Monday, December 15, 2014

On Anti-GM (Anti-Circumcision) as a Cultural Prejudice

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NOTE: This is a follow-up post to my first piece on MGM. I would recommend reading it before this (Click Here).
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The Journal of Medical Ethics held a virtual “Symposium on Circumcision” in its June 2004 issue [1], and as an introduction, “S. Holm,” who had apparently already read all of the articles prior to publication, made some remarks that seem to me to have been missing the point in many respects.

The title of his short introduction to the issue was “Is the Opposition to Circumcision Partly Driven by Cultural Prejudices?” [2] In what follows, I will debunk a few of his quotes to the point where I could only conclude that the author’s hyperbole was simply intended to make sure that people read the rest of the issue.

For starters, and to introduce and summarize his remarks:

“When reading the papers I found it strange, but of course not really surprising given its symbolic importance, that we are so worried about interventions on the male penis. Why are we not equally worried about other irreversible bodily and mental interventions to which parents subject their children?” [2]

The answer is that we are (or at least should be) worried about other such interventions, and in fact, in this very same issue of The Journal of Medical Ethics [3], S. K. Hellsten makes the case that both male genital mutilation (MGM) and female genital mutilation (FGM) are questionable practices born out of cultural dogma, which is in turn derived from religious texts in each of such cultures:

“Throughout history human beings have mutilated and harmed their bodies (and minds) in the name of culture, tradition, religion, and concepts of beauty, health, normality, or social status. One of the most persistent forms of these physical violations is mutilation of human genitalia. This practice has been related to: taboos about human sexuality; children’s initiation to adulthood, maturity, and reproductive age; aesthetic values; the demands set by various religions, and to hygienic, individual, and public health medical beliefs.” [3]

And:

“From a human rights perspective both male and female genital mutilation, particularly when performed on infants or defenceless small children, and for non-therapeutic reasons can be clearly condemned as a violation of children’s rights whether or not they cause direct pain. Parents’ rights cannot override children’s rights. If we allow parents to decide what is best for their children on the basis of the children’s religious or cultural identity, we would have no justification for stopping them cutting off their children’s ears, fingers, or noses if their religious and cultural beliefs demanded this.” [3]

So, again, perhaps Holm was merely hyping up the magazine with his statements, while Hellsten made his sarcasm, or reductio ad absurdum, perfectly clear and obvious (Hellsten also mentioned governments allowing cannibalism in deference to religious beliefs, just in case his point wasn’t perspicuous enough).

For fear of quoting only half of the article, I will summarize the rest:

Holm next makes a lengthy comparison between genital mutilations (GM) and ear piercings, and questions whether it is right and proper to perform these types of procedures on very young children without their consent, to which I would say that such a line of thinking is at least a start to a sane policy. But, as referenced in my own earlier post [4], there are cultures where young women and men have been so thoroughly brainwashed into a particular set of beliefs that they will, in fact, agree to being tortured in all manner of ways in order to satisfy their parents, tribal elders or religious leaders.

These “rites of passage” have been the basis for psychological studies concerning harsh initiation rituals of various kinds, and it has been demonstrated that they have the effect of bonding subjects to the larger group (fraternity, sorority, military organization or religion) which sanctions the rituals. [5] This phenomenon is so often observed that it is no surprise that the study was partially sponsored by the U.S. Army, which makes no pretense that it is not “breaking” young recruits so as to “remake” them in the proper “militarized” image.

Anyway, to continue the example, does a young girl who asks her parents to allow her to have her ears pierced compare with Army boot camp? (Sarcasm can work both ways.) Obviously, fully cognizant children do want to become socially accepted as they grow older (ear piercing is generally considered a normal sign of womanly “maturity” or “maturation”), and some are willing to do things more extreme than others to achieve this.

We have to draw rational lines, though, between trivial things that a child might want to do to become an adult, and potentially harmful things, whether harmful to themselves mentally or physically, or harmful to society. One simply cannot compare a youngster wanting pierced ears with another youngster stealing a car or killing someone to join a gang, or ear piercing with truly brutal rituals taking place in third world countries. And, there is likewise no comparison between any forms of genital mutilation, which often require the removal of significant portions of sex organs, and an almost invisible pinhole in the adipose tissue of the earlobe.

Are there any procedures that make sense to perform before a child can speak for themselves? Of course there are. Isn’t this, at least to a certain extent, common sense? For example, we give babies and very young children injections to prevent disease, we treat wounds, we perform emergency surgeries when an infant’s life is in danger, and even though there are some “new age” people who would disagree, we typically remove the placenta and umbilical cord from newborns rather than having it drop off naturally as it would among non-human animals. [6]

However, there is no medically necessary (and currently solidly evidenced) reason to go beyond these very basic common sense things. Until more definitive studies prove otherwise, the potential benefits to MGM are negligible at best, and the benefits to FGM are non-existent. There is no need to carry out such procedures unless absolutely medically necessary, and even that parameter primarily only applies to anomalous cases (medical emergencies).

Holm seems to momentarily come to his senses here:

“No, just as in the case of circumcision the question of whether ear piercing is allowable must very much depend on the risk and magnitude of permanent harm, both physical and in terms of later conscious rejection of the procedure.” [2]

But, do you see what he did there? Or rather, what he does all throughout his article. He uses the fact that many people have their children’s ears pierced, largely as a cosmetic procedure (and often at the child’s insistence!), as a crowbar (leverage) to set up a justification for GM being not such a bad thing.

Is it just me, or is this argumentum ad populum not nearly subtle enough? I can only surmise that most people who draw such equivalences are simply not very intelligent (and I forgive them that). However, S. Holm, according to the article header, is either a student at, or more likely, on the faculty of, Cardiff Law School & University of Oslo.

Go figure.

Finally:

“It is therefore very interesting that the piece of evidence we really need to have in order to be able to assess the status of circumcision is singularly lacking. We simply do not have valid comparative data concerning the effects of early circumcision on adult sexual function and satisfaction. Until such data become available, the circumcision debate cannot be brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and there will always be a lingering suspicion that the sometimes rather strident opposition to circumcision is partly driven by cultural prejudices, dressed up as ethical arguments.” [2] 

Once more, we see the trick; simply denying that there is any evidence of harm when, in fact, there is an abundance. And, his final sentence pushes the argument even further, implying that those who oppose GM have their own cultural axes to grind, when in the vast majority of cases, the situation is just the opposite.

All forms of GM that have been referenced here go back to one or two holy books, and then the cultures that sprang up around them. There is no cultural precursor to merely letting nature take its course. It hardly fits the definition of a “rite of passage” [7] to inform a subject that, in order to become an adult, they need do nothing, which is the actual state of affairs, and does not require slicing off bits of oneself.

A rite of passage is a ritual which involves doing something. Those of us who oppose GM of all kinds instead recommend doing nothing, especially when what is being proposed is a mostly superfluous procedure that violates bodily autonomy and even human rights (as I demonstrated in my previous post on MGM). His implication that the entire issue is just a cultural matter of opinion is nonsense.

NOTE II: I used a total of 33 references in my previous piece on male circumcision (mentioned above), and most of them refer to MGM as well as FGM, so I will just suggest that readers go there for many articles on the subject, both pro and con (link provided below on [4]).

And, to be sure, there are also many sources that try, by twisting logic to the breaking point, to make the case that somehow GM is not only harmless, but in a few ways, desirable. I have added a couple links to such articles at the end of my references list at the bottom of this post, and I think that as folks read them, they will recognize these same tricks and attempts at deception being used repeatedly.

The article that I am responding to here is ten years old, but the debate (especially over male circumcision) still rages even today, and that speaks to the fact that for many people, it simply is a religious or cultural “habit” that they are reluctant to give up, no matter what the science says.

I will just point out that reference [10] from the Mayo Clinic is a rather lengthy and data rich article that refers back to the American Academy of Pediatricians 2012 statement on circumcision, which I believe has been incorrectly characterized as pro-circumcision by many, whereas my reading of the AAP work was that it was diplomatically neutral, and even serves to support the argument that the supposed benefits of male circumcision are not well-evidenced enough to warrant the procedure (they stated directly that they cannot recommend it themselves as a surgery which should be routinely performed).

