When I started this blog in the summer of 2012 I didn’t really think about the name. I needed something descriptive and iconic so it would stand out in readers’ minds. I also wanted something broad so I could have flexibility in what I write about while still staying on topic. It seemed like a fine, innocuous title at the time. The “problem” is that since then there’s been this increasing tendency for people other than straight white males wanting to be vocal about wanting to be treated with basic human decency.
The response has been, to be concise, shameful. It seems like whenever a new Tropes vs. Woman video goes up or some non-story spreads across the internet and a reactionary collective of dudebros spring up across the internet and it ends with harassment and death threats. Until it dies down and we wait a few months until it starts up all over again. Of course each time this happens there’s progress made; but that doesn’t change the reality of this macabre ritual that plays out every few months.
I’m not exactly keen on writing about this kind of stuff for a number of reasons. The first being that I’m not sure what value my writing would have; there are any number of far more skilled writers who are tackling this stuff. The second reason, which is interconnected to the first, is that I feel like there’s value in just writing about “gaming and other nerd stuff” without anything else, a closed reading for lack of a better term. The first reason only goes so far, given the issues at hand and the nature of content consumption, there’s little reason to point at someone else for this instead. The second reason is just silly, there’s no reason why I can’t talk about issues around gaming and a fair number of my blog posts already do that anyway.
This isn’t even getting into the daily torrent of abuse, the little incidents every day that define this culture. Honestly, I’m able to ignore it, because it’s not directed at me, because I’m a straight white dude, because I can soothe my conscious by the fact that I personally do not engage in such behavior. A luxury afforded to me by the blissful ignorance of privilege.
This blissful ignorance doesn’t stop there though; it also extends to a benefit of the doubt of people I interact with. It’s a benefit of the doubt that I’ve been disabused of more than once. I get the same feeling every time it happens, it elicits a mixture of annoyance and disgust and disappointment. It makes me wonder just how far off the mark the title of another gamer guy is in actuality. It’s disheartening. It’s even more disheartening when I think about how that these feelings are the end of it; I don’t have to worry about it going any further than that.
The one group identity that I choose, an identity whose common space ultimately boils down to leaving behind the world that is for worlds that could be, is seeped with hatred. As a community we lack the empathy to be open to everyone. At the end of the day, we’re the worse for it. It makes me embarrassed in a way that no other potential shame of being a gamer could.
But like I said before, things are getting better. Even if the blog title is ironic now, I’ll keep it as a thumb in the eye to the reactionaries. Inch by inch, they’re losing and one day these sentiments really will belong to just another gamer guy.