Home / General / Andrew Sullivan: Team GamerGate

Andrew Sullivan: Team GamerGate


Does this surprise anyone? It didn’t surprise me in the least.

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  • wengler

    He doesn’t seem to quite understand the ‘if you want to go rape and murder this woman for having an opinion here’s her address’ aspect of the whole shitstorm.

    • L2P

      I think it’s more a doesn’t care than a doesn’t understand.

    • politicalfootball

      I actually thought he made clear he was aware of that aspect of it. It’s just that the poor boys are themselves victims, too! To wit:

      The creeping misandry in a lot of current debates – see “Affirmative Consent” and “Check Your Privilege” – and the easy prejudices that define white and male and young as suspect identities (because sexism!) rightly offend many men (and women).

      Dumb fuck.

      • Larrry

        Yes, what you called him. That does explain it. It’s amazing how he always comes down on the wrong side at first instinct. It’s always opposite day with this Sullivan doofus. Also, someone should tell him that he doesn’t have to hate women just because.

        • MAJeff

          It’s amazing how he always comes down on the wrong side at first instinct.

          He’s Roy Cohn without the closet.

          • ExpatJK

            Ouch. And unlikely to get a sympathetic portrait in a Tony Kushner play either.

          • At least Roy Cohen had an ethos.

      • dmsilev

        He’s not stupid. That makes it worse, really.

        • malraux

          My impression of is that he consistently makes the same “mistakes” in exactly the same way and only every changes his opinion when forced to by overabundance of evidence. He never goes through the learning to discover why he constantly makes the same judgement errors over and over. He’ll never trust a paul Ryan budget again, but not because he’s learned to read a budget and see if it adds up, but because he got burned by his first one. The next right wing budget that slashes taxes and the security net he’ll jump on board with because that sounds good to him.

          He’s not a smart person by any means.

          • NewishLawyer

            My impression of Andrew Sullivan is that he largely tries to think like a Romantic but is smart enough to let reality interfere.

            He knows all too well that the GOP has gone off the deep end and is filled with Palins. This doesn’t matter because he was a tory during his formative years and he will never quite bring himself to being labeled with the Democratic Party. You see this every now and then when he sneers at the left just to sneer at the left.

            He also seems to have a very strong sense of melodrama in his writing. Michael Kinsey always struck me as never losing his temper and being an even-keeled writer. Andrew Sullivan lets his anger and passions fly without check.

            • Richard Hershberger

              I became aware of Sullivan way back in the late 1990s. There was a minor bit of silliness with the notion going around that the mainstream media identified conservative politicians as “conservative” more often than it identified liberal politicians as “liberal”, and this proved that the media was biased against conservatives. This little turdlet of bullshit was making the rounds in the usual way, until an actual linguist intervened. Some specialties in linguistics are trained to take large bodies of text and statistically analyze correlations within it. This particular question was pretty much something he could do while waiting for the coffee to brew. It turned out (drum roll, please….) that the mainstream media was actually more likely to so identify liberal politicians.

              The response was pretty much what you would expect. It started out with criticisms of his methodology, which upon closer examination turned out to be just fine. This was followed by explanations of how the underlying premise of this correlation showing bias was ridiculous, and look at that silly pointy-headed academic playing silly games! Then the whole thing died out, and the usual suspects crawled back into their holes to await the next round.

              Then there was Sullivan’s contribution. He chimed in early in the cycle to explain that he knew the truth, and therefore saw no need to examine whether the analysis was valid or not.

              I have never seen any reason to pay attention to him since. Indeed, back when he was with The Atlantic his presence was one of the reasons the ratio of stupidity to non-stupidity rose to the point I dropped my subscription of many years. He wasn’t the biggest reason by any means. That would probably have been Hitchens. But he was on the list.

        • ASV

          Isn’t he? I mean, I frequently see people say that he’s smart — even if you disagree with him, etc.! — but I have never seen any evidence of it, and generally feel like he comes off as a stone-cold, reflexive dope. Perhaps it’s just that he can’t see past the end of his nose, and that simply looks the same.

          • No, he’s isn’t smart. He’s a gay white, British man who has always benefited from his Oxbridge upbringing (as dissected by fellow Oxbridger Simon Kuper) so never has had to try and be smart because he sounded smart, especially in the righwing parts of the United States of course, still suffering from cultural cringe with regards to the mother country.

            His first instinct is always to bootlick and do his pretend liberal schtick of providing cover to bigots. He doesn’t care, because he himself will never have to suffer for it.

            He’s a first rate cnut.

            • howard

              When I was a teenager in the late ’60s, I was watching “firing line” one night with my quite liberal mother and she said “boy that bill buckley is smart.”

              I said “no mom, he’s articulate. If he was smart he wouldn’t say so many dumb things.”

            • Ronan

              I dont know if i agree completly with that characterisation. Of course his oxbridge(and then harvard) education opened a lot of doors for him and developed a useful set of social networks, but he’s not (afaict) really from the ‘oxbridge class’ originally (ordinary middle class to irish immigrant parents, educated at a grammar school etc)
              I do think he’s smart, and has taken a lot of personal and professional risks down the years – he’s just got these weird blindspots (or at least did when i stopped reading him consistently nearly a decade ago. Im sure still does)

              Anyway topically, while on Oxbridge, I think Nick Clegg might be a better example of the phenomenon you identify


              • Ronan

                ..to add, i think Kupers being a bit disingenous and populist above .. Id assume (in terms of workload and depth of research) in general an oxbridge or ivy league school education is more difficult than the norm..my impression is that they do quite well at attracting smart working class and minority students as well?

                • Ronan

                  or more specifically, this seems on the right track


                  “In fact, an alternate reading of the professor’s complaint could leave a perceptive reader with a substantially more sanguine opinion of the state of higher education in America than the one he offers. First, the mere fact that prestige magnets like Harvard and Yale—which attracted 34,295 and 29,610 applications from all over the world for 1,662 and 1,359 spots in the Classes of 2018, respectively—actually do not fill their classes entirely with the moneyed careerist offspring of high-status alumni is a positive thing. The student diversity such colleges actively promote actually means lots more “pointy” (unusually talented, not well-rounded) candidates finally get in than one might otherwise suspect. Sure, this may benefit the technocratic elite and the current socioeconomic power structure as a whole (and usually does), but tell that to Buffy Witherspoon, IV’s parents when she is declined for admission in favor of a low-income genius from Compton who wants to study Catalan poetry and neurochemistry.

                  Second, the fresh blood which these elite systems suck into the power structure not only legitimizes it via promoting the oversold myth of equal opportunity and meritocracy, it also strengthens it by bringing new perspectives, different backgrounds, and unconventional ambitions to the party. Sure, the ruling class co-opts its potential enemies by making them one of the club, but this is good both for the ruling class and for the revolutionaries it co-opts. This may not make the Marxists in the audience happy, but it enables socioeconomic evolution and change in ways that may, at the end of the day, be significantly more than trivial.”

                • Ronan

                  Think of andrew sullivan more as a potential revolutionary co-opted by the elite

                • petesh

                  Assumption without demonstrable evidence. My Oxford degree was the result of one and a half terms work, half a term before prelims and one before finals. The rest was easy. Also, they claim to try desperately to attract working class and minority students, but they fail, not least (I suspect) because when interviewing they present themselves as arrogant, entitled assholes.
                  I will say that, in general, those awarded Firsts, as Sullivan was, tend to be bright, though frequently blinkered. I was mildly reassured by the fact that several of my contemporaries who thought they deserved them did not receive them (and shouldn’t have). Me, I fled the country.

                • Ronan

                  I will accept your qualifications, as you appear to know what youre talking about

        • Well, regardless of his deployed intelligent, at least he’s a good writer:

          I know it isn’t fair to tarnish an entire tendency with this kind of extremism,

          Never mind.

      • If “creeping misandry” isn’t a dead give away, I don’t know what is. Pointing to affirmative consent as a sign of this huge horrible menace (to young, white men, anyways) is just another reminder that this man isn’t just stupid, he’s an asshole.

        • Yeah, talking about misandry is pretty much a sure sign that whatever follows is nonsense. But “creeping misandry”? What is that even? Like he’s willing to admit that misandry isn’t an actual thing, but maybe it will be soon! We’d better be on guard.

          • Maybe he was riffing on “creeping socialism.”

            But creeping misandry sounds like one of Thurber’s creatures. Maybe a low-slung fangy thing that sneaks around biting men on the toes.

          • witlesschum

            I’m pretty sure that’s a song from Reefer Madness.

          • But “creeping misandry”? What is that even?

            Picture a Dr. Noisewater painting of penes crawling on the ground like inchworms. That’s creeping misandry.

            • Creeping penes might cause misandry. Or at least screaming, leaping on tables and sudden outbreaks of clog dancing.

              But now I see someone was on the creeping misandry thing hours ago.

              Also too – Spencer, your next work must be Creeping Misandry. You wouldn’t want to disappoint the polar bear’s butt, would you?

              • My butt is, sadly, used to disappointment.

            • ChrisTS

              See the little, slimy thingies
              Flee the bright daylight,
              In a trail of their own peepee;
              How they are afright!

              See the ugly, nasty beasties
              Hiss and bite and claw away,
              As their nasty little liveies
              Wither in the bright of day!

              See the little, dirty thingies,
              With their nasty mouths,
              Cry that they are the real victims,
              And hide their murderous vows!

              Let us weep for the poor ickies,
              Slithering from the light.
              Pity for the poor, poor sickies,
              In the burning light.

        • KmCO

          Yep. Misandry is a thing, to be sure. In fact, most avid misandrists I know are the evo psych/”men will be men” crowd. But in most contexts, crowing about “misandry” (especially when done by those who display no particular qualms about misogyny) is what we call a tell.

          • Yes, there are hardcore separatists who have higher expectations for men than the EVoP dudes. The EVoPs seem to think any guy who can go 2 minutes without attacking someone or destroying something should be given a medal.

            • Aimai

              I finally have up reading the comments under “annies mailbox” the advice column yesterday because of a sincere , female, MRA who posts there. She is an older woman with a tough personal life–mentally ill son, husband with cancer, busy work life– and her basic form of relaxation is attacking other women and society in general for being too pro woman and “misandrist.” She went off into a rant against breast cancer victims for being such whiny bitches when you can just hack off your breast and be done with it. She thinks women should stop talking about breast cancer and everyone should focus on colon cancer because ” both men and women get it” so i guess colon cancer isnt misandrist or something? She didnt seem to know that breast cancer can be gotten by men so its pretty evenhanded that way. Or that it spreads like any other cancer. Anyway i read her comment and thought ” this mra shit is like a prion disease of the internet. It destroys parts of the brain having to do with logic and empathy and leaves nothing but gibbering, gargling, idiocy in its wake.”

              • Pat

                She sounds like a dreadful waste of time.

                • The Dark Avenger

                  Suffering isn’t ennobling, recovery is.

                  Dr. Christiaan Barnard

              • Her husband has cancer and she thinks the treatment for cancer is “Remove cancerous bit(s) and send patient home”?


        • cpinva

          …..” he’s an asshole.”

          this. which would also describe probably 99.999999999% of the gamergate participants. the reason most of them got bullied in high school, is that most of them were assholes even then. it’s also why they couldn’t get a date; asshole, with no redeeming social quality, is just asshole.

          • Alan Tomlinson

            The reason that people, male or female, got bullied in high school, is because other people felt that abusing them was acceptable behavior. There is not, and never was an excuse for it. Lots of people lack what others may perceive as a lack of redeeming social qualities, that doesn’t make them an acceptable target for abuse.

            There is no excuse for threatening, assaulting, or battering people.


            Alan Tomlinson

            • Origami Isopod

              Thank you.

              Seriously, that was some victim-blaming bullshit you just responded to.

          • Yeah … No. One of Sullivan’s many face plants while defending this new chums is to assume Gamers = (White) Male Nerds = Bullied in School.

            Support for this statement? Nuthin’.

            Sullivan wants us to believe these psychobrains were meekly hunched over their control pads and keyboards, minding their own business, until suddenly, they felt threatened.

            It didn’t matter if you’d have to be out of your tree to think a woman talking about video games as a threat, they were scared! They legitimately believed their way of life was at stake! And the only response the poor, inoffensive, put upon, scared gamers could formulate was to invade Iraq start yelling SHUT UP YOU FUCKING C***!! I’LL KILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND FUCK THEIR CORPSES!! at every woman in the vicinity.

            Of course, makes perfect sense! If you’re a sexist dirtbag who is already fluent in sexist dirtbaglish.

            I have only a peripheral knowledge of this particular group of enthusiasts and I feel confident in saying this level of hostility isn’t new, it’s just gone public. Plus, you also have a bunch of Red Pill fuckwits crawling out of their sweat lodges and trying to gain recruits to the MRArmy. (Would Sully say they were bullied too? Probably.)

            But he has to find some reason these guys are acting this way. (Poor victims defending their space, just like gay people!). And maybe he’s just smart enough to think that by saying they were bullied (‘cos bleeding hearts are into that shit) serves as a preemptive defense against being told he’s full of shit.

            “Hey, you guys said we should be against bullying and protect people who are bullied, why are these oppressed young, white, guys different, huh?”

            Like I said, asshole.

            • Aimai

              Where is the like button when you need it?

              • IM

                I blame wimmen.

                A male brain invented the like button!

    • Nobdy

      I think you are being unfair. The very beginning of his article is:

      The tactics of harassment, threats of violence, foul misogyny, and stalking have absolutely no legitimate place in any discourse. Having read about what has happened to several women, who have merely dared to exercise their First Amendment rights, I can only say it’s been one of those rare stories that still has the capacity to shock me.

      • politicalfootball

        That’s right, Nobdy. The thing that impresses me about Sullivan is that he can pay lip service to the facts, then come up with a completely fucked up answer. Looking at the Big Picture, he is sympathetic to Gamergate because this is what it’s really about:

        There’s an atmosphere in which it has somehow become problematic to have a classic white, straight male identity, and a lot that goes with it. I’m not really a part of that general culture – indifferent to boobage, as I am, and bored by violence. But I don’t see why it cannot have a place in the world. I believe in the flourishing of all sorts of cultures and subcultures and have long been repulsed by the nannies and busybodies who want to police them – whether from the social right or the feminist left.

        I say again: Dumb fuck.

        • The Temporary Name

          This one’s at least a conservative argument: “This stupid culture is passing away and ain’t it a shame.”

        • Nobdy

          I will agree with Sullivan to this degree: There is real pain and fear underlying Gamergate, along with the misogyny and privilege. It’s directed at the wrong people and in utterly destructive ways, but I have empathy for the suffering of even bad people, and it’s worth looking at what they are afraid of and hurt about (essentially that many of them took to gaming as a way to escape a real world that rejected them and find an accepting niche culture, and now they are afraid of that niche being destroyed by interlopers. Sullivan compares this to gay culture and it’s not a totally crazy comparison.)

          Now that’s not to say that I think that it excuses their behavior at all anymore than that John Wayne Gacy was abused as a child doesn’t excuse what he did as an adult. But their pain can be acknowledged even as everything else about them can be condemned.

          And of course Sullivan fails to do that. He engages in “both sides doitism” and fails to acknowledge that “straight male culture” does not exist in a vacuum and has misogynstic and violent elements that cause real harm to others and must be curbed. But I don’t think the empathy is totally misplaced.

          • elm

            The thing is, there cultureisn’t going to go away. There will still be Halo and Modern Warfare and other shoot-em-ups. There will still be World of WarcraftNd other mmorpgs. There will still be scantily clad, volutptuous women in video games, just like there are in tv, movies, etc. Perhaps there will be more diverse representations of women (as there are somewhat more diverse representations of men in video games) and more games withfemale protaganists.

            The real change is that, while they will still be free to vent their bile and express their mysoginy in their own guilds or private chat channels, they might have to watch when they say in general chat channels ajd migt have to accept that some of the people they interact with in the general gaming world won’t be exactly like them. In other words, their culture will still exist but they will no longer be able to assume it is the default culture of the gaming world and be free to inflict it on everyone.

            I have no empathy for these concerns, just as I have no empathy for the members of many other dominant (in there sphere) culutres that have had to accept the fact that other people exist and matter and perhaps, just perhaps, are equal to them and are to be treated as full members of the society.

            • Nobdy

              I fully acknowledge that the culture won’t go away, and I am not asking you to have empathy for the concerns, only for the pain that underlies them.

              The concerns are nutty. Feminiss have been writing and thinking about film for decades, and John Wick was releaed just today, not to mention the Expendables franchise or Judge Dredd or any of the other testosterone bloodfests of this decade.

              • cpinva

                “I fully acknowledge that the culture won’t go away, and I am not asking you to have empathy for the concerns, only for the pain that underlies them.”

                this was supposed to be a joke, right? please tell me it was, otherwise, I have to assume you’re an idiot, and I wouldn’t want to do that.

                I have as much empathy for the gamergater’s “pain”, for loss of their misogynistic world, as I would have, for the pain underlying the loss of the southern slaveowner’s world. that is to say, none.

                Burning Tree CC, in MD, bemoaned the fact that a federal court told them, if they wanted to keep their tax exempt status, they would have to stop discriminating against everyone not exactly like them: white, male, Christian, wealthy. if they wished to continue discriminating, they would have give up their exempt status, and become a private, taxable club. to their credit, the members were so strong in their beliefs, they chose the latter option, and have been a discriminatory, private, taxable entity ever since.

                they too mourned the loss of the “culture” that had enabled them to glom off the taxes paid by everyone else, so they could have their very private, very white/male/Christian/rich golf club. if the misogynistic gamergaters feel that strongly, they too can do the same thing, create their own, “Boys Only” club, no one is stopping them. of course, it’ll cost money. let’s see how strongly they feel about it.

                so no, I have exactly zilch empathy for their pain of “loss”.

            • Hogan

              Yeah. It’s like the “religion is being shut out of the public square!!” people. It isn’t being shut out of the public square; it’s just losing its veto power over what goes on in the public square. No more Comstock laws; no more Hays code; no more Legion of Decency. (You don’t get free public land for your religious symbols; you have to pay for it now.) They have to live with the knowledge that people have access to things they don’t approve of.

              And yes, that’s a loss, but it’s a loss of something they never should have had in the first place.

              • The Temporary Name

                It’s still not unlike Sullivan to lament the loss of that. When it’s not his business.

            • NewishLawyer

              I think gamergate is very much about people feeling that their culture/way of life is dying or transforming and the gamers don’t like it one bit.

              Planet Money did a show about how the early computer and gaming industries decided that men were the target audience/most likely to buy expensive gadgets for whatever reason and you have decades of men who primarily had their little tree house.

              I might be wildly off here but when I was a small kid when the NES and Sega Master Systems came out and was in Middle School when the SNES and Genesis came out. IIRC it was really the boys who talked about video games and not the girls. I also think that by the time I was in high school, it was faintly embarrassing to still be playing computer and video games and if you were doing so, it carried a faint aura of not having hit puberty yet. I don’t know when or if that changed but when I was in high school, the kids who gamed largely kept it under wraps.

              • LeeEsq

                Our high school was weird. It was a very academically-driven and not particularly jockey high school, we didn’t have as large a community of open nerds as one would think would exist in such circumstances. We definitely had students that had interests in things like comic books, video games, and other nerdy things but no identifiable nerd groups like a science fiction after school club.

              • cpinva

                “I also think that by the time I was in high school, it was faintly embarrassing to still be playing computer and video games and if you were doing so, it carried a faint aura of not having hit puberty yet.”

                pretty much. the very first “video” game I remember playing was “Pong”, by Atari. you hooked it to the tv, and played video Ping-Pong. I think I still have it in the attic, and it probably still works, it wasn’t all that complex. at that time (early 70’s), very few people had it all, so it was kind of different, but I certainly didn’t spend hours at a time playing it. those who continue to do so, for hours at a time, are considered to be not quite “of age” these days. I can’t imagine why.

                • Jackov

                  Playing video games is an incredibly mainstream hobby. Much like Pong your views are stuck in the past.

                  According to the industry
                  58% of Americans play video games and the the average age is 30.(A higher percentage of players are 36+ than under 18.) There are 53% more adult women playing video games than teenage boys.

              • random

                I think gamergate is very much about people feeling that their culture/way of life is dying or transforming and the gamers don’t like it one bit.

                That’s what they’d like you to believe but it’s total bullshit.

                ‘Gamergate’ is solely about combatting ‘SJWs’. The kids in it aren’t devoted to playing video games any more than the average teenager, they have just latched on to ‘gaming!’ as their cover story so they play that angle up as much as possible.

                Please don’t perpetuate the myth that these are ‘gamers’.

                Most of the people who do play video games have never heard of Gamergate. Out of the population who do know what it is, most of us fucking hate these guys. Within the actual industry, everyone just wants this to blow over.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I appreciate what you’re saying for the most part, but you’re also playing No True Gamer and #NotAllGamers here. Some gamers are shitrags, because all gamers are people.

          • Brett

            It’s worth remembering that the people making the criticisms – like Sarkeesian – aren’t really “interlopers” either. They’ve been playing games throughout it all, but laid low beforehand because of the shit they’d take for it if they spoke up critically.

            • Origami Isopod

              Indeed. Women and girls have been part of gaming in particular and fandom in general since the beginning. But their contributions have been erased, as in many other “male” domains of public life.

          • L2P

            many of them took to gaming as a way to escape a real world that rejected them and find an accepting niche culture, and now they are afraid of that niche being destroyed by interlopers. Sullivan compares this to gay culture and it’s not a totally crazy comparison

            So wrong.

            Ever play Halo online? Been part of an online clan? I’m guessing no, b/c if you did you’d instantly know why the actual gaming community thinks “gamergate” is bullshit. Their “issues” have nothing to do with gaming and everything to do with wanting to be cruel without any repercussions.

            They are just like those old-line cops complaining about the loss of “brotherhood” since “women and gays and blacks” joined the force. We SHOULD NOT have sympathy for their pain. Their “pain” is caused by the loss of their unfettered right to be a jackass.

            And Sullivan should know better. He wouldn’t have any sympathy for old country club members who miss the “camaraderie” of the club back before teh geys got in. Or maybe he would, he does love him those old, rich white men.

            • Nobdy

              I have played plenty of Halo online. It’s mostly populated by diaaffected kids (10-13) claiming to have had sex with my mother. At this point nobody even talks to eachother because there’s so much poison out there.

              But that ‘cruelty’ also comes from pain. It’ tough to be a 10-13 year old boy. And it’s tough for a lot of them epecially because they are low on the social pecking order. There is real pain there, even if it is poorly expressed in claims of having schtupped my mom.

              I would note that they haven’t really been stopped from being jerks. I got teabagged in Destiny a couple weeks ago (it was almost a nostalgic experience.) But there is a difference between these crass kids and the ‘old-line cops’ and country clubbers. The old line cops and country clubbers are trying to hold on to power. The dumbasses #gamergate are trying to hold on not to power, but to their secret clubhouse where they feel safe.

              • elm

                No, they are trying to hold onto power: the power to exclude and victimize those they don’t want in their clubhouse without repercussions.

                It may not be the same amount of power as the cops and the country clubbers, but it is real power nonetheless and they want to keep it.

                • efgoldman

                  but it is real power nonetheless and they want to keep it.


                • But you don’t see those girls issuing death threats or threatening to rape people.

                  This is where the Devolutionary Psych bros slither under the door and explain that it is perfectly natural and normal for men to behave like baboons with toothaches.

                  Although I was just noting ]a theory that has been gaining traction, among people who are really stupid, is these dudes have autism spectrum disorders. The poor little “aspies” (urk) just don’t understand that their responses are social inappropriate and it is unfair of people to expect them to behave differently.

                  Because the sexism wasn’t enough.

              • random

                But that ‘cruelty’ also comes from pain. It’ tough to be a 10-13 year old boy. And it’s tough for a lot of them epecially because they are low on the social pecking order.

                Uh dude it’s 2014?

                The guys you hear abusing you on Xbox Live are more likely to be the popular kids than not. They’re the ones at the top of the social pecking order, not the bottom. The ones at the bottom don’t even own Xboxes.

                I assure you that their abuse is motivated by a combination of sadism and entitlement, not personal pain.

                • Barry_D

                  And I’d bet that they’re more likely to be 33 than 13.

                • Aimai

                  Its incredibly tough to be an 11-16 year old girl, too. Glasses, braces, skin, hair, nerd issues, weight issues, treated like a slut or a slob or an object of derision for not meeting and gratifying the sexist fantasies of the boys and men you encounter on the bus to school. But you dont see those girls issuing death threats or threatening to rape people.

                • ChrisTS

                  Jesus. Thanks, aimai.

                • Hogan

                  an object of derision for not meeting and gratifying the sexist fantasies of the boys and men you encounter on the bus to school.

                  Or you can be an object of derision for meeting and gratifying those fantasies! Your choice!

              • Origami Isopod

                Oh, boo hoo hoo. It’s soooooo haaaarrrrrd to be a teenage boy, internet!

                You know what? It is. But what Aimai said. It’s even harder to be a teenage girl — and if you’re not a white teenage girl, it’s even worse. The mainstream culture brims with empathy for teenage boys in comparison with how it treats teenage girls, which is: as representations of everything wrong with society.

                Your concern trolling is pretty disgusting in this thread, Nobdy.

          • LeeEsq

            I’m a heterosexual man so this might fall out of my expertise but the comparison between nerd and homosexual did not strike me as apt. What LGBT people had to go through on average was a lot worse than what most nerds experienced. The amount of subterfuge necessary to be safe and LGBT was higher as were the economic costs.

            • ExpatJK

              I’m a heterosexual woman and I’d cosign this. Hell there are still small and not so small towns here and in many countries where people talk about how warmhearted they are for saying shit like “it’s ok to be gay just not in public.” I can’t remember something like that being said about nerds, ever, in my entire life.

              • LeeEsq

                There are many countries that are completely unfriendly towards LGBT people, even in the big cities.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Het cis woman co-signing what both you and ExpatJK are saying here. There is no comparison between “nerd” issues and GLBT issues at all.

                  (Not to mention that it gets elided a lot that girls and women can be nerds/geeks, too.)

            • random

              I’m a heterosexual man so this might fall out of my expertise but the comparison between nerd and homosexual did not strike me as apt.

              It is not only not apt but not even relevant. Teenage boys who play lots of video games are not (and actually never have been) ‘nerds’. They’ve always just been regular teenage boys enjoying mainstream culture.

              • LeeEsq

                It depends on the time and the place. From the mid-1970s or even earlier to around the late 1990s, I’d argue that nerd culture was a genuine sub-culture. It did have some social costs even in safe settings. In the wrong setting, it could have a lot of social costs. Its still not close to what LGBT people went through. There was never any legal discrimination against nerds. You could be openly nerdy and not lose your job or anything like that. Your co-workers might thing your a bit odd in how you spend your free time but I doubt anybody suffered severe economic lost for liking AD&D. People did lose employment for being LGBT though.

                • random

                  I lived through all of this and I feel there has definitely been some historical revisionism about the wide embrace of gaming consoles in the 80’s and 90’s. Part of the ret-conning of ‘nerd culture’ in the early 90’s (when somebody suddenly decided that comic book reading qualified you for ‘nerd’ status, despite them being the favored reading material of jocks everywhere up until that point)

                  Video games were squarely in the mainstream from the 2600 on. At no point was playing console games (PC is a different story) ever a nerd or subculture activity, from the very first release of the 2600 until the present day. Memories of people getting singled out solely because they were playing SNES at a time when almost everyone had one or wanted one are a bit exaggerated.

                • Linnaeus

                  I feel much the same way as random, but random expressed it better than I did in my comment downthread.

