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#GamerGate – the canary in the coal mine

Looking back, it’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of GamerGate: it marked when the Left suddenly and unexpectedly lost control of social media, right at the point where the influence of social media actually started to matter. In a sense, it was the second wave of discontent that started with the arrival of anti-MSM blogs in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, but within a very different internet environment compared to ‘The Golden Age of Blogging’ 2001-2010. As has often been the case in military campaigns, when one side becomes greatly overextended, they only realise they have lost the initiative when they seek to advance and experience a completely unexpected reversal: a result that may seem obvious and perhaps even inevitable to a historian looking back, but which was far from obvious to the people on the ground at the time.

So certain was the Left that they had won the culture war, so confident with the established media under their effective control that ‘truth’ was theirs to declare, that they gave up on any pretence of objectivity. After all, their enemies had been swept from both airwaves and print (I sometimes cannot tell the difference between the Times and the Guardian and the Economist). And so they began to manoeuvre with the assurance and arrogance of an army under an umbrella of complete air(wave) supremacy, a supremacy that suddenly proved to be illusory because opinions had moved on-line.

I could just as easily be talking about Brexit or Trump, for it was a widespread tone deaf lack of introspection by establishment folk that made those things possible (albeit for very different reasons)… but the way I see it, GamerGate was the canary-in-the-coal mine. And almost no one on the Left noticed that particular canary had fallen off the perch and dropped dead. I imagine when the history of Brexit and Trump are written, GamerGate will probably be a forgotten footnote (and it is indeed a mere footnote), but I think it was (and sporadically still is) a more significant series of protracted skirmishes in the culture war than a lot of us Old Farts realise, a very successful clash that radicalised many younger people in ways that horrify the Tranzi Left.

And their response every time has been to double down as if nothing has changed, eventually stripping words like ‘misogynist’, ‘racist’ and ‘nazi’ of any meaning in the process.

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82 comments to #GamerGate – the canary in the coal mine

  • Cal Ford

    Hard to disagree with any of that.

  • lemon jellyfish

    #GG was also when a lot of people who thought themselves left or right realised actually they had a common enemy in the corrupt shits who ran the gaming press and many games companies. #GG was what lead to my personal “realignment” on a hell of a lot of completely unrelated issues over the last couple years, because it turns out the games press & its corrupt self-serving shills were really just a microcosm of a waaaaay bigger problem.

  • William Newman

    I would only quibble with the definite article in the title, because I think gg was only one of several important surprising developments during the Obama administrations that suggested that new sources of information were really getting traction, and that suggest that what had looked to the unwashed like the establishment casually liquidating its credibility was indeed the establishment casually liquidating its credibilty, or at least something very similar. (E.g., perhaps *arrogantly* *ignorantly* liquidating its credibility instead of doing it with casual lordly *indifference*.) In particular, Eric Cantor failing his reelection at about the same time was an elephant in the coalmine, and in the ordinary not-desperately-cynical view of the world, ambitious politicians adjusting their priorities was a predictable outcome of that event, just as the same worldview would expect some rethinking and backbiting in ambitious media from the embarrassments and gotchas of gg. Instead, of course, in the goofy timeline I find myself in, the one in which everyone instantly knew what Instapundit meant when he started saying “2016, man”, all but one Republican presidential candidate stubbornly marched on together in mainstream message discipline, as though nothing of importance was going on, and the important thing was to exercise solidarity in defying popular sentiment. That seems pretty similar to, and roughly as impressive and weird as the indifferent-to-appearances way that various media outlets and hangers-on stubbornly brayed the same clumsy talking points on gg.

    Another related pattern of stubborn lockstep orthodox disconnect from popular sentiment (though one lacking any single moment when a creature fell over) was the long grind of the Western government policies on the mideast, Islam, and their interaction with immigration. The Obama administration and several others (notably Merkel) crafted a curiously indefensible and eyecatching set of policies and rationales and talking points, and got hit with a number of really eyecatching and catchy gotcha events on top of that. And the respectable media instead of succumbing to the temptation to put some distance between themselves and the stupider bits, instead lashed themselves to the mast and chanted disturbingly goofy dishonest orthodoxy louder. For years. When the orthodoxy was that Fort Hood was not terrorism but workplace violence, and Benghazi was a movie protest, and Cologne was nothing to see here move along, the rising chorus of superficially logical and truthful sneering and jeering from deplorable heretics was becoming hard to miss even for many people who stayed in the shallow book of faces end of the Internet pool and never heard of gg. And while I doubt that a single phase change inflection point could be found in the data, I bet those with eyes to see can calculate impressive numerical differences in the efficiency of the deplorable debunking ridicule information pipeline system from its 2012 state to its 2016 state.

    Also, I don’t know how to measure it and indeed the effects are largely invisible to me, existing e.g. in private correspondence and even-more-private resolutions, but two events during the period seem likely to have done a lot to invigorate deeply bitter opposition of a “hmm, let’s find new channels, new allies, and pray that we don’t need to go further than that” character: Obama backing the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, and Obama reinventing James II’s view of the dispensing power for the purpose of legalizing illegal immigrants (and letting his supporters reinvent James II’s supporters’ characterization as “tolerance” of selectively waiving the law for his allies while enforcing it against others). I was particularly impressed that Cantor lost his election even before Obama decided to raise the temperature with that little exercise in Stuart anti-Declaration-of-Rights anti-Constitutional statecraft, but impressed though I was, I was not mentally prepared for the doozy of an election which followed.:-|

  • bobby b

    I still get a chuckle out of how it all started – one guy who, discovering that his game-designer girlfriend was spreading her charms widely, wrote a long blog post about it, letting out the secret that her paramours were writers in the game-critique industry who were giving games high ratings for factors unrelated to the actual games (wink wink).

    And then he got piled on by people defending her right to lie to him and sleep around because she was a poor repressed woman, and then they got piled on by guys saying, no, she’s a whore and so are these game critics, and then the SJW types decided all gamer-guys were nerdy neanderthals who hated women, and the fun began.

