Sex Work

Pixelated Prostitution: Feminist Debate Over Sex Work Bleeds Into Video Games

Why sex workers have criticized the way feminist Anita Sarkeesian talks about women's agency

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GTA
Rockstar Games

In her series of controversial videos critiquing sexism in video games, Anita Sarkeesian often focuses on the way games treat sex workers. She points to games like Hitman: Absolution, in which characters can dump the dead body of a stripper over a railing as a way to distract police; or Saints Row, in which characters are encouraged to steal prostitutes from one pimp and deliver them to another; or Grand Theft Auto, where having sex with a sex worker increases health much like quaffing an energy drink. Sarkeesian concludes that sex workers in many video games are viewed as commodities and objects, rather than as people—and that they are often targeted for violence. In Red Dead Redemption, for example, the player is rewarded with an achievement for kidnapping a sex worker and murdering her.

Violence against sex workers is a serious problem, both nationally and internationally, and Sarkeesian makes a good case that the games she discusses treat that violence as fun, enjoyable, or even laudable. But Sarkeesian's videos have not garnered much praise from those most directly affected by these tropes. On the contrary, many sex workers have argued that Sarkeesian's videos contribute to the objectification and stigma that she claims she is trying to reduce.

Much of the criticism of Sarkeesian has centered around her terminology. She doesn't call sex workers "sex workers." Instead she refers to them throughout her video series as "prostituted women." That's a term often used by writers who see all sex work as automatically exploitative or harmful to women, and by those who want to criminalize sex work. Sex workers have repeatedly tried to ask Sarkeesian on social media to reconsider her language, but she hasn't responded, and has continued to use the term. For example, in this recent tweet she says that fans of Grand Theft Auto have been harassing her by sending her images of "gameplay of the use & murder of prostitutes." The fact that gamers are using images of sex workers to harass Sarkeesian seems like it fits into her analysis—violence against sex workers is deployed in a misogynist way, in order to harass and intimidate a woman. But at the same time, Sarkeesian, by referring to the "use" of sex workers, seems to buy into the same logic, treating sex workers as things or utilitities, rather than as human beings. (Sarkeesian did not respond to a request to comment for this article.)

This seeming contradiction is tied to longstanding tensions between some strands of feminist cultural criticism and sex workers. Sarkeesian's criticism of video games is in a tradition of feminist analysis that goes back to the 1980s, when theorists like Andrea Dworkin argued that "Pornography is used in rape—to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act." Dworkin saw sexualized images of women as directly implicated in misogyny and violence against women—which could mean that women taking part in pornography, or in sexualized imagery, were seen as themselves culpable or morally flawed. Thus anti-porn feminists like Julie Burchill declared that, "When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women." Anti-porn feminists and video games here come together in celebrating violent attacks on sex workers.

Author, media consultant, and former sex worker Maggie McNeil cited the Burchill quote when discussing why she mistrusts Sarkeesian and her criticism of games. McNeil says that to her, Sarkeesian's position is "summed up by the fact" that she does not refer to male sex workers as "prostituted" but does refer to female sex workers as prostituted women.

"What this tells us is that she sees men as creatures able to make sexual choices," McNeil says, "but she sees women as creatures who can only have sex for traditional reasons—love, or romance or whatever. But if women are [having sex] for tactical reasons, then she sees this as somehow suspect—that a man must be doing that. Hence the [term] prostituted. Someone has done this to her."

Another sex worker who questions Sarkeesian's position, at least indirectly, is Mia Isabella, a transgender porn star who was hired to voice "Prostitute #1" in Grand Theft Auto V. Isabella saw her work as providing a "fantasy" for teenage boys, and she didn't see it as necessarily exploitive. Instead, she said she was "honored" to be asked, in part because few, if any, transsexual women have been included in video games. "For me it was an opportunity to cross boundaries," she told me. Isabella saw voicing a character in a game as a way to contribute to diversity in gaming.

Not all sex workers reject Sarkeesian's arguments. For example, N'jaila Rhee, an adult Web model, phone sex operator, and co-host of TWIB After Dark, is sympathetic to many of Sarkeesian's points. Rhee has played games since she was three. "If you give me a life milestone," she says, "I can remember what game I was playing during that milestone."

For Rhee, many of Sarkeesians arguments seem so familiar as to be almost cliché. "It's so Feminism 101," she said. "As someone who plays games, these are conversations I've been having all my life. Unless you're some kind of space alien who can't differentiate between human genders, you notice that the only person who can save the world is a gruff, kind of scruffy-looking white dude with pale skin and brown hair." Rhee said, too, that there is a lot of violence directed against sex workers in games, and that representations of strip clubs or sex work in games (like such representations in other media) are often wildly inaccurate and exploitive.

But while Rhee finds Sarkeesian's criticism reasonable, and even obvious, she's also put off by the way in which she seems tone-deaf in her treatment of sex workers. According to Rhee, the term "prostituted women" says that "no sex worker has their own choice, and no sex worker can have control over their lives." 

The massive backlash against Sarkeesian's videos, encompassing both criticism in the #gamergate hashtag and rape and death threats, has polarized discussion of her work; any criticism of her is likely to be seized on as evidence of her iniquity, and/or of her critic's bad faith. Still, if—as Sarkeesian contends—prejudice in cultural products matters, then it seems like sex worker's criticisms of Sarkeesian should matter as well. Anti-porn feminism has a painful, ongoing history of stigmatizing sex workers. Cultural critics like Sarkeesian should be especially careful when using feminist analysis to talk about sex worker issues. If Sarkeesian cares about the representation of sex workers in culture, it seems like the least she could do is to respond and rethink when sex workers tell her, repeatedly, that her videos fail to represent them.

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293 responses to “Pixelated Prostitution: Feminist Debate Over Sex Work Bleeds Into Video Games

  1. Feminism “logic”:
    “My body, my choices”…
    …”Unless if I freely decide to get money with it having paid sex”

    1. Yes, if anything, self proclaimed feminists should be saying women should have the right to sell their bodies and their sex if they want to. Fake ass photoshopped bodies in advertising does more harm than prostitution or pornography ever could, and that’s only in that it gives girls an unrealistic idea of what their bodies should look like (therefore increasing the likelihood for anorexia or bolemia).

    2. Women’s right to choices < Feminist hatred of commerce.

  2. “In Red Dead Redemption, for example, the player is rewarded with an achievement for kidnapping a sex worker and murdering her.”

    OK, this goes beyond internal debates in the increasingly-insane feminist movement.

    Getting points for being a modern Jack the Ripper is a bad thing. You don’t have to be a feminist to say that.

    I don’t think playing these get-points-for-murder games will turn anyone into a serial killer. What these games *could* do is desensitize players to crime and murder. I would speculate that this causes harm to the players *and* the community.

    1. “In Red Dead Redemption, for example, the player is rewarded with an achievement for kidnapping a sex worker and murdering her.”

      RDR is one of my favorite PS3 games. As I recall it’s a trophy you get from the PlayStation Network when you hogtie a prostitute and leave her on the train tracks to be hit by the train. I thought it was funny because the trophy is called ‘Dastardly’.

      In any case, I don’t see why I should feel bad for killing pixelated prostitutes any more than killing countless pixelated lawmen and Federales during the game.

      1. I didn’t say you should feel *worse* about killing digital prostitutes than killing digital cops.

      2. The achievement is a joke on the old cartoons about. . .was it Dick Dastardly? The one with the wheezy laughing dog, whatever his name was.

        He was always kidnapping girls and putting them on train tracks to be killed, and it was either El-Kabong or the Uptight Canadian Mountie that saved them.

        My childhood memories of those cartoons are a bit muddled, but I still found that achievement to be entertaining. Given the fact that we used to show this stuff happening in cartoons for little children ALL THE TIME, I don’t think having it in a video game is all that harmful.

        1. The achievement is a joke on the old cartoons about. . .was it Dick Dastardly? The one with the wheezy laughing dog, whatever his name was.

          Exactly. It’s a reference to a classic western trope in which women were tied to tracks by the evil, mustache twirling villain.

          It’s not seriously advocating violence against women, it’s self-referential humor.

          1. Muttley. The wheezing laughing dog’s name was Muttley.

            They started as nefarious contestants in “Wacky Races” and eventually got so popular they had their own show, “The Dastardly and Muttley Comedy Hour” or something like that.

        2. was it Dick Dastardly?

          Snidely Whiplash?

    2. To be fair, I’m pretty sure they’re referring to an achievement where you lasso a woman and tie her to the train tracks, a la old Western villains. It’s not something the game supports morally or requires the player to do, it’s just optional content that is a reference to old films.

      This is, of course, ignoring the sad moral hysteria of ‘being a modern Jack the Ripper’ when it’s fictional setting driven by computer programming. Methinks some people need to understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

      1. If the game doesn’t approve, why does it award points?

        1. Because achievements are strictly side content that is often referential. The developers are not proclaiming violence against women and murder to be a morally good position because they give you some optional points for referencing old Westerns.

          Again, these are not real people. They are programming code. Learn the distinction.

          1. That doesn’t seem like a very good explanation. Getting a side bonus or achievement signals that the thing you did is good and fun, even if it isn’t part of the overall mission.

            See my comment below about fiction and reality. There’s lots of evidence (neuroscience, experimental) that people don’t distinguish between the two systematically in the way you’re claiming. No one’s claiming that murder in the video game has the same ethical status as murder in real life, but that doesn’t mean it has no ethical effects at all.

            1. No one’s claiming that murder in the video game has the same ethical status as murder in real life, but that doesn’t mean it has no ethical effects at all.

              Unless you’re Ayn Rand, ethics is not equivalent to aesthetics. Just because you find something distasteful, Berlastsky, doesn’t mean that those who don’t are horrible human beings.

            2. There’s lots of evidence (neuroscience, experimental) that people don’t distinguish between the two systematically in the way you’re claiming.

              As we all know, there has been a rash of real prostitutes actually hogtied to railroad tracks lately because people failed to distinguish the difference between video games and reality.

              1. You don’t understand kbolino, theoretical frameworks always override real-world empirical observation. Always.

                1. Look, all I know is that once I got the achievement, I grew a handlebar mustache and began kidnapping women.

                  But there aren’t any train tracks where I live that aren’t in plain view of a highway, so I just leave them hogtied in the middle of bike paths and hope someone gets really careless with a 4-wheeler.

                2. Heroic Mulatto|12.7.14 @ 12:13PM|#

                  You don’t understand kbolino, theoretical frameworks always override real-world empirical observation. Always”

                  That’s right. Just like we are told that the UVA rape story might not be true but that should not matter and we should take it for truth because it COULD have been true.

            3. Clearly all my hours in Crusader Kings 2 has led me to become a Viking warlord who regularly pillages the local Christian churches and rapes local women. My experiences in Kerbal Space Program have led me to obsessively start my own space agency as well.

              Your comment below cites one pop neurologist’s claim, that is not ‘a lot of evidence’. If violent video games were resulting in actual violent crimes, we’d see an increase in violent crimes amongst the gaming population as a result. But violent crime rates have been declining in the West constantly during a period when more and more people play video games.

