By all rights, the furor over rocket scientist Matt Taylor’s cheesecake shirt should have died down by now. After being chided earlier this week for marring the celebration over the landing of a space probe ON A GODDAMNED COMET by doing interviews in a tacky shirt covered with half-naked ladies, Taylor offered a brief but heartfelt apology. You would have thought we’d all be able to move on.
Not so fast. Because these days apparently no controversy can ever be over as long as it serves someone’s interest to keep it going. And so a loose but very familiar coalition of reactionaries and antifeminists and angry techies have started flogging an amorphous cause they call #Shirtgate or, more popularly, #Shirtstorm, purporting to be outraged that Taylor was “humiliated” into apologizing.
So many of the angriest voices in this, er, conversation are #GamerGaters it looks a lot like a sequel. Call it GamerGate Part Two: The Straw Graspening. And it’s not just me making the connection: #GamerGaters and #Shirtstormers, often one and the same, are making the connection:
— Anti-ProcrusteanBed (@punkerul) November 16, 2014
— Ineptus Astartes (@AstartesIneptus) November 16, 2014
— ¡El Scrumpo! (@Scrumpmonkey) November 15, 2014
Heck, our old friend Milo is making the connection:
— Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) November 15, 2014
People are making graphics covered with hard-to-read text:
There are giant complicated conspiracy theory graphics covered with red lines and angry red text. This one notes that Chris Plante, who wrote an article criticizing Taylor’s shirt, also wrote one of the now-notorious “Gamers are Dead” pieces.
— Raymond Eccleston (@Reyeko_) November 15, 2014
Apparently there were a few dudes who were none too pleased with Plante’s story on The Shirt:
Woke up to 112 angry dudes telling me sexism isn’t a problem. pic.twitter.com/H4eCJHBJBY
— Chris Plante (@plante) November 14, 2014
— WhiteProvocateur (@Alpha_duck1) November 15, 2014
While others tried to draw a parallel between Taylor’s alleged “humiliation” and … rape.
— Mark Samenfink (@MSamenfink) November 16, 2014
— Be Just & Fear Not (@EvilBobDALMYT) November 16, 2014
Neo-reactionaries and “Dark Enlightenment” types see opportunity in the #Shirtstorm hashtag.
— Vox Day (@voxday) November 14, 2014
— Virginia Dare (@vdare) November 15, 2014
— Bernard Chapin (@BernardChapin) November 15, 2014
As do MRAs:
— Dean Esmay (@deanesmay) November 15, 2014
As does this familiar name:
— Christina H. Sommers (@CHSommers) November 16, 2014
They’re all there, all hoping to turn a debate over a shirt into another endless internet Benghazi.