THE WORD ON THE .NET

Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Category: Opinion (page 1 of 3)

My right to free speech is protected by the non-existent British constitution. Everything herein expressed is an opinion, and any resemblance to anything real, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Google “Don’t be Evil” and What do You Find?

Searching the internet, now you’ll see only what Google wants you to see…

Google: fighters for equality, advocates of the downtrodden, guardians of freedom in an age where information has become the primary currency. That’s how many people see them. That’s how I saw them, but not anymore. Continue reading

Rectums of the Election, 2017

Piloting the UK: go with prevailing winds or dive out, confident an ideological parachute will land us safely? (Click for fair use)

Well, it’s happened. The morning of the 9th of June and the final results are coming in. Every self-styled pundit and opinionated know-it-all is pounding their keyboards, putting the world and their worldview to rights, one key-click at a time. So, why should this blogger be any different? Maybe because I don’t have any particular party axe to grind. My personal views on a range of issues were spread across several party manifestos, so I voted tactically and locally. What was clear though from party leaders is that UK politics has fundamentally not changed or matured, despite everyone and their dog saying the Brexit referendum was a wake-up call to the establishment who needed to listen to a disenfranchised public. Let’s rhetoric-spot a little, and look at the doubling-down so far:

Continue reading

The EU Referendum, Brexit, and the Five Stages of Grieving

Post fight, it's time to face forward and hang up the gloves.

Post fight, it’s time to face forward and hang up the gloves.

We all know the date: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016: Independence Day or the End of Civilisation, depending on your worldview. Reaction to the Leave victory varied, of course, but most common was the initial shock. For those backing Remain, it came as a hammer blow. The lost referendum was, for many, like opening the front door to find two police officers standing on the step:
Continue reading

Dear Social Justice Activist: One Writer’s Thoughts

(Click for origin & fair use.)

(Click for origin & fair use.)

If you’re a social justice activist and we’ve been having an exchange on social media, it’s probably ended in a number of ways. If you’re reading this then you’ve not immediately labelled me a variant of misogynist/bigot/racist/homophobe and blocked me. I applaud you for that and being more open to dialogue than some.

I’ll limit this response to one possible context: you’ve told me that I should read more before I reply to you or express an opinion on our topic of discussion. This is usually based on one of two assumptions:

1. I hold the opinions I do because I am ignorant of the context/issues involved and if I simply read more I would see the world and the topics discussed as you do. Because, what reasonable, caring, intelligent person could do otherwise?

2. You haven’t quite worked out where I am coming from and are one step away from labelling me a misogynist/bigot/racist/homophobe at worst, or a cold-hearted, privileged, white he-devil socialised into prejudice and hatred of women and minorities by the colonial patriarchy. One slip, misunderstanding, or inconvenient fact will, of course, see me blocked. Disparaging comments about me may, or may not, be exchanged about me behind my back with others sharing your world-view, after-the-fact.

If you’re an SJA and have read this far, count me impressed. I’d like to offer a third possibility: I am not completely ignorant or uncaring regarding social and economic disadvantage facing some individuals and sections of society because their life circumstances are less favourable than some of mine. Nor am I a vile person without morals or an ethical/ideological framework through which I perceive the world and act. It’s just my viewpoints and beliefs differ to yours. Continue reading

Star Wars: Kylo Ren, the Return of the Social Justice Warrior (#SJW)?

Miracles do happen: I finally managed to get to a showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens without being exposed to any major spoilers , despite my young son having watched the film before Christmas. What I’d seen were articles online claiming the film was a social justice/’progressive’/diversity/feminist tour-de-Force Awakening and avoided reading every one. It was clear that many in the regressive left wanted to claim the movie as their own, even going so far as to state Kylo Ren is the ultimate white, dude-bro geek, the last gasp of a dying breed of archaic white, patriarchal male gamers. But, predictably for ideologues, what they saw was filtered through the lens of their ideology. So, who is Kylo Ren, and what does he represent?

*MAJOR SPOILER ALERT, OBVIOUSLY* Continue reading

A ‘Neutral’ Mansplains Neutrality Versus Being Pro- or Anti- Gamergate

Sounds like a dumb title, doesn’t it? But after the launch of a recent Gamergate associated tag, #GamerGateNeutral, and watching how many reacted to it, it seems an explanation of some basic principles is needed.