              1. And don’t forget that three years I spent raiding Spanish shipping in the Caribbean as result of playing Pirates.

            4. I stuck a preacher on the tracks instead of a prostitute and received no achievement. So apparently murdering a male and a Christian isn’t even worth mention within the game. Who’s sexist now?

              1. I stuck a preacher on the tracks instead of a prostitute

                Where is your God now, Father?

                Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! *twirls mustache*

            5. If people are incapable of distinguishing between video game violence and real violence, you’d expect the murder rate to be going up. It’s not. Not surprisingly, in the real world, people are perfectly capable of understanding that “killing” an inanimate object in a video game but not give them license to kill a real human being.

            6. So since I like to play WWII strategy games I am really pining to be Hitler or Stalin or Tojo or FDR?

              Was my enjoyment of Squad Leader and The Third Reich board games also a hidden outlet for my mass murdering tendencies?

              Would it be less insensitive if you drew a Hitler mustache on the hooker before you tied her to the train tracks?

            7. Getting a side bonus or achievement signals that the thing you did is good and fun

              Killing video game people in video games is fun who the hell needs the achivement?

              Also to be clear. You do understand that video games are not real right? No one actually dies no one actually kills anyone.

            8. There’s lots of evidence (neuroscience, experimental) that people don’t distinguish between the two systematically in the way you’re claiming.

              Umm now you are just lying.

              1. There’s lots of evidence (neuroscience, experimental) that people don’t distinguish between the two systematically in the way you’re claiming.

                I love that Noah thinks we have CAT scans of murderers while they are murdering people to compare to video game player CAT scans.

                EXPERIMENTAL NEUROSCIENCE!!!

    3. Getting points for being a modern Jack the Ripper is a bad thing.

      What? Why?

      Do you also condemn films and books and TV shows that portray Jack the Ripper?

      Why are video games so very different?

      Also countless games give you points for killing people both men and women. Why is this specific case gain your ire but not like 50% of all games ever made?

      Lastly Read Dead is set in about 1910….not modern day. You also Machine gun down something like 100 Native Americans in one main story mission of that game why is one murder so important but genocide isn’t?

    4. You do know Jack the Ripper was a real serial killer and not a fictional gunfighter from the west that had the option of completing a side quest right?

      Oh, and pull the stick from your vagina

    5. I don’t recall ever reading about Jack the Ripper pretend-killing virtual prostitutes in a fictional, fantasy universe…

  3. the same feminists who whine about the patriarchy have no issue with the matriarchy – “we know better than you do what you should be doing, what choices are acceptable, etc etc.”

    Feminism has never been about freedom or about choices; the sisterhood is as rigid and dogmatic as any of its perceived enemies.

    1. From the thread last night some feminist was quoted regarding the UVA sex scandal and the epidemic of rape. She referred to making calculations about statistics in the margins of her ‘Marx-Engles Reader’.

      It was unnecessary signaling to the other feminists and a dead giveaway as to who we are talking about here. Feminists, my ass. They are commies who would be fine with the rape and murder of untold numbers of women if that is what it took to usher in their worker’s paradise.

      1. Yeah, feminism has been closely tied to communism since the beginning. The antagonism and suspicion toward everyone close to them (family, boyfriends, husbands, etc) coupled with insane loyalty to the party is a dead giveaway.

        1. err…

          Pretty sure the suffrage movement were not communists.

          1. They were tied to the idea of State-run morality, though. See Prohibition. Not to mention the current propensity of women to vote “safety uber alles“.

        2. You think that’s a dead giveaway?

          Take virtually any radfem statement regarding the patriarchy.

          Replace “patriarchy” with either “capitalism” or “biology”.

          “Well I’ll be damned…”

      2. Socialism in panties.

    2. Feminism has actually OCCASIONALLY been about freedom and choices. There were periods in both the 19th and 20th centuries when lower middle amd lower class women temporarily hijacked movements started by their more upper class (and snootier) sisters. They even did some good; publishing birth-control information in the teeth of establishment opposition, not to say hysteria.

      The women of lesiure always take the movement back, though, and turn it into a laughingstock.

  4. What is amusing to me is that proggies who state their arguments in a straightforward manner ( Personal liberty is evil, people do not belong to themselves, our narrative needs not be parallel with reality, it is ok to lie as long as it furthers the narrative, you are a blasphemer if you question the narrative, the spectacular failures of progressivism in the past never happened, etc., etc.) are clearly insane, yet the ones who adhere to progressivism and hide what they believe are counted as sane.

  5. OK, let us imagine a video game where you play a socialist politician. Your first objective is to get elected to Congress, defeating Koch-funded libertarian candidates. Then if you win, your next task is to shepherd a bill through Congress to impose a 95% income tax on the rich. Then a bill to make tobacco illegal. Then you get points for drowning the Koch Brothers in a lake.

    Would such a game be morally neutral?

    1. You’re literally describing a mix Democracy 3 and Tropico, minus the Koch drownings.

      And yes, it’s ‘morally neutral’ in the sense that it is not real, i.e. it is a fictional environment in which no one is being harmed. It’s a deliberately constructed fantasy, not reality, and that distinction is vital when it comes to ‘moral neutrality’.

    2. No, especially if the game puts those things in a positive light.

      But the thing you are missing is that in Red Dead Redemption the player is giving autonomy to choose to either be a good person or a bad person or something in between.

      For example, in one of the side missions you have to get information from a guy in a saloon. The guy demands a bribe of $20 or you must convince his abused wife to return to him. You go talk to the wife who insists he’s a terrible person and is leaving him from good. At that point you can either go back and pay the bribe or threaten the wife at gunpoint.

      The choice, one of many others, is what makes the game fun.

      1. Well, let me get to GTA, where I watched some of the walkthroughs on YouTube. The game seems to encourage car theft, shaking down businesses, etc., etc.

        1. Does the game encourage that in its fantasy setting for the purpose of game mechanics, or does it encourage it in reality? The distinction is important.

        2. Logical when the game has one playing the role of a criminal.

          1. Careful with that logic. Remember, feminists were complaining about the use of the B word in a Batman game… by the bad guys.

            “You’re teaching my kid to call women bitch… and to get beaten up by Batman?”

        3. Hey buddy, it’s a fucking video game. It doesn’t encourage anything in real life.

          I’ve been playing GTA since I was 11, some of my friends even before that, an have never done a violent thing in my life. Everyone I have ever known who played the game was an upstanding citizen. The game does not make people violent in real life. No one has shown evidence that it does.

          Now, if a person is violent for other reasons, then of course they’re going to prefer playing GTA to playing MarioKart. So I would entirely expect that violent people would often enjoy playing violent videogames, but you’ve got the causality backwards: it does not follow that players of violent video games are violent or that it is the games that induce or encourage the violence.

          If you take a way the videogames from the violent person, they’re still going to be violent, just now they’ll get their recreation by abusing animals instead of pixelated people.

    3. You know, that sounds an awful lot like the first time I ever played Sim City. I was like, I dunno, 9 or 10 years old.

      First thing I did was take out a huge loan to boost my cash reserves, flattened most of the map to my tastes, and created huge residential areas with little to no industrial or business zoning. I then raised taxes to the max and sat, smugly waiting for the cash to flow into my coffers.

      Everyone abandoned my city and I lost. And now I’m a libertarian. What do you say about video games NOW, Eddie? 🙂

    4. Does playing the game result in actual harm to a real person? If not, then yes, it’s morally neutral.

      Video games are fiction that the player takes part in creating. That gives the player some degree of agency as well as some feeling of achievement, but it doesn’t change the fictional nature of the game. If killing a hooker while playing a fictional character in a video game is immoral, then every horror author should immediately be arrested, and Stanley Kubrick should be burnt in effigy for starting WWIII in Dr. Strangelove.

  6. FYI-
    Bloomberg Business Social justice Week has what appears to be (I skimmed a few paras, until my gag reflex kicked in) a long and loving profile of la Sarkeesian.

    Good luck, and godspeed.

    1. News media are both more profit-driven than ever before AND less capable of generating profit than ever before. The end result is what we have today: previously “legitimate” establishments latching onto embarrassingly shoddy online bullshit in hopes of remaining quasi-relevant for another ten minutes.

  7. OK, so I confess that one time in Fallout 3 I mesmerized Susan Lancaster in Tenpenny Tower and then stole all of her possessions, including her clothes. This forced her to run all the way to Paradise Falls in her underwear, I thought this was funny.
    Where do I surrender to the appropriate authorities?

    1. I killed and ate my best friend Dogmeat. I’ll walk to the gallows with you.

      1. A) Good name. Cast a fireball, old man.

        B) I couldn’t bring myself to let Dogmeat get hurt. I saved him and then just left him sitting in front of the vault for the entire game. I came by once in a while and fed him.

        1. B)I would expect a little less empathy from someone who may or not be Vlad the Impaler.

          A)I would but damn feathers keep getting stuck in my throat.

          1. A) Lois Griffin had the same problem after Peter lost an epic battle with the chicken.

    2. In GTA I would get the cops after me, then park my car with the driver side door right next to a cliff; then when the cops came to try to pull me out (it occurred to none of them to try the passenger side) they all just run right off the cliff to their deaths, one after the other. I was sufficiently amused for at least ten minutes just watching the PoPos tumble over the cliff single file one after the other.

      1. Which GTA? I want to try that.

        1. GTA IV. A great place to do it is on the one highway where a couple chunks are missing from the walls on the side. If you look up ‘GTA 4 cop suicide’ on youtube you should find specifics.

          Unfortunately the police in GTA V are smarter than that 🙁

  8. Would such a game be morally neutral?

    Would a game in which you conquer and enslave the population of a continent in the service of the Pope be morally neutral?

    1. Hey, don’t you talk shit about Crusader Kings 2, that game’s fantastic.

      It also allows you to:
      -Murder small children
      -Murder your way to a preferred candidate for the Papacy.
      -Cheat on your wife/husband, a lot.
      -Take captured women as concubines.

      All of which are just options that the player can choose to engage in.

    2. I think this is a logical fallacy – the “yo mama” or “so’s your old man” fallacy.

      1. In all fairness, you do have a point. I mean, before videogames, there was so little violence or property theft in the world.

        I mean, the Romans, The Huns, the Timurids, they hardly massacred children or raped women of capturedtowns and burnt everything to the ground like ever, not like today, where videogamers do this stuff all the time.

        Just think how bad Robespierre or Hitler or Pol Pot might have been if there had been violent media around to desensitize them to violence. Or, can you imagine how bad the camp guards would’ve have treated their concentration camp inmates if they had had videogames to desensitized them to violence? I guess let’s just thank God that the didn’t have GTA back then, otherwise they might have really lost their consciences.

  9. OT:

    Dear Reason,

    I found two examples of why women might be afraid of getting raped by frat guys at UVA and on college campuses in general. The first is here http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5234309 and the second is here: http://www.theguardian.com/soc…..r-20-years

    None of these things involve reading the SCUM Manifesto, feminist theory or left-wing professors, but I’ll dig a little deeper. The real victims here are well-connected, rich, entitled frat boys.

