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  • eacaraxe 1:21 am on June 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Gamergate: my (semi) Final Word 

    Folks who read my blog and Twitter may or may not have noticed my absence for the past few months. Well, part of that is due to real life commitments and a very busy schedule, but at the end of the day…

    I honestly just don’t care enough about Gamergate any more to write at length about it.

    No, this isn’t because I suddenly became an SJW, or stopped caring about the sick joke that is the current state of gaming (and pretty much any, from a broader perspective) journalism. Nor have I stopped caring about the numerous cancers plaguing the games industry, of which the underlying causes of Gamergate are but one.

    I just don’t see a use for Gamergate any more. After a year, the reality is nominal concessions have been made, and more importantly the games industry has been put on notice that gamers — at least, their core audiences of gamers — are anything but the mindless, mass-consuming, dregs of society gaming journalists would have them believe to be. Of course, widespread defamation, gamer-baiting and gamer-blaming, and such continue from the games journalist and indie gaming circles.

    What I have been doing from the beginning, what really matters, is what I’m going to continue to do — vote with my wallet. I stopped going to the “usual suspect” sites ten months ago, and I continue to not nor will I ever again. I’ve stopped purchasing products from the “usual suspect” developers — including Gearbox which broke my heart due to their recent remake of one of my favorite games of all time, Homeworld — and I will never again purchase any of their products…at least, new copies thereof, nor DLC, season passes, or any of the other cancerous ilk which floats a game industry on the verge of an economic shock unseen since 1983.

    Sorry Bioware, Mass Effect: Andromeda looks really good, but not enough to make me forget the sour taste in my mouth from the way your company treated gamers during the immediate aftermath of the Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco. I might even have overlooked that, until several of your employees went on social media acting the fool and sealed the deal forever.

    I am, however, enjoying my used copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition which I bought from GameStop of all places if that is any indicator of the depth of my disappointment with your company. Your depiction of women characters in the game is actually pretty deplorable, though, especially when it comes to diversity of personality and background; the only remotely original female companion (who doesn’t fit neatly within the Strong, Independent, Survivor with Emotional Baggage trope so loved by certain people) got squat for screen time, something even worse because she is the only companion who is a person of color.

    And, you know, not a one of them had the depth, complexity, and compellingness of Wynne. I guess the elderly have no place in your brave new world of diversity and inclusion, huh?

    And, I will certainly continue to buy products from pro-consumer companies and visit pro-consumer sites. Wardell, if you’re reading this, be on notice my wallet will be aimed directly at your head in the upcoming months.

    Anyhow, I digress. When it comes to Gamergate and its root causes, I will again be slipping into the depths of the people for which gaming journalists and developers really need to watch out — the ones who let their money do the talking. I’m tired of leading horses to water, only to have them not drink, but rather turn around and piss in it. I’m not feeding them attention and validation any longer — fuck ’em, let them go under like they invariably will.

    So…what to do with this blog? Well, I’ll continue writing, but not about Gamergate, but calling out general social justice and gaming-related bullshit. I’ll try to keep it up as often as I have anything to say.

  • eacaraxe 5:36 pm on February 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Thoughts on Mercedes Carrera, #notyourshield, and anti-Gamergate 

    Originally posted via Twitlong, 25 Feb. 2015

    I’ve noticed an uptake of “criticism” over the past few days regarding women supporters of Gamergate, whatever perceived attractiveness according to traditional standards of beauty they may (or may not) have, and what (if any) impact that may have on how seriously they are taken by their male compatriots and the level of signal-boosting they have received.

    I thought I would make a brief post on that. I mention Mercedes Carrera in this in particular, as an adult performer and quite outspoken on these matters — and as such, quite popular with Gamergate — she has become a lightning rod for these allegations.

    Let’s unpack these statements, first by examining the argument being made at face value: that male Gamergate supporters would not care if these women were unattractive, that we seek attention and validation from these women, in hopes of scoring sexual brownie points or whatever. No, anti-gamers don’t get to weasel out of that by making some “your biases are showing” statement. That’s the argument that is actually being made, whether or not they are honest enough to admit it.

    The connection is easily-understood and inferred by anyone with the slightest understanding of informal logic. If attractiveness is a sufficient condition for attention among male Gamergate supporters, there must be a reason for it; that is to say, attractiveness must be somehow valued. Value, in this case, is only relevant if these interactions are fundamentally transactional — attractive women leverage that asset for attention from men, who hope in turn to receive attention.

    In either case (women leveraging attractiveness for male attention, and engaging in quid pro quo), this is a statement reliant upon — and reinforcing — traditional gender norms, particularly in regards to interactions between men and women, and traditional standards of beauty. The underlying assumption — and hidden premise — is interactions between men and women supportive of Gamergate must be transactional.

    Completely lost, then, is any notion male Gamergate supporters may simply agree with or appreciate what these women have to say of its own merit, nor that the women involved may be persuasive divorced from physical attractiveness, nor that the women involved may have come to their own conclusions and are voicing genuinely-held belief.

    Demeaning women by trivializing their speech, regardless of content, is still demeaning women. It is, at its heart, a patriarchal argument based upon patriarchal assumptions, and any statements emanating from it can be said to be of the same nature. The funny thing about “subverting the system” as I am sure many Gamergate opponents would now retort they are doing, is one must do that from within.

  • eacaraxe 3:31 pm on February 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , call of duty, , ,   

    An open response to Bob “Moviebob” Chipman…again. 

    …and today we see another Moviebob rant, this time directed towards Call of Duty, conservatism in gaming, jingoism, and an apparent imminent death of artistry and political statements in gaming.

    Have you even played the latest Call of Duty games, or are you basing these statements exclusively upon something someone else said about Modern Warfare 3 in combination with having watched promo footage?

    Yes, Modern Warfare 3 and Ghosts are rightfully panned, having lost the message of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, nationalism, and how soldiers are regarded as disposable, but renewable, resources by governments that informed the Modern Warfare series, and its sequels and offshoots. Those happen to be not the only Call of Duty games released in the last decade.

    World at War directly and bluntly addressed the elephant in the room when it comes to any discussion of the Eastern and Pacific fronts: the utter inhumanity of them, and the atrocities committed by both sides in the course of the war. And, Treyarch did it right in the heyday of the jingoism and topical nature of “modern military” shooters. Granted, they toned it down and didn’t even touch the worst of it (mass rapes by Soviet soldiers, Japanese war crimes against the Chinese, the treatment of POW’s), and I would bet dollars-to-donuts a good chunk of that was to avoid an adults-only rating, but it remained an honest look into two fronts of World War II that are oft-forgotten and grossly misunderstood (even misrepresented) when remembered.

    Black Ops, however implausible its plot, dealt with the dark side of the VIetnam war, the emotional toll on veterans, and the horror and paranoia of the Cold War. You, quite contrary to your stated belief, are not the only gamer who remembers it. In fact, I would say Treyarch was quite clever and subversive in how they translated that atmosphere and revulsion to a younger audience who would not remember it, had they been born prior to the downfall of the Soviet Union at all.

    Advanced Warfare is about the danger posed by the confluence of globalization, corporate personhood, and the military-industrial complex, as reflected through military privatization. Full stop. It’s not as if this is some DaVinci Code-esque secret discernible with the decoder ring only found in the collector’s edition:

    By the way, the second logo there is a real PMC. You’d probably know them by their old logo and name:

    These are games that are far from the “post-9/11 revenge-sim” as you characterize them, and really only can be construed as such by the most topical and out-of-context interpretation thereof, and are vastly more nuanced than for which you give them credit. It strikes me someone of your political leanings should be singing Advanced Warfare’s praises, not condemning it.

  • eacaraxe 6:12 pm on February 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Thoughts in re: Mark Kern, Ken Levine, and Peter Molyneux 

    Originally posted via Kotaku in Action, 17 Feb. 2015

    I said this on Twitter, and I’ll say it here again for posterity’s and exposure’s sake.

    The usual suspects are on the offensive against devs. Let this happen, stay on the sidelines, and most importantly support the devs, be civil with them, and let them judge us by our actions rather than journalists’ narrative. Don’t touch the poop. Remember, the devs are people too, and face severe professional backlash for voicing anything remotely resembling support for us, for whatever reason and by whatever method.

    But…most importantly, the devs control access. Access for exclusive content, promos, interviews, preview copies, and the like. Access is a journalist’s, especially a beat journalist’s, lifeblood — without it, they can’t do their job. They piss off the devs by attacking them, they lose access which means the final nails in their coffins are in.

    And, this isn’t like Ben Kuchera attacking Redner Group for threatening to blacklist reviewers who gave Duke Nukem Forever low scores. Kuchera had to rally his audience in backlash against Redner Group, and Gearbox for hiring them, to keep Redner Group from withdrawing access. Because, now, implicated journalists have lost their audience and have no leverage. They’re alone in this fight, especially with developers forging communication and marketing paths directly to the consumer without journalists as middlemen.

    Win devs over by being better people. Be civil, but assertive. Verify your claims. Show yourselves, in contrast to “the narrative” to be the inclusive, diverse, and informed group of consumers you really are. Be the adults in the room, and let the implicated journalists have the rope to hang themselves.

  • eacaraxe 4:54 pm on February 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baiting, , , ,   

    Why “don’t touch the poop” is so important 

    Originally posted to the Escapist forums, 17 Feb. 2015

    The sad thing is, most involved gamers can’t see the forest for the trees on this matter and keep right on taking the bait. If most would just shut up for a minute, the bizarro, horrid, and hyperbolic shit aGGros spew would have to stand on its own merits and be judged for itself. When gamers take the bait and overreact, the story becomes how they react to what was said, rather than what was said itself.

    Look at Brianna Wu. She received months of being propped up by Gamergate, receiving mainstream media attention and raking in the cash, capitalizing on the drama and controversy…in fact, stirring much of it up herself by spewing hyperbolic and incendiary nonsense. What happened when she went on David Pakman’s show? What happened when she put Revolution 60 on Steam? She found herself positioned against people who wouldn’t take the bait and overreact in predictable ways that would allow her to capitalize upon them, and her product(s, counting manufactured victimization and outrage as a product which is clearly marketable), which meant her words had to stand on their own merit. Predictably, she got crushed.

    That’s how and why this thing has lasted as long as it has, and GG continues to have PR problems. It’s not the implicated journalists, devs, and ancillary industry figures. It’s the GG supporters, and at-larger gamers, who somehow after six months (forgetting the two years prior of “sexism in gaming” and ME3 controversy) haven’t clued into the notion they’re being played like fiddles by the usual suspects for their material gain. For a group of people for which “don’t touch the poop” has become a litany, they can’t help themselves but do it, each and every time.

    I can’t believe I’m about to make this comparison…but well, the topic has already come up by aGGros which means it’s fair game, and it’s an apt comparison. Bin Laden and al-Qaeda didn’t just take down the WTC for lulz. They did it for a specific purpose, which has been lost on most Americans (as it was lost back then) — to provoke the US into wars in the middle east it could not in any genuine sense win, in the process destabilizing the region, putting a country that is perceived as common enemy in the forefront, garnering sympathy and support for al-Qaeda, and draining the US of international goodwill and strategic resources. The US took the bait, and not only did the US take the bait but took it hook, line, and sinker, destroying the one country in the region which was a stabilizinginfluence (no matter how deplorable) and chief enemy of al-Qaeda in the process.

    The US took al-Qaeda’s bait and did its own job in ways al-Qaeda could never hope to achieve on its own…much as gamers are taking aGGros’ bait and doing their own job in ways they could never hope to achieve on their own.

  • eacaraxe 12:23 am on February 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mark kern   

    An open response to Mark Kern in regards to his Gamergate petition 

    Originally posted via twitlong, 16 February, 2015

    Hi, you don’t know me, but I’m a long-time Blizzard customer and fan. i own Rock ‘n Roll Racing, for God’s sake. I also happen to be a heavily moderate #gamergate supporter.

    I thank you for speaking out, putting your employment and status as a game developer on the line, and trying to effect positive change to end this debacle. That takes genuine courage, especially in what — as far as anyone can tell, through the veil of near-absolute opacity on the part of the gaming press — is a deep and well-entrenched culture of fear among the games industry. Indie devs and journalists have been blacklisted and publicly shunned in real time and in public for doing less than you did today.

    Hell, when the chairman of an IGDA chapter is put on a blockbot by his own trade association, there was what appears to be an internal coup, and the chapter was ostensibly dissolved over it, it becomes clear all is not well in the state of Denmark. So, know that whatever comes of this, gamers such as myself will support you and your products even if the games media will not.

    But, I can’t support your petition. I wish I could, and it very much bothers me that I cannot. After nearly seven months of demonization, posturing, bad-faith dealing, outright fabrication, and censorship by the gaming press — especially by the very outlets you name, and key players within those outlets — I have zero trust in them to respond in good faith and honor a call to action, in the long or short term.

    Even before that, I stood witness to the press debacle over Mass Effect 3’s endings, and while I enjoyed the endings, I understood the anger of those who did not and supported their right to speak their mind and watched them go through the same turmoil Gamergate does now. I bring the “retake Mass Effect” campaign up specifically because, in many ways it set the precedent for press response to Gamergate. It was then gamer-baiting, disfiguration, and transfiguration were set in stone as the modus operandi to respond to consumer malcontent.

    Back to Gamergate. It was the gaming press that started this. The gaming press, for years before Gamergate started, relied upon old and damaging stereotypes to bait, manipulate, and I would even say gaslight, gamers and misrepresent them to the mainstream media. When Gamergate started, it was the gaming press — and their surrogates and accessories — who likened us to ISIS, the KKK, Nazis, and more. This continues even today, with those responsible for the disfigure not merely unrepentant in their accusations, but reveling in it:

    This comes from Bob Chipman, a personal friend and now-colleague of Devin Faraci, the originator of the “Gamergate is worse than ISIS” meme among major names in the press:

    (Disclosure: this tweet was made during the “Quinnspiracy” phase of this controversy, before it was labeled Gamergate, when games journalists and gaming outlets were unilaterally and without explanation censoring all debate over Quinn’s professional conduct and any implications thereof.)

    This controversy is merely a symptom of a more endemic problem in gaming and the gaming press. The implicated journalists themselves — and make no mistake, they are overwhelmingly white and male, lest my statements draw the typical disfiguration from detractors that I am simply misogynist and trying to drive women, minorities, and LGBT’s from gaming — are the cause. So long as they remain, while tensions may temporarily loosen, the cause remains and there will be further controversies and implications of widespread wrongdoing.

    This does not end so long as they, or their platforms, remain in any position of influence over the gaming press or gaming industry.

  • eacaraxe 8:57 pm on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , feminist frequency,   

    Thoughts on Liana Kerzner's Feminist Frequency critique 

    Liana Kerzner’s recent excellent five-part article series on Feminist Frequency and the work of Anita Sarkeesian spurred me to think on previous writings, and I thought I would revisit some of them in the context of Kerzner’s work. If you, the reader, haven’t read the article series yet, I strongly urge you to do so as not only is it of great quality, but is illuminative of many of the inherent problems with Sarkeesian’s work from a feminist perspective.

    Though, personally I found part two to be the most compelling, and damning, of Feminist Frequency. I’ll preface this by saying my words are my own, are not reflective of Kerzner or her work, and are not to be construed as such. Though, I will be quoting from the article and adding my own perspectives. I am not as charitable as Kerzner when it comes to Feminist Frequency, Anita Sarkeesian, or Jonathan McIntosh.

    And, it is McIntosh, co-founder of Feminist Frequency and co-creator of the Tropes vs. Women series (as co-writer and producer), who would be the best starting point for my analysis. McIntosh is, sparing euphemism, a propagandist [and, in my opinion, a rather amateurish one at best, as propaganda is marked in quality by message exportability rather than simply exploiting extant internal biases, which seems to be the extent of his ability]. His use of “vidding“, that is to say “remixing” audiovisual content to change that message’s content (in McIntosh’s case, the simplification or disfigurement of conveyed political messages with a decidedly left-wing slant), is years-long and well-known:

    So is his trend of seizing on pop culture trends to gain notoriety, only to drop them as soon as they fall out-of-vogue (a phenomenon to which I will refer as “pop culture carpetbagging”):