    Good times . . .

    Point is, the SJW’s went full-bore just knowing that, like all the times before, they would win and vanquish the dolts and reign over the battleground de jour.

    Oops.

  • bobby b

    One sort of humbling thought: Gamergate, which did indeed represent the first time someone battled back against the SJW’s with a “screw you!” instead of a “no I didn’t!”, was driven by lefty gamers.

    We’ve had our best successes since then copying what lefties taught us would work against lefties.

    It could be that this worked because the media – social and otherwise – had been shut down to non-lefties, and it took lefty voices to get through the filters and make the Gamergate stink. Had right-leaning types tried the same thing, it might have simply died for lack of an audience.

  • Achillea

    Actually, the Sad/Rabid Puppies campaign against the lefties in sci-fi predates GG, but GG was bigger and better-publicized.

  • Paco Wové

    Bobby B.–

    then he got piled on by people defending her right to lie to him and sleep around because she was a poor repressed woman, and then they got piled on by guys saying, no, she’s a whore and so are these game critics, and then the SJW types decided all gamer-guys were nerdy neanderthals who hated women, and the fun began.

    That’s a far more accurate and information-dense summary of GG than anything you’ll find on Wikipedia. Congratulations!

    “Point is, the SJW’s went full-bore just knowing that, like all the times before, they would win and vanquish the dolts and reign over the battleground de jour.”

    As I mentioned to my spouse just today, what GG showed was that SJW’s operate entirely within the realm of public shame. And when they tried to do battle with opponents who were incapable of being shamed, the SJW’s weapons became useless. The pattern was set – all it took was somebody who was truly shameless, but on a national stage. Once Trump stood up, said something outrageous, got shit for it, and kept doing it anyway, the spell was broken.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I think it’s a good point that gg was a canary in the coal mine for a series of (mostly unexpected) events that have certain common attributes – and that these events may be partly attributed to the new power of social media. How long until the mainstream gatekeepers of polite opinion and the Left (but I repeat myself) finds ways to sufficiently dampen the impact of this medium to materially neutralize its power to impede “social progress” or disrupt “polite opinion” most of the time?

    Even with Trump, Brexit, the Dec 4, 2016 Italy referendum the Western world remains on an essentially unchanged path with regards to debt, taxes, (Muslim) immigration, demography, and neglect of traditionalist Christian principles.

    I’m skeptical that the power of being called a racist, sexist, or Nazi has or in the foreseeable future will lose sufficient effect to actually lead to a reversal of the West’s current suicidal path to demographic, cultural, and financial oblivion.

    I think that Narendra Modi’s massive political victory in 2014 to become PM of India is talked about not nearly enough – at least in the West. I’d argue that election was in many ways on par with Trump and Brexit in terms of importance.

    Modi is a serious nationalist, a religious Hindu, and a member of the somewhat controversial Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghused. He won a landslide victory in the largest democracy on earth by ramping up turnout among the hard-right base of his BJP party by using very nationalist, anti-Muslim, anti-government bureaucracy, no-nonsense, and pro-business rhetoric. Lets remember that India has more Muslims than any other country on earth except Indonesia.

    In 2009 the BJP’s coalition won 159 seats and the Congress’s coalition won 262; in 2014 the BJP soared 336 and the Congress fell to a mere 58. The BJP’s coalition was able to form largest majority government since 1984, and it was the first time since that election that a party has won enough seats to govern without the support of other parties. This was a massive rightwing political realignment away from secular socialism towards Hindu nationalism and capitalism. In the largest democracy on earth.

    Trump emulated Modi’s approach in many ways. A very high share of Trump’s supporters have access to social media, but what share of Modi’s supporters did? I don’t know but my guess is not nearly as many proportionally. So this is one reason why I’m skeptical that social media is the sole (or perhaps even primary) explanatory variable for Brexit, Trump, etc. Right-wing politics seems to be on the ascent in certain non-Western countries. Israel, India, Japan chiefly.

    I think in a couple centuries Brexit and Trump will be by wise men seen as particularly passionate lurches (largely in the mold of Reagan’s Revolution (since the Revolution federal debt has grown from under $1 trillion to about $19 trillion lol so much for Revolution) and Harding’s Return to Normalcy (pre-WWI American life is more alien to modern Americans’ sensibilities than most other countries are today – the past is a foreign country and Harding never returned America to normalcy, the madness of Wilson continues on steroids)) against the Progressive tide of history within the West that was made inevitable by 1517, while the ascent of Modi and right-wing politicians in other non-Western countries during these next few decades will be viewed in a very different light.

  • QET

    This is a fascinating thesis. I had not connected those dots but now it seems obvious, especially in light of some of the more recent opposition to SJW “overextensions.” (And “complete air(wave) supremacy” is brilliant!).

  • William Newman

    “I think in a couple centuries Brexit and Trump will be by wise men seen as particularly passionate lurches …”

    It can be pretty hard to tell which lurch is temporary, and to tell which theme is doomed to merely propel unstable lurches rather than to propel stable change. Various of the themes which took off when Luther nailed his theses to the door were not entirely new, and had been lurched toward in various ways before, and past performance turned out not to be a guarantee of future results. Plausibly the new environment (esp. printing press and gunpowder, and secondary effects like spread of literacy as a consequence of its increased value given printing) made it more likely for those themes to take off in Luther’s time. But that is probably clearer in hindsight than at the time, and it is not crystal clear even in hindsight.