    Paging Ron Bailey: does your “science” degree in economics cover coming up with a synthesis for an antidote to ghb. My bet is you could make a killing in the collegiate women’s market.

    1. Cool story, bro.

    2. I found two examples of why women might be afraid of getting raped by frat guys at UVA and on college campuses in general.

      Well, 2 out of 50 million ain’t bad. Clearly it’s time to shut down the justice system.

    3. And when the victims aren’t well-connected, rich, or entitled frat dudebros?

      See Jameis Winston, Brian Banks, Jarrett Adams, Robert Aldridge, Theodore White Jr., Edward Honaker, just to name a few.

      But I forget myself. When the sacred (white) vagina has (supposedly) been defiled, the presumption of innocence and the rules of evidence go flying out the window.

      But I guess everyone, whether they are a college football hopeful, a fraternity dudebro, or just some random guy who gets picked out of a photo array with a little helpful suggestion from the cops, needs to “man up” and suffer harm to their reputation or the complete destruction of their lives because…RAEP KULTUR.

      1. I refer to myself as a non-doctrinaire libertarian in part because I like the idea of being able to buy my cocaine from the Target next to my house instead of my shady dealer.

        Because I’d like more people to share my goals, I’m definitely concerned about recruitment. I would say that if we actually want “chicks” to join our movement ( there’s like two of them right now, correct?) that we *not* lead with the argument that most women who claim to be raped are probably faking it.

        1. I would say that if we actually want “chicks” to join our movement ( there’s like two of them right now, correct?) that we *not* lead with the argument that most women who claim to be raped are probably faking it.

          I would say that “we” would recruit even more if you didn’t grossly characterize the arguments of others.

        2. How about the argument that anyone accused of rape is entitled to due process and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Will ‘chicks’ let us believe that?

      2. Have I ever suggested that a person accused of rape *not* be afforded a vigorous legal defense? For crying out loud, my wife is a fucking defense attorney. I’m just saying that when a women goes to the police and makes an accusation that it should be taken seriously. This has been a problem before, no?

        1. We could probably recruit a lot of women sending the message that most men are shitstains and that women are so much more moral than us; that women’s lives are invariably so much harder and we should feel ashamed for how horrible ‘we’ treat them as aiders and abetters of ‘The Patriarchy’. We could. That women should get all the rights men have but still get special treatment in many ways because vagina. Why, we could do just what the male feminists do and flagellate ourselves while fellating some women’s egregious sense of entitlement. We’d get lots of women doing that.

          But then we’d be fucking retarded.

          Seriously, why don’t you over to Jezebel and try this: tell them that they’d attract a lot more men to feminism if they all posted topless pictures of themselves on internet. See if they oblige.

        2. Have I ever suggested that a person accused of rape *not* be afforded a vigorous legal defense?

          Way to miss that point. A person should not be called upon to defend themselves from a mere accusation.

          For crying out loud, my wife is a fucking defense attorney.

          You have my condolences.

          I’m just saying that when a women goes to the police and makes an accusation that it should be taken seriously.

          By “taken seriously” I assume you mean investigated to find evidence that the accusation has a factual basis, right?

          This has been a problem before, no?

          So…you want to hang the prejudices and slothfulness of the police on the public in general? Makes perfect sense.

      3. Funny how “american socialist” doesn’t give two shits about working class men getting their lives ruined by entitled princesses. Gender first, class second, apparently. Or is it gender, then race, then class?

        1. Gender, race, and gay all come before class, and they are ranked depending on how the spirit moves the collective mongoloid progressive mind at the moment. Needless to say all four are more important than principles.

    4. Remember when the date rape nail polish was postulated? Hysterics from people who said that this was putting the burden on the women involved instead of “rape culture”.

      And Bailey’s reporting has done much more for humanity than your comments ever have or will.

    5. One of those stories is from 1984.

      You’ve found two rapes in 30 years. Man, it’s a fucking Sodom.

      1. It took a one minute google search and looking up the phi kappa psi wikipedia page to find two examples one of which– you’ll notice– was committed by members of the same fraternity at UVA. You are more right in your dismissive hyperbole than you know. I *could* go on all day with examples of women getting raped in college. I could probably go on all day about women getting raped at UVA. But you all seemed so sanguine about the topic so I didn’t want to bother you.

        1. You could go on all day about women getting raped anywhere, because rape is not limited to American college campuses.

          Why don’t we talk about actual rape culture, such as they have in the middle east? No? Why not? Oh, right, because it doesn’t help push the local narrative and allow SJWs to present themselves as victims.

          Suck a patriarchal dick, A.S.

        2. It took a one minute google search and looking up the phi kappa psi wikipedia page to find two examples one of which– you’ll notice– was committed by members of the same fraternity at UVA. You are more right in your dismissive hyperbole than you know. I *could* go on all day with examples of women getting raped in college. I could probably go on all day about women getting raped at UVA. But you all seemed so sanguine about the topic so I didn’t want to bother you.

          This is so retarded I don’t know where to begin. First of all, of course you could go on all day. In the last 30 years, how many people have passed through college? Quite literally tens upon tens of millions. Let’s say you spent the next year coming up with examples of rapes on campus and found 100,000 of them. Since 30 million women have gone through college in the last 30 years, 100,000 would be a grand total of .3%.

          Do you see now why it’s relevant to look at actual percentages rather than anecdotes? Because when you have a gigantic number of people even a large number of anecdotes is insufficient to declare an epidemic.

          First of all, rape in college is less common than among, say, poor African Americans, poor whites in Appalachia, and on Indian reservations. So why don’t progressives talk about places where rape actually is a problem rather than a place where it isn’t? Because you’re using rape victims for a political purpose – which is disgusting.

        3. This is also hilarious:

          It took a one minute google search and looking up the phi kappa psi wikipedia page to find two examples one of which– you’ll notice– was committed by members of the same fraternity at UVA.

          He was a member of the same fraternity…thirty years ago. Given that none of the people currently in the fraternity were fucking alive when that assault happened, this is the most ludicrous attempt at guilt by association I have ever seen.

          Your assertions that rape is commonplace are disproven by all reputable evidence of actual rapes on campuses. So you pull out anecdotes because the evidence doesn’t support your narrative and you want to use the victims of sexual assault for your own political purposes.

          You should be ashamed for caring so little about actual victims that they are nothing but pawns to you. I guess I should expect nothing less from a socialist – who cares if some innocents must be sacrificed in service to a cause. Who cares if innocent men must be jailed so that AS can feel good about himself for destroying the lives of the innocent.

          1. He’s a collectivist. To him, punishing men today for women being raped in the middle ages makes perfect sense.

            When males suffer due to feminist anti-male policies, doesn’t matter if they’re 8 years old, it’s still ‘them’ getting their just deserts for all ‘they’supposedly did to women in the past.

            I think it was Ezra Klein who said it’s good that men should live in fear of being railroaded because ‘now they understand what it’s like to have been a woman all this time.’ Feminism these days is largely just thinly veiled gender revanchism.

  10. At that point you can either go back and pay the bribe or threaten the wife at gunpoint.

    Easy. Pay the bribe and get the information. Then shoot him, retrieve the money and anything else of value he may have, and get a reward from his wife.

    1. +1 Doublecross

  11. At the risk of raising a hackle or two, I think there’s something of a point. Having played both GTA3 and Saint’s Row 2 I’m pretty sure that during the “fetch the bitches” missions that the hookers involved weren’t depicted as human beings with agency. But the same can be said for any NPC in the game.

    1. That’s a fair point actually, but as you mention, it’s interesting that even NPCs who are depicted as having ‘agency’ are strictly an illusion created by developers. Hell, in many ways the player themselves lack agency in games, as they are only capable of the actions that the developers deliberately program into the game (sometimes making progression very rigidly focused or more broad, but always narrowed to the developers’ choices, not the player’s).

      1. broad

        Heh. Broad.

    2. Um, here’s the problem: Men aren’t depicted as human beings with agency either.

      Seriously, how many men are callously murdered for trivial reasons or no reason at all for just the same of amusement in the course of these games. If you were honest, you’d accept that the treatment of men in videogames is far worse than the treatment of women. 99% of anonymous henchmen or bystanders carelessly killed in games are men. When is Anita Sarkeesian going to criticize that sexism?

      This whole “debate” is nonsense, same old blindness to half the human species that plagues everything in feminism: kill fifty men and a woman, and what is called? Violence against women, of course.

      1. Oh Mark, you are so ignorant. Listen to this wise woman.

        Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.

        -The Greatest Leader Ever, Future President of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton.

        Check your privilege cishet shitlord.

        1. No way. She can’t have actually said that. How vacuous, how self centered, how egotistical, how downright ignorant can a human being be? Oh, that’s right, we are talking about Shillary.

        2. She’s right though. I’m always worried that if I get murdered, my hypothetical future wife might end up marrying a man who makes less money than me so she has to work to support herself. Oh what a hypothetical injustice that would be!

        3. Yeah, but dat gaping chest wound, doh…

        4. I thought it was impossible, but the whole quote is worse–

          Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today’s warfare, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children.

    3. You mean like how every shop owner in every single RPG is basically a snack machine that dispenses swords/AKs/healing potions/cool hats? To the extent that Borderlands–rather cleverly, from a metagame standpoint–actually replaced all the shopkeepers with vending machines?

  12. My Uncle Nathan got a stunning cream Cadillac CTS-V Sedan by working part-time at home online… Check This Out
    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\——- http://snipr.com/29i4rlk

  13. I think the first sign that your movement has officially jumped the shark is when you start using sociology terminology to describe a collection of fucking pixels on a video screen.

    1. Huh huh, “fucking pixels”.

      1. Stop laughing. Pixels are raped DAILY in frat houses at UVA. You disgust me.

  14. If I go on a genocidal raping-and-littering spree in a game, does that say anything about me in real life? When an author conjures up horrific torture scenarios in his books, does it say anything about him in real life?

    One of the many benefits of the arts is that they provide a safe outlet for our darker impulses. If someone plays GTA and goes on to kill someone, it’s a tragedy. But it is no less a tragedy than if that killer was inspired by The Godfather or gangster rap or Shakespeare.

  15. So, a number of commenters are arguing that what happens in games doesn’t matter, or is morally neutral, because it’s not real. There’s actually a fair bit of evidence that our brains aren’t all that good at distinguishing reality and fiction, and that how you interact with fiction can have an affect on how you interact with reality. I talk about this here:

    http://www.psmag.com/navigatio…..ure-93951/

    How games and reality interact in each specific instance is complicated, and people can certainly argue about that. But if games were completely irrelevant to real life, why would you play them? Without a connection to some sort of recognizable reality or emotion, nobody would get any emotion (enjoyment or otherwise) from art.

    Also, if communication and expression don’t matter, there’s no reason to be upset at feminist criticism, which would also presumably have no effect and wouldn’t matter. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. I like how you label one pop neuroscientist’s pet theory of the possible neuropsychological effects of mirror neuron activation as “a fair bit of evidence”.

