Author Kevin McDonald On His New Book About #GamerGate & the Culture War | Fireside Chat 114

but the Scimitar a while indoctrinated could not explain [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] let's begin indeed hello everybody and welcome to honey badger radio I am your host Brian and this is the fireside chat we are having it on a kind of slightly different day because we had to swap art out the schedule but normally the fireside chats on Mondays so if you are here expecting a nerdcast or something sorry disappoint however this will still be a great show we have with us a very special guest he is a youtuber who was pretty heavily involved in gamergate since early 2015 has done over a hundred videos and livestreams on the topic which includes some debates as well hosted a couple of gamergate panels at various conventions hosted a number of meetups in st. Louis and most recently has released a book about the topic and this isn't just about gamergate but it is about the relationship I believe between gamergate and the current state of clown world as as we all like to call it these days welcome Kevin McDonald to the fireside chat all right thank you for having me on all right well it's great to have you on so we actually we've been we've been talking about getting you on since so what was it January or February or something that's mid-february yes yeah but but like kind of backed up on things however still a completely relevant topic so I guess the first thing we should get into is why this book what made you decide to write this well I was involved with gamergate for yes for four years or so from about 2015 until around 2018 then I started moving on to other things so it's something I knew a lot about and I felt like the media of misrepresented gamergate a lot so I wanted to sort of set the record straight and provide a detailed history of the movement what it was about and also just sort of put it out there in a way that anyone who is either knows about the controversy or has an opinion on it or even if they're just going in as someone who's neutral never even heard of it before can pick it up and think hey look this is a fair take on it you know I use over 200 sources in the book I don't really give my opinion on topics except for in about the sixth chapter I do give my opinion on my experiences throughout the movement but it's mostly just from a fair read of the situation what happened what people were thinking at the time using a lot of quotes from people and just sort of backing everything up stick to the facts not really giving an opinion uh-huh okay and so we have a lot of people that are watching that are getting involved with a lot of conversations around the culture war around you know their opinions on the direction of people who are involved in comics Kate for example and how like they're actually a lot of people in comics gay prominent figures who have sort of distanced their hash tag away from the gamergate hashtag and I think it's because they don't really know about the gamergate hashtag like they you know not everyone was involved in it it was I wouldn't say it was a small thing because it was big enough that a lot of people were acknowledging it but it didn't it wasn't so huge that you know you had like Normie sort of looking into it or people who were involved in other say you know that that weren't gamers themselves like looking into the controversy so because we do have a lot of new people that are involved in in watching our channel or watching all the other sort of culture war oriented content that weren't around for gamergate maybe you could give them a really sort of you know footnotes style description of what gamergate was and how it was presented and you know a little bit of the story basically sure so gamergate I mean how you define it is sort of a question of itself yes it was chapter pretty much is it a controversy a movement a consumer revolt you know what exactly how do you define that now I guess the best thing I come up with is it's sort of a cultural flashpoint it's a series of events that happened yes but there's also a community that that formed around those events on to different communities really one that believes that was more of a sexist or harassment campaign that it didn't have noble intent intentions at all that any of the ethics conversations or censorship conversations all that was just window dressing to cover up you know the the harassment or sexism of women yes women mm-hmm and then other people felt as though that the games Press had betrayed them that the the gaming industry was listening to these journalists and Twitter mobs and letting them pressure them into making decisions that they might not otherwise make not providing feedbacks and here's an idea here's suggestion but actually applying pressure to the companies themselves to change the things that were created to to make it so that certain types of characters would be less revealing so on and so forth and they also felt like the game's press was dishonest mm-hmm yeah so it's it started somebody in the comment section said it started in August of 2014 but it was one of those things that I mean I'm wonder if you what you think about this I think it was bubbling under the surface before that there was this kind of external pressure from ideologues and activist types to change gaming that's always been there and it just took kind of as you say you know like an event like the five guys thing which i think is the you could say it's the catalyst but I think that what a lot of people would say is the gamers are dead articles is the real catalyst of this is sort of the response to that but I don't know what do you think about that you think this was sort of like waiting to happen and it just was a matter of when yes and also a matter of what I mean there's there's a bunch of different things going on at once there's sort of the wider cultural conflict that's going on and we can get into that a little bit later but in terms of the gaming industry itself obviously there was a lot of distrust the games press well before August 2014 well before the gamers did articles or even the five guys thing there was a lot of distrust in regards to sites that were blanketing their their web sites with ads like Jeff Gerstmann on gamespot he was fired because or at least he was fired because he believes that Kane and Lynch was a bad game and even negative review that's right and GameSpot was actually being advertised on at the time by the developers so yeah obviously there's also torito's gates reto the Dorito Pope thing with IGN there was a lot of that going on I remember back in the day when I used to go to IGN when it was you know when I thought it was decent games journalism this was yeah this was years ago like in the early 2010's maybe or maybe even before that and I remember seeing that they would give good reviews to games ahead like good good advertising you know like it they see advertising all around something like a Call of Duty or whatever and then they give it like you know nine point five or something and I thought there was something fishy about it back then but I didn't really think too much about it and I think the reason why I bring that up is because I think that that's why the how the gamergate hashtag in its own way kind of changed things because it made people who were aware of it look closer at the way in which games jur knows you know reviewed games presented them they were paying close attention to the kind of favors that were being exchanged and how much disclosure there was around it if we're looking at it purely from the perspective of you know the ethics within the games journalism and its relationship with you know publishers and and game producers yes there was a lot of distrust going in but ultimately I think what set it off was the game was dinner plus like you said a lot of people felt like they were attacked I did certainly and like the the games Press had a negative perception of gamers they were trying to promote this idea and that gamers need to grow up they need to adapt a new label a new identity because ultimately the the current label gamer was toxic and that the the minority of people who were real sexist or racist or just assholes that they spoke on behalf of the entire games games community mm-hmm – you okay so in your in your research for this book how much actual like how how much actual I guess you know misogyny and racism and so on like how much of of what the the media's prison presentation of gamergate was actually found to be accurate well I would say very little I mean obviously there's going to be bad people anytime you get tens of thousands of people together right you're going to have some people who are going to be criminals we're going to be murderers who are going to be racist or sexist right you're going to have some bad people and any community that's this large I think for the most part the community tried to distance themselves from such bad actors tried to condemn such bad actors and if you look at like there's various surveys that I've done for instance right you'll see that very few people in gamergate were these you know these far-right reactionaries that that the media likes to portray it as mm-hmm and you'll also see that there's been studies done so it's just the study by women action media which found that only 0.66 percent of the people involved in the conversation at least of the ones that they studied at about 10,000 had engaged in harassment that was 65 people 65 people had engaged in harassment or hate speech according to the definition and you know if you have 10,000 people almost was like there's a study of over 9,000 yeah you only have 65 people engaging in this epic behavior like that clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of people were not in it for that mm-hmm and hmm so they was so you that's okay so that that's great you looked into that and I guess my my next question is we're talking about gamergate as though it's in the past tense and wow that the the hashtag doesn't get nearly as much use would you say that there is still cause for something like a consumer revolt today do you think that it's still relevant what I do view gamergate is pretty much being over obviously there are so some people tweeting on the hashtag and posting on Reddit and stuff but for the most part I think that the the the day to day grind to the controversy after controversy and the discussion has large the largely subsided mm-hmm and as for whether or not there's something needed still I mean the games press is still pretty trash yeah and we don't really see the censorship campaigns like we saw in 2015 when you saw like pillars of eternity you saw save save the cover and change the cover you saw these controversies every single week about the censorship of art and games themselves you don't really see that too much anymore but in terms of the games press I mean it's always going to be shit most likely and it's a dying industry right people are going to YouTube people are going to twitch they're watching the gameplay themselves and make a decision based on that they're not really I don't think it's really a long-term viable business not all to have games journalism I mean it could be if they created quality work that people respected that people would go to but I think a lot of people they don't really trust the games for us as it is and they've had so many issues and the business funnel itself is just it's dying with the advent of new technology with video streaming okay do you think that there's okay so yeah I mean like as far as the game journalist angle on that that's pretty much where it is I don't think that there's a whole lot you can do about it except like you said consumers are just there they're actually not even going to game sites for the most part and then they go to Metacritic like or these sort of you know review aggregate sites and they tend to look at user reviews rather than you know professional games Journal reviews and the way that games journals put themselves on blast