A Thousand Ants, A Million Faces — Ian Miles Cheong
Recently there was yet-another-moment in the gaming world where Pewdiepie, the internet’s inexplicably favorite shrieking gamer, blurted out a racial slur on stream, and it naturally caused a blowup. Everyone had varying takes, but from one corner of the internet, from one man, the phrase ‘heated gaming moment’ came, as a way of dismissing any negative reaction. Who, after all, hasn’t screamed out horrific racist slurs just because you were mad? Happens all the time.
It’s been a line that has been consistently mocked, and for good reason. It shows not only a gross, hilarious misunderstanding of psychology — Matt Christman, of Chapo Trap House fame, joked about the Holocaust being ordered by Hitler due to a ‘heated gaming moment’ — but also of race, of political anger, of history, and of gaming.
Ian Miles Cheong, according to his profile, is a journalist who “writes about entertainment, video games, politics, and culture for the Daily Caller.” That never seems to be the case if you’re plugged into Twitter like we all are — he sure looks instead like another Redpiller MRA with a video games hobby, an eager incel coming to the defense of gamers who are terrorized by such monstrous groups as social justice warriors, antifa, and femnazis.
Who the fuck is this guy, and where did he come from?
Some of the earliest stuff dug up about Ian is his infamous chatlog where he basically comes out as a Nazi — bagging on basically everyone he can.
I don’t put this here to explain that this is who Ian always was, just that this is a place to start painting a picture. He, of course, later apologized for his shittalking, and like so many others, chalked it up to being a shitty guy in the ironic internet age. And, for the record, why not believe him? Everyone was an ironic asshole back then. We’ve all done crap we’re not proud of, and it’s probably better to take a shot believing someone turning over a new leaf. After all, what if they really genuinely mean it?
The counterpoint, of course, is, “He could be lying to you.” Which, well, its hard to know when Ian is lying, because I have my doubts Ian doesn’t know when Ian is telling the truth.
As many were back then, Ian was a gaming enthusiast trying to break into the gaming press. He had his own site, Gameranx, which seemed to do well — he had a small writing team including himself, he worked with others, and he was getting well connected. Few were as plugged in as Ian was, and he was known to first break gaming news, happenings, and videos — his twitter and site were always lightning fast to putting up humorous videos or with hot takes about the industry at large. Gameranx didn’t pay well, but that was acceptable, since he was more than happy to take unsolicited writers.
Problem is, Ian’s success as an individual was because he was a mod and frequent user of Reddit, and he basically lived there. Not a single pip of information that went through that site — especially the gaming subreddit — that wasn’t instantly picked up and dropped onto his Twitter, back in its formative years as a social platform, or vice versa. And not just video or images — once people pointed out that his tweets, word for word, were taken wholesale from someone else on Reddit, if not from other people on various sites or chatrooms. The wit was not just borrowed — it was stolen. Most of these are lost on dead image hosting sites, but it’s not hard to see a similar imitation in Ian today.
His Twitter and Reddit profile blew up for good reason; all of his content was already popular on a site that famed itself as the ‘front page of the internet,’ or borrowed the opposite direction — good gags from Twitter dropped to Reddit. His fame certainly wasn’t because of his writing — Ian seems to put no care or focus into his art, merely doing what needs to be done to hit a word count for a post, a skill that serves him well working for Tucker Carlson’s right wing rag, the Daily Caller.
I’m sure he worked very hard, on some level, on Gameranx. And, even his pay was horrible, he did at least pay his writers. But that money came from an exploitation of his Reddit power — as a mod, his posts floated to the top, and he was apparently infamous for spamming his links to his articles at Gameranx, but also his articles on other sites like Uproxx. And for this, he was banned.
Ian’s gains were born out of a combination of thievery and cheating, the kind of which would get a talented writer noticed — or in Ian’s case, a miserable writer credentials he doesn’t deserve.
Nobody needs to be told about Gamergate. You know it, I know it; it is the farm team for Republicans of tomorrow, even in its current zombie state. Gamergate is dead, long live gamergate; praise be to Vivian James.
As well as anyone should have during that time, gamergate blew up hard and everyone was revulsed by it. No matter how hard the miserable cretins argued, nobody was swayed — except for Ian, the man who not long ago was ‘listening and learning.’
