I’m the biggest Jurassic Park fan, like, ever. Evidence:

  • I snuck a copy of the novel into my 8th grade science textbook so I could read it in class, a full year before the film came out. My teacher, who normally didn’t like me much, allowed it because it was scientific.
  • My first marching band parade song was the Jurassic Park theme.
  • The Jurassic Park soundtrack was the 2nd CD I ever purchased, and one of the few I still own.
  • I liked The Lost World. I even liked Jurassic Park 3.
  • My wife and I went to the 20th Anniversary showing of Jurassic Park in 3D for date night. Also: I have a very understanding wife.

That being said, I have severe misgivings about Jurassic World. Well, one severe misgiving.

There’s been one incredible teaser, one brand-new trailer, and this clip of a scene from the movie. Go ahead and watch.

Chris Pratt, the sensible dino-training guy, is explaining to Bryce Dallas Howard, the stand in for the questionable capitalist ethics of John Hammond in the first film (she’s even dressed in all white), why he respects the dinosaurs and she doesn’t, even though she’s come to him for help consulting on a new project.

Pratt makes a couple of jokes clearly written for him: that kind of aww shucks humor that made his turns in Parks and Rec and Guardians of the Galaxy such fun.

But there’s a decidedly darker undertone here, and I wonder if the largely male writing staff even noticed (there’s only one female writer credited to the script- Amanda Silver). Pratt’s character, rather than entering a professional debate with Howard’s character, consistently returns to the subjects of dating and sex. It’s a subtle but powerful exertion of male privilege and power over a woman in a professional environment, and it made me extremely uncomfortable the first time I saw it.

The scene in the recent trailer, where Pratt’s character makes a sex joke to Howard’s, certainly didn’t help to diminish that fear.

I used to like and respect Michael Crichton until I realized that, while the world changed around him, he did not. He was an ardent denier of climate change, and in one particularly foul episode before he passed away, cast a journalist critical of his writing as a pedophile in one of his books.

As much as I love Jurassic Park, I had hoped that the portrayal of workplace gender dynamics in Jurassic World might be more firmly rooted in the mid-2010s rather than the late 80s, early 90s in which the novel was originally written. I know Pratt’s character is the hero. I want to root for him, not root for him in spite of him being a sexist asshole.

I certainly hope I’m wrong and these are isolated incidents they happened to cherry-pick for the trailer, and that the film’s privilege is more advanced than its initially portrayed to be.

I suspect, however, I’m going to be disappointed. I hate being right all the time.

When I applied for a full ride scholarship my senior year of high school, my grades were just good enough to squeak in under the door, Indiana Jones-style. I knew that if I had any chance of getting that scholarship, I’d need some serious voodoo. And as much as I’d love to say what happened next occurred by design, I didn’t realize the significance of it until later.

I asked one of the members of my local writer’s group to write a recommendation letter. It was fantastic. I wish I still had a copy of it, because it’s a perfect model for how to recommend someone for something. It extolled the virtues of a young writer who screwed around in school but was a good kid, and by gosh give him a chance because he would be an asset to your school—and here’s exactly why.

I got the scholarship, and in retrospect, that letter probably had a lot to do with that outcome.

Recommendation letters are one of the most important things you can do for someone else. If you’re asked to write one—and an increasing number of us are, thanks to LinkedIn—I wanted to share a few tips I’ve picked up from conversations with HR people and hiring managers over the years (and my own experiences hiring people) to help the person you’re recommending get the job they want.

