A response to weheart.github.io – We feel it is the actions of ‘Social Justice Warriors’ who with shaming, mob tactics, blacklisting, mass blocking, insults, harassment, threats and attempts to control games media, production and content who have damaged the gaming community and we’re making a stand against it. Both sides are predominantly left/liberal. We’re just anti-authoritarian and want things to progress naturally.
This question seems to be popping up a lot and there’s a lot of obfuscation going on from the social justice warriors*, the gaming media (such as it is) and others. So here’s a quick primer into what’s going on (or you could start HERE):
An indie computer game developer – who happens to be a woman (irrelevant) – was exposed as having cheated on her boyfriend (irrelevant) with a bunch of guys (irrelevant) who happened to hold positions in gaming media and to have given her all sorts of booster articles and kudos (supremely fucking relevant).
Obviously, this at least looks dodgy as fuck, even if it’s all above board and just sexytimes rather than payment in kind. It calls into question journalistic integrity, which is what should divide professional gaming/journalism sites like Kotaku/Forbes/Vice etc from ‘mere’ games bloggers and Youtube personalities who are just doing what they do for the ‘lulz’ and the fun of it.
The conflict of interest should be obvious.
When this hit, however, it was ignored and/or suppressed by most of that same gaming journalism field, which again, looks dodgy as hell since it’s their ethics and transparency that are under question.
That was, however, just the spark of what has become a more generally skeptical and critical eye that has turned on other conflicts of interest (such as PR or consultancy businesses also run by games journalists) and long standing issues with corruption via threats, blacklisting, pre-order culture etc in games journalism.
It has ALSO become tangled up in a general backlash against the kind of judgemental, gamer-hating, ‘everything you like is bad and wrong’ articles which have also been common in the last few years, along with the lionisation of known fraud Anita Sarkeesian.
In short, it’s been a long time coming.
It has been complicated, of course, by trolls and by Social Justice Warriors who – along with the people under suspicion of corruption and ethical breaches – are using the fact that it all happened to start from a love septagon involving a woman to deflect into their existing narrative that it’s all to do with crying man-babies who don’t like women in their games. Unfortunately, accusations of misogyny, sexism, racism etc still carry a lot of currency and power in silencing people and the hate towards gamers is – at this point – well entrenched.
What it is really about is:
- Journalistic ethics and integrity.
- Irritation with clickbaiting.
- Annoyance at being constantly demonised and criticised by people who are supposed to love your hobbies.
- The many hateful articles and the doubling down on censorship and slandering of the fanbase sites have indulged in since this broke.
- SJW censorship backlash.
This is also part of a wider cultural problem, affecting many forms of media and play.
As background, it’s worth noting that gamers have a very well justified siege mentality towards this sort of thing and wider nerd culture even more so. You can trace it back at least to Fredric Wertham and Seduction of the Innocent, via, Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons, Tipper Gore, Jack Thompson, MMO scare stories and all the rest. In that context, little wonder people are suspicious and react badly to their concerns being brushed off as some, supposed, gamer-inherent misogyny (which has also been the basis of much slandering and hatred directed towards games and game producers themselves).
*’Social Justice Warriors’ (or SJWs) means the kind of Tumblrina, vicious, nasty online bully who likes to pretend at being progressive and liberal while being authoritarian, nasty and everything they claim to hate.
There are heated discussions around several of our products and several works I’ve produced in the past. These emerge every so often and often in fora where it is impossible for me to defend myself or offer explanations. Sometimes they come back here. Many of these arguments and misinterpretations come from ‘Social Justice Warriors’ (SJWs). We here at Postmortem Studios, despite producing less material of late due to other commitments, have adhered to a policy of ‘not giving too much of a damn’, and these recent discussions have not prompted us to change that policy. After some deliberation we’ve decided to make our policy clear.
Every person involved with Postmortem Studios stands in support of equality, whether it be race, sex, gender identity, disability, political creed, religion or lack therof. We’re also in support of free expression, satire, adult material for grown-ups, robust discussion and the capacity for people to disagree and yet still have fun together and enjoy some of the same things. As should be possible to glean from our material we’re a left-wing and anarchistic organisation and while we don’t claim to be unbiased or to have our own views, you’re also welcome to yours and welcome to debate them. We don’t believe in patriarchy, rape culture or privilege (at least as in the sense used by SJWs) or their usefulness in discussion, but you’re welcome to. In the context of current discussions equality for all people, regardless of sex – even men – is something we consider a worthy goal.
As a group, we at Postmortem find the politics of SJWs to be toxic, offensive and completely removed from reality. Yet we couldn’t really give 10ccs of flying monkey jism if you adhere to these ideas and play our games, or post on fora about them, or post about how they intersect with the fantasy magic, technology or societies of our works of fiction. If we disagree, it’s quite likely your ideas that we find noxious will find themselves used by a villain or lampooned in one of our games. Even though we’ve found the lies and misrepresentations made by our detractors detrimental to our business and personally insulting – even libellous – we respect people’s right to be wrong headed and to hold views that offend our sensibilities.
We want the, loose, community of Postmortem fans to be genuinely inclusive of all viewpoints, so long as people are on topic and mindful that it’s possible to disagree without painting the other side as kitten-drowning baby murderers who are worse than Hitler. We understand that people who hold all manner of viewpoints, even SJWs, see themselves as ‘the good guys’ and as being supportive of progress or the betterment of society, we just hope that popping the echo-chamber bubbles these groups have by them running into alternative points of view may moderate extremism on all sides a little bit.
Those who explicitly attack the equality seeking measures of other groups and seek to exclude them from the public square, even in the arena of science fiction, fantasy and games, are enemies of liberty, free expression and the free marketplace of ideas and we find it – frankly – staggering that any person involved in any creative endeavour would back de-facto censorship of this blanket sort, even on private fora. The type of community we want is the kind of rough and tumble, idea-slinging, free-debating utopian vision that the internet was founded upon and which Generation X seems to have forgotten and Generation Y has failed to live up to.
We don’t give a tinker’s cuss if you’re a radical feminist, a SWERF, a TERF, an MHRA, a MGTOW, a Black Panther, Christian Identity, Earth First, a Tumblrina or even a climate-change denying Republican. You’re welcome to enjoy our games and discuss them from your point of view and we’ll only give a damn if you start being a dick in general, not because of what your views or.
We want our games and our blog to be genuinely open and inclusive, in the actual meaning of the word. A ‘safe space’ for interesting and controversial ideas and reasonable conflict. An art that’s being lost in social and conventional media today.
We won’t ban you just for holding a point of view we disagree with, because that’s antithetical to our values as a creative enterprise, egalitarians, libertines and digital citizens of the 21st Century.
Games are pretend, fun, and safe places to wrangle difficult ideas and controversial politics. Have we learned nothing from playing Bioshock? Frankly, weird views and applications of technology and magic from twisted – or at least different – minds can fuel the creative process.