The threats against Sarkeesian have become a nasty backdrop to her entire project — and her life. If the trolls making them hoped for attention, they’ve gotten it. They’ve also inexorably linked criticism of her work, valid or not, with semi-delusional vigilantism, and arguably propelled Tropes vs. Women to its current level of visibility. If a major plank of your platform is that misogyny is a lie propagated by Sarkeesian and other “social justice warriors,” it might help to not constantly prove it wrong.

Adi Robertson, at The Verge, on Anita Sarkeesian’s ‘Tropes vs. Women’ and the backlash she’s had to face for drawing into stark light the way women are portrayed in video games, the misogyny and sexism that abounds in those portrayals, and, in doing so, providing what is a compelling and ultimately eye-opening and thoughtful presentation of an incredible imbalance in some of the leading cultural products of our time.

I’ve rather enjoyed Sarkeesian’s series, and I’m not a gamer at all. Still, I can see the resonance of the points she raises in the area of scholarship I do swim in, and in the cultural products I choose to consume, and her work and its insights cause me to pause.

To pause, not to fire back.

Not to troll.

Not to attack.

Not to suggest that because Anita Sarkeesian might not have played specific games I’ve played, or as many, or any, that her points are invalid. I don’t see this as a necessary relationship: I needn’t have cancer to want to seek a cure, I needn’t be hungry to want to solve problems of hunger, I needn’t have written to analyse text, and I needn’t be a gamer to look at the content of games.

What worries me most about this backlash is what no longer surprises me about it: Internet trolls (and their old media counterparts) seem to have an annoyingly consistent habit of suggesting they are infallible and no one outside their experiential realm has anything worth offering. They also tend to trend towards sexist and anti-woman attacks, and this is overly abundant with television.

I might suggest an alternative mode of thinking: Someone who wants to spend their days labouring over the content of a game and games (and this goes for lots of media content types) is probably someone who wants the best of games (or TV, or movies, or magazines, books, newspapers, radio, comic books, and Bazooka Joe cartoons for that matter), and wants them to reach the broadest audience, and wants them to represent the world outside and allow it to better inform the pictures in our heads (h/t Lippmann).

Trolling Sarkeesian won’t change that drive of the people who do this sort of work, but it will probably turn people away from that thing you hold dear, and that thing you hold dear will seem less significant in time.

In the best of worlds, trolling won’t draw you a following, but will repel one. In the best of worlds, this behaviour won’t convince people that you’re more right than they are, it will convince them of your stubbornness.

In the best of worlds, such attacks will alienate people and reveal your insecurities and angst for what they are. 

At least I hope it will, and I hope we live in the best of worlds.

Artist: J Mascis (w/ Chan Marshall)

Song: Wide Awake

Album: Tied to a Star

Great album from J Mascis. I’ve always enjoyed Dinosaur Jr, still do, but J Mascis has put together an amazingly quieter album here, one that reveals something contemplative and thoughtful. But not too thoughtful, not overly introspective; even the track titles sound like scattered ideas, notions, not thoughts. nprmusic offers a great description and mini-review here, where you can listen to the new album this week.

When I lived in Northampton, Massachusetts I used to see J Mascis around town. He’s a resident (luminary) of the region. More than once (let’s call it a few dozen times) we were in the same cafe, more often than that we’d cross paths near the same cafe, and these wasn’t Dinosaur Jr music sorts of cafes – these were J Mascis hanging out with Cat Power sorts of cafes. 

This album fits the way I saw one of the loudest most pummelling relics (fossils … get it … see what I did there?) of the 1990s. A bit less of the volume, all of the feeling.

…. As an aside: The album cover looks like an illustration from a fan fiction children’s book about the animals from the ice planet Hoth…

onthemedia
onthemedia:


Steve Terrill is a journalist who works in Rwanda. Or at least he worked in Rwanda, until he accidentally got the office of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame to implicate itself in a long-running online harassment campaign. On the latest episode of TLDR, Alex talks to Steve about inadvertently exposing the Rwandan government’s most prolific troll, and being banned from the country as a result.