  1. Be specific. Talking about how great someone is helps, but being specific is what a hiring manager is looking for. If you know what the role entails, use that language. Like a review, mention actions and results as much as is feasible. “Jen is a wizard with data. She pulls and analyzes specific requests before the deadline, and her summaries are always insightful and correct Because of Jen’s analysis, our team saved thousands of dollars in one quarter alone.”
  2. Talk about what it’s like to work with this person. This may come as a surprise, but the biggest thing a hiring manager looks for in a new hire isn’t skills or expertise, it’s team compatibility. We assume when someone’s resume lands on our desks that they’ve been vetted and can do the job. The question is, how well do they mesh with the team? We usually have just a couple of hours—a half-day if we’re lucky—to make a decision about someone we’ll likely work with for years. If we have more information, great. “Jen works hard and plays hard. She pitches in to get things done with the rest of the team, but isn’t afraid to suggest a lunch out or start a Nerf gun fight if it looks like the team needs a few minutes. She led our office’s ‘games on Friday’ initiative, introducing us all to Ticket to Ride.”
  3. Actually say whether you’d recommend this person or not, and for what kind of role. The purpose of a recommendation letter is to, well, recommend that person. If you’ve ever been a phone reference for someone, the last question is typically “would you recommend Jen for this role.” So if you’re writing a recommendation letter, don’t hold back on this. “Jen was a valued member of our team for five years. She has a bright career ahead of her, and I would hire her back in a heartbeat if we had a role here for her. I recommend her without hesitation; the team that Jen joins will be far better for it.”
  4. Don’t overdo it. Turning your friend into Superman may seem tempting, but no hiring manager is going to believe she can do everything. Keep it realistic. No need to call out negative traits, but don’t brag like you’re writing a Christmas letter about your grandkids’
  5. Keep it short, but don’t skimp. 3 paragraphs is pushing it, but don’t go lower than 2. Remember that the people reading your recommendation are scanning, which is why you slap a few key words in there. Don’t waste their time but don’t short-change the person you’re recommending either.

And now that big old call for engagement: if I missed something, by all means let me know!

Instead of some half-baked April Fools joke, I offer you, in no particular order, a handful of my favorite fake Twitter accounts.

  • Bored Elon Musk. What happens when one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the world has too much free time?
  • Nihilist Arby’s. If you think misanthropy and jokes about the meaninglessness of life are funny, you’re going to love Nihilist Arby’s.
  • Not Burlington Coats. The original. I wish they updated more often.
  • Strahd Von Zarovich. When a darklord of Ravenloft is on Twitter, anything can happen!
  • Kim Kierkegaard. Mash-up of actual quotes from Kim Kardashian and Soren Kierkegaard.
  • i ain’t Bill Nye. What if the Science Guy was a foul-mouthed stoner?

Modernist poet TS Eliot joins forces with pulp horror writer HP Lovecraft to solve a mystery spanning two continents, uniting the existential terror of post-WWI Europe with the unknowable darkness of post-WWI America.

Something remarkable happened this week: a Google PR representative officially responded to a reporter’s query with an animated GIF. For people who spend any amount of time online, or people under the age of 25, it shouldn’t sound that remarkable. This kind of communication happens all the time. Respond to a forum thread with an image. Reply to a Facebook post with a meme. Snapchat a quick image and text back to your friend.

Referential communication
Computers, cellphones, and the Internet have opened an entirely new kind of communication, where words are replaced with images or videos. Researcher danah boyd, who has spent years gathering data on the online activities of tweens and teens, pegged this trend in her recent book It’s Complicated. She refers to it as “referential communication,” where teens communicate not entirely with words, but with images that reference past events. A selfie with a teen throwing a fake gang sign sent to her friends may reference a fun night out, and begin a conversation filled with similar references known only to that group of people.

My generation started this digital trend when we first had the ability to quickly share images and animated GIFs. It became such a popular way to communicate ideas that several successful businesses began to take advantage of it, including image-sharing site imgur and meme monster I Can Haz Cheezburger. It’s transitional communication for my generaiton; we’re perfectly comfortable using nothing but text (and may even see the shift as a threat to what we find comfortable.) For my teenaged daughter, she’s never known another kind of online communication. And as her generation grows older and the technology that enables this kind of communication becomes more accessible, it will only become more mainstream. Google replying with a GIF is only the beginning.

From modern to po-mo and back again
Referential communication is nothing new. It’s the foundation of an entire artistic movement (modernism), whose seminal literary works The Waste Land and Ulysses are full of references to everything from popular music of the day to ancient philosophical and religious texts. To fully understand The Waste Land, you need thorough annotations to explain the references—or to have been a member of TS Eliot’s literary circle in 1920s London. Unless you read ancient Latin and Greek, part of the poem’s meaning is already lost before you get to the dedication.

Groups and communities use this kind of referential communications all the time. It’s both shorthand for communicating a complex concept, and a way to reinforce group memory and consciousness. Friends will sit around and play “remember that time when.” A preacher simply mentions a story from the Bible, and everyone in the audience familiar with the story knows and understands the reference. One of the oldest English language poems, Beowulf, is full of references to people and events that its audiences would understand—and several instances where characters refer to stories themselves to communicate complex ideas. The popularity of computers and the Internet and apps like Snapchat are only enabling what we already do, albeit in a new way.

