So here's a question for you all.
At what stage does someone's opinion become offensive?
Should offensive opinions be voiced, or should they be forced into silence?
About four, maybe five years ago a young woman by the name of Peaches Geldof appeared on her own chat show on British Television where she publicly painted a picture of a certain demographic.
Now I am probably getting the quote wrong, so I will not put it into quote form; but essentially the statement was: "All you Geeks are the same; fat, lazy sofa-dwellers".
At the time I took to social media as I knew it and tried to garner some level of support about this hate crime that was being broadcast on British television.
It epically failed. About one, maybe two people cared it, and that was it. In fact it was so small time that if you tried to search for it now online, you will be hard pushes to find any references to it. I know because I have tried.
You might wonder why I felt so personally offended by such a statement? It was simple. I knew that if the target for the slur was any one of the myriad of other minority demographics then not only would the show have not been allowed to air unedited, but the speaker would probably have either been fired or required to make a public apology.
- In fact something very similar happened to that in regards to a previous series of the Reality TV show GeordieShore where someone used the deplorable "N" word. The episode in question was never shown and the cast member was pulled from all future lineups.
Then last year we had an amazing breakthrough! In response to the horrific attack on a young girl in 2007, other groups of society; at the time those in the limelight were the Goth Culture Movement were to be listed as Social Minorities.
What that meant was that the same protection owed to those in recognised as 'protected' groups.
This was huge! It meant that any group of individuals who identified themselves as a subculture; be it Goths, Emos, Geeks, Gamers etc were to be protected from hate crimes as a result of them belonging to that subculture.
Hazzar! I thought. The system works!
Then we reach this year and the events at the end of the summer. I will not provide links as I refuse to encourage these people to have extra hits from my site, but most articles you an read that involve #GamerGate will give you more than enough examples of what I am talking about.
I am of course talking about people in the public eye once again throwing abuse at our Gamer asses.
Be it being compared to Nazis or ISIS, being referred to as misogynistic (which really seems to be the current buzz word insult at the moment) or just generally referred to as people who have zero social skills and living in parent's basements, these comments are rife.
You see, when it comes to these sort of articles, I've got a little rule I like to use: replace the discussed group with a 'protected group', if the you know that there is no way the article would be published, then you know the article is hate fuelled and based on prejudice.
You might find yourself wondering why such articles are allowed, how should these not be banned and I'm caught in a dilemma over this:
Should someone be allowed to preach their hatred for any culture?
I want to say no. But at the same time, do I or anyone else have the right to censor someone else?
It's a tricky situation that I do not think I'm in a position to answer.
What I do think is that these articles should be treated the same as those who attack any 'protected' group be that gender, race, religion etc.
Instead however these writers do not seem to be held morally accountable in any way, and in many cases celebrated as a pioneer against [insert relevant social injustice here].
Is there any difference with what these writers and vloggers do and what I'm doing? Well I suppose I am neither being paid for it, nor requesting payments for it. In fact unlike many blogs you will notice I have no donate options at all as I am actively against being paid or sponsored for what I write here.
I would actually go as far as to say that there is very little difference between what I write and what many of these so-called Games Journalists write, especially if you browse the self indulgent LiveJournal Circle-Jerk that is 'publications' like Kotaku and Polygon including such BS scoops as "watch me play the first 10 mins of the WoW MoP beta" or "my friend plays X game, read what their thoughts was on it". This is not news, this is not journalism, this is blogging and if someone is actually willing to pay for that then they are someone with more money than sense.
You might ask yourself why anyone should listen to me, after all I have openly criticised and depending on your viewpoint; attacked many of these 'internet celebrities'.
If so I would say that no one 'should' listen to me. I have no entitlement nor am I anyone special, I'm just a guy who writes his thoughts down about gaming be it video games or tabletop games. I do not believe I have done anything to 'deserve' anyone's attention and that in the past I have been off the mark and downright offensive to people.
But that's half the problem. If someone has a problem with me, then take it out on me, don't say that everyone who is associated with my groups are as bad as I am. And the same is true for gamers.
In this post I have directly and indirectly accused and maybe even attacked certain individuals. I have not given names and so it may be easy to think I am accusing all Internet based commenters, this is far from the truth.
My complaint is against a few notable individuals, and that's the point. It's 100% ok to say that you have a problem with Mr or Mrs X because you think they are a deplorable human being. It is another thing to say "All people who belong to Mr or Mrs X's subculture are deplorable human beings".
That is what they call Prejudice.
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley