Official press releases (and pompous manifestos) for Hashtag GamerGate were, unsurprisingly, full of self-praise for finally taking it to what it saw as gaming’s deeply corrupt journalism-industrial complex. Imagine my surprise when, upon opening the box, all I found inside were self-serving, woman-loathing, harassing, abusive, stalky, shrill little manchildren behaving like toddlers at the prospect of being denied a fourth lollipop. Marching with them were irrelevant opportunists like renowned misogynist-approved feminist Christina Hoff Sommers (recently appointed official court feminist by the Manly Atheist Leadership Establishment Society, whose misogynist thralls overlap significantly with #GG’s) and assorted rightfully long-forgotten fringe conservatives, all lining up to encourage (read: cynically exploit) the ever-increasing rageboy chorus in order to enable their own return to the limelight.
What was supposed to be some kind of grassroots Waterloo for gaming journalism ended up more closely resembling the contents of a water closet. The advertised aims of holding gaming journalists’ feet to the fire and holding developers responsible for unfairly gaming the system (as it were) were no more substantive than the hot air currently being blown out the side of my laptop. Though the targets have been legion, the main villains in the piece – two independent game developers and one gaming critic, all women – are neither journalists nor large players in the industry. The instigator of the movement, a jilted lover of one of the women, penned and publicly posted a list of mouth-foaming lies about his former flame that were so easily and quickly debunked that they may as well sit next to “Creationism” in the Encyclopaedia Bovinus Excreta (the big one regarding said flame’s sleeping with a journalist in order to garner good press was instantly belied by the fact that said journalist never reviewed said game! That’s a plot-hole worthy of Michael Bay). The “good guys”, if there ever were any, were nigh-instantaneously replaced by the kind of ranting, incoherent, double-fisted hate-wankers you’d normally only find in Youtube comment threads but have, emboldened by internet anonymity and the company of fellow woman-hating pre-adolescents, seen fit to air their “grievances” (chiefly in the form of intentionally offensive sexism or abuse, frequently in the form of graphic threats of rape and murder – on occasion including the alleged villains’ home addresses) via social media. They are aided in this by the aforementioned nobodies who, like the opportunistic predators they are, have swum to the chum.
I’m used to being sold a pup by press releases, having compared many a game, politician, film, book and TV series to their PR and finding them wanting, so disappointment would be the wrong word to use here (perhaps “reappointment”?). However, Hashtag GamerGate is by far the most egregious case of the label not matching what’s in the box I’ve yet encountered. The primary players are tooth-grindingly stupid, obsessively hateful or attention-seekers of the lowest possible order, with fewer relevant things to say than any given Kardashian on any given topic. Their targets are in the crosshairs not for lapses in journalistic ethics, nor for bribery or corruption, but for the heinous offences of 1) not coddling and kowtowing to a large and vocal subsection (some would say subspecies) of the gaming community in the way said subsection apparently thinks they deserve and 2) not shutting up and going away in the face of sustained intimidation campaigns, instead continuing to say things that upset the clearly emotionally delicate GameGaters’ feelings.
The aims of #GG might be loftily expressed via several-dollar words and fine-sounding phrases, but they are belied by naked, unapologetic, incandescent misogyny to such an extent that it now defines the movement – and will in perpetuity. If #GG was a movie I would not only urge, beg and bellow at you to not watch it, I would advise all and sundry to blockade any cinema that screened it for the good of humanity. History will not look kindly on Hashtag GamerGate, and rightly so.
No rating given. Even “minus one star” would give this dog’s breakfast more legitimacy than it deserves.