Culture War

How Everyone Can Win in the New Culture Wars—and How They Can Lose

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You should all read my friend Alyssa Rosenberg's long and smartly written piece in The Washington Post on the evolution of the culture wars. Rosenberg, a culture blogger who frequently writes about the intersection of politics and pop entertainment, traces the evolution the culture wars from 80s-era right-wing concerns about morality and decency—think: congressional hearings about violent video games, schools banning Bart Simpson shirts, Vice President Dan Quayle criticizing Murphy Brown for deciding to become a single mother—to the culture wars of today, which often feature left-wing critics concerned with political messages in media—raising issues about fair or proportional representation of minorities, about art's willingness and duty to depict patriotism, about how sports interact with ideas about violence and gender. Understood this way, the two culture wars, the one on the right and the one of the left, are in some sense really just one big culture war, with today's left-leaning activists replacing yesterday's conservative crusaders.

What connects all of these new skirmishes, in particular, is that fundamentally they are about self-identification and individual expression: People increasingly want to see themselves—or at least more people who look, think, act, and live like themselves and their communities—represented in media, both as creators and as characters.

Rosenberg reviews several of the fronts in the new culture war, noting its multiple strands and the way they have split apart.  "As the new culture war has widened," she writes, "it has also fragmented, turning less into a clash of great powers than into a series of intractable guerrilla conflicts, marked by shifting alliances and the rapid emergence of new players."

It's that fragmentation that is in some sense the key to making peace with the culture wars, and to understanding that there's a path to victory for all sides. Thanks to the incredible profusion of creative outlets for storytelling, and the incredible niche-ification of media—Rosenberg cites a Variety report noting that scripted television series on cable alone have increased by 1000 percent (!) since 1999—there are opportunities for everyone to see themselves and their interests depicted in more or less whatever way they would like to see themselves and their own worlds represented on screen and in stories. Politicization of media and pop-culture storytelling might bother some viewers, but in a niche-driven business, it can also be a market-differentiation strategy. The incredible expansion of choice, and the ability for content with relatively small audiences to survive and profit, means that both interests, and all sorts of subtle variations in between, can be satisfied.

Part of what I like about Rosenberg's piece is that her conclusion—that more choice, and a healthy private market that supports that choice, can make us all winners—is an essentially libertarian one. It is an argument for more options, more individual expressions, and also for more speech. Indeed, it's not too far off from the argument that many libertarian types relied on in response to the first generation of culture wars, when conservative decency crusaders were leading the charge: Don't like it? That's fine. Don't watch it—and if you want to see something else, something different and more to your taste, go create it, and find an audience to support it. But don't go begging the federal government to intervene and resolve these issues in your favor.

Mortal Kombat

What that means, of course, is that the culture wars themselves—the criticisms and complaints, the protest movements and consumer activism—are in some sense a necessary part of the process. Those public debates, conducted in seemingly endless blog posts and comments sections and press releases and panel discussions, can be exhausting. (Example: I've declined to write on the GamerGate fracas so far in part because I find the entire uproar too frustrating, in too many ways, to dwell on it at length.) But they are vital to the healthy evolution of these debates about we want culture and politics to be, and what it should be, and how it already is.

The flip side to that, of course, is that you need these debates to be allowed to continue without intervention from on high, even and especially when they are tiring. And when these cultural conflicts get taken to powerful authorities, especially to government authorities like the FCC, that's generally not what happens: That's a process of shutting down the debate and putting a stop to that process, which, yes, can be long and tiresome, but is also the mechanism by which these conflicts are best resolved, or at least productively advanced. 

I looked at the explosion of TV choice in my own recent print-edition feature on the evolution of television, setting the expansion of smart programming in the context of the general mediocrity of television for so many years before. As I noted in that piece, when FCC Chairman Newton Minow gave his infamous "vast wasteland" speech in 1961, television producers, fearing the agency's wrath, responded by explicitly designed shows to his perceived taste—taste one show packager described as "generally antiseptic, somewhat didactic, slightly dull, offensive to no one, and above all else 'justifiable.'" For decades, even after Minow left, the agency would exert a dulling and constrcting influence on television programming, whose creators were, for the most part, extremely cautious about upsetting federal overseers.

That's how everyone loses in the culture wars. And it's what everyone ought to hope to avoid as the culture wars evolve and continue. What Rosenberg does so well is show not only how the multitude of market offerings lets everyone (or at least more people than ever before) win, but how the culture wars themselves can help shape those victories, by pushing both creators and industry executives to respond with even more choice and variety. 

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    1. You know who else had a kampf?

      1. Its not your kamph it’s mine

  1. “As the new culture war has widened,” she writes, “it has also fragmented, turning less into a clash of great powers than into a series of intractable guerrilla conflicts, marked by shifting alliances and the rapid emergence of new players.”

    I’m sorry, Peter. If you want me to read your friend’s long piece you’ll have to have a better teaser than that.

  2. These are ongoing issues, of course, but they flared up in 2012, when the critic Anita Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series that would cover common tropes involving women that appear in video games. She was subject to a persistent campaign of violent harassment that continues to this day; the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating some of the threats that have been made against her.

    Aaaannnndd….here’s where the bullshit starts. Sarkeesian, like many feminists activists, does not have any interest in video games, video gamers, or women in video games. Her goal is similar to a torturer who bombards the victim with loud music, allowing neither peace or rest, until the victim breaks and complies with her demands (Men, stop having fun in ways that don’t harm me, but I don’t like, because my preferences should run the world). And the death threats were made up crap, as she never contacted law enforcement (who would have likely discovered that she sent the “Kevin Dobson” tweets to herself).

    1. Speaking of videogames, I picked up Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. With only a half hour of playtime, I can tell it’s going to burn way more of my time than I should allow it to.

      1. Open world or linear? Looks intriguing and Steam and Uplay have been bombarding me with ads, but I don’t buy anything that costs more than $5. I’d like to know if I should buy it in two years.

      2. I haven’t bought it yet, but I’ve seen enough trailers to know that it’s on my list of games to buy.

    2. How can one person with a webseries that, absent the high-profile controversy, would have only been watched by her friends and half her family be any sort of threat to the billion dollar gaming industry?

      I’m kind of agnostic on GamerGate but I get blown away about the supernatural powers ascribed to feminist critics of the industry.

      1. How can one person with a webseries that, absent the high-profile controversy, would have only been watched by her friends and half her family be any sort of threat to the billion dollar gaming industry?

        Because many businesses have become so fearful of bad publicity that they would rather cave to pressure than resist.

        See the NFL. Multi-billion dollar (non-profit) business, currently bending over backwards because…the perpetually aggrieved painted a two-game suspension and court-ordered re-education as worse than clubbing baby seals to death.

        1. But what pressure is being applied in this case? Sarkeesian’s a nobody. Tropes vs Women is as boring and non-provocative as you can get. Far from being some demonic harridan with legions of misandrist harpies at her disposal (the impression you’d get from reading her critics)she’s just one person with a small following – which would have been all the smaller absent hundreds of MRA Gametards getting bent out of shape. As is Quinn but that doesn’t stop anyone from concocting vast conspiracies that she wields life-or-death power in the industry and shagged every guy in the game industry to get a crummy freeware game on Steam Greenlight.

          It’s all this that has me mystified. Whether you agree or not it’s not worth the reaction it’s gotten.

          1. Part of the Gamergate issue involves complaints of what amounts to corruption: advertisers getting favorable reviews, and people getting fired for not-fully-favorable reviews.

            Then there’s accusations of PC/SJW games getting overly-favorable reviews for political reasons.

            And then there are all the complaints about entire online threads discussing these issues being erased. I don’t mean discussions being moderated, I mean entire discussions down the memory hole. This is a major issue that often gets forgotten.

            Zoe Quinn also caught flak for destroying a charity effort by The Fine Young Capitalists for violations of obscure gender warrior dogma. (Something like “denying transwomen their right to determine their own transition points” for restricting a contest to women who identify as women. Or something.)

            Sarkeesian isn’t a nobody. She has gotten lots of fawning press with her neo-Puritan crusade.

            1. There are plenty of people in show biz who can tell you that “fawning press” doesn’t always mean anyone else is paying attention.

              And for TFYC, who’s to say? I’ve tried to read both sides but given the lack of a neutral source on the matter it’s easy to believe (especially given the timing of their statement) that Quinn is simply being used as a scapegoat for an event that was doomed no matter what. Quinn’s particular beef was that TFYC allowed transwomen to participate but set an arbitrary condition that she disagreed with (and I couldn’t give a tinker’s damn about). That’s not something that anyone really cares about. And, again, who is Quinn but one indie developer out of many?

              1. You severely underestimate the lengths to which commercial entities will go to avoid risk or anything that looks like risk.

                Take what is probably the biggest gaming forum on the internet, NeoGAF. The Off-Topic forum (as opposed to the Gaming forum… everything in on GAF is filed under one of the two “sides”) has always been generally hostile to posters who are not far left of center. But the entire forum has now become close to unusable because of SJW-types. They’ve slowly affected the moderators & the owner (who relies on advertising to run the forums) over the past few years, and it’s now to the point that if I were to log on now and post anything critical of Sarkeesian or Quinn, I’d probably be banned.

                1. So honest discussion and dissension from politically correct views are now actively punished on the biggest gaming discussion forum in the world. Sure, I can go to another forum, but the biggest one with the most traffic is effectively censored now. That fucking sucks.

                  Another sorta-related anecdote: there was recently an uproar about the upcoming indie game Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Someone wrote an article discussing how uncomfortable she was with an implied rape scene in a preview demo. (Yes, IMPLIED.) This quickly turned into SJWs demanding the “offensive” content be removed. And what do you know? The game’s developers released a statement saying the “discussion” had made them realize their artistic inventions had not, in fact, been properly served by the original scene!

                  1. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Modern moral panics by political correctness obsessives (say that three times fast!) are becoming more common in gaming. The bigger developers almost always cave to the pressure… they’d rather not court the bad PR. The indie devs are not much better. They literally can’t afford the bad press, or believe they can’t.

                    GamerGate is about a lot of different things. That includes a backlash against concern troll nazis who are trying to control content in games while pushing nonsensical notions of total egalitarianism: “everyone has a right to expect equal representation, even in games,” etc. This sounds like no big deal, & it isn’t in the grand scheme of things, but it’s just one more example of the slow creep of progressivism. It needs to be fought, even at this relatively minor level.

          2. Your definition of a “nobody” is a little different from mine then. Sarkeesian’s first bout with 4Chan got her name dropped in The Escapist, Slate, the New Statesman, and, as shown above, the Washington Post, and she’s lectured at a couple of colleges. She’s not the chairman of the FCC, but don’t pretend she has no profile whatsoever or that she writes for Reason.com (*ducks*).

            But I agree that Sarkeesian is an attention-whore and that by giving her the attention (and money) she so desperately craves, it only encourages her further. The flip side of that coin is that allowing bomb-throwers like her to go unchallenged leads idiots to believe that she is right just because no one challenges her. And the converse of that is that when you challenge her, she cries “Misogyny!” and then calls on some internet “Real Men(tm)” to protect her from criticism.

            1. and then calls on some internet “Real Men(tm)” to protect her from criticism

              Wait, I thought “white knighting” was supposed to bad? Isn’t she “damseling”? This is all so confusing….

            2. And the converse of that is that when you challenge her, she cries “Misogyny!”

              Because a huge amount of the challenge is incredibly misogynistic. e.g. Flooding Jezebel with rape images doesn’t rebut any of their points, and Jezebel calling that mysoginistic isn’t innacruate.

              1. Everyone who disagrees with Sarkeesian is “Flooding Jezebel with rape images”?

                Mind. Blown.

                1. Huge amount!=everyone

                  And this is an example of how both sides of the issue are distrubingly similar. The SJWs want to pretend every male gamer is a misogynist and thus they all need to be punished. The GamerGate types want to pretend no one is and thus any complaint about it must be phony.

                  1. The GamerGate types want to pretend no one is and thus any complaint about it must be phony.

                    I’ve never seen anyone claim that.

                    1. And the converse of that is that when you challenge her, she cries “Misogyny!”

                      Anonymous doesn’t want to admit that Sarkeesian has been the target of a lot of actually misogynist attacks, no she just “cries” it for no reason.

                    2. no she just “cries” it for no reason.

                      Oh she has a reason, and it’s a particularly shitty one: to put her critics on the defensive. It addresses none of the claims against her, but it does take the heat off. She could just as easily put her boyfriend who writes all of her material on her next video saying the exact same things she says and the problem with the message would still be the same.

                      Are there assholes who have insulted her online with respect to her sex? Yes. Then again, this is the internet. Verbal abuse is to be expected. Has anyone threatened her? Maybe. But then she lied about contacting law enforcement, so I doubt the veracity that any threat made against online is likely to be acted on, especially if she doesn’t believe it, as indicated by her failure to contact the police.

                    3. Why does it matter if it was misogynist? I don’t understand why anyone thinks that word is useful. I can hate you for being an asshole, a Christian, being white, old, ugly, smug, atheist or anything else but hating someone for being a woman is not okay? Why? Looks like a thought crime. Plus it’s obvious they hate her for being a stupid bitch which isn’t misogyny at all. Hell I hate you for defending the same position any you may be male so it couldn’t possibly be misogyny. If the hate correlates with your opinion and not gender than it’s absolutely not mosogyny.

                      Which brings up a second point. Whenever women are criticized or even abused it’s called misogyny. But men are far more harsh with other men in violence and in how we talk. Meaning the actual misogyny standard is basically never criticizing a woman.

                      If you don’t believe that I hope you get raped in the ear.

              2. That’s true. But it does illustrate that the progressives aren’t getting their way: they’re not going to get a world where everyone is forced to say nice things to them & to respect their feelings. Most people don’t care about their feelings, and there’s not much progs can do about that but pout and whine about their victimhood.

                In other words, when proggies start making ridiculous, narcissistic demands about having a right to be respected… it’s fucked up, but they’re essentially turning the crapflooding trolls into heroes for ignoring their demands.

            3. Sarkeesian’s first bout with 4Chan got her name dropped

              Right. As Susan said, absent the tards getting bent outta shape, she’d have an even smaller profile.

          3. The pressure is the “news outlets” that somehow believe they are any more effective than a company PR release.

            This exact reaction has been a long time in coming. From “MountainDewrito” to the press response of the ME3 controversy (Entitled Man-children), to the COI of an IGN reviewer having a voice role in a game, and submitting the final review for the same game.

            The past couple of days, the press has been quite helpful to #GG, with their stream of additional COI issues. “Why weren’t you mad about X?”

            Well, douchebags, we didn’t know about X. Thanks for telling us. We’ll add it to the list. Gearbox ended up on the shitlist for statements like that.

      2. On the actual issue, I probably agree more with the GamerGate side, but their tactics are so atrocious that I think they’re causing an even worse issue.

        1. It certainly makes it more difficult when some Net Nanny tries to increase oversight of the web: “Hey fellow senators! We should fight cyberstalking. What have we here? Screen caps of a thousand retards sending threats of murder and rape over video games?! Action is needed!!1!”

          1. I think it’s more that while game journalism corruption bugs me, I’m FAR more worried about how at any momment an inocous comment can get the attention of one of the internet outrage machines and you life is ground up in the gears. And the 4chan outrage machine is just as terrifying as the SJW outrage machine.

            1. TBH, I don’t care much about game journalists. I’m into Yahtzee Croshaw on The Escapist but only because he’s a great comic. Otherwise, who cares?

              In my more cynical moments, I think GamerGate is being driven by failed developers who’d be failures no matter what taking out their frustrations on made up enemies. At least, it’s more plausible that some woman (with a VayJay from Mt Olympus apparently) being this nefarious puppetmaster.

              1. What’s your fave Yahtzee review? My personal favorite is Spec Ops: The Line.

    3. Nah, the entire article is bullshit from the beginning to the end.

    4. Sarkeesian, like many feminists activists, does not have any interest in video games, video gamers, or women in video games.

      Even if true, so what?

      1. Then why the fuck should she run a phony outrage campaign against it?

        1. Because she’s trying to make a career out of being a “social critic” and gaming was virgin territory. Everything she complains about also exists in movies (in spades), but here was a new niche in which she could cause a stink and make her name. She’s just an outsider parachuting in to correct everyone’s morals. In essence she’s no different from some backwoods Baptist who doesn’t actually listen to hip-hop, but wants all those people who perform it to change.

          1. Exactly. And even if she WERE interested in gaming, why should anyone care about her finger-wagging?

      2. Even if true, so what?

        Well Stormy, if you haven’t put any money in my pocket in the past, are unlikely to put any money in my pocket in the future, even if I do change my evil “damselling” (to quote Sarkeesian) ways, why am I listening to your complaints about my games?

      3. Didn’t he answer that in the next two lines?

        “Her goal is similar to a torturer who bombards the victim with loud music, allowing neither peace or rest, until the victim breaks and complies with her demands (Men, stop having fun in ways that don’t harm me, but I don’t like, because my preferences should run the world). ”

        I don’t know if he’s correct about this or not, but I really don’t care to have other people dictating to video game publishers what’s PC for their games.

        1. Except it’s noting like torture since you have to actively go watch her videos and can stop anytime you decide you don’t like them.

          1. But she’s trying to pressure the industry to change games to make them more acceptable to SJWs. And that does not mean simply making games that are acceptable to SJWs, it means not making games that aren’t. That’s much of what ticks people off.

            1. It still doesn’t justify criminal behavior.

              1. Sending someone nasty notes via email and saying bad things about t hem on boards is not criminal behavior. Call me when someone actually does something criminal to this woman and not just offend her delicate sensibilities.

                1. Sending someone noted threatening them with violence is criminal behavior: it’s assault.

                  Sneaking in to a private place where you know you are not welcome to do something you know the owner doesn’t want you to do is criminal behavior: it’s tresspass.

                  But then again, I suppose I’m wasting my time as John has repeatedly established he’s fine with using violence to punish people he doesn’t like. He only cares when people he counts as important are impacted.

                  1. Sending someone noted threatening them with violence is criminal behavior: it’s assault.

                    No its not. Assault requires immediacy. No note sent via email could ever constitute assault. At most it is uttering a criminal threat. But even for that there has to be some plausibility to the threat, which almost never exists in these sorts of cases. Think to yourself how many times you here that someone in the public eye is getting “death threats” and how often there is ever any prosecution for such? Almost never because they rarely are criminal.

                    Sneaking in to a private place where you know you are not welcome to do something you know the owner doesn’t want you to do is criminal behavior: it’s tresspass.

                    Perhaps but trespass is not violence and by itself isn’t much of a crime.

                    But then again, I suppose I’m wasting my time as John has repeatedly established he’s fine with using violence to punish people he doesn’t like. He only cares when people he counts as important are impacted.

                    Stop projecting. I never advocated violence against anyone on here. I merely said sending nasty notes or saying bad things isn’t violence.

                    1. No, but for example you “don’t care” if socons advocate violence toward homosexuals by passing sodomy laws, yet if some baker is forced to sell a cake to a gay wedding, that’s a travesty for freedom.

