GamerGate and the incentives of threats

The GamerGate fiasco has brought with it the ugly phenomenon of internet threats. If we are to take our assumptions from the media narrative, then the side that is correct at the end is the one that received the most threats, and has capitalized best on these threats.

The incentives to make threats are literally less than zero. There are only disincentives. Anyone with reasoning abilities can see this, particularly based on the proportion of anti-GG coverage devoted to the threats.

Progressives simultaneously understand and do not understand this. There have been a number of blunders where “threats” turned out to be bogus, with obvious intent to stir up public hatred for GamerGate and initiate a spiral of silence by making #GamerGate feel dirty on the tongue of most.

There are astronomical incentives to appear to be a victim of threats. This truth has been leveraged many times in the form of fake threats.
fake threats

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Intellectual bankruptcy, gaming, and schmuckbait

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s possible to create a schmuckbait-to-thinkpiece conversion ratio. It plays to both sides of the cultural political debate: Just find one thing that triggers a person, and they write some longform piece that is all about “THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYTHING.” Sometimes, they even throw in some intellectual criticism as though to settle the score in a smart way. It’s fun, fascinating, and you can probably make a drinking game or bingo or both about whatever cultural tragedy du jour is a meme. And really, that’s what memes that trigger emotions are: Schmuckbait. We’ll be getting to our colleague and latest victim to this in a moment.

Given that I’ve recently acquired a Nintendo DS and have been playing the Zelda games on there with some enthusiasm after having been consoleless since 2007, you might think I have some opinions on #GamerGate/#GameOverGate/Zoe Quinn. I actually don’t, really. Been too busy living off Twitter lately (though a rebirth is in order). But more importantly, I’ve come to understand that once you bring gamers into an argument, you might as well take your ball and go play elsewhere before they start calling you a faggot who likes to be fudgepacked by niggers in the ass (redundancy intentional) or a camwhore slut who deserves to be raped and murdered (and lord help you if you’re non-white or TG). Why? Simple:

A group gathering on the Internet + anonymity and/or lack of consequences = High chance someone’s going to act like a fuckwad.

We who have had enough experience in the gaming business refer to this as the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, or the GIFT. Supposedly devised either by Jerry Holkins or Mike Krahuliak (I think the former, since the latter just seems to have intellectual Tourette’s), it explains why most Internet discourse ends up turning into a shitstorm, more than anything else.  Gamers just happen to be specialists at this because, well, hormones + competitiveness + overstimulation = mental vomit. While this matter has long been limited to the forums and other dank locations of the Internet, Twitter and Tumblr and other social outlets have caused the GIFT to be amplified by 1800 decibels. It’s enough to punch out a black hole the size of the Solar System. Why? Our inane propensity to share things as though they were shiny. Even if it’s our own dick pix.

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From the "Chandelier" music video.

Sia’s “Chandelier” hangs in the cathedral

The first album I ever bought with my own money was Britney Spears’  …Baby One More Time. I was a nine year old girl in Real America, so my preferences were predictable (if not a complete given). As legend has it, the album was released with the ellipsis in the title because Hit Me Baby One More Time was a reference to sexual promiscuity at best and sadomasochism at worst. And while most nine year olds’ comprehension of sadomasochism was limited in those backwards days, it was extremely important that we not be exposed to even a hint of it, so help us Tipper Gore.

I remember catching wind of the Britney controversy through the elementary grapevine, and learning through muffled giggles that it was some sort of reference to sex. I shrugged and moved on with my adolescent life. My friends and I played the album constantly — under the watchful eyes of our mostly conservative parents, of course.

I am not a parent, but I am now a grown up, so perhaps it’s my turn to overanalyze what #kidsthesedays are listening to.

We’ve been indulging in media like it’s our job for as long as we could get away with it; panic over our favorite melodious pastime is unsurprisingly alive and well. Elite nail-biting over the residual effects of music on our toddler brains has a long and amusing history: Before Robin Thicke became the living embodiment of rape culture, we blamed Popeye for window-smashing and the dulcet tones of The Beatles for brutal murders.

