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Vox Day to David Pakman: #Gamergate is about the “right” of gamers and game developers to be immune from criticism

Vox Day: I ran his head through some Photoshop filters this time.
Vox Day: I ran his head through some Photoshop filters this time.

Yesterday, I wrote about Vox Day’s extravagantly evasive — yet highly revealing — interview with David Pakman. But the interview also featured a few striking moments of candor. One of these came when Day — a sometime gave developer as well as the biggest asshole in Sci Fi — offered his answer to the question: “What is Gamergate really about?”

Suggesting that the issue of “corruption in game journalism” was little more than “the spark that set the whole thing off,” Day declared that

what Gamergate is fundamentally about is the right of people to design, develop and play games that they want to design, develop and play without being criticized for it.

Which is an. er, interesting perspective, as there is in fact no “right” to be immune from criticism.

If you write a book, if you make a movie, if you post a comment on the internet — you should be ready for it to be criticized. Because that’s how free speech works. That’s how art works. And that’s how ideas work.

Criticism — whether it is positive or negative — helps to sharpen ideas and make art less self-indulgent; it pushes creators to hone their craft and expand their vision of the world. And it helps the consumers of art not only to look at art with a more critical eye but also to appreciate it more fully, by helping to draw out the more subtle meanings of this art and to put it in a broader cultural (social, political) perspective.

Of course, neither the artists nor the consumers of art are required to listen to this criticism, but they have no right to demand that such criticism be eliminated.

But Vox is right in one sense: the elimination of criticism is in fact is what #Gamergate has been about all along — or at least the elimination of criticism aimed in their direction. Indeed, that’s what most #Gamergaters mean when they talk about fighting “corruption in game journalism” — shutting down those writers and publications that have dared to critique the prejudices of a backward portion of the gaming universe that is hostile to any challenges to the status quo ante — particularly from women with opinions different from theirs. That’s what drove the outrage over the “death of gamer” articles last Fall. And that’s what has driven “critics” of Anita Sarkeesian from the start.

Speaking of which: If you want to see how testy Gamergate types get when the criticism they lob at others gets turned back in their direction, even in jest, take a look at Jordan Owen’s new video responding to a post I wrote a few days ago gently mocking Owen’s recent plea for more money to fund The Sarkeesian Effect, the alleged “film” he and far-right Anton LaVey impersonator Davis Aurini are allegedly putting together.

Owen has devoted much of his life over the past several years to attacking Sarkeesian, a woman whose main “crimes” in the eyes of her detractors have been that 1) she raised more money than she asked for to produce a series of videos looking at sexist tropes in video games, and 2) that she’s taken longer than originally planned to put out these videos (which is largely because the extra money she raised has allowed her to research these videos more thoroughly and increase her production values, but never mind).

Yet Owen is outraged that anyone would even gently tweak him and his partner Aurini for going over budget and missing deadlines on their own film. Of course, Owen and Aurini are planning on charging their Patreon supporters more money at the end of the month unless these supporters specifically opt out; Sarkeesian herself never even requested any of the additional money she received.

In his video, Owen also compared me with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League which is, er, weird. But hey, it’s his right to criticize me, no matter how ineptly.

Here’s the video, if you’re interested. Alas, he did not film it in his famous bathtub.

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katz
7 years ago

Katz, I’ll admit I’ve sometimes wondered if Duchamp was just messing with us and seeing just how far he could go before everyone (including his fans) would go “No. Dude, no.”

Well, obviously. His entire life was pretty much an exercise in messing with people. When asked what he did with his time, he used to tell people he was a “breather,” on the grounds that he did a lot of breathing and was very, very good at it.

I always get this impression when I’ve visited the Tate Modern – as though people wondered through their homes one day, picked up random objects like a toaster, a broken omelette pan or the cat, and said, “Is this art? Yeah, why not”.

I always leave the Tate feeling slightly bemused. And guilty, as though there’s a point I’ve missed there that I would get if only I’d made more effort and been more cultured and shit.

I’m not a very arty person.

There’s a whole story behind the urinal. Would you like to hear it? JK, of course I’m going to tell you anyway.

So there was this American art society that thought they were super edgy and modern and avant-garde and they held this show that was supposed to be totally open to everyone: Anyone who paid the entry fee could have their work displayed, there were no judges or prizes, and everything was displayed in alphabetical order.