As always, I am prepared to go wherever the research leads, and that path is subject to change without notice. My main objection to GM is that it is most often not done for necessary reasons of health, but for misguided cultural and religious reasons (or based on erroneous beliefs about medical benefits), and what lies at the root of these reasons is frequently a fairly demented view of human nature.

Ending GM (or Male Circumcision):

Of course, the primary solution for ending GM (or, more specifically, in this case, male circumcision) is for everyone to agree to go where the science leads. At one time, a large number of children were having their tonsils removed to prevent various types of infections. Later, it was shown that this procedure had the opposite effect. We know that there is nothing in the Bible about tonsils, so we can examine the meandering course of medical science in isolation in that instance. [8]

What is required now is for the public to be given the clinical facts related to circumcision so that they can make informed decisions on the issue themselves, and where there are matters of public policy, that policy should be informed by the science of the topic as well. Not by archaic cultural traditions, norms and/or customs.

Some aspects of the science may yet be in doubt, but for the most part, it is settled that GM, at least in general, is too risky and unnecessary to be performed without sound medical reasons, of which there are few (or none).

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]
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NOTE III: Part of the motivation for this follow-up piece was seeing similar arguments to some/much of the above appearing in numerous places (including comment threads on various videos and articles).

NOTE IV: I did not go into great detail in this post on specifics already addressed in my first MGM piece to avoid unnecessary repetition. Nearly all of the information that was not included in this can be found there.

NOTE V: For reasons that have not changed since my earlier post, I still support IntactAmerica and Foregen and the terrific work that they do, and I hope that rational people reading this will do so as well, however possible.

NOTE VI: Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and share this article if you like it.
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References (Last Accessed on December 15, 2014):

[1] Journal of Medical Ethics June 2004 Volume 30 Number 3.

[2] S Holm, Irreversible bodily interventions in children, J Med Ethics 2004;30:237 doi:10.1136/jme.2004.009001.

[3] S. K. Hellsten, Rationalising circumcision: from tradition to fashion, from public health to individual freedom—critical notes on cultural persistence of the practice of genital mutilation, J Med Ethics 2004;30:248-253 doi:10.1136/jme.2004.008888.

[4] Krista [Femitheist Divine], Male Circumcision (MGM) is a Matter of Bodily Autonomy, Fethez Hub, July 17, 2014.

[5] “Aronson, Elliot; Mills, Judson. The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group.Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 1959 Sep; 59(2):177–181.”

[6] Gillian Mahney, ABC News Health Blog, New Birthing Trend, Don’t Cut the Cord.

[7] “Right of Passage” defined (Websters):

[8] Stuck, B. A., Windfuhr, J. P., Genzwürker, H., Schroten, H., Tenenbaum, T., & Götte, K. (2008). Tonsillectomy in Children. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International,105(49), 852–861. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2008.0852

Other Articles Partially or Fully Justifying GM:

[9] A M Viens, Value judgment, harm, and religious liberty, J Med Ethics 2004;30:241-247 doi:10.1136/jme.2003.003921.

[10] Brian J. Morris, DSc, PhD; Stefan A. Bailis, PsyD; and Thomas E. Wiswell, MD.
“Circumcision Rates in the United States: Rising or Falling? What Effect Might the New Affirmative Pediatric Policy Statement Have?”
2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Article referenced at:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

“Thinking about Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture” by Michael Tonry (Book Review and Evaluation)

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Introduction (and Summary):

Michael Tonry, who is the McKnight Presidential Professor in Criminal Law and Policy at The University of Minnesota, and Norval Morris are General editors of the series “Studies in Crime and Public Policy” of which this title “Thinking about Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture” is a part. In the opening chapter, and at the core of Tonry’s thesis, is the observation that the United States is unique in its handling of crime in two senses. Firstly, American crime control has become harsher than it was in the past, and secondly, it is also harsher than in other similar Western cultures.

In an effort to explain this trend, Tonry approaches it from eight different angles (just a few of which I will focus on here). To begin, he looks at differences in crime rates and incarceration rates between the United States and other industrialized nations, noting that the U.S. is alone in its levels of incarceration, even though crime rates in other countries have risen or fallen at similar rates over time. He gives examples of other countries that have lowered incarceration rates with no significant change in crime rates afterward.

He provides a number of explanations for this which mostly revolve around the United States’ highly polarized political landscape. As the two primary parties (Democrats and Republicans) seek to differentiate themselves, a recurring “wedge” issue is the treatment of crime. With few exceptions, once crime measures are made harsher, no matter which party is in power, it becomes politically difficult to roll those measures back, even if it can be shown that they are ineffective.

Other issues which go hand in hand with this dynamic are welfare, immigration and affirmative action, and while they are not a part of the theme of the book, it is easy to see how they might be related. In each of these areas, there have been massive increases in spending, particularly at the federal level, and the public has been largely convinced that the positive results, when there have been some, are not sufficient enough to justify the expense.

His other approaches to explaining the issue consist of psychoanalyzing the American people in several ways and contrasting those ideas with differing values found in European culture, even tracing that culture back in history to before America was born to point out cyclical attitudes toward social issues such as homosexuality, and then in American cyclical attitudes, about alcohol and drug use.

Throughout, he makes many references to the works and opinions of others, often referring to these things as “stories,” and is careful in some cases to note that not all of them are as important to his own approach as are others. In a way, the bulk of the book is a survey of useful thoughts on crime over the years, which is not what I expected when I first began reading it.

The common, recurring notion within the book is that crime rates have generally declined over the ages, but when superimposed with labels showing policy changes, at least in modern times, it is not clear that the policies were the cause of the decline, or that they affected the rates in any significant way.

It is in the closing chapters of the work, after stating forcefully that the United States’ crime policies are abhorrent to any thinking person, that Tonry’s many prescriptions for improvement finally manifest. Significantly, he suggests that we should separate judges and prosecutors from the political process as much as possible, either by making them career civil servants, or by interposing specialists such as sentencing commissions between the politicians and the legal system.

Then he ends with nine ideas for reforming sentencing: (1) Early release provisions for all but the most serious crimes; (2) Repeal Three Strike Laws and mandatory minimum sentences, or if not repealed, (3) allow judges the flexibility to override them; (4) Where possible, reduce excessive sentences to better match the seriousness of the crime; (5) Allow new sentencing laws to sunset after ten years; (6) Require new sentencing laws to include financial impact statements, and (7) specify where new funding sources are to come from; (8) Require new sentencing legislation to include impact analysis for disparate effects on women and for nationality or ethnic groups, and finally, (9) study existing criminal justice system procedures in light of these same impacts for women and minority groups.

Review and Evaluation:

The book is, of course, very informative on a broad variety of topics concerning criminal justice, and is almost an anthology of other works on the subject. Tonry forcefully condemns the system we have now, and the entire book carefully constructs the case from many sources that major reforms are needed in the way we sentence and incarcerate criminals at every level. I read some reviews of the book that mostly gave it praise, although there were a few critics who characterized it as “left-wing” politically. I did not particularly perceive that to be the case.

As far as the organization of the book is concerned, I did find that it seemed to jump around quite a bit, repeating parts of its theme that had already been mentioned, but then I realized that Tonry was essentially reviewing the works of others one by one on subjects such as the cyclical nature of the public’s demands in relation to certain aspects of law enforcement, even going back into ancient history to demonstrate that it was not a uniquely American phenomenon. By the middle of the book, I saw what he was doing, but at first, I wondered why the words “trends,” “cycles” and “oscillations” kept reappearing as if they were just being introduced.

At this point in history, I believe the idea that the United States is imprisoning too great a percentage of its population is widely accepted, and we also have a somewhat unique problem in that the prison population is not representative of our population as a whole, but consists of an extreme abundance of minorities, not just as a percentage, but in actual numbers (E. Ann Carson, Ph.D., 2013). To a great extent, I agree with all of the conclusions presented in the book, but I also think that some things were given too little coverage (possibly because those areas are covered in other parts of the series).

For instance, I did not find that there was much acknowledgment of many changes in U.S. culture, especially with respect to religion and other similar traditions such as marriage and so-called “family values.” These things, regardless of our attitudes about them, do represent an important component of the trends and cycles that were discussed, and we stand at a unique point in history, I believe, where rather than just cycles of thought within the religious community, we are seeing a transition to a level of secularism that has never existed before.

Until the middle of last century, the existing minority populations had, for the most part, one thing in common, and that was a Judeo-Christian heritage, either brought with them from their homelands, or in the case of African slaves, imposed on them once they got here. There is ample evidence which suggests that the United States will join the rest of the world in transitioning to a mostly secular society at some point, and that once it does, a more stable and less cyclical situation can prevail (Phil Zuckerman, 2009).

It has been, and will continue to be, a bumpy road for some time to come, and much of the turmoil in public opinion and the cyclical nature of American politics is, I think, largely to blame for a saw-toothed ratcheting up of enforcement methods and punishments. This ratcheting effect was among the book’s key points.

Racism has played a fairly obvious role in the imbalance in U.S. prison populations and needs to be addressed as the book well indicates, but I was puzzled by the aspects of the author’s prescriptions which lump minority treatment in with that of women as if to say that large numbers of women are being inappropriately incarcerated.

A great deal of research currently shows that men receive an average of 63% longer sentences than women already (Sonja B. Starr, 2012), which contradicts this notion. Moreover, I did not get the impression throughout that the point he was making was that women should receive longer sentences, even though that would seem to be the logical and equitable thing to do.

Another societal trend that did not receive any coverage was the impact of technology. I suspect that is because this book, while it contains Tonry’s prescriptions from 2004, is also based on many earlier works that would have had no knowledge of government surveillance techniques, traffic cameras and other monitoring devices now being deployed in cities both large and small. Studies have shown that in some cases, these things can yield significant deterrence benefits at lower costs (Nancy G. La Vigne et al., 2011).

It is in fact one of the questions left dangling by the book as to why there has been a historically continuous decrease in crime rates over the centuries that are unaffected by either crime prevention techniques or punishment methods. It seems to me that some of this should be intuitive, and perhaps that is why it did not receive a mention. Namely, that as society becomes more modern, our basic human needs are met at a lower cost.

There is no, or increasingly less, need to steal to feed oneself in the modern world, and in the long-term, with populations (particularly in regard to birth rates) tending to decline naturally in many modern societies, the problem of replacing ourselves may eventually catch up with the problems of overpopulation.

Most studies of crime in the modern world emphasize the disruption caused by certain types of jobs moving internationally or being replaced by machines (Simon Green BSc MA, 2009), but in the longer-term, there seems to be every reason to believe that “crimes of need” will continue to gradually diminish, even if crimes of greed (mostly white-collar crimes) continue to be a problem for technology to solve (for example, in the monitoring of bank transactions, insider trading by corporate officers, and sometimes crimes of passion).

Related to the disruption in lives caused by modernity, there are the types of crime that have no obvious explanation based on need or greed, where lapses in social structure, be they religious or secular in nature, cause individuals to “act out.” In fact, I wish that Dr. Tonry had touched on a subject first introduced in the Atlantic Monthly by Professor George Kelling in 1982 called “Broken Windows,” which was later developed into a more comprehensive work in 1999 (George L. Kelling, 1999).

This work, or at least the concept, is often referred to in describing problems such as the urban blight or urban decay we see happening in major cities all over the country, but particularly those such as Detroit that have almost insurmountable financial problems. These, in turn, can translate into biased attitudes about the people who live in those areas, perpetuating racial or cultural bias (Robert J. Sampson et al., 2004).¹
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¹ A bit of what labeling theory describes is included in this. Labeling theory, of course, is “the theory of how the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to describe or classify them. It is associated with the concepts of self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping.

Even in relatively healthy cities, authorities must fight the tendency of parts of the city, especially in lower class areas, to gradually be subject to petty destruction, graffiti and other crimes associated with juvenile delinquency, gang membership and joblessness. Cities are willing to spend millions of dollars simply to nip these problems in the bud, and they view such measures as cost savings in the long run (Tavares, Samantha Silva, 2014).

What seems to be missing in much of the discussions about crime are ways to avoid it happening in the first place. “Broken Windows” was, perhaps, one of the first articles to get recognition of the fact that from small things, like graffiti, could spring ever-growing problems of larger and larger crime.² Once the graffiti goes mostly unnoticed and uncorrected, the areas affected become bases for more serious activities, drug dealings, gang activities. One variation on graffiti, in fact, is gangs marking their territories.
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² Broken Windows is quite interesting and provides a fair amount of valuable information and analysis. However, its flip-side (or downside) is that it advocates a zero tolerance policy for petty crime (see NYC in the 1990s). Zero tolerance policies result in more criminals, often for minor offenses.

An experiment that has gone on in many cities is for artists to fill the voids where graffiti regularly appears with true artwork, but these experiments have not had the desired effect in many cases because they frequently fail to take into account the personal void that exists in the young people who commit these sorts of petty crimes.

I believe that if we could better understand such gateway criminal acts, and how to prevent them, channeling those youthful energies into more productive activities, many of the other issues related to incarceration (e.g., rehabilitation and punishment) and crime rates would be much easier to solve.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]
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References:

E. Ann Carson, Ph.D., BJS Statistician, Prisoners in 2013, September 2014, NCJ 247282. U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Simon Green BSc MA, Crime, Politics and Late-modernity: an exploration of community, identity and morality, Thesis submitted for the Degree of PhD in Criminology in the University of Hull July 2009.

George L. Kelling, Broken Windows and Police Discretion, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, October 1999.

Nancy G. La Vigne, Samantha S. Lowry, Joshua A. Markman, Allison M. Dwyer, Evaluating the Use of Public Surveillance Cameras for Crime Control and Prevention, USDOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, September 2011.

Robert J. Sampson Harvard University, Stephen W. Raudenbush University of Michigan, Seeing Disorder: Neighborhood Stigma and the Social Construction of “Broken Windows,” Social Psychology Quarterly 2004, Vol. 67, No. 4, 319–342.

Tavares, Samantha Silva, California Graffiti Removal Programs: Benchmarking San José’s Graffiti Abatement Program against Best Practices in the Cities of Long Beach, San Diego, and Santa Ana, Master's Projects. San José State University SJSU ScholarWorks Paper 371, 2014.

Sonja B. Starr, Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases, University of Michigan Law School, August 2012.

Phil Zuckerman Pitzer College, Claremont, California, Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions, Sociology Compass 3/6 949–971, (2009).

Friday, December 12, 2014

The New Year (2015) and Information Updates (G+ Re-post)

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CP + FAQ updated for 2015.

Original Post: Click Here

(Many new and exciting things are on the way this year!)

I am going to approach 2015 with a fresh perspective in mind and attempt to keep everything that I do and say as positive and civil as possible (even when being critical of someone and/or their work).

Years of negativity have grown tiresome, and although I am certain there will be much more negativity to come this year, I would like to do my best to not be a part of that vicious cycle.

It is those like all of my wonderful friends who remind me each and every day how fortunate I am to have come across the people that I have, and to even form strong and lasting bonds with them.

My resolution for this upcoming year, in accordance with what I have been pushing toward for a while now, is to be as kind, civil, fair, reasonable and honest as possible when dealing with others as I can be, and I hope that many people will strive to do the same as best they can as well.

The world is beautiful and filled with countless amazing, wonderful and brilliant people of all races, sexes and creeds. Among theists, atheists, and even Feminists and Anti-Feminists, there are many terrific, genuine and human-loving people who are doing the best they can to help others and to make the world a greater place to live.

And, even though we all may disagree strongly on different issues, concepts or problems, we should always remember that ideological differences do not mean that we must hate one another, do not mean that there can never be any meaningful reconciliation in the future between currently opposing sides, and do not mean that each and every one of us cannot someday become friends and work together to solve and improve the problems that we all care about, discuss and face (they are all human issues, our issues).

A superior reality is possible. Nearly anything truly is. All that we have to do is collectively give our greatest individual efforts to improve the human condition. We must unceasingly believe very strongly in humanity as a whole, even if it is sometimes difficult to believe in other people or those immediately around us.

Nothing is absolutely predetermined or set in stone forever, and only defeatists and cynics utter and believe in such ideas and grim, inevitable ends.

It is our plight to find our own purposes. In terms of being on this Earth, our purpose is to improve this existence. In short, to help create a better world. This is not beyond our grasp, even if the road ahead seems long, and the endeavor, trying, hostile and brutal.

Most of us, here and now, have the freedom to form our own identities, to speak about what we wish as we wish, and the power to forge our own so-called fates with our own hands, as well as to influence and impact the various dialogues and larger environment around us. Let us use our freedoms and power, not just for ourselves and our own personal interests, but to create a better world for all to live in and enjoy. This is, after all, our world to share and shape (as stewards of creation!).

I am going to end this post with a quote which I am taking entirely out of context, just for consideration and to sum up the current climate (the original context of the quote is quite different, but I find it fitting):

“I stood on the edge of my humanity, looked into the pit, and loved what I saw there.”

Much love to everyone, and may all of your lives be wonderful, beautiful and full journeys each and every day.

Be the very best versions of yourselves that you can be.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]

P.S. Thank you to all of my terrific friends for always being loyal, caring and true.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Brief RE: Paul Elam Loses the Plot with Eric Garner (G+ Re-post)

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Apparently Paul Elam, who appears to live in an alternate universe (and/or who seemingly doesn't really keep up with the news and ongoing events), believes that there would be far more outrage than there has been over Eric Garner's incident if the same thing were to happen to a woman (or, more specifically, a white woman).

Can he actually prove that? No. He is engaging in entirely speculative rhetoric.

Additionally, his point presumes, erroneously, that white women have never been, or are not, unjustly or wrongly killed by police (one article linked below is actually on that very sort of thing; no consequences for unjust killings).

Have there not been riots and protests already over Eric Garner's death? Yes.¹ For days. And, the riots and protests will continue for quite some time (the Garner protests are really just a better extension of Ferguson).

Eric Garner's name, and his final words, are a central part of the slogan currently being used by many protesters. Both have been in the news continuously since the grand jury's decision to not indict the officer who killed Garner came down. Multiple articles related to the incident were published just today, in fact.

Eric Garner's name and final words were trending at the top on Twitter when Paul posted his video:
Click Here (This screen-shot is from 11PM, December 5, 2014.)

Paul's video is ham-handed at best, and ludicrously delusional at worst.

He acts as though no one seems to care about Garner at all, or as if the response to what happened to him has been underwhelming (not counting the reaction to Michael Brown's case), or as if white women are never unjustly harmed or killed by police, resulting in the offending officer(s) facing no charges or meaningful consequences. These implications are simply not reasonable, factual or based in reality.

Paul's effort is nearly as bad as people attempting to use Elliot Rodger's incident for their own sociopolitical agendas, which drew the ire of many (including some MRAs), but the incidents with Eric Garner (and, by extension, Michael Brown) have received far more outrage and attention than even the Isla Vista killings did.

If they (AVfM/Paul Elam) had wanted to argue that this was primarily just about police brutality and not race, they would not have specified “white [woman].” Obviously, the implication here is that there would be “more” outrage if the victim were a white woman (as Dean stated clearly to me on Twitter, the outrage would be “ten times higher”):

(Direct link: Click Here)

Ten times more intense (or ten times higher) than constant news stories, trending on social media, and riots and protests across the United States and in other countries of the world would be a civil war or something akin to the French Revolution or a world war. The entire notion is utterly nonsensical hyperbole.

Oh, and:

http://countercurrentnews.com/cops-slam-unarmed-woman-on-the-pavement-killing-her-in-front-of-family/

http://www.inquisitr.com/1593251/samantha-ramsey-police-shooting/

Where is the outrage for, or in response to, these incidents? There has been none that I have seen. Nothing comparable to the outrage over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, or even Trayvon Martin, at least.

Numerous people in the comments on the second article have pointed out this exact issue and made the same comparison. On nearly every variation of that story, in fact, many folks have brought up the same thing repeatedly. Where was the outrage, the immense reaction, the firestorm of rage for justice? Nowhere to be found, contrary to what Paul has intimated would be the predictable outcome of such a scenario.

And, sure, Samantha Ramsey didn't die saying that she couldn't breathe, but the point here is not chiefly about the final words, it is about the race and sex of the victim (primarily the sex; female/woman).

As more cases are decided in the near (or even distant) future, we will see more protests and outrage and riots. But, these above cases, one directly contradictory to Paul's point, have generated no widespread public anger.

Ramsey's case was fairly analogous to Garner's categorically and circumstantially: an unjust police killing that resulted in no charges. And, she is the white woman that Paul asked everyone to imagine that sort of thing happening to. Ramsey is not the first white woman to be unjustly killed by police, and her death has not resulted in mass protests or anything near a reaction “ten times higher” than that of the responses to Garner's incident.

All this proves, the lack of any significant reaction to stories such as Ramsey's (the one most relevant to Paul's “argument” here), is that the public, at the moment, has a greater interest in addressing the perceived issues facing the black community in the United States in regard to the dealings of its members with police. That interest is valid to an extent. However, none of this evidences or supports the potential reality suggested by Paul's video.

There is a legitimate point to be made about some level of gynocentrism existing in society, but Paul is diving into the realm of delusion and click-baiting with this presentation (“never let a good tragedy go to waste”). And, I'd like to see him prove the assertions or implications posited by his video. With evidence, not hypothetical rhetoric.

Speculative assumptions do not substantiate and demonstrate his flimsily predicted outcomes on their own.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]

P.S. May expand this in the future.

P.P.S Re-posting this here because my comment reportedly doesn't show up on the video.
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NOTES:
¹ Most of the riots were over Michael Brown's killing and Darren Wilson not being indicted, but it is all related to the same general issue and trending movement. That is not say, however, that any rioters represent the will of the majority currently protesting. Those protesting on Garner's behalf have primarily been peaceful.

Monday, November 10, 2014

#Gamergate: Not Another False Narrative

Standard

NOTE: There are already a number of comprehensive timelines and other compendiums of Gamergate-related activity which can be found elsewhere, and so I am not going to review or discuss all of that at great length here, as it would detract unnecessarily from the central focuses of this piece.
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Want to know who “wins” Gamergate?

Don’t we all?

I have the answer in a tightly sealed envelope inside of a box wrapped with duct tape and secured with heavy-duty nylon twine. But, since I know that a few of you skim through my posts too quickly, I’m going to hide the answer below somewhere, and everyone can find it for themselves (or find that they already had it themselves!).

Here are some hints, or maybe some red herrings. False narratives abound in this story. From the perspective of the “mainstream media,” the gamers are on the mat, being counted out. However, they are not dead, or even unconscious; they’re just planning their next move. Think of what motivates them: “those games!” You play, you lose, you play again, you lose again. Each time you start the game up, you know something you didn’t know before, you refine your strategy, and you avoid the pitfalls you fell into last time. A setback doesn’t discourage a gamer, it drives them on (most of the time).

But, who are the Gamergaters? For that matter, who are the Social Justice Warriors? Neither group has a headquarters or elected leaders, or even a P.O. Box (that I know of). There are people who proudly claim each label, and yet do things to hurt their nominal cause, and there are those who clearly side with each label while denying the affiliation. That’s part of the problem here, methinks. There is an old saying that goes: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” We are seeing a lot of that right now.

To the people of goodwill on both sides, I say: Press on to Victory!

Section I: How Do Anti-Gamergaters (and by Extension, SJWs) Operate?

For the sake of not being repetitive, I’ll refer to those that are Anti-Gamergaters as SJWs after this point, as I have in prior posts (although, as I’ll explain later, it’s a bit more complex than that).

We’ve seen repeatedly that SJWs do not much believe in compromise. All of their victories are followed by a charge to a new point of conflict, and while SJWs don’t overlap with “hardcore” gamers for the most part, they share a lot of common attributes, such as the persistence that I mentioned earlier. They take no prisoners, give no quarter, and they often do their fighting with a smile (but don’t let that fool you!).

They operate surreptitiously. They’ve infiltrated academia, the mainstream media, and even elected office by their involvement in special interest groups. Some of them think of themselves as Feminists, some of them think of themselves as progressives, and as I said above, some of them reject these labels and all labels. This denial is a useful strategy, and where it can be pulled off, an effective one. It is also not unique to SJWs by any means.

