An open letter to @RidiculousCargo on #GamerGate’s origin

Dear Cargo,

I’m not going to lie, this feels like a complete waste of time and energy and I’m not sure why I’m bothering to try. Hope springs eternal, I guess. I’ll try and stay calm and civil, but I’ll probably fail and do apologize in advance. I’m not very good at being calm.

#GamerGate’s origin isn’t something I was actually around for, I’ll freely admit that – I joined in #GamerGate around February or so. I do know from observation and research that your assertion that this was all a campaign to harass Zoe Quinn is untrue. However, it is a common assertion and I feel the need to respond to it more thoroughly.

Okay. So. Your first respond to my tweet (that was in response to something you said) was to point out that Adam Baldwin’s first tweet on the hashtag contained two videos detailing Zoe Quinn’s liaisons with multiple men. We’ll ignore that he did so at the behest of a woman’s request for support, as well as the fact that finding one particular woman distasteful is not ‘misogyny’.

Here’s the thing: no one cared that Quinn was sleeping around (something she freely admitted, btw) and in fact this probably would’ve fallen completely into obscurity, except for the fact that one of the people she was sleeping with was Nathan Grayson, a journalist who had reported on her game, Depression Quest. Even that would not have been a problem, except that Grayson failed to disclose this information. This raised concerns over his impartiality on the game, which is fairly reasonable: you’re going to be biased in someone’s favor if you’re sleeping with them, that’s basic common sense and human nature.

Something I want you to take note of here is that at this point, #GamerGate is basically nothing. There’s a few people posting to the hashtag, wanting to know more, trying to get answers from Grayson and Quinn, etc etc.

Then the ‘Gamers are Dead’ articles happened. Within 24 hours, 12 articles came out condemning gamers as an identity and a hobby, declaring that they had been ‘killed’ by women, or that the identity was dieing, and similar phrasing. They were needlessly inflammatory and targetted directly at ‘gamers’ as an identity – not harassers within gamers, gamers themselves were deemed the harassers – referring to the entire group as misogynistic harassers and nerds and blah blah blah, you’ve heard this before in every movie with a bully ever.

This is the point where the hashtag takes off into the movement we know today. So no, it wasn’t about harassing Zoe Quinn, gamers got pissed off that a group of sites that were supposed to be looking out for them showed that they blatantly hated us.

And no, it wasn’t JUST the Quinnspiracy either. There were a TON of events that precipitated this BS, the Quinnspiracy was just one of them. (Here’s a timeline with more details, I’ve got a final tomorrow)

As to why we keep bringing Quinn up… we don’t. ANTI does, as you did when speaking to me. You said that Adam Baldwin’s first tweet was slander, I pointed out that Quinn had admitted to the allegations. And somehow this meant I brought her up?

You have yet to respond to my tweet with photo evidence that GG’s critics are the hate group, btw.

Oh, and as to the assertion that #GamerGate is a hate group…

WAMarticle

Keep in mind that this is the ggautoblocker. This autoblocker exists for the sole purpose of catching harassing GGrs. And it got 0.66%.

Now kindly find another gorram narrative.

All the best,
David Burton
@HalfTangible

PS. (Send kids out of the room for this one)

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Why everyone you disagree with seems to be a moron

See, for any given philosophy or social movement with any significant number of followers, there’s a core of reasonable, intelligent and calm people. These are the liberals who think government is the best way to help people, the conservatives who think that the most effective government is a small one, the tolerantly religious and the atheists who respect religions despite their lack thereof.

However, the loudest and most vocal of any particular group are also the dumbest and most hateful. These are the conservatives who think liberalism is a genuine mental disorder, the liberals who think all conservatives are racist, the zealous religious morons who scream about how every other religion is wrong and evil, the atheist who says churches should be burned down with their worshippers inside. And since they’re louder and more eager to speak, you have to get through those to get to the reasonable ones.

So the end result is that each philosophy or movement sees its own side as a largely reasonable group with a few bad apples, whereas every force in opposition to them is full of blind, stubborn morons.

That’s my theory on it, anyway. Thoughts?

