I am Sarkeesian

I don’t imagine that I would agree with much Anita Sarkeesian has to say.

I admit that don’t know much of what she has to say, because I don’t give a shit. The Guardian describes her as “best known for her YouTube series ‘Tropes v Women in Video Games’, assessing various anti-feminist trends in gaming.”

In other words, she’s a perfect storm of subjects that I give no fucks about. Video games and post-modern academic feminism. Both seem like a complete waste of time to me. I got bored with video games back when “Missile Command” was still a thing. And, I think that post-modern academic feminism is a bigger waste of time than playing Missile Command every day for 10 years. But, hey, if either one is your thing – enjoy it.

I watched one of Sarkeesian’s videos. As soon as she used the term “weaponized pornography,” I realized that there wasn’t much that could follow that statement, which could be of any real value to my day. Click.

Despite all that, consider me to be an Anita Skarkeesian-ista. If for no other reason than NOW I want to hear what she has to say. NOW, I want everyone to hear what she has to say.

Y’see, she was supposed to speak at Utah State University. But, someone didn’t like her perspective, so they wrote this:

“I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the letter said. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.”

“You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk … Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”

Sarkeesian initially didn’t let it bother her, but after she figured out that USU would not ban guns at the event, she cancelled her speech. (source) I don’t necessarily applaud this. She seems to be blaming the venue for its unwillingness to violate the Second Amendment. But, I’m not the one getting death threats, so I won’t pretend to be an authority on what she should do.

You know what I am an authority on? Fucking asshats.

Fucking asshats who think that silencing the other side through intimidation or interruption is how you debate.

I want to stand next to her and yell “I AM SPARTACUS!” I’m sure that she would think that is totally weird. I’m also sure that she wouldn’t really care if “the likes of me” wanted to support her. But I don’t need to agree with her to want to stand with her — because she has a RIGHT to speak. And some cowardly little nitwit made an anonymous threat, and now MY marketplace of ideas loses Sarkeesian’s wares?

Some little douchebag was so threatened by feminist theory in the context of video games that he threatened to kill people if she got to speak?

First of all, dude, if you’re gonna commit – commit over something that actually matters.

Second of all, you now turned it into something that actually matters.

Sarkeesian has a right to participate in the marketplace of ideas, and the marketplace has a right to have her.

And lest anyone start with the trope “this is what happens when women speak out,” go fuck yourself in advance. This is not a feminist issue. A men’s rights conference in Detroit suffered the same kind of threats. (source). You know how many feminists spoke up against that?

Exactly.

Why is that a problem?

Because we need to realize that no matter whose ox is being gored, all of our oxes are being ass-raped when someone gets to shut down debate.

The more you disagree with Sarkeesian, the more you should stand up to support her today. Maybe, just maybe, that will start a cycle of respect for expression, even expression that you disagree with.

And before any idiot says “well, what about the free speech of the guy who threatened her” … threats and extortion are not free speech. Look it up.

Will those who disagree with Sarkeesian see that there is something greater at stake here? Is what Sarkeesian has to say so threatening to anyone that everyone won’t stand up to support her? You can criticize her in the next breath. Call her the dumbest waste of space and breath since Jack Thompson, if you like.

But not today.

Today, I want to speak directly to her detractors. The greater principle here is that she has a right to speak, and some asshole took that away from her. Further, we have a right to hear her, and that asshole took that away from us.

I don’t care if you despise her. What happened here is wrong. Even if you disagree with her, stand up and say “I am Sarkeesian.”

And to the little shit who issued the threat: If you want to threaten her, you threaten all of us. And I guarantee you, she could probably kick your ass just fine, as the rest of us stand around and laugh. But, if she’d rather not get her hands dirty, I’ll volunteer to do it for her. (Although, I’d rather have a girl beat you up).

And if Sarkeesian wants to give her speech in Las Vegas, I will personally pay for a security detail to ensure her safety.

I am Sarkeesian.

I’ve never tried to coin a hashtag, but I’m going to today. Show Sarkeesian and those who would try to silence her that there are more of us than they could have imagined. #iamsarkeesian

35 Responses to I am Sarkeesian

  1. PBW says:

    I think she’s a narcissistic fool for thinking that a metal detector and/or pat-downs at the venue would have deterred the type of threat outlined in the communication. The threat wasn’t specifically against her or the particular auditorium where she would have been speaking. My question is why did she consider going forward for even one iota of a second given that the threat involved any number of innocent people spread out over an entire campus? Seems like she didn’t really care about anyone else’s safety if she could have gotten enough safety measures in place to protect _herself_.

