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Mark Judge, Gamergater: Kavanaugh pal’s creepy 2015 attacks on Anita Sarkeesian look even creepier in retrospect

(My apologies to Dog)

By David Futrelle

I think a lot about this Tweet from Zoe Quinn:

Obviously, Quinn exaggerated a little for comedic effect. But not by much. The reactionary “populist” movement known as Gamergate began as a harassment campaign against Quinn kickstarted by her angry ex; Gamergate, in turn, helped to kickstart the broader alt-right movement that took off in earnest in the runup to the 2016 election. Virtually everything that is desperately wrong with American politics today can be connected back to Gamergate.

And that includes the Brett Kavanaugh debacle.

A couple of days ago, a Twitterer called @LasagnaGarden noticed that back in July 2015 Kavanaugh’s pal (and alleged attempted-rape assistant) Mark Judge had written an article for a little-known, now-defunct culture blog called Acculturated attacking Anita Sarkeesian and praising her Gamergate critics.

Attacking Sarkeesian as a “bully” bent on shutting down critics by “express[ing] a lot of rage and personal hurt” — a slightly ironic critique in the wake of his buddy Kavanaugh’s tantrum on the stand last week  — Judge declared that

gamers’ cogent counterarguments have made Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency irrelevant. Gamers keep gaming, and game makers keep making games. The controversy is ebbing, and soon the name Anita Sarkeesian will be a footnote in pop culture history. 

So insightful!

If Judge’s first Gamergate post was a bog-standard Gamergatey “rebuttal” to a drastically and misleadingly simplified caricature of Sarkeesian’s arguments — pretty much the dictionary definition of a straw man — his second post on Sarkeesian was far worse, a creepy defense of male gamers’ sexual fetishization of pixelated hotties that looks even creepier in the wake of the Kavanaugh revelations.

As you no doubt recall, Christine Blasey Ford says that Mark Judge was not only in the room when the then-17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh allegedly tried to rape her; he also helped to hustle her into the room in the first place and stood there laughing at her distress as Kavanaugh held her down and tried to rip off her clothes. (For the sake of journalistic integrity, I will add an “allegedly” to all that, though I have no doubt whatsoever that Ford is telling the truth.)

If Ford’s story is true, Judge’s November 2015 post “Why Do Feminist Video Game Critics Want to Ban Male Fantasies?” isn’t just a cringey bit of male oversharing; it reads like a man with a guilty conscience trying to justify his complicity in a near-rape some three decades earlier.

Judge begins his post by falsely accusing Sarkeesian — “the feminist critic of alleged sexism in video games” — of “want[ing] to ban men from having sexual fantasies.”

He bases this exaggerated accusation on one of Sarkeesian’s videos examining the trope of “woman as reward” in video games, a trope that, in Sarkeesian’s words,

frames female bodies as collectible, as tractable, or as consumable, and positions women as status symbols designed to validate the masculinity of presumed straight male players.

That this trope is a real thing in video games is utterly undeniable, as Sarkeesian’s numerous examples in her more than half-hour video make clear.

Judge’s response? A big “so what!” Literally.

So, when guys play video games, they like to fantasize about enduring hardship and making it through difficult obstacles to be rewarded at the end (or sooner) with the attentions of a gorgeous, sexy woman? And this is a problem? 

Well, it’s a huge problem if these guys have trouble seeing women as anything more than their bodies, and if they see these bodies as little more than prizes to be won. Or simply to be taken, as Brett Kavanaugh seemingly did on that July night in 1982.

Judge goes on to protest (too much) the notion that men fantasize about controlling and using female bodies for their own selfish pleasures.

Sarkeesian assumes that video games portray women’s bodies as collectable, tractable (easy to control), and consumable. In reality, the male fantasy can be an expression of the exact opposite. Rather than representing women as a reward that a man can control, a woman, and particularly a woman’s body, can represent his greatest challenge and most intoxicating opportunity for genuine freedom.

Yes, I suppose a woman’s body presents a “challenge” to a man if she’s literally trying not to be raped. I’m not sure how “genuine freedom” comes into it unless that’s some sort of grotesque code for a man’s “freedom” to do to women what he wants, their desires and rights be damned.

Sarkeesian is absolutely right on one count: men do fantasize about consuming women. We dream about consuming their beauty, their tenderness, their spirit, and their goodness in the hope that it will make us better human beings, not to mention good fathers and best friends.

Female beauty, tenderness, goodness? Is that what Brett Kavanaugh was (allegedly) trying to “consume” that summer night?

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

It’s telling that Judge — who in his teen years was even more of a hearty partier than even Brett “I LOVE BEER” Kavanaugh — uses the word “intoxicating” to refer to women’s bodies.

Because if something is “intoxicating,” can one really help but be intoxicated by it? When men speak of women’s bodies and/or “beauty” in this way — and this is something that Warren Farrell, intellectual granddaddy of the Men’s Rights movement, has been doing for decades — it makes it all the easier to justify male sexual violence. There’s very little difference between using “he was drunk” as an excuse and using “he was intoxicated by her beauty” as an excuse.

If Ford’s account of the night she was (allegedly) almost raped by Brett Kavanaugh with Judge in the room is true, it’s hard not so see this post by Judge as something close to a Freudian confession of the crime.

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31 Comments
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Austin G Loomis
3 years ago

He’d have been one of the old-school Simes who don’t care that Gens die in the process and would be mad that the Channels are upsetting the ‘proper order of things’.

And would probably not believe Zelerod’s (sp?) numbers even if he could be convinced to look at them. (Confession: the Sime~Gen verse was just a name I’d heard until the original, Livejournal incarnation of the milliways_bar RP comm got a Suzi Darley. She’s not around anymore, and the comm has moved to Dreamwidth.)

kat
kat
3 years ago

I’m betting judge is a regular on incels and trp,and possibily other manuresphere reddits

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
3 years ago

And clicking on the puzzle box link, I found this link to an old Cliff Pervocracy post that’s both on topic for this site, and the month of October too.

The Myth of the Boner Werewolf.

Bina
3 years ago

Meanwhile, also.

During the Christmas break of his fourth year at college, he went to his favorite bar to drink with friends. One of them informed Judge that his high school girlfriend had gotten engaged. Even though Judge and the woman were no longer going out — they were attending different colleges —he wrote in his book that he viewed her engagement as “the most egregious betrayal imaginable.” He went to a pay phone in the bar and called her.

“Mary, what are you trying to do to me?” he asked.

“What?” she replied.

“I thought we were going to get married,” he said.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “You’re drunk. Are you at O’Rourke’s?”

She told him to go home and go to sleep. They could talk when he sobered up. But Judge wouldn’t have it; she was betraying him. His anger took over.

“Goddammit you bitch, fuck you and your fucking husband,” he snarled.

He wrote in “Wasted” that he understood what was happening – the alcohol had flipped a switch that led to him acting in a way that he wouldn’t if he were sober. As he wrote, “It was as though there was a different version of myself — Mr. Hyde — who had taken over my body, and I couldn’t stop him.”

His former girlfriend said he was an alcoholic and needed help. He replied that he hated her. He hung up and left the bar. Outside, police were arresting drunken revelers. Judge called the cops Nazis, and after one of them tried to warn him off, Judge replied, “Eat my shorts.” He fought as they arrested him, swearing and spitting at their shoes.

And yet, I’m guessing that he also thinks that if a woman drinks, she’s “consenting” to whatever the hell he and his buddies decide to do to her.

Glurrrrrghhhhh.

Violet the Vile, Moonbat Screech Junky
Violet the Vile, Moonbat Screech Junky
3 years ago

@Bina

Wow, this particular piece you’ve quoted here sounds to me like Judge was (is?) a raging alcoholic.

A lot of alcoholics talk about some variation of “switches flipping in their brain” that causes them to behave in horrible ways (I have seen this happen personally, to an old friend of mine; you could actually tell, just by watching her behaviour, when she’d drunk enough to flip her switch. With experience, I learnt acting right at that point could head off a punch-up. The next morning she would be genuinely deeply distressed at her own behaviour. Of course not distressed enough to actually stop drinking though; so eventually we parted ways)

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

I’ve been thinking about Trump lying about the rape victims being ‘crisis actors’.

It seems to me that Trump would not be immune from a defamation suit as that surely must fall outside “official acts”

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-1853.ZS.html

Now obviously it’s entirely up to the women how they proceed with all this. There’ll no doubt already be people targeting them, in addition to the president of the electoral college.

But if they did want to sue him I’d certainly support a crowdfunding thing.

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