    Britain in the 17th century is also a fascinating testing ground for one’s ability to distinguish lurches from sea changes.:-|

    How much has our environment changed? The internet is a huge change, and even if there were no internet, things like easy desktop publishing and cheap DVD-R and thumbdrives would probably suffice to be huge changes. And our society is still adjusting to the vast sea change of getting so rich that we can pursue vastly stupid central policies and various goofy individual choices too, enough to reduce per capita GDP fourfold or more, and still sail far above any hard failure like starvation. And ambitious and thoughtful people are still adjusting to the political possibilities of the new tech. Recent stuff like Trump and Brexit seem to show clear advance in the state of the political art of bypassing entrenched media monsters on the cheap, but they may not be a good guide to how big the potential advance is. There’s no obvious reason for people to stop trying to advance the state of that art, and I expect there are relatively easy highly cost-effective advances remaining to be made.

    There’s also a nearby related pile of political flammables that hasn’t caught fire so far but could — tax-funded and tax-exempt orthodoxy mills, esp. universities, but many other things too. This has become a big chunk of government spending and a big carveout of government revenue, rather like, oh, monasteries once were, and has long been protected by a media-restricted environment in which it could have artificially protected reputation and legitimacy. And it has been doing a lot to make itself a laughingstock and to make enemies, with an arrogant indifference to perceptions that might be more dangerous than before in these days of less central media control than before. (The manifest excellence and endearingness of “Piss Christ”, of old departments like sociology and newer departments like narrower grievance studies, of _Arming America_ and the Sokal hoax, and of requiring photos on applications in order to further the compellingly supraconstitutional national interest of excluding those blasted East Asians…) I don’t know quite what it would take to push that too far, but if/when pushed too far, the transition of a policy like “tax the endowments [heavily]” from crank grouchiness status to triumphant orthodoxy status might not take anything like a decade to complete, especially if current political forms hang together long enough that pension and other fiscal misconduct is pushing the government to other expedients (e.g., nationalizing IRAs).

  • lucklucky

    I think it was a big sign of media narrative power loss when the political media stopped to use “Fake News” tag they tried to create when they saw it started to be used against them.

    This text in a blog about Overton Window which the author calls the Overton Bubble captures Perry text and is a good description of situation.

    “At the same time as this recent breakdown of hegemonic intellectual control by the elite consensus, we have seen a radicalization of that consensus, a rapid shifting of the Overton window to require affirmation of ever-newer political correctness norms, and to require disavowal of opinions widespread among the elite even 10 years ago. Despite an increase in the power and availability of “right wing” and other unorthodox ideas, folks within the Overton window are less willing to hear and understand ideas outside the mainstream than ever before in Western history. Even at the height of religious persecution of heretics, top theologians were engaging more honestly and openly with the best heresies than Harvard does today. The Overton window has become an Overton bubble, with most respectable people trapped inside of it, unable to hear or think thoughts outside it.”

    We believe these two trends – breakdown of the intellectual power of the Overton window, and radicalization into the Overton bubble – are related.

    “If we interpret the actions of the consensus inside the bubble in the context of their old hegemony, they make perfect sense. When media and universities had hegemonic control over the intellectual space, an effective, if destructive, tactic was to radicalize the thing a bit to flush out the insufficiently loyal, and then purge everyone who doesn’t step in line. The heretics, thus exiled, would be doomed to wander the intellectual wasteland outside of the universities, and would not be able to organize any kind of counter-thought. Thus the Overton window occasionally shifting and expelling the “bigots” was an effective means of political control.”

    “Today, it is no longer effective; the expelled intellectuals go on thinking and publishing and working together, they just do it over the internet in an uncontrolled fashion. It’s still weaker out here for the most part than inside the bubble, but that has been rapidly changing over the past few years, and we can expect the trend to continue. It is no longer effective because exclusion from the bubble, no matter how vigorous, is no longer intellectually fatal, and is even becoming liberating.”

    http://thefutureprimaeval.net/the-overton-bubble/

  • bobby b

    “That’s a far more accurate and information-dense summary of GG than anything you’ll find on Wikipedia.”

    Thanks. But that says more about the failure of Wikipedia than anything else.

    Wikipedia has become a site that’s fine to go to if you want to know about the density of helium, or the geography of southern Greece, or string theory, but if your topic involves the possibility of a partisan opinion, then it has been rewritten by SJW contributors so as to be meaningless.

    Various people have tried to fix Wikipedia, but the progressive editors always – always – get their way, and history gets rewritten to fit their narrative.

    A few people have tried to use the Wiki forking ability – not entirely sure what that means, but it has something to do with how Wiki makes its database usable and reachable from other platforms – in order to create alternatives to Wikipedia that do not allow for the partisan editing that subsumes Wikipedia. The most successful so far – the site I go to instead of Wikipedia – is Infogalactic.com.

    Headed by the dread Theodore Beale (a/k/a Vox Day), their mission was to use all of the same information used in Wikipedia, and to allow editing, but not to allow deletions. If someone wants to rewrite an entry, they cannot replace text – they can only add in their own input. Thus, readers see where arguments are occurring about entries, and can make up their own minds.

    A great example occurs with Gamergate. The Wikipedia entry is incredibly dishonest, turning the entire saga into a tale of how the noble SJW’s are saving gaming from the haters, while the Infogalactic entry tells an accurate tale.

    I was reading the Zoe Quinn saga as it happened, and later read the Wikipedia entry about it, and at first I thought I had the wrong scandal name. The Wiki entry bears no relation to what really happened, but that’s how millions of people will learn it.

    Infogalactic is a great site, but my concern is that, if the non-progressive world sets up its own social media (GAB) and info-media (Infogalactic) universe, but that universe never reaches the huge audience reached by the Twitters and the Wikipedias and the Facebooks, do we win a battle (by at least getting accurate information out there) but lose the war (because we’re no longer fighting to bring accurate information to Twitter and Wiki and FB users)?

    They’ve found ways to filter non-progressive thought from Twitter and FB and Wikipedia, which is how I think Gamergate made it by the gatekeepers – it came from progressive gamers to begin with, and took them by surprise – and we still haven’t found a way to overwhelm the filters with conservative or libertarian thought. And Gamergate made them nervous even about some progressive thought, so the filters are getting tighter.

  • Thomas Hazlewood

    The ostracization of the KKK in the US took its waning influence. Declaring half the country to be the KKK has cost the Left its influence because their credibility is now called into question. They are confused as to why their condemnations no longer get traction, save in their own organs.

    The GG attempt to paint its opposition with a broad brush as haters, misogynists, etc, met serious opposition because it aimed its accusations at a very large segment of its population. Ostracizing a small body, such as a small religious sect, can be effective because its voice never escapes that small, confined, group. Ostracizing a large body, indeed, the largest body of a host, plays out as did GG, Brexit, or the Trump campaign.

  • Sam P

    I think the first time these rumblings showed up in a noticeable way (to the wider than blog world) was actually the crowdsourced destruction of the authenticity of the Killian documents (the 60 Minutes pre-election attack on George Bush, “Rathergate”).

  • Eliza Q

    I haven’t read anything on gamergate in a while. Can anyone post a reply on the current status? Is it still being fought? Did gamer media divide into two camps? What was the lasting result of the big kerfuffle?

  • Darin

    Sam P

    I think the first time these rumblings showed up in a noticeable way (to the wider than blog world) was actually the crowdsourced destruction of the authenticity of the Killian documents (the 60 Minutes pre-election attack on George Bush, “Rathergate”).

    The finest hour of Free Republic.

    Shlomo Maistre

    Modi is a serious nationalist, a religious Hindu, and a member of the somewhat controversial Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghused.

    Are you aware what BJP and RSS think about Catholic Church and Christianity in general?


    I think in a couple centuries Brexit and Trump will be by wise men seen as particularly passionate lurches

    The arc of the moral universe? The right side of history? Is it Barack Obama speaking? 😛

    World in 2300 (if there is someone left to write history) will be as incomprehensible and alien to us as would be our world to people in 1700. I do not see any point of guessing what would “future historians” think about us (if anything) and whom of us (if anyone) would they praise and admire.

  • Eric

    I sometimes cannot tell the difference between the Times and the Guardian and the Economist

    It is to weep. The Economist used to be an outstanding publication – expensive as hell and worth every penny. Now it just serves up the same center left facile pablum you find everywhere else.

    As to the larger point, I agree, though the people on the other side are still thoroughly convinced they emerged victorious by courageously announcing we were all racists and sexists.

  • bobby b

    “Now it just serves up the same center left facile pablum you find everywhere else.”

    In their defense, they still use bigger words than most other periodicals.

    But they do use a lot more of them wrong than they used to.

  • I’ve been a part of the Gamergate movement since October 2014. I agree that Gamergate may well have been a cultural turning point. What happened with Gamergate was the SJWs made the mistake of attacking gamers—a group that contained a substantial minority of people who just don’t care what “all the good people” think.

    Gamergaters were called every nasty name in the book. Gamergate supporters were doxed, threatened, and harassed (the SJWs were especially vicious to female and minority GGers). Bomb threats were even made against two of our events. And we did not go away. They did their best to make “Gamergater” equivalent to “evil misogynist, homophobic, racist, harassers”. And we ignored them. When your power is based on social ostracism, it is useless against those who have already been socially ostracized.

    All the while, the media coverage of Gamergate demonstrated to the tens of thousands of people involved, just how corrupt, lazy, and incompetent the media is. And not just the gaming media. Even more importantly, people watched what happened to Gamergate and realized, if these guys can stand up to the SJWs, so can we. And thus a preference cascade began.

  • Morkoth4682

    Sam P
    I think the first time these rumblings showed up in a noticeable way (to the wider than blog world) was actually the crowdsourced destruction of the authenticity of the Killian documents (the 60 Minutes pre-election attack on George Bush, “Rathergate”).

    I was thinking the same thing… The Rather-gate scandal was when I first started becoming aware of the conservative blog-o-sphere and finding like-minded individuals on the internet… Free Republic, Ace of Spades, Little Green Footballs (before CJ jumped the shark), The Gateway Pundit, etc…

    Rather-gate was (in my memory), the first time the MSM got caught red-handed undeniably lying to the American public in order to change the outcome of a Presidential election…. And it resulted in the first major media scalp taken by our side… It was the fatal crack in the dam from which all other cracks followed…

    But I think GG was the first time our side successfully used the left’s tactics against itself, as unfortunately truth and facts were not always enough to overcome their firewalls…

  • CaptDMO

    Gamer Gate was the first…
    Meh. HUAC, McCarthy/ Communist Party gub’mint entryism“Hollywood” (et alia.)
    The criminal election interference/obstruction in the “signaled” US IRS/Tea Party brew-ha-ha (among other appointed offices)seems to show signs of “consequences”, and “cleansing” now.
    Crazy antics will ensue.I SWEAR I could have heard the sound of the manufacture of working scale model guillotines, and trap door gallows, being packaged for National Distribution as desk top “Novelty Items”.

  • james higham

    Beautifully put, Perry.

  • The Games Press devalued themselves to the point I was suspicious of any game with high scores reviewed by IGN etc. and I became dubious about bad reviews of games which might be getting marked down for not being Politically Correct… until I more or less just wrote off the games media and only read independent sites with no ideological axe to grind.

    Mass-Effect-3-IGN-review-score

    But at least independent sites with no ideological axe to grind were there… but beyond games, the MSM have sadly made even principled well considered opposition to Trump more difficult. Likewise, due to the absurd and utterly over-the-top ‘Project Fear’ against Brexit, it has become hard to know when the press is not lying about something that actually should give pause for thought.

    So lest anyone think I am delighted to see the media burn, I am actually horrified, but they did this to themselves.

  • Johann Amadeus Metesky

    At the time I said that GamerGate was a bridge too far for the SJWs and an illustritave example of their hubris. They decided to go to war with folks who play networked war games for a hobby.

  • In the SFnal world, the Sad Puppies and Hugos controversy that occurred at much the same time as GG was equally enlightening. Moreover I’d say it was enlightening about the whole culture of publishing and Hollywood not just SF because once authors began to speak out it became clear that it wasn’t just SF and Fantasy where the left was exerting undue influence.