                • Aimai

                  My brother was an original D and D playing gangster and nerd back in the day–he’s 56 now. There were zero, seriously–zero–problems for those kids. He grew up, got laid plenty, has a fabulous wife, kids, life, career all based on his nerdery. I knew one of the original computer geeks–the kind of guy who covered his windows at home with paper because he felt it interfered with his screen–back in highschool. Nothing happened to him either, socially, that didn’t happen to lots of other people and he, too, went on to have a great life. Highschool isn’t the rest of people’s lives–btw. And this whole jocks vs. nerds things? Maybe they made movies about it and set them in college but there is zero evidence that that had any reality either.

                  The idea that the nerds were really all autistic bullied boys is ridiculous. If that were true of five percent of them it was probably overblown. And no one was seriously attacked by society for nerdliness (depending on class and race issues).

            • Anyone who spent five seconds comparing the legal landscape for gay people and white dudes who happen to play video games over the past 15 years would know that’s a shit argument. Lawrence v. Texas is only (I think) 11 years old now.

              But I’ve long had the impression that Sullivan was lucky enough to never have to worry (for example) that he’d be thrown out of his apartment by a homophobic landlord. And being incredibly self-centered, can’t put himself in the shoes of people who have had to endure that and worse.

              He’s an utter creep, really.

              • Meant to add – sexual orientation still isn’t a protected class under federal and I believe the vast majority of state laws. But yeah, gamers are brothers in oppression with gay people.

              • Origami Isopod

                Andrew Sullivan has always been about Andrew Sullivan, full stop. Thanks to the polish of privilege and a very modest bit of cleverness, he’s been able to bury that fact for years in mountains of prose.

            • The Dark Avenger

              I’m old enough to remember when the G(ay)S(tudent)A(ssociation) where I went to undergraduate school had a secret meeting place that you learned by dialing calling a number provided in their ad in the student newspaper. My perspective of 30+ years is that there has been more progress in LGBT in the last 6 years than in the previous 20 years before that.

          • Bruce B.

            Fuck their pain when they use it as license. I write here as someone with far too much experience of both physical pain and emotional suffering, my own and others’.

            Pain is a signal: “Something’s wrong here! You gotta fix it!” This is basically neutral. What gives it moral value, good or bad, is how we go about identifying whether, in fact, something is wrong and what we want to do about it. If your response to putting your hand on a hot stove burner is to leave your hand there, set the stove on fire, and wait for someone to pull you and your charred flesh away, you’re a fuckin’ idiot and damn well deserve the pain you get, for instance.

            Someone who feels “Goddamn the neighborhood’s changing, now what the hell do I do?” and responds by cheering on those busily threatening other folks who’ve actually lived there all along with rape and death is also a fuckin’ idiot and deserves their pain.

            If I have any energy left over after feeling some sympathy for their victims and bystanders caught up in it [1], then I’ll see what I can muster for those bewailing the loss of a particular privileged notion of the universe and their place in it.

            1: For instance, even if it were true that Zoe Quinn had been guilty of all (or any) of the things she was accused of, none of it warranted calling up her father to shout at him about how his daughter is a whore. And people who say anything like “well, yeah, but we’re hurting here” are, you guessed it, fuckin’ idiots who deserve their pain.

        • Larrry

          Again, yes to your description and analysis. And Sullivan’s lip service is devoted ENTIRELY to kissing up and his other energies to punching down. He’s servile. He’ll only pretend to risk anything, and then only when the wave has already passed him and he thinks he can appear to have caught up. Even then it has to do him personally some good to have finally caught on. He has no real insight and even less courage.

          • efgoldman

            And Sullivan’s lip service is devoted ENTIRELY to kissing up and his other energies to punching down.

            I believe he still considers Margaret Thatcher as one or the Great World Leaders of All Time, right up there with Alexander the Great and Churchill. That’s really all we have to know.

            • Do you have any idea how much time I just spent trying to turn the bold letters into a meaningful acronym? Mostly because it was better than thinking about the meaning of your comment, which is too damned depressing for a Friday evening.

              • efgoldman

                Do you have any idea how much time I just spent trying to turn the bold letters into a meaningful acronym?

                You over-analyzed. I was just channeling Sully, so to speak.
                And actually, in his telling, the Iron Lady was one of the Great Men of All Time.
                [Don’t go looking for an acronym. If there’s one hiding there, it’s unintentional.]

                • mikeSchilling

                  If there isn’t a word “ilgmat”, there should be.

                • efgoldman

                  BTW, I work for a company that is jealous of how many acronyms the government uses, and is always trying to catch up.

        • rea

          The thing that impresses me about Sullivan is that he can pay lip service to the facts, then come up with a completely fucked up answer.

          Sullivan’s entire career in a nutshell.

        • Tybalt

          Yeah, that nailed it between the eyes. Sullivan gets right to the heart of the problem in one paragraph, then handwaves it away to address the point that’s important to him: comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted.

        • Racist. Sullivan is and always has been a racist.

          • The Dark Avenger

            And grandiose, which is probably related. Quoting or comparing himself with George Orwell(who was a great fictional writer, which AS will never be) is enough to make a hagfish throw up in its mouth.

            And you know, there are Uncle Ruckus-like folks in real life. One of my Chinese great-granduncles was a British subject back in the day, and in 1943 when the Japanese started rounding up American and British civilians in Shanghai and other places they controlled, he was so pleased that they ordered him to the camp as well because of his official status that he showed his order to his friends and relatives like it was a winning lottery ticket or something.

            Which I wish to remark,
            And my language is plain,
            That for ways that are dark
            And for tricks that are vain,
            The heathen Chinee is peculiar,
            Which the same I would rise to explain.


        • Aimai

          I’d like to pull out and highlight “indifferent to boobage as I am.” That’s it? That’s what women are to Sullivan and no more? Just animated, jiggling, bags ‘o sand with no reality, feelings, identity, work, lives, etc..? I’m not a gay man but I can muster some sympathy and empathy for gay men. I’m not black but I can manage…oh…wait a minute… we’re talking about Sullivan aren’t we? Never mind.

      • tsam

        All those extra words to say “I’m not a misogynist, but…”

        • #notallmisogynists

      • Origami Isopod

        Whenever you say “I’m not defending X, but….” you’re about to defend X. Sully gets no points for lip service.

        • Hogan

          “But what? Everyone’s got a big but, Andrew. Let’s talk about your big but.”

      • IM

        So he is clever enough to use a captatio benevolentiae.

        That don’t impress me much.

  • Nobdy

    It surprises me when anyone sides with Gamergate because those people are so repellant and have no point. It’s like siding with a pack of poo-flinging monkeys. How do you even do that? Their whole point is to fling poo and that is hard to side with.

    I was actually going to say that I thought you were being too tough on Sullivan until his last line where he says only one side was bullied before (meaning the gamers.) Feminists haven’t been bullied? Women haven’t been bullied? Say what?

    I did like this line of his though:

    if the core gamers really do dominate the market for these games, why do they think the market will stop catering to them?

    Who indeed? Anita Sarkeesian isn’t a witch.

    • David Hunt

      It surprises me when anyone sides with Gamergate because those people are so repellant and have no point.

      That’s not true. They do have a point. That point is “Put women in their place because them gaining any power or influence means that we lose some.”

      • Nobdy

        That could be a goal but it’s not really a point, since the premise is incorrect.

    • pdxtyler

      To be fair, if anyone is going to side with them I expect it to be someone who cites The Bell Curve approvingly.

    • Brett

      Indeed. Hell, if they hadn’t started a massive cyber-abuse campaign against her back when she did the kickstarter, it probably would have attracted her initially modest goal of funding and produced a mildly praised “Tropes vs Women” series on video games.

      • rea

        Streisand effect.

    • random

      Who indeed?

      Losing just 5% of sales is not an option for these companies. So yes they have some pull.

  • MattMinus

    Andrew Sullivan is constitutionally incapable of understanding anything that doesn’t directly affect him.

    • Romanes Eunt Domus

      His whole article is an incredibly credulous reading of what the “pro-Gamergate” trolls have been vomiting in the comments of every article on the Gamergate mob. You’d think that he would have learned his lesson after Iraq.

      Sullivan 2003: “Shinseki says we’ll need several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. He’s just the Army Chief of Staff: what does he know????”

      Sullivan 2014: “Leigh Alexander says that the Gamergate mob is just the same group of misogynistic trolls that has been harassing women in gaming for years. She’s just a prominent, female, gaming journalist: what does she know????”

    • DING DING DING, we have a winner.

    • DrDick

      In consequence has has consistently been misogynist. I am only surpirsed he did not do this sooner.

    • JMP

      Yeah, it’s why he sides with the liberals when it comes to gay rights, and yet has nothing but disdain for everyone who fights for equal rights for women and/or racial minorities.

      • efgoldman

        it’s why he sides with the liberals when it comes to gay rights

        But he doesn’t, actually; he sides with himself.

        • Origami Isopod


          I first encountered his writing when his book Virtually Normal came out in the ’90s. He argued therein that there should be no pro-gay-rights legislation other than removing laws against same-sex marriage and, I think, same-sex sexual activity. No laws against discrimination in housing, the workplace, or the doctor’s office. No hate-crime laws punishing gay bashers not just for harming their direct victims but causing other GLBT people to fear going outside. Needless to say, these aren’t things that someone like Andrew Sullivan worries too much about suffering.