    2. False dichotomy of absolutes

      ‘matter/doesn’t matter’ / ‘an effect/no effect’ elides actual relative significance.

      Saying something ‘matters’ says nothing unless you can say what it matters relative *to*. “Everything matters” on some level. The issue is whether the level on which it happens to ‘matter’ is completely insignificant relative to any other aspect of live.

      Are you saying when i pointed my finger at someone and went ‘Bang! Bang!’ when playing cowboys and indians, I was engaged in a Homeopathic Pantomime of *actual murder*, and on ‘some level’ my life was profoundly affected? And that level was more or less significant than….

      … oh, reading the newspaper?

      “” if communication and expression don’t matter, there’s no reason to be upset at feminist criticism””

      No = if certain forms of expression aren’t even remotely as significant as they are being *treated* by feminists, its perfectly acceptable to criticize their hysterical over-reaction and demonization of what are demonstrably ‘harmless’ human behaviors.

      “Does matter/Doesn’t Matter” is a stupid rhetorical game of absolutes that uses the micro-iota of ‘everything matters’ to justify an irrational, overblown treatment of anything that Victim Classes want to highlight as ‘problematic’.

      1. You played “cowboys and indians”? How old are you? 90? Cops and Robbers, sure…that’s timeless. But unless Gunsmoke was in its first season, well, what I’m trying to say is that you’re an old fogey.

        1. It was just an example

          My childhood friends and i played ‘Rival Crack Dealers’, which was far more egalitarian and had far less racial/colonialist overtones. We were all relatively-equal Evil Gangster Kingpins trying to maintain and get a piece of that game, and sometimes needed to take a bitch out when he got greedy. Or, if it was lunchtime.

          1. True story. My friends and I used to play “Street fighter” (well before the video game, we just meant we were dudes fighting on the street) and one of our imaginary power-ups was PCP. If you “took” PCP you got to hulk out and were invincible until someone counted to 50.

            1. That is awesome. Except really PCP just makes you walk funny and not realize how you got somewhere.

              1. So it doesn’t make you think you’re a glass of orange juice? Or was that LSD?

                1. PCP was like smoking a lobotomy, one where they sliced into you memory banks and injured your eyes, too, in the process.

                  LSD , One time I thought every moment of my existence up to that point had been a dream and I was waking up into the true reality. and I really believed it for a good hour or so. But I never became any breakfast food or drink from what I remember.

              2. Except really PCP just makes you walk funny and not realize how you got somewhere.

                We were 7 and 8!

                1. The perfect age to develop a drug habit!

    3. And then there’s this.

      1. Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man

        1. +100 points to your house for the Dude reference

    4. It almost sounds as if you’re describing people who cannot tell the difference between reality and fiction. In other words, you’re describing people who are already troubled and will likely have issues with family, friends, and the law whether they play video games, read books, or really do anything other than sit and stare at a wall all day long.

      I find your premise to be faulty.

    5. Oh yeah, that’s a massive amount of evidence there. I can just as easily point to Christopher Ferguson’s research and completely discredit that, not to mention dozens of other studies at universities.

      Once again, it is fiction. It is not real, it is morally neutral because your actions have not happened anywhere outside of that fiction. If you are the kind of person who actively conflates fiction with reality and commits violent acts in reality that reflects on far deeper psychological issues than your Grand Theft Auto habit.

      1. Bullshit. What was Adam Lanza’s favorite game again? Call of Modern Warfare Battlefield Duty Heroes?

        *whisper, whisper*

        Dance Dance Revolution?

        Never mind.

      2. I wonder if the anti-videogame movement doesn’t get a lot of steam from horrible parents who can’t own up to the fact that they fucked up their kids, not Rockstar games. “See, my son really acts out because of the pixelated hookers he killed, not because we beat him mercilessly!”

        1. Oh, 100% this. When I was a toddler people were blaming D&D for Satanic ritualized murders. By the time I was 8 it was a cartoon on Saturday morning. You still hear people blaming “violent gangster rap” for crime, although not as much. In the 80s it was metal, because, frankly, rap sucked until Public Enemy.

          In the 50s, there was a teenage couple that went on a spree killing–Charles Starkweather was the guy–that IIRC was tangentially associated with rock and roll. As in, Starkweather was the kind of guy who’d listen to rock music, wear leather jackets, and try to corrupt the flower of American girlhood type of thing. I’m sure neuroscientists of the day would have found compelling evidence linking Fats Domino with homicidal behavior.

          Once the Tipper Gore generation dies off I suspect video games will get a reprieve.

    6. Also, if communication and expression don’t matter, there’s no reason to be upset at feminist criticism, which would also presumably have no effect and wouldn’t matter. You can’t have it both ways.

      This is the greatest pile of bullshit I have ever read in my life.

      Actually, Noah, since feminists are actively attempting to control certain aspects of culture in service to their cargo cult, feminist criticism does have real world consequences. Anita Sarkeesian does not merely wish to discuss games, her stated purpose is to make games media change in order to fit her desires, rather than the desires of the market.

      What I also find amazing is that Reason would publish an article where feminists claim that video games impact reality to such an extent that the content must be policed, but Reason would never publish an article where, say, Christians did the same thing.

      Let’s say Mike Huckabee were arguing that we should stop video games from engaging in blasphemy because of the negative real world impact blasphemy has upon our immortal souls. Would Reason publish an article which was in some ways sympathetic to this view, and then have a writer tell us that ‘if communication and expression don’t matter, there’s no reason to be upset at feminist Christian criticism, which would also presumably have no effect and wouldn’t matter. You can’t have it both ways.’

      If not, why not?

      1. Agreed. The new feminism, as with much of the new (or is it old?) progressivism is fast becoming the new Puritanism.

      2. I notice that he doesn’t have the nerve to answer your retort, Irish.

        You and Gilmore wrecked his shit. Congrats.

    7. there’s no reason to be upset at feminist criticism

      Umm hate to break it to you but they are outlawing games. It is not criticism that is bothersome it is the censorship.

  16. Much of the criticism of Sarkeesian has centered around her terminology. She doesn’t call sex workers “sex workers.” Instead she refers to them throughout her video series as “prostituted women.”

    What’s with your use of PC terminology? What’s wrong with “prostitute?”

    1. The rest of the piece explains why sex workers don’t want to be called prostituted women.

      1. I said “prostitute” not “prostituted women.”

        And another thing, how did these prostitutes sex workers on twitter appoint themselves as the spokeswomen for sex workers in general? I’d think the typical sex worker is a coke addict in some ghetto somewhere who doesn’t care about this gender war crap.

        1. Sex workers technically encompass other sex-related services outside of just plain prostitution (pornography actors, S&M providers, etc.). It’s a lame term though, I’d go with something like sexigneer or meretrix.

    2. “What’s wrong with “prostitute?””

      Too many syllables, and and a Ho aint worth that much time.

  17. Feminist Debate Over Sex Work Bleeds Into Video Games

    Wait. This is even a thing? You mean that the sentence is not another example of Chomsky’s “colorless green ideas sleep furiously”-class of grammatically correct but semantically meaningless sentences?

  18. I think this is a logical fallacy – the “yo mama” or “so’s your old man” fallacy.

    Boo hoo.

    LEAVE THE POPE ALOOOOOOOOONE!!111!!

    1. Curb stomping the Pope in AC2 was pretty awesome.

      1. That shit should have been on the back of the box:

        “Bare-knuckle box the most corrupt Pope ever!”

  19. Also, if communication and expression don’t matter, there’s no reason to be upset at feminist criticism, which would also presumably have no effect and wouldn’t matter. You can’t have it both ways.

    Speaking of an inability to differentiate between reality and imagination…

    To be honest, I couldn’t give a fuck less what the Theoreticians of Gender Obsession have to say.

    1. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t need to start talking about how you don’t care.

      If communication doesn’t matter, why are you on here talking? Either communication between people can have an effect, or it can’t. If it can’t, there’s no reason for you to talk to anybody (except to hear your own keyboard typing, I guess.) If it can, then it’s reasonable to talk about how games or film or books affect people, since those are all ways that people communicate with each other. (You can certainly argue over *how* those effects work. But arguing that they can’t possibly have any effect isn’t very convincing.)

      1. People choose how communication affects them. Listening to one of Lenin’s speeches won’t turn me into a communist, but someone else might find the content of the speech convincing and decide to become a communist.

        That doesn’t give Lenin’s words magical power to change people.

      2. “arguing that they can’t possibly have any effect”

        Did you miss the part where we pointed out that ‘an effect’ is a meaningless claim unless you can compare it to other ‘effects’?

        This idea that EVERYTHING has effects, therefore EVERYTHING deserves equal scrutiny is nothing but a retarded attempt to skip past the part where you have to actually demonstrate how things ‘matter’ relative to anything else.

        For example = A pastrami sandwich for lunch has an ‘effect’ more significant than the 15 digital prostitutes i murdered yesterday.

        Are you suggesting that the act of consciously dissecting and consuming a live animal somehow *doesn’t matter*??? I AM UNCONVINCED

          1. “”If i wasn’t making a very important and salient point, you wouldn’t feel the need to point out how my argument is so horribly flawed and unworthy of publication in a magazine for adults”

              1. Plus Motherfucking One

                1. For those wondering why the story, what little there is, of Beyond Earth sucks, this video that reveals that the two lead devs as insufferable progs should enlighten you.

                  1. I recall the lead designer on Alpha Centauri had a degree in history and philosophy. It shows.

                    I’m not at all surprised that the story guys on Beyond Earth would be completely ignorant to historical, religious and cultural divisions based on what I’ve seen.

                  2. I like it when people talk about their vision of the future being happy and optimistic then posit a hellish Malthusian scenario where billions die in nuclear war and for their supposed ecological sins against Gaia, and civilization collapses into a new dark age from which absolutely no records survive, not even cave paintings. Sounds positively idyllic.

                    Ponytail dev also has an unintentionally amusing moment when he talks about the displacement of nuclear war being “fast, compared to climate change… relatively”, with the inflection on that last word implying that real life is the South Park “Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow” episode and climate change is some force like a torrent of water that might suddenly overtake and drown you.

                    Later he’s blathering about how Africa is extremely resource-rich but they haven’t been able to utilize it because they’ve just been exploited by everyone else. Everyone else mainly being their own countrymen and fellow Africans, but I don’t think that’s what he had in mind.

                    Also the USA has turned into some “evil corporation” (“the idea of the super PAC times 1000”) that is about “power and control and domination… and espionage”. That’s right, Citizen’s United (specified directly in name) will be responsible for “totalitarian conservatism” in the future.

                    1. Sadly, these days I imagine it would be difficult to push through a game where the antogonists are, say, a bunch of purportedly beneficent utopian statists. Established game journalists would pan it because they’d hate the message since they’re mostly dyed in the wool leftists. Hence their love of Sarkeesian. And more unfortunately, for some reason, lots of gamers still listen to established game journalists.

