Based on your last post, 73 & 99 please??? I love your writing!
A/N: This one could not make up its mind on whether or not it wanted to be smutty. There’s smut mentioned but not described, is where it ended up.
73 & 99: We’re in an abandoned lodge in the middle of nowhere. Sure,
you’re totally right, nothing bad could ever happen here…. We shouldn’t be
“Why did I let you drag me here?” If Emma’s a little grumbly, it’s
probably because, in Killian’s desire for thrills, he’s dragged her along to a
haunted lodge to spend the night. Well, supposedly haunted. Emma doesn’t really
believe in any of that shit, and no, she did not just jump when a curtain blowing in the light breeze brushed
against her arm.
“Where’s your sense of adventure, Swan?”
“Killian, you dragged us to this abandoned lodge in the middle of
nowhere. They make movies about these kinds of stories, and they don’t exactly
have happy endings.”
He gives her a look at that, raising an eyebrow as if to tell her she’s
being ridiculous before moving on through to the next room.
Killian is in his glory. He’s practically sprinting through each room,
inspecting every nook and cranny that he can in hopes of, she doesn’t know,
finding a ghost lurking in a corner looking for a chat? She honestly has no
idea anymore. She just wants him to stand still or slow down a little so she
can catch up, and if that means that she wants him within arm’s reach, then
that’s her business.
“Nothing can happen to us here. It’s just an old building with dusty
“Sure. You’re right, nothing bad could ever happen here,” she deadpans,
sighing and following as they traipse upstairs.
A conflicted display
Blind to the masses
Holding back self
Behind doors he advances
This being of darkness
Wanting his power
If it’s unleashed
Will others cower?
Someone to control
Must stay in check
Or else take its toll
Finding that one
Who’s willing to bow down
To deviant pleasure
That one he’ll astound
Though normal it’s not
It has its own place
Fulfilling a need
In this hidden space
She must prove worthy
His mastery’s a gift
Though being submissive
Her desires he’ll uplift
Gentle yet strong
Fingers, tightly fastened
Her sighs evidence
Of receiving his passion
The mortality of our children is an unbearable reality, so when the worst does happen, to admit that it could be so random and uncontrollable is unacceptable. We are people, dammit, we are in control. Someone must be to blame otherwise it means that none of us are safe.
And, predictably, we blame mothers. The pressure on mothers to be ever vigilant, never tired, never unhappy, never overwhelmed and never distracted is an impossible and dangerous expectation. The idea that we should be able to “manage” our children, as if they are reasonable adults and not semi-feral animals covered in germs and fueled by destruction, is laughable. But we perpetrate these myths, and whenever the truth becomes unavoidable, we shame the mother instead of looking at the situation honestly.
This shame does nothing more than torture mothers with the knowledge that, according to society, they are bad mothers. It prevents them from asking for help and from having the sort of conversations about the dangerous situations our children find themselves in that could indeed make our children safer.
The other day I made my first (and, hopefully, last) Twitter posts. The person they were directed at, of course, did not respond and promptly blocked my account. I’ll leave his name up there uncensored, in hopes he may get pressured to reply.
It’s weird to take a step back and look at how my relationship with the thing called GamerGate has developed these last few months. It started with me looking at as much evidence as I could find and reluctantly speaking against someone’s actions. I asked people to provide counterevidence in case I was overlooking something. Lady Fuzztail stepped up to the plate, and within three messages she more or less agreed with my position. My brief exchange with her back in August, however, literally marked the last time any of the “anti-Gamergate” people actually tried to convince me they were in the right.
I mean, sure, there has definitely been a concerted effort made to show how terrible GamerGate is and how everyone who touches it is evil and supports harassment or something. I have been told time and time again that there are consequences to showing support toward something like that, or occasionally just been outright attacked for it. But, despite my pleas for someone to do so, nobody is really trying to defend the other side of this to me. Nobody is really trying to alleviate my concerns about the people GamerGate is opposing, and this bothers me so much.