    What’s being done to follow up on the origins of the threat? Again, not a lot of concern over anyone else being targeted, just the usual twitterfest of self-righteous outrage.

    Other than that, ya, she’s what women’s studies majors grow up to be. Ugh. Get a life, lady.

    • D506 says:

      So fucking what? She has the right to free speech whether she’s willing to die for it or not. She has the right to free speech whether she’s willing to let others die for it or not. She has the right to free speech, period.

      Our response to this shouldn’t be dependent on the quality of her character. Our response to this should only be and can only be dependent on the quality of our own character.

      The only thing your ‘question’ convinces me of is your unprincipled stance that rights only belong to those you feel deserve them. That tells me everything I need to know about your character.

    • david says:

      Completely. Missed. The. Point.
      Go back to Salon

  2. Threatening violence as censor is the domain of Nazi, Communists, and fundamentalist of whatever religion. No way we should ever let them win.I happen to like what she says — it makes me think and changes my views on things. However, this has **nothing** to do with my support her.

    #iamsarkeesian

  3. Not the point. She may be a narcissistic fool. She may be anything. You totally do not get the point.

    • PBW says:

      I do get the point, actually, but it’s hard to believe SHE gets the point.

      But then when you’re the sort of person who is okay putting other people unkowingly in harm’s way to make your point..well, whatever.

      This is what happens to godless, soulless people. You have your free speech, but no one’s listening anymore.

  4. jesschristensen says:

    And this, this absolutely dead on piece of editorial grace, is exactly what makes YOU a modern feminist. We’ll done sister.

  5. frank says:

    So the same people that want to silence voices of dissent against their movement no matter how civil

    And now you want to defend them? Dont get it really

    • Easy. I am better than them.

    • jesschristensen says:

      Feminist who wants to debate dissenters = totally valid.

      Feminist who wants to silence dissenters = fucking assshat.

      Masculinist who wants to debate dissenters = totally valid.

      Masculinist who wants to silence dissenters = fucking asshat.

      People who will stand up against asshats who want to silence views they don’t agree with = better people.

  6. olympiapress says:

    The #gamergate death threats started in earnest after gamers began getting major advertisers (such as Intel) to pull their ads from the offending websites. The movement, if such it is, was a model of calm reaction in the face of shrill. They donated to create an acceptable female character, they sent simple, respectful letters to corporations. They got results.

    Then, we are to believe, they grew frustrated and completely lost it, among other things buying into the narrative that women like Sarkeesian and Wu are as important as they claim.

    I’m not a gamer. I used to play Angry Birds for a while until the art went out of it..The last time I was particularly interested in the industry was circa 2000, when AMD and Intel were just about to break the gigahertz barrier and I was an avid investor.

    But I do know when something smells. We’ve seen panics before. cui bono.

  7. […] applauds friend Marc Randazza’s eloquent blog statement in response to GamerGate and death threats made against feminist filmmaker Anita Sarkeesian (and […]

  8. Charles Platt says:

    If I were more cynical, I would wonder if she wrote the threatening letter herself. It’s such a gift, after all. (a) The threat makes men look as bad as she says they are. (b) She now enjoys 100x the publicity her boring speech would have received otherwise. (c) She can stay home and do nothing.

  9. Kel says:

    Thank you.

    I do not care who you are, or what you want to talk about. You have the right to do so. I just have the right to think you’re an idiot if you’re unable to talk about it in a way that makes sense… and so does every other person on the planet. What we don’t have the right to do is attack each other over ideas. We don’t have the right to cause each other harm, and anyone who doesn’t get that has some serious issues.

    For every person asking for proof or saying “but…” You are missing the point. You don’t have to agree with what she’s saying. You don’t even have to listen to it. You just have to let her speak to the people who want to listen.

  10. So now, any anonymous person can threaten to blow up the place and no one will ever be able to speak in public again? Y’know, this affects everyone, don’t you? I say something non-pc on my tiny, undiscovered blog and I get, “I am unfollowing you, RIGHT NOW.” Signed Anonymous. My hits have gone from 1200 a day to 300. Why shouldn’t I fold my tent and go home like Anita did? “The Silent Majority”.