anyway with like they can't even like you know beat a level of cuphead or get past a tutorial right does that help but so on that ankle that's pretty much you know it is what it is now there's another angle to the gamergate controversy that i think is a bigger maybe in my opinion it's a more important one but it's also more difficult if not nearly impossible to actually do anything about and that is what I've always believed that the problem with gamergate is that what you're up against is not just you know unethical journalists you're up against an ideology that's creeping into the industry itself and it's going to essentially affect the quality of the products that you're getting so when I say that I'm talking about you know feminism like the the the kind of feminists we have today and the way that it impacts games as an example we've looked at what's been going on with Sony where they move their state they move their studios to California and they're censoring everything we've seen what changes have been made to Mortal Kombat 11 the changes that have been made to games like Assassin's Creed Odyssey or battlefield 5 I mean I can go on and on and on and these things are happening within the industry itself so it's like you can't necessarily change it without again affecting art it almost like became an inversion where people are saying well I wish they would you know not change this thing but they did and I think that that is the real issue so what do you think about do you think that that that is something that is even like we're talking about considering I mean what are your thoughts on that well I think it's it's up to the consumers right I believe in markets and I believe and create a freedom so I think that these these companies should be allowed to create whatever they want to create mm-hmm and the consumers should be able to decide whether they want to buy that and that's going to be a different choice for each person so if there's something in a game that you find really distasteful or offensive or you just think it drags down the quality of the game then you have a right not to buy that and that that goes for the feminists too right sure they don't like they don't like sexy women in Dead or Alive I don't have to buy that are alive right and that's their decision and the market will decide what is successful and what isn't yeah exactly it's that's actually kind of tricky because I agree I believe that you know people should have creative freedom I believe that you know I believe in markets as well and I guess like the the thing that gets challenging because you look at the hit like we'll look at Mortal Kombat I'm not even a big Mortal Kombat fan but look at as an example historically Mortal Kombat has always been over the top you know ridiculous in all kinds of way not limited to how they presented their female characters you know they made them sexy they made them dress like in bikinis and it was because the whole thing was just you know silly right and in this latest one they covered them up a lot I guess that's what people were saying a lot of changes were made aesthetically and of course when asked the the guys Tobias and moon said that they wanted to essentially be less sexist so they kind of pull back on their belief system but it's what they chose to do so it's it's it's kind of I wouldn't say it's a catch-22 per se but it's almost like it's tricky because you know in the one hand you want to say well why are you doing that when you've always done things this way it seems like a course like you've changed course pretty drastically design wise but at the end but on the other hand it's like buh you're gonna you guys have the right to do that and I I think that it's tricky because there are interested parties that cuz like for example Anita sarkeesian she does consulting now for games when she does that professionally she's been doing it for a while not just for games but for social media for various parts of the internet you know she's she's working but she's basically doing this from a top-down approach as opposed to simply putting out criticisms and I think this is having a genuine of impact she's you know been involved with the development of dishonor – she was involved with Assassin's Creed Odyssey at the very least they've given her some credit and I wouldn't be surprised if she's impacting games all over the place which it's um it's unfortunate because I think that the average consumer is probably gonna let that slip by and concern consumers like people who know about this stuff they may not be able to have much of an impact because they you know they might bite not buy it themselves I think that's the best you can do but at the same time they don't want to dictate what developers should be doing because they believe in freedom for the most part right so it's kind of tricky yeah I mean I I'm not to be mortal kombat fan I haven't and I played a couple of the games like the Game Boy Color game way back in the day you know a big fan and that's probably the best example of MORTAL KOMBAT but uh you know with Mortal Kombat we saw them making decision and I think that's ultimately up to the consumer and if people are fine with that if the average layperson is fine with that then good for them right if they're happy with the product if they're having fun with it yeah then if you're not happy with it or if I'm not happy with it then I don't think it really matters I did know that's their decision yeah that's their that's the players decision to say hey you know what I like this change I don't like this change right that's the challenge though too is like in in a way let me I'll ask you this if if the guys who are being influenced by someone like Anita like this she's basically making she's telling them you have to make her games this way or you have to change these things because you're hurting women although she doesn't have any data to back it up she just says look at how few gamers are women make these changes and you'll probably get more women to play and they're not