How gamergate ruined games

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
 

Wrex Brogan:

StatusNil:
snip-a-de-do-da

...mind if I cut in? I've done a fair bit of reading on the Frankfurt School. It's still fancy word bullshit, just from a standpoint of cultural elitism that devalues and disempowers the work of the lower classes by presuming their artistic endeavors lack 'merit', though said merit comes from an impossible-to-achieve checklist that demands artists function outside the cultural structure of capitalism that they live within. 'You dare charge for your work? Then you are no true artist!' kinda shit. Makes sense from a standpoint that capitalism is an evil and corrupting force that defiles all within it's framework, but functionally it's just... well, elitist bullshit.

Feel free, it's not an exclusive dance.

And yeah, it's elitist alright. Perhaps not exactly for "devaluing and disempowering the work of the lower classes", but by denying those classes the very agency theoretically required for artistic creation. The implication (I think) is that people of those classes are not in charge of the work they create for the market, but merely perform the labor to produce it. Which is connected to the whole process of "folk art" being replaced by "popular culture" that operates in a Capitalist society that has commercialized almost all interactions.

You can see this in the way that Adorno treated Jazz (which arguably straddles that "folk"/"pop" divide to some extent). He rejected it as "fascistic" music on ostensibly formal grounds ("repetitive patterns reducing people into irrationality" or something), but as with much of his work, it almost seems like he's working backwards from the conclusion. He really held "Stuff People Like" in reflexive disdain.

Wrex Brogan:
It's kinda my problem with the Frankfurt School: they're very good at talking a big talk, but frankly they're not good at walking the walk. Their cultural frameworks are always too... broad-brush (a criticism for most schools of philosophy, honestly) for appropriate media application, in that while it does function as a workable critic of mass-media such as Broadcast Television (in which the observation 'they're just in it for the money' is hardly a unique view on their behalf), but much poorer at criticizing artistry on both a smaller-scale and within a historic context, since it presumes too much on the motivations of the artist in question. And, frankly, presumes that art created to pander to an audience cannot be meaningful or artistic, as if the contamination of commercialism pollutes the artistic idea because... well, they're are marxists after all. They've never struck me as the kind of people who think highly or someone who doesn't share their worldview.

I have a somewhat different problem with them. It seems to me that it's the premises that are untenable in their sweeping "broad-brushing", rather than the actual "critiques" they derive from them. Namely the reduction of every damn thing into a tiny part of that epic Struggle towards sweet Socialism, and the consequent need to undermine everything that is perceived as not working towards that goal. They are pretty much wholly negative in outlook as the basic principle of their work. There's no real scope for thinking something is actually, y'know "pretty good". And I have to question the commitment to such antagonism towards what you're supposedly engaging with as a beneficial perspective. It's not like the ever-elusive goal of such corrosive activity is worth it either.

Unfortunately, this stuff in a dumbed-down form is pretty much the dominant paradigm for all the "geek culture critics" with some intellectual pretensions. Sure, there are some complications arising from later theorizing of malcontent by various post-modernists and Feminists, but the basic attitude is largely the same. Which brings us to the paradox of "trying to make [insert culture product type] better". I mean, even someone like Anita Sarkeesian (who is constantly belittled as very "milquetoast" in her activism) is actually espousing some pretty radical views. If you look at her supposedly academic (at University, that is) work, she takes a clearly opposed position towards not only "sexism" or even capitalism, but "individualism". Not "extreme individualism", but any old variety. And she has continued making comments on those lines when she deems the audience receptive, as opposed to when she goes on Colbert and sits there batting her lashes and going "I just want games to treat us girls just a little bit better, and all the mean men are yelling at me!" So who's being deceived here? How can you improve something when you're categorically opposed to everything that it stands for, not to mention the very conditions of producing and enjoying it?

Ultimately, I think many people are just getting carried this way by their absolute craving of a sense of serious purpose in their lives, both internally and externally. And there's nothing like severe German theorists who renounce trivial enjoyment of things in favor of austere dialectics for some borrowed seriousness. "Me, an adult that rates toys for a living? No way, I'm performing cultural interventions and interrogations to redress systemic abuses!" But that's a false choice that's leading the whole medium astray. There are other options.

Wrex Brogan:
Also, just as an aside, I always have a giggle when Cultural Marxists works are being sold on a capitalistic market like Amazon. 'Commercialism is one of the great evils of Western Society - and you too can find out all about it for 29.95, plus postage!'.