                      Because in your mind evangelical christians are real people and thus have real rights, whereas homosexuals aren’t real people and thus don’t have rights.

                    2. No, but for example you “don’t care” if socons advocate violence toward homosexuals by passing sodomy laws, yet if some baker is forced to sell a cake to a gay wedding, that’s a travesty for freedom.

                      That is completely untrue and a total perversion of logic. I don’t support sodomy laws. But I also don’t think it is okay for Progs to run anyone who objects to homosexulaity out of business.

                      Your argument boils down to that because I don’t think Progs should be able to oppress SOCONS, I somehow support everything SOCONS do and thus support violence. It is so fucking idiotic and false it is hard to even put into words. Here is a hint, just because you don’t like someone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for their rights to be as they are.

                    3. I don’t support sodomy laws.

                      You’ve also said you don’t care is politicians you vote for do support them.

                    4. Think to yourself how many times you here that someone in the public eye is getting “death threats” and how often there is ever any prosecution for such?

                      Lots of crimes are rarely prosecuted: vadalism, petty theft, etc. That doesn’t make them not crimes.

                  2. Sending someone noted threatening them with violence is criminal behavior: it’s assault.

                    Sneaking in to a private place where you know you are not welcome to do something you know the owner doesn’t want you to do is criminal behavior: it’s tresspass.

                    Aside from your misunderstanding of the exact crime performed through threatening messages, tie either one of these actions to someone using the #GG hashtag.

                    I’m waiting.

                    In the meantime, Leigh Alexander has been shown to be overtly racist, Ian Miles Cheong is a goddamn Nazi, Ben Kuchera enjoys crushing the very concept of Free Speech, and anti-GG actors have directly admitted to posting on the #GG tag with violent language.

              2. It still doesn’t justify criminal behavior.

                I never said it does, but if you insult a bunch of geeks and threaten to change their favorite toys, you are going to get flak.

                1. Is there any other context we’d accept an argument like that?

                  I never said police brutality is justified, but if you insult a bunch of cops and threaten their authority, you’re gonna get flak.

                  I never said union violence isn’t justified, but if you insult a bunch of union workers and threaten their contract, you’re gonna get flak.

                  1. Is there any other context we’d accept an argument like that?

                    How in the goddamn hell can you conflate twitter posts and youtube comments with police and union violence?

                    Its the goddamn internet, you sanctimonious prick. People are faceless, and the words are often harsh, but that is not now, and should not ever be a protection from honest, valid criticism.

                    There are dozens of point-for-point rebuttals of her videos, showing her complete disregard for game mechanics, and complete inability to understand game-play genres.

                  2. Is there any other context we’d accept an argument like that?

                    It’s simply common sense. It’s like saying that if you’re an attractive woman who dresses sexy and passes out drunk in a downtown alley at 2:00 a.m. Saturday, you increase your risk of being raped. That doesn’t excuse rape, just points out that behavior can worsen the odds.

            2. The appropriate response is to laugh at her. EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Take Two, Microsoft don’t care what she says. They’re not going to make Call of Duty less masculine or stop making GTA games. Japanese companies surely don’t give a shit. The prevailing criticism seems to be that she’s an attention whore, which her critics challenge by… giving her way too much attention.

              1. MG Green,

                The SJWs are losing their asses on this. Intel pulling their advertising says all you need to know. The gaming companies are not going change their games and they are not going to advertise in publications that insult their customers.

              2. EA pulled her in to advise on Mirror’s Edge. Her input?

                The controls might be too difficult for women. She is her own worst goddamn enemy. Still, repugnant websites like Polygon, Gawker, and even some mainstream outlets hold her up as some wonderful savior, battling those evil rethuglican, misogynist gamers.

                1. Oh for Christ’s sake. As if the Mirror’s Edge sequel weren’t already, in all probability, doomed (because there’s almost no way they’ll keep the focus on platforming over gunplay).

