I grow increasingly upset over the ugliness arising from the whole “GamerGate” brouhaha. A few days ago somebody made a bomb threat that resulted in the cancellation of a lecture by a games feminist. The threat was made in a note containing some truly ugly threats. I never though that GamerGate would go as far as this.
But even more disturbing is the reaction of so many gamers. These folks weakly condemn terrorist behavior, but they continue to spread the misogynist meme that underlies the whole thing. “I myself don’t condone the bomb threat, but let’s not forget that she brought it on herself with her feminist ranting.” I’ve seen this kind of talk over and over through the years:
“Some of my best friends are Negros, but you have to admit, there are a lot of criminals and welfare freeloaders among them.”
“As a Christian, I love all gays, but their perversions will surely send them to hell.”
“I hate war just as much as anybody else, but Saddam Hussein must be stopped.”
Edmund Burke is supposed to have written, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” But this situation is worse than that; the supposedly good men are giving under-the-table moral support to the fiends. Even more relevant is Thoreau’s statement "There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man.” In this case, we have nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of evil for every evil man. Whose behavior is, in fine, more iniquitous: the 999 or the 1?
Therein lies the core problem: not that there are a few terrorists, but that they thrive in a social atmosphere that encourages them.
Is this an opportunity?
Every social evil is an opportunity for those who would fix it. Right now, everybody is yelling and screaming at each other, but nothing constructive is being done. I am one of a small number of people who can actually DO something about this, by helping create games that appeal to women, games about social interaction. Should I press this angle? I don’t know.