    Perhaps this sheds light on why Feminist Frequency videos often depict violent or sexualized content grossly out-of-context, often contradicting the message intended by developers and publishers, in favor of the arguments made by Sarkeesian in the course of the video and the narrative presented by Feminist Frequency videos. Kerzner, in her article, refers to this phenomenon thus (emphasis and commentary in brackets mine):

    This is just one example of how Feminist Frequency oversimplifies its analysis by treating games more like films than interactive experiences [the rule of simplification being first and foremost in Norman Davies’ rules of propaganda, as set forth in Europe: a History]. […] But the idea that video games can cultivate a predictable change in the opinions of a player is central to Feminist Frequency’s critique. There’s no reason to show clip reels of a given trope unless the underlying concept is that the sheer volume of that content passes the threshold for long-term, cumulative exposure required for a cultivation effect, even though we don’t know that video games influence shared values the way television does.

    I would argue the underlying concept is vastly more pernicious than mere misunderstanding of cultivation theory. In fact, I would say the minds behind Feminist Frequency understand cultivation theory all too well:

    The implications on Feminist Frequency’s theories on that point alone are significant. If true, the concern shouldn’t be that sexually violent or objectifying content is going to make consumers mimic these behaviours. The concern should be that this content makes people more afraid of rape, abuse, and second-class status because our entertainment is cultivating this mindset.

    This is a very valid concern. Excessive fear will hold back entire portions of our society — in this case, women. But our current approach has not been fear reduction.

    For example, Anita Sarkeesian does talks where she displays horrid, vicious tweets and emails she’s received. According to cultivation theory and mean world syndrome, if exposed to heavy doses of this messaging, her audience will become more afraid that they too will be attacked. If Sarkeesian is cultivating fearful attitudes through repeated, systematic exposure to vicarious abuse, this is, to borrow the word, “pernicious.”

    This is precisely the underlying concept: to foster a climate of fear. Remember, one of Feminist Frequency’s co-founders is an avowed propagandist, and the appeal to fear is among the most powerful and persuasive of tools in the propagandist’s toolbox — a fact clearly not lost on McIntosh:

    “But, why?” one might ask. Perhaps this might shed some light on why. Or, perhaps this. Or, the nearly $160,000 donated to the Tropes vs. Women kickstarter, or the new multi-million-dollar partnership with Intel. It is clear there is serious money in Feminist Frequency’s unique style of propaganda (I refuse to call it criticism on the basis of its poor quality, which Kerzner’s five-part article demonstrates), and Sarkeesian and McIntosh have clear, personal, financial stakes in its perpetuation, which on its own calls into question their true motives, let alone when coupled with the points I have already made. Is it any wonder Feminist Frequency or its founders offer few if any solutions to the nebulous issues they claim to criticize? Doing so would endanger their meal ticket.

    Especially when what precious little prescriptive relief to be proffered by their “analysis” is easily left to audience conclusion, while maintaining plausible deniability on the parts of those behind Feminist Frequency (hint: it’s censorship). McIntosh is already on record as a supporter of censorship:

    Yes, that is in fact censorship, as the origin of the censorship (private or governmental) is immaterial to the adulteration or prohibition of artistic work. In Hollywood, the Hays Code was censorship; the Waldorf Statement was censorious; even the MPAA ratings code is employed to censorious ends (and the censorious nature of each and every one, despite being private and partially market-driven, is beyond dispute). Indeed, as Kerzner states, “either something is harmful or it’s not”; if sexism in games and the games industry is harmful to the degree of pervasiveness and depth Feminist Frequency claims, limiting consumption is insufficient to provide relief.

    So, there we have it. By my reckoning, Feminist Frequency and its founders are not considerable as feminist pop culture critics. They’re propagandists out to capitalize on the very real problems of gender in games and the games industry, to the detriment of women who actually play games and work in the games industry. This is the conclusion — in my opinion — that fits the evidence put forth by Kerzner’s article series.

    None of this is, of course, meant to muzzle Feminist Frequency or its members, either. Quite the opposite: I want them speaking, at as great a length as they desire. The longer they operate, the more people will wise up to their game, and either speak out (as Kerzner bravely, given the current climate, has to conclusions that are her own and in understandable accordance with Hanlon’s razor) or refuse to buy what they’re peddling; when Feminist Frequency ceases to be profitable, I’m certain they will move onto greener pastures (as they have done in the past) and the games industry can repair the damage done.

