Hold the Line, against new and different games produced by girls … who are not sufficiently buxom and supportive of your awesome manliness!
Be Brave, good gamer soldiers … and continue your anonymous attacks against these upstart good-for-nothing girls!
In a way, it really does seem to come to that. The #GamerGate phenomenon would be entertaining for all of a few seconds, much like we stare at someone we think is attempting spontaneous and nearly-insane comedy right before we realize, to our horror, that we are about to laugh at a spastic disability. In truth, the phenomenon would not even be a one-hit wonder except for a spectacular nexus of bigotry and juvenilia.
Mark Fiore’s moving (ha!) editorial might sound like open satire, but such an assessment would be somewhat insulting, as it would suggest the artist required some sort of herculean labor to simply run down the checklist of hashtag-GamerGate.
Online, we are supposed to call it Poe’s Law, which is an alpha geek’s attempt to claim originality for pointing out that truth is necessarily stranger than fiction. However, we ought not knock Poe’s Law, because the internet age does raise, by orders of magnitude, the frequency with which the question arises whether we are viewing the real thing or a vicious satire. Evangelical Christianity, the Republican Party, Fall Out Boy, and now #GamerGate.
Okay, okay. We know Fall Out Boy is the real thing, which is why their choice to sound like a satire of Muse during a drug-laden combination rehearsal session and bestial orgy is just sad, but it’s true; but it is also true that there is a limit to how much condemnation one can justly pile in their laps for the crime of being young and stupid.
#GamerGate, on the other hand, has no excuse. Indeed, even the would-be, come-hither, reluctant megalomaniac attributed with birthing this monstrous indecency unto modern civilization is so appalled that he can’t quite tell how to justify his continuing support for it. Or perhaps it’s better to attempt to consume Joseph Bernstein’s profile of Eron Gjoni for Buzzfeed … well, you know, if you have the stomach for a journalistic examination of excrement:
Gjoni, whose friends described as deliberate and calm, may not have fully taken that reality into account. “I spent the better part of a month planning all contingencies,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I gave this outcome an exceedingly low probability.”
That probability has taken its toll. Until last week, Gjoni worked as a computer scientist at a Boston hospital, where he specialized in robotics and artificial intelligence. Gjoni, who emigrated to the United States with his parents from Albania when he was 6, was recruited to the position while he was still in college. Recently, his supervisors noticed that he looked haggard and wasn’t getting much work done, and asked him if he wanted to resign. Gjoni said yes.
“Internet warfare takes a surprising amount of dedication,” he said. Indeed, Gjoni, despite his protestations that he wrote “thezoepost” for ethical reasons unrelated to gaming, seems unable to leave the cause his writing sparked alone. He admitted to regularly advising GamerGate leaders, and seems to take some pride in the power he claims to exert over the movement, as well as over the effect the movement has had on gaming journalism.
“I’ve had to … keep it from splitting the earth in two,” he said.
Yes, poor Eron, the reluctant megalomaniac who now struggles to save the world from a demon of his own creation that he regrets but would apparently raise all over again, because, you know, then he gets to pretend he’s some sort of benevolent genius struggling to save the world.
In other words, pity the troll.
Fiore, Mark. “Gamergate wants you!”. Daily Kos. 31 October 2014.
Bernstein, Joseph. “The Man Who Sparked GamerGate Regrets The Harassment, Says He’d Do It Again”. BuzzFeed. 16 October 2014.