Anita Sarkeesian: Entrepreneur, Activist or Phony?

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For those not keeping up with the pulse of YouTube: a channel by the name of Feminist Frequency run by Anita Sarkeesian has recently gathered $160,000 via Kickstarter to produce what is currently a three part video series focused on sexism in videogames entitled “Damsel in Distress.” Originally she asked for $6,000 for this project and spoke of academic value as well as intense research involved in the final product.  But the videos about videogames are only the catalyst in a tale of Internet Infamy that begins with feminism and ends with pseudo-science.

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The dubiously high amount of money involved raised many eyebrows due to the fact that YouTube videos of this exact nature are produced on shoe string budgets every day. She refuses to allow comments or ratings which is a tactic looked down on by most Internet users for obvious reasons. Compounding this is some evidence to show she likely screen captured the videos of other YouTube users rather than recording original video from the games she supposedly bought for the research stage of the project. But I’ll return to that topic later. Whatever else may be true of Sarkeesian there’s no arguing that she has become extremely successful directly as a result of this Kickstarter project and is rumored to have entered the professional gaming industry as a consultant to EA Games on the title Mirror’s Edge 2.

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Which brings me to the first quandary: Is she a capitalist genius or just a case of luck combining with opportunity? I don’t think it’s as easy as some of her detractors would like to discount her as simply a “troll” (meaning intentional instigator) taking it to the next level. That’s one possibility but considering the nature of human greed I find it also likely she uses pop culture as a crutch to avoid the more scientific elements of social commentary all while appealing to her base, in this case hard-line feminists, to keep the donations coming with lots of red meat. All the benefits but none of the heavy lifting. As an example of this she doesn’t present any information to the viewer about learned and demonstrated behavior in the field of Child Development Psychology which would be the cornerstone of a hypothesis involved in linking external input like the themes and plot devices in videogames with outward attitudes toward the opposite gender.  Fancy way of saying she is obviously not doing an academic piece.

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One thing that occurred to me when I saw her first video was most of her arguments could be transplanted to rail against rap and hip hop music, or against the fringes of the artist community, or pretty much any extreme form of expression. But somehow I don’t imagine a young woman who wants to decry the evil rap music industry right next to figures like Bill O’Reilly and Pat Robertson would catch much traction on YouTube. Sarkeesian’s main point in summation, while it takes a different route to get there, is no different from the position of the religious right-wing: society is harmed by things I find offensive being popular.

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That brings me to my second quandary: Is she an earnest activist that is merely making amateur mistakes or is there intentional deception by stating her opinions as facts numerous times? Again I’m not entirely convinced the worst to be true. It’s not all that impossible most of what she has presented that has ruffled feathers is just us witnessing a slow learning curve on her part to avoid logical fallacy. I read some old political posts of mine and felt deep shame … because I wrote them prior to taking a college course on critical thinking and proper argumentation. So hey, total benefit of doubt thing going on here. But to ever buy this one in full I need to see her start basing factual statements in facts and come to see that if you decry a social injustice you perceive but provide no positive solutions then others who feel as you do are left feeling disempowered (common theme in her videos) instead of united in this common worldview.

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My final quandary: Are we being lead around by the nose here or not? The strongest point that leads me to think this a con artist at work is not so much the large pile of cash she got but rather what other users pointed out: she is almost certainly using footage of Let’s Play videos (someone voices what is essentially a podcast alongside a game they’re playing) to pad out her game footage shots and blatantly ignores or misrepresents the context within a story line she critiques. As a quick example of misleading viewers about the contextual story line within these games she references Fable 2 as a title that represented the “male revenge fantasy” overlooking the fact you can select to be female without affecting any element of the story and after the death of your sister you are mentored by a powerfully authoritative female character. As to the other point I’ve heard some users say she “stole” these clips of game footage but (1) not giving attribution is bad Web-etiquette but not stealing per se and (2) with the exception of the audio these Let’s Play videos are likely the sole property of the game makers or YouTube not the person who used a computer to mesh together game play and commentary. Find a copyright lawyer to really nail that down but in the case of potential plagiarism I’m near positive that unless they have a partnership with a gaming company thus a legal department behind them they can forget about this sort of thing being declared anything other than Free Use by YouTube. That said, it’s beyond suspicious to me that such a highly funded project would borrow footage in this way at all.