  • SDN

    “How long until the mainstream gatekeepers of polite opinion and the Left (but I repeat myself) finds ways to sufficiently dampen the impact of this medium to materially neutralize its power to impede “social progress” or disrupt “polite opinion” most of the time?”

    That may take a while, because they’ve programmed their own destructor: their shield from libel, slander, charges as accessories, etc. as a “Common Carrier” under CDA 230 depends on the fiction that they don’t exercise “editorial control” over their content. Once that’s breached (and Trump is just the guy to appoint judges and agency heads to do it), they will find it isn’t profitable to continue as gatekeepers.

  • Alisa

    Speaking of the undead, the original Fake But Accurate news-creature is back.

  • Alisa

    Fascinating post and comments, BTW. We truly do live in interesting times, and not entirely for the worse.

  • Fascinating post and comments, BTW.

    Agreed. When the comments on this posting have finally ceased, one of us should do another posting pointing this out. Especially, I think, the William Newman stuff.

  • Alisa

    Especially, I think, the William Newman stuff

    Indeed.

  • MPH

    I gave up on the gaming press long ago, for two reasons.

    One magazine that gave the Sega version of Doom high marks, but the Jaguar version low ones. The Jaguar version was superior in every way: frame rate, number of colors supported, resolution (the Jag version could handle a VGA monitor, the Sega version couldn’t even do a full screen for an NTSC TV), etc. But Sega spent a lot of money advertising in the magazine, and Atari did not.

    Then a different magazine declared that the best game of all time was a game that couldn’t be bought yet, for a Nintendo console that hadn’t come out yet anywhere in the world, that they couldn’t even play as part of their “review”.

    In both cases I did what any real thinking customer should do when a review magazine, which is supposed to be providing a service to it’s subscribers, instead has become an advertising arm of the industry: I cancelled my subscription.

  • William Newman

    Incidentally, when thinking about the significance and mechanisms of 2004AD Rathergate (and thinking about insiders and outsiders and internet and political orthodoxy and debunking corrupt incompetent formerly prestigious instutions and all that), don’t forget the earlier 2000AD _Arming America_ fiasco. The postmortem by Lindgren (a law prof) in http://www.yalelawjournal.org/review/fall-from-grace-arming-america-and-the-bellesiles-scandal is interesting for the topic itself, and I also found it interesting as an example of being lawyerly in a good way, or at least an exemplary way. It is a sort of legal brief which systematically pounds the central target flat, flat, flat, and chases down various possible objections and ambiguities and pounds them flat too, erring on the side of making the rubble bounce rather than accepting some risk that any target or secondary target mightn’t be flat enough. My impression is that this is the kind of document that you might want written in order to ensure that no matter what weaseling might be attempted in future, any appeal will be an absolute no-brainer in your favor; and while not all lawyers seem to be capable of doing a good job of it, and indeed some significant fraction of lawyers and even law professors seem embarrassingly bad at making careful arguments even on a smaller scale, I notice that lawyers do seem to be overrepresented among people who do a good job of constructing this kind of document. And the underlying material is awesome enough that the article is surprisingly lively for a 55-page nearly-a-legal-brief, because even a careful law professor can safely pepper the document with on the one hand remarkable observations like “nearly every sentence that Bellesiles wrote about probate records in the original hardback edition of Arming America is false”, and on the other hand breathtaking quotes of prominent establishment praise for the fraud, and of prominent establishment belittling and demonization of critics of the fraud.

  • Thomas Hazlewood

    The FIRST time I recall the media being exposed goes back at least several decades. 60 Minutes was caught doctoring their interview with General Westmoreland. It was a great embarrassment at the time. 60 Minutes was an extremely popular, and influential, program then. So, this goes back to at least the 1980’s. Cronkite was still considered the most trusted man in television, Nixon was Hitler, and the NYT and Washington Post were in the afterglow of Watergate.

  • Actually, “fake news” goes back to the 1930s. Walter Duranty got a Pulitzer for fake news about the Soviet Union, and the New York Times still hasn’t returned the award Duranty got while “writing” for them.

  • “bobby b One sort of humbling thought: Gamergate, which did indeed represent the first time someone battled back against the SJW’s with a “screw you!” instead of a “no I didn’t!”, was driven by lefty gamers.
    We’ve had our best successes since then copying what lefties taught us would work against lefties.”

    It’s textbook Saul Alinsky, who teaches us to use the enemies rules against them, ju jitsu like.
    Saul Alinsky wanted leftists to use his ju jitsu for evil, but we can use the techniques for good. All they are are battlefield tactics. We can use Alinsky the way General George Smith Patton read Rommel’s book and used it against him. “Rommel,you magnificent bastard, I read your book!!!”

  • mikee

    Gamergate was rather spontaneous, so an excellent exemplar of the novel power of social media to overcome elitist,corrupt authority.

    I also strongly suggest the Hugo Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy be observed, as the Sad Puppies campaign to overcome the elitist corrupt authority running that small empire of nominations & awards was a planned assault on the elitist corrupt authorities. And it, too, won against what was thought to be overwhelming odds.

  • Anon

    Err the daily mail and the sun are the most popular papers. The left never had control of the media

  • Jacob

    The media were always rabble rousers . That is what sells papers. All media sells itself first, and other merchandise related to the economic interests of the publishers and reporters next.

    The idea that the media can be an objective provider of news and of “good” criticism and guardian of morals and a watchdog is overrated and unrealistic, it is an idealization that never held water.

    The idea that the media (SJW controlled) lost power is also wishful thinking. Trump and Brexit squeaked through by the slimmest of margins.
    The war goes on.

  • The idea that the media (SJW controlled) lost power is also wishful thinking. Trump and Brexit squeaked through by the slimmest of margins.

    No, Brexit was really quite decisive, and they threw EVERYTHING at it… & yet they still lost. The change is palpable. It is absolutely clear the establishment ‘opinion formers’ are very much weaker in the UK than they have been in a very long time. The thing is increasingly they don’t sell papers.

    But yes, the war goes on, very much so.

  • Mr Ed

    Anon,

    The Sun backed the Labour Party for over a decade when Blair was leader.

    The Mail is not necessarily pro-liberty, it mainly supports the Conservatives and it was pro-Leave, unlike its sister Sunday paper.

    The British media is dominated by the BBC, which has a presence dwarfing all others.

  • The Mail is not necessarily pro-liberty

    Samizdata understatement of the day ❗ 😆

  • PersonFromPorlock

    You don’t have to know what the voices are saying to the muttering fellow sitting next to you, to think that offering him a job may be unwise. Whether or not social media were the ultimate cause of the establishment’s becoming unhinged, its spittle-flecked lecturing on the issues this time around made many, even of those who only had access to the establishment press, leery of continuing them in power.

  • Jacob

    “The thing is increasingly they don’t sell papers.”

    Yes, that’s global and is significant. If you could only close the BBC too…

  • Cal Ford

    Speaking of the media, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has basically admitted that the media was asleep during Obama’s era — they didn’t notice (or affected not to notice) that Obama banned refugees from Iraq for 6 months in 2011:
    http://twitchy.com/dougp-3137/2017/01/28/whoops-wapos-glenn-kessler-explains-difference-between-obama-trump-bans-accidentally-indicts-msm/

  • The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has basically admitted that the media was asleep during Obama’s era

    Which is a lie of course, they were not asleep, they were wilfully mute. “Asleep” implies they were somehow unaware or did not notice things that were off-message.

  • […] Not only that, GamerGate was the Alt-Right’s debutante ball, and the first time in a long time that any one […]

  • Thailover

    Gamergate was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but that camel already had a bail of hay on it’s back because of the feminist propaganda attack/colonizing and attempted usurping of The Amazing Meeting, (of James Randy fame). That is, TAM is a “skeptical” convention (really it’s about atheism….shhh, that’s a secret).

    Yes, the blue and pink haired and ugly-bespecled feminazis attacked in full form, and as atheism is so often embraced by the hippy-ish left, they wanted to be “inclusive” etc and like Slithery and Obummer welcoming in every possible unvetted terrorist they can find, these flower children atheists welcomed these deamons into their home. (Deamons and gods can’t come in unless they’re invited). The feminazis did the same thing to Comic-con leaving only a brave few to comment about the obvious, like Richard Dawkins speaking out on how absurd “elevator-gate” actually is.

    “We’ll teach you” shrieked the feminazi hags who ran straight to the UN to testify on how amazingly empowered and yet completely pathetically weak they are, in one single continuous ear-piercing banshee shriek.

    THEN we saw the REAL power of fearsome weight of the United Nations as everyone ignored them or completely dismissed them with a bored shrug and an “eh”.

    What we’re seeing now is the death throws of the fanatical bully left who, of course, are their own worst enemies.

  • Thailover

    BTW, I’d like to take this opportunity as a privileged white American male to apologize to Ashley Judd on the soiling of her favorite underpants, and for her bleeding menstrual blood all over her bed sheets. One can only hope that they weren’t made of expensive Egyptian cotton, you know, because we males are soooo privileged. It would just be a rotten shame if my middle-class whiteness and maleness (which is apparently signs of superiority according to feminists) caused her to bleed like a stuck pig on her bed sheets while sleeping in her fabulous mansion. Not to mention her soaking her jeans with blood. But then again, she’s a “nasty woman” who has an aversion to “breeding” (in her own words), so maybe, just maybe her menstruation isn’t the fault of penis-people. ‘Just sayin’. BTW, “Ms” Judd is 48, so we can only hope that her useless fertility and underpant destruction is a thing of the past.

  • Thailover

    Cal, indeed, Obummer banned refugees from Iraq for 6 months in 2011 and no one said a word, and Trump’s ban (“inspired by 911”) is 90 days from 7 countries (none of them had anything to do with 911) and apparently the sky will fall as a consequence.

    Obama, Slithery and Biden signed off on HR6061, the “build a wall” secure fence act in 2006, to be paid for with tax payer money.
    No one says a word.

    Trump wants to use “tax money” to start the build a wall project and have tariffs repay the expense and apparently the sky will fall as a consequence.

  • Thailover

    Cal, Kessler is confusing being “asleep” with being a fawning toady masochistic butt-boy. (See Chris Matthews and his leg thrills). Obama worship is a cult.

  • Paul Marks

    I think Perry is right that GamerGate showed to ordinary people just how nasty the Identity Politics of the Frankfurt School Marxists (with their obsession with “racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia” and so on) are.

    People began really fighting back against the Identity Politics of the Frankfurt School Marxists – and this complex cultural struggle led, in the end, to Donald Trump. Basically picked as “God Emperor” by people because he would annoy and upset the “Critical Theory” Frankfurt School Marxists (the people in control of the education system and the media – including the entertainment media) more than anyone else.

    It was actually a bit pathetic to see the big “protests” last week – with Ashley Judd with her Devil-is-reborn and Trump-Hitler stuff, and “Madonna” going on about bombing the White House.

    In the longer term I think Classical Marxism will make a come back.

    No more obsession with race, gender, sexuality, and so on.

    More Classical “the workers are starving – it is the fault of the Big Business capitalists”.

    But the Federal Reserve bubble economy will have to burst before that really takes off.

  • Eric

    The FIRST time I recall the media being exposed goes back at least several decades. 60 Minutes was caught doctoring their interview with General Westmoreland. It was a great embarrassment at the time. 60 Minutes was an extremely popular, and influential, program then. So, this goes back to at least the 1980’s. Cronkite was still considered the most trusted man in television, Nixon was Hitler, and the NYT and Washington Post were in the afterglow of Watergate.