      • Maybe he sides with moderate liberals often enough, but the vitriol he has for the “gay left” is a recurring theme in his writing. My favorite quote to illustrate this is this bit about Thatcher supporting the anti-gay “Section 28” law:

        But it was also part of an epic struggle between Thatcher and the far left that emerged after her first election, and caused the creation of the breakaway pre-Blairite Social Democratic Party (now the Liberal Democrats in a coalition government with the Tories). Local governments – especially in London where “Red Ken” Livingstone was ensconced – were constructing curricula of conscious radicalism. She was wrong to take the bait.

    • rea

      constitutionally incapable of understanding anything that doesn’t directly affect him.

      Or constitutionally incapable of understanding how things do directly affect him. Does he think the Gamergate crowd likes gays any better than women?

      • busker type

        Since they’re not actively harassing him it hasn’t occurred to him.

      • Origami Isopod

        There are plenty of gay misogynist men. There are even some who are MRAs or otherwise involved in online misogyny.

  • The Dark Avenger

    I have never seen Andrew Sullivan in a feminist mood.

    • fledermaus

      Pretty much this. I think his support for Obama was mostly based on his irrational fear that Hillary’s first act President would be to cut off his johnson. See also Bristol Palin.

      • IM

        He adores Obama and hates Hillary Clinton. That is surely caused by the vast difference in their policy positions.

    • FMguru

      GamerGate hates women, Sullivan hates women – like peas in a pod, really.

    • Lev

      All I can say about this is that I once read a post by him praising Nancy Pelosi near the end of the ACA battle, which kind of shocked me. Then the next sentence compared her to Thatcher. Well played, Sully.

  • Cheerful

    I’ve admired Sullivan’s attack on torture but with comments like these he just can’t seem to stop himself from taking the one additional gratuitous swipe that sends his arguments off the rails:

    Look: whatever case the gamergate peeps have, they have botched it with their tactics. Those tactics have been repellent in every sense of the word. But bullying has occurred on both sides, and only one side was bullied before.

    • JMP

      Only one side was bullied before; right, feminist nerds were never ever bullied.

      And having been bullied really isn’t an excuse for bullying. Fuck, I was a nerdy, video game playing and comic book reading kid who got bullied a lot in grade and high school. And that experience made me feel empathy for other marginalized people; I think that’s part of why I came to support feminism, gay rights and civil rights once I started paying attention to politics. But with the gamergaters, we apparently have a bunch of nerds who were bullied, and from that experience decided to become bullies themselves, to anyone they can see as lesser, basically other gamers who are not straight, white men.

      • random

        I must repeat again and again until it sinks in:

        They play video games.

        This does not for even one second imply that they have ever been bullied for it. Everyone at their high school/college is playing the exact same video games.

        You can read the ops boards for these people and see that they are intrinsically bullies by dint of being sadistic.

        They are not Sad Misunderstood People. They don’t just need a hug to fix them. They’re just a population of psychotic assholes who via the magic of the Internet have found each other. It’s that simple.

        • Jackov

          I don’t think the ‘misfits play computer games’ has been true since the late 90s and games were certainly mainstream by the time the PS2 and Xbox were released. Not many ‘traditional nerds’ were playing Madden or all the other sports games.

          The dbros are everywhere on the internet where males congregate be it gaming, sports, politics, automotive, tech etc and will rant about women, gays, minorities at any opportunity.

          • random

            Oh I’d say console games were very mainstream by 1982. Pretty much every kid owned one back then. There was a few years respite after the Great E.T. Holocaust of ’83, then Nintendo came out and everyone rushed out to get one or get a sleepover with someone who did.

            I seriously don’t know where these people who have these horror stories of being abused because they played video games are getting it from. What kind of alternate Twilight Zone town did they grow up in? Did they actually have people there who had never played Super Mario Bros?

            • Jackov

              Perhaps for you fancy suburbanites.
              I didn’t actually know anyone who had an NES. (They were apparently in 30% of American households by 1990) For me, anything pre Tecmo Super Bowl is the arcade era.

            • brugroffil

              The story of the 90’s and 00’s holiday seasons were the new consoles or blockbuster games being sold out.

          • Since maybe the early 80s?

            I mean, PacMan and Ms. PacMan (among a slew of others) were super mainstream.

            Merely playing video games didn’t make you an outsider by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Origami Isopod

        It reminds me of Slashdot, which is or at least used to be heavily libertarian. Not surprising in a high-tech forum. It also hosted a very long thread after Columbine happened (but before it came out that Harris and Klebold had been bullies rather than bullying victims) titled “Voices from the Hellmouth,” in which predominantly male, predominantly white “nerds” talked about their traumatic experiences in school.

        I was struck by how many of them ended with, “So the kids who bullied me are now working in convenience stores or waiting tables, and I’m making oodles of money! I WIN!!” I don’t know how many of them were libertarians, and I’m not into wringing my hands over Schadenfreude, especially when it’s experienced by the former victims of those who are now in a world of shit. That said, it seemed to me that a lot of them had adopted the same “law of the jungle” mentality that had animated their tormentors.

    • Tybalt

      If I say you’re a sexist, and you threaten to rape and kill me, that’s all even-steven, right?

      • mikeSchilling

        No, calling someone a sexist is really hurtful.

        • KmCO

          Ah yeah, the “you’re the real sexist” gambit. But wait, that doesn’t exist, because unlike its cousin racism*, sexism is only regarded as a social ill by a minority of the population.

          *That’s not to say that racism is rare among Americans–far from it. But even the most appallingly racist lowlifes generally recognize that racism is a bad thing, hence their incoherent deflection of “you’re the real racist.”

          • efgoldman

            sexism is only regarded as a social ill by a minority of the population.

            Last I heard, women were slightly more than half of the US population.

            • KmCO

              And? Women don’t frequently buy into/normalize sexism?

              • Origami Isopod


                “Battle of the sexes” is a dated way of looking at it. Systems of oppression don’t work unless they get buy-in from huge numbers of the oppressed.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        “What’s wrong with being sexy?” — Nigel Tufnel

      • cpinva

        “If I say you’re a sexist, and you threaten to rape and kill me, that’s all even-steven, right?”

        well yeah, both sides do it.

    • Malaclypse

      I’ve admired Sullivan’s attack on torture

      Talk about a low fucking bar to clear.

      • mikeSchilling

        In 2003, that was, sadly, a pretty fucking high bar. It’s the main thing that got Sullivan kicked off the conservative team.

        • sparks

          Good grief, even Oliver Willis didn’t clear it then, and he was in no way on team C.

        • Bruce B.

          I would be more impressed if he’d ever gotten around to directly acknowledge that the very people he was denouncing as fifth columnists a year before included quite a few scholars and analysts who correctly foresaw things like the mainstreaming of torture. And then – and this is really the important part – if he’d shut up about punditry for a decade or so except in the way that Ta-Nehisi Coates has recorded some of his changing, growing understanding. As a student, not as a would-be leader.

      • Cheerful

        Spending a fair amount of time calling out the past administration for torture and this administration for not prosecuting torture as well as condemning Guantanamo is not a thing I see many other people doing and particularly very few who cheerlead Bush in the first place.

        I found the fact that the U.S. reelected Bush in 2004 despite knowing about Abu Graib a sickening thing. And I appreciate anybody who makes the basic point loudly, clearly, eloquently and repeatedly.,

        Feel free to condemn Sullivan for all the thing he’s worthy of condemning. But don’t diminish what it means to be anti-torture in a pro-torture country.

        • efgoldman

          But don’t diminish what it means to be anti-torture in a pro-torture country.

          Stopped clock.
          I mean, we all know who loved dogs and children, too.

          • cpinva

            “I mean, we all know who loved dogs and children, too.”

            until he poisoned one (of the dogs).

          • Cheerful

            No, someone who spends significant amount of time actually pushing the torture question, which I don’t see other prominent pundits doing. Can you point out some other conservative who is a “stopped clock” on a significant issue? Calling him Hitler doesn’t make your comment smarter.

            • Aimai

              Andrew Sullivan had exactly zero effect on the “Debate” about torture because in the real world he is as utterly unimportant as any other pundit. So sure he “pushed it” or pursued it or whatever but so what? There were plenty of people without his platform who opposed it. It didn’t take major brains, or balls, to oppose it. What did he have to lose? No one was ever afraid that Andrew Sullivan would make something happen that the torturing powers that be didn’t want to have happen. He was not at risk and he doesn’t get any credit from me. It was just another solipsistic little crusade–this time he was on the right side of history but every other time he’s been on the wrong side. His metric for choosing is always wrong so I’ve got to put this one down to accident.

  • Shorter Sullivan: It’s a given that all gamers are male by default. There were no bullied girl geeks/nerds/gamers. Sure, Sully, sure. You fucking prick.

    • OmerosPeanut

      This is pretty much exactly what I was logging in to say. I wanted to agree with him as an example of an olive branch to the less odious members of GG who still recognized that the harassment and threats that have been made invalidate their movement as it stands. I wanted to.

      But not when he showed his complete inability to recognize women have been bullied before GG. This harassment isn’t new, and male gamers are much closer to mainstream now. If they were bullied, it’s more likely it was for High School pecking order BS and not for their choice of entertainment.

      • random

        It’s not just more likely…it is guaranteed.

        It has always been extremely uncommon for boys to get picked-on for playing console games in the first place. But it simply does not happen ever in this day and age.