If you use Twitter to search Ian’s account for the word, it’s like sawing a tree in half and counting the rings. Pre-2015, it’s interviews with developers targeted by them with SWAT teams and death threats, defenses of the people GG targeted, and an outright revulsion of the ostensibly pro-consumer movement’s obsession with its hate targets. He even told a real life friend about gamergate — something I’m sure 100% for real happened, as I’m sure Malaysian citizens want to know all about about American gamer’s rights.
But from late 2015 to now, it’s the exact opposite; weekly diatribes, on Twitter or his shitty articles, taking shots at people like Zoe Quinn for her book, a person who not even two years ago he said was “a human being — a person” and to “Stop dehumanizing her.” Two years into a controversy he was opposed to, and not only is he friendly to its citizens, he’s bleating the ‘consumer defense’ line at top volume.
His best effort to dismiss the change of heart was a lot of handwringing the kind you see when your divorced dad backs a horrifically racist politician but can’t be honest about why — Ian agrees with some things, and not others. He supports the ideas, but not the culture. He likes the group, but you can’t be responsible for everyone.
By today, there is no facade — GG was unfairly treated by the media, you don’t have any evidence of your claim, and oh so guilt by association now, just because I befriend and agree with Laura Southern I’m a Nazi now? So much for the tolerant left.
Naturally, people started to notice his rapid drift to the right. It wasn’t hard to notice — when you go from actively chiding the mobbing GG dished out on them, to constantly bitching about how they don’t really know anything, people tend to have questions. There was no defense, and no explanation. Merely a reiteration of the core themes of his newfound values — whatever the fuck they are.
Ian the Anti-SJW
Social justice is not flowers-and-hearts. For every man rightfully pushed out of career space for his repulsive treatment of women, there’s an equally brutal treatment of transgressors when a group becomes too self-absorbed and loses perspective about personal space.
This is especially true of fandoms, places where everyone is welcome, then quickly ‘welcome’ means a myopic view of the situation, and at some point or another, someone is called a pedophile because they love a fictional 18 year old character, fractures appear, and the space becomes poisonous. This is just one example — there’s plenty, such as white feminists with power, who suddenly find themselves unable to stop seeing every critic as a white guy even when they are black, female, queer, etc.
Once, these people — those who ruined others lives and sought only personal vengeance under the guise of ‘equality’ — were called social justice warriors. And they were mistrusted. Gamergate, when it first started, saw these people as poisonous, terrible sociopaths with a chip on their shoulder and a need to exert their power on others for not toeing the line —which was not wrong.
Fast forward mere months from fateful late October 2014 and “SJW” quickly lost all meaning, because anyone critical of the boy’s club of angry adult teenagers became an SJW. And — more amusingly — people who thought the movement was getting too insane were called SJWs too.
That’s right — the movement obsessed with the socially poisonous behavior of ideologues is now ideologically purifying itself of transgressors and critics, because anyone who doesn’t toe the line is trying to destroy the movement. I’m sure some of the more ironic, disingenuous members find this kind of hilarious.
For Ian — as well as his hardcore gaming base — this still stands true, and Ian has used the word until it’s lost all meaning. Not only are SJWs feminists and black justice advocates, they’re his critics for pointing out he’s factually wrong about history, they’re Kotaku for telling you nerds and gamers don’t count as a minority, they’re your teacher for telling you women are historically oppressed, and they’re your mom for telling you that you have to clean your room.
Everyone is a SJW, and the way to not be one is to fit in and not argue with Ian, lest you be turned into a screencap, or the start of an article, where you will be relentlessly mocked by his fanclub, gamergate, and the alt right. Good thing they’re not at all like the SJWs, who bully everyone into agreeing with them.
As just one example — there’s many — let’s take the Joss Whedon story recently. I don’t want to throw anyone on Twitter under the bus for being targeted by Ian, so he’s a good place to start.
Whedon’s ex-wife came out about the way Whedon cheated on her repeatedly, and that he’s a total hypocrite posing as a feminist creator icon. And there’s things to talk about in there — Whedon’s work is beloved, but everything is deserving of criticism. But Ian didn’t do…well, anything, really — he just called him a male feminist and reprinted her letter in a Daily Caller article, then kept bitching about Whedon for about a week.
Really, that’s literally all he did; the whole article is just this.