Like, these people who oppose GamerGate keep getting creepier, and they’re not doing anything to alleviate it. I was really bothered by the response to Wolf Wozniak’s alleged sexual harassment and the way he was immediately attacked for speaking out. I was sickened when someone responded to the whole Eron Gjoni thing with an article saying that victims of abusive relationships needed to think about what they did to cause the abuse. I was appalled by the way things like NotYourShield have been completely ignored or accused of being manipulated. At this point, I am literally sticking with GamerGate because I feel like this is the side where I am less likely to get raped. And, for some inconceivable reason, nobody is even making an effort to convince me my feelings are unfounded.
I am just at a complete loss at how to handle this. Like, I’m trying to do what is right here, but one side of this is making no attempt to show me they are the good guys. Even when I outline the exact apprehensions that keep me from taking their side, all I receive is disappointment that I’m not taking their side. I just don’t know what to do.
I guess as this goes on, there are some disturbing patterns that have emerged. At least, disturbing to me.
Like, look back up at the tweets above. There’s this thing that keeps coming up, “chugged all the 4chan kool-aid”. Conceptually, this is just so bizarre to me.
I get along fairly well with 4chan, 8chan, and other anon cultures. This is not a huge secret. My background is in research psychology; I’m used to using anonymity to gather opinions and just generally dealing with people at their weirdest. I interact with pretty much every other site that discusses my work, too, but 4chan is apparently the one that surprises people the most because for some reason they are terrified of it.
There’s this weird idea, though, that there is some sort of tainted knowledge there and that once you touch it, you have been manipulated and there is nothing anyone can do to correct this until you voluntarily choose to disbelieve this information. Which, of course, pisses me the hell off because that is not how manipulation works. Manipulation revolves around feeding someone misinformation, which can be easily combated with logic and counterevidence. Just listening to things or having a positive relationship with a group is not enough to “corrupt” someone.
But you know who tends to push that line of thought? Cultsdo. One of the key components to most cults is that they stigmatize knowledge that would draw people away from their beliefs. If someone digs too deep and acquires knowledge that causes them to question the cult’s beliefs, they are immediately declared a lost cause, or even publicly punished to dissuade others from pursuing such forbidden fruit. This is how cults maintain power over their members. This sort of “lost cause” and “making an example” behavior is also the exact behavior a lot of the GamerGate opponents seem to be displaying toward me, even Tarason up above.
Like I said in my reply to him, though, the part that disturbs me more is the general lack of agency this attributes to me.
What he’s saying pivots on this implicit assumption that, because I hold a different position than him, someone else must be controlling me without my consent. What’s not considered is that, perhaps, I am consciously choosing the side that is making a better case for itself. Like… you know, the thing I actually say I am doing. Again and again, while outlining the exact reasons I make these choices?
Try to look at this from my point of view. When I see people say things like “Eron Gjoni wrote a long hitpiece claiming his ex-girlfriend traded sex for reviews”, this scares me because you can actually read the thing and see that doesn’t occur. When someone who claims to have been sexually harassed by a well-connected person can be attacked for it while someone who attacks a well-connected person can be baselessly accused of sexual harassment, that scares me because I could easily end up in either of those positions. When someone is only acknowledged to be female or a minority when they are being oppressed or harassed and the rest of the time are erased into being Straight White Men, this scares me because it takes away any control I have over my own group’s reputation.
These are the kind of behaviors I see as characterizing GamerGate’s opposition, as well as being things that GamerGate combats either directly or by proxy. If I am wrong about feeling these things, then I want someone to convince me they aren’t actually occuring - or, perhaps more likely given how much of it now comes from personal experience, convince me that controls have been instituted to ensure these things cannot not occur in the future. As of yet, nobody is really taking that step to convince me “anti-GamerGate” are the good guys here. At best, there’s just that push to paint GamerGate as harassers.
