Why can't certain reactionary, racist and homolesbobitransphobic nerds like One Angry Gamer be accepted by nerdy communities?
If I were to write an article about how certain reactionary fringes (otherwise known as alt-right) of the American right have landed in nerdy communities, I should probably write a book. The issue is obviously very complex and has many facets, since the issues dealt with and the rhetoric used change according to the specific nerd community that is being examined.
Therefore, we do not have time to retrace the history and the events of the explosions of alt-right rhetoric in our communities, otherwise tomorrow morning you would still be here reading the first part of the article, in which I "summarize" the events of the Gamergate.
This article, therefore, will not focus on the question “nerds are right-wing” (which is obviously a much more complex issue than this statement suggests) or on the general presence of the alt-right in the nerd scene. This article will be a little more specific. Therefore, we will focus on one site in particular, which we will take as a clear example of why nerd communities can no longer tolerate anti-democratic extremisms within them. This example is the One Angry Gamer site, and you will soon understand why I take it out on him.
NB: This article will not contain links to the One Angry Gamer articles, since you don't want to give it visibility. The veracity of our claims can be easily checked thanks to a Google search.
One Angry Gamer: what is it and what is it about?
One Angry Gamer is an information site run by William "Billy D" Usher. The site mainly deals with Games, but in general tends to touch many nerdy themes, such as comics and anime. The articles on the site are generally written by Billy D or his collaborator who signs himself Ethan.
In addition to generic articles dealing with neutral news, Billy D also writes and publishes articles that give one political reading of many issues related to video games or the nerd world in general. For example, he wrote a series of articles on the realities of anime or video games that supported the #BlackLivesMatter movement, defining them first supporters of rioters and vandals, then directly "traitors of peace and the American people (traitors of peace, and betrayers of the American people).
List of Traitors of America: who ended up in it and why?
This series of articles ended up giving rise to the list Traitors of America, which collects all the realities and personalities that have openly supported the #BlackLiverMatter movement. Since, according to the editors of One Angry Gamer, the protests linked to this movement have also caused vandalism, then in general #BlackLivesMatter is a movement of vandals and dangerous people that goes against American sentiment. Therefore, anyone who supports them is not a true American patriot and is a traitor to the United States.
Among these realities there are not only multinationals weighing Amazon or Disney (whose description is literally Ruining childhoods), but also video game manufacturers, such as Bioware and Ubisoft. Among these realities, those of role-playing games cannot be missing, as the research team has pointed out Women, dice & data (whose work we also talked about Thu, Thu e Thu) in this post. So they will be traitors too Critical role, defined a group of Roleplaying snowflakes, Dungeons & Dragons, defined The original Christian nightmare, Warhammer.
Politics and nerd community: two introductory words
There are quite a few nerds who would like their favorite entertainment products to be without references or political ideas. Often, in fact, you hear gamers who say to manufacturers "think about making video games, not politics", or fans of certain films who say "I just wanted to have some fun, I didn't want to hear a political hump". Well, this article is not going to make such claims.
In fact, if you have read our other writings, you will know very well that we Seekers too have political ideas, and we make no secret of it. Our Seeker R, for example, harshly condemned people dressed as Nazis at Lucca Comics & Games 2019 in this article. Or, we explicitly said to be anti-fascists during April 25 this year, or to be against sexism in this post for March 8, or to be against toxic masculinity in this post of 27 November. In my articles, I am quite explicit that I am an intersectional feminist who believes in the fight for the rights of LGBTQIA + people, as I said in the article on trans women in cinema or the one on the asterisks, or in the one about #playernottoy or al rape in role play.
The point, therefore, as we will see, is not to talk about politics. The point is not to be anti-democratic and produce hate speech in your articles, as One Angry Gamer does. But let's take a closer look at the issue of politics in nerdy works.
Politics in nerdy works: a constant presence
It is basically impossible not to have political ideas, because we are people who live in a society where politics has a weight in determining what we can and cannot do. And in many ways it is impossible to write stories that do not refer to political ideas.
When Tolkien wrote of the friendship between Gimli and Legolas, overcoming hatred between their peoples, he was fielding his political ideas and anti-Nazi. When Gene Roddenberry devised a united, non-racist and non-sexist humanity of Star Trek, staging a black woman among the main characters, he made a political choice. And when George Lucas wrote the story of the rebellion against an oppressive empire, he made a political choice. Taking a leap to the present day, when Vampiri allowed to stage non-straight characters without these being homolesbobifobic caricatures, a political choice was made. When Paizo decided that in Pathfinder Second Edition being slaves automatically means being evil, he has made a political choice.
Any choice about what we find right or wrong, or what kind of characters we deem worthy of being included in a work, is a political choice. Therefore, it is inevitable that a work, a blog, a nerd information site is also political, at least in some of its contents.