"The Capitalist will sell us the rope we will use to hang him." - V.I. Lenin. It has its amusing aspects, but seeing the entertainment industry trying to capitalize on a whole critical complex that is notionally opposed to its continuing existence is a little unnerving. Maybe they're just counting on the preponderance of bad faith behind all the grandstanding, of the talkers not really walking that walk that they talk.

StatusNil:

Gethsemani:

StatusNil:

Ironically, my conception of "art" is heavily "informed by" (as we used to say in Muh Cultural Studies) the Cultural Marxist "Critical Theory" of the Frankfurt School. Specifically in that the products of the "culture industry" are not strictly speaking "art", as the production lacks the autonomy of authentic artistic creation. Presumably, a no-budget independent game by some auteur could be art, but even that can be easily corrupted by positing it as some kind of "pro-social" message. But anything bigger than that requires the resources of capitalist enterprise, and thus is inherently created to appeal to buyers in a market. It can have elements of art within it, but as a whole, it's not. Therefore, a more fitting analogy, and I mean this with no pejorative connotations, would be pornography. Of course not necessarily in any sexual sense whatsoever, but in that it provides a functional fantasy for the player.

This is one of the biggest loads of fancy word bullshit I've seen in a while, as if you literally just grabbed a bunch of social progressive buzzwords and hoped no one would call you on it, and its' conclusion is fallacious in that it fails to account for the whole of society, which, ironically, is what Critical Theory is all about. The problem with your selection of analogy is that within your own rigid conception of art, there can be no art but that made of someone with no interest in profit and who seeks only to make something that has no message (which most artists would say is not Art, as one of the defining markers of Art in most art criticism is its' intention to convey a message). This essentially means that your analogy is made only because it best suits your intention of portraying games as mindless self-indulgence, something the player only consumes or uses because it satisfies some base desire. But in actuality, your conception of art means that nothing we perceive as art today is really so. Not any music produced by a music company, not any movie by production company, no decorations meant to be sold or any game that was ever intended to sell for profit (it would also make artists like Warhol, Michelangelo and Dali not true artists, because they commercialized their art).

Well, yeah, it does tend to limit the concept of art. But you should take it up with the Frankfurt School, particularly Theodor Adorno. Here's a store link to a relevant collection of essays, which I must admit I didn't read all the way through myself (yet!):

https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Industry-Selected-Routledge-Classics/dp/0415253802

Why don't you read the whole thing and then call me out on my "fancy word bullshit" from a position of superior information?

See, the thing is that these Cultural Marxists are pretty severe regarding "fun". They don't really approve any of that stuff. But the popularizers who are dumbing it down for the masses like to pretend that they just want to make stuff "better", to reel the suckers onboard. Really they're more opposed to our Decadent pop entertainment than interested in improving it. And I for one am not into cheering on the Fun Police.

Also, entertainment doesn't need to be "mindless". Shakespeare was entertainment, and his stuff isn't really all that mindless. Not that I'd know in my vulgar ignorance, but so I'm told.

Minor correction, but Shakespeare's work was, in his day at least, very much the entertainment of the "plebs" of his era. It's why we're even aware of his work. It was so popular with the masses, and so there were copies of it everywhere while most authors just got forgotten.

Granted, I wouldn't call his work mindless by any stretch of the imagination, but the man did love his dick jokes. (Grab a DeLorean,go back to the Renaissance, and ask random ladies if you can "lay your head in their lap". I can GUARANTEE you, they wwill deck you for it.)

StatusNil:

Feel free, it's not an exclusive dance.

And yeah, it's elitist alright. Perhaps not exactly for "devaluing and disempowering the work of the lower classes", but by denying those classes the very agency theoretically required for artistic creation. The implication (I think) is that people of those classes are not in charge of the work they create for the market, but merely perform the labor to produce it. Which is connected to the whole process of "folk art" being replaced by "popular culture" that operates in a Capitalist society that has commercialized almost all interactions.

You can see this in the way that Adorno treated Jazz (which arguably straddles that "folk"/"pop" divide to some extent). He rejected it as "fascistic" music on ostensibly formal grounds ("repetitive patterns reducing people into irrationality" or something), but as with much of his work, it almost seems like he's working backwards from the conclusion. He really held "Stuff People Like" in reflexive disdain.

The 'devaluing and disempowering' thing is kinda just the end result of it all, really. If you exist in capitalism then you cannot be truly in charge of your work if you contribute to capitalism, even if it's a necessity of your survival. Or as one of my lecturers put it, 'Marxists would only be happy with an artist if they starved to death'.