    For me it was the 20/20 report on a GM truck that burst into flame when it was T-boned. Of course, the reason it did so was was the producers of the segment put an “incendiary device” in it. I remember thinking “Yeah, sure, we know about it because they got caught. How often do they do this without getting caught?”

  • […] Samizdata, Perry de Havilland considers the historical footnote that was […]

  • Tarrou

    I think that gamergate was an important watershed moment. My explanation is that it was the point at which the left alliance of good and bad kids fractured. Take the original alliance movie, “Animal House”. A strict conservative dean and his martinet ROTC student are opposed by a dope-smoking professor, some earnest do-gooders and the cast of the frat, who mostly just want to party. But now, the do-gooders are in the driver’s seat, especially in universities. When was the last time the christian right shut down some campus event? So the bad kids, the partiers, the hilariously offensive, the reckless youth, slowly came to see their primary opposition not as moralistic christians, but moralistic feminists and leftist. Video games aren’t shut down by christians anymore, but by leftists! Gamergate, or some similar phenomenon, was inevitable. The bad kids were down with leftism because it let them watch and listen to what they wanted, got women “liberated” (mostly from their clothes), and legitimized their lifestyle as “Edgy”. Now these same weapons are turned against the left, which has become a victim of its own cultural success. They won so many battles, they went from insurgency to being the Empire. Most of the kids on the ground don’t care about intersectional post-patriarchal sharia feminism. They care about games, and memes, and drugs, and getting laid. And they will oppose anyone who is a threat to that.

  • Cal Ford

    Good analysis Tarrou. I’ve been saying something similar for years — the earnest left are now the modern equivalents of Mervyn Griffith-Jones and Dean Wormer, and they are becoming the targets of humorous, unruly rebels (by which I don’t mean the house-trained comedians at the BBC).

  • Technomist

    Excellent discussion.

    One observation. Passionate gamers possibly won over Gamergate because they have a very much better understanding of game theory than their opponents.

  • If it bleeds… we can kill it.

  • gergeleh

    I doubt the current madness will abate short of the coming of a modern Cervantes. Then again, if South Park didn’t slow them down maybe no mere words will suffice. Will blood be spilt in earnest ere the left’s bile drains?

  • Also of note, though not as well known, was #MetalGate. Unlike #GamerGate, which was a reaction to Leftist infiltration, #MetalGate was a total rejection of the Left trying to insert themselves into a subculture, which resulted in outright victory against the SJW’s — IOW, bringing “Social Justice” to Heavy Metal was the dog that wouldn’t hunt.

  • Anthony Dorazio

    Can someone please show the IGDA folks who who run the Game Developers Conference this article? For a long time they have been on the wrong side of this issue. https://youtu.be/PFsWC9RKb0E

  • Blah

    Probably the biggest legacy of GamerGate is this: it created a mob of self-organized resistance. Everyone who had been banned off to the comments section went to KotakuInAction and started participating in daily boycott e-mails.

    And some of those boycotts actually worked. Gawker started losing millions in revenue because of it.

    KotakuInAction was a precursor to The Donald and other forums that were aggressively churning out pro-Trump memes throughout the primaries and the general election. Once the mob had started getting organized, it was easier for it to get bigger and bigger and bigger. And once the cause went from “fuck those video game journalists” to “fuck the entire Left,” the thing turned into a huge snowball. GamerGate taught people on the right how to get around the press, and most importantly, it taught them that if they fought back, they could actually win.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Very interesting, Daniel, and encouraging. News to me; Heavy Metal is not on my usual musical itinerary. :>)

  • Red

    I saw push back begin with the Sad Puppies and the Hugo’s also.

  • Johann Amadeus Metesky

    At the time I said GamerGate was a bridge too far for the SJW, a strategic as well as a tactical error. In their hubris they thought they could destroy people who played networked war games as a hobby.

    The takeover of the Hugo science fiction awards, prompting the Sad Puppies etc, was another error. Telling creative writers they have to hew to a party line is bound to get pushback.

    When you think you’re the smartest, most moral beings in the universe, you’re heading for a fall.

  • I will always have this seared, SEARED in my memory (golden-age blogging ref):
    http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/941794-gamergate

    That’s what the Left is. All their mewling on “social justice” and “just doin’ it for da folks” and “stop bullying!” – all of it is to be understood in the light of Sam Biddle.

  • One of the harbingers of the fun to come was the Chick-fil-A boycott. It’s significance was overlooked by everybody. That was followed by the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle. I suggests to me that there was already a large, unrepresented population, a silent majority, to date myself, disaffected with the Progressive doctrinal orthodoxy. It was just looking for a cause, and a figurehead. With the reprehensible outbreaks of well funded and well organized spontaneous post-election violence even more will become radicalized, returned to their more or less traditional American roots. Interesting times!

  • Peter George Stewart

    There were definitely other pushbacks at around the same time (apart from some of those mentioned above, like in s-f and Metal, another small but important one was the pushback by some sceptics, dubbed “the Slymepit” by SJWs), but I think Gamergate was the significant one because of the sheer numbers involved – gaming truly has a vast population, with diverse political opinions, and actually also social statuses (not all gamers are basement-dwellers, many are successful people), but because of the social stigma attached to gaming, the usual social shaming tactics used by the Left (which normally elicit frantic virtue-signalling) were like water off a duck’s back. And then on top of that, you have the fact that the SJWs were trying to co-opt a fiercely competitive demographic for whom trolling (needling, egging on over-reaction) is their daily bread and butter.

    If you look at most of the main anti-SJW, anti-Feminist Youtubers (many of whom still feel their primary allegiance is to the Left), they’re virtually all gamers as well, and a good many of them are also sceptics (i.e. formerly part of the anti-religious sceptical wave of a decade or so ago).

  • Nicola Timmerman

    “opponents who refused to be shamed” – reminds me of Ayn Rand’s the sanction of the victim where great men are disarmed by their guilt based on false premises.

