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The Left is At War Over One Last Conservative Cultural Bastion: Gaming.

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The Left is At War Over One Last Conservative Cultural Bastion: Gaming.

Postby smix » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:43 am

The Left is At War Over One Last Conservative Cultural Bastion: Gaming.
Human Events

URL: https://humanevents.com/2019/06/04/the- ... on-gaming/
Category: Politics
Published: June 4, 2019

Description: Many gamers know that that the fight to defend geek culture is another essential front in the culture war. It would be easy for conservatives to throw up their hands and say “Game Over,” let the left win and make gaming into another safe space.
Gamers are facing a new threat worse than any monster they’ve ever encountered. Legacy media companies are trying to ruin online gaming, claiming it can be a recruitment tool for right-wing terrorists. The battle isn’t over political correctness anymore. Microsoft Xbox Chief Phil Spencer just released new measures to make video gaming “promote and protect the safety of all” from the “toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry and misogyny.” The announcement, ostensibly written by Spencer, reads more like social justice stream of consciousness than corporate PR. The term “safe”/“safety” appeared no less than 17 times in the brief post. He plans to achieve this with a new Xbox Safety task force dubbed the “Defenders of Joy.” Orwell would be in awe of that one. The recently updated Xbox community standards had similar rhetoric warning that “if you’re looking for a place on the internet to be overly edgy or get that rise out of people, Xbox isn’t the place for you.” It didn’t explain what “overly edgy” means, guaranteeing players will be afraid to say anything that might offend the censors. Microsoft is far from alone in warning about the danger of in-game comments. The New York Times stooped as low as smearing cartoonish video games as recruitment tools for right-wing extremism. In its March 27 opinion piece “From Fortnite to Alt-Right,” Texas Tech University assistant professor Megan Condis condemned the video game community as a breeding ground for right-wing terrorists — or “white nationalist recruitment” in her phrasing. Blaming games and gamers is hardly new. But this is a drastic escalation from GamerGate to marking gamers as potential right-wing terrorists. Other outlets have followed suit. The Washington Post has condemned gamer culture as a source of “toxicity” including “racism,” “misogyny,” and “death threats.” NPR wrote an article claiming right-wing “hate groups” are using video games to recruit new members. The Guardian has written multiple pieces claiming not only that video game culture is fueling the rise of the extreme right, but needs to become as colonized by liberal politics as Hollywood. Condis argued that gaming “plays a special role” for “spreading the messages of white supremacist ideology” and the culture that surrounds it serves as “fertile soil for sowing the seeds of resentment that grow into hate.” In a later interview with Vox, she derided the right-wing gamers for wanting to enjoy life as “unapologetic white male[s]” and for wanting to not “worry about politics.” It is a curious phenomenon that liberal commentators openly express disdain for certain groups, and then express shock that those groups resent them. Game developer Mark Kern defended gamer culture in an exclusive interview with MRC TechWatch. “The backlash is not simply from the relatively small extreme political fringe or trolls, but the vast middle of gamers who simply don’t want to be castigated or beaten into supporting a game simply because it has a political viewpoint they are being told they MUST embrace… or else,” he explained. Kern produced demon-slaying epic Diablo 2 and was team lead on World of Warcraft. His latest project, Em-8er (pronounced “Ember”) pits space exploring frontiersmen against alien monsters. He has witnessed a non-politicized industry rapidly become another prized territory in the culture war. When asked about whether there’s a politically correct war on games, Kern warned that this is only the beginning, “The politically correct culture war is not limited to games. It’s being pushed into every aspect of our lives.”
MEDIA HYSTERIA