And the disempowering can be seen with the treatment of Jazz - a heavily political music form and movement, an integral part of african-american culture in the 30s, and... it's considered fascistic. 'No Having Fun' indeed.

I have a somewhat different problem with them. It seems to me that it's the premises that are untenable in their sweeping "broad-brushing", rather than the actual "critiques" they derive from them. Namely the reduction of every damn thing into a tiny part of that epic Struggle towards sweet Socialism, and the consequent need to undermine everything that is perceived as not working towards that goal. They are pretty much wholly negative in outlook as the basic principle of their work. There's no real scope for thinking something is actually, y'know "pretty good". And I have to question the commitment to such antagonism towards what you're supposedly engaging with as a beneficial perspective. It's not like the ever-elusive goal of such corrosive activity is worth it either.

Yeah, I can agree with that. It's safe to say there's a... lot of problems with their theories.

Unfortunately, this stuff in a dumbed-down form is pretty much the dominant paradigm for all the "geek culture critics" with some intellectual pretensions. Sure, there are some complications arising from later theorizing of malcontent by various post-modernists and Feminists, but the basic attitude is largely the same. Which brings us to the paradox of "trying to make [insert culture product type] better". I mean, even someone like Anita Sarkeesian (who is constantly belittled as very "milquetoast" in her activism) is actually espousing some pretty radical views. If you look at her supposedly academic (at University, that is) work, she takes a clearly opposed position towards not only "sexism" or even capitalism, but "individualism". Not "extreme individualism", but any old variety. And she has continued making comments on those lines when she deems the audience receptive, as opposed to when she goes on Colbert and sits there batting her lashes and going "I just want games to treat us girls just a little bit better, and all the mean men are yelling at me!" So who's being deceived here? How can you improve something when you're categorically opposed to everything that it stands for, not to mention the very conditions of producing and enjoying it?

Ultimately, I think many people are just getting carried this way by their absolute craving of a sense of serious purpose in their lives, both internally and externally. And there's nothing like severe German theorists who renounce trivial enjoyment of things in favor of austere dialectics for some borrowed seriousness. "Me, an adult that rates toys for a living? No way, I'm performing cultural interventions and interrogations to redress systemic abuses!" But that's a false choice that's leading the whole medium astray. There are other options.

...You know, to be entirely honest, had you not mentioned Anita Sarkeesian up there, I could've sworn that you were talking about most of the people who oppose progressiveness within gaming and game criticism. Now this isn't to say that there aren't valid criticisms of the current-day approach to progressiveness - if everyone could chill out on the click-bait titles and reductive arguments, that'd be just lovely - but generally speaking their opposition often wields the same intellectual pretensions, though one that makes claims of logical superiority as opposed to moral superiority. If the progressive elements of gaming criticism takes on a stance of extreme individualism, then the push-back against them takes a stance of extreme collectivism - something easily seen in the... 'reasonable' reaction towards articles that criticize the gamer identity. And if all you have in the world is gaming and that identity, would you not push back against any criticism, valid or invalid?

Now, in regards to deception, I think you're on the wrong foot there. There's certainly deception, but what is happening is a reinforced cycle - for example, say someone offers a critic of their local gaming community being sexist. But then that gets a reaction from someone who opposes that claim, valid or not. Which is then used as evidence by someone as an example of the problems of the greater community, valid or not. Which is then used used as evidence of same-think and corruption amongst journalists. Which is then used as an example of how the gaming community is awful, which is then... well, you get the picture. The validity and honesty of these claims is not necessary to the cycle, simply the reaction. Which is, of course, unimaginably frustrating since it makes actual valid criticisms of either the gaming community (of which there are indeed a bunch) or of gaming journalism (again, also a bunch) difficult to actually spread.

As to adopting the philosophy and cultural criticisms of severe german theorists who essentially demand everyone to stop having fun, in response to the belief that game critics desire too much seriousness... well, please yourself. Just, for the love of god, don't apply it to everything.

"The Capitalist will sell us the rope we will use to hang him." - V.I. Lenin. It has its amusing aspects, but seeing the entertainment industry trying to capitalize on a whole critical complex that is notionally opposed to its continuing existence is a little unnerving. Maybe they're just counting on the preponderance of bad faith behind all the grandstanding, of the talkers not really walking that walk that they talk.

In the Capitalists defense, there's an awful lot of bad faith and not walking there. Boy, the stories I could tell of the anarchic socialist alternative groups I know of...

Yeah, I actually highly doubt either Gamergate or its opponents have the power and reach to ruin games.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here