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The sad part is no matter what Sarkeesian holds as her true intentions the focus on tired clichés being overused in gaming and how these plot devices, or tropes, are used to enforce unfair gender stereotypes is an opinionated stand to take but it’s just a simple fact that the professional gaming industry is predominately male and could greatly benefit from say a youthful female voice on YouTube encouraging women to strike out toward careers in gaming design and development. I have no doubt the gaming industry as a whole would welcome a more gender balanced input when it comes to design and development. The number of female gamers in the market keeps rising and they often bring different tastes and expectations to a videogame than male gamers do.

But instead of that sort of encouragement, so far anyway, we have three videos that contain contradictions and have yet to succeed in proving or even attempting to prove the central premise that fictional fantasies lead to negative attitudes and beliefs about others. We already beat that horse to death with the whole violence in the media causes violence in real life bullshit that was debunked over and over again.

Correlation is not causation, Anita.

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More Video Links:

More than a Damsel in a Dress: A Response” by KiteTales

Three Simple Questions for Anita Sarkeesian” by IWALVG

Female Game Developer’s response to Tropes vs Women” by dolldivine

Damsel Trek…” by Triox45

GAME OVER: Anita Sarkeesian has won” by MundaneMatt

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In Defense Of All Life (Abortion)

Lila Rose is the President of an anti-abortion group called Live Action.

Watch the video of Lila speaking here.

If I could insist that as long as bombings of innocent civilians are legal in the US that we show the results of these campaigns to the public through the imagery of the dead children and the dead bodies of unarmed civilians published in newspapers and televised in the media.

Until we were so sick and tired of seeing the injustice that we would do away with it altogether.

Maybe then we might value all life, like we value American life.

Maybe then we might hear angels signing as we dismantle our blood-soaked war machine.

My request is illegal in the US.

You cannot show the bodies of the dead in US media.

I am convinced that if we changed that law, and had a free press in a country that grants Freedom of The Press, we would see an end to war-profiteering and an end to American Imperialism.

But that life doesn’t matter to Lila Rose.

All the corpses of those killed in the name of finding WMDs don’t matter more than dirt to her.

All those murdered by contractors and tortured by interrogators don’t matter more than spit to her.

The only life these sort of people care to protect is unborn life. And in the process they want to harm, imprison and in some cases kill anyone who does anything but resoundingly agree with them.

Lila has since launched several successful undercover investigations exposing racism and statutory rape cover-up at Planned Parenthood. Her brave work has revealed new evidence to build a strong case against the abortion industry and lobby.

In other words she has waged a slander campaign like that of the one James O’Keefe waged against ACORN. Most likely she lied to people and targeted this group that she personally feels animosity toward until she found what she wanted to find. Exactly like the false campaign on ACORN. These people are nothing but McCarthyists and propagandists.

And there is no such thing as the “abortion industry” nor the “abortion lobby”. That’s just political spin to make it sound like groups that are Pro-Choice are in fact pro-abortion.

An outright lie.

Tobacco Taxes

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I only think one thing about the issue of Tobacco Taxation:

Alcohol Taxation
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I only think one thing about the issue of Tobacco Company Regulation:

Drug Company Regulation.

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Alcohol Taxation:

If the drug being taxed was alcohol instead of tobacco the public outcry would tear down the establishment in days, if not hours.

I’m not even against a “Sin Tax.

I just think that smokers have become the latest minority to persecute at the benefit of the masses. That’s all.

Drug Company Regulation:

Double-blind studies on all FDA approved pharmaceuticals and removing all conflicts of interest between FDA regulators and drug companies are far more important matters for the FDA to address than clamping down on the Nicotine-Addiction Industry.

Once again I’m not directly opposed to the new federal regulations placed on the Tobacco Industry.

I only think that this wastes time and uses yet another federal agency in a futile misdirection of vital government resources.

Just Call Me a Populist-Christian

A liberal, sure. First and foremost.

But I’m not running from being labeled a populist. Red-baiting doesn’t phase me anymore. Let those who attempt and fail at political understanding call me what they will. I am unashamed. With the change of a single word in a historical quote from the first American Populist to run for president in 1896 you can sum up everything I have to say about the current condition of the American Economy:

You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold [credit].”  – William J. Bryan

The bloody cross of the middle-class and the working-poor should be bore no longer! The whips of old exchanged for bare hands.

