Noah Brand resurfaced on the Good Men Project to remind everyone that gamers are losers who were born losers, will die losers, and not even other losers will mourn them.
And that is just the first part of the series.
The amount of condescension and projection in the article is stunning. I agree that the “notion that one is either the bully or the bullied, and it’s impossible to be both, lies deep in a lot of thinking, and it’s a trap. Indeed, it’s one of the primary intellectual sins of social justice movements, when we imply one is either the oppressor or the oppressed, but never both.” The article is an excellent example of that.
It is also precisely what it looks like to bully someone. Brand’s article is yet another body in the three-month-long feminist pile-on on gamers. Feminists took to the gamer hate with a glee and fervor not seen since someone dared suggest some women lie about rape.
Brand attempts to show sympathy towards gamers, yet his definition of sympathy proves fleeting:
The key defining element of all the wild-eyed Gamergate lunatics and all their unhappy ilk is not that they’re white and male. It’s that they’re socially nonfunctional.
That sounds like I’m just insulting them, but I’m not. That is just a simple, even sympathetic description of what’s going on with these guys: they cannot function socially. Anger is just the mask worn by pain and fear, so to understand these guys’ anger, we have to understand their pain, and their fear. Yes, this will involve extending understanding toward people for whom rape threats are practically punctuation. Nobody ever said social justice was always going to be pleasant. Buckle up.
He goes on to write:
These folks tend to create spaces for themselves where they can play by rules they understand. Consistent, comprehensible rules. Computer programs, role-playing games, literature that’s notably short on things like abstract metaphor, complex symbolism, and unreliable narrators. The great thing about science fiction and fantasy is that they explain their internal rules for how the world works, and then they have to abide by those rules. If you haven’t felt it, it’s impossible to explain how comforting that is when you’re thirteen and getting mocked for not understanding which shoes or singers or slang are uncool this week.
So the best idea is to attack gamers as losers for creating consistent, comprehensive rules they expect everyone in their group to follow?
Even if Brand thought it would work in his favor to attack gamers as losers, it will not. Let me use an analogy to illustrate:
I work and live with foster children. Many of these children have been abused. Most of them distrust adults. Many suffer from a variety of mental health issues, some they were born with, others they developed as a result of abuse. The children are quite often socially dysfunctional.
These children often prefer consistent, comprehensive . It helps them cope.The worst thing I could do, other than abusing them, would be to violate, ignore, or change those rules. They created those rules to make themselves feel safe. If I want to help them, I must work within the confines of those rules.
Stating that gamers have “a sense of being invaded by outsiders in a space they believe to be their own” ignores the situation: it is their space. They created it. They support it. They perpetuate it. They have every reason to expect those who want to participate in their space to follow the rules.
The rules are consistent and comprehensive for a reason: there is no trick. They do not change at random.
Now let us look at that the so-called “social justice warriors” bring to the group: constantly changing rules about what is and is not acceptable, who can and cannot participate, and whose voice does or does not matter.
Take the idea of male feminists. One day feminists want men to be feminists, and the next feminists list all the ways male feminists are phonies trying to co-opt feminism.
That sort of nonsensical double think is apparent in Brand’s article. He claims sympathy, yet shows nothing but disdain for gamers. One senses that his true concern is not gamers but men:
Assume you’re a straight or bi guy. You’re going to be interested in women. Assume you’re perpetually socially awkward. You’re going to be rejected a lot, and that’s going to hurt enormously. Assume you’re steeped in a culture that tends to consistently cast women as a monolithic Other group, and that you like simple, comprehensible rules. Your takeaway from your experience is going to be Women hurt me. Therefore, women are bullies just by existing. Quod erat demonstrandum.
This is nothing more than a strawman argument and projection. Many gamers were and continue to be hurt by women. Yet that has nothing to do with gamers policing their space. The issue here is that the left-leaning side projects their feelings about gamers onto gamers. Brand, and progressives like him, think men are a monolithic “other” group bent on oppressing women. They think men will hurt women and anyone who supports them. Therefore, gamers, by virtue of being a predominantly male group, are bullies. And as bullies, they must be dealt with, preferably with much humiliation and violence.
However, that sounds bigoted, so in an attempt to side-step the blatant hate-mongering, the so-called “social justice warriors” project this onto the other side. It is not they who are biased, but the gamers. Those basement dwelling misogynists who live with their moms and cannot get over that one time with the pretty girl pretended to like them for the second half of the day only to have her jock boyfriend pummel them in front of half the school as she laughed.
Brand is not helping increase an understanding. He is rationalizing bullying by arguing that he is doing “losers” a favor by calling them out as losers.
Technically, this would work to get gamers to listen out of fear, except for one problem: gamers are used to being bullied. Gamers have dealt with that since their community began. Telling a gamer that he is socially nonfunctional and therefore undeserving of friendship, compassion, or basic understanding is moot: he already knows you think he is a loser. He already knows you think the worst of him. He already knows you do not care about his suffering.
You have nothing to threaten him with.
The bullying routine impresses other left-leaning people, but it does nothing to win over gamers.
To go back to my analogy, if I want foster children to listen to me, I must start by listening to them. It is hard. It takes patience. Their guards are up, and they should be. They have been hurt by people they reached out to, people they trusted. People like me, saying we want the best for them. If I want them to believe that, I must treat them as if I mean what I say, because they will know if I am bluffing. I should know. I was one of them.
That is why gamers are so angry. They know Brand and those like him are bluffing. They know the “social justice warriors” do not want the best for them. They know these people do not care.
The progressive crowd simply wants to take over gamers’ space. Gamers can see it coming, and they want no part of it. That does not make them “misogynists.” It only means they learned to stand up for themselves.