I’ve already seen a few who deny being Gamergaters, but who go on to express all of their goals. There are MRAs and MGTOWs (not as a majority) among Gamergate just as there are Feminists among SJWs. There are several actors involved in this drama, all with their own objectives, some of which coincide with the majority, and others which drive many away from the chief purposes (co-opting is rampant as well), and there are also countless black-and-white thinkers in the mix, only seeing the world in two shades, attempting to force their false dichotomies as the only tenable avenues to pursue, refusing to delve into complex or nuanced critical evaluation. They come any time there’s a debate on the internet, and they never cease to be a problem.

Our world of thought, however, cannot be reduced to a primitive and one-dimensional model of “left and right.” Each issue and sub-issue can be perceived as being at right angles to all the rest in a universe of nearly infinite dimensions, impossible to draw, impossible to describe in simple terms. Out there somewhere right now, in fact, is no doubt a hardcore SJW gamer wondering: “Where do I fit in? What are my priorities?”

Take that as another hint.

Section II: The False Narrative and How SJWs (and/or Others) Have Employed It

A false narrative is defined in its simplest form as an incomplete or deceptive storyline or presentation of events and information which does not accurately or wholly depict the reality of a story and all of its relevant components and particulars.

Such narratives are not always entirely false, and may often weave in some level of truth to support or explain a position or positions, but they will never display all of the facts that are related. The purpose is to deceive, to convince some target or audience that the presented ideas and details are complete, true and consistent, and therefore represent reality.

It should be remembered, though, that in deceiving others, we can inadvertently deceive ourselves. Eventually, even those who set out to mislead may themselves become pawns in their own false narrative. True believers.

For the creators of a false narrative, any concession that their tale is incomplete or inaccurate in any way must be avoided at all costs, for if this were to happen, the entire storyline might unravel. While attempting the deception, or ultimately while falling victim to it, the supporters of the narrative must undermine any information which contradicts it.

Those interested in misleading will latch on to any information that they believe will confirm the biases of their target audience (or prey on its ignorance). In the case of Gamergate, with SJWs (and others), this has involved keeping the focus on harassment and threats (whether real or not) aimed at women. They know from prior experiences that this tactic is effective, and due to the nature of both the internet and online debates (and possibly with the help of some underhanded efforts), they know that they will likely have either naturally occurring or forged threats and harassment to work with as “proof” for their claims.

Because the internet and all events therein move so quickly, conditioning its users with ever shorter attention spans (are you even still reading?), those who forge false narratives are able to continuously shift the goal posts from event to event and person to person in order to draw their opponents away from their (the opponents’) primary objectives and previous concerns. Even when this technique is not entirely successful, it still serves to blunt the opposition’s effectiveness if only by sidetracking significant numbers. Those not drawn into an argument over one example of harassment may well be drawn into, or by, another.

For instance, when Gamergaters want to focus on ethics in journalism, Anita Sarkeesian receives death threats which draw the attention of many from the original Gamergater objective. The story is then further shifted to a contest over who is to blame for the threats, or whether or not they are even real, or if they even actually matter.

Those easily deceived scurry about, checking with the police and FBI, arguing amongst themselves over what to do about the threats, and soon forget their original purpose entirely (or at least long enough for the opposition to begin its responses, mockery [1] and cherry-picking). This lapse in focus creates a secondary false narrative that they (Gamergaters) were not interested in journalistic ethics at all, but rather, that it was all about excluding women from gaming to begin with.

Gamergaters have fallen into this sort of trap in numerous other ways as well: bothering to fight over relatively inconsequential diversionary issues manufactured by SJWs (kicking field goals as they slide things around), responding repeatedly to any and every line of petty attacks on their objectives (stemming from the many new false narratives that appear each day and week). Enormous amounts of energy and time are shifted into these efforts to the point where, for many Gamergaters, the original concern is lost from memory almost entirely in the short-term sense, or a few grow increasingly demoralized at their apparent lack of progress and all of the continuous and obstructive PR (and other) setbacks.

On October 16, 2014, an anti-bullying fundraising effort created by Lo Ping kept the distraction going, and shortly after (within roughly one to three days), two people supportive of Gamergate (Milo Yiannopoulous and Mike Cernovich) were anointed the “anti-bullying heroes of Gamergate who used to bully” by the Anti-Gamergate crowd, in spite of the thousands that Gamergaters had raised for anti-bullying organizations.

The goal posts were then shifted once more as Gamergaters began to respond to the attacks targeting Milo and Mike (thereby derailing from the original purpose related to overall ethics in journalism even further), which in turn led the SJWs to respond to that, which resulted in Gamergaters, again, following along. That kept the focus on individuals instead of ideas and chief concerns. All the while, the bigger players against Gamergate in the media ignored most of this and continued to push the original Anti-Gamergate narrative (women, misogyny, women).

In addition, Leigh Alexander, Brianna Wu and others who are not that significant incessantly vie for the spotlight, constantly shifting the focus away from what is truly important (because they know that people will take the bait). Does anyone at this point remember what the original issue was? Collusion? Corruption? Ethics? Harassment? Threats? Dead gamers?

It is difficult to ignore the fact that key players are profiting greatly from all of this confusion, and it is hard to call a group, in large, “bullies” when they are raising thousands for anti-bullying. But, the SJWs need not be concerned with intellectual honesty or acknowledging information detrimental to their sordid spin and specious tales.

They merely ignore those facts (almost) entirely and shift the story at every turn, attempting to portray the whole of such efforts as some sort of trick if they bother to acknowledge them at all, either by making a few of the “anti-bullies” into awful bullies themselves (presenting them as “leaders”), or by forcing responses to their nonsense to constantly shove people off focus. Knowing that the complete story will undermine their false narrative, they shift and shift again, always keeping the media, and notably not just the gaming media, on their side.

So, to summarize, the false narrative consists of:

1) Inaccurate information: Who is responsible for anything bad? Gamergaters.

2) Incomplete information: Are Gamergaters bullies? Yes. The people threatening Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian are Gamergaters (association fallacy and false generalization). Their two “anti-bullying heroes” have bullied in the past. Ignore the anti-bullying charity, ignore that there is little or no evidence to link many things to the majority of Gamergaters, ignore the fallacies required to argue several of the ties, and so forth.

3) Or, they must wrongly (and one-sidedly) evaluate and assess details: This ties in to the second one above; they are fundamentally associated. Use superior media platforms to drive the erroneous storyline, and suppress dissent with mass reporting or hyper-focus on anything negative, with little to no acknowledgement of anything positive (unless it is being twisted to fit the false narratives).

Section III: Gamers, the True “Victims”?

I’ve outlined above why gamers (and it has been suggested that they refer to themselves that way, rather than continue the Gamergaters terminology which has presently been rendered fairly toxic) are seemingly at a disadvantage now in a lot of ways. Like the British during the American Revolution, the gamers thought they were coming to a “fair” fight where everyone lines up and shoots their muskets at those lined up on the other side, but they found that the rules of engagement have been unilaterally changed to a guerrilla war. And, as much as gamers would like to think that they are good at guerrilla war, they are not. At least, not now, and not with the overwhelming media spin that they currently face (though they have made some progress in the way of persuading a few advertisers to withdraw their support from various outlets, so they're getting better).

But, I’ve had you on a bit with my own narrative here. Not false, but oversimplified, using the existing terminology and the existing players’ names. This has never merely been about gamers versus definable “SJWs,” or any specific individuals. It is far more complicated than that. We know at least one other player is gaming journalism, then there is the mainstream media (a much larger “collective” with their own agendas, as we’ve seen), and what about those large companies that create the games? Are their interests perfectly aligned with gamers? With gaming journalists? With SJWs? What about stockholders?

I did quite a bit of research into the gaming media companies, including a couple of conglomerates that control it all. [2] They are, in fact, at the heart of this problem, and they are the true villains in this story (if any villains must be named). What is most important here, however, is not whether those companies are the “villains” or not, but rather, if they are even going to be around a few years from now at all, which I am fairly convinced that they will not be. Or, at least, they will not exist as they are in their present forms.

