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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How Responsible is O’Reilly in Tiller’s Murder?

Crooks & Liars : Bill O’Reilly uses Private Long’s murder to try and justify his demonization of Dr. Tiller by John Amato

Raw Replay : Howard Kurtz excuses Bill O’Reilly’s incitement of violence against George Tiller by David Edwards

In terms of criminal responsibility to Bill O’Reilly or FOX Broadcasting in the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I can see none.

In terms of moral and civic responsibility, I see plenty. I believe it to a shameful state of affairs in America today that I am a ‘far left’ blogger for demanding responsible broadcasting and moral standards in addressing social issues like abortion and women’s reproductive health.

The crazies will do what they do.

Bill O’Reilly is not responsible when a lunatic reads his book and murders fourteen people in a church, nor is he responsible when a man watches his broadcasts and goes out and kills a man over it. In a legal sense this is true. In a moral sense Bill O’Reilly has blood on his hands for passing along biased and jaded perspectives on liberalism in America and his outrageously dangerous and slanderous coverage of Dr. Tiller.

The responsibility of a broadcaster is vapid in terms of serious social issues and FOX Cable News, not in anyway exclusive to The O’Reilly Factor.

Just tonight Geraldo Rivera made insinuations of vigilante violence against a child molester in Oklahoma in the course of denouncing vigilante violence himself.

The fact remains that the both the network and the broadcasters themselves have a responsibility to the public they serve to protect the lives of all citizens and protect the due process of law.

By calling Dr. Tiller a ‘killer’ repeatedly on the air Bill O’Reilly risked inciting violence.

By vaguely insinuating that the Oklahoma child molester might be killed and have his body dumped on the side of the road Geraldo Rivera risked inciting violence.

The responsibility to the community for news broadcasting that does not risk the incitement of violence in the nation is fundamental to our domestic security as a nation.

This entire issue has absolutely nothing to do with an individual political agenda on my accord and I am willing to retract my provocative statements in regards to Mr. O’Reilly provided he states clearly to the public that he will no longer use his media platform to play dangerous games with people’s lives and then follows through on this promise.

Mine is a cry for an end to irresponsible broadcasting coming from FOX News.

For whatever failures of bias to found on vast quantity both on MSNBC and FOX, there is only one network inciting violence and using radical right wing propaganda to do more than simply share an alternative perspective. Quite often the network is used as an agent for unscrupulous pundits to gamble with the safety of physicians and the liberal population of America.

Ultimately, I believe these people have become drunk off their own power and will never admit their own misdeeds let alone their own inability to recognize their contributions to a climate of violence in America.

As long as the public continues to support their ‘crusades’ they will remained deluded and ignorant to the harm they cause in their wake. When the veil of public approval is lifted it becomes clear that these men will say anything to get ratings and if that means risking inciting violence, then so be it.

Bill O’Reilly versus Joan Walsh

YouTube Video of The Debate

“This Tiller thing is bogus. And I think you know it‘s bogus. And if not I‘m gonna show you a sound byte that‘s gonna prove it to you.”

How many sound bytes do you have to show people to fix what they read in textbooks and newspapers?

If it’s in the Constitution, he has a sound byte for that. No need to read it yourself.

If it’s the truth of ideology that he claims to hold and only perverts and twists to his own ends, he has a sound byte for that. No need to speak to the people involved.

If he promotes domestic terrorism via lies about Americans and invasions of privacy in his ‘just crusade,’ he has a sound byte for that. No need to look at reality.

He has a sound byte ready for the day he starts getting right down to it and promoting violence against liberals and terrorism on the city of San Francisco. And another one ready as they fit him for an orange jumpsuit.

All of it to carefully explain away why he is not at fault, ever, and has nothing to do with anything except the so-called ‘truth.’ All it to make sure nobody in his audience ever actually reads anything except what he tells them to.

To me, this is proof of what I’ve always said about Bill O’Reilly:

This man cares nothing for facts and only for own personal set of biases.

 

The O’Reilly Tactic of Dirty Pool Debate revealed one of his trademark spin artist moves in the opening moments of this clip.

Bill’O brings up as a side-line, and states himself very quickly, in mentioning what Joan wrote on her website was “unconscionable” and then says he is going to “stick to it” by addressing the matter at hand.

This is classic Dirty Pool Debate. You slander your opponent and before they get a chance to respond then quickly you move to the ’real issue at hand.’ The whole point of Dirty Pool Debate is to demean the character of your opponent instead of argue the point with them.

Bill O’Reilly is a master at doing just this. Keeping the truth of a real debate away from his audience and helping them maintain narrow-minded thinking while feeling like they are ‘learning’ about politics, media and the nation.

Just screaming like an idiot into the camera and refusing the recognize the damage he does to society at large with this brand of partisan hate and untruthful propaganda on serious social issues in America.

