About six weeks ago a new, and now terrifying, shitstorm was visited upon the internet. This movement, in so much as a hashtag can be a movement, once seemed to have the best of intentions. Ostensibly, it was about facilitating a discussion on the relationship between the video game industry and video game media.
Note here that I’m intentionally avoiding saying the name of this movement. Whatever good it may have done, whatever positive intentions some of its members may have, are, in my estimation, completely overshadowed by the actions of those who would use it as a forum for the promulgation of hate. This hate, more often than not, is directed against women who have the audacity to produce video games and/or engage in a critical discourse about the same.
For the benefit of anybody who still doesn’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll say the name of this movement rhymes with LamerSlate and leave it at that.
Previously, I was content to offer little more than the odd tweet about LamerSlate. Whatever positive goals it may have, they are too amorphous and seemingly too undefined for my comfort. Furthermore, and from a purely philosophical point of view, I question the good that can come from a movement whose DNA is rotten in places, as illustrated in a recent piece on Deadspin. Though LamerSlate demonstrates that the internet has a great capacity for mobilizing people, and eventually starting some meaningful discussions on a topic near and dear to my heart, it has simultaneously given the spotlight to a mob that uses hate, fear, and now, terror, as their principal weapons. All we’re missing is fanatical devotion to the Pope, and it would be a great setup to a Spanish Inquisition routine.
Why then am I putting thoughts to action on this post? Because it seems like a critical mass of the internet – as seen through twitter, so a few grains of salt are called for – has had enough of LamerSlate. Personally, I think it’s about damn time.
It should not have taken the threat of a terror attack – or any other threat of violence – before people rejected LamerSlate, regardless of the good some of its members are doing. Once again, I reiterate that there is some measurable good coming out of LamerSlate. However, I can’t imagine any hashtag being worth the potential negative associative impact of LamerSlate. Further, and I’ll invoke my expertise as a historian for this part, no amount of reason in the face of concentrated bile and human misery is going to reclaim LamerSlate. Case in point, libertarians.
LamerSlate is not Idle No More.
LameSlate is not Occupy Wall Street.
LamerSlate is Chernobyl. While the good people of LamerSlate have taken it upon themselves to try and slow the reaction, we’re at a point where jamming home the control rods is only going to make things worse. It’s time to evacuate the countryside, draw a zone of exclusion around the bubbling hot mess, and start over again with the lessons we have learned. Because no group of people, no matter how talented they are, have the capacity to truly fix a structural problem by working in a disaster zone.
Now, if the gods are willing, this will be the last thing I have to say on the subject of LamerSlate. I await the internet’s wrath.