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‘How many presidents of republics have been canonized?’

At Will’s suggestion, Rob and I went to the solemn high mass for Blessed Karl, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary last night at Old St. Mary’s. It was very beautiful, many thanks to Fr. Bradley.

Afterward we were treated to a speech from His Imperial and Royal Highness, Prince Bertrand of Orléans-Braganza  — apparently his first in English — about the life of Blessed Karl. It was probably the most reactionary speech I’ve ever heard in person. Regular readers of this blog need not be told that that is in no way a detraction. Here it is transcribed:

Holy Mother Church gives us the saints not only as intercessors to whom we can have recourse but as examples to follow.

In what ways should Emperor Karl, recently beatified, be seen as a model? He should certainly be seen as both a model Head of State and as a model head of a family.

Emperor Karl is the latest in a long series of heads of state elevated to the honor of the altar.

  • St. Louis, King of France
  • St. Ferdinand of Castile
  • St. Stephen of Hungary
  • St. Henry of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation
  • St. Vladimir of Russia
  • St. Olaf
  • St. Casimir
  • Empress Zita, already declared a Servant of God
  • Princess Isabel, my great grandmother, for whose beatification the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has taken the first steps. During the absence of her father, the Emperor Dom Pedro II, when she was Regent of the Brazilian Empire, Princess Isabel signed the law abolishing slavery in Brazil. Brazilians started to refer to her as The Redemptrix and wanted to raise a monument to pay homage to her. She said: “I do not want a monument in my honor, but for the real Redeemer, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Corcovado mountain top.” Today, this world famous monument, symbol of Brazil, is a World Heritage monument, Christ, The Redeemer.

I could name several other saints.

How many presidents of republics have been canonized? As far as I can recall, only Gabriel Garcia Moreno, President of Ecuador, could one day be raised to the honor of the altars. Upon hearing that the Ecuadorian president participated in Good Friday processions, barefoot, German Chancellor Bismarck ordered Garcia Moreno’s death. He was, in fact, brutally assassinated on his way from the Cathedral in Quito to the Presidential Palace.

According to Cardinal Pietro Palazzini’s Biblioteca Sanctorum, published in 1988, 21.7% of canonized saints were kings or nobles. If we consider that the percentage of kings and nobles was 1.5% of the population, we see how these data flatly contradict the black image of the nobility spread by revolutionaries.

Indeed, Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira, founder of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, always stressed that, according to Church teaching, compliance with the Ten Commandments is required not only of men individually, but also of States.

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Fiction and the Real

“… It was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. Mr. Wordsworth on the other hand was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind’s attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us…” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

We take a moment’s hiatus from our long discussion of poetry to talk about Reality. The purpose for this discussion is mostly clarity; but clarity in this sense is not so much trying to expand our knowledge of something but to show its limitations more clearly. The subject of this essay is realism and what will enable our digression is the set of genres known as ‘fiction’.

The term realistic can refer to at least two different concepts that are related. The first is the concept of things being most like what actually happened, such as a realistic re-enactment of a battle. The second, and seemingly identical idea, is the concept of things being most like what would have happened given a set of circumstances. The relationship between the two concepts is clear, pertaining to a conceptual real, but only one actually pertains to facts. From this second concept we have the literary genre called ‘Realistic Fiction’ – which I think we will find is actually a misnomer, or at the very least conceals an important qualifier.

Fiction is in a particularly odd position in regards to reality. In the original sense, fiction cannot be realistic because it cannot pertain to facts; it being a fiction is it being made up, for if it were not made up it would be ‘nonfiction’. This distinction does not clarify, however; fictions employ various factual elements, and some nonfiction employs fictional elements (sometimes called ‘dramatizations’). We must say, to be as clear as possible, that something is a fiction to the degree that it is made up, and a fact to the degree that it is not. Some forms of fiction push this boundary by, for instance, taking historical personages or events and fictionalizing them; but we sense that if the overall work is a contrivance it is still fiction.

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