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Gamergaters accuse Anita Sarkeesian of “Armenian appropriation of Japanese culture”

Anita Sarkeesian: Gamergaters still hate her

Cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian may have moved on from videogames, but Gamergaters (yes, they still exist) haven’t gotten over their obsession with her.

Earlier this month, Sarkeesian put out a video on the legendary Murasaki Shikibu, a Japanese woman who wrote the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, a thousand years ago. The four minute video, a slick production featuring elegant Japanese-art-inspired animation, is part of Sarkeesian’s Ordinary Women: Daring To Defy History series, her followup to Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games.

A video about a female writer who lived over 900 years before videogames were invented might not seem like an obvious target for the inhabitants of Kotaku In Action, the main Gamergate (or perhaps post-Gamergate?) hangout on Reddit. But it’s Sarkeesian, so the fake novel-reader boys on KiA rev up their outrage engines.

In a thread inspired by Sarkeesian’s video, a dedicated Sarkeesian-hater called SupremeReader stirs the pot with a trolly claim that Sarkeesian is guilty of “Armenian appropriation of Japanese culture around the Samhain holiday).” In a followup comment, he posts a photo of Sarkeesian in profile to show off her allegedly distinctive Armenian nose.

Others are outraged that her video, which they hated, wasn’t long enough for their tastes, a complaint that brings to mind the old joke about two diners at a restaurant grousing that “the food is terrible—and such small portions!”

“3 f*cking minutes is a joke of a historic video,” complains spatchbo.

Holy shit are people being seriously scammed by this. My professor from Tokyo Broadcasting is going to lose his shit.

Anita you are a horrible historian. Please do more work. This is so bad its a joke of itself. I can actually say I have a far better education on this than she had 30,000$ to come up with. You are a sad state of whatever you are trying to be. Besides a con-artists.

Rygar_the_Beast offers a similar, and similarly badly written, assessment.

You are trying to bring this women up to the light you think they are not in? A f*ck less than a 4 minute video isnt helping.

F*ck, for 3.50 i can give a person the wiki address to the page for this woman that probably has at least as much info about her in the introductory paragraph.

Sarkeesian’s video, while short, is in fact packed with information. It makes no pretense of being the final word on Murasaki, but rather serves as an intellectual appetizer of sorts, inviting viewers to pick up a copy of The Tale of Genji and read it for themselves.

But apparently Gamergaters find it hard to understand videos that aren’t meandering six-hour monologues over still pictures.

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Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ nparker & valentine

Its quite odd that druids go to Stonehenge for things like that- apparently it was made many, many years before druids existed in the area.

Stonehenge (and similar circles) predate Druidism by several thousand years. And the original Druids tended to assemble in wooded groves (Druid means ‘tree-man’; same root as Dryad).

But having said all that; it’s all very arbitrary as to what’s ‘authentic’ or not. The monuments themselves were used over hundreds and thousands of years by various different cultures in different ways. So if modern day Druids want to adopt the henges then they’re only carrying on that tradition. The monuments were also remodelled over time. It’s funny when some people criticise the 1930s restoration of Stonehenge, forgetting that for over a thousand years it didn’t even have that big circle in it.

My favourite Stonehenge fact is that whilst the term henge derives from Stonehenge, it isn’t technically a henge itself.

(It has an external ditch, which disqualifies it from the definition)

Gipsz Jakab
Gipsz Jakab
5 years ago

@nparker:

I think this issue came up earlier regarding poor spelling, and I’m going to say now what I said back then: it’s not so much the poor spelling/pronunciation itself that’s being mocked, but the hubris of trying to sound smart while not even knowing what “big” words really mean or how to spell them.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

brian:

It boggles my mind because THEY certainly didn’t give her any money! *I* did! I backed Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, and I’ve been completely satisfied with her work there. I haven’t really heard of anyone who said they backed her and were dissatisfied.

This. I backed the vidya kickstarter, and I continue to give a monthly donation to Feminist Frequency. I’m happy with her work, and I certainly don’t feel scammed.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
5 years ago

Peoples, I hope it’s ok to go a bit OT at this point (OT from this particular post, anyway).
A company here in Aust. called Nomadic Thinkers is about to open a men-only working space (complete with gym). Here is best quote:

“I’m 25 and I’ve grown up in this culture where we don’t have any rites of passage. In other cultures you go out and hunt in a forest for three days. We just hit 15 and start drinking. There’s a real loss of identity for men. We used to go to war together. Girls do it better naturally, they have tea parties and stuff.”

TEA PARTIES

ETA: apparently this will stop men being violent to women. No, seriously.

Stempke
Stempke
5 years ago

The complaints about the length of the video show that these guys are so stuck in their video game centric world where playing to a small but loyal audience allows for longer videos. Educational videos that actually want the viewer to retain information can’t afford to be that long

Studies have shown that the ideal length for a YouTube video is 2 minutes. Shorter than that and people don’t watch. Longer than that and people stop paying attention. There’s a steep drop off in engagement starting at 2 minutes.