This yoke of “credit” and “credit approval” has far too long strangled the workforce of North America from advancing in social class and status. The burden by no means stops there.

The very integrity of the American-worker has been bought and sold on the open market for far too long.

The largest of institutions have had ultimate sway on matters pertaining to them for an age and a day too long.

The era of protectionism has taught us well. No market is isolated. No economy is independent of the strongest economy known to exist. Recent events have shown us this beyond any reasonable doubt.

But the era of “Deceptionism” has yet to be fully addressed, or even understood. No industry is without accountability. No private incorporation is fit to possess a majority share of any highly successful venture.

The essence of mass-deregulation and “trickle-down economies” have only benefited the highest levels of the business world up until now and will only ever benefit the rich at the cost of the poor.

I do not support a return to the Gold Standard as those like Congressman Ron Paul who I have much respect for propose. The credit system and the existence of “credit lines” themselves are not the source of the crown of thorns.

Those who sought to lead us blindly into this recession cannot be fully trusted. Those who hide the truth become party to a much greater misdeed. We should stand silent no longer.

To those who came before us in days of Vietnam. We say to them we have seen your sorrows and known your pain. But we are not shedding blood nor issuing violence as our battering ram against authority.

We demand recognition that our tools are but words, protests and non-violent actions. Choked of our very means of ways by the ever-expanding, all powerful monopolies across our markets. Let all who allowed this to transpire as such come only but to apologize before the public.

Let the regulators who took part in this only shamefully resign. Let the business leaders who did nothing to tell of the coming recession when many Americans, including my father and myself, were fully aware of its coming onslaught only plead for willingness to allow them near our political structure.

I say these words as member of the Progressive Movement and a registered Democratic voter in California. Let us never forget the modern progressive, or alternatively the modern liberal, was forged in the first Progressive Reform Movement of one hundred years past. And the Populist Movement stands the father of the Progressive.

While we do not resemble our forerunners we are much the same as they. There is no tolerance for “absolutism” in the control of the means to better ourselves.

Global Warming: Politi-Science or Fact?

Let’s crack this egg wide open.

Here’s what I understand so far:

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Years back, a group of scientists came together and presented a case to the world based on their work.

 

They sought to show essentially three items:

 

a) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gases are increasing due to human action.

 

b) CO2 causes a green-house gas effect that causes global warming. Global warming causes extreme climate change including extreme colds, warms and weather.

 

c) Unless CO2 levels decrease worldwide the planet will be damaged beyond a repairable state.

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Now another group of scientists recently came out to try to disprove the ‘global warming agenda’ citing their own evidence.

 

They are seeking to show essentially these three items:

 

a) CO2 is a natural gas that is less harmful to environment than reported previously. Harmful gases such Carbon Monoxide should fall under government regulation but not CO2.

 

b) They have studied the green-house gas effect data presented and do not concur that this is the cause of climate change. The planet is undergoing cyclical changes not recorded previously due to lack of technology required. 

 

c) CO2 levels and their mandated decrease is ‘politicizing science’ and not a scientific agenda but rather an anti-industry agenda.

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I don’t pretend to have all the facts on this but I’ve listened to a lot of commentary on it, I can assure you.

 

The bottom line is that no significant figure in any government is coming forward about the one important issue to address:

 

CAN WE LIMIT CO2 GAS EMISSIONS AND CONTINUE TO GROW AS AN INDUSTRIAL NATION?

 

Those versed in this topic will know that certain major super-power nations (China & Russia) refuse to participate in carbon credit programs or CO2 gas mandates on their industries.

 

They believe that regulating such gases will cause a loss of profit necessary to maintain their populations. Or a similar case made in defense of themselves.

 

I would like to take the time and read both of these studies and all the data and every professional I can find who ever said / wrote anything about it. But this is what I see. One side brings a valid argument about how far we can do these actions and remain strong in industry and the other side brings a valid point that once enough damage is done in ignorance there is no return from ruin.

 

Michael Crichton, famed author, held the opinion before his death in 2008 that the combining of politics and science was something he saw as very possible in coming years and very dangerous in its nature. I tend to agree with the author of “Jurassic Park” but I don’t know if I fully trust some internet downloaded research data, and I’m not flying of to foreign countries to gather up all the documents either.

