Saturday, April 23, 2016

Candace Owens of Social Autopsy vs Zoe Quinn et al

I'm not a gamer myself so I've been a latecomer to all this #Gamergate stuff. But it is absolutely fascinating. It's basically the online frontline of the culture wars between the forces of political correctness (SOCJUS) and the cultural libertarians (#Gamergate).

The characters are compelling, and the battles vicious. There's drama and hilarity in equal measure. It's like watching a satirical soapie unfold before your very eyes.

One of the most intriguing recent developments related to this saga has involved a startup called Social Autopsy. This was a well intentioned though flawed attempt to empower victims of online harassment. It quickly got a reputation as a doxxing platform that was extremely open to abuse (although I think that's probably a bit of an oversimplification).

In any case, the cultural libertarians were dark on it from the get-go. But what totally flummoxed just about everyone was that the heroine of the SOCJUS side Zoe Quinn did her utmost to bring it down, even personally contacting Social Autopsy's founder Candace Owens to try and talk her into dropping the whole project. (Around this time Quinn's fellow "anti-harassment champion" Randi Lee Harper admitted to getting the project nixed on Kickstarter.)

It was clearly high stakes for Quinn because she was emotional in the call. Ms Owens refused her request and was almost immediately hit with floods of racist, sexist online abuse -- all from "dudebros", natch. She quickly concluded that Quinn and Harper were orchestrating this campaign somehow. Owens' claims are very persuasive and there have been other developments that lend weight to her theory.

If they are true they confirm all the worst suspicions that many have long had about "social justice warriors" like Quinn and Harper. It seems they have created a mini-industry out of casting themselves as victims by lying about how much online abuse they receive, and have even been faking it against themselves. Now they could well be inflicting it on others too!

Rather than seeking the truth behind the all too plausible PC narrative pushed by Quinn and her followers most gaming journalists accept it as gospel and even do their utmost to perpetuate it. The MSM then follows suit. The whole thing is just jaw dropping in its scale and cynicism.

Quinn, Harper and their cohorts have hugely underestimated Owens, who comes across as a remarkably strong, principled and articulate young woman. Rather than folding under the pressure she's kept her cool and is standing firm against the bullies.

The story is clearly not over yet. I and many others will be glued to Reddit for updates about it. Regardless of how it all turns out it's certainly already got the makings of a must-see movie.

Speaking of which, Quinn has scored a book and film deal to tell her story. This will portray her as a brave feminist heroine cruelly assailed by the Patriarchy no doubt!

I just hope Ms Owens ultimately ends up scoring one as well. As well as this most recent battle, she also went through some tumultuous experiences almost a decade ago that have clearly done much to shape her character. If she does, there's no doubt in my mind that her account would make the more truthful, compelling, and ultimately entertaining project.

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