Darmok and Jalad
In one of the best Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes ever written, Captain Picard is trapped on a planet without his universal translator, attempting to communicate with an alien race while evading a dangerous animal. The alien seems capable only of speaking in odd statements that seem to be meaningless: “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.” [UPDATE: the universal translator WAS working, it was just useless. Thanks Erik!]

Ian Bogost wrote a fantastic, in-depth summary of the episode which you should absolutely read if you’re interested in it. For the sake of brevity, allow me to spoil the end for you: the alien race communicated entirely in referential language (“metaphors” in the show) that evoke complex ideas by citing historical events in that race’s past. The eponymous Tarmok and Jalad at Tanagra is a reference to two different people forced to work together to solve a problem—which Picard and the alien captain eventually manage.

The press, when Google replied with a GIF
Before Google replied with a GIF, I caught this timely tweet from an extremely prescient woman:

Which got me thinking: the technology that enables us to communicate referentially is bringing us closer to Darmok and Jalad. We’re no longer constrained by words and stories—images, sounds, videos, music, comics, games, are all at our disposal to craft a story.

The future of art
Modernist poetry, online hypertexts, and postmodern novels like House of Leaves were only precursors to what we can do with the ability to bring all these forms of referential communication to bear. It may not be someone of my generation, but I’m absolutely certain that someone in my daughter’s generation will create the first work of art entirely made up of GIFs, movies, and comics—all referential language to craft a complete story. They may have already, a fleeting thing caught in Snapchat that no one else except a group of teens will have experienced.

This is not Shaka, when the walls fell. This is Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in May. Something amazing is about to happen. And I look forward to experiencing it.

Update: Not three days after I write this post, my daughter sends me a link (through text message, natch) to a new film made by MTV, aimed at her generation. A horror film where a character commits suicide after a video of her drunk and passed out at a party is posted online and passed around her school. Told, it appears, entirely through Skype videoconferencing, text/iMessage, YouTube videos, and animated GIFs.

The future is here folks.

I Read 50 Shades of Grey, and I Liked It

Posted: February 12, 2015 in books, movies, sex
Tags: , ,

Warning: this post contains frank and (mostly) adult conversations about sex.

Warning 2: Mom, I know you read my blog. I apologize in advance.

Confession: I read 50 Shades of Grey. And I liked it.

The prose gave me shivers, and not in a good way. It’s clunky and offensive to those of us who have tried to make a living as writers. Some of the turns of phrase are so godawful that you can’t help but laugh out loud.

The characters are unbelievable. The guy is unrealistically rich and successful, in his mid-20s, and has a perfectly-carved body while still finding time to fly various aircraft and play piano. The woman is a recent college grad who doesn’t know how to use smartphones, the Internet, and is still a virgin who has never had a relationship despite every man around her thinking she’s attractive.

The plot isn’t much better. Much has already been said about a relationship that, at its best, is an unhealthy depiction of BDSM. At its worst, it’s borderline abusive. The guy is a stalker, and the woman not only continues the relationship (at first), she’s so intrigued by what amounts to a heavily-damaged near-sociopath, she crosses boundaries she shouldn’t be comfortable crossing.

Now, let’s talk about 50 Shades of Grey.

That? No, that was my summary of any number of hundreds of pieces of written erotica – smut, word porn, whatever – on a website devoted to such work.

Before the Internet, it would simply be pornography, or erotica if we’re being kind. Some famous authors have tried their hand at it: Anne Rice’s Beauty series has scenes (and prose) that makes the BDSM and unhealthy relationships in 50 Shades look like a Golden Book. Another of her BDSM tomes was turned into a movie almost 20 years ago, starring Rosie O’Donnell, among others.

So why the hue and cry over 50 Shades?

It’s popular. It took something that has remained hidden, even with authors like Anne Rice tackling it, and turned it into something in the national (or international) consciousness. And, I suspect, the patriarchy feels threatened by its existence. A good portion of the criticism is reinforcing an incredibly (cis)-male-centric view of what pornography should be, and what women “should” like.

Someone tacked the pejorative label “mommy porn” onto 50 Shades. Porn it may be, and yes it’s aimed at women, but the use of this label reveals the larger cultural problem accepting a mass-market fantasy aimed at women that isn’t Bridget Jones’ Diary.