Media attacks against nerd culture have been a profitable business — all the way back to satanic panics about Dungeons & Dragons or blaming edgy pop culture for the Columbine shooting. This is different. The assaults on gaming are more about politics and winning elections. Kern noted that “the media is fully on the side of censorship and witch hunts.” Condis wrote in her Times piece that game companies should be held accountable for the rise of right-wing extremism. She called upon readers saying, “we can insist that the companies that control gaming spaces recognize that this community comes with extremism dangers…” Some liberals have a solution — drastically change what video games are about. The Guardian contributor and video game commentator Alfie Bown has written multiple pieces pressuring the video game industry to pursue a “revolutionary” agenda against conservative politics. In one such piece, “How video games are fueling the rise of the far right,” he lamented that “desires incubated by games lean far to the right.” He suggested that popular video games about adventure and conquest are based on “misogynistic” impulses that he said humans mistake for being natural. Bown made his argument clear in another piece titled “Video games are political. Here’s how they can be progressive.” He declared that “video games can and should be put to work for left wing politics.” The piece suggested that they now lean “towards conservative, patriarchal and imperialist values such as empire, dominion and conquering by force.” The left won’t tolerate the spread of conservative ideas in any part of pop culture. Washington Post published a similar article calling for radical change in the game industry, titled “Racism, misogyny, death threats: Why can’t the booming video-game industry curb toxicity?” It began with the tale of a young man who was reportedly harassed and received death threats after an exchange in the game Call of Duty. NPR’s article “Right-Wing Hate Groups Are Recruiting Video Gamers” began with a similarly harrowing tale and featured an anonymous father who saw his gamer son printing out neo-Nazi propaganda. The story turned it into a warning, noting, “online games — and the associated chat rooms, livestreams and other channels — have become one avenue for recruitment by right-wing extremist groups.” Cecilia D’Anastasio, senior reporter at games website Kotaku, compared the NPR report to “propaganda journalism” adding that inflating one scary and anonymous anecdote “into an entire movement” is “preposterous.” “When fear-mongering moves into spaces that require rigorous investigative reporting and large-scale interviewing, it stumbles into the danger zone of modern journalism: ‘This wild, but unlikely thing is happening, widely. Please panic.’” Down in the comments section she lamented, “It’s frustrating as a reporter who covers games to see mainstream publications, even ones I love, covering the gaming community with significantly lower reporting standards.” She later added that “decades’ worth of parental fear-mongering-turned-journalism,” has “helped contribute to this lowered reporting standard.” Video games, just like any other aspect of culture, have been dragged unceremoniously into the political tug-of-war that is the battle for American culture. Now that liberals are pushing for the industry to move leftward from the outside, conservatives and even non-political people are endangered in the industry.
BLACKLISTS AND BIASES
Liberals jealously guard their control of tech and entertainment, often excluding the few conservatives and free thinkers who dare to enter the industry. Kern lamented the politically correct corporate culture that exists in game companies and explained how “talking about the wrong political candidate can get you ostracized.” He described an incident where an employee was reported to Human Resources for “bringing a bag of Chick-fil-A to work as takeout.” The bag’s presence was considered “dangerous, bigoted and offensive,” making the other employee feel “uncomfortable.” He also explained that modern culture wars are magnified by viral social media. “Today the penalty for even the smallest perceived slight or offense can lead to having your game or book pulled from the market, and your job prospects eliminated, your career dead.” He added that even coming to the defense of an outcast, or whoever says that their treatment is too harsh, puts careers at risk of being “added to the pyre of bodies sacrificed in the faux outrage war.” Niche Gamer’s Sophia Narwitz covered one such an incredible example, when left-leaning journalist Blake Harris was ostracized for defending a conservative entrepreneur. Harris