Matt Forney
Spread the Word!
leaked

How GamerGate Leaked Into My Real Life

This is a guest post by Kid Strangelove. Kid originally published this article at his own blog, but he deleted the site a while ago so he could focus on other projects. He asked me if I’d be willing to re-post some of his articles on my blog and I said yes.

If you haven’t heard about GamerGate at this point, then you are probably in a self-imposed exile from news, media, and gaming, and I commend your discipline.

leaked

“What the hell is GamerGate? I’m over here doing monk shit.”

But for the rest of us, it’s been pretty clear: the battle lines have been drawn, the opinions have been stated, the shills have been shilling, and the big Internet culture war is in full swing. You have a side that has never lost vs. a side that has nothing to lose, and we are all witnesses and participants.

But notice what I said there? Internet. That’s right, Internet. During most of this conflict, the dialogue was confined to blogs, Tweets, YouTube videos and the occasional mainstream news mention. But I have never encountered a GamerGate discussion in real life until now, and this experience was unlike any discussion I’ve had before. Well, “discussion” isn’t really the right word here, but let me back up to where this whole thing started: last Friday night, Halloween.

I was hanging out with some friends that live in Riverdale, New York, a Bronx suburb on the edge of NYC and the Yonkers border. I wasn’t planning on getting into any sort of Halloween debauchery, partially because I’ve been working myself stupid with all of my latest projects, and partially because I had had a crazy night with Matt Forney, Goldmund, and many other manosphere folks the night before. I just wanted to chill with my friends, and we stopped at a local bar.

The three of us were drinking, talking, and glancing at basketball highlights. I made a mental note that the tiny T-shirt Lakers jerseys are pretty sweet. And since #NoNothingNovember hasn’t started for me yet, I decided to step outside and hopefully bum a cigarette, and enjoy that sweet, sweet vice one last time before November 1.

Outside the bar, a guy was kind enough to give me a cigarette and we started shooting the shit. Another guy was standing outside next to us in a sweet Wolverine costume, which gave me an idea for something to talk about. What followed… I didn’t expect.

“So what do you buys think about Marvel’s 20 year/45 movie plan?” I said, knowing that everyone and their mother loves Marvel movies, so it’s as safe of a topic as can be. “That shit is pretty nuts.”

The guy that gave me the cigarette asked me how geeky I was. I was sure that he was ready to talk my ear off about his interests, and I always welcome such conversations because I’m the exact same way, so I answered truthfully: “Really geeky about some stuff, not so much with other stuff. I’m not a hardcore comic book reader. I used to adore Spider-Man comics as a teen, but at this point, the only backstory I knew with Guardians of the Galaxy was that Rocket Raccoon was in a video game I really liked.”

He looked a little anxious. I didn’t know what to make of it. And then he said:

“What do you think about GamerGate?”

I answered truthfully.

“Quite honestly, I love it, I support it one hundred percent, and I think it’s something that has long been overdue. In fact the…” I didn’t get to finish my thought. The guy just turned around and walked away without saying a word, with an annoyed look on his face. No explanation, no disagreement, no attempt to explain his point of view or to ask more about mine. Nothing. He just walked away.

I have held a long list of beliefs over the course of my life, and I have had to explain all of them at some point. I have also changed my beliefs several times and changed the beliefs of others. To me, no discussion was ever off limits. I was always prepared to hear other people’s opinions because this is America and the First Amendment of the constitution—yes, the first—guarantees us freedom of speech, and that is how we all grow.

Of all the discussions on all the topics I have ever had, controversial or not, I have never had someone walk away from the conversation upon hearing my stance on something.

Never!

Until October 31, 2014.

And this is what we must understand about GamerGate. This is more than just some online controversy: this is a battle against extreme authoritarianism, which is un-American in and of itself. No matter who we are and what we believe, we must be able to talk at least. Anti-GamerGate doesn’t agree with this.

I’m not going to sit here and lecture you about the merits of #GamerGate: lots of other people have already done a way better job than I ever could have. And you have the right to listen to them or not; it’s your choice. But I want you to have this choice. That’s the philosophy that I stand by.

I’ll leave you with this: is a side advocating for silence and blind obedience really the good guys? You decide.

Read Next: Why GamerGate Will Win: My Personal Story with Gaming