So Duchamp signed a fake name on a urinal and entered it into the show just to see if they’d display it. They didn’t, of course.

This was a lot more clever in 1917 than it is today, since now there are like 10 museums that have copies of that piece.

Misha
7 years ago

@katz,

When I posted that I was thinking ‘toilet’. And even though I was thinking ‘toilet, that damn toilet installation thing’ I didn’t want to write it, because I was vaguely aware that it is A Thing and therefore must have infinite hidden meanings that everyone knows about and I would make myself look a complete noob.

I am now glad I know about the toilet thing.

Alan Robertshaw
7 years ago

@ Misha

I once got told off at the ICA for walking across an exhibit.

The exhibit was a disco dance floor that they’d installed *on the actual floor*!

I think that’s a pretty good defence but probably just as well they didn’t have the urinal piece on display.

katz
7 years ago

I think that’s a pretty good defence but probably just as well they didn’t have the urinal piece on display.

XD

fromafar2013
7 years ago

I think that’s a pretty good defence but probably just as well they didn’t have the urinal piece on display.

Hahahaha! I wonder if anyone HAS ever tied to piss in the urinal? You know what? I don’t even need to Google that. I bet someone somewhere has.

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

I’ve been having some internal discussions about the What Is Art topic lately. I want to draw, but there’s an idea from somewhere that Art is what Artists do. Not being an Artist, creating Art seems. . . wrong, somehow, regardless of how well I do it.

The opposite idea, that an artist is someone who makes art, opens things up a bit more. Then there’s Warhol’s definition: “An artist is somebody who makes things that people do not need to have.”

A housemate of mine in college did a ‘found art’ exhibition in a hallway. One piece was an old spool-to-spool magnetic tape, stretched the length, spools mounted gallery style. It was called “Interrupted Conversation”. That was over thirty years ago, and I still remember it.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

My grandmother once announced at a dinner party that she had read The Horse Whisperer and it was horrible. Turned out, the author was there too. She said it was extremely awkward.

booburry
7 years ago

Iirc Pelagic was here before going on and on about how bad video games are and how she doesn’t want her kids playing them. If it wasn’t her…it was someone parroting the same opinions.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
7 years ago

@boobury

This information displeases me.

isidore13
isidore13
7 years ago

Warhol’s definition leaves something to be desired, to me. People need houses/shelter, I guess maybe the not-needing comes in where people don’t really need pretty houses/shelter, just shelter full stop?

Falconer
Falconer
7 years ago

@Robert:

The opposite idea, that an artist is someone who makes art, opens things up a bit more. Then there’s Warhol’s definition: “An artist is somebody who makes things that people do not need to have.”

::pensively:: NWOslave claimed to be a soda machine technician. People don’t need to have sodas. Would that make NWOslave an artist? Probably best not to tell him.

Moocow
7 years ago

On the topic of storylines in videogames, how many of you have played the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series? Those are my favorite!

Spindrift
Spindrift
7 years ago

Haven’t played the games, but I seem to recall seeing part of a Phoenix Wright musical.

Paradoxical Intention
7 years ago

I adore the Phoenix Wright series! It’s one of Capcom’s gems! (I kind of wish the writers for Phoenix Wright would work on Resident Evil, but I’ve become so used to shitty plots and character development that it’d be an absolute shock to see a ResiEvil game without them. : P)

I wanna play the Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton game so BAD!

Moocow
7 years ago

Yeah the games got a musical adaptation! I think there are 3, I’ve seen the first which kinda sorta follows the plot of a ‘bonus’ case in the first game.

(Also, been lurker finally decided to join! Do I have to keep filling out my email/name each time?)

Tina S
Tina S
7 years ago

Watched the response. David, do you think you’re winning? At what? Makes no sense.

Paradoxical Intention
7 years ago

Moocow | April 28, 2015 at 7:14 pm
(Also, been lurker finally decided to join! Do I have to keep filling out my email/name each time?)

Welcome! If you look to —->, you should see a scented FUCKING candle. If you click on that, you’ll get your welcome package!

In my experience, no, you don’t have to fill out your email and name every time. It should keep if you stay logged in to WordPress.

If you make changes, it’ll need you to make those changes a few times though before it sticks.

Tina S
Tina S
7 years ago

Wheeler troll: like throwing spaghetti at a wall and something will stick.

Silky
7 years ago

“Do you claim science at all?”

I want this on a T-shirt.

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