Where Anita made a mistake is she didn’t fill enough content to hit the “engagement plateau” at 6 minutes.”

These guys that are making 20 minute videos are getting a lot of clicks, but their viewers aren’t engaged.

https://wistia.com/blog/optimal-video-length

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

My video didn’t work 🙁

@Truthfilter

First, she is not “Armenian”. She is Canadian-American. Bringing up her ethnicity when she herself rarely brings it up is some blood-libel nonsense.

Is it sad that my first thought was “at least they’re not claiming she’s Jewish again”?

Paradoxical Intention - Mobile
Paradoxical Intention - Mobile
5 years ago

@Shiriki: Sure! If you can send me an email, I’d be more than happy to send one to you! 😀

paradoxicalintentiongaming@gmail.com is my email bee-tee-dubs.

@nparker: I’m going to second others here on the pronounciation issue. It’s not that they’re just pronounciating it incorrectly, it’s the ego of them trying to use a big word to seem more impressive.

@Bryce: Not surprisingly, a lot of alt-right people use Nordic culture and religion as a cudgel, both for funzies and because that’s their religion, so it wouldn’t surprise me to know that this dude might actually celebrate it.

There has been talk of groups within the pagan community who worship Odin specifically who are horrendously alt-right.

Skiriki
Skiriki
5 years ago

SQUEE! Tiny Applejack! 😀

(If she’s of suitable scale, I’ll use her as a miniature for my D&D paladin’s steed.)

EJ (The Orphic Lizard)

@Mish:
Ugh. That’s depressing. People who are terrified of being in a situation where their masculinity is not policed are just… aargh. The fact that their response to it is to bewail a lack of organised violence and then fall back on misogyny is even worse.

The worst thing is, I bet that if you went up to one of those guys and asked him whether he was afraid of his own self, he’d probably misunderstand you a few times before avoiding the question. They’ve persuaded themselves that don’t want to be their own selves, they want to assimilate to some unachievable fictional uber-masculine archetype; and any unhappiness they feel as a result of this Sisyphean endeavour can only be the fault of the womz.

Toxic masculinity in a nutshell.

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

The video I tried to post, by the by, was Ylvis’ Stonehenge song, because that is somehow still really funny to me 3 years later. If anyone else has the sense of humour of a 12 year old stuck in 2013, I hope you might post it in my stead.

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ viscaria

See if this works:

https://youtu.be/mbyzgeee2mg

Heh, it’s a wonderfully daft song but it set off my nerd tendencies. (“It’s not 47 miles! They’re not in a row!” etc)

Viscaria
Viscaria
5 years ago

Never not funny.

Luxbelitx
5 years ago

Hi! I hope you don’t mind some off-topic but I really need to share it!

Ex-Presidenta Cristina Fernández de Kirchner got out from her car and walked into the crowd to stop police violence.

She went straight up to the officers and told them “you’re hitting my people? Why don’t you hit me instead, you cowards!”.

National leaders, including some of our congresspeople, pushed back against the police shields to allow her to walk past the police line and back into her car.

Here’s a video, it’s a bit messy but it shows everything (you can find her in all scenes if you spot her bright red hair <3 )

https://twitter.com/FRENCIUDADANO/status/793226346445012992

So this is why we love her so much.

maghavan
maghavan
5 years ago

(that’s his real name he is allegedly the rebirth of king arthur)

No, he isn’t.

and he is a druid.

No. He isn’t.

He and other pagans celebrate all the old holidays.

No, they don’t.

NeoPaganism is an invention of 19th century European Romanticism. It is loosely based on cherry-picked information exclusively from second-hand, foreign, sources and it’s connection actual, historical, practices is highly questionable at best.

The Celts themselves left essentially NO contemporary written sources (apart from a few brief inscriptions from mostly post-conquest times) and so all the information we have comes from foreign authors, most of whom were merely writing down what they heard and never witnessed Celtic practice firsthand. Of those few that that did, the degree to which they actually understood what they were witnessing, as well as the degree to which their account is distorted by their own cultural prejudices, is highly debated. The actual texts from the “Celtic” world were written down in the Middle Ages (ie. at a remove of hundreds of years and by Christians, not pagans).

Sorry to be like this, but it drives me nuts when Neopagans misrepresent themselves as inheritors of an authentic, continuous, tradition. They aren’t. Real Druids died out long ago. Anyone claiming to be one today is a poseur.

maghavan
maghavan
5 years ago

For more information see “Icons of the Iron Age: The Celts in History”

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12039726-icons-of-the-iron-age

Weird (and thoroughly disgusted with the judicial system) Eddie
Weird (and thoroughly disgusted with the judicial system) Eddie
5 years ago

The Celts themselves left essentially NO contemporary written sources (apart from a few brief inscriptions from mostly post-conquest times) and so all the information we have comes from foreign authors, most of whom were merely writing down what they heard and never witnessed Celtic practice firsthand. Of those few that that did, the degree to which they actually understood what they were witnessing, as well as the degree to which their account is distorted by their own cultural prejudices, is highly debated.

As far as I’ve read, the only written sources we have for historical accounts of culture in what is now Britain before the Christian era are from Roman sources. And, like the accounts of those cultures written by the Christians, I’d be very wary of believing an account of a culture which was written by someone who hated that culture.

Jarred H
5 years ago

@nparker I’ve seen people mock others for their mispronounciation of “Samhain” and other Gaelic words for various reasons. For some people (and I’m not sure this one applies to anyone commenting here), knowing the proper pronunciation is a matter of pride and even looking down on others. For me, I generally only care about pronunciation when either (1) it’s someone I have a close relationship with and I think they’d be interested in knowing the proper pronunciation, (2) it’s a coven-mate and the proper pronunciation is kinda important to our coven’s rituals, and (3) it’s some jackass fundie Christian who’s trying to go on about how evil Halloween is and starts spouting all kinds of nonsense. (In the latter case, I’m usually pointing out other such nonsense as their claim that “Samhain” is actually the name of the Celtic god of death and mentioning the proper pronunciation is almost an afterthought.)

On this quote in the OP:

…that probably has at least as much info about her in the introductory paragraph.

Probably? So he’s basically too lazy to even (1) watch a four minute video, (2) read an introductory paragraph on a wiki, and (3) compare the two so that he can actually make this claim definitively? And he has the audacity to question Sarkeesian’s workmanship.

Nequam
Nequam
5 years ago

@Space Junk: The Pillow Book is definitely more manageable than Genji, especially when you have to flip back and forth to read end notes. Plus, I’m amused by its proto-blog feel; heck, some entries feel rather like listicles…

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

The thing to remember with Celtic pronunciation is that there’s lots of variation within the various branches of Celtic anyway.

As for Samhain, I’ve seen various etymologies suggested. I find it more than coincidental though that it’s also a Celtic word for November.

In Cornwall the festival is Kalan Gwav (Cornish for ‘start of winter’) but I have a soft spot for the Cornish Christian alternative to Halloween; Allantide. 🙂

Jesalin
Jesalin
5 years ago

@Valentine

Regarding Samhain it is actually an event that is still celebrated.

A local coven does a yearly Samhain ritual in the park near me, open to all who want to attend. This is the 19th year they’ve held it.

Dr Space Junk
Dr Space Junk
5 years ago

@Nequam, you’re right, it is almost proto-bloggy! I love her listicles too.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Murasaki Shikibu herself had a rather sniffy opinon of Sei Shonagon:

Sei Shonagon … was dreadfully conceited. She thought herself so clever and littered her writings with Chinese characters; but if you examined them closely, they left a great deal to be desired. Those who think of themselves as being superior to everyone else in this way will inevitably suffer and come to a bad end, and people who have become so precious that they go out of their way to try and be sensitive in the most unpromising situations, trying to capture every moment of interest, however slight, are bound to look ridiculous and superficial. How can the future turn out well for them? And the listicles: what is this, cracked.com?

I may have added the last line, but the rest is genuine.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
5 years ago

(that’s his real name he is allegedly the rebirth of king arthur)

No, he isn’t.

and he is a druid.

No. He isn’t.

He and other pagans celebrate all the old holidays.

No, they don’t.

NeoPaganism is an invention of 19th century European Romanticism. It is loosely based on cherry-picked information exclusively from second-hand, foreign, sources and it’s connection actual, historical, practices is highly questionable at best.

The Celts themselves left essentially NO contemporary written sources (apart from a few brief inscriptions from mostly post-conquest times) and so all the information we have comes from foreign authors, most of whom were merely writing down what they heard and never witnessed Celtic practice firsthand. Of those few that that did, the degree to which they actually understood what they were witnessing, as well as the degree to which their account is distorted by their own cultural prejudices, is highly debated. The actual texts from the “Celtic” world were written down in the Middle Ages (ie. at a remove of hundreds of years and by Christians, not pagans).

Sorry to be like this, but it drives me nuts when Neopagans misrepresent themselves as inheritors of an authentic, continuous, tradition. They aren’t. Real Druids died out long ago. Anyone claiming to be one today is a poseur.

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Jesalin
Jesalin
5 years ago

OT:

I think Cracked.com just triggered a lot of sad and pathetic people. The comments are somewhat amusing though.

nparker
nparker
5 years ago

@ maghavan

Real Druids died out long ago. Anyone claiming to be one today is a poseur.

I’d be rather careful about saying things like this. Druidry is recognised as an official religion today, the first pagan practice to be declared so.

(This is a new fact for me, only learnt it last Wednesday in a lecture!)

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