  • My great fear is the people already manning the federal civil service … most are leftist … most will not work in Trumps best interest if they have a choice.
    Those are the snakes, the vermin who work in the shadows and sell out America to communist and islamic forces in America. Those people must be rooted out if Trump is to be successful.
    There is a piece on Drudge today about that very problem.

  • TheTooner

    “…eventually stripping words like ‘misogynist’, ‘racist’ and ‘nazi’ of any meaning …”

    Those words still have meaning to me. If certain kinds of people aren’t describing me with those terms, I should think I’m not doing it right.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Excellent piece.

  • Ulla Pool

    Don’t forget Trayvon Martin. That was a big one. US TV news showed photographs of an angelic 10 or 11 year old night after night – even a photo of him at age 10 holding a baby – when he was really a full fledged big 17 year old thug delinquent. I followed the trial and one of the witnesses assumed it was Trayvon getting his head smashed on the ground when it was actually Zimmerman. In her mind, based on TV news, Trayvon must have been the smaller one because he was a child. Theres no honest reason for TV news to be using a 6 or 7 year old photograph of anyone nowadays, especially a kid. They take photos of themselves every day.

    They were all in on it, every TV news organization. And every TV panelist knew not to ask why Zimmerman was supposed to allow Trayvon to kill him or turn him into a vegetable. What they did to that man was despicable even though they didn’t get what they wanted: convicting him of murder.

  • […] #GamerGate – the canary in the coal mine Looking back, it’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of GamerGate: it marked when the Left suddenly and unexpectedly lost control of social media, right at the point where the influence of social media actually started to matter. […]

  • Peter George Stewart

    @TheTooner

    We are all Fascists now. Je suis Nazi.

  • SDN

    “What they did to that man was despicable even though they didn’t get what they wanted: convicting him of murder.”

    And is what they did to him any better than a quick execution for murder would have been? Consider:

    He’s effectively unemployable in any capacity under his own name; either a prospective employer is among his enemies, or they will paint a target on themselves and their business. And there’s no way he can hide; all it takes is one fellow traveler at the state or Federal IRS, and they can track him wherever he goes.

    He’s literally dangerous to be around: there’s a large percentage of the population that sees killing him as a virtuous act. Witness the loon who encountered him driving down the highway and proceeded to shoot up his car. His face is all over the place, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that one or more people have been targeted just because they look faintly like him. That contributes to his unemployability, and of course leads to his social isolation.

    The stress of being in the crosshairs almost certainly ended his marriage, either because his wife couldn’t take it or because he publicly ended it to get her and their children out of harm’s way.

    I’m actually surprised he hasn’t snapped and gone on a vendetta.

  • SDN, I could not agree more. Sadly, these lies are told and work their poison, while their evil is remarked in places like this, well down the comment thread of a blog that not too many people read – and, thankfully, in a few more places. Meanwhile the insolent lies of the left are widely touted. But no longer quite so widely believed. I think Mr Zimmerman would be safe enough at a gaming convention.

    If it happened today, of course, maybe Trump would tweet in defence of him (that thought might have motivated some Trump voters). And maybe fewer would believe the MSM. Things change, even if slower than one might like (perhaps Obama would still pop up to say his imaginary son would look like whoever).

  • StallChaser

    I can tell you having watched it go down, it was the point at which I lost complete faith in the mainstream media. Up to that point, I believed they were maybe biased, but that they still cared about actual facts on some level. Any level. At all.

    I already saw the games press as a complete joke, with several scandals already over review scores being penalized for politics completely irrelevant to the game, un PC art style choices, that sort of thing. Then there was the trope of the “entitled gamer” that was already a thing for a year or two before GG. And, of course, the worship of Anita Sarkeesian, and any criticism of her whatsoever being labeled as “sexist” with no explanation. So I never expected them to come clean about anything.

    But I had believed the mainstream media still cared about objective reality. Had. Past tense. I though any day now, a mainstream, actual journalist, would come along and blow the lid off the whole thing. But it never happened. Not in any way that gained steam. At best, it was lazy, copy and paste journalism, straight from the mouths of game journalists. At worst, it was lies. It was lies. That became very obvious when they were surrounded by the truth. Actual primary sources. And instead of issuing corrections, they said “We don’t care. That story is old news.” And then repeated the same debunked lies the very next day.

    So yeah. GG was one of those things that destroyed a lot of people’s trust in the media. It sure did mine. But I’m sure there are other things. Bernie Sanders supporters (“berniebros”) were another big one. People directly involved in anything the media lied about. That’s what led to the breaking point, where the media did everything they possibly could to get their way in the election, whether it was brexit, or Trump. And the people said “We don’t care. That story is fake news.” And now we have Trump.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Are you aware what BJP and RSS think about Catholic Church and Christianity in general?

    Your point is…?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    It can be pretty hard to tell which lurch is temporary

    For those averse to red pills, yes.

    Various of the themes which took off when Luther nailed his theses to the door were not entirely new, and had been lurched toward in various ways before

    Vague statement – not sure what you mean exactly. But regardless…

    The fact is that there are certain trends throughout history. Right-wing lurches are just that – lurches.

    Time degrades all things, including social order. Through all human history the Right is associated with order; the Left is about the disintegration thereof, which is why overtime always the Left eventually wins. The Right can at best achieve “lurches” against the inevitable by retaining, celebrating, purifying, sanctifying order, hierarchy, and truth. This is how it is.

  • Shlomo is channelling Julius Evola again (minus the anti-Semitism obviously 😉 ) I am rather enjoying the Kali Yuga myself

  • So, time lurches on and degrades all things. There is a balance to things, like Solomon said, a time to gather stones, and a time to cast stones away, a time to build up and a time to tear down, a time to hate and a time to love. I think the problem is that the inherent sinful nature of Man prevents us from finding a stable balance between liberty and order. We’ve come close to an ideal of Ordered Liberty, but, unfortunately, people, being assholes, screw it up. It turns out the Human Race can’t have nice things for very long, we always break them.