Milo Yiannopoulos’ Twitter Ban Highlights #Gamergate’s Ongoing Struggle for Direction
Gamergate’s routine accusation is that people, nowadays, coerce video game makers into representing and validating their own personal politics. But as illustrated by the “FreeMilo” and “JeSuisMilo” hashtags, which have appeared on Twitter following his ban, Gamergate has been nicely manipulated into gratifying the self-image, the personal perspective, of Milo Yiannopoulos. Gamergate argues politics ought to be kept away from popular culture. But here, in an act so rankly ignoble it demolishes the group’s credibility, Gamergate and its sympathisers appropriate the language and memory of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, an atrocity that could not have been more political.
If it were true to its ideas, the rejection of politics, the reduction of personality in video games, Gamergate, as a collective, would not exist – it would recognise that gathering and uniting is an act of politics. It wouldn’t band behind an individual, and certainly not one so unabashedly self-obsessed. A legitimate Gamergate would have no name.
But such is the group’s congenital hypocrisy. Anti-censorship and freedom of speech are two magnificent causes that Gamergate has used to smuggle through customs its squalid, base politics. It repeatedly fails to acknowledge that campaigning for an absence of something from video games, be it feminism, quality representation of non-white characters or other projects derogatorily described as “liberal”, is itself censorship. Erroneously, Gamergate assumes that video game makers are all like itself, that they could never truly want to make a game about, for example, women, and that if they are, it is because they have become a victim of something.