  • eacaraxe 8:09 pm on February 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , law & order   

    Tropes vs. Law & Order 

    Just a quickie, since I’m time-constrained. Let’s put Anita’s analysis to work on the recent Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode about which “feminist” “critics” are crowing.

    Isn’t “rape as plot device to show antagonists as evil” deeply problematic in and of itself for trivializing rape, its impact on victims, and its prevalence in society?

    Then, there’s the Anita Sarkeesian stand-in being actually damseled, having been kidnapped by the “they’re evil because they’re rapists” gamer-terrorists to be rescued by the heroes…who just happen to be predominantly male.

    I say “predominantly” because there’s the character Olivia Benson, who spends — what? — a third of the episode as background decoration, a third of it as token “ignorant of (insert subculture here) exposition feed” (because she’s a woman, and obviously women can’t be gamers, am I right?), and a third of it as fighting fucktoy.

    …and at the end of the episode, the Anita stand-in quits gaming anyway, because she’s apparently disposable or something. Or, alternatively, in terms of her own career she becomes the “euthanized damsel”. In Sarkeesian’s own words,

    So when developers exploit sensationalized images of brutalized, mutilated and victimized women over and over and over again it tends to reinforce the dominant gender paradigm which casts men as aggressive and commanding and frames women as subordinate and dependent.

    Although these stories use female trauma as a catalyst to set the plot elements in motion, these are not stories about women. Nor are they concerned with the struggles of women navigating the mental, emotional and physical ramifications of violence.

    Instead these are strictly male-centered stories in which, more often than not, the tragic damsels are just empty shells, whose deaths are depicted as far more meaningful than their lives. Generally they’re completely defined by their purity, innocence, kindness, beauty or sensuality. In short they’re just symbols meant to invoke the essence of an artificial feminine ideal.

    The episode make zero effort to “explore loss, death and grief in more genuine or authentic ways”, and instead “sensationalize[d] [and] exploit[ed] victimized women”. I wish I could go on, but in the two-and-a-half years and hundreds of thousands of dollars acquired, these are the only tropes actually covered thus far.

  • eacaraxe 4:26 am on February 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Hollywood and gaming, part 5 

    [Just to bring everyone up to speed,

    Part 1 (“A Reply to Bob ‘Moviebob’ Chipman”)

    Part 2 (“An Open Letter to Mr. Bob ‘Moviebob’ Chipman”, tangential but added for posterity and disclosure)

    Part 3 (“Iconoclasm”)

    Part 4 (“A Response to Mr. Bob ‘Moviebob’ Chipman’s Latest Commentary”)]

    I saw this Uproxx article this morning, and found it incredibly appropriate to mention and discuss in context of previous writing on the topic and the still-ongoing GamerGate, especially with Hollywood figures continuing to weigh in on the controversy. Namely, this paragraph from the article:

    Pick up any text about the period and you’re hit with with talk of the “New Hollywood” and the collapse of the bloated studio system that bled money during the “golden years” of Hollywood. It was a time to take those risks you hear guys like Coppola and Stallone talk about. There was a search for that brand new method of success and features like Blazing Saddles could thrive there.

    I would strongly urge to read the linked articles in the Uproxx article itself — namely the Entertainment Weekly interview — as well. It is true Blazing Saddles was created and released during New Hollywood’s heyday. So was another of Mel Brooks’ classic films that proved highly controversial upon its release:

    So were the various exploitation film genres that gave filmmakers and actors of color a voice and platform to express themselves, as well as gave rise to cinema luminaries like Roger Corman whose influence on Hollywood vastly outstrips his own filmography. So was Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (New Wave cinema was not limited to the United States), a film which was censored or outright banned near-interionally and the film for which its writer and director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, was allegedly murdered by Italian fascists. Oh, and just for fun, so was this little-known, serially underrated film:

    Blazing Saddles and The Producers certainly would not have been made today. Neither would the blaxploitation films that rose individuals like Melvin van Peebles and his son, Mario, to prominence, paving the way for later directors like Spike Lee. Roger Corman would have been right out, and likely so would have the individuals under his tutelage — people like Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, James Cameron (okay, maybe that one wouldn’t be such a bad thing).