    • efgoldman

      Sure, Sully, sure. You fucking prick.

      See me below.

    • It’s even better (read: worse) than that. Female gamers got to be bullied twice, first by the nerd-haters and then by the male geeks.

  • brad

    What I don’t get is that the bullied guys who game seem, from my outsider vantage, to actually be very divided about gamergate, unless the trolls pretend someone like Wil Wheaton was never bullied because he was famous.
    It’s an empathy test, in the end. That Deadspin shit was stupid, sure, but requires willful miscomprehension to actually care about. Trolls don’t get to demand consideration of their own feels.

    • cpinva

      “Trolls don’t get to demand consideration of their own feels.”

      Bingo! and Andrew Sullivan doesn’t get to decide what women will be offended by either.

  • efgoldman

    Don’t get out of the boat…Don’t get out of the boat…Don’t get out of the boat…Don’t get out of the boat…Don’t get out of the boat…

    I got through the first three paragraphs or so, then had to stop lest I have to buy a new monitor and maybe a desk upon which to put it.
    He’s wrong on the facts, too.

    If “hardcore gamers” skew 7 -1 male….

    They don’t, despite what the Cheetoh-stained wretches think of themselves and the world they think thy rule. If you define “hardcore gamers” as “people who buy and play video games as a principal type of recreation” then almost half are women. [No cite, but my daughter wrote that when she was writing for Kotaku. I know it was researched properly.]

    • Nobdy

      “hardcore gamer” has no proper definition but when used is often focused around what types of games people play and on what machines rather than just how much.

      Iphone gaming, puzzle games, Kim Kardashian games etc… are often discounted while first person shooters on console (XBOX or Playstation) or even better PC are lauded, along with Real time strategy games and certain other genres.

      It’s a dumb sexist distinction but it’s made.

      Of course any media women like is derided as unserious compared to what men like. It happened to the novel, to “chick flick” movies, and it happens in gaming too.

      If “hardcore” gamers are defined as above there is a gender skew, though I don’t think anyone actually knows what it is exactly, save the console manufacturers who almost certainly keep these statistics.

      • OmerosPeanut

        “Hardcore gamer” will be redefined however it needs to be to remain overwhelmingly dominated by white males. If need be, it will one day be defined to mean those who choose to live in the family house in order to have more money for gaming gear.

        It’s the gaming equivalent of saying “welfare cheats.” You know and I know it really means “minorities receiving government aid,” but that’s not the phrase anyone would use because it doesn’t sound very nice.

      • sparks

        Of course any media women like is derided as unserious compared to what men like. It happened to the novel, to “chick flick” movies, and it happens in gaming too.

        A lot of (even scholarly) film criticism past and present drips enough testosterone from the pages that it’s very hard to take.

        • Origami Isopod

          *cough* Charles Taylor *cough*

      • mikeSchilling

        Kim Kardashian games

        I am afraid even to ask.

        • dmsilev

          On the scale of “things associated with Kardashians”, the game is, from what I’ve heard, fairly inoffensive. It’s one of these “play on your phone” type of things, where the player controls a character trying to “make it” in Hollywood, advised of course by the aforementioned Kardashian.

          The most offensive thing about it is that it’s one of these “play until a timer runs down, but you can send us real-world money to reset the timer” things. Whoever came up with that idea deserves to be tied across an anthill while speakers play selections from the audiobook version of “The Collected Writings of Jonah Goldberg”.

          • IOW, Kim Kardashian is getting even richer off something that has no good reason to exist.

            • Lee Rudolph

              IOW, Kim Kardashian is getting even richer off something

              other than herself

              that has no good reason to exist.


          • The Dark Avenger

            Candy Crush Saga grosses 1M$/day from people buying extra lives to keep playing the game.

          • matt w

            Here’s an article In Praise of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood (that’s the name of the game).

            And as Nobdy says, part of the subtext is that stuff that’s marketed to women comes in for a lot of flack for basically that reason.

    • KarenJo12
      • Hogan

        Worst. “¡No pasarán!” Ever.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Shorter Dalrock: “Hey, conservative Christian men! We gamers aren’t pansies. We hate teh women even more than you do!”

  • Lev

    I would agree with the other arguments presented here, and add the opinion that Sullivan is incredibly concerned with appearing principled, but in fact appears to have very few principles, and is genuinely pumped to betray them when need be. Standing up for Brandon Eich was a perfect Sully Principled Stand, in that it’s impossible to figure out what the principle being defended actually is. But he was defending a high-status person, which was I guess the point.

    • Tybalt

      Yeah the principle stood on is that the wealthy and powerful must be free from criticism.

  • Rob in CT

    I was thinking of posting something about this, but you got ’round to it, so all’s well.

    Basically, Sully doesn’t get some key things, and as usual, those things he doesn’t get basically involve him not being part of the group being shat upon. If/when Sully sees HIMSELF as part of the shat upon, all of a sudden he gets it. His ability to translate this to other situations is… imperfect.

    I’m one of those people who thinks he’s not totally awful. I think there are far worse people, and pundits, than Sullivan. But this? So, so, Sullivan. No more Sullivan – unpossible.

  • And I’m not going to dive headlong into an extremely complex series of events, which have generated huge amounts of intense emotion on all sides, in a gamer culture which Dish readers know far, far better than I.

    So instead I will blunder up, trip over one of the dogs and do a face plant that winds up smashing your priceless collection of Depressionware. Victory!

    But part of my job is to write and think about burning current web discussions – and add maybe two cents, even as an outsider.

    I’m still learning my job, obviously. Please give me another few years and perhaps a raise and then maybe I won’t suck so spectacularly.

    Having read about what has happened to several women, who have merely dared to exercise their First Amendment rights,

    See how I made this about freedom and liberty and stuff? Where’s my check? Oh well, let me briefly arglebargle for another zillion words, even throwing in a very bizarre comparison between being gay and being a misogynist shitweasel.

    What a tool.

    But to answer your question: No. Not in the least.

  • Ronan

    The article is largely incoherent, afaict..but i think he messed the analogy up completly. This isnt the equivalent of ‘hen parties in a leather bar’..it’s an example of people from within the ‘community’ trying to reform it (which Sullivan should be able to note, considering his history and activism)

    • This isnt the equivalent of ‘hen parties in a leather bar’

      See the discussion above about Sullivan only caring about that which affects him.

      • Ronan

        not being facetious, i think sullivans career and politics can best be understood as an extended reaction to a group of leftists who pissed him off at harvard.

        • Ronan

          i mean his politics are liberal,more or less. His main political positions down the years have seemed to be built primarily in response to what he imagines leftist borg would take .. and his entire persona has become the mirror image of that which he claims to hate (ie leftist identity politics.. gay, thatcherite, libertarian, socially liberal but culturally conservative .. this is just RW identity politics run amook)

          • efgoldman

            i mean his politics are liberal,more or less.

            Say, what?!?
            Hates women. A liberal value, check.
            Believes Charles Murray’s Bell Curve and the follow-ups to be legitimate scientific research which came to a correct conclusion. A liberal value, check.
            Thinks Margaret Thatcher was the greatest world and national leader evarrr. A liberal value, check.
            Believes in supply side bullshit, tax cuts for the wealthy, and is against welfare programs. A liberal value, check.
            I think you’re reading a different Sully.

            • Ronan

              id see him as a contrarian liberal. he doesnt believe any of that

              • If he spouts the crap he spouts, why should I care what he actually believes?

                • Ronan

                  you, and we, shouldnt..im just philosophising a little

                • Ronan

                  you me and the dude in 22a looking at me through his binoculaurs

                  edit: this should be a reply to NBs below, which somehow shows up after,even though it was before..if you get me.. if anyone is taking note

                • Ronan

                  see above

                  edit: as above, this should be a reply to NBs below, which somehow shows up ..

                • Who’s “we”? You’ve got a mouse in your pocket?

              • efgoldman

                he doesnt believe any of that

                For things he doesn’t believe, he sure states them plainly often enough.
                My assumption is, if someone writes non-satirically about general subjects, and expresses given points of view repeatedly, he really believes what he’s writing.
                Otherwise, he’s been trolling his own blogs for nigh on twenty years.

                • Aimai

                  He believes all that stuff because he resents being called on it and gets mopey and offended by the people who try to tell him his slip is showing.

          • Origami Isopod

            His politics might be “liberal” in the European sense of the word. Not in the U.S. sense, however.

          • IM

            He is a right-liberal in the european sense, yes. A thatcherite in other words.

        • Entirely possible.

  • Manju

    I’m surprised bspencer has yet to pick up on Chris Kluwe’s comments re Gamergate. Someone please sent her a picture of him asap.

      • I’m all athrob.

      • Manju

        I knew you’d come thru.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      Along the same lines, Scalzi is required reading on the topic:

      So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet, because apparently Tor is my dad. So maybe this push to boycott Tor because of me has legs after all! Hooray!

      That said, my takeaway from these furtive attempts to make me shut up about the fact that GamerGate is basically a bunch of terrible human beings being shitty to women, up to and including threatening them and publishing their personal information online in an obvious attempt to silence them is to be just a little bit sad. Not because a few of these human-shaped pieces of ambulatory refuse are trying to do it, but because they’re thinking too small about it.

      I mean, seriously, boycotting just Tor Books? Why limit yourself? Sure, it’s the largest publisher of science fiction and fantasy books in North America and possibly the world, but it’s just one imprint of Tom Doherty Associates. There are several other imprints, including Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen and Seven Seas. You should boycott those, too. That’ll show me!