The main character is an American college student as imagined by a British housewife in her mid-40s. Christian Grey is the epitome of some cis-female fantasies: he’s wealthy, good-looking, commanding. Their relationship, if taken by any sort of normal standards, would be, to use a technical term, “extremely fucked up.”

But does anyone out there read 50 Shades of Grey and think “hey, this is something that could realistically happen?”

Let’s apply that question to any of the other kinds of porn, smut, or erotica that exist out there. Does anyone think the relationships portrayed in “Cum-Guzzling Gutter Sluts 3” are healthy? Does any woman think the titular Debbie of Debbie Does Dallas is someone they should feel threatened by? Does any man look at a guy in “Logjammin’” and think anything other than “that’s a proxy for me to be excited and aroused?” Did reading Beauty as a 15 year old (sorry mom!) turn me into a sociopathic abuser of women?

No. So why, all of a sudden, are we freaking out over 50 Shades?

I suspect it’s for the same reason I liked it despite the prose, unrealistic characters, and abusive relationship (and tired “woman who fixes the man” plot): because it’s popular, it’s opened dialogue, and it exists to do one thing–intrigue and turn people on.

What awful, awful, awful smut!

It’s erotica. It’s porn. And it’s super-successful and it’s made the kind of money I can only dream of when writing about zombie-killing cowboys. It threatens cultural norms, and some of its largest detractors are, oddly enough, women.

50 Shades is also an opportunity to learn something about ourselves and our significant others. Does this turn me on? Why? Is there something here I can take away and put into practice in my own sex life?

50 Shades isn’t supposed to be great art. Or even bad art. It’s pornography. We either condemn it with the rest of pornography, or we use it as an opportunity for dialogue and conversation.

Who knows. You might learn something new.

And fun.

One of my fondest early childhood memories was taking walks down Upper Gilchrist Road in the Ohio countryside with my mother. She was a science teacher, and would explain all kinds of things to me: different flowers and plants, rocks, the animals (cows, if memory serves). Thirty-some-odd years later, most of that is just impressions. I have no idea how much of that is real memory, but I can say without a doubt that she helped spark in me a feeling of scientific inquiry: ask questions about the world. Find out how it works. Don’t take anything for granted.

As I grew up, I applied that to many different things, from my love of space and astronomy to my fascination with the bottom of the ocean. I’d pour over National Geographic and Odyssey magazines. Space exploration always had a special place in my heart. I don’t know why exactly – maybe it was the images Voyager 2 beamed back during my formative years, the memory of the Challenger disaster, or early (and frequent) exposure to the Roddenberry-esque positive future on Star Trek.

I had a poster of all nine (at the time) planets on my wall, and used to imagine what it would be like to visit them.

I woke up early in the morning to see Halley’s Comet through a pair of binoculars.

I dragged my college friends to the middle of a field to look at Jupiter and its moons, or Saturn and Titan, through my telescope.

I looked up and dreamed. I still do.

As a dear friend recently reminded me, there is plenty more scientific exploration beyond space, although my heart will always be in the stars. There are remarkable advances occurring in neuroscience and psychology, particle physics, biology and chemistry, and medical science that will continue to change the way we (people) see ourselves and the world around us.

We keep looking at those flowers and rocks and cows and asking why and how.

One of the beautiful things about sciences is that discoveries can inspire the next generation of astronomers and biologists (or artists and poets) to look up to the sky and dream. Whether it’s landing on the surface of a comet, discovering something new about the human mind, mapping the world of subatomic particles, or curing a deadly disease, a kid out there will look at that accomplishment and think: awesome. 

And that kid will keep asking why and how.

And someday, that kid’s going to grow up and look at a possibility–scientific or artistic–and ask an even more important question:

Why not.

The popular interpretation of Lord of the Rings as a World War II metaphor isn’t entirely wrong. You’ve got big nasty conquering armies who want to bathe the world in darkness, epic battles, and deus ex machina escapes by the good guys—pretty much WW2. But I’ve always seen something else, especially in Peter Jackson’s film versions of the stories—Frodo’s journey, a more personal battle against the lure of the Ring. It could be the temptation of evil, but I offer an alternative explanation—a battle against mental illness.It’s something I experienced firsthand several years ago, and now that I’m watching a similar battle play out with a loved one, this interpretation seems even more relevant.