wrote that virtual-reality pioneer Palmer Luckey was falsely accused of financially supporting a racist army of trolls to hack the election. All Luckey had done was help pay for an anti-Hillary billboard during the 2016 campaign which read “too big to jail.” According to the book, Harris alleged that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg forced Luckey to lie about who he was voting for and ghostwrote his public apology. Niche Gamer wrote that, if Harris’ shocking account is true, “The CEO of a tech company with billions of users potentially wrote an apology for an employee whom he told to lie about who he planned to vote for.” There have been other more recent incidents. Tim Soret’s Blade Runner-influenced cyberpunk game The Last Night wowed audiences in 2017… until the liberal gaming media blacklisted him. That caused investors to leave over some 2014 posts he made critiquing radical feminism. Microsoft released a public statement hanging him out to dry, saying they don’t “support comments that fail to reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Another talented game developer claimed in March that he faced nothing but political ideology questions at a game industry job interview. The developer (who withheld his name) lamented via tweet how “not a good culture fit” is the new way companies can slyly discriminate against conservatives. But even this state of affairs is not liberal enough for some commentators. The Guardian had another recent piece, “Are video games a blindspot in the cultural resistance to Trump?” It lamented that while social justice advocacy has colonized many corners of entertainment such as anti-American shows like “Dear White People” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” it has not monopolized gaming. “The US games industry is neither as centralized nor as left-leaning as Hollywood, after all. And if almost half of the US electorate voted for Trump, that’s a lot of potential buyers to alienate.” As Kern warned, no art is safe from politically correct scrutiny, not even those that bring in reliable profit, “the mantra carried by proponents of policing art is that there are no safe harbors.”
FREE THINKING GAMERS
The video game industry’s scope and influence is absolutely massive — from a numbers perspective far more than movies. NPR cited Pew Research Center, noting, “‘Almost every teen plays video games — 97 percent of boys’ and ‘83 percent of girls.’” And as an industry whose primary consumers are youth who will one day inherit American politics, it’s no surprise that political ideologues are now attempting to control it. As Bown’s Guardian articles said, even a field as liberal as Big Tech still is forced by consumer demand to make games featuring the same heroic narratives that have inspired people, particularly young men, since ancient times. The Red Dead Redemption series, even in America’s current PC culture, glorified grizzled cowboys of the American West. Assassin’s Creed, features a time-traveling lineage of hitmen from ancient Greece to the Golden Age of Piracy. Players do not win games like Fortnite based upon victimhood status. They win by skill alone. The fight for gaming culture is a huge opportunity for conservatives. Bown also condemned Steven Spielberg’s 2018 film Ready Player One, which, perhaps inadvertently, made a convincing case for conservatives to defend gamers. The film is about a worldwide virtual reality game where a band of freedom loving youths team up to save this “Oasis” from a soulless, power-hungry corporation. Conservatives battling to protect their online groups and speech from Big Tech censorship may find this scenario uncannily familiar. Bown condemned the film as an alt-right fantasy (despite the fact that the heroes are a variety of ethnicities), where a “team of libertarians” who are “decidedly right-wing” stop the “corporate domination” of their shared virtual world. Many gamers know that that the fight to defend geek culture is another essential front in the culture war. It would be easy for conservatives to throw up their hands and say “Game Over,” let the left win and make gaming into another safe space. Gaming has at its core always been about overcoming impossible odds, slaying monsters, and defending kingdoms from invasion. The latest main quest for all gamers is to take back society itself.
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Who pressured WHO to put gaming on a par with drug addiction to help silence political dissent? Oh hi there, China