I will summarize here what many people do not appear to realize, and that is the extent to which printed media has had to downsize. [3] As they have downsized, they have attempted to preserve themselves in the form of online publications, and even in that effort, they are failing. [4:6] It is not just the gaming media, of course. Newspapers have shrunk and disappeared, as have magazines. [5] They go online, coexist with the printed version for a while, then the printed version closes, then the online version closes, is resurrected, and closes again (check the history of Newsweek [7] for a good example).

The gaming media is no exception to this, excluding the fact that it was fairly small to begin with [8], all things considered (and has less far to fall).

If I were to try and represent the gaming media in all of this, I would simply say: “You won’t have us to kick around for much longer.” They lose. They were losing before Gamergate began. I think a case could be made for the notion that if the gaming media were far stronger than it is today, their ethical standards would be far higher too. No unpaid writers would mean that more of them would be more careful about losing their jobs. [9] It will be a bumpy ride down, but down it will be.

SJWs will chalk up a victory for being in the New York Times and on many television networks. They were either brilliant in planning all of this and tricking the Thunderf00ts of the internet into propelling them along, or they were just fortunate. When it comes down to it, though, I don’t think that they care that much about games.

Anita Sarkeesian benefited greatly from all of the gamers, and others, who just couldn’t stand that she received so much money so quickly for her Kickstarter project. In other news, someone is building the world’s most sophisticated cooler. [10] Perhaps the same people that helped Anita should assist the Super-Cooler project by calling them liars and whores. The world could use a better cooler.

But, SJWs as a whole will move on to other things—that’s what they do—and Anita will go on to finish the rest of her videos, and if we can all agree to ignore her nonsense as we should have all along, she and her work will eventually vanish quickly and painlessly into the night.

Game production companies will win, as will their stockholders because of computer gaming, and all of the technologies surrounding it such as 3D goggles, motion detection, and probably things like the Holodeck, aren’t going anywhere but up. [11] The transistor and the integrated circuit and all of the gadgets that have been spawned, and the software that runs them, are still the greatest things ever invented (until nanotechnology or artificial intelligence or something we can’t begin to truly foresee surpasses them).

Oh, and gamers? They win. In fact, they cannot possibly have lost, and they will not lose. They buy the games, they pick the games they wish to buy, they don’t trust or follow critics who give glowing reviews to garbage, they play the games they want to play, and unless the game development companies are idiots, they will keep catering to the desires of their primary consumers, or they will fail. It really is too bad that such a small percentage of gamers were able to get so many of their fellow gamers upset over something that will have almost no impact on them in the long run. Maybe next time those people will not be paid so much attention to.

Which leads me to:

Section IV: How to Improve the Discourse and Avoid Another “Gate”

For the remainder of its existence, and to prolong that, gaming journalism needs to clean up its act. However, it is nobody’s loss but their own if they don’t. By not doing so, they merely hasten the approach of the day when no one is paying any attention to them anymore. And, gamers needn’t gloat, for this was going to happen anyway.

Nevertheless, if people want to help the dead and dying along, give them a push and don’t read their content. There are plenty of independent writers who do game reviews for Patreon donations, and they probably spend a lot more time on their reviews anyway, and a lot less time having cocktails with corporate marketing people, or in alternate cases, sleeping with their nigh-irrelevant industry contemporaries (other nobodies).

Also, gamers need to not fall for this sort of thing again. Whether the SJWs or some Anti-Feminists or actual gamer trolls reeled you all into this immense waste of time, or whether they both created and believed their own false narratives, it doesn’t really matter. Think for yourself, and don’t be suckered into a Holy War by one of your own any more than you would be fooled into sending all of your money to some televangelist preacher. Any time an entire organization with some specific mission devotes a significant portion of its time to going after one individual to discredit them, they have ulterior motives, which probably involve your wallet. Get your heads back into your gears and play. Whatever the distraction is will pass, and it will pass more quickly to whatever extent you can ignore it (i.e., don’t stare at the clock waiting).

If you do get into some sort of confrontation with others online, be civil and approach things rationally. No matter how much you disagree with one another, make an effort to reason your differences out, and failing that, agree to disagree, but maintain what you believe to be true (with the utmost intellectual honesty and impartiality). Attempting to harass or discredit any one opponent, or to chase them off of the internet, only makes you look bad, and the internet has a long memory for such tactics.

Ridicule is not king; ridicule leads to circle-jerks. Civil and reasonable discourse is king.

Do not focus on people or singular events for too long. Focus on ideas and concepts. Events and the relevance of certain figures or actors in nearly all debates are fleeting in terms of public interest, particularly on the internet. The underlying problems will not go away until the whole thing is resolved, and it cannot be ended until the basic and fundamental issues are addressed and concluded in full.

Be civil, but do not compromise your intellectual integrity. Be aggressive, but do not partake in hysterics and superfluous drama. Maintain your values and core objectives, but do not refuse reasonable (keyword: reasonable) olive branches when they do float your way.

Extend the same fairness to your enemies as you do your allies, and scrutinize everyone equally. This does not mean engage in constant or petty infighting, but rather, it means that all things, in all cases, should be viewed with the same level of objectivity and rational skepticism.

Be careful not to put too much faith in your own narrative until it has stood the test of time, and even then, be prepared to re-examine it in the light of new information. Confirmation bias is one of the hardest things to prevent in oneself, and it requires constant checking and self-awareness.

What must be realized now is that “winning” is not simply prevailing in an argument so much as it is helping others, and having them help you, in coming closer to the truth.

Focus on what is fundamental. Always tie individual or isolated incidents to larger and more important concepts, and center all efforts and concerns on those issues instead of dwelling on each singular case.

Be persistent. Be civil. Be reasonable. Be fair.

Wait out the storm, and do not capitulate to despair.

Do all of that with an open mind, and victory can and will be had in time.

Author: Krista [Femitheist Divine]

P.S. As others have recommended elsewhere, and to go along with my suggestions above for helping the dead and dying along, collect evidence and send emails to advertisers about sites that have unethical or anti-consumer practices. This is one of the most effective methods for fighting back (hitting them where it hurts most), and it is also conducive to avoiding a great deal of the petty drama that comes with many online debates (which is great for those who do not enjoy that sort of thing). One list of some advertisers (and more) can be found here. And, for further information, click here (see Operation Disrespectful Nod, Operation UV and Operation Baby Seal).
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NOTE II: I began writing this shortly after my second post back in the middle of October, but because I had a great deal to do following that, I was only able to finish it now. I saw, as I was working on this, articles appearing in a few places which made similar points to what I had already been writing, and so I changed my focus a bit (but the end result was still highly similar).

NOTE III: I do not presume to speak for anyone other than myself with this; I can only do my best in contributing what I believe might assist or help others in some way when I have identified an ongoing and seemingly prevalent problem, or set of problems.

NOTE IV: This is part three of three posts that I have written related to this topic. Feel free to leave your thoughts on all of these issues in the comments below. And, as my comments policy states, any replies containing threats against specific individuals, or the personal information of individuals who do not already publicize the information online themselves, will be removed.

NOTE V: A decent list of some suggestions for Gamergaters can be found here. Below are a couple of items from that list which I found to be useful, or at least fairly relevant to what I’ve stated above. I do not agree with every bit of it, and so I will only include the ones that I feel are valuable (with only their useful portions). Anything not quoted I either didn’t like, would word differently myself, or felt wasn’t relevant enough to this post to be included (e.g., the Reddit-specific ones).

- “Stop apologizing or making excuses for trolls. I don't care if Felicia Day thinks anyone in a Triforce t-shirt might be the reincarnation of Ted Bundy... she's stupid to think that and you don't need to assume responsibility for it. Condemn them, report, block, and move on.”

- “Stop taunting, engaging with, or debating with Wu, Quinn, or Sarkeesian. You're only helping feed their narrative.” (Focus on ideas and underlying, pervasive problems, not fleeting figures and singular events.)

- “Stop calling this a ‘movement.’ It's a consumer revolt. Movements are always easier to misrepresent and attack. Consumer Revolts are capitalism doing its job, especially when the Supplier is calling their consumers ‘shitlords.’”

And, recently, Milo had some thoughts/advice for Gamergaters as well, which can be seen here.

NOTE VI: Final thoughts that I didn’t want to include in the above.