Frodo is given the Ring (the mental illness) by his uncle as part of his “inheritance,” a “gift” from someone who struggles to get rid of it. Mental illness is often caused or triggered both by genetic (family) predispositions to the disease along with environmental factors. The cliché of a psychologist asking about the father and mother exists for a reason: the mental patterns created in childhood and adolescence can directly lead to mental illness in our teenaged and adult years.

Ring01

Frodo knows the Ring should be destroyed, and sets off with his friends to accomplish this task. It’s constantly luring him and calling to him to use it, and he gives in as often as not. When he does on Weathertop, the Ringwraith stabs him and nearly kills him. Even after he’s healed, he will carry the scars of the wound for the rest of his life. So too does mental illness lead its sufferers to making awful, self-destructive choices that often leave scars long after the wounds (physical or mental) have healed.

Fast-forward to the Two Towers and Return of the King, when Frodo meets up with Gollum. Gollum is the person who never dealt with or escaped from his illness: he still fights it, even at Frodo’s insistence, but can never overcome it. The scene with Gollum talking to himself by the pool at night, with the “good” Gollum telling the “evil” Gollum to go away, and the “evil” Gollum saying “you need me—I’ll be back”—always struck me as a perfect interpretation of struggling with my own depressive voice. Confession: this scene has brought me to tears more than once because it so perfectly matches how that conversation goes in my head.

smeagol-gollum

And now that I see someone struggling with another inner voice that’s constantly telling this person how awful he or she is, and how easy it is to give in to the self-destructive behavior that voice is telling this person to do, this scene has taken on an even more poignant meaning for me.

The fight against that voice is always an internal one, and the tragedy of mental illness is that, like Sam, the only thing friends and family members can do is support the person struggling with the Ring. We can never carry it for our Frodos. Sometimes we can carry our Frodos, but the Ring is theirs alone. We have to watch as our Frodos struggle with making that choice, even on the ledge inside Mount Doom, when the Ring’s extinction burst will be strongest. We can talk, support, and encourage, but ultimately the choice to cast the Ring into the fire is theirs and theirs alone.

And, like Frodo, even if they make the choice, they will be forever changed by the struggle to get to that ledge. They’ll be older, scarred, and have put their lives on hold for the journey to Mordor. And all we can do is ride the eagles back home with them and be there as they recover.

Then, even if our Rings are discarded, the illness can still come back. Imagine if every few months (or years) Frodo found the Ring sitting by the fire again, and had to go on a shorter (or longer) quest to ditch it. Sometimes the quest never ends, even if Sam is ready to go with him a second, third, or tenth time.

The good news is that from my personal experience it is possible to toss that Ring into Mount Doom and be rid of it, and when it comes back, you already know the way and have the tools you need at your disposal so the quest can be easier the next time around.

A small consolation, but an important one.

Frodo and SamThis time, I am not Frodo. I am Sam. Frodo is someone I love, and someone else I love is Sam again, having already done Sam once before.

It’s tough being Frodo, and it’s tough being Sam.

But guess what: I’ll be with you until the end, Frodo.

A Friend Died This Morning

Posted: September 16, 2014 in friends

A friend of mine died this morning. Yesterday, he was hit by a car while he was walking his dog in his neighborhood. He suffered severe head injuries, was flown to Harborview in Seattle, and passed away this morning.

Kyle was the only client I’ve ever had, in ten-plus years of agency life, who I wanted to carry on a friendship with after our professional need to connect ended. We kept in touch after I moved to London and as he navigated through Microsoft, and after I returned, we met every month or two for coffee and chat. Comics, movies, jobs. He gave me some great advice before Zoe moved up here about being a father. He mentored me (even when he didn’t realize it) about my own career, and was waiting enthusiastically to read my novel.

I was supposed to meet him for coffee this Friday at 8am.

Kyle always had an easy laugh; he loved life, loved his family, and loved his friends. He made Christmas mix CDs for people every year and mailed them, free of charge, to anyone who wanted one. His posting that track list on Facebook was one way to know it was the holidays.

He and I differed in political ideology, but he wasn’t the kind of person to paint anyone with broad strokes; he was respectful and was a constant reminder that people could have vastly different opinions but still be amazing human beings you’d want to have a beer with.

The world lost a good person far too soon. My friend, I wish you could see the outpouring of affection and support from all the people’s lives you’ve touched in your time here. It’s like one of your favorite movies – you know which one. The world is a better place for you having been in it, and your positivity and sense of humor had a profound effect on everyone around you.