An open letter to #SJWs and Joss Whedon

(some spoilers for both Avengers movies and Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

There’s a lot of outrage on twitter right now directed at Joss Whedon over his portrayal of Black Widow in Age of Ultron. And for the life of me, I can’t see why.

Or rather, I can, and it baffles me that THIS is what people are upset over this week.

So, for context: midway through Age of Ultron there’s a scene where Black Widow and Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk) talk about their mutual inability to have children. The Hulk because sexual arousal drives his heart rate up, which makes him Hulk out and likely would kill his partner, and Black Widow because she was rendered sterile to become a more efficient killing machine who never has to worry about kids or the possibility of having kids while seducing a target.

I’ll admit the line “You still think you’re the only monster here?” is poorly placed, but as far as actual full-on misogyny goes? No. This is character development built off of a consistent character trait and one that in hindsight is actually kind of brilliant.

Hear me out – I didn’t believe it at first either, this was something a friend proposed to me.

Consider Black Widow’s behavior throughout these movies. In the first Avengers movie, she makes it apparent that whatever her past may have been, she badly wants to turn over a new leaf and be a good person. In Captain America: The Winter SoldierĀ (and keep in mind, Whedon didn’t direct this one) she spends the entire movie trying to get Cap to go on some dates, which is admittedly a little awkward to see her try even when they’re being hunted down by Hydra, but it’s lighthearted and innocent enough that I can let it slide. Then in the second Avengers movie, we find out that her best friend (Hawkeye) has a family that she knows about, is apparently a surrogate Aunt for, and was excited at the prospect of… Mrs.Hawkeye having a daughter they could name Natasha.

Keep that last part in mind – it’s gonna be important later.

It’s evident that Black Widow wants to leave the life of a killer behind, but she’s also in a position that requires her to fight and kill. She can’t just leave, either, as she has no other marketable skills (of which we’re aware, at any rate) and her current position is so important that the survival of the planet may very well depend on her. Even if she could leave, she couldn’t stop being the Black Widow. As she said in Captain America 2, she wasn’t even sure who she really was anymore. There was no life to go back to. And in the first Avengers, she tells Loki that she wants to clean some of the red out of her file.

So she wants to stop taking life, and wants to make up for how much she took before. Obviously, she can’t bring people back to life because she’s a normal assassin lady and not a god. So the other solutions are to protect lives – which doesn’t work because in her case it requires she take MORE lives – or to create life… which she also can’t do because of her sterilization.

Black Widow’s line that she’s a monster isn’t because of the sterilization as the placement would imply (I thought this was weird at first too) but because the fact that she can’t is a constant reminder that she was made into a killing machine. She can’t give life, only take it. Remember when I said that the baby would be important later? Black Widow is acting as a surrogate Aunt and trying to live vicariously through Hawkeye’s family. That’s why she was disappointed that the baby was a man – she wanted it to be Natasha and to live the life she could never have. It’s also why she kept trying to get Captain America to go on some dates: she might not be able to have life herself, but A) she can help fix Cap’s and B) that doesn’t mean she can’t help others make it.

… stop looking at me like that.

And to those saying Joss Whedon is misogynist, I have a quote for you:

quote-q-so-why-do-you-write-these-strong-female-characters-a-because-you-re-still-asking-me-that-joss-whedon-277715

First impressions of Avengers 2: #AgeOfUltron

There are some flaws, but overall it was really good. If you liked the first one, you’ll love this one even more.

Go watch it.

NOW.

…Arright. Let’s put this all together and see what comes out.

(spoilers from here on out)

The Villain

First off, let’s get to the title character Ultron, my personal favorite character in this movie and the most improved element between Avengers 1 and 2. At first he seemed a little too… quippy. People say that about a lot of Joss Whedon’s works, but I didn’t really understand the complaint until today. Ultron just seemed too… well, human, at first. He was funny, charming, clever, all that jazz. Partway through, though, he flips out when someone says he copied one of Tony Stark’s jokes, and from then on he gets steadily more robotic as the movie progresses. It’s a subtle thing, but a good one, and I do like it a lot.

Where he starts to fall flat lies in his inconsistency. One moment, he’s locking Black Widow in a jail cell so she’ll live to see what he does, and the next he’s turning a city into a giant meteor and trying to straight-up kill all of the Avengers. Also, I’m not sure why he needed Vision’s body when he had an entire army of himself? Sure there was the mind gem, but his ultimate plan didn’t require the gem. In fact he forgets to go after the body partway through. So it can’t be THAT important.