The internet, unless stopped by some powerful government agency with ulterior motives, will trim the sails of a lot of companies and industries yet. Publishing, education, medicine, and many other things can all be done better, and more efficiently, by smaller groups online and elsewhere, including individuals working without big office buildings (or any office buildings), or the “help” of so many “middlemen.”

In this same way, the media conglomerates (mentioned above and partially listed below) with their hands in the gaming industry will spin down just as rapidly as they spun up, and along with that, the nature of game development will become more “democratized” over time as well.

The most commonly used computer operating system now is not Windows or the Apple OS, but variations on Unix (Linux being only one) that are developed around the world by people who, in many cases, have never actually met one another in person. Microsoft, Apple, Google and other companies can consume bits and pieces of those various small efforts, but they can’t stop them (nor should they try), just as universities will not forever be able to stop quality educational materials from reaching anyone with an internet connection.

In other words, and despite what people might think now, the users of Gamergate don’t need the big conglomerates. To these companies, I say your day is already over, and if you don’t realize it yet, you simply aren't paying attention. Do a search for any hardware device, software component, or any consumer product of any kind, and you are just as likely to find the answer in a YouTube presentation, by a user of such products, as you are to find it on a company website or in a consumer magazine.

Gamergate may fade, and let’s hope that the need for it does, but the spirit which says that users must come first is here to stay, and if big companies won’t give users what they want, users will develop it through their own means. That includes product tutorials, product reviews and even the products themselves. Or, they will take their business elsewhere.

The efforts of these SJWs will most likely only result in many of them “in the industry” pursuing their own privately (or self) funded indie development projects; the probability of them having a major impact in the gaming industry, given its nature, is minimal at best. And, if they do end up creating some sort of change, either those who listen will suffer the consequences of producing poor content, or there will be changes that won’t be so bad, and people might even enjoy or prefer a few of them, in which case, no one will have truly lost anything (or much) anyway.

In reality, the “gaming wars” are already over, and gamers have already won.

It is only a matter of time before everyone knows it.
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References (Last Accessed on November 10, 2014):

[1] Mockery as a Weapon
http://www.themarysue.com/actually-its-about-ethics/

[2] The links below cover just a portion of the downsizing of media companies that play (or have played) a role in gaming media. There are many more things of this nature taking place beyond these examples.
http://www.ziffdavis.com/
http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/ziff-davis-media-inc-history/
http://www.foliomag.com/2012/ziff-davis-enterprise-sold-lead-gen-company-quinstreet
http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/21/gamespy-ugo-1up-shutting-down/
https://gigaom.com/2008/11/19/419-ziff-davis-to-close-print-pcmag-focus-on-online-still-looking-for-optio/
http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/4/3950324/ign-entertainment-sold-to-ziff-davis
http://www.j2global.com/home-test2static
http://iac.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gawker_Media
http://variety.com/2014/film/news/quentin-tarantino-withdraws-hateful-eight-suit-against-gawker-1201175383/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valleywag
https://www.intuitive.com/valleywag_demonstrates_blogosphere_poor_news_source.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/10/whos-really-to-blame-for-the-death-of-newsweek/263814/
http://www.journalism.org/2013/06/03/newsweek-numbers/

[3] Print Media Downsizing on a Massive Scale
http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/07/wall-street-journal-lays-off-staff-191468.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/newspaper-layoffs/
http://ajr.org/2014/09/05/total-bloodbath-usa-today-journalists-recount-layoffs/
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sun-media-axes-11-newspapers-360-jobs-1.1385447
http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/10/14/stephens-media-downsizing-continues
http://media.about.com/od/mediacareer/a/Survival-Guide-For-Media-Layoffs.htm

[4] Newsweek – Just an Example of Mainstream Media's Downward Spiral (No Particular Order)
http://observer.com/2012/12/how-newsweek-predicted-its-own-demise/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2012/10/18/newsweek-going-digital-only-layoffs-coming/
http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/1109/Layoffs_at_Newsweek.html
http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/media/2008/11/18/number-crunch-downsizing-at-the-newsweeklies.html?page=all
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2012/10/6538618/barry-diller-newsweek-cuts-be-spare-possible
http://www.bulldogreporter.com/dailydog/article/newsweek-staffers-seething-over-mags-circulation-downsizing-and-having-learn-about-
http://nypost.com/2009/02/18/slimmer-newsweek-has-mag-staff-steaming/
http://www.talkingnewmedia.com/2014/10/27/newsweek-still-gets-promotion-from-apple-but-app-has-readers-upset/

[5] Other All-Digital Moves
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/03/this-is-the-scariest-statistic-about-the-newspaper-business-today/274125/
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/business/media/newspapers-are-running-out-of-time-to-adapt-to-digital-future.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/business/media/media-companies-spin-off-newspapers-to-uncertain-futures.html
http://adage.com/article/media/jet-magazine-ditching-print-digital/293071/
http://www.mediawiredaily.com/2014/09/hip-hop-magazine-xxl-going-all-digital.html
http://www.magazine.org/node/25206 (Note the section on futility.)
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2014/04/8543528/murdoch-empostem-might-quite-likely-go-all-digital-10-years
http://www.golfdigest.com/blogs/the-loop/2014/07/golf-world-goes-all-digital.html
http://www.collegemediamatters.com/2014/07/17/state-press-at-asu-going-all-digital-dropping-print-newspaper-in-the-fall/
http://mauifeed.com/state-of-hawaii/mana-magazine-dropping-print-going-all-digital/
http://newspaperdeathwatch.com/

[6] Can Magazines Make the All-Digital Leap?
http://digiday.com/publishers/can-magazines-make-the-all-web-leap/
http://mashable.com/2014/03/09/newspaper-company-story/ (Early exits help survivors last longer.)

[7] Histories of Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/history-newsweek-103593
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/109622/newsweek-obituary
http://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbender/2012/10/20/newsweeks-move-to-digital-the-death-of-print-or-just-the-death-of-newsweek/
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-19/news/ct-talk-newsweek-history-1019-20121019_1_sidney-harman-newsweek-com-washington-post

[8] Media Spending
http://www.marketsmithinc.com/2013/03/a-reflection-on-media-spend-in-2012/
http://adage.com/article/global-news/top-100-global-advertisers-world-opportunity/147436/
http://news.alibaba.com/article/detail/knowledge/101001314-1-wom-marketing-still-growing%252C-more.html
http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2010/03/display-ad-spend-up-in-2009-despite-q4-dip.html

[9] Ethics in Journalism
http://www.spj.org/ethicscasestudies.asp

[10] The Coolest Cooler
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ryangrepper/coolest-cooler-21st-century-cooler-thats-actually

[11] Future Gadgets
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/future-of-gaming/
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/gaming/virtual-reality-the-future-is-here-and-its-gamechanging-9548995.html
http://fgdfuturegadgets.weebly.com/future-gaming-gadgets--consoles.html
http://www.t3.com/features/future-gadgets
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Other Items Mentioned (or Relevant to the Above):

Gamergate Index
https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/wiki/index
Soon to be: http://wiki.gamergate.me/index.php?title=Main_Page

Lo Ping's Fundraising Effort
https://www.crowdrise.com/gamergatestompsoutbullying/fundraiser/loping

Related to the Charity
https://storify.com/petercoffin/gamergate-when-their-names-are-involved-and-when-t

The Start Date of Lo Ping's Fundraising Effort
https://twitter.com/GamingAndPandas/status/526632460910465024

A Couple Days after That Appeared, This Began (the Timing Is What's Important)
https://storify.com/stillgray/matt-binder-nails-gamergate-based-lawyer-mike-cern
http://n4g.com/news/1608049/the-truth-about-gamergates-anti-bullying-hero-mike-cernovich-with-his-own-tweets
http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/10/20/gamergates-gamerhater-heroes-milo-yiannopoulos-and-mike-cernovich/

Interesting, isn't it. Gamergaters begin raising funds for anti-bullying, and suddenly, people are attacking the supposed “heroes of Gamergate anti-bullying” just a day or two after.

