burrowed deep into his psyche, and provided a kind of conceptual framework that he would later draw on to build up the audience for Breitbart News, and then to help marshal the online armies of trolls and activists that overran national politicians and helped give rise to Donald Trump," Green writes.

        After taking over in 2012 at the Breitbart News Network — it was founded five years earlier by Andrew Breitbart, who died in 2012 — Bannon recruited Milo Yiannopoulos to handle technology coverage.

        Like Andrew Breitbart, Yiannopoulos "just had that 'it' factor," Bannon says in the book. "The difference was, Andrew had a very strong moral universe, and Milo is an amoral nihilist."

        Yiannopoulos devoted much of Bretibart's tech coverage to cultural issues, particularly Gamergate, a long-running online argument over gaming culture that peaked in 2014. And that helped fuel an online alt-right movement sparked by Breitbart News.

        "I realized Milo could connect with these kids right away," Bannon told Green. "You can activate that army. They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned onto politics and Trump."

        13 votes
  4. [5]
    demifiend
    Link
    Am I being especially cynical and misanthropic, or has it occurred to anybody else that there might be something inherently toxic about either fandom or the sorts of people who not only gravitate...

    Am I being especially cynical and misanthropic, or has it occurred to anybody else that there might be something inherently toxic about either fandom or the sorts of people who not only gravitate toward fandom but make it the core of their identity? Do the gamers and comics fans who use "free speech" as an excuse to spew hate against anybody who isn't just like them have nothing else going on their lives?

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      ChelsInMotion
      Link Parent
      "Free Speech" has become a weaponized term. I'm not sure when it happened, but I've definitely seen it going that way. I moderated PCGaming over on Reddit for over 2 years, and I just watched it...

      "Free Speech" has become a weaponized term. I'm not sure when it happened, but I've definitely seen it going that way.

      I moderated PCGaming over on Reddit for over 2 years, and I just watched it get worse and worse and worse. I honestly worry about some of those kids, they've surrounded themselves so deeply with other people who will tell them "You're not the problem, it's everyone else. They're trying to take away your ability to be you, and they're applauded for it." Most of these people are good people with just terrible people in their ears, and they're too young or naive to understand that, but there are plenty of just plain bad actors.

      I can't tell you how many times, in a god damned gaming subreddit, I had to respond to "why is it not ok to be white" or have messages yelling about "free speech" if we banned someone for being absolutely toxic.

      10 votes
      1. [3]
        demifiend
        Link Parent
        You don't have to. I've been there. From time to time I've gotten involved and reminded others that we're all guests on a platform we don't own, and that anybody who wants "free speech" should...

        I can't tell you how many times, in a god damned gaming subreddit, I had to respond to "why is it not ok to be white" or have messages yelling about "free speech" if we banned someone for being absolutely toxic.

        You don't have to. I've been there. From time to time I've gotten involved and reminded others that we're all guests on a platform we don't own, and that anybody who wants "free speech" should rent a domain, buy hosting, and run their own goddamn website.

        These idiots just don't listen, and I can't help but think they're the sort of nerds who weren't bullied enough as children.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          fifthecho
          Link Parent
          While that's a horrible though, maybe you're on to something here. This is a topic my girlfriend and I talk about a fair bit. What happens in the psyche of these people to make them so toxic? I...

          These idiots just don't listen, and I can't help but think they're the sort of nerds who weren't bullied enough as children.

          While that's a horrible though, maybe you're on to something here.

          This is a topic my girlfriend and I talk about a fair bit. What happens in the psyche of these people to make them so toxic? I was bullied a LOT as a kid. My family moved around every two-or-so years (hooray for having a dad who couldn't hold down a job) so I was pretty perpetually the "new kid" and didn't have much for friends. Hell, at around 10-12 years old, I gave up on trying to make friends because it just wasn't worth the effort...and really didn't have much for friends until college.

          In college (in the late '90s) I was definitely more than a little bit of the neckbeard-y type: wearing a fedora, putting women on pedestals, and insisting that I was a "nice guy" who was doomed to a life of solitude because women only liked assholes. However, once I started to make friends, socialize...and even date; I cleaned myself up (the fedoras are costume only clothing nowadays, and buying clothes that fit look better than everything excessively baggy) and have done quite well for myself socially, romantically, and professionally.

          So I can see where a lot of these kids are coming from. I've been these kids before. However, the one thing I didn't have was the hate that seems to burn inside of them...and that's what I'm thoroughly perplexed by: where is the hate coming from?

          Maybe I was bullied enough...but having had a childhood full of bullying, I wouldn't want anyone to be bullied more.
          Maybe I had enough friends...but I didn't really have friends.
          Maybe I had empathy. However, I don't know how we can instill empathy into these people.

          6 votes
          1. demifiend
            Link Parent
            I would say it comes from knowing the game is rigged, refusing to play isn't an option, and not having any realistic hope that things will get any better. They see corruption everywhere they look,...

            However, the one thing I didn't have was the hate that seems to burn inside of them...and that's what I'm thoroughly perplexed by: where is the hate coming from?

            I would say it comes from knowing the game is rigged, refusing to play isn't an option, and not having any realistic hope that things will get any better. They see corruption everywhere they look, nothing and nobody can be trusted because everyone's a crook, and nobody is offering them a credible, positive vision that they could use to help build a better world that has a meaningful place for them.

            Worse, these young men know that they're pretty much disposable. There's no place for them in this world, so they thought to escape to the internet. The problem is that the world that had no use for them found uses for the internet, and now they have nowhere to go.

            3 votes