Postby smix » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:25 am

Who pressured WHO to put gaming on a par with drug addiction to help silence political dissent? Oh hi there, China
The Register

URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/03/2 ... ensorship/
Category: Politics
Published: March 21, 2019

Description: Devs point finger at Beijing for framing pastime as an illness – and how the West could follow
At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, representatives of the International Game Developer Association (IGDA) warned that the World Health Organization (WHO) decision to treat computer gaming as a disorder on par with gambling and drug addiction represents a threat to free speech protections. Daniel Greenberg, the IGDA's chairman for the Committee on Anti-Censorship and Social Issues, said that video game addiction has replaced video game violence as a rationale for censorship. In 2011, he explained, the US Supreme Court upheld an appellate court ruling striking down a California law that banned the sale of some violent video games to children without parental consent because it violated the right to free speech. The case represented a victory for the video game industry and those opposed to censorship. That battle is being re-fought, according to Greenberg, under the pretense of protecting people from mental trauma instead of violence. "The censors who were coming after video games for violence lost in the Supreme Court," he said. "It was a massive loss for them. All their studies [claiming violent video games cause violent behavior] were rejected."
If at first you don't succeed
For a time after the ruling, attempts to censor games stalled, but the idea of gaming addiction has revived the issue. Last year, the WHO recognized excessive video gaming as legitimate health concern by including "gaming disorder" in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. "They're trying to take games out of the classification of compulsions, like shopping or a tendency to overwork [or overeat], and put them into the realm of drug addiction ... and gambling," Greenberg said. "If the APA [American Psychiatric Association] follows suit, then it's going to be a whole new ballgame legally, in the US and around the world." Why did WHO classify gaming as disorder last year? Greenberg suggested China may have pushed WHO toward that decision to have another tool to crack down on political dissent. "They [WHO] have said there was some pressure they got from some Asian countries to do it," explained Greenberg. "One theory is that one of these countries was China which has a vested interest in being able to lock up a lot of young kids who are agitating against the government and being able to stamp them as gaming addicts and send them to a rehabilitation camp for gaming." It should also be said that the IGDA has a vested interest in shielding game developers from regulation. During the discussion, Brandon Huffman, general counsel for the IGDA and the founder of Odin Law and Media, cautioned that the Supreme Court decision protecting video games from censorship is not as strong as it may seem. Though the decision was 7-2, really only five of the justices fully supported it. Two of them of them qualified their support by noting that future circumstances may require revisiting the decision, he said. As Huffman described the situation, courts may be more willing to allow censorship if done in the name of mental health. "If it's about addiction, maybe there's a stronger compelling government interest than there was with violence," he said.
Middle Kingdom machinations
A panelist affiliated with the IGDA who identified herself as Monica (her badge bore a Chinese name we'll omit to protect her from nationalist harassment) and a native of China said the government there is focused on video games because they're interactive and thus hard to control. "A lot of video games, they focus on the idea of taking action to challenge authority, which is the kind of mindset that the Chinese government is trying very hard not to put in any Chinese citizen," she said. She recounted how a cousin when he was fifteen was sent to a rehabilitation camp where he was punished physically and mentally for playing too much World of Warcraft. Monica warned that certain words like freedom, harmony, society and revolution, "these words that I grew up hearing no longer exist [in public discussions in China]." Chinese authorities, she said, are "trying to extend their power so you guys don't have the vocabulary either." She argues that Chinese authorities want to remove politically sensitive terms from games so no one can agitate for change. American game companies comply, she said, because they want to make money in China. "But there's a tradeoff," she said. "As a video game developer, it's your choice to give up some profit [in China] or follow the rules and spread the censorship claw around the globe." Toward the end of the discussion, Huffman summarized Monica's argument thus: "It appears from the macro level that the Chinese government may be trying to use gaming addiction as a way to impose censorship not just in China but through economic power throughout the world." Despite worries that gaming addiction represents a Trojan horse for censorship, those participating in the discussion – a group that included people at game and cloud companies, industry groups, government organizations, researchers, journalists, and students – acknowledged that the game industry has to engage on these issues because people do play games obsessively, even to the detriment of their health.
But games might actually help
A researcher working to get a game to treat ADHD approved by the US Food and Drug Administration observed that if we allow that games can change behavior for the better, we can't ignore the possibility they might be able to have the opposite effect. Greenberg acknowledged that the industry has to consider these issues, but he suggested parents have to take responsibility for excessive game playing. "If parents won't be parents, it's not incumbent on other industries to be parents for them, but it is important for all industries to take their responsibilities seriously," he said. It's important. It just doesn't happen as often as it should.
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