(NOTE: whether the GGN tag is truly representative of neutrality in its broadest sense is up for debate. Being a neutral, and therefore having enough of a brain to form my own opinions, I would argue it is not, but that isn’t the subject of this post.)

Gamergateneutral mission statement 260115

The term ‘neutral’ was coined after the descriptors of ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ gamergate came to be used as shorthand for those who focus on fighting for ethics in games journalism and those who consider that ‘gamergate’ is a cover for those wishing to engage in harassment and abuse of women in the games industry. For those who feel they cannot subscribe to, or stand with, either position, the term neutral has been adopted by some, myself included. Continue reading

A Neutral Proposal for Solving the Gamer and Social Justice Culture Clash

NOTE: Harassment and ethics are issues that are important to many, but NOT the focus this post. Agendas and concerns elsewhere, please.
This is about looking at allowing gamers of ALL sorts enjoyment of an inclusive hobby. Gaming is easily big enough for everyone. My suggestions for moving forward are:

1) When considering gaming and the community of gamers, drop the history. Leave it behind. Stop investigating. Stop shaming.
2) Social Justice types: stop trying to ban games.
3) Gamers: stop seeing the development of games that prioritise story and character interaction as threatening. Let those that enjoy ‘gentler’ or casual games do so without attacking them.
4) Devs: be aware the market contains a huge diversity of consumers. Follow your artistic vision for the game you wish to make, targeted at the audience you think will most enjoy it. Do not cave in to pressure to change your game by anyone who is not in the target demographic.
5) Devs, Gamers & Social Justice Types: stop attacking & trying to dismantle each other’s identities and sub-communities. Create safe and unsafe gaming spaces, and trash talk, or not, in an a place where it’s accepted.
6) Gamers & Social Justice Types: don’t be an idiot and make a nuisance of yourself in someone else’s space. Stick with your own and enjoy yourselves there.

What did I miss? Any suggestions/critique/agreement in the comments below. And we’re trying to look forward here. Can we think past the current gamergate ‘scandal’ no matter our affiliation?

A ‘Neutral’ Mansplains Gamergate, Social Justice and Radical Feminism

‘Mansplaining’, One Definition: a word often used by social activists and radical feminists to label someone’s opinions in such a way that they can be disregarded, based solely the gender of the holder.

Being neutral is about either not caring or it’s about asking questions. Why is there a fuss about a Storm Trooper’s colour? Why should Katniss Everdeen have been black? Why are the current sexualisation and depiction of women in games ‘bad’? And why are those who support gamergate feeling under attack from some radical feminists and social activists when it’s women who’ve been abused and threatened?

Gamergate was birthed as conjoined twins: the harassment of some women and the issues around game journalism ethics, or lack thereof. One side wants to say it’s all about the former, that the gamergate tag has no legitimacy except as another label for misogyny. The tag should be condemned and buried. The other side are crying out to be heard as they use the moniker ‘gamegate’ as a touchstone for the shared values of gaming culture, and even community. On both sides there are those who say their gamergate is the definitive one. I’m neutral and have to disagree. Gamergate is as messed up and mixed up as discussions about the value and nature of religion, and arguing exact definitions as pointless as debates over which gender is better. Continue reading

Dear Radical Feminist, a Letter About My Son

Dear Radical Feminist,

I have the honour and privilege of being the father of a wonderful seven-year-old. It is not his fault he was born a boy and has white skin and is statistically more likely to grow up hetero-sexual. Continue reading

#Gamergate, it’s ‘Them and Us’ All Over Again

The end of society as we know it? Probably not, but there’s plenty of fallout for those too close.

August-November, 2014 and #Gamergate hit the proverbial fan, setting off waves across the net:

