#GamerGate and Postmodernism: An Appendix
Here I am going to provide background and context to some ideas and points that were left out of my original piece due to focus and brevity.
First off a note about politics; the thought that pervades my mind is why would game journalists want to inject their brand of US-centric politics into gaming? Have they SEEN what a polarized non-functional mess modern American politics is? Games exploring political ideas are a good thing in my mind, but when those writing about them simply mirror an environment that is hostile to debate and consensus that has been allowed to fester in their own false “single vison of Right vs. Single vison of Left” political dichotomy I can’t help but want to go “STOP! What the hell are you doing brining all this baggage into videogames?!” The entrenched views of games journalism as a whole against “The evil Republicans” betrays how they will only
This leads me to my second point: American-centrism in general. Modern postmodernism as taught in US schools and especially critical theory (Marxism ho!) come at ideas in history without considering a global context. For example the whole “inherent white privilege” mess they keep trying to tie to gamers and gaming. What happens to ‘white privilege’ when you are a minority in the society in which you reside? They say the power of whiteness comes from being the ‘dominant culture’ but in somewhere like India for example they are not the dominant culture. Do Indian people in India have brown privilege? The idea breaks down when applied globally. I find most of their ideas break down if you think globally, I wrote about STALKER a little while ago and how accurate portrayals of Slavic culture, or any non US culture, are arguably more underrepresented than any version of “women in videogames” (as nebulous a concept as that is). Games by different cultures deeply rooted in that culture or nation are extremely thin on the ground. The ‘Progressive’ push of U.S. based special snowflake’ indie’ games from a cadre of in crowd developers utterly fails to help promote true inclusivity.
Thirdly I wanted to elaborate on postmodernism in science, namely “The science wars” and Alan Sokal’s 1996 ingenious hoax in “Social Text”, a supposedly academic postmodernist journal. “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” was pure unadulterated bullshit plucked out of thin air and meant to appeal to their ideological sensibilities. And it worked. Social Text did not at the time employ any methods of peer review as they thought it stimulated more original ideas. I’ve written incoherent rants on the subject of peer review before in reference to DiGRA, an organization that has been disparaging towards peer review, stand firmly in the “Harmfull media” pro censorship camp and the work of their members formed some of the basis for and gave academic grounding to the Gamers are dead attack pieces. Lack of peer review is dangerous as it stops bad ideas and agendas from being filtered out. In the Sokal case this meant the editors of the publication:
a) Didn’t read it before publishing it, a damming indictment of their complete laziness and lack of professionalism or
b) They did read it and agreed with the content meant to satirize them.
Sokal’s parody paper did everything from trying to conflate quantum mechanics with “Progressive” ideas to mocking the scientific method as marginalizing to feminists and minorities and saying they needed to upend existing theories of mathematics for social and political reasons. In short to agree with his paper is to be excruciatingly anti science and to be out of touch with any vestige of reality. Many downplay this event but I feel it personally demonstrates that postmodernism is based purely on bullshit, navel-gazing and ego-stroking. If Social Text had done any level of checking they might have caught on he was talking the piss. Alexander Macris publisher and co-founder of The Escapist wrote a similar parody piece about gaming quite a few years ago and its parody content seems indistinguishable from the head-up-arse ramblings we have seen more recently done with a straight face.
Lastly I just wanted to say thank you for reading my ramblings and introduce some further reading. I’ve never had a platform for anyone to read longer form writings outside of forums where they die on the vine.
I would recommend reading:
- Stepford Students: Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’
- Please Report to Your Resident Assistant to Discuss Your Sexual Identity—- It’s Mandatory! Thought Reform at the University of Delaware
- INTELLECTUAL BULLYING AND THE POSTMODERN DISCOURSE OF GAMERGATE