  11. I have to be honest, I don’t know what you’re trying to say.

    • Charles Platt says:

      Seems to me she’s saying that people who make a business of being controversial shouldn’t chicken out because of a death threat. If it was me, I would have placed a couple of snipers at vantage points in the auditorium, since apparently local law permits carrying weapons inside the place. Deterrence.

    • We are letting ourselves be intimidated. We are allowing it. If someone doesn’t want to hear what she says, why not just stay away from the venue?

  12. Betty Noir says:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” -Evelyn Hall (often misquoted as Voltaire)

  13. Ravious says:

    Great post. Wish I had something to add.

  14. Dago says:

    Marco,
    A couple of points:
    1. Sarkeesian has faked death threaths to herself before on Twitter. I didn’t spend many hours investigating this but the time I did spend convinces me she did fake it on twitter.

    2. Cui bono indeed.

    So that’s all I will say regarding your stance on this. Even if I agreed with you on the free speech absolutism (i do kinda, but with a twist) in your shoes I would do a whole bunch of due diligence on her before going all white knight on her behalf.

    Regarding free speech, my take is a bit primitive but makes for a more polite society. You have the right to say whatever you want, I fully agree with that. Where my viewpoint departs from the norm (but not from fairness) is that I also accept someone may well try to kill me for it. And in certain instances vice versa too. My classic example is the neighbourhood pedophile turning up at your front door to say that as soon as he gets a chance he will kidnap and rape your toddler daughter. It’s just words right? And yet…buh-bye neighbourhood pedo.

    • Well, I wouldn’t call myself a free speech absolutist. I’m close, but I don’t hug the margin.

      And, you use a threat as an example. That is outside the venn diagram. One circle is “sounds you can make with your voice.” The other circle is “Free Speech.” The circles do not overlap one hundred percent.

      • Dago says:

        Can you hand on heart say there is a moral difference between hate speech and a threat? If you say “I’m gonna rape your kid” at my front door at least I respect your courage. If you come to my front door collecting and prosletising for NAMBLA I’m supposed to say oh well…it’s just words…? Not in my world.

        • D506 says:

          I can “hand on heart” say that there is a moral difference between the two until you have a consistent and coherent definition of ‘hate speech’. Currently, none exists. I’m not sure one can exist.

          Any argument that classifies NAMBLA members at your door as hate speech can easily apply to evangelical Christians at mine telling me non-believers will go to hell, women should be subservient, etc. It can easily apply to civil rights activists of the past saying “people are people”. It can easily apply to both sides of people at my door advocating for or against gay marriage, trying to destroy Christianity or deprive others of their fundamental rights (depending on which side you’re talking to).

          Until someone can give me a definition of hate speech that doesn’t effectively give those in power (institutionally or socially) the ability to decide what hate speech means, I have no problem with laws that make saying “I’m going to rape your kid” illegal while ignoring those saying “Men should be able to have sex with underage children”. We have social consequences for the latter case.

  15. That was a rather refreshing look at the issue. Thank you, Marc.

    Hope you are doing well.

  16. Nick B says:

    Marc,

    I agree 99% with what you said, and it’s a really compelling defense of the right to speak. But I also feel like you lost a ton of credibility on that other 1%, namely, the invocation of the 2nd Amendment. Just like the First Amendment is not absolute in its protection of free speech–e.g., threats–the 2nd, even in the most absurd gun-totin’ reading of it, does not allow all people to carry all guns in all situations. So, this statement, “She seems to be blaming the venue for its unwillingness to violate the Second Amendment…” is absurd on its face. Even a State university can make a rule that you can’t bring guns to class, or an assembly, or student-teacher conferences. Right? Or do you believe that 2nd Amendment “rights” are limitless, while the 1st Amendment only protects some speech?

  17. I agree with you on your thoughts on free speech, I just want to make sure all the facts are out there on the gun issue.

    Utah state law allows a venue to be made a secure venue by following certain guidelines. They can then ban licensed and unlicensed carry. The provisions aren’t cheap. USU consulted with the FBI and determined the threat wasn’t credible, and thus the added expense wasn’t worth it. Sarkeesian then made her choice to not speak and whined about and pointed a crooked finger at the evil gun lobbies.

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