                    2. I haven’t played it myself, but I’ve been told that’s the basic storyline to Bioshock Infinite 2.

                    3. Er, that should have read “Bioshock 2.”

                  3. Despite this, the factions are intended to be “celebratory… the best things about these cultures”… people who are actually from… should look at this faction that we’ve made up and be proud of it and want to participate.” Indeed.

    2. Your not giving enough fucks is selfish, authority-assuming fuck-hoarding that deprives underprivileged communities from their own personal fuck-experiences. You need to stop conceiving of fucks as simply ‘yours’, and engage in a more open-minded framework of relations where everyone’s fucks can be shared on a variety of levels.

      1. The idea of a fuck-hoard is…intriguing…

  20. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t need to start talking about how you don’t care.

    Nice try. If I cared, I’d read the article. I didn’t.

  21. Are you saying when i pointed my finger at someone and went ‘Bang! Bang!’ when playing cowboys and indians, I was engaged in a Homeopathic Pantomime of *actual murder*, and on ‘some level’ my life was profoundly affected? And that level was more or less significant than….

    Lucky for us, you pre-date video games. Your callous indifference to the suffering of the indigenous peoples of this continent screams, “SKOOL SHOOTUR!”

  22. We need more video games that don’t treat characters as commodities and objects, and don’t target them for violence.

    Oh, wait…

  23. “If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t need to start talking about how you don’t care.”

    I just want to point out that this construction is the rhetorical equivalent of
    = “IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. IM NOT TOUCHING YOU. MOOOOOOOOOOMM!!!! HE HIT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

  24. Violence against sex workers is a serious problem, both nationally and internationally,

    As compared to violence against the non-sex worker population?

    and Sarkeesian makes a good case that the games she discusses treat that violence as fun, enjoyable, or even laudable.

    Uh-huh. How about the San Andreas mission“Deconstruction” (GTA:SA Protagonist kills a bunch of men and buries one alive under concrete for making lewd comments about his sister)? Is there just an epidemic of construction workers getting homicided for catcalls? I guess Hollaback hasn’t tooled up yet for a shootout.

    Anti-porn feminism has a painful, ongoing history of stigmatizing sex workers.

    Because women should be allowed to trade access to their vaginas for diamond rings or free drinks, but never cash.

    1. “compared to violence against the non-sex worker population?”

      No, you see, he said “serious”. You’re not being serious now.

      A ‘serious problem’ is one which, if you dare suggest it ISNT of the utmost paramount importance, means you’re a horrible shit that needs to be shamed and ostracized.

      So if you fail to treat the potential for violence against sex workers on an equal plane as, say, The Holocaust… or the Bubonic Plaugue… well, it just means you’re a shitty person and you don’t deserve to have anyone ever listen to what you say.

      You might almost suspect that the entire purpose of these kinds of conversations about “digital whore abuse” aren’t actually even intended to achieve any real world goal relative to ‘actual sex workers’.

      You might almost think that the real purpose of the ‘debate’ is actually to force certain groups of people to say (rationally or not) =

      i’m not sure that’s as important as you suggest

      …at which point your group can then use their Moral Shame-Hammer to punish said other group in public.

      You really almost might suspect THAT was the intended purpose of it.

      But if you did? YOU WOULD BE WRONG AND BAD AND I DONT EVEN KNOW YOU OMG WHERE IS MY TWITTER SOMEONE TELL EVERYONE THAT PERSON X THINKS MURDERING WHORES IS COOL

      1. All violence is important. Sex workers tend to get targeted for violence at high rates, and when you talk about it people often dismiss it. Violence against sex workers is also often perpetrated by representatives of the state, which I think makes it a social issue which taxpayers have an interest in.

        Using obscene insults directed at sex workers in order to make yourself look funny and cool doesn’t necessarily help your case. fwiw.

        1. Using obscene insults directed at sex workers in order to make yourself look funny and cool doesn’t necessarily help your case. fwiw.

          And using the real-life violence perpetrated on sex workers as a bloody flag to wave in order to stake the moral high ground in an argument about aesthetics and pop culture doesn’t necessarily hide the fact that you’re a smug sanctimonious prick with an unwarranted sense of righteousness. hth.

          1. I don’t want the moral high ground. I would much prefer that people just stopped seeing violence against sex workers as cool and funny, in representations (whether language or video games) or in life.

            One of the ways sex workers are targeted is through stigma; they’re seen as worthless and evil, and therefore laws against them are seen as just, and violence against them is seen as justified, or as uninteresting. So, yes, I think representations which perpetuate that stigma, whether in language or in media, matter.

            1. I would much prefer that people just stopped seeing violence against sex workers as cool and funny, in representations (whether language or video games) or in life.

              Great, but it should be obvious that’s not what Rockstar did in GTA IV and V. The game is designed to allow players to experience the “glamor” of criminal life which is then contrasted by the heavy consequences the player must face in the later stages of the game. That nuance is only lost on two groups of people; those who haven’t played the game and those who are too young to be playing the game. If you ask me if I think parents should do a better job in keeping rated M games out of the hands of 14 year olds, then I say yes. But saying that I’m incapable of fully comprehending the ethical dilemmas within the narrative of GTA V is just as offensive as suggesting that if that I, as someone in his early 40s, read Nabokov’s Lolita, that I will think pedophilia is cool or funny.

            2. I would much prefer that people just stopped seeing violence against sex workers as cool and funny, in representations (whether language or video games) or in life.

              Christian Noah Berlatsky: “I would much prefer that people stopped seeing violence against sex workers mocking the Holy Spirit as cool and funny, in representations (whether langauge or video games) or in life.”

              Again, you refuse to explain how your position (that games allowing you to kill strippers has a magical effect upon real life) is different from a host of positions you would find abhorrent.

              Tell me, when Jack Thompson was on his crusade about how video games totally result in school shootings, was Reason publishing sympathetic articles in which the writer angrily denounced skeptics as ‘being in favor of school violence?’ Because Anita Sarkeesian, and this whole feminist cultural policing fad, are nothing more than Jack Thompson, only twenty-years younger and with a greater emphasis on perfume.

              Stop pretending that your obsession with actions that take place in a fantasy land divorced from reality has anything to do with real life.

              You’re behaving like a latter day Anthony Comstock, you’re just too historically illiterate to realize it.

            3. Also, why is it only violence against women that magically has this impact on society? I’ve played innumerable games where violence against various men was played for laughs. In fact, in modern media, violence against women is generally taken MORE SERIOUSLY than violence against men.

              When’s the last time a T.V. show treated a woman getting raped as a joke? It is always treated seriously. This entire argument advanced by Berlatsky, Sarkeesian, et al. that violence against women is taken less seriously in the media is a rank absurdity based on their own prejudices and unwillingness to objectively look at the evidence.

              By all means though, Noah, feel free to continue advancing what amounts to a ridiculously culturally conservative argument so that the modern puritans will let you sit at the cool kids’ table. Just don’t expect me to treat your social preening as any more serious than it actually is.

        2. “All violence is important.”

          I see.

          Is anything ‘unimportant’? Swatting flies? Love bites? Mean looks?

          What criteria do you use to distinguish ‘importance’ from ‘unimportance’?

          “Using obscene insults directed at sex workers in order to make yourself look funny and cool doesn’t necessarily help your case.”

          Actually it does.

          It suggests that I think i’m talking to adults who aren’t so-easily offended. It treats my audience as mature people who can distinguish between Humor and actual malicious intent.

          Avoiding actual points i make, and then rhetorically trying to discredit me by claiming you find certain words ‘obscene and offensive’, doesn’t help your (absent) case either.

          But please, Ad Hom away, and pretend to be aghast at Bad Words that Hurt.

          its much easier than actually addressing the fact that you have no basis for determining *how much* the murder of digital whores actually ‘matters’ relative to a child’s imaginary game of Cops & Robbers.

          1. I guess I missed the part where saying violence is important means everything has to be important?

            Violence and power ? I was under the impression that this was central to libertarianism’s critique of tyranny and arbitrary rule.

            And again, it’s not clear to me why you need to use offensive language directed at sex workers in order to make your point that such language doesn’t matter. If it truly doesn’t matter, why bother sneering at folks who have enough troubles already, given that they’re livelihood is criminalized and they’re generally despised? And if you think that the rhetorical act of using obscenities against marginalized people is so important to your argument or your sense of importance, what grounds do you have for dismissing the idea that communication in various forms matters.

            “than actually addressing the fact that you have no basis for determining *how much* the murder of digital whores actually ‘matters’ relative to a child’s imaginary game of Cops & Robbers.”

            I have addressed this, actually (see the pacific standard piece I linked elsewhere.) It’s always tricky to tell how art affects real life. But “tricky” doesn’t give much warrant for saying, “it has no effect.”

            Also, this piece is mostly about the argument that what cultural critics say can have an effect on reality. Do you reject that as well? (And if so, why are you bothering engaging in cultural criticism here?)

            1. “I guess I missed the part where saying violence is important means everything has to be important?”

              no, you continue to demonstrate no ability to distinguish relative levels of ‘importance’. When everything is equally ‘important’ nothing is. You fail to ever show any interest in criteria for determining ‘importance’.

              ‘And again, it’s not clear to me why you need to use offensive language’

              I don’t need to. I choose to in order to make a point that ‘adults aren’t harmed by Bad Words/ideas’.

              You choose to get offended in order to avoid engaging the point. Wash, rinse, repeat.

              I have addressed this, actually (see the pacific standard piece I linked elsewhere.)”

              Technically, that’s not ‘addressing’ something so much as avoiding doing it yourself.

              “This piece is mostly about the argument that what cultural critics say can have an effect on reality.”

              This series of responses is mostly about how cultural critics are completely full of shit, self-serving faux intellectuals who don’t deserve to be treated seriously.

            2. It’s always tricky to tell how art affects real life. But “tricky” doesn’t give much warrant for saying, “it has no effect.””

              “You can’t disprove it! and we’re not going to even try to measure it”

              How scientific.

              I thought i kicked this one to the curb way above

              “‘matter/doesn’t matter’ / ‘an effect/no effect’ elides actual relative significance.

              Saying something ‘matters’ says nothing unless you can say what it matters relative *to*. “Everything matters” on some level. The issue is whether the level on which it happens to ‘matter’ is completely insignificant relative to any other aspect of life.”

              etc.

              i.e. = explain how a child pointing a finger and going “bang” is any more/less ‘harmful’ than ‘digitized violence against politically-protected social-classes’

              1. @Gilmore:

                It’s also somewhat impressive that Noah and all the feminist critics arguing that violence against women somehow has a real world effect never seem to worry themselves with the massive amount of violence against men in video games.

                In Hitman, I broke a cops neck in the bathroom of an opera house and hid his corpse in a dumpster so as to avoid raising the alarm.

                In Fallout 3, you can fucking blow up a town with a nuke. Then if you go back to that town, you can find one of the survivors who has been turned into a radioactive ghoul. She’s super cheery and has humorous dialogue with you about how she’s totally okay with the fact that you just killed all of her friends in a nuclear explosion.