actually looking to see if there's another side of the argument because they're just going off of that I mean like I don't know like what do you what K what what do you do about that like I guess there's nothing you can do but do you see what I'm sayin jwrights aasaiya t you have to deal with the fact that not everybody is going to agree with you and then yeah certain types of things aren't going to appeal to your interests or they're going to offend you right right so I'm sure you there's anything you really should be doing about it yeah well that well unless you want to again throw your hat in and and also add to the conversation like if company wants to hire any to sarkeesian to to make suggestions or to provide feedback then more power to them right if you want her as a consultant or they wanna hire you as a consultant that's fine mm-hmm yeah my there there's that so I saw this let's talk about that real quick look go ahead yeah let's do it okay so I can eat a sarkeesian idea right I mean obviously there's the you know more women will buy your games possibly angular right that's part of the conversation and I don't think that's necessarily borne it out because you know I think certain types men and women are different on efforts right they're going to have different interests they're going to have different things they like and I'm not sure if you put more you know female Spartans and halo that you're going to get more people to buy halo more women to buy halo I think it's just it appeals to a certain type of Germany right demographic yeah a certain type of person and that those people tend to be male not always obviously there's female players who play Halo obviously but they did sort of appeals to that type of person and that gender more specifically and there's not much that could be done to really change that but I think her ideology is like you said it is about harming women in the real world right that's the oh my god how am i blanking on this now I did a whole video on this in the book well it's uh oh go ahead sorry cultivation theory yes the idea that you you're influenced by different things in your life right so video games are part of that your experiences work and the home and the church so on and so forth they're all experienced by these things and obviously that's true right you know anytime you experience something in the real world it could impact your thinking it could change the way you you look at the world where you look at it video games change the way you look at art so on and so forth and it could change the way you look at women theoretically right and in certainly our experiences do play a big role in that in the way we view other human beings in the way we view whether or not people should be equal so on and so forth so I don't actually disagree with that what I disagree with is you know the idea that first of all just because there's these these influences that that could be positive or negative or neutral that we have to necessarily adjust for that or get rid of those influences right the best way to combat a bad idea in this instance right if someone creates a book and it sends a bad message right let's say 1984 right let's say 1984 was viewed as a positive thing right it's it's you know George Orwell once the world to be like this right you could create another book or another idea another meme and I you know Niemann the traditional sense to to counter that idea to counter that argument to counter the narrative put forth and also eat your influenced by all types of things or I could be driving down the highway and I could see a dead deer on the side Road and I could I could take any number of things away from that right I could think you know wow you know animal life doesn't really matter look how nobody cares about it you know I don't really care all that much about this dead deer either so I guess you know what I'm gonna go hunting next week right you could take that away from it sure or you could decide you know oh my gosh you know modern civilization is evil because we've created all these highways and all this infrastructure and it destroys natural habitats and it's going to it's going to result in the deaths of these animals and you could completely go the opposite way in that and go like okay so now we need to really control our development or go back to making it an agro primitive ists hunter-gatherer type Society you take any number of things away from that and I'm not sure that you know you playing Grand Theft Auto or or any other type of video game it's gonna have it necessarily a larger impact or a significant impact even to change your ultimate world of you which is I think is influenced by a person number of different factors but ultimately much more determined by your real-life experiences then what other or not you you play the video game with a sex sexy-looking character in it yeah so a couple of things I want to say to add to that the the issue I have is Anita's works from and a lot of these a lot of feminists work from this idea that a sexy woman in a video game or a piece of fiction like a scenario in which the person who's going in to experience it knows it's not real first they assume they work from the assumption that there's something negative about it where which is clearly subjective because a lot of women who play games like to play sexy characters as well because they they see that as a form of power sexual power which women have right so the more sexy a woman is the more they sort of are attracted to them I think that I mean again you know obviously not all women and all that but I do think that it is it's a false premise to begin from to say that sexy women equals bad because men enjoy it and I also think that they're from I understand there have been studies done when you are involved when you're engaging in an activity of a piece of entertainment that you know is based on fiction like it's not a documentary it's not the new Jews it's you know it's it's either a video game or a cartoon or an anime or a movie or something that you know isn't based on reality you are far less likely to take anything away from that that is that what you would like essentially it would change your worldview but people are far more influenced by things that they believe they're getting information from an authoritative source you know so if they're getting it from the news which is telling them this is the state of the world those things actually have a significant impact on people's mood and opinions because they think they're being told the truth I mean assuming they're not being told the truth or you know or a documentary for example remember when the supersize B you know movie came out and everyone was anti McDonald's and stuff and they didn't really look into there's there's more to it than that right so III think that the issue is is that you know this this weekend for me anyway the issue is is that she's working from distorted data that she's making assumptions about and then using that to influence people and yeah the average person the average consumer even the average video game developer they will simply take that as an authoritative source and then go forward with that without really thinking about it critically or looking into it because they're there well we're being censored right so there's no opposite opinions right well so obviously people take fact things to perceive to be ineffectual anyway with with more salt well I guess with fewer grains of salt actually then they do something that is entertainment right but obviously our can influence the world I mean one would be hard-pressed used by tea for example to argue that 1984 hasn't changed the way we perceive privacy for instance right yeah let me be clear I'm not saying that it doesn't have an impact I'm saying that when it won't like on this sort of macro this micro scale like when if you play dead or alive you are not going to go out and grope women like that or if you play a game like hitman where you know you can kill the prostitutes it doesn't make you want to murder prostitutes that's what I'm saying I'm talking about the the details if there's a larger like sort of a that either they would say that it's it's a combination of factors right so they they so let's steal man them for a second right okay they would argue that and I would disagree with this premise but that America is a patriarchy right because there's certain roles that women have in society broadly there's also certain roles that men have right and they would do these these roles that women have it's generally being you know the the housewife the caretaker the mother right so and so forth and and obviously that's not super accurate today in in modern society but they would feel that these these memes these tropes have existed throughout all of human history or at least throughout since agriculture mmm-hmm and that that you know when you play a video game and it shows women in in a lesser role supposedly right maybe that's sexual but also it could be just women let's say there's a you're in a military game right and let's say all the soldiers in the army are men in this game in this particular game right sort of send the idea they would argue that you know women don't belong in the military or that there aren't women in the military so on and so forth sure and that this is just one tiny aspect that reinforces a pre-existing idea that is promoted by the culture that's what they would I think guards right because yeah so what they would argue is that our life reflects art as opposed to art reflects life so like what usually when people are making art and I say this as an artist myself I think they try to communicate something about the world as it is or the world as it could be and you know sort of like like George Orwell was making he was sending out a warning right in his in his piece of his pieces whether it's nineteen eighty four animal farm or whatever and I think that these people work from this sort of tabula rasa constructivist view whereas art is the thing that makes the world as it as it is it has created or contributes to other factors which influence society and I think that to a degree they're right about how art can have influence but I think that you know to to your point we try – I don't want to misrepresent them or strawman him but I wasn't trying to play you were sorry no no it's okay I want to be clear that you know I'd rather work from what I know to be true but what I think that they work from at least one what I see they work from a bit of a strawman of the way the world is in the way it's always worked in that Inn and that's what the model they're working from in order to create you know to work towards the what they want which I don't want to say is utopic but I've heard a lot of people that that have work on that that are sort of coming from that end that see that you know we're just we're weak we could reach a utopia if we just did these things so without trying to necessarily paint them what a broad brush but I think that they work from a straw man idea of how the world is and how its influenced and they believe that art is how you change things our art can be a tool for changing them yes but it's obviously it's probably little lesser tools for bringing us societal change right yeah to kill a mockingbird you know might be a wonderful novel it might have changed some people's perspectives but it wasn't ultimately what brought about civil rights for instance right right yeah yeah you know I completely agree that they have a misperception of the world right today I'm a big defender of modernity and of the Enlightenment I guess that sort of got my name humanity forever and today we live in the most prosperous most secular and most liberating time to be alive in all of human history and this is especially true in developed developed countries but even in developing world right we're seeing massive massive changes and obviously it's not as fast as we'd like on the social front right you know Saudi Arabia still stones homosexuals to death or I mean hang stone I think