In which we are informed #GamerGate has taken “its most disgraceful scalp yet”
For many people, Gamergate isn’t really a thing anymore. For the most part, it has receded from the headlines — we’re more than a year past the period of peak thinkpiecery on Gamergate, online harassment, and how the two intersect. But that doesn’t mean some of the group’s more enterprising members have stopped rabidly going after anyone they think is promoting an SJW (social-justice warrior) narrative or messing with their previous vidya.
For a particularly gross example, look no further than a piece of news that just dropped (part of a Twitter thread that starts here):
Today, the decision was made: I am no longer a good, safe representative of Nintendo, and my employment has been terminated.
— smol pterodactyl (@alisonrapp) March 30, 2016
Over the last few months, many of these gamers have turned their ire on Rapp, a young marketing employee at Nintendo who, as Patrick Klepek wrote in a comprehensive and well-reported article in Kotaku, “has been accused of somehow being a driving force behind the supposed censorship of that company’s games.” Rapp, it should be said, doesn’t even have anything to do with localization at Nintendo; she’s been targeted simply for having been “outspoken on Twitter about online abuse against women in gaming,” as Klepek put it. In the course of digging as deeply into her past as possible to find ways to discredit her, some gamers found an undergraduate thesis she wrote in 2011, and it seriously exacerbated the campaign against her.
In her thesis, Rapp laid out a highly academic case for why the U.S. shouldn’t pressure Japan, where the sexualization of young teens has long been entrenched in certain corners of the culture, to adopt child-pornography laws similar to our own. It reads like pretty standard-issue undergraduate cultural relativism. Anyone familiar with these arguments — even those inclined to think it’s fair to judge someone based on academic papers they wrote in college — would know that Rapp wasn’t condoning child pornography, but rather making a more nuanced argument about American cultural imperialism and so forth (she also argued that child pornography doesn’t cause people to abuse children).
These nuances were lost, perhaps willfully, on a group of Gamergaters and their allies, who quickly used the thesis and various old tweets of Rapp’s to launch a campaign to tar her as a defender of child pornography.
Ah, pity the poor SJWs. We aren’t correctly nuancing their defenses of child pornography. We aren’t treating them fairly. We are digging deeply into their pasts. We are contacting their employers. We are targeting their sponsors.
I wonder where we learned to do that? I wonder why we have adopted these terrible tactics?
They began this cultural war. Now they’re whining that someone is finally fighting back. If you’re not engaged yet, you should be, because they are coming after you just as surely as they are going after gaming, comics, the universities, and everything else.
Read SJWs Always Lie if you haven’t already. It’s all in there.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Kotaku has rushed to the defense of the indefensible:
Rapp specifically mentioned the GamerGate today as being agents of her
harassment, but it was never clear whether one particular group was
My reporting suggested
some people had taken tactics used by harassers during GamerGate and applied them here.