You will be missed, my friend. Thank you for everything.

I’ll keep that coffee date and grab you a cup.

Trigger warnings: sexism, and some discussion of rape and suicide.

There’s an important conversation happening in the gaming community right now. I won’t recap it here: there are plenty of other sites that can give you a rundown on “Gamers Gate” (I refuse to use the hashtag).

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve watched people I used to respect stand up for those who would silence women who continue to point out ongoing sexism and gender bias in the games industry, and among the larger gaming community. I’ve seen celebrities I used to admire claim that these women are simply blowing things out of proportion, or aren’t representing both sides equally.

And yet, reading through the vast IRC logs from 4chan where it’s becoming increasingly obvious that a handful of people decided to organize a classic FUD campaign disguised as “debate” and fair and balanced representation, there’s no desire for equality. There’s so much shouting down these women and absolutely zero listening to their complaints and acknowledging that this gender bias still exists.

So let me say a few things, unequivocally and without explanation.

Becoming the father of a 16-year-old girl overnight opens your eyes to the young age at which sexism and gender bias, harassment and bullshit that women in our society (not just the games industry) deal with on a daily basis. #YesAllWomen indeed.

Games may have once been the refuge for those of us who suffered at the hands of the heteronormative jock-types in high school, but they’ve now become mainstream. We won! This is something to celebrate, not a reason to become insular and exclusive just because we were picked on and found refuge here.

Gamers (and yes, I won’t drop that terminology quite yet), by their nature, should be inclusive. Why would we ever want to exclude people excited by our hobby? There is no good reason to ever exclude anyone from games, or to create a hostile environment for anyone.

If you’re using the term “social justice warrior” as an insult, you should seriously rethink your position. Name me one time in American history when someone working for social justice has been on the wrong side of a social issue.

When a woman says that gamer culture is hostile, our first reactions shouldn’t be any of the following:

  • “But I”m not!” – It doesn’t matter if you are or not. This isn’t about you, dipshit, it’s about her and how she feels.
  • “This should be a safe place for men to act like we want.” No, it should be a safe place for everyone to do something they like.
  • “But what I like is to be a gamerbro, so this is a double standard if I have to change!” Wrong. If what you really want is to be a sexist asshole, then go do it with other people  who feel the same way and leave gaming behind you. If you enjoy something at the expense of other people’s feelings, there is something wrong with you. Seek professional help.

A woman’s sex life is her own fucking business. Implying that a woman is somehow worth less because she had consensual sex with several partners is slut-shaming, pure and simple. Implying that a woman who has consensual sex with several partners devalues her in any way reinforces gender bias and sexism. Period.

The 4chan IRC logs show conversations where this very small group of people talk about how they wish the woman at the center of this controversy would simply kill herself. They talk about emailing naked pictures of her to friends and family. They talk about raping her, and how they wish someone else would rape her.

Another blogger wrote that this is not what debate looks like. When you’re engaged in an intellectual conversation, if this is what you post, you’ve already lost, because it’s not about intellectualism at all. It’s about your inability to see the inherent sexism in what you’re doing (or, worst-case scenario, you’re embracing it.)

Cherry-picking posts from around the Internet showing people reacting to these statements by saying “these people should be locked up!” or “burn the place down” does not indicate a double-standard on the part of the larger community.

When ISIS beheads a journalist, it’s normal for people who don’t think such an act is OK to say “holy fuck, these guys are animals and should be stopped, if that means locking them up and killing them.”

The 4chan logs show gaming’s equivalent of ISIS cutting a journalist’s head off.

It’s OK to call someone out for being a sociopathic asshole for wishing someone would kill herself, or wishing she would be raped. That seems like a natural reaction, whether it’s some 4channer or some ISIS militant.

Communities have both the right and the responsibility to dictate minimum standards of conduct within their communities. For the gaming community, that means not slut-shaming women, ending sexism and gender bias, and no longer tolerating those who would take pleasure in a person being raped or committing suicide.

The saddest part of this whole debacle has been how successful the FUD campaign has been in convincing some otherwise reasonable people that there is something to debate here, or pretending that the 4chan side isn’t about gender bias and sexism. Or, if you’d like, in revealing that what appear to be otherwise reasonable people are simply looking for a way to continue a certain kind of bias (or reinforcing their own privilege).

You want this to be about debate? Fine. Stop defending this pocket of assholes.

Stop defending, period.

Start listening.