actually yeah you know obviously there's still a lot of work that needs to be done it's not the only as fast as we'd like necessarily but you know millions of people are erased out of poverty every single week right we are living in a time where for the first time in human history your position in life and in society isn't dictated by the situation circumstances of your birth where people have the opportunity to – to go from being born in absolute poverty into being to being a billionaire into being successful and obviously doesn't happen in every situation but even the numbers on economic mobility are actually quite strong the United States mm-hmm maybe not as strong as we'd like but you know studies indicate longitudinal studies which are the best way to look at inequality in particular in regards to social mobility they indicated that 70% of Americans wind up in the top 20 percent of income earners over the course of their lives and that 56 percent will end up in the top 10 percent of income earners right it's it's there's actually a fair amount of mobility and also the Department of Labor indicates that people who are born into poverty in the United States born poor anyway they 62% it depends on which you look at but it's between I'm a 61 and 62 point 5 percent of them will actually end up in the middle class within nine years being an adult so there's considerable economic mobility there's also you look at diseases you look at everything right everything is pretty much the best it's ever been obviously some years going to be better or worse than others and obviously you know there there's still issues but the the broad trends are all in the positive direction and they look at the history of Western civilization and they see the bad things right they see the war they see the slavery they see sexism they see racism and they don't look at is the fact that these are our part and parcel of the human experiment these are part and parcel of human nature and these have existed in every society the thing that makes the Western civilization unique is that we've overcome these challenges mm-hmm yeah all right so and that's and that's that's the bit that I want to get to because what you're talking about and gamergate itself do have a relationship so you have a chat your last chapter in the book is called moving forward is that the last chapter in our book okay and we're you're talking about the ripples so people are in the chat you know some people believe that gamergate is dead I think that it's still a conversation going on it's just not limited to games we're talking about the larger culture war which gamergate is absolutely a part and all of the struggles and I think it is the result of what I was saying before where it's not just about you know ethics it's about the there's a struggle for the heart of the west of what it should what it should reflect right and what is the belief system is going forward and there are people who want freedom that that want creative freedom they want free speech they want freedom of expression they want to be able to you know speak in the public square of the internet or whatever about whatever they want and then there are people who believe that everyone should be safe and it's all about security and it's all about equality and and both of these sound you know admirable on their face but I think that this is all the result of the culture war so what do you do you think that or how do you believe that there is a relationship between gamergate and where we are now if you do I don't know if you do or not I do and it's not so much like gamergate caused anything per se mm-hmm it's more that gamergate is a symptom of a wider problem and this is what my book focuses on more broadly special in the last chapter which is that gamergate is a symptom of the same things that led to something like Donald Trump or led to Brooks at first for instance right and that it's also a result of a sickness almost within the culture itself and part of that is what I was talking about how they other says popular mindset now that the West is uniquely evil and that the societies we've created and liberalism are the result of our are basically just a smokescreen to promote oppression yeah and that's that's part of the conversation there's also I think other aspects which which stem from us not necessarily being so good at meeting the higher needs of Maslow's hierarchy for instance so for instance it's it's very easy to I'm easy relatively speaking right to to solve poverty or to solve famine or to prevent war I mean obviously these are difficult challenges but relatively easy right on a personal level it is relatively easy to do that on-site a level it's harder but it's all so relatively easy we we know more or less what the solutions are which is liberalism but when it comes to broader society right now when it comes to broader society when it comes to individuals and say finding happiness right capitalism and liberalism provide us with everything that we we want in terms of material goods more or less but it doesn't necessary provide you with meaning right capitalism can give you the opportunity to serve above your station in life to become an astronaut if that's what you want to do or to become an author this make your own BMX whatever right and you could you could pursue your dreams through that but ultimately in and of itself it's an amoral system and it doesn't necessarily provide people with meaning and happiness and we are not necessarily good as a society at bringing those things to people at helping those people who are struggling who who don't necessarily feel as they have a purpose and know maybe they got laid off maybe they feel unhappy with the economy or they have or they have different anxieties and yeah we aren't good at it necessarily creating a society that helps those people are least I guess we broadly are right most people 7 out of 10 are actually happy yeah I think but I think what you're getting at is that we've kind of like I mean at the very least we've