                So when are we going to get a Noah Berlatsky think piece about how we should stop treating police as disposable in video games and how terrible it is that Fallout doesn’t take the threat of nuclear Armageddon seriously enough?

                1. “Noah and all the feminist critics arguing that violence against women somehow has a real world effect never seem to worry themselves with the massive amount of violence against men in video games..”

                  no – He pointed out that he linked to a piece he wrote

                  What Hollywood Needs Is Fewer Strong Male Characters

                  Its exactly the sophomoric PC film-crit you’d expect from the title.

                  He also says above, in a kind of ‘argument by bland generalization’, that ‘all violence matters’

                  Between that and this piece on Males being equally ‘victimized’, it makes you wonder what kind of violence (if any) is considered morally-suitable for adult audiences. In all the chin-stroking about it being so “problematic” they never seem to bother noting that *its what audiences apparently like*

                  1. “All violence matters” carries the same subtext as, “All animals are equal” did in Animal Farm.

            3. Noah, you do realize that you have been repeatedly butt raped in the intellectual sense. Maybe you should re-think your tactics.

              1. How dare you suggest that it is his fault he was butt-raped! He can argue as inanely as he wants, it’s his right! ‘It’s on us’ as possible intellectual butt rapists to not intellectually butt rape him no matter how scantily dressed his arguments are.

        3. Sex workers tend to get targeted for violence at high rates

          I wonder if, perhaps, this is a good segue into talking about legalizing prostitution?

        4. So why aren’t you campaigning against violence against drug dealers?

          Also, if you are so concerned about sex workers then why in holy hell are you tacitly agreeing with feminists, the very movement that is single greatest political cause of the perpetration of violence against sex workers by keeping it illegal.

          And yes, even the Nordic model keeps prostitution dangerous. When it is illegal for customer to procure a service, the distribution and procurement of said service become more vulnerable to violence,a la prohibition. Or did you forget about that?

          Feminists like Sarkeesian are nothing less than the most powerful enemies of sex workers because of their opposition to legalizing procurement of sexual services. They do way more harm than good. So why do you do them the courtesy of pretending their intentions mean anything less that shit?

    2. I actually think that the default violence against men in cultural products matters a lot. Wrote about it here:

      http://www.psmag.com/navigatio…..ers-87983/

      1. but what about the DOTS man! THE DOTS!! WHO SPEAKS FOR THE SILENT MILLIONS WHO HAVE BEEN SWALLOWED IN THE NAME OF YOUR ‘ENTERTAINMENT’

        1. To steer things slightly back on topic, take a look at a country with fewer rapes per capita than the United States, the home of the world’s worst pornographic terrorists: Japan.

          In 2012, Japan came in at 1.2/100,000 against the US’s 28.6/100,000. Why do I cite Japan, you wonder? Well, in this land where the most depraved pornography conceivable to the human mind is produced, they also produce video games. What sets some of these games apart from our American and Canadian fare is that the goal of these games is to rape women (usually schoolgirls). Some Japanese movies, live and animated, prominently feature rape, either by coercion or force.

          Now, if the feminist narrative were true, that 1.2 per 100,000 would not be 1.2. The availability of ready-to-consume sexual depravity in media would make it so women couldn’t take 10 steps in Japan without a penis flying at them. And yet, the numbers don’t bear that out. What’s more, if you take into account the declining population numbers of Japan, it could be said that sex in general is not happening.

          Maybe the opposite of the feminist theory is true here. Maybe, if people can channel their tastes for sex and/or violence into easy-to-consume media, they are less-likely to risk themselves in acting out these urges in real life.

          1. +1 Tentacle penises.

          1. You win the most-film-literate-post award

    3. To be fair, plenty of feminists a la Catherinne Mackinnon would say the former is rape.

      I think it’s actually only not rape if she pays you.

  25. I know pornography wasn’t the main focus of the article, but I wonder how anti-porn feminists respond to women who like watching pornography.

    1. YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO COMPLICATE THE NARRATIVE WHICH IS UNHELPFUL

    2. There’s a ton of discussion about this, actually. Susie Bright (who writes porn as well as criticism) is probably a good place to start reading if you’re interested.

      1. Obviously this “Susie Bright” is a whore.

          1. I though it was pronounced “Whua!” like the way Ralph Cifaretto from the Sopranos says it.

        1. What about Pussy Galore?

  26. I don’t actually play these so-called “video games” but if I did I would want to play one which enabled me to plan and execute the assassination of an American President. I guess I should just turn myself in to the Secret Service.

    1. In Call Of Duty Black Ops it is suggested that your character killed JFK after being brainwashed by communists. Unfortunately you do not get to actually play that mission.

      Oh oh, I mean, fortunately, of course. Oh well. I guess now I just have to wait for the NSA to get here and put a bag over my head.

  27. So if you fail to treat the potential for violence against sex workers on an equal plane as, say, The Holocaust… or the Bubonic Plaugue

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow down, Captain Insensitive. Did you just try to equate something as insignificant as the bubonic plague with Teh HOLOCAUST(tm)? What manner of fiend are you?

    1. Sex workers were some of the first people targeted by the Nazis.

      1. See! So *shut up*, Jews!

      2. That’s simply not true. And shame on you for trying to pass an ipse dixit claim off as historical fact for something as vile as Nazi genocide. The fact is the Nazis created over 500 wartime brothels, and like ISIS, they forced women captured in war to work in them. The first victims of the Nazis were, in fact, the mentally and physically disabled.

        It astounds me that you would pull a “fact” about the Holocaust out of your ass and then accuse others of not arguing in good faith.

        1. Holy shit, I didn’t know that.

        2. The first victims were communists actually.

          If you mean gassing, then yeah, T4 was first. Funny enough, people found out about it and raised enough of a ruckus to stop it. Then the war started and they moved everything east under the cloak of war.

        3. I said they were among the first victims. I’d refer you to Richard J. Evans’ 3 volume work on the Nazi regime (which I just read; it’s very good).

          They also created brothels. No contradiction there; the Nazis killed Jews and also had them work for them. They targeted the physically and mentally disabled as well…though I don’t know that they were the first targets, and the Nazis actually encountered some resistance from the population, in Evans’ account, and had to back off on their attacks on the physcially and mentally ill (in a way they didn’t have to with the Jews). The Nazis killed many different groups though, obviously. They had plenty of hate to go round.

        4. Here’s the passage from Evans’ “The Third Reich in Power”, referring to the period soon after the Nazis took control.

          “Deviant and marginalized, but hitherto socially more or less tolerated, professions like prostitution also began to be defined as “asocial” and subject to the same sanctions.” Those sanctions being arbitrary arrest and confinement without trial.

          1. Again, the relevance of this…?

            Oh right, it’s a Godwin. It does nothing to validate your childish claims that potential violence towards sex workers is the same as the Holocaust.

            1. *My mistake, that quote came from Gilmore mockery. And yet, your Godwin still has nothing to do with the actual material being discussed.

      3. Surely because the Nazis got their hands on an early release of Grand Theft Auto 3.

      4. Yeah…no they weren’t. Heroic covered most of the historical information, but if we’re going for ‘first people targeted by the Nazis’ that would be the communists during their ‘turf wars’ before the Nazis assumed power.

        1. I said “some of the first”. Not sure why that’s getting left out here? Presuming you’re arguing in good faith, of course.

          You’re certainly right that the Nazis went for the Communists before they gained power. And of course hatred of Jews was central to their ideology from the first. They targeted sex workers soon after they achieved power though.

          1. “Not sure why that’s getting left out here? ”

            Because, for it to be accurate for your claim, it would be so broad as to be meaningless.

          2. Except that they deliberately created brothels. Clearly the issue was not sex work itself, it was their status outside of Nazi society.

            Regardless, ‘because Nazis’ does not validate any of your other claims.

    2. wait…

      Did this really happen? Did this guy really just say we need to censor video games to prevent the next Holocaust?

      How the hell did he ever get his article published here?

      1. Did this really happen? Did this guy really just say we need to censor video games to prevent the next Holocaust?

        No, that was Gilmore’s sarcastic statement, not Noah Berlatsky’s earnest one.

  28. OT: My buddy’s new band is looking for a name. They’re completely insane, but decent musicians. They sound….oh….like Porno for Pyros and the Misfits had a child that was raised by Elvis Costello’s less talented brother.

    Ideas we came up with so far:

    Sated Cenobite
    Not My Favorite
    Captain Reginald Willingham and the Aurua Fantasmical
    Goosed Schoolgirl
    Harlon’s Razor
    Dick, just Dick.

    Please let me know what you think and feel free to offer new ones. Thanks in advance, off to change my head gasket.

    1. Note:The lead singer’s name is Harlon.

    2. Captain Beefcake and The Chemical Religion

    3. Bandname Here.

      1. I’m also partial to Clutch Dust.

    4. Better yet: The Eleven Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety-Two Slightly Shrunken Peruvian Idols of an Austro-Asian Dentist Named Lee-Fuok MacDougal.

      1. TETTHNTSSPIAADNLFMD?

        Seems a bit long.

    5. Queefcake Surprise

    6. Unknown Artist

    7. The Brian Peppers Imposition

  29. P Brooks, meet JFK: Reloaded.

    Interesting, but not what I meant. I have no idea how these things work, or if/how the narrative structure could be achieved, but I’m thinking of a free form scenario in which (for example) one might ply Secret Service agents with sex or drugs or money in order to obtain inside info on the President’s itinerary and route. Or scan available news reports for clues as to potential targeting opportunities.

  30. All violence is important. Sex workers tend to get targeted for violence at high rates, and when you talk about it people often dismiss it.

    Sex workers Hobos tend to get targeted for violence at high rates, and when you talk about it people often dismiss it.

    I was just talking to a friend recently about this. I’m pretty fuzzy on the details, at this point, but there was a(?) serial killer in the Southwest targeting people riding the rails. Nobody even knows how many victims there were; dozens? Because they were for the most part people who were not missed, or whom nobody would bother to look for.

    Did that guy learn his trade on a PS3?

    1. Actually he probably learned it from Dance Dance Revolution, like Adam Lanza. See, first he mesmerizes them with his sick dance moves, then while they’re immobilized, he roundhouse kicks them to death (Chuck Norris is also partly to blame for all this).

      Dangerous, that DDR is. Really should petition Target to take it off their shelves.

  31. ifeel free to offer new ones. Thanks in advance, off to change my head gasket.

    “Victims of Charity”

    Head gasket on what?

  32. I’ve always found it amusing that murder can be shown as standard plot filler on prime time tv shows, but any hint of sexual violence and “OH MY GOD, that’s going to promote violence against women”. Really? Empirical evidence completely disagrees with this premise, but hey why let facts stand in the way of social-justice fascism.

    There is some evidence that being immoral in games actually promotes morality in real-life.

    “Could playing immoral video games promote good behaviour in the real world” – http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/…..-world.php

    1. I’ve always found it amusing that violence is okay but sex of any kind is “ZOMG THAT’S WRONG!1!” Especially in the early days of film and TV. You could have Sheriff McCracker mow down baddies by the dozen but they’d forbid showing more than a friendly hug from Daisy at the end.