And you know what? That really gets on my nerves too. Like, everything people point to as evidence of GamerGate harassing people is about as bad as I get just by virtue of being relatively well-known. On top of that, a lot of the harassment I see held up as particularly horrible is very on-par with the response people get when they attack their audience - which is exactly what is happening here. To me, it feels like another instance of problems being erased or ignored until they happen to someone well-connected - and even then these people aren’t speaking out against harassment in general. Fuck, GamerGate has been the ones publicly denouncing harassment, whereas the prevailing opinion with its opponents seems to be “harassment is okay, if against the right people”. And like… I can’t side with that. If I’m wrong in parsing the situation that way, I need someone to show me I’m wrong.
And then there’s the whole “just bunch of angry straight white men afraid of video games becoming diverse” thing. You know, where there was a movement of hundreds if not thousands of women and minorities showing their support for GamerGate, and it was dismissed as being sockpuppet accounts and people who were “tricked” into supporting it? Apparently there is this perception that GamerGate is somehow going to somehow drive all minorities out of gaming, despite the fact that GamerGate is notoriously leaderless, meaning even if they destroyed every gaming journalism outlet in existence the only thing they could really bring about is a chaotic quasi-meritocracy. And like… do you even realize how bigoted it is to suggest that only straight white men could prevail in an environment like that? That kind of situation - where there is no overseer beyond the general populace deciding who does/doesn’t get visibility - is the kind of environment I want. That’s something I’m willing to fight for.
Through all of this, I’m just left wondering: what exactly is the endgame here regarding people like me? Like, is the message here that if I agree with GamerGate’s opposition, then I will be protected from their harassment and allowed to harass others? Am I supposed to feel like by taking their side, I would be exempt from any kind of real-world sexual misconduct that would otherwise come from their supporters, and will be covered should I do those things against others? Is the message that if I agree with their position now and remain silent about their minority erasure, then in the future I will be able to dissent with my sexuality properly attributed? I just don’t understand what their sell is. What is the thing that is supposed to make me want to support them? On what level are they not everything I am morally obligated to oppose?
I am not being manipulated here; I have agency and am making a choice based on the evidence I have available. And like I’ve said again and again, if you feel like I am making a choice on bad information, then you can provide more information. This is not a trap, this is an invite. I would prefer this to be two groups who are competing for my allegiance, rather than one group trying to win my allegiance and one group threatening me for opposing them. But, as of yet, I cannot see any evidence that the Opposition side of this benefits me. Nobody is making a case for why they are worth supporting. Nobody is making a sell.
Sure, like I said earlier, people are really quick to talk about all the evils GamerGate probably** did. But as I’ve stressed before, a group that is morally gray is preferable to one that is morally devoid. I see this as a group of flawed humans attacking a bigoted and problematic institution. I want to see this institution burn, and frankly I’ll show respect to whoever is holding the torches. If you have a problem with this, then you have to convince me it isn’t as bad as I think. This is not complicated.
At least, it’s not complicated if your group is actually not that bad
This all really comes back to this idea of agency.
GamerGate, whether you approve or disapprove of its actions, has almost always positioned itself as being a choice. They show a lot of respect for people who weigh both sides, and usually remain confident that evidence will lead neutrals to their side. If someone opposes them, their first tactic is to try to dissuade them with reason. When they sought to emphasize their diversity, their method was opt-in: people wore the “#NotYourShield” tag by choice. These are refreshing design choices.
The opposition, by contrast, has been… less accommodating to the idea of people thinking on their own. I’ve seen neutral parties attacked for even giving GamerGate the time of day, “for the good of women and the minorities!” is constantly thrown around no matter how hard people scream “no! You don’t represent me!”, and there is of course the idea, perpetuated by people like Tarason up at the top of this post, that anyone who opposes them has been indoctrinated and manipulated and is no longer in control of their faculties.
This feels black-and-white, and that bothers me. It is increasingly difficult to hang onto this belief that there are two sides to this that have legitimate points. Like I keep stressing, I want to be put in a situation where two sides are competing for my allegiance, but only one side is even playing.
I’m just not sure how to respond to that, other than… keep offering to listen? As usual, I’m here, and even if I don’t reply to all my emails anymore I promise I’m reading and heeding.