However, he’s definitely an improvement over Loki as the main antagonist. My biggest problem with him in the first film is that he lacked… impact. Presence. For lack of a better term. He was just kinda… there. Bein’ the bad guy. Despite all his talk of how he was born to rule and humans made to serve, he never really felt like an evil emperor, just a guy doin’ his thing. Ultron, on the other hand, absolutely owns every scene he’s in. You do not take your eyes off of this robot, and he’s a very genuine threat. So the villain’s great.

… Except for ONE line.

“Leave me alone!” -Ultron.

Yes, seriously.

The Plot

Stop me if this one sounds familiar.

The movie opens with a base under attack, and a powerful artifact is brought into the hero’s possession. Tony tries to find out as much as he can about it, and upon discovering what it can do, the heroes turn on each other and argue. Then the villain does something to splinter them apart even more (driving the Hulk to hulk out and smash things in the process) until they find the strength to pull themselves together. Then, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the Avengers converge on the center of a major city and fight to keep a central metal pillar in their hands and out of their enemy’s. At the end, the heroes go off their separate ways.

Yeah, it’s basically the Avengers redux. However, it’s a very good redux that fixes most of the problems the original’s plot had. Let’s look at the two biggest changes that I can remember right now: the Hulk going crazy, and the final climax.

The Hulk is driven mad by the power of the Scarlet Witch while the group is attempting to stop Ultron from getting his hands on some Vibrainium. What I like here is that while the villain still triggered the problem, it was triggered during a proactive effort by the heroes to stop a villain.

The final climax doesn’t do the Phantom Menace BS from last time. This time, they specifically state they need to kill every single Ultron bot in order to vanquish him for good (after isolating him from the internet) and very nearly fail. Vision kills the last one (though oddly we aren’t shown it – perhaps Ultron will return one day?) but the important thing is that the victory felt earned at the end. (though I’m not sure how they got the city over water)

One issue I had was that they imply partway through the film that Bruce Banner is going to get arrested for destroying a large part of a major city. That’s not really the issue – the issue is that it’s brought up once and then never mentioned again. It’s a strange part of the plot.

What’s even stranger are the dream worlds Scarlet shows each of the Avengers. They’re supposed to be the Avengers’ worst fears, but the only one that really works as a ‘worst fear’ dream is Tony’s. Thor’s looks like it’s supposed to be some kind of vision despite being created by Scarlet, Black Widow’s is her worst memories (still bad, but not ‘worst fear’), Captain’s looks like some kind of Lotus Eater Machine thing… I dunno, it just seemed off.

The Humor

It’s Joss Whedon, are you even asking?

Okay, the jokes and quips… don’t all work here. Most of them do, but a few seem to fall flat. I found myself thinking quite a bit “…is that supposed to be funny?” I wish I could remember the specific jokes.

The heroes

The Avengers got a lot more time during this movie to develop and advance their characters. While the first movie had some development, it was mostly just some momentary interactions between members of the cast. In this movie, everyone gets to advance their individual arcs a bit (except for poor Captain America. =( My favorite Avenger…) which is something this movie has over its predecessor for certain.

However – and this is really, REALLY a problem – the Hulk can’t control his powers anymore. Guys, you established in the first movie that Bruce Banner knew how to control himself now. You can’t just drop that because it’s convenient to your plot. (also, you I think you imply at one point that Black Widow is a monster because she can’t reproduce? Maybe it was just the way the line was placed in the movie, I dunno.)

Overall

At its core, Avengers 2 is the first Avengers movie with a bit more polish, and I LOVE it for that. It’s a fun, amusing little superhero romp with a bunch of cool ideas and well-handled concepts. It takes what didn’t work about the first movie and makes it work well here. There are a lot of elements here that don’t mesh very well with the rest of the film. However, I don’t think those elements stop the movie from being good, even great. It was a fun ride from start to finish and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

Oh, and Joss? If you’re reading this, good job.

But f#@$ you for assembling that last line.

YOU KNOW THE ONE >=(