This might seem fine, but keep in mind the people who buy this shit have no context for what words mean, and not detailing the how and why leaves everything up to the Daily Caller reader’s imagination. Ian has no opinion or stance to dissect this news that he puts forward, meaning the audience — Ian’s readers — can only take it to mean Whedon is another SJW, another male feminist, another anti-GG guy, another progressive, and so on and so forth.
Keep in mind, when the Ian fanclub is told Joss Whedon is a male feminist and an SJW, that puts him in the same box as Brianna Wu, Andrea Dworkin, Bungie, multiple YouTube guys, Polygon, Marvel Comics, five Twitter users who told him he sucks, Barack Obama, Giant Bomb, and the entire cast and crew of Wonder Woman. And you imply that they’re all either likely to commit harassment or abuse of women, or already have and are covering it up. After all, you know what those people are like.
You can see why this grift would be popular with conservatives — it’s literally the same one done to immigrants in the modern day with Muslims and Mexicans. The Bad People are Bad, and you can tell they’re Bad because I keep telling you they’re Bad with every reveal that one of them was Bad. Tune in next week to find out how another surprising person was revealed to be Bad, thus confirming the slow spread of Bad. You can tell he fits in well at Daily Caller with a propaganda style like that, and it was an easy tweak to make it about antifa.
Antifa are a terrorist organization, antifa smash windows for fun, antifa are against free speech, antifa are anarchists, antifa is a violent mob…the whole list. It’s not hard to see why Daily Caller hired him — I’ve seen exactly all those phrases used on BLM, verbatim. Ian had found his grift, and it was conservative journalism, that thing literally anyone can do because it requires no skill or talent.
Again, this has made his account hilarious because within three years he has the complete opposite opinion on everything.
If it wasn’t the Cuphead controversy that brought you into learning who he was, and it wasn’t “heated gaming moment,” there had to have been a dozen others before it, each one more foolish than the last.
(Note: Between writing this and publishing it he’s had at least three more, and I doubt it will end soon. The most recent one was “pro-globalist Star Trek,” which can only be setting him up for a nice career at Breitbart.)
That’s really the best thing about Ian, and why he’s so mocked around Twitter — there’s so, so many instances that bring you such hilarity as “heated gaming moment,” where he runs gleefully into being wrong in ways that are honestly impressive. How can you not show a screencap of such self-defeating hilarity as Ian declaring sexual promiscuity makes people unhappy? Or how periods last two weeks out of the month? Or how the Nazis actually became antisemetic only after getting into power in the German government?
That’s not even including all the contradictions. He’ll write long, insufferable diatribes about how the left hates free speech, then cheer a professor getting fired for his speech, or even cheer on takedowns of sites like Gawker. He’ll call male feminists fat and ugly (even though he looks like a fish rolled in dog hair) then use you calling him a pillow-humping weeb as reason to not reply to you, because you’re not engaging in good faith. He’ll laugh at feminists for getting facts wrong, then totally blow off the historians that dig into his claim Nazis were socialists and demonstrate in long detail that he has no idea what he’s saying. And this keeps happening.
And speaking of which, doesn’t Malaysia have really horrible speech laws? Nothing about that? Oh, okay, cool, fine then, I guess the lack of money makes it not worth pursuing quite like social justice warriors mad about a line of dialogue in the new Baldur’s Gate game. Or wait, were the social justice warriors the developers of that game, and the gamers the good guys?
I could go on and on about how hilariously, bafflingly wrong Ian constantly is, but it really can be boiled down to one tweet that — I think — really sums up Ian.
It’s honestly the perfect Ian tweet. It sums up his obsessive, slavish devotion to defending gamers, the real persecuted minority. He frames it in legitimacy as being a consumer advocate (where have I heard that line before?). And, most of all, he thinks that he’s above or detached from politics — like games themselves, his views can’t communicate political ideas, because he said so.
Ian, at this point, opposes everything that’s not the status quo, because to wish for things to be different is an SJW cuck’s idea. Capitalism, gender identity, fascism, patriarchy…what was once an ostensibly forward-thinking games writer now is identical to the cranky neocon Never Trumpers he shares a website with. How different it would be if those patriots of the Republican Party knew he likely hasn’t lived in America ever — and if he did, who knows how long it was.