      1. Well to be fair the content standards involving violence (and profanity) have been lowered and if the moralists had their way then then there would be less of them.

    2. I’ve always found it amusing that murder can be shown as standard plot filler on prime time tv shows, but any hint of sexual violence and “OH MY GOD, that’s going to promote violence against women”. Really? Empirical evidence completely disagrees with this premise, but hey why let facts stand in the way of social-justice fascism.

      This. Especially given that Reason itself is constantly disagreeing with busybodies who believe sex and violence in T.V. impact our malleable little minds, but apparently when violence against women happens in games, all of their prior arguments no longer count.

  33. Not that i think politically-correct culture policing is valid in *any* form…

    ..but i confess: i do find the fulminating outrage over ‘treatment of sex-workers in video games’ to be sort of silly in the context of a culture where songs about “pimping” are likely to be top-40 and widely accepted as ‘de rigeur’.

    But see, it would probably be racist to point out that depictions of women as voiceless baby-machines that serve male needs on demand is actually far more common among the impoverished-ethnic-classes than the middle-class white kid with his XBox

    Of course, since “Everything Matters”, they can handwave this away as equally concerning while they continue to sell Outrage by the gallon to intellectually vacuous suburban guilt-gluttons. Because picking on poor people just isn’t cool.

    1. Top 40 Hip Hop is not popular with white people? That’s an odd assertion.

      1. I’ll agree with you there.

      2. Gee, is that what I ‘asserted’ Noah?

        ” a culture where songs about “pimping” are likely to be top-40 and widely accepted as ‘de rigeur’.”

        Either you’re smart enough to have read my entire comment and understood what i was saying in context, and chose to pretend otherwise…

        …or you didn’t understand the point.

        I was pointing out that this frothing about “video games” being some kind of special nexus of ‘harmful’ imagery is bullshit = we’re steeped in it in 100 directions.

        And I don’t think that’s “a problem” necessarily (my first sentence)

        – i’m simply pointing out that the ‘culture critics’ CHOOSE to go after the ‘White People’ stuff (video games) because that’s where they can attack politically-convenient targets (white teens) rather than actually make any sincere efforts among a population that arguably has far bigger ‘cultural’ problems in the same regard (black teens)

        try again.

        1. – i’m simply pointing out that the ‘culture critics’ CHOOSE to go after the ‘White People’ stuff (video games) because that’s where they can attack politically-convenient targets (white teens) rather than actually make any sincere efforts among a population that arguably has far bigger ‘cultural’ problems in the same regard (black teens)

          Gee…kind of like how feminists freak out about rape culture on college campuses (where rape is incredibly rare) to a far higher degree than they freak out about places with vastly higher rates of rape – such as inner cities, poor sections of Appalachia and Alaska, and Native American reservations.

          This is all about punishing political opponents. They specifically attack things they view as the domain of privileged white people because they see them as the enemy.

          We shouldn’t pretend their knee jerk sexist and racist bigotry has any more merit than the sort of nonsense you’d hear from a Klansman. I feel no particular reason to treat sexist idiots like Sarkeesian with any more deference than I would treat a no-shit misogynist.

          She’s the same sort of sexist nitwit, we’re just supposed to pretend it’s different because she swaddles her nonsense in pseudo-intellectual academic jargon.

          1. “They specifically attack things they view as the domain of privileged white people because they see them as the enemy”

            Sort of =

            i’d actually back it up and point out that they go after ‘middle-class white people’ stuff not because they’re the ‘enemy’ – its because thats who THEY are.

            The SJW’s native soil is upper-middle class suburbia. Not the ghetto. Unlike Noah, i doubt Sarkeesian knows any actual hookers.

            And their ostentatious moral-posturing and activism is not really about ‘ACTUALLY improving the lives of the under-privileged’ (despite talking about them all the time)

            Its about gaining more POWER with the social-class they already represent = upper-middle-class white people.

            They want to dictate what the Moral Standard is for ‘Right-Thinking Educated People’ = ‘How To Think About Stuff’

            They don’t want to ‘help people’; they want to become the Uber-Nanny of the liberal elites. The Matriarchical Class.

            1. I would actually argue that their choice of target is truly the result of their ideological framework: they believe things like ‘violence against women’ are forms of oppression, so they expect them to be most coincident with power and privilege; in other words, among rich educated white men.

              In reality of course, rape and sexual violence are not tools of oppression, and like most forms violence, their perpetration is most coincident with poverty, lack of education, and being a member of an ‘oppressed’ class. So reality does not jive with the narrative.

              This is what makes that cat-calling video feminists are so excited about so amusing: They say it’s a video of ‘privileged’ men oppressing a marginalized women. In reality, it’s a video about a delicate, privileged, well-to-do white woman being offended by the lack of bourgeois manners in lower class minority cultures. She is not the oppressed in that scenario.

              Of course, where reality fails to recapitulate the narrative, they always have Dick Wolf to make fake realities that confirm their prejudices.

  34. She points to games like Hitman: Absolution, in which characters can dump the dead body of a stripper over a railing as a way to distract police

    In Hitman you can kill literally anyone and use them to distract police.

    This is classic Sarkeesian. She cherry picks one incident in a game where you can kill a woman, while ignoring the hundreds of incidents in the same game where you can do the same thing to men.

    Sarkeesian is a shady idiot who twists the evidence to fit a preconceived thesis.

    1. “She cherry picks one incident in a game where you can kill a woman, while ignoring the hundreds of incidents in the same game where you can do the same thing to men.”

      Is it even worth trying to explain that they are neither ‘males’ nor ‘females’, but actually ‘sexless digital puppets dressed up like so much moving furniture’?

      Im going to guess ‘no’.

    2. And to fit her bank account. Is she a millionaire yet from all the handouts she’s collected on kickstarter for being the object mean tweets?

    3. Agreed. The imaginary victims in video games have a male to female ratio of probably 1000 to 1. Thunderf00t on youtube did a great video of this, basically parodying Anita Sarkeesian points for ‘men as disposable objects’.

      In the end, it’s just pixels and there is no correlation between killing pixels and people.

  35. Hobos have no constituency, no baying pack of advocates, on college campuses. We’ll just swap out the prostitutes for hobos.

    Job done.

    1. Hobo Murderer 3: Hoboken Hobo Hoedown

  36. PCness corrupts and limits culture. That’s the point.

    Unless you think giving an updated Robin Hood a moorish friend to prove he isn’t racist in 13th century England is actually a clever plot device.

    And the entire point of video games is to do stuff you can’t or won’t do in real life.

    My snapping point with modern feminism critiques of nerd culture came years ago when some nerd girl I knew wrote a thesis on rape culture in fantasy and used the existence of half-orcs in D&D as proof.

    1. Feminism’s invasion of ‘nerd culture’ probably has a lot to do with the fact that after it became ‘fashionable’ to identify as a ‘geek’ a lot of superficial women started to do just that in order to fit in. May of them were feminists and, as with every other domain of modern life, they had to ‘problematize’ it and render themselves some kind of victim in order to justify demanding special treatment.

      As someone who was always a loner but never identified as a ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’ I am nonetheless rather irked by the number of fashionably conspicuous female’nerds’ (usually feminists and SJWs) who love to flaunt their supposed geekiness and expound on ‘geek culture’ as experts. I am inclined to ask them “how many lockers were stuffed in as a kid? How many members of the opposite sex spit in your face for trying to ask them out?” Anyone who really was a social outcast throughout their youth (what ‘geek’ used to basically mean) isn’t likely so thin-skinned that they flip their shit over a fucking tweet. Most feminist geeks are just reformed princesses following the latest trend.

      1. I’ve met both kinds for sure. But Real geeks or no, my major gripe with these women is: what are you producing as an option? What are you creating to add to culture instead of just whining about what you don’t like and trying to shout down culture you don’t like?

        Sure fantasy is chauvinist. It was created by weirdo beta males who lived in their moms basements to be consumed by awkward teenagers. It’s like complaining that football has too much testosterone.

        Make your own actual contributions to the culture or make you’re own culture altogether. But don’t try and shame me for my dreamscapes, pass times, and masturbation fodder.

        1. “my major gripe with these women is: what are you producing as an option? What are you creating to add to culture ?”

          Careful what you wish for

          1. I tried to masturbate to that but it didn’t work at all.

            1. Weird, something must be wrong with you because it got me off in under a minute.

        2. Criticism is a cultural genre much older, and much more artistically impressive at least at this stage, than video games. Sarkeesian’s videos are aesthetic and cultural statements in their own right. She is making her own culture. And you’re shaming her for it, which seems confused, given your last sentence there.

          There are also lots of indie games. Laura Hudson had a great piece in the NYT on some of them.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11……html?_r=0

          1. The difference as I see it, Noah, is that Sarkeesian is pushing this “culture” of hers in an attempt to convince the powers that be to either create new, abusive laws, or to have them apply our current laws in an unfair and abusive way.

            What Sarkeesian wants isn’t a new equal culture. She wants a world where men are subservient to women. And she is willing to cage as many men as neccessary and ruin as many other cultures as she needs in order to make that happen.

            So yes, she deserves to be shamed. She’s either evil or stupid. Neither is good.

          2. “Criticism is a cultural genre much older, and much more artistically impressive at least at this stage, than video games”

            I’d rather eat a bag of rusty nails than even look at Helene Cixous’ godforsaken writing ever again.

            I think Pong has more artistic merit than anything that’s ever been associated with ‘critical theory’

            Foucault excepted. The vast majority of it is painful-to-read horseshit.

          3. Criticism is culture? Like art critics? Art critics are people who couldn’t make a living from their own art, but are too egotistical to be happy with making art on its own merits, so they try and set themselves up as gatekeepers and fad makers.

            Who’s shaming who? She’s being a puritanical wanker about things near and dear to me, and she’s not doing it very well.

            If you choose to consume critique as culture, hey whatever yanks your crank. But let’s compare like for like. Make or support a video game, book, movie, etc. that you’d like. Don’t piss all over someone else’s concept of entertainment with your puritanical ravings.

            And maybe this is a subjective thing, but people who can’t create outside of their obsessive identity politics are like the fat comedian who’s every joke is about being fat.

            1. I’m not even sure it’s critique as much as it’s censure.

          4. Sarkeesian’s work is riddled with strawmen, blatant misinterpretations of material discussed, propaganda and outright lies. She has actively cited Dwokin, who’s work is so blatantly and utterly sexist that any claim of ‘equality’ as a goal is a lie.

            Sarkeesian’s work is beneficial to culture in the same way that religious fundamentalists criticizing D&D for Satanism is beneficial.

            1. ‘Sarkeesian’s work is beneficial to culture in the same way that religious fundamentalists criticizing D&D for Satanism is beneficial’

              (slow clap)

              I might have tried,

              “Anita Sarkeesian’s work is about as socially beneficial to our shared culture as the Westboro Baptist Church’s ‘Anti-War‘ protests”

          5. Horse shit. Video games are very artistically impressive, I would say almost more so than any other artistic medium popular today, certainly more so than the fine arts, which have devolved into utter charlatanry.