forgotten that a capitalism is not the end-all be-all of like free society right it is part of it it's definitely something that we you know we should have but it's not going to it doesn't solve like all of our other problems social spiritual societal it's just a system of running our economics it's just an that's it that's it and it's and it is you know the way forward but it's not gonna give you all the other stuff and that's well anyway that I agree with that but go ahead and continue what you were saying yeah and and I I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head there and I'll be find that spirituality how we find that that meaning or purpose for your life yeah yeah is extremely difficult and I'm not sure how we do it well I think I think we have to ultimately uplift all of humanity that just be our and to pursue the truth and and understand the nature of the universe I think that this ultimately our calling yeah but you know in the past people found this through religion well religion has been declining for decades right at least religiosity and I'm not sure how we fix that problem I think ultimately we have to develop as well stronger strong goal that's all stronger social connections right yeah in regards to what people people however how they interact with each other have people have a comments as a purpose and community and and build that social build social bonds up and make it easier for people to build social bonds up but at the same at the same time we also need to have a common ideology and I think that common ideology and I serve as well is enlightenment liberalism and we have to get back to our roots and stop rejecting this as we as we have more recently done with feminism and social justice or even the all right yeah uh yeah I think it's a it's like um well it's like you were talking about before when you said you know we're in the most secular time and I think that in a way and I'm not a religious person but I think that in a way that that may have left a god-shaped hole in people and that's why you get social justice because I think it's like a new religion you know it's sort of like trying to substitute something this is why you know there are so many sjw's that are atheists I think it's like the majority of them probably so there is definitely a gap but I don't want to get into that kind of discussion about religion because again I'm not a religious guy and I think that enlightenment liberalism is definitely you know something that we should be embracing even if people say that it is basically like based on you know like I think Jordan V Peterson would say that it's essentially like based on Christian values which I don't really care if it is or not but yeah so so there is a relationship between the thing about gamergate this is what I was gonna say do you think that while gamergate was not catalyst for any of this or you know some major part of it but do you believe that perhaps it took a it essentially activated a bunch of people who were not at all interested in politics and made them interested in politics almost certainly yes yeah I mean I wasn't super interested in politics myself and gamergate sort of sparked an interest in that though I'm my interest in this so-called culture war is quickly waning I'm I'm finding out yeah why is that it's it's a lot of these these battles are pointless and and silly and ridiculous on their face and I'm also just more interested in broader ideas in sociology and also in my own personal life I guess you could say some bad to say that um yeah I haven't given up on society obviously I'm a very optimistic person but I know I don't really care if some stupid you know feminists on Twitter says something right obviously there are there's more than just that and we should push back on that we should criticize that but a lot of it is just a storm in a teacup yeah I think that getting caught up in drama around like individual feminists saying silly things I think that that can be draining I uh even believe the same of like when a when a franchisee dies or something happens to a movie that you love or whatever it's time to just say there's gotta be a point where you just let go and say well that's dead and then let people know this is what killed it and then you move on but that I mean that's kind of where I'm at it's I wouldn't call that apathy so much as you know you're just sort of like watching the things kind of unravel and you're you're just letting people know this is you know happening what's happening and and I guess that's basic where I am but yeah the only thing you can really do is you know vote with your dollars you know say something when it's when you think so but pick your battles is what I do is I pick I pick my battles I'm you're not gonna you're not gonna fight the war for boner culture no I don't know I don't care about lollies and all that but someone you also do it you know look I I believe in I believe in creative freedom but I'm also strongly and I'm also strongly anti censorship and sometimes I see choices that I'm that are being made and I wonder are those choices being made freely or is there pressure from people this is where I think it gets tricky that's what I'm talking about with the Mortal Kombat 11 stuff right so it gets tricky because you don't know but I'm gonna move on to something else I noticed that so okay first off with the book did you have any did you have any problems getting it you know sold anywhere did you run into any resistance regarding that because you were using the gamergate hashtag no I mean I just published on Amazon self-publishing there for Kindle and paperback and I didn't have any issues there at all no they have wider distribution which I'm not sure if any like book stores I should picked it up but if they did you know I don't know have you read any of the other books that have been published about gamergate I read part of James des burrows book uh-huh the inside gamergate mm-hmm I never got a chance to finish it though I actually my copy was damaged water damage I