  • ‘Lack of ethics in games journalism’ saw female dev-minxes allegedly grinding completely innocent journalists until they were so hot on testosterone they willingly lay naked on floors, laptop-typing feverously positive game reviews that were stiletto heel edited with jabs to the neck.
  • Hidden left-world think-tank, oestro-powered cranium-women sent Telepathic Mother Waves that were downloaded through big loopy earrings and regurgitated, unedited, by glam, pretty young things.
  • Hidden left-world think-tank, testostro-powered unwashed news hacks sat around in hairy-huddles, picking fleas from each others armpits and groin-sniffed and chest beat until they thought they were Alpha Kong-Dongs and could defecate on everyone else from on-high.
  • White, fat, hairy neckbearded menchildren responded and declared themselves the new oppressed minority majority, except the journalists had already killed them, so it was too late.
  • Left to to carry the torch were women-trans-gay-coloured gamers who shouted at the open-minded and completely unbiased mainstream press who didn’t listen – they wanted to demonstrate sympathy with the fem-left by acting in an utterly patriarchal way: ‘helping’ distressed women against their online male oppressors because it was what their audience expected, and gamer-hating brought in the ratings and ad revenue.
  • The Rabid-Fem community heard the ‘gamers’ who refused to conform though. Clothed solely in totally functional and ungenderising armour woven from whiter-than-white lily petals, these humanitarian souls labelled other women, non-whites and every gender imaginable, ‘white mens’ bee-atches’, ‘house-n*ggers’ and ‘gender-traitors’.
  • The non-majority gamers retaliated with angry signs declaring ‘#NotYourShield’ and accusations of control, hypocrisy and prejudice.

Not nice, is it?

The confusion, clash of ideologies, nepotism, deceit and arrogance displayed through the whole debacle has left lives in tatters (no, really) and enraged  people on- and offline. So, who’s to blame? The Quinns, Sarkeesians, or Wus? If women had that much power, even the most rabid man-haters would be appeased, their desired matriarchy firmly established over all men and any women still willing to treat the breast-less as human beings. Whatever their actions or politics, those three have taken enough flak and it’s time to let them get on with finding their lives. Zoe Quinn will, hopefully, eventually find joy in developing games and sharing them with an open-minded audience. Yes, Anita Sarkeesian will probably release another video or several criticising males and video games and appear on mainstream TV and in editorials, but that’s what she does. I’m not going to tell her she can’t. I’d even fight for her right to do so but she doesn’t need my help.  Whatever she says or does, I hope those that threatened her are caught and dealt with. And Brianna Wu? I hope she keeps finding the courage to send a few mocking tweets – there are plenty on  the internet who need a good prodding. My hope is that they’re big enough to take it, and restrict their responses to tweets-in-kind.

So, that leaves the misogynist gamers (no matter their colour, creed or orientation), the corrupt games journalists, the sociopathic trolls, self-serving mainstream media, the Boadicea Wimmin Warriors and Fem-Bashing Neanderthals. Who’s your tribe? Which group(s) do you hate?

Personally, I blame the cliques; group-think works for any ideology. It’s the safe way to live.

How to fight an historical patriarchy that remains as part of the establishment, making the life-slope steeper for women to climb? Solution: define yourself by opposition and become a man-hater pushing for preference, not equality.

How to fight racism and discrimination against human beings who just happen to have more melanin in their skin than I do? Solution: define yourself by opposition and call white males bigoted ‘rednecks’ and ‘neckbeards’.

How to fight the corrupt media? Solution: in-focus and huddle, until you call for boycotting of every site that hosts reviews you just don’t like, and not just because they manipulate and grant behind the scenes favours. Follow up by nit-picking every little mistake your opposition makes, as if that proves your point. (But your opposition does that too, so it doesn’t matter.)

Instead, do you join the corrupt media? Answer: absolutely, because you get to close ranks with your mates when the finger pointing starts, insult you readership, and refuse to even consider signing up to ethically sound journalistic guidelines to ensure a level playing field for everyone.

That leaves the disenfranchised, what should they do? Answer: form an anti-whatever group and send the hate ‘they’ dissed you with back at ‘them’, ten-fold.

What’s so utterly obvious, yet apparently so hard to believe and act on, is that no one is perfect. Prejudice, self-righteousness, anger, hatred, judgemental-ism: it’s part of all of us. People are complex. No-one’s online self is all that they are. But, whoever we are and whatever our weaknesses, we’re defined by our choices. So, which have you made? Do you hate/despise/belittle those who oppose you? Attempt to silence them? Attack them personally?  (Note: criticising someone’s work is different – maybe just keep the bile out of it?)

Are you defined by being anti-something, or are you for something, and no, they are not the same.

Humanity doesn’t need hate-filled feminism any more than it needs self-interested patriarchy. It doesn’t need self-appointed, self-interested power groups any more than it does those who would resort to abuse or attacks to fight them. It doesn’t need groups or individuals labelling and condemning each other and not listening.

Whether our bits jiggle when we walk, or not, whether we turn pink in the sun, or not, when did we leave parts of our minds / souls / spirits behind?

Tomorrow is another day, so why not make it better?

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