    [Speaking of which, I have to wonder why not even the boldest feminist film and pop culture critics will so much as rhetorically throw shade at Corman, even taking into account his grindhouse/exploitation origins and omnipresent love for on-screen female nudity, usually if not always for the sake of audience titillation, otherwise known as “male gaze”.]

    See, on what many of these critics and current Hollywood and pop culture figures (especially those critical of GamerGate) are tellingly silent, is that while New Hollywood was a paradigm shift in filmmaking and golden age for independent cinema…it was the high-water mark for freedom of expression in American cinema, especially controversial and “politically incorrect” speech. That is thanks to auteur theory, which I discussed in my own blog posts linked above.

    Compare that to today, where a politically risk-averse Hollywood produces films “by the numbers”, always conscious of avoiding potential offense. Free expression, save a handful of filmmakers who specialize in ‘edgy’ (like, for example, Tarantino), is a thing of the past. While, paradoxically, Hollywood leaves politically correct, minority- and women-centric, films for “award season”…when did Twelve Years a Slave and Selma premiere, again?

    Why, it’s almost as if Hollywood uses women and minorities as props for inflating their own prestige, status, and “progressive” image. Meanwhile, White People Save New York City from 9/11 Because That’s the Only Place on Earth and the Only Thing that Ever Happened 2K15 23: Token Mary Sue Edition Because Feminists Will Literally Buy Anything with Straw Feminist Characters, oh and Here’s a CGI Monkey Just to Make Sure the Crotchfruit Throw Tantrums to See It and Buy Shitloads of Merchandise gets first-billed in blockbuster season and makes billions.

    [This is known as the “tentpole” model, because “White People Save NYC’ s billions in revenue are what fund the award-bait movies and arthouse wankfests over which the aforementioned critics go ga-ga. Not that they’ll ever admit it.]

    I can’t say I necessarily blame Hollywood, because at the end of the day Hollywood is a profit-driven institution and that’s where the money is. It is, still, what it is — exploitation with a feel-good veneer of progressiveness and inclusion.

    This sounds pretty shitty, right? Well, this — the feel-good veneer of progressiveness and inclusion, and damn all else — is pretty much exactly what those critics really want of video games as far as I can personally tell. It also happens to be the complete opposite of the New Hollywood to which they pay lip service, considering the ubiquitous employment of heckler’s vetoes and critical/industry pressure against “offensive”, “objectionable”, “problematic” or “politically incorrect” content (that is censorship, thank you). We didn’t get New Hollywood/New Wave without auteur theory, and auteur theory could not coalesce without free expression.

    Keep your Hays Code 2.0 ambitions to yourself, please.

  • eacaraxe 10:42 am on January 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mass media, oligopolization   

    A brief word to Gamergate 

    I’ve alluded to this previously on this blog, but it’s time to address this directly.

    We all know what Gamergate is “about”, at least in terms of gaming journalism, but not necessarily about gaming journalism as a microcosm of the current mass media landscape…so, when major mass media outlets start running smear pieces about it (Nightline, MSNBC on multiple occasions now, and now “a very special episode” of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), some of you might be wondering, “why?”.

    Why would mass media throw caution to the wind in the face of a mass protest against unethical conduct, collusion, incestuous relationships, and monopolistic behavior in journalism? Well, perhaps this image might provide an answer:

    [Source: , ]

    The very last thing contemporary mass media, and the corporations who own and control it, desire is for a protest of this sort to actually succeed. That would make it exportable to other journalism beats and outlets, or even the mainstream. Personally, it strikes me as interesting Gamergate is in essence a protest against the failures and weaknesses of “fifth column” style journalism (blogging and news aggregation), and the race to the bottom among all forms of media it has prompted, which has been a thorn in traditional mass media and source of revenue and viewership loss for some time.

    As an organization much more credible and louder than me has already said, it’s time for us to “level up”:

    For further reading on media consolidation and ownership:

    [And, for the sake of clarification, a brief update: NBC Universal, the production company and distributor for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is a subsidiary of Comcast.]

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