The Witchfinder welcomes the thoughtful and insightful contribution of Liana Kerzner to the debate over gender identity and video games as well as her rejection of the monopolitical approach taken by Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency. Your Inquisitor recommends Kerzner’s Patreon.
Free Speech or Controlled Speech? Art approved by the Party or Art approved by the Public? These are the questions that underlie the often heated #GamerGate controversy, questions that are central to our society.
Only a few weeks ago, 3.7 million people marched in France for Free Speech (1.5 – 2 million in Paris alone, according to Wikipedia). I chose an article about that to link via ‘Free Speech’. For ‘Controlled Speech’ I chose a link to the Khmer Rouge with their infamous piles of skulls. The Khmer Rouge were a leftist / Communist dictatorship in Cambodia that killed up to 3 million people. In the aftermath of the regime, another 650,000 starved to death.
When considering politics, it is worth remembering that the most vicious ISIL jihadist, be he one who has severed human heads as a mower severs wheat, has nothing on the blood soaked history of the 20th century left. Similarly, the regimes that Wikipedia says claimed the lives of 85,000,000 – 100,000,000 people were defined in large part by their monopolitical, monoideological, totalitarian, free speech controlling systems.
Like Islamic terrorists, the modern left have never abandoned their push to control speech. The Communist governments fell as their ludicrous economic systems failed so they switched to social enforcement via Political Correctness. The term ‘Political Correctness’ originated as a description socialists used to criticise hard line communists but in more modern times it means an attempt by the cultural and political left to enforce control by way of social and economic ostracism.
The same polarisation is seen in the so-called #GamerGate controversy. Feminist Frequency creator Anita Sarkeesian alleges games are bastions of negative portrayal of women – literally ‘tropes against women’ and her supporters have sought to obtain influence over this aspect of culture by making allegations of misogyny. The tropes are so broadly defined that in reality they could cover anything.
As one of the easier examples, we have Ms Male Character, which Sarkeesian illustrates on her website with a picture of Ms Pacman. Ms Male Character is a female character who generally occupies an equivalent role to a male in a computer game.
In reality in Pacman the game is conceptually asexual – a yellow blob eating little dots. Ms Pacman was fundamentally a yellow blob in a wig. Pacman and its clones were physical, reflex utilising, action games written for extremely primitive computing devices. There is negligible dialogue, plot and nuance because Pacman is a game about eating tiny white dots and being chased by monsters or ghosts around a maze.
In short the technical and mechanical limitations of the game technology of the time constrained the differences between the genders to minor cosmetic tweaks.
Sarkeesian’s criticism of Ms Pacman and similar characters is similar to left wing criticism of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s only female Prime Minister. Glenda Jackson MP was widely condemned after describing the former Prime Minister as – “a woman? Not on my terms”. To left wingers, only women who conform to their demands and their expectations are entitled to their gender. In an Orwellian inversion leftist ‘feminists’, alleged proponents of liberation, determine the value of women based on their obedience.
Republican talk show host, lesbian feminist and former LA NoW President Tammy Bruce describes the same challenge of being opposed by the Democrat supporting national leadership when she put women’s interests ahead of the leftist political agenda. Tammy Bruce criticised OJ Simpson as a perpetrator of spousal abuse, pointing out he had previously pleaded no contest to charges of beating his wife.
Rather than being clearly defined then, the ‘tropes against women’ are nebulous terms that can be used to arbitrarily condemn or praise game developers. One could say that Ms Pacman is a Ms Male character. One could equally say she is a female with pay equality and parity of terms – a paradigm of equal rights. The glass is half full or half empty depending on the agenda of the speaker.
Ultimately, Sarkeesian describes gaming as a source of objectionable ideas and themes ‘tropes’ that must be corrected. Sarkeesian’s arguments are implicitly for Speech Control.
The Witchfinder turns then to Liana Kerzner, a Canadian self-defined feminist who enjoys cosplay. Kerzner has risen to prominence in this context because she has challenged Anita Sarkeesian in print and in video. Better spoken, better thought-out, better looking and vastly more pro-free speech she is an importance voice. Kerzner’s most recent essay, delivered in five parts of which she has released part 1 and part 2 is called, ‘Why Feminist Frequency almost made me quit writing about video games’.
Both videos are embedded below –
The videos are well presented but what is important here is that however Liana chooses to define and describe herself she supports key #GamerGate and Conservative ideas –
“Video games are art, and art should not censor content simply to appease extreme North American political beliefs.”
… and …
“My secondary focus is that the supporters of Feminist Frequency enable and participate in online bullying of those holding dissenting opinions.”
These are in fact the core tenets of #GamerGate. Speech, (e.g. game content and games journalism) should be free. Liana calls for respectful speech – a world away from the pervasive menace of leftist ‘political correctness’.
“Please, share your thoughts on my work. But do it in a respectful way without hate, malice, or abusive language. Even if you disagree with a person, they’re still a person. Bad ideas deserve criticism, but people are not bad because they have some bad ideas.”
Which leads us to the central point of this article. How do the members of #GamerGate respond to Liana Kerzner? The Witchfinder has seen those who have reservations. There are those who do not agree with Kerzner on every political issue. Others worry about her motivations as a Patreon crowdfunding seeker.
The Witchfinder says, “who cares?”
No two members of #Gamergate are alike. The entire point of #NotYourShield is that gamers include women, men, people of all ethnicities and diverse sexuality. Kerzner could not possibly have the same political views as everyone anymore than she could be the same colour as everyone.
Anita Sarkeesian’s unhelpful influence arises because the money her Kickstarter raised shows that people are willing to pay for her work. Therefore, reason magazine and TV shows, people will buy their magazines and watch their shows if they feature Sarkeesian. If #GamerGate can prove their is a greater market for a more amenable, moderate voice then that will favourably affect commissioning decisions.
Liana Kerzner is a woman with a history of a career in television. She is likable, respectful and thoughtful. Just as some people make games we like for a living, others make TV or online videos. We pay professional developers for games we like. Why not pay for journalism, political and cultural influence we like? The Witchfinder recommends Liana Kerzner’s Patreon.