 

I just want to focus on empirical evidence when we talk science and focus on personal conviction when he talk politics. That’s all. Is that some crazy request?

 

I feel it important for those who didn’t know to know that the worldwide scientific community accepts the idea of green house gases effecting current climate changes.

 

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And let us not forget the pure-politics side of this:

 

Former American Vice-President Al Gore of the Democratic Party has run up the ideological hill and he is not coming back down on this one.

 

He is behind the ‘carbon credit’ concept along with others. Gore remains one of the most controversial figures in certain circles of America because of his intractability on the global warming crisis-issue.

 

The Republican Party, long before any but bought-off scientists said word one on global warming, decried the whole thing a myth created in some liberal agenda book or manifested by what some called ‘religious-environmentalism.’

 

The study I mention are not bought-off scientists, as far my informational sources provide, but rather simply dissenting scientists from the group of scientists that initially presented the whole concept.

 

In the campaign for The White House this year (2008) each campaign had the same line on global warming:

 

“We need to do something about global climate change.”

 

The critical thing to know is that the vocal conservatives, prior to the RNC speech of John McCain where he directly addressed global warming, there was a constant smearing and mocking attitude of people who wanted to speak out on this issue of climate change. Then all of sudden they just stopped talking about it and mocking anyone about that. Not one more mention of those ‘crazy global warming kooks,’ for quite a long time.

 

I tend to believe they and most outspoken-Republicans did was actually read what I read when it came out like 8 years ago and now I can’t remember the name of. The Global Warming Treaty let’s call it for now, because that’s easy for me.

 

Another strange hush-factor that struck the limited-conservatives during the campaign is the whole immigration issue.

 

That’s another issue entirely but both candidates and the right-wing media just completely shut their traps on that issue, almost entirely to date.

 

The only reason it’s significant to bring up is that these loons that call others ‘Enviro-Nazis’ also bashed anyone who didn’t want to ‘kick the bums out of my country.’ They did this ten-fold on John McCain when he sought some kind of solution oriented legislation on the issue. Now they feel better about starting those old lines up again but nobody seems to want to actually do anything about it over in what I hear from Republican-land.

 

It is like a willingness to shove your head in the sand as far it will go. Then leave it there for the course of an entire campaign.

 

Evidence that the Republican Party is willing to engage in not only ‘Politi-science’ tactics but to a willing blindness to anything that is a serious issue in the nation. 

 

They just want to talk about homosexuality or atheism while we go broke and choke to death.

 

 

Eric Lightborn

http://americapress.wordpress.com

December 22nd 2008

Media Bias Effects You Everyday

Let’s talk about the news media:



A lot of people on the internet are highly active in political commentary, but there is much to consider in the realms of social policy and being more than just a mere echo-box for party-line agendas.

In an article on The Huffington Post, Colin Powell addresses the nature of Rush Limbaugh doing harm to the Republican and conservative movements.

I am no fan of Limbaugh but I want to be very clear about the nature of my distaste. Limbaugh is by all shades of the definition a “master broadcaster” that is highly professional in the manner in which he handles material.

I would challenge anyone to say the same statement about Powell’s endorsement of Obama in different words and not sound explicitly racist in the process. Limbaugh has way of taking the hurtful and hateful and converting it into somewhat-tasteful baloney.

The title of “master broadcaster” is not shared by his clones within the radio media, by my estimation. Slander and false claims don’t amount to anything but a waste of everyone’s time.

Then we return to the concept of why we should care about media figures and what they say or do. No matter what your political leanings are if you have some then you are doing yourself a disservice by viewing only media that agrees with your core values.

I can be made extremely angry by comments made on the radio but I can also turn it off.

We have “freedom of media” in this country which means it is up to you, if you vote, to get the real deal story and not just buy what they sell at your political party gift shop.

This is far easier to start than you think. Just start taking time to consider how much of each side you have heard in your day and attempt to fit the opposite point of view through the media into the end of your day.

Local radio hosts tend to be less biased than national on both political sides, try tuning in to your local AM stations.

Failing everything else you can just click between Fox News and MSNBC instead of locking-in to one or the other.

If anyone thinks this issue is extremely unimportant or bad advise I say to you that we killing this country in partisan politics mainly because of the absolute loss of perspective from slanted media on every side.

We will lose this country with these attitudes, if not for yourself then certainly we must do this for our children.