Then, instead of actually addressing the valid concerns of Gamergaters, the SJW crowd hopes to undermine their message entirely by simply mocking the basic line and conflating it with others “memes”:
http://boingboing.net/2014/10/24/actually-its-about-ethic.html
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ianxcarlos/its-about-ethic-in-gaming-and-being-terrible
http://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2014/10/24/meme-of-the-week-is-actually-its-about-ethics-in-game-journalism-the-new-not-all-men/
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/actually-its-about-ethics
http://www.themarysue.com/joss-whedon-reddit-gamergate/

All of this coincides with the forging of their (Anti-GGs) false narrative; rather than respond in a meaningful way to any valid concerns, they shift the goal posts, mostly ignore all positive efforts, and derail the conversation, or undermine the reasonable people by simply mocking a commonly repeated phrase, thereby attempting to dismiss all of the serious Pro-GG arguments by discrediting a fundamental idea and objective held by Gamergaters (which is much bigger than them, existed in some ways even before Gamergate, and is tremendously important).
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(Supplementary Items – Notes on Gaming for Those Interested):

***Top Developers (Publishers) by This List:
http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2013-releases

Other lists have other orders, and also include other names; this list is meant to be representative, not all-inclusive. The information is either taken from company websites or Wikipedia when the former proved difficult to navigate.

(1) Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a leading developer, marketer and publisher of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. The Company develops and publishes products through its two wholly-owned labels Rockstar Games and 2K. Our products are designed for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, and are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. The Company’s common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO.

(2) Ubisoft is composed of over 9,200 talented people located in 28 countries across the globe. With 85% of its staff devoted to game development, Ubisoft has the 2nd largest in-house creative team in the world. The company's 29 different creative studios work hand-in-hand each day to deliver rich and innovative gaming experiences that reflect the creativity and diversity of their teams. This cross-studio collaboration model means every team member has the opportunity to participate in challenging projects based on iconic brands such as Assassin's Creed®, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon®, Driver®, Rabbids®, Rayman®, Far Cry®, Just Dance® and many more. Frome W: Ubisoft is the third-largest independent game publisher in the world, trailing Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts (EA). Ubisoft Entertainment S.A’s worldwide presence includes 29 studios in 19 countries. The company has subsidiaries in 26 countries. Ubisoft's largest development studio is Ubisoft Montreal in Canada, which employs about 2,100 people.

(3) Electronic Arts FOUNDED: 1982 OWNERSHIP: Public (Nasdaq: EA) GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS: Redwood City, California EMPLOYEES: 9,000 worldwide BACKGROUND: Electronic Arts Inc. is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. EA delivers games, content and online services for internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. TOP SELLERS In fiscal 2013, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.8 billion. EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™ and Mass Effect™ Job listings: San Francisco Bay Area - San Mateo, Los Angeles Area - Santa Monica.

(4) Nintendo is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Nintendo is the world's largest video game company by revenue. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it originally produced handmade hanafuda playing cards. Job listings: Redwood City CA, Redmond WA, NYC NY.

(5) Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Job listings: primarily Redmond WA, some game listings in Vancouver CA.

(6) W: The Sega Corporation, and usually styled as SEGA, is a Japanese multinational video game developer, publisher, and hardware development company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with multiple offices around the world. As one of the leading interactive entertainment companies, SEGA cultivates creative talent worldwide with offices in America, Japan and our European HQ in London. Job listings for legal councils in CA USA.

(7) Activision Blizzard, Inc. is the world’s largest and most profitable independent interactive entertainment publishing company. It develops and publishes some of the most successful and beloved entertainment franchises in any medium, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Skylanders, and Diablo®. Headquartered in Santa Monica California, it maintains operations throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Activision Blizzard develops and publishes games on all leading interactive platforms and its games are available in most countries around the world. Subsidiary Blizzard in Irvine CA, Austin TX, San Francisco CA. Scattered openings around the world.

(8) In addition to its core publisher operations in Japan, Bandai Namco Games publishes content worldwide through different entities. Bandai Namco Games America manages operations and handles publishing across North America and oversees operations of Bandai Namco Games Brazil, which operates and handles publishing in Brazil. Bandai Namco Games Europe manages and oversees operations and handles publishing across Europe, and has branches in France, Greece, the Nordic countries, Portugal, Spain, Germany,United Kingdom, and Romania. Bandai Namco Games Asia manages and oversees operations and handles publishing across Asia (except Japan), and has branches in Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Additionally, it operates and handles publishing in Oceania under Bandai Namco Games Australia and Bandai Namco Games New Zealand.

***Catalog of Video Game Magazines

Wikipedia list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_game_magazines

Notably, the majority of these publications are no longer in business.

Of the US Magazines That Are Still around (Some, Barely):

BioGamer Girl Magazine - Fyffe, Alabama. BioGamer Girl (BGG) is a creative media company that owns several magazines and specializes in film, video, television, radio and game production. BioGamer Girl Magazine is a publication that mainly focuses on video games, but also reports on events, movies, television shows, technology, dining, dance, theater, music, books and much more.

EGM Media, LLC: Beverly Hills, CA - Electronic Gaming Monthly (often abbreviated to EGM) was a monthly American video game magazine. It has been published by EGM Media, LLC. since relaunching in April 2010. Its previous run, which ended in January 2009, was published by Ziff Davis.

http://www.newbez.com/ - lists no fixed physical address.

Nintendo Force (Nf Publishing) - Lodi CA. The all-new source for Nintendo players, straight from the pros! Nintendo Force is keeping the legacy of Power alive, built by a dream team of 16 of the world's most well-known Nintendo writers, artists and designers. The same previews, reviews and features you're used to continue here, complemented by the best of yesteryear – comics, clay models, envelope art and even a Retro section. The Power may have been unplugged, but the Force is advancing boldly into the future. Join us!

PC Gamer (Future PLC) - UK, US - At Future we share the same passions as our consumers. If you have a passion for your subject and are unafraid of hard, hectic work, we want to hear from you. We employ a little over 150 people in our offices in San Francisco & New York.

Playstation Magazine (Owned by Sony) - US: San Mateo CA, San Diego CA , Santa Monica CA.

***Game-Oriented Web Sites with Magazine-like Content

Gamasutra is a website founded in 1997 that focuses on all aspects of video game development. It is owned and operated by UBM TechWeb (formerly a part of CMP Media), a division of United Business Media, and acts as the online sister publication to the print magazine Game Developer. Marin County CA.

1up - Originally part of Ziff-Davis - shut down (See IGN).

4Player Network (podcast) - Austin Texas.

Adventure Gamers is a computer game website created in 1998 dedicated to the genre of adventure games. It publishes reviews and previews of adventure games, as well as opinion articles and interviews with game designers. - No physical address found.

The Escapist, a web page devoted to the betterment of role-playing games and the education of the public and media of their benefits to society. - Mostly defunct.

As of 17 December 2013 GameFront is currently one of the 7,000 highest-trafficked websites according to Alexa. The main focus of GameFront is to provide a download service to its users, from its Houston-based servers.

IGN (formerly Imagine Games Network) is an entertainment website founded by publishing executive Jonathan Simpson-Bint in September 1996, which focuses on video games, films, music and other media. The company is based in San Francisco, California. In 2011, IGN Entertainment acquired its rival UGO Entertainment (owners of 1UP.com) from Hearst Corporation. Ultimately, News Corp. planned to spin off IGN Entertainment as a publicly traded company, continuing a string of divestitures for digital properties it had previously acquired (including MySpace and Photobucket). On February 4, 2013 after a failed attempt to spin off IGN as a separate company, News Corp. announced that it had sold IGN Entertainment to the publishing company Ziff Davis, which was recently acquired by J2 Global. Financial details regarding the purchase were not revealed. Prior to its acquisition by UGO, 1UP.com had previously been owned by Ziff Davis. Soon after the acquisition, IGN announced that it would be laying off staff and closing GameSpy, 1UP.com, and UGO in order to focus on its flagship brands, IGN.com and AskMen. (You got all that?!)

Kotaku is a video game–focused blog and part of Gawker Media's “Gawker” network of sites. Gawker Media is a Cayman Islands-incorporated online media company and blog network, founded and owned by Nick Denton based in New York City.

New Game Network (commonly referred to as NGN) is an independent Canadian-based website that covers news, articles, previews, reviews and blogs about video games. The company has staff and freelancers from Canada, USA, Australia and UK.
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