            Even if we’re to forget that art isn’t merely a means to shove one’s politics down some else’s throat, videogames are still far more insightful than the critics of them are. Games like GTA are rich with satire of American culture that is both more amusing and more poignant than anything anyone at Kotaku or Polygon has ever written. Psychological horror games have far surpassed horror movies in terms of aesthetic value these days.

            What games do you play that lead you to say that games are not artistically impressive? I’m curious.

          6. Sarkeesian’s videos are aesthetic and cultural statements in their own right.

            They are also filled with factual errors and out right lies and are filled with authoritative statements that when they are not factually incorrect or lies are mere opinions being claimed as facts.

          7. “…at least at this stage, than video games.”

            This is all just your opinion and nothing more, but very telling of why I haven’t yet made up my mind to give money to Reason. I find your attitude very common in Reason and not even close to Libertarian.

  37. Sort of on-topic, I’ve had Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal in my possession forever. I come back to it every few years or so, and I have reached the end of it.

    I can’t beat the motherfucking boss. Just can’t do it. I’m approaching the point to where I might just go to Gamefaqs and read up on how to do it. I never do that.

    1. Maybe you need to learn to see things from the Boss point of view, and accept that maybe your preconceptions about always “Winning” are a construct of your socially privileged position where you naturally Expect to finish every game as “#1”, fundamentally superior to all other persons. This is inherently classist and reinforces unhealthy notions of heirarchy which really need to be seen as problematic. You can see my video lecture on this subject here

      1. Excellent points. The boss isn’t even a white male, so who am I to displace him? It’s clearly my subconscious obedience to the patriarchy that I feel compelled to try.

        1. Have you tried accusing the boss of rape and getting him expelled from the game?

          1. Touche!

            The ideal retort to the “Cultural Sensitivity Police” would be to design a game designed around their very formulaic M.O.

            Step 1:
            – Create your character = you can choose among any of a number or combination of protected victim-classes; however, regardless of your starting racem, gender or orientation, you’re probably going to end up looking/acting like this lady

            Step 2:
            – Attack some form of media for its portrayal of X and assert that the CaucasianHeteroPatriarchy-Monster is to blame

            Step 3:
            – Before the HeteroPatriarch monster can respond, fall on your face flailing and screech as loud as you can that TWITTER ANGER and OTHERING and RAPEWORDS are forcing you to flee your Safe Space and immediately be granted an interview on MSNBC where you recieve group-hugs from Really Objective Journalists

            Final Boss Fight
            – Push legislation through congress ensuring that a Federal Department of Hurt Feelings is instituted ensuring that No College Student ever has be exposed to horrible racist or sexist or classist material ever again and will be restricted to re-runs of Bill Moyers and Lifetime TV movies. You don’t actually confront the HeteroPatriarch at any point, but rather starve it until it begins to resemble Chris Hedges.

            1. After reading that, I feel the need to go and play Corruption of Champions.

              Don’t google that at work. Seriously.

              1. TLDR version: It’s Warty, the Video Game

  38. Hey Heroic Mulatto, if you’re there at all, I was wondering if you could repost the Y-DNA haplogroups data you linked to last night. The link was SFed.

  39. Do Violent Rap Lyrics Constitute ‘True Threats’? SCOTUS Hears Rap Case

    for the prosecution =

    “It’s always tricky to tell how art affects real life. But “tricky” doesn’t give much warrant for saying, “it has no effect.”

  40. Even if all her arguments are correct, so what, exactly?

    People like the games. Therefore there is a market for them and should be made.

    If women don’t like it, make their own games. And in fact, they do, which completely gets ignored by women like her. The whole casual gaming industry, where women are usually the protagonist in games.

    1. Shall we talk about “Depression Quest”?

  41. Shall we talk about “Depression Quest”?

    Is that the one where the object is to acquire a vast stockpile of fabulously expensive designer shoes and handbags?

  42. Re: the Girl tied to Railroad tracks.

    RDR actually references Snidely Whiplash from the Dudley Do-Right cartoon. This in turn references an old Mack Sennett short (that John Titor posted) making fun of old Victorian Stage melodramas which oddly enough originally featured men tied up to the tracks.

    1. THANK YOU. I’ve been trying like hell to remember those names. Dudley Do-Right and Snidely Whiplash. That really brings back memories.

    2. I bought the Rocky + Bullwinkle and friends DVD set last year and it really stands up comedy-wise. Especially after the first season. The art is hella lo-fi, but the quality of the humor and the voice acting are second only to Warner Bros. at their peak. (IMHO).

      yeah. I’m a dork.

  43. I hate to use the term “cosmotarian” but when Reason publishes an article saying that feminist complaints about video game violence do have some merit when they never would publish an article saying that Socons have a point when attacking violence in video games what else can I say?

    1. I tend to prefer “Fuck off, Slaver”

      re: these ‘cultural products’

      What I can’t understand is any libertarian arguing that we need to be collectively-concerned about *products most/many of us may not even buy*

      Why should i care there’s ‘unfavorable depictions of prostitutes in some games’? Who forced anyone to buy these things? What’s the ‘solution’ – police media? FUCK OFF, SLAVER

      They always step back and pretend to act like, “oh, we’d never believe in censorship’… its just *problematic* and needs to be *discussed*'”

      bullshit. Its an attempt to gin up populist collective outrage (*mostly by people who’d never buy the games/media anyway) and wield it as a club against the market. Demonize creators who fail to toe the politically-correct line.

      Its fucking lame.

      Something i often ask myself is: ‘Could a movie like Blazing Saddles be made today’? The answer is NO FUCKING WAY. and not because we’re “better off” in terms of race or gender or anything.

      1. I think it slips under the radar sometimes because libertarians to some degree or another believe in social pressure (as opposed to government pressure) to make positive change. I’ve always been a little leery of that. There’s all kinds of social pressure that can be pretty damned fascist, or puritanical, or histrionic, too.

        1. And when you start crossing over into a privatized version of some kind of quasi-Maoist groupthink about some sort of idea that needs to be shut out or shunned within the market place of ideas, you’re treading on sandy ground.

        2. “libertarians to some degree or another believe in social pressure (as opposed to government pressure) to make positive change”

          First off, i want to know what this ‘positive change’ *means* before i sign off on it.

          As noted = Politically-Correct-leaning types like Noah speak in seemingly harmless-platitudes like ‘all violence is important’… which for some people means “suspend kindergarteners who make gun-shaped pop tarts” Call me crazy for being leery of ‘positive change’ without more specifics

          And secondly, I always thought the most obvious ‘social pressure’ is the market = the cultural goods we have are what we Demand;

          All this ‘SJW social pressure’ against existing ‘cultural goods’ is not “customers agitating against the media creators” – its outside activist groups agitating against actual customers. They dont approve of how ‘regular people’ entertain themselves.

          Neither the SJW nor the Sex-Workers are themselves customers for video games, big budget movies, etc. So it is not shocking that their sensitivities and demands are unreflected in the mass media. in my mind, the solution is NOT to hector & browbeat the general public for perceived moral inferiority, but rather STFU and create an alternative marketplace to compete.

          People shouldn’t be upset that ‘someone else’ is consuming media they find offensive. Instead they should be seeking out/creating the alternative media they themselves would want to consume.

  44. So, a number of commenters are arguing that what happens in games doesn’t matter, or is morally neutral, because it’s not real. There’s actually a fair bit of evidence that our brains aren’t all that good at distinguishing reality and fiction, and that how you interact with fiction can have an affect on how you interact with reality.

    Interesting that I don’t see this sentiment when Reason attacks busybodies attacking sex and violence in TV or movies.

    1. Well, yeah, but those are fucking SoCons. Rick Santorum isn’t even cool. Did you see his fucking sweater vest?

      When cool people with degrees in gender studies make the exact same argument as dweeby SoCons, it’s okay to treat those two arguments completely differently. Whether or not I’d want to sleep with someone is clearly far more important to how I view their arguments than that argument’s actual merits, so there’s nothing hypocritical in treating the same argument completely differently depending on the source.

  45. Here’s the real question, when will feminists finally decide what they want instead of being completely arbitrary in order to progress the Agenda?

  46. It needs to be said: You can kill anyone in GTA V. You can kill Blacks and Jews and whites and Hispanics and Asians and men and women. All of them drop money. And killing sex workers does not give you any bonuses beyond killing anyone else in the game.

    In no mission in the game are you given a mission to kill a woman. Sex worker or not. You are given countless missions to kill whole armies of men though.

    Should also point out that money in never really a problem in the single player game. Paying a sex worker then killing her to “get your money back” is a joke as you don’t need to get your money back as your money is pretty much worthless.

    Also regaining health is also a joke. It is much easier to buy a can of pop. You can only get a sex worker if you are not in combat in a specific kind of vehicle (2 or more seats) be in a specific place where they come out at a specific time…also it is very time consuming. It would take less time to switch characters and then wait a bit and switch back to the now healed character you were playing. At no time is it even remotely advantageous to game play to heal up by paying a sex worker.

    1. Even so, I’ll take a position: what is so wrong about sex with hookers having healing powers? How does that dehumanize the hooker anymore than the soda having healing power dehumanizes store clerk who sells it to you?

      1. what is so wrong about sex with hookers having healing powers?

        Nothing…but it should be framed as it actually is. The hooker healing power is a joke. Some fun thing you can do in the open world game (much like paying a real hooker for sex I would imagine) not an integral game mechanic or important plot point to the game’s story.

        This is important. The likes of Noah and Anita want to condemn the whole game which not only is no one forced to buy and play but no one playing the game is even remotely forced to do in the game. Their condemnation is not the game itself but the freedom players are allowed in the game. They want open world game mechanics policed.

  47. After reading Noah’s seemingly pro-censorship comments I almost want to take my $100 donation back.

    Thanks Noah for making me almost regret donating!

    1. Actually, had I read Noah’s comments on this thread beforehand I would not have donated.

  48. These are video games – get over it Noah you freaking nanny.

  49. Hey Reason, you want donations? How about not publishing pro-censorship bullshit articles like this one?

    I hope the next GTA actually has a story mission about killing a hooker NPC for great rewards. Just to push the buttons of the SJWs out there.

    1. “I hate censorship, so don’t print anything I don’t like…or else!”

      You’re in a long tradition though. Milton’s defense of free speech paused to talk about why Catholics should be censored. When people say, “no censorship”, they just about always mean, “let me speak, but not anyone else.”

  50. I was kind of worried about the entire thing. I’ve never worked from home, But Yeah, I did just join and all is good. so I will post back how it goes!

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  51. Does Anita refer to *all* sex workers as “Prostituted women”, or does she solely use that term for the sex workers in video games, who, as you state, are indeed presented as commodities and objects?

    I like a lot of your writing, but you’ve created a bit of a strawman here; you’ve taken Anita’s critique of objectified *characters* in video games written by men and claimed that she applies it to *actual* women who perform sex work.

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