He’s here to advocate that you are oppressed and that your opponent feels foolish. That’s why he made an edit of the Dean Takahashi Cuphead video — what else would stimulate his young angry gamer fanbase than pointing out the people reporting on video games are inferior to you, and are bad at their jobs? Ian might be a miserable writer, but like Trump, he understands how to stoke his base.
Who is Ian Miles?
Ian is best described as a fusion of Milo and Paul Watson — an ugly, middle-aged, foppish loser, failing upward through a combination of ignorant fans who don’t understand what a talentless hack their icon is and a lucky streak that has kept them loyal purely for angering the right people. And, equally, he is also a self-contradicting moron, desperate to be liked, who has never read a book in his life and doesn’t plan to, spouting completely wrong facts and shrugging off when actual historians, scientists, or just fact-checkers bring reality to him.
He’s a worthless dullard who manipulated systems to give himself a platform, and with no skill or wit to buoy himself or wholesale steal, he now floats aimlessly, peddling his articles on far right corners of the net, doing the only thing talentless hacks like him can do — drift further to the right as they are forced to write articles that convince old people the world outside is scary.
The only thing that separates him from every other neocon hack cashing a check is an impossibly large prebuilt audience of young gamers, ironic Nazis, and /pol/ sociopaths. Because he’s never had an original idea in his life, he’s adopted every one of their mannerisms and injokes such as the years-old shot at transgender people, “I identify as an attack helicopter!” Please, sir, can I borrow a cup of wit?
He doesn’t quite fit in to the nihilistic channers. He’s always fast to accept any form of praise and affection, smashing that like button when a pretty girl Nazi like Laura Southern tells him how right he is, and he’s incredibly touchy on being mocked or called out. This is not to laugh at Ian being ugly — the genetic lottery is cruel and brutal — but to point out that, despite his newfound popularity as a shit-flinger, he has no ability to laugh at himself or roll with a joke. Instead of firing back, you’re a neckbeard male feminist, loser. Pause for laughs.
And yet, despite the blatant touchy behavior, the factual wrongness, the defense of fascism, and openly contradicting himself weekly…his fans remain. Ironic Nazis, shitposters, gamergaters, neocons, Islamophobes, and 34 year old ignorant children, worried about the fat feminists who want to take their games away.
It doesn’t matter how often he blatantly contradicts himself, or is wrong, or says hilarious shit like ‘SJWs relying on strawmen’ after literally posting a comic mocking them. Ian has built himself a perfect world where everything he says is gospel, everyone likes him, and SJWs are always out to get gamers and him. He lives in his very own hugbox, his own tumblr fandom, his own safe space.
From there, he’ll write screed after screed attacking the evil social justice warriors, antifa, progressives, liberals…everyone who he doesn’t like, everyone who makes fun of him, everyone who corrects him about being wrong. They’re all SJWs. And as more and more people fit into the evil ‘SJW’ category, the further that distance he put himself from Trump, and the Republicans, and the alt right dwindles away, leaving him not just covering the party, but drinking and talking with the participants.
Ian isn’t a person — he’s a bot the internet created. Ian is a liquid that can only take the shape of the things around him. Ian has no morals, no stance, and no views that he won’t change for approval or money. Milo and PJW, at least, seem to be born in neoconservative morals and have doubled down as they discover careers in it. Ian, meanwhile, is aimless without other people’s opinions to agree with.
This is why I started with his old chat logs and suggested that he could be an internet Nazi, or an ironic shitposter. It doesn’t matter, because Ian will be any of these things. If the money and adoration was in the other direction, he would likely swing there again. And why not? If he changed positions again, the amount of people making fun of him for being a dickless yes man would be the same — just the ironic Nazis instead of the ironic socialists.
Milo openly declared that he liked having sex with young men, and it was what created his downfall in the homophobic conservative media. Though Milo was embraced for his campaign of being a queer nihilistic troll, purely because it ‘triggered the libs’, he’s still paid and funded by conservatives. As Ian drifts further right, becoming more and more like Paul Joseph Watson, I wonder how long it’ll be before he has his Milo moment, where the entire world flees him, and neither the ironic Nazis nor the SJWs will have him, and he will have no jar to take the shape of, and Ian will be alone, and desperate, and no happier than he was a decade ago.
EDIT: Update, 12–8–2017
EDIT: Update II, 4–29–18.