left it in my car and it was raining oh I don't know it's down yeah well how was your book in linear mind unique from other books about gamergate the ones that like he's trying to tell the truth about it at least mine it tries to stay objective securely to the facts what we can prove what we can disprove and it also tries to okay the wider sociological impact of it looking at gamergate as a case study for the the wider societal conflict and how we can better navigate these social cultural debates and discussions okay so you try to be as removed from it as possible right yeah so it's almost like a resource not a story or a narrative yes okay on your YouTube channel which is related you actually have debates with people and I see that them your most recent video at least that shows up when I look at your feed is a debate with an anti gamergate er so you still have people that are anti jeje that you actually speak to yeah I'm I'm I tell them you know if you want to have a conversation I'll have a conversation with you and sometimes to be honest it's fun it's just fun to get into the weeds and have a debate that wasn't a particular latest one was not a particularly good conversation the guy was kind of just incredibly incredulous you know no offense to him I'm sure he's a nice guy but he just basically laughed at everything I said didn't provide any counter points oh okay okay yeah wasn't much of a debate I'm afraid it was a bunch of not an argument stuff okay yeah very much so but I've noticed that when I look at your channel again you're somebody who was I assume before you wrote this book you were just like your average guy who liked to play video games right sure insofar as there as an average guy in general but well yeah I guess you're just your average dude and he happens to have an interest in playing games and but you like you said you weren't particularly politically interested or politically aware kind of person you didn't care about that stuff would that be fair yeah for the most part and then you know I I was raised I guess fairly conservative mm-hmm so I I just had some leanings and some views like before gamergate my big debate was a gun control mmm I brought I didn't really care about topics per se oh that's interesting yeah when I was cuz I when I look at your channel I see that you have videos in defense of Jordan Peterson videos in talking about Netanyahu so it's like global politics full of philosophy and that kind of thing so like this and this all came out kind of like the trickle-down effect of gamergate right uh I mean it's difficult to say like I was involved with gamergate and like the early days of my youth right obviously you're you're always developing as a person and your brain is developing until around 25 or 26 or so so you know who knows if I would have gotten involved in this stuff regardless of gamergate or not but I think gamergate did definitely speed that process along yeah I think that as we get older we do tend to take an interest but like in my case I I was I voted for Obama twice I was pretty like left-leaning I was you know I listened to everything the mainstream media told me for the most part and when gamergate happened I'm not saying it's all because of that but I think that it made when I saw specifcally how gamergate represented or I'm sorry how the media represented gamergate and then the media represented m-ras and the way that we were sort of painted it made me more curious than angry because I wanted to understand what why they were doing that and what I you know concluded after a short amount of time it was quite a wake up call is that you know the the media is doesn't do the work required to actually learn the other side of the story I won't even say that they're liars but I would say at the very least they're lazy so and I think that that for me was a big deal because it changed everything about you know how I vote and what what our policies and you know I became far more libertarian and moved away from the left and I got really I'm pretty like auntie left at this point and I mean when I say that I don't mean anti-liberal I just want to be clear that to me too in those are not the same at all so that's why I was asking about that and I wonder if people who are watching we're also you know affected by that shift cuz again I was a non political person that you know became like you said it sped up the process that I probably would have eventually gone down of the path and made me look at things a little bit closer and that's how I came to these conclusions yeah and you know I have I'm not very trustful of the media either obviously with gamergate and you know you said Mr Reyes which they have been misrepresented as well yeah and I what causes this you know it's a couple different things we're obviously part of it is the ideology there's this desire to paint anyone who these people disagree with as being a racist as being a sexist so on and so forth and anything you say can be taken out of context and and almost certainly if you talk for hundreds of hours you're gonna have something that could be taken out of context mm-hmm and it could be used against you you know enforcement agha me or whatever it happens to be I mean obviously part of it is the clickbait model too right because right now we have there's three different things so if there's there's that aspect there's clickbait right edie revenue and advertising incentivizes clicks yeah and this is really bad for journalism because it encourages you to put the story out there as soon as possible for one we're not without necessarily getting the facts straight to be the first one on the story and it also incentivizes you to be inflammatory to use really ridiculous headlines to basically strawman your own position just to to get that outrage those are outrage bucks and then part of it is also and this is less with journalism and more with people like you and me and podcasters and youtubers and bloggers and so on and so forth and that is how we go about communicating with people and how we