thinker, writer, editor, wry.

actually, it’s about rhetoric in games journalism: the culture wars’ ludic frontier

A quick signal boost before I blather on: scholarly journal Games Studies is looking for articles for their upcoming issue ‘Queerness and Video Games: New Critical Perspectives on LGBTQ Issues, Sexuality, Games, and Play’. Are you stoked? I’m stoked! I’m gonna try to pull something together by the 31 December deadline, and I hope that any of my readers who are interested will consider doing the same.

So I was kicking around some ideas about the two social media echo chambers and the troll-infested space between them–specifically, about how to make inroads into resisting or dismantling the underlying rhetoric that established the structure and nature of these spaces.

As I was procrastinating doing some further research, I stumbled over a recent interview with Zoe Quinn, who some readers may remember from a years-long campaign of online harassment that was definitely not about ethics in games journalism.

It wasn’t just Quinn who had faced cruelty online. The games reviewer interviewing Quinn, Dean Takahashi, brought up his own experience with online harassment.

‘Deplorables’ and Democrats. We and They.

Real gamers’ and critics. ‘Gators’ and feminists.

Was I imagining some rhetorical similarities, here? No, I was not imagining them.

I’m not gonna lie: I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed.

If truth–no, it’s bigger than that–if reality doesn’t matter; if messages from echo chambers that aren’t one’s own are more likely to be in bad faith than in good; if to write a work of online interactive fiction (as Quinn did) or post a video of one’s mediocre gameplay (as Takahashi did) is to invite death threats and persecuting mobs…

… then why bother writing and communicating in digital spaces at all?

I’m gonna need to sit with that question for a while. It’s making uneasy company with the question I asked myself at the end of the previous post–is the ‘solution’ to the legacy of divisive rhetoric to accept it and keep a low profile? God, I hope not–but maybe something productive will come of tolerating the ‘yikes’ of it all.

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