Worth a listen for anyone interested in what it’s like to work as a journalist – or for that matter, to be anyone who chooses to communicate online, through social media, or in any number of comment spaces or discussion fora – in an era when access to social media allows anyone who is so inclined to push back, troll, and harass journalists whose coverage they disagree with. Journalists are not alone in this, nor are they the biggest victims of it, but this is an interesting discussion of one person’s case of uncovering a ‘troll’ and what came afterwards.* Certainly not uncovering the worst of these trolls, nor uncovering the worst online activity, but there were ramifications nonetheless and it had and has a real world impact.

*There have been some notable cases of awful trolling recently, cases I’m disinclined to link to as to describe that trolling as ‘graphic violent images’ would be an incredible understatement. Trolling frequently targets women, it targets children, it targets pretty much anyone but it is not very easy to brush off the hostility and vitriol of these comments.

onthemedia:

Steve Terrill is a journalist who works in Rwanda. Or at least he worked in Rwanda, until he accidentally got the office of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame to implicate itself in a long-running online harassment campaign. On the latest episode of TLDR, Alex talks to Steve about inadvertently exposing the Rwandan government’s most prolific troll, and being banned from the country as a result.

Worth a listen for anyone interested in what it’s like to work as a journalist – or for that matter, to be anyone who chooses to communicate online, through social media, or in any number of comment spaces or discussion fora – in an era when access to social media allows anyone who is so inclined to push back, troll, and harass journalists whose coverage they disagree with. Journalists are not alone in this, nor are they the biggest victims of it, but this is an interesting discussion of one person’s case of uncovering a ‘troll’ and what came afterwards.* Certainly not uncovering the worst of these trolls, nor uncovering the worst online activity, but there were ramifications nonetheless and it had and has a real world impact.

*There have been some notable cases of awful trolling recently, cases I’m disinclined to link to as to describe that trolling as ‘graphic violent images’ would be an incredible understatement. Trolling frequently targets women, it targets children, it targets pretty much anyone but it is not very easy to brush off the hostility and vitriol of these comments.

Artist: Neko Case

Song: Prison Girls

Album: Middle Cyclone

I want to make a mix tape some day of songs that could soundtrack late night walks on empty city streets at 2 a.m., or long drives through hot dry fields, or the languid humidity of summer. Or, in this case, whatever you’d call what kicks in first at 2:05 (I will go for ‘wordless chorus/bridge’) the soundtrack backing the sort of weaving you have to do when you’re trying to just make your way down a sidewalk and hit a crowd that you don’t necessarily want to be a part of.

guardian
This illustrates, to me, the problem with ‘the rush’ and more specifically with ‘the rush, above all’.
guardian:

In the rush to report the death of Robin Williams guidelines on reporting suicide have been ignored by the media. Experts warn that reports which detail the method or use inappropriate language can lead to a rise in suicides. The media has duty to report suicide responsibly
Photos: Touchstone Pictures / EPA
• In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

This illustrates, to me, the problem with ‘the rush’ and more specifically with ‘the rush, above all’.

guardian:

In the rush to report the death of Robin Williams guidelines on reporting suicide have been ignored by the media. Experts warn that reports which detail the method or use inappropriate language can lead to a rise in suicides. The media has duty to report suicide responsibly

Photos: Touchstone Pictures / EPA

• In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14.

I’m moving in a few weeks to a part of town I’ve long wanted to move to. More of a neighbourhood. More nature. More calm. Still, eager as I am, I know I’ll miss my big windows on rainy evenings.

I’m moving in a few weeks to a part of town I’ve long wanted to move to. More of a neighbourhood. More nature. More calm. Still, eager as I am, I know I’ll miss my big windows on rainy evenings.