SHUT UP, GAMERGATE

Having read Alison Rapp’s essay about child pornography, the one which, along with a large amount of caterwauling by GamerGate has just resulted in Rapp losing her job with Nintendo America, I can say I disagree with every single word, and find her conclusions both specious and abhorrent. But not for a second do I believe that GamerGate, in hounding Rapp out of her job, had at heart the interests and safety of children. In every conversation I have had regarding GamerGate, its representatives, its members and the purveyors of its hashtag  have decried censorship. The “movement”, if it can be described as such, flails between mission statements, from wanting “more ethical” game criticism to protecting the rights of corporations, but one thing that seems unchanged, or at least broadly settled upon, is a denouncement of any and all cultural censorship. And yet here we have an essay which, to a fault, decries censorship, one that says even the right to own child pornography should be protected from political pressure under freedom of speech – and GamerGate is claiming it reason to have Alison Rapp fired. To an extreme end and at the risk of alienating herself from Western social conventions, Rapp, in her essay, is standing up for GamerGate’s most repeatedly stated belief: she ought to be their role model. And they have petitioned, successfully, for her to be fired.

GamerGate vilifies censorship. Alison Rapp writes an essay that is anti-censorship. GamerGate has Alison Rapp sacked.

Patently, this is not about the essay. This is about Alison Rapp being a woman working within the gaming industry. This is another campaign – unfathomably victorious – in GamerGate’s war against heterogeneity. Under the rubrics of free speech, anti-censorship and corporate interest, GamerGate smuggles through customs, and has smuggled through customs once again, its one true agenda, to establish a uniform, exclusive, popular culture, bereft of femininity. But in the act of smuggling, this time around, it has blown its own cover. Never again can GamerGate argue that actually, this is about censorship – evidently, if you are a woman who works in games, regardless of your beliefs, you have made an enemy of GamerGate. Of that fact, Alison Rapp is a crystalline example.

This is not a difficult contradiction to spot. And coupled with GamerGate’s crude language, its abortive selection of targets and its history, one would think it likely that any right-minded company, under pressure from the group, would realise that it was being erroneously adjured, which is to say Nintendo has allowed itself to be shanghaied by the most brazen, inarticulate con-artists in the world, and ought to be deeply embarrassed.

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