  • dh

    Being bullied in adolescence does not grant you a life-long pass for being an asshole.

    • Hogan

      . . . dammit.

    • Linnaeus

      Right. In the discussion on Gamergate I was in about a week or so ago, the guy defending Gamergaters remarked (paraphrasing here) that he didn’t care as much about the things that “normal” people cared about in part because of how he felt was treated by “normal” people. Hence, social issues in video games wasn’t his concern.

      But it’s bullshit for a couple of reasons. One, no person or group lives in a vacuum and that person or group is affected by the wider culture and affects the wider culture. Second, at some point when one reaches adulthood, one needs to find a way to resolve the conflicts, emotional and otherwise, from adolescence. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to do this, but at some point the resentments need to be dealt with. Using those as a reason to be mean to someone just doesn’t cut it – there are people who have endured their share of indignities in their youth, but do not do that.

      I’m also a bit skeptical – and I may be wrong on this – as to just how marginalized the culture of video game fandom is. Video games as a form of entertainment have been mainstream for decades now, and that trend has only accelerated. I suspect any marginalization (such as it was) is, at most, a “mesofact” – something that has changed, but is assumed to be a constant.

      • Origami Isopod

        he didn’t care as much about the things that “normal” people cared about in part because of how he felt was treated by “normal” people.

        This guy probably still uses “sheeple” unironically. Not in the Alex Jones context but in the older “I’m just so much more aware and so much smarter than the average person” context.

    • random

      Again…very few of these guys have ever been bullied. You can just read their channels and see that they are sadists and that this is their primary motive for participating.

      But nobody is being bullied for being a ‘gamer’. That’s like getting bullied for being a ‘cell phoner’ or a ‘TV watcher’.

  • Sly

    I particularly enjoyed the conflation of a culture of solidarity that developed midst a pervasive and legitimate sense of dread at the prospect of having your entire life destroyed with a culture of social cannibalism that developed through the most toxic forms of bonding in which men are wont to engage. “I lost something… the guy who wants to shoot Anita Sarkeesian lost something… it’s kismet!”

    • Ronan

      as in the comparison with gay culture and nerd culture? yeah, that was a little off..

      Im torn here though. I value ‘cultural’ distinctiveness and difference in general, though despise the gatekeepers and ideologues who cling on to every community trait, no matter how dysfunctional, as if it was the literal manifestation of their soul..across the board, regardless of the culture in question, from the forests of papua new guinea to the identity politics of Yale to two halfwits in a room in Wisconsin pissed that there arent any tits on display in Halo anymore, the people who enforce their communities boundaries are nearly always arses.

      • Nobdy

        There are plenty of tits on display in Halo.

        The fear is that after Anita Sarkeesian is given plenary power to censor games (which is something that’s just about to happen any day now) there won’t be anymore.

        • Ronan

          ill admit im not up to date on the specifics of GG, so might be off base on things (take it more as a general complaint)

          • Nobdy

            I was just pointing out that your generic joke “Hey there’s not enough casual sexism in my game anymore!” comment was factually wrong because there IS plenty of casual sexism in that game (WHY IS AN AI WHO COULD LOOK LIKE ANYTHING PROPORTIONED LIKE A PORN STAR?)

            My underlying point is that the joking complaint reveals the real problem that the feminist critique is…critiquing.

            • Ronan

              i dont get you

              • Nobdy



                • Ronan

                  i wasnt being snarky, perhaps i should have elaborated a little..im probably not following it because im not up on the situation enough..to be more specific, what did you mean by the last sentence

                  “My underlying point is that the joking complaint reveals the real problem that the feminist critique is…critiquing.”

                  which is the bit im probably reading wrong

                • Nobdy

                  You picked a random potential missing-misogyny thing the “bros” could be complaining about.

                  The fact that they would NOT have a reason to complain because that misogyny is actually present shows how rampant misogyny is in this media and why the feminist critique is being made.

                • Ronan

                  people complain without reason. people complain about things changing that havent changed. people complain about all kinds of stupid shit that isnt logical.
                  In my boilerplate rant all i did was give two caricatured gamerbros a complaint that they could plausibly make so that i could complain about a load of shit that doesnt actually make a differnce to my life

                • Hogan

                  In my boilerplate rant all i did was give two caricatured gamerbros a complaint that they could plausibly make so that i could complain about a load of shit that doesnt actually make a differnce to my life

                  Ah well. I’m sure you had your reasons.

        • efgoldman

          The fear is that after Anita Sarkeesian is given plenary power to censor games (which is something that’s just about to happen any day now) there won’t be anymore.

          Well, it’s not like there aren’t tits all over the toobz, and you don’t have to buy a $60 game to see them.

          Or so I’m told.

      • LeeEsq

        I used to be against gatekeepers to but as my cultural tastes changed from what could be called nerd culture to high culture I’ve grown more sympathetic to the concept. The task of the gatekeeper and gadfly may be annoying but it’s inportant and valid if kept in check. Some ideas are really bad but at the same time alluring and seductive. Making sure these ideas don’t get a widespread airing is a worth while task for gate keepers.

        • Ronan

          Im intrigued by your change of heart, and this ‘high culture’ of which you speak ; )

          • LeeEsq

            I k ow your being silly but I might as well answer. I used to read mainly genre fiction in my teens but I also liked literary fiction because of its challenges. As I progressed into my twenties and thirties most of the books I’ve read became more literary. The tendency for people to consume media that they agree with disturbs me as does the YA trend. I actually agree with the anti-YA criticism. In the past gate keepers of directing people to things that were good and challenging reads.

            • Ronan

              being less silly .. why do you think it was gatekeepers directing ‘people to things that were good and challenging reads.’ ?(also, whats a YA trend..cant find much on google)

              • LeeEsq

                By maintaining a sort of standard that says if you are an educated adult you should know about x.

            • dh

              In this instance, is the gatekeeping doing anything other than enforcing misogynistic values for the sake perpetuating male privilege? Gatekeeping in general may not always be a bad thing, but the specific reasons for and goals of gatekeeping can still be awful.

              • Ronan

                is gatekeeping in general not a bad thing though? as a generality im struggling to see how it isnt

              • Ronan

                i guess the problem here is the term gatekeeper..which is too vague. im interested to hear more of what youre saying here though lee. (ive put my initial silliness aside)

            • Origami Isopod

              Litfic is in itself a genre. The attitude of snobs who think it’s head and shoulders above “genre fiction” is not only grating but has absolutely no historical basis. Shakespeare played to the floor. Ancient Greek plays include fart jokes. YA includes not only this year’s “urban fantasy” title but L.M. Montgomery, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Louisa May Alcott.

              Literary snobs need to pull the sticks out of their asses and get over themselves.

              • Aimai

                Yes–I don’t know why LeeEsqu assumes that “literature” challenges people’s assumptions. What are we talking about? Dickens? Updike? Whatever’s on Oprah’s list? Tons of stuff has traditionally basically confirmed the status of upper class white males as the gatekeepers and viewers of the scene. Not that it can’t be great–I’m an enormous fan of Dickens and Shakespeare, Proust and Thackery. But in what sense does modern “good” fiction challenge people’s assumptions more than a great piece of Young Adult fiction? Or even and especially some great Science Fiction. Why is it better to read some dude about suburban lifestyle issues than a recent book on the regrets of an Irish IRA hit man pursued by his own ghosts?

        • Ronan

          at some level and in some cases, i can see what youre saying..but as a general rule the gadfly/gatekeeper interaction isnt about preventing some destructive ideology being unleashed on the world, or the demise of sacred institution. it’s basically a contrarian and a busybody arguing over some trivial shit, for no apparent reason.
          This, to my mind, is the norm.

          • Origami Isopod

            Agreed. Tribalism, based on a preening and almost always unsupported sense of self-importance.

    • dh

      My favorite was: California colleges are clarifying their definition of consent→video games are going to suck.

  • Murc

    On the subject of GamerGate, Felicia Day, one of my personal goddamn heroes because she is super awesome, made a long thoughtful post recently about how she hadn’t really talked about GamerGate because she was utterly terrified of being doxxed and having psychos show up. This was making her so depressed at her lack of solidarity with her fellow female nerds she broke her silence so as not to feel awful anymore.

    Within the hour? Doxxed.

    • Whereas Kluwe, who directly insulted the GGers, was left alone. No offense to Kluwe, but there’s the clearest proof of the inherent misogyny of the whole operation: a thoughtful post by a woman makes her a target, while an insulting rant by a man does nothing.

      • Linnaeus

        And Kluwe specifically pointed out that he had not been doxxed.

        • He called the #DiaperGaters on it.

          • rea

            Although in all fairness to the gamergaters, doxxing Kluwe would be a waste of time–the gay-haters already got him fired.

      • Eh…substitute “simplest” for “clearest.”

    • witlesschum

      Of course they did that, useless fuckers.

    • Jhoosier

      This makes me sad. Her post was genuinely heart-wrenching

    • IM

      So conscience doesn’t makes cowards of us all.

  • LeeEsq

    Its telling that Sullivan’s fans begged him not to comment according to Sullivan himself.

    • jeer9

      Sullivan has fans who are smart enough to recognize how stupid his comments will be but not smart enough to realize he’s seldom worth reading? Ahhh, the paradoxes and perils of rightwing intellectualism.