          2. That doesn’t stop activist news outlets pushing as the greatest thing for the tech sector since Hopper. Her points are inaccurate at best, and the people pushing it actively decry any opposition, no matter the language used, as horribly misogynist, simply for not nodding along.

  3. I guess this is a cultural criticism article, which is fine, because you don’t have to confine yourselves to politics (God forbid!)

    But the use of the political term “culture war,” the explicit reference to politics, and the mention of incidents of attempted censorship, indicate some attempt, at least, to get into issues of state power.

    There should have been a clearer distinction between the use of state power to shape the culture and the use of consumer pressure (boycotts, etc.). The latter is not only OK, it’s *necessary* if we’re going to show that civil society can address problems in the culture without the heavy hand of government.

    And let me comment on the idea that the “culture wars” – by which apparently you mean, narrowly, the dispute over popular culture – started in the 1980s. Don’t forget the NAACP’s protests against *The Birth of a Nation* (including censorship efforts – progressive Kansas banned the film), the FDR administration’s blocking *Esquire* from the mail, the progressive Wertham’s anti-comic crusade, the FCC’s closure of a segregationist TV station under pressure from the liberal UCC church, etc.

    1. ” The latter is not only OK, it’s *necessary* if we’re going to show that civil society can address problems in the culture without the heavy hand of government.”

      Some might argue that as long as things don’t involve state coercion there’s not a real ‘problem in the culture.’

      1. And they would be wrong. Totalitarians only use the state because they have no other choice. The ideal scenario is to make the culture itself intolerant. That way the state just has to stay out of the way.

        A place like late 1920s Germany was not by any reasonable measure a tolerant culture even though it had a weak government that didn’t directly oppress anyone.

  4. I’m sorry, but the most memorable and lasting (effect, wise) culture war battle from the eighties was instituted and led by Tipper Gore. Straight out of left field.

  5. Yeah, the culture wars started in the 80s….not 60s. Did I really just read that?

    1. We didn’t start the fire

  6. A couple of quick observations:

    …there are opportunities for everyone to see themselves and their interests depicted in more or less whatever way they would like to see themselves and their own worlds represented on screen and in stories.

    Except I think you’re a bit too generous in the wishes of both yesterday’s culture warriors ad today’s. Neither is particularly satisfied with their seeing their interests depicted as they would like. They’re interested in everyone seeing their interests depicted as they would like and only as they would like. Put it this way, how many video games do you think Jerry Falwell or your average radical feminist play on a given day?

    …and if you want to see something else, something different and more to your taste, go create it, and find an audience to support it.

    In many respects that’s what conservatives did with Fox News. How comfortable have the proggies been tolerating that as an option?

  7. The ’80s culture wars weren’t entirely “right-wing”: I recall Tipper Gore and Jesse Jackson complaining about song lyrics. And wasn’t that around the time they started censoring old cartoons?

    1. No, the cartoon censorship started in the 1960’s.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censored_Eleven

      To be fair, this wasn’t actually censorship, but voluntary efforts by the owners.

      “cartoons that were withheld from syndication by United Artists (UA) in 1968. ”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censored_Eleven

      1. Ah, indeed.

      2. One could make an argument that it goes back at least to 1954. Back when Wertham’s “Seduction of the Innocent” came out, which blamed all violent juvenile behavior on comic books.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S…..e_Innocent

        That lead to the creation of the comics code authority which devastated the true crime comics. Imagine if all the cable channels like ID had to abandon their focus on horrible crimes. That’s what all the the comic book companies had to deal with. After the shakeup there were only a few companies left operating. Marvel, DC, Archie, and EC was left limping along with Mad Magazine.

    2. Nah, C. Delores Tucker, Tipper Gore, Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon were are right wingers. No True Scotsman leftist would ever support such a thing as censorship. That’s only those Jerry Falwell types.

  8. What Libertarians like Suderman and others don’t understand is that for the left the culture war is just a tool to further advance their politics. Libertarians like Suderman can never seem to comprehend the larger issues at stake or the real agenda of the left. They look at each culture war individually and decide which side agrees with their principles and move on. That is all well and good except that is not how the left does it. For the left the actual position or cause is irrelevant. What matters is being able to use it to advance their politics.

    When supporting pornographers helped the left tear down the traditional order of things, the left loved porn. When going after porn because a way to restrict and control speech in the name of “feminism” the left went after it. The left latched onto gay marriage not because they give a shit about gays or care if they can get married. They latched onto it because they rightly saw it as a way to then use public accommodation laws to criminalize speech they didn’t like and further marginalize their opponents. The left doesn’t care about campus rape. The left cares about using the campus rape myth to further politicize criminal law and begin to strip away protections for the accused. What starts with ending the presumption of innocence for rape will then move onto everything else.

    1. This is why there is no accommodating or compromising over the culture war with the left. Since the point is to use the issues as political clubs to advance their politics, they have no reason to compromise and even if they did, they would just move on to another issue. They are never going to stop until every aspect of life is ruled by their politics to the exclusion of all else. Anyone who pretends otherwise is just acting as a useful idiot.

      1. Sadly true.

      2. Right, and its also why libertarians should be extremely cautious about joining with progs even on an extremely narrow issue. These people can legalize pot and expand state power in the same law, they are not to be trusted. Their goal is power, not freedom.

        1. Libertarians should ally with anyone on any narrow issue. Doing so helps open minds and helps detoxify the libertarian brand.

  9. The gamergate thing is kinda a mirror of the whole libertarian-Republican thing. You got three groups: (progressives/libertarians/socons) in one case and (SJWs/gamers/trolls) in the other. The libertarians/gamers shouldn’t want to associate with either progressives/SJWs or socons/trolls, but for some reason, a lot of people keep suggesting that the libertarians/gamers and the socons/trolls are natural allies and should ONLY be worried about the progressives/SJWs.

    1. It is not about associating with anyone. It is about protecting people’s rights no matter what you think of them personally. I don’t play video games. And I don’t really associate much with people who do. That said, the people who do have every right to play any game they want. The SJW want to end that and bully the gaming companies into only publishing games that conform to their politics. The SJW are wrong and someone needs to stand up and say so.

      If you are unwilling to defend the rights of people you don’t like, then you are a coward and not a friend of freedom. Who cares that you are willing to stand up for people you like? Anyone will do that. What shows that someone values freedom is when they are willing to do it for a group they don’t like.

  10. I can’t be the only one to read the headline, see the Simpson’s image, and think of Bart groaning as the remedial class’s game of musical chairs ends with a super-condescending, “EVERYONE’S a winner!”

  11. It is worth noting that the Bart Simpson image accompanying this article might very well be construed, under present U.S. law, as a “child abuse image” (formerly, “child pornography”).

    Sound incredible? You might be shocked to learn that, not only did possession of a parody cartoon depicting Bart receiving fellatio from Lisa result in a criminal conviction some years ago but that, more recently, images of nude-only children, NOT engaged in “sexual performance” have resulted in the conviction of dozens of men in the United States. They had been assured by the publishers of nudist/naturist videos that their videos were entirely legal (as they simply showed boys naked and engaging in swimming, sports and games) and yet, when taken over by a joint operation of the U.S. Postal Service and Canadian officials, that company’s customers were then targeted for arrest and prosecution under federal child pornography statutes. Some have even committed suicide when confronted with the inevitability of many years in prison and the requirement to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

    The Azov Films travesty is one which continues to unfold and in which individuals are being arrested daily, in truly global operations/stings in dozens of countries, all facilitated by the U.S. and Canadian governments. http://www.godlikeproductions……121464/pg1

  12. my neighbor’s aunt makes $69 every hour on the laptop . She has been fired for eight months but last month her check was $16750 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Go to website. ? ? ? ? ? ? http://www.jobsfish.com

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