I promise to you, dear anonymous blog reader, after the last entry, I told myself, “Self, you’ve written enough about Mark Kern. Whatever other foibles he gets himself to? It’s unimportant. The world will move on, and he may or may not move on to working on his own projects, and you have your own job to do, and the world will abide.”
I promise to you. That was my plan. I seriously was done with the Mark Kern posts. You can only punch the puppy so much before someone calls you out and says “Hey! Quit hitting the puppy! It’s cute, and you’re better than that!” And you feel guilty, and the puppy looks up at you with big, deep, dark brown eyes, and barks plaintively: “#NotYourShield”.
I can feel my heart dying right now for all of the minorities and women involved in that GG thing who used to be Tim Schafer fans.
— Boogie2988 (@Boogie2988) March 5, 2015
What caused all this?
Well, you see, Mark Kern, he of the concern over premeditated socks (this becomes relevant shortly, really), asked Gamergaters to post their COMPLETELY HONEST AND UNREHEARSED concerns (about what, you might ask? Well, I’m still not sure, but actually, it’s about ethics in games journalism) over GDC’s hashtags. Which they did. And I know this will shock you, but Gamergaters did not particularly make a very good impression of themselves. In fact, the overwhelming reaction to Gamergate’s loud sealioning of GDC attendees was “wait, did someone make a block bot for this stuff? Because a block bot sounds really good right about now. I’d kind of like a block bot, please.” This was not really the expected response! And as people got together at GDC, especially as alcohol was consumed, people started telling each other “you know, what’s up with all these people tweeting me about game reviews and Zoe Quinn and cultural marxism and is that a pickle shot?” The end of this, of course, was when Tim Schafer, whom was beloved by everyone 48 hours ago, had this to say:
Yes, it’s a lame joke. Surprise: Tim Schafer isn’t a professional stand-up comedian – he’s a game developer who is sick of your shit. (Assuming the “you” in this instance is someone who quit reading this blog post a paragraph ago and is furiously typing into Disqus’s broke-as-hell interface complaining about what I wrote.) (And if you want to complain about that – literally the last thing I want to do is spend money on a web server to make your complaints about my writing process faster.) (#notyourshield)
I know this will shock you to an amazing degree of surprise, but Gamergaters were not amused by GDC attendees using the platforms they were given to express discontent with 8chan refugees spamming anime porn into their twitter feed. Like all not-true-Scotsmen everywhere, Gamergaters insisted that their own crusade was pure and righteous and anyone who said otherwise was totally not part of their club and it was unfair to judge them on this. Mind you, this was difficult to justify when people complained about perceived racism literally in the same thread as actual racist slurs, but Gamergaters are not known for internal consistency (or external consistency, for that matter).
And at the center for most of the day was Mark Kern, whom I promised (if only to myself) not to write about any more, because he clearly was so obviously self-promoting that clearly anyone would see this. His Twitter feed today was, to put it mildly, a touch furious. I’m not going to post links, because as of this writing he appears to have thought better of himself and has backed up a tad from the abyss of #I’mACEOOfColor #NotYourDamnShield posts that he has been making all day (and you will note, I have never reposted any of his tweets in that vein that he has made the past few weeks, since, among other reasons, I am a very pasty white dude). I hope that Kern, or possibly his suffering-the-likes-of-which-I-can-only-hope-to-imagine community manager has imposed some sort of truce to let things calm down, and I can totally respect that, since at the end of the day we just want to make games. Preferably with a minimum of people screaming at us on Twitter about how we use our ladyparts.
The reference to slides, by the way, was most likely in reference to a talk given by some of my favorite people, namely Ms. Donna Prior, whom I have adored for quite a while (COLLUSION!), Ms. Zoe Quinn, whom I have never met, and who has put up with entirely too much shit thanks to having an entirely too public breakup while being a game developer, and Ms. Randi Harper, whom I have also never met, but like me sees a problem and thinks “hmm, give me fifteen minutes and a terminal window and three shots and I can fix this crap if you will just SHUT UP FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES DID YOU NOT HEAR THAT FIRST PART AND WHERE IS MY SHOT”. Thankfully, someone has taken care of Ms. Harper’s shots, because she went all respectable on us while we weren’t looking.
The fact that the slide I linked to you last paragraph was seen as somehow controversial is, in and of itself, illustrative. And it leads into tomorrow, when I’ll talk about how the online culture of Gamergate/8chan leads itself to a transgressive demanding of imposing its own reality. But I’m going to need… fifteen minutes of quiet, a terminal window, and three shots. I don’t think I’m asking for too much there. DID YOU MISS THE PART ABOUT FIFTEEN MINUTES?