Joan: “You crusaded against him.”

Bill: “You bet!”

Joan: “He had been shot twice already.”

Bill: “And I‘m sorry about that.”

Well if he was so sorry why didn’t he stop slandering and misusing his platform to spread lies about Americans that ultimately lead to domestic terrorism incidents?

Because that would have hurt his ratings. Oh, the precious ratings.

He should be sorry. He is the one with blood on his hands, after all.

What Bill O’Reilly does on television is wrong. It is a brutal set of lies and conjecture that provides no benefit to the nation whatsoever. FOX Broadcasting Studios should be ashamed to have their name attached to such a disreputable and dishonest man.

 

The need to scream over all that disagrees with your mentality is a clear example of partisanship and intolerance for the opinions of others.

The need to call everyone not aligned with you as “far left“is a clear example of a need to marginalize your opponent because you feel your own position is weak or lacking against theirs.

Considering conservatives are on the wrong side of history in every debate over social issues I can see why Bill O’Reilly is so threatened to use such shallow and childish tactics.

Joan is absolutely right about Bill O’Reilly being a vile man. A vile and lowly man who loves his ideologies more than he loves other humans.

He disrespects the nation and the intelligence of his audience with his so-called ‘facts’ and his so-called ‘reporting.’

Time and time again it is the true patriots who must stand up against the charlatans and propagandists who seek to destroy this nation in violence and ignorance.

Let our voices be heard, loud.

A domestic terrorist is in our amidst: Bill O’Reilly. A man who promotes vigilantism and misinformation that gets Americans killed.

Micro-blogging and Net-Culture

aaaThe Good Times (a free Santa Cruz weekly) just ran a cover piece on Twitter and general disgust at this idea of micro-blogging.

The phenomena is growing so fast that 2009 may come to be known not as the year America swore in its first black president or nationalized its banks, but the year America learned to think and communicate in 140 characters or fewer.
What was once just a colorful special-needs classroom on the Internet is starting to look like a steel spike aimed at the heart of what remains of our ability to construct and process complete grammatical sentences and thoughts.
– Alexander Zaitchik

While I agree the limiting communication down to one-hundred and forty characters is not beneficial to good human communications, I believe many simply fail to understand that Twitter has the ‘TINYURL’ feature to solve this exact problem.

I can write a lengthy weblog of much deliberations and manifestations … then I might Tweet of this link to the Tweeters that Follow this Twitter user.

And suppose someone is quite pleased with this confine of characters. Then they need never open a full-blown weblog, and be satisfied with micro-blogging to their heart’s content.

All else sounds like a natural side-effect of the impounding growth of Net-Culture.

Net-Snobbery.

I am also mildly offended that Zaitchik seems to not ever become familiar with the Terms of Service and Site Policies of the very topic of his article. It may not be so but it appears he simply didn’t do his homework.

Eric Lightborn
http://ericlightborn.blogspot.com
April 30th 2009

My Net-Insanity Has Reached an Apex (Internet Security)

I am the Internet Security Nihilist!

This is the “feel free to rip-me-off” attitude, only as far as all this net-chatter & net-postings goes anyway.

I have officially become a Twitter-geek.

I have, or will, join any social network they create.

(Look daddy! Every time a bell rings, a social network gets it‘s wings!)

I have been doing this for a lot longer than you might think for a twenty-six year old. The internet-geek itself thing, I mean.

Now all my multiple profiles, and some blogs with little Twitter Update windows, are integrated. I can text message randomness “on-the-go” into my cell phone and everyone can see it. (Until they tear it off their profile settings. Nobody mystified ever ASKS THE WIZARD HOW TO DO IT anyway, so…)

Furthermore, anything I do on Twitter is re-posted into Facebook instantly & thanks to these wild little things running about called Apps that I know of at least one person who is doing fine right now, thanks entirely to.

My cycle of internet-madness is now complete., more or less.

Why do this?

Am I so trendy that just because something is catching on that I must go immediately partake?

I make no personal apologizes about being ’trendy’ and constantly in on the latest ’fad,’ but that’s not why I am doing the Twitter. I see the internet as having two functions and most everything else is just dressing on the side. (Images, Videos, etc.)

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Connectivity and Useful Information.

CONNECTIVITY: While communication itself is something far beyond the limits of 150 text characters, the essence of all primal communication comes down to one simply concept.

Saying: “I’m here! I’m existing, right now!”

The “What Are You Doing? / Status Update” phenomena may baffle some, but I remain a fan.

I remind fellow bloggers you can widen your audience significantly by using these features in any free social networking settling. (Copy and paste, copy and paste!)

Read My Blog! This is Not a Commercial! Read My Weblog Today! No ads! Non-profit American citizen blogging made for you!

If you can “text-speak” you fit almost anything into 150. Leading out to your real thoughts in weblog format.

USEFUL INFORMATION:

Reviewing my ever-growing links list on this blog is one way to find what I call useful information. Reading almost any blog posting I do most likely has some form of useful information, as far I see it.

I always enable and post non-spam comments.

I am willing to review almost any information laid before me and try the use the motto of ‘source me’ as a standard. I stay off right-wing sites but am not against their existence.

However, I will say that at least one of them engaged in illegal activity over the past presidential campaign of America and faced no legal repercussions.

This is not my job.

A watch-dog watches his post nothing more. So let’s hear it is my response to any conservative or libertarian. Give me your useful information and I’ll give you mine.

To those who stand only to hear their own opinions echoed back at them I warn you that might have deal with someone with an independent mind in the comment section. Sometimes perhaps “independence” is not what is going on, but let’s hear it anyway.

My useful information is this: Research the Web-lingo “Pic Collectors” and run a keyword search on “Facial Recognition Software.”

Ever driven by a stop light at most any major intersection of America? You’re on candid camera!!

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.

Has America Gone Conspiracy-Crazy?

It has been my observation that popular websites and radio shows have experienced a recent increase in the number of people touting the “New World Order Theory” (NWO) or an apocalyptic theory that includes global conspiracies in one fashion or another. I am not a fan of dismissive attitudes and rather than mocking these people I wish to explain why I personally do not subscribe to these theories even after having reviewed much of the same media and materials that they often use as evidence for their theory.
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http://www.coasttocoastam.com
http://www.jordanmaxwell.com
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There is no doubt that there remains a large divide in society between the labor classes and the aristocratic classes of people, no matter how wealthy or advanced a society is. As many have written on throughout history there is a mutual disgust shared between these classes.

The labor class most often views the other as uncaring and immoral. The aristocratic class most often views the other as uncivil and illogical.

The clever, and usually fiendish, use this divide on both sides of society to promote their personal agenda. Be it selling DVDs, seeds, books, survival supplies or perhaps gaining ratings, website hits and sponsors the issue of interjecting mass fear without any tangible proof is reprehensible. Not to mention the fact that both modern and ancient politicians have sought to demonize one group or another using these same existing prejudices in what is commonly called class-warfare.

I assert that the entire idea of a “grand-puppeteer council” that rules all of humanity is a form of ancient social-engineering, if you will, developed perhaps some time prior to the Roman Empire. An agenda formed purely to destabilize all forms of government in a time when there was no such thing as democracy or equality under the law for any person not of a ruling class.

I believe the labor class of old created this entire theory around the strange practices of aristocrats that still exist in today’s society in the form of the Skull and Bones Society or other ritualistic practices in society as a whole. The unseen and unknown rulers of all cannot be proven nor disproved. Nor can the shadow regime be seen for it is made of no light that we pathetic laborers can find with the blindfolds that our masters provide. It is a perfect circle of plausible yet improvable concepts leading to the same conclusion of rejecting all the institutions of government as purely evil.

I see certain figures like Jordan Maxwell as not motivated by sheer profiteering motives but rather simply a person who has read more material and done more research than I have, by far, yet he has not considered this simple concept while reading many occult materials. Maxwell is one of the rare exceptions in this subject where he is genuine and earnest about his fears for America coming under some form of global-control. I just simply disagree and obviously I would be proven wrong if such a thing were to happen outside of popular fiction.

I am not certain if America is falling prey to an age-old agenda of anarchistic motives or if a certain few have simply become voiced after being silent but the issues of the press failing to do their job in the modern world or the multitude of other arguments used to promote these theories don’t provide any proof for the theory itself.

No doubt someone who believes strongly in these theories would seek to call me a “NWO shill” and I am trying to convey that I see Alex Jones, for instance, as a profiteering shill. Let people judge for themselves as I make zero dollars on this weblog and Jones runs advertisements for his products on the radio. George Noory would be the converse of Jones where he appears to simply believe in the NWO while further proving my point that Jones is primarily motivated by profit due to fact that Noory doesn’t engage in schemes to sell documentaries yet is still affiliated with and outspoken on the issue.

Many theories defy evidence, like Creationism for instance, and there are many people of varying degrees of study who wish to establish a sense of complete authority on these theories making them into supposed facts. It is the very nature of spreading willful ignorance. Some issues do not have all the standards of scientific proof at this time and must be handled as such.

The answer is, we don’t have the answer. Anyone who tells you otherwise should called into suspect immediately to produce proof or be called to state themselves as a person of convictions and not facts, which is perfectly acceptable.

I am not here to be throwing out names for everyone to repeat of my ‘perfect’ theories or just to start an uproar on any of the issues I’ve touched on but rather to say that when any person simply accepts what they hear, see or read as proof-enough for them that ultimately we all could suffer the consequences if this were to become systemic.

Eric Lightborn
February 17th 2009