One Angry Gamer beyond politics: a reactionary, racist and homophobic site
Therefore, I have no problem with the fact that One Angry Gamer has political content. My problem concerns the fact that its political contents are authoritarian, anti-democratic and often of pure language of hate, or hate speech.
One Angry Gamer and its authoritarian and anti-democratic instances
The fact that One Angry Gamer flatten the Black Lives Matter movement to "instigators of riots" (riot-instigators), ignoring legitimate peaceful protests and following Trump's words in defining anti-fascist groups as "terrorists", is an authoritarian and anti-democratic behavior, since it wants to silence legitimate protests with the excuse of vandalism, much less common, made by some fringes (or by the cops themselves). So not only does this site provide extremely partial and fragmentary information, but has openly taken sides against legitimate protests.
Furthermore, the establishment of its list of US traitors not only reminds us of proscription lists for twenty years of fascism, but it is also quite an action intimidatory, since when a person is defined as a “traitor” it is assumed that this person is in some way punished for his or her betrayal. This attitude, coupled with the narrative that reduces the US protests of these days to riots, looting, vandalism and murders, completely overriding peaceful demonstrators brutalized for free by the police, indicates an extremely polarized perspective.
One Angry Gamer and hate speech: "mentally ill", "degeneration", "abnormal" and "pedophiles"
Secondly, One Angry Gamer uses a lexicon suitable for degrade your opponents or the realities that you feel unworthy of your respect in some way. In particular, this lexicon is used against queer people and black people.
For example, in an article on comics by RWBY (of which gdr we talked about Thu!) And GEN: Lock (whose animated series has been reviewed since Thu!), defines the relationship between the protagonist of GEN: Lock and his girlfriend as a "degeneration"(degeneracy), for being a mixed pair of a black and a white. Valentina's genderfluid character, always in GEN: Lock, it is defined "Mentally ill"(mentally ill). Speaking of the fact that Soldier 76 of Overwatch was gay, Billy D regretted that "the last normal character" (the last normal character) of the franchise ended up in the "dirty lair of the buttocks openers"(the dirty den of the cheek splitters) (forgive me for the unrefined translation!) because of the Rainbow Reich (Rainbow Reich).
In addition to the lexicon, there is no lack of conspiracy and degrading comments about queer people and the representation of their sexuality in the media. For example, the relationship between Catra and Adora in She-Ra, of which we have spoken Thu e Thu, it would serve carry out a gay conspiracy to legalize pedophilia:
They want to inculcate your children with the gay agenda so that it's easier for them to physically groom your younglings once the Bunghole Bolsheviks normalize MAPs and then legalize pedophilia.
LGBTQIA + relationships are anything but normal.
They are the very definition of abnormal, which means "departing from the normal".
These kinds of statements, offensive and degrading to their target, are hate speech, and as such they do not fall into the network of free speech, because with their verbal violence they hurt their target and make dialogue impossible, de facto reducing general freedom of speech.
Positions that are not tolerable: we learn to recognize and isolate reactionary and anti-democratic nerds
In short, those who manage One Angry Gamer are not only writing information articles, or articles that reveal a certain political position. This would not be a problem.
Instead, One Angry Gamer is not alone supports an authoritarian and anti-democratic vision, but in the course of his articles it harms the dignity of entire minority categories of people, calling them degenerate, sick and abnormal. So, in general, One Angry Gamer is a site that spreads hatred for minorities and does not respect the right of others to demonstrate, or the right to support such demonstrations, which is what is done by joining the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
This kind of content and position should not be tolerated in our community, since it makes the field of dialogue not only toxic, but also non-existent. Indeed, how could a genderfluid person argue civilly with this Billy D, after he has called her "mentally ill"? How can you have a constructive confrontation regarding the protest modalities of the different fringes of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, when Billy D not only presents the facts in an extremely partial way, but literally defines anyone who supports this movement as "Traitors of America"? Quite simply, you can't. For this reason, One Angry Gamer should close its site.
Of course, maybe someone can tell me that closing One Angry Gamer is a censorship, and therefore in turn a fascist behavior. However, there is a reason why our Constitution is openly anti-fascist: why you cannot be tolerant of intolerant people. You cannot accept racist hatred (let's remember that Billy D defined a black and white couple as "degeneration"), or anti-democratic sentiment, because if these attitudes take hold, it would simply no longer be possible to have a democracy, or be based on a constitution like ours.
For all these reasons, in my opinion it is important that nerd communities become aware of the fact that such subjects exist, so as to exclude and contest them when they are spokespersons for "real gamers". We certainly don't have the power to shut down One Angry Gamer, but we can refuse to follow it. And especially, we can ensure that in the Italian context reactionary, racist and anti-democratic realities of the genre never gain so much following in nerd communities.