      • LeeEsq

        Sullivan doesn’t strike me as particularly rightist on many issues. He isn’t an original or deep thinker. Most of the time he lets others do the thinking or even advocating for him. He has the same sort of attraction that a lot of op/ed writers for media. You invoke him to sound erudite and well-informed.

      • Lev

        Sullivan’s readers are hardly right-wing intellectuals. There are probably the people who actually are conservative in the same sense he is, and aside from that dozen, the rest are liberals wanting to read what the “other side” has to say. Of course, after a certain point, conservatism to Sullivan is merely what Sullivan believes himself.

  • The fundamental flaw with most of the GamerGate reporting is the suggestion that this is gamers versus non-gamers, nerds versus non-nerds, or whatever. This is a particularly visible manifestation of a long-running struggle between factions within the gaming community. And of the prominent figures in said community who have made statements about GamerGate, the vast majority of them have been negative. In contrast, many of the major promoters of GamerGate have never been involved in video gaming.

    I play video games. I have a lot of friends who play video games. I work in the software industry and know a lot of coworkers who play games. None of them, to my knowledge, supports this ridiculous campaign. On the other hand, I’ve had a number of pained conversations with friends and coworkers about what an embarrassment it is.

    • witlesschum

      Good point. The reporting, even by less-clueless people than Sullivan, is too often buying the frame that gamers are besieged by outsiders. Which is super dumb, because the main harassment target makes video games for a living, but whatever.

      • Jackov

        Both Quinn and Sarkeesian were being targeted/harassed by ‘gamers’ well before GG started. The gaming community is large, online, and some vocal fraction of the community is sexist and/or has a victim complex – a festering environment for misogyny

        That this iteration of hating women is still going strong owes much to the pile on from others I would suggest are primarily haters of women and ‘SJWs’ as opposed to gamers.
        1)asshats from the various chans (which incubated the original attack plan) 2)the hateswomen groups on reddit 3)professional misogynists from other realms 4)various online grifters and twittershits 5)rightwing nobs (Many youtuber game reviewers gaming ‘personalities’ and gamers have also been active but I believe without these other groups
        the shitstorm would have subsided by now)

        Amazingly Intel, Adobe and other companies are siding with the ‘group’ that is using hate, threats and attacks against women in games and their supporters. Nice work boys, you have been conned by a campaign that was born from hate, was bullshit from the moment it was created and has only descended further into vileness over the last two months.

  • NewishLawyer

    I am surprised by how long Gamergate is going on. This is a Battle for the Somme by Internet standards.

    Pardon me but I have a thing for WWI comparisons and metaphors.

    • Hogan

      Call me when we get to the siege of Leningrad.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        i’d as soon drop the a-bomb and have done with ’em

        • I think we could make a FPS of GG.

    • Origami Isopod

      The full-scale, similar attack on women atheists started in July 2011 and AFAIK has not let up yet.

      • Aimai

        Yes, if you read any of these guys online they have an entire history of rages–MRA rants go way back and include a total nervous breakdown over women atheists/skeptics long before gamergate broke.

        • The presence of women within atheism and skepticism (i.e. women not agreeing all the time with male atheists & skeptics) seems to be a crucial part of the Gamer melt-down… a sense of “This is the LAST STRAW!!”

  • witlesschum

    So, I’m not clicking through. Do any of these appear?

    “Gamers have every right to fear the decadent feminists will amount to a fifth column for radical Islam.”

    “Feminists are genetically inferior and here I have a book by Charles Murray explaining how. Doesn’t matter how many times it gets debunked.”

    “If Gamers are looking for their lost culture, they could investigate Sarah Palin’s uterus.”

    “Something about beagles.”

    • Nick056

      “A Burkean GamerGate supporter will reflect, embrace change slowly and wistfully, and only make death threats after tea. The Leo Strauss adherents in GamerGate truly disturb me, because they doxx women five times before breakfast.”

      And really, that’s pretty much what he is actually saying. What an enormous pile of shit.

      • Origami Isopod

        Needs moar Michael Oakeshott.

  • royko

    He always was an entitled prick.

    Nice to see him stick up for the much oppressed straight white male who have to deal with the indignity of knowing there may be a few games not marketed toward them.

  • thebewilderness

    The best gamergator quote I have read so far is, just because you play games doesn’t mean you are a gamer. Just like reading books doesn’t make you a librarian.
    Also this: http://actuallyethics.tumblr.com/

  • Oh look, His Nibs replies:

    Just a short note because the last sentence in the post is being misunderstood, which is my fault, because I wrote it. Here’s the context:

    That piece was not so much “covering the phenomenon” as viciously skewing it. And yes, its tone smacked of bullying and dismissal. When you’re telling people they don’t even deserve to be in a debate, and associate them with segregationists and every other entity good liberals have been taught to despise, “dismissive” is the least of it.

    Look: whatever case the gamergate peeps have, they have botched it with their tactics. Those tactics have been repellent in every sense of the word. But bullying has occurred on both sides, and only one side was bullied before.

    The two sides I am describing are the journalists whose work I was just criticizing and the gamergate supporters. Not the whole two sides of gamer culture; not men and women; just the journalists I’ve been citing, and the people they’ve been lambasting.

    I still haven’t the slightest idea what he’s talking about. Which side is he claiming bullied the other first (Don’t two wrongs make a right anyway?) & how is it that journalists reporting or reviewing (in which case they’re reviewers, not journalists) constitute bullying?

    And to add truth to injury, if you really want to know how truly awful Andy is, note his endless prattle about Roman Catholicism. Yeesh.

    • calling all toasters

      I’m still waiting for Sully to speak up for the Sayreville football team, and how they were first bullied by… someone.

      OK, I’m not actually waiting. I don’t read the little shit.

    • Nick056

      Yeah, most of that really mean awful “agitprop” (what decade is he in?) was in direct reply to this postule-ridden movement doxxing people, threatening them, and spuriously accusing them of exhibiting poor “ethics” by using their wimmin bits to curry favor. The “gamer identity is dead” piece came out AFTER the Quinn nastiness was in full view. He’s uninformed.

    • If someone set fire to this fucker’s straw men, he wouldn’t have a damn thing to say. But let’s take a look at his timeline:

      1. Attacks by a particular group of men on a particular woman became very loud and public and spread to other women.

      2. Various journalists started covering the attacks.

      3. Because journalists and society in general are so mean to young, white, men they refused to concoct some fair and balanced things to say about the anonymous cowards who had, by this point caused people to flee their homes for fear of their lives.

      4. The coverage after the attacks began caused the attacks to begin because gamers are so nifty they have time machines and went back to launch preemptive strikes.

      5. Look! Journalists! Ew! Pay no attention the my hackish defense of my hacktacular article!

      I don’t read him, because he’s an uber-prick, so I can’t predict his next move. Will he just drop it completely, or will he dig a bit more? Perhaps he’ll claim that since he said at the beginning he didn’t have all the facts and was just writing based on what little he knew, it is unfair to expect him to be 100% accurate on every single detail?

      • JL

        I don’t read him, because he’s an uber-prick, so I can’t predict his next move. Will he just drop it completely, or will he dig a bit more?

        He’s not very good at dropping things, especially when his readers are sending him lots of email (which he has said is happening on this topic). And most of his readers are not ideological clones of himself, but mainstream liberals who want to see what the other side has to say (Sully can be useful for that, not so much because he’s a great representative of “the other side”, but because he’s a decent aggregator of opinion writing from various parts of the political spectrum). So I am pretty sure he’s getting a lot of reader disapproval here.

        My guess will be that he will air a handful of reader disagreements, while continuing to argue with them and dig himself deeper. He sometimes changes his mind on an issue in mid-thread, but I doubt that will be the case here because it runs up against too many of his idiosyncratic biases. To paraphrase something someone said upthread, half his career is about arguing with small groups of leftists at Harvard and in the LGBTQ movement who offended him 20-30 years ago.

  • thebewilderness

    Sarkeesian has been getting hate for two years from MRAs for having the brass to be a female with an opinion who raised money to make youtube vidyas.
    Two months ago Zoe Quinn’s ex organized his d00dbros on 8chan to go harass Zoe.

    The ethically challenged want you to believe this is all about “ethics in game journalism”.

    • Sly

      Sarkeesian has been getting hate for two years from MRAs for having the brass to be a female with an opinion who raised money to make youtube vidyas.

      And how dare Anita Sarkeesian exploit the hard work done by all the people harassing her to raise money to do more of what they were harassing her over in the first place.

  • Cassiodorus

    In fairness, Sullivan isn’t referring to feminists in the last line. He’s referring to the “cool kids” in the “media elite”.

  • Nick056

    Well, when he posted yesterday about how he just loves Christina Hoff Summers, you could tell he was about to squeeze out this turd. He identifies the GamerGate people as having been bullied and trying to preserve their masculinity in a cruel world of “creeping misandry,” so: he tepidly endorse a movement without mentioning what it’s actually about or determining whether any of its tactics fall outside the spectrum of horrifyingly threatening at worst to dishonest at best.

    • Well, when he posted yesterday about how he just loves Christina Hoff Summers

      Oh, ick.

      Is it possible for God to create a rock so heavy He can’t lift it, or a sexist so grody that Sullivan won’t admire them?

  • hylen
  • simonmd341


  • Lurking Canadian

    Has the Dos Equis guy said something egregiously misogynist lately? What does he deserve to get dragged into this?

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