First, this is a personal reflection. People who are literally an order of magnitude smarter than I am have written about this subject. Perhaps more importantly, people significantly more affected have written as well. Their words are more important than mine and you should read them.
Why even comment on #Gandergoof? Well, though I'm not serious affected, I am exposed to, excuse me a moment (vomit) gamer culture. Sometimes it's awesome! You guys are awesome, AGDQ is awesome, a lot of people are awesome! A lot of them are shitheads too. And the shitheads have given some people who are probably reasonable but misguided game players a bad name.
And that's inarguable, I think. When I run into #Grobangate people who are genuine true believers, who are legit interested in the stated goals of the campaign and not just the hidden misogynistic garbage ones, I'm reminded of southern pride. You know, people who fly the confederate flag despite its connotations. Listen pups: symbols change meanings. It doesn't matter if the south represents more than slavery, that was the banner people fought under trying to defend their right to own people (among other things, of course). That is Not Ok. Sure, the swastika is also a native american symbol for luck. Who cares? It was used for all that swastika stuff.
Same with #grumblegore. I've been told there have been multiple attempts to rebrand the campaign but none have been successful. The earth has been salted. A few hundred rape threats will do that. I suspect that a lot of the people who would like to have #gannondorf rebranded want this for entirely utilitarian reasons. It's not because they care about the harassment that has already happened. It's simply because they believe their end goal is more important than the harassment.
This is a dumb attitude to have. I can't remember who said it but someone on twitter said, "A social justice warrior is someone who cares more about people than games." THAT SHOULD BE EVERYONE. When we talked about fandom in the Bonfireside Chat episode with Bob Mackey, this is what we were circling around.
The thing that bothers me most about #gallantgirls is the idea of entitlement. I've had a couple of pretty civil conversations about it on twitter and the people who support it who aren't actively hostile still believe that it is their right and duty to somehow clean up the hobby. Who do you think you are? And what do you think games are or games journalism is? Do you know who owns Game Informer? Nintendo Power? How is that less important than some journalists being friends? I'm technically a games journalist or in the press or whatever and I've made friends with people through this hobby. That's how people work, you dopes. Because they're people before they're devs or journalists.
My point is that even the goals of #ghoulishghost that on the surface seem justified are still pretty petty and dumb. Mad about collusion that isn't happening while ignoring collusion that is, mad about a conspiracy (hint: conspiracies don't usually exist), mad about a perceived disrespect. Who cares if some websites release "gamers are dead" stories? What is wrong with your personal development that you hang so much of your identity on your hobby? It's flabberghasting. The guy who I most recently chatted with on twitter was saying that it wasn't just journalistic integrity, they have problems with "the whole industry" and that he didn't care what happened as long as it hurt the industry. Does that sound constructive or respectable? No, it sounds ridiculous and when you start naming operations and coming up with attack plans, you sound like kids playing army, not serious consumers.
There's also a weird anti art/pro consumerism bent to the whole thing that I find personally disgusting. The idea that the consumer is so powerful as to receive inherent respect at all costs, the idea that the reason lady games or queer games are a threat is because they will sell poorly, the whole thing stinks of libertarian manstench and I find it personally repugnant.
A quick note about the actual harassment: I'm not meaning to dismiss it by omission. I'm deeply fucking furious about it, I just think other people have addressed it much better than I could. It's funny to me: true believers in #gavlaangood say that their crusade is about ethics and logic over gender. But when my girlfriend mentions it, she's shot down using gendered insults and when I use it, I'm engaged respectfully. And you can argue that these are troubled individuals and not representative of the movement writ large but that's been shown to be untrue time and again. And even if it was true, as a wise man once said, at some point you cease to have bad neighbors and start living in a bad neighborhood. I would be goddamn shamed to be lumped in with people who doxxed Phil Fish or who were responsible for the Zoe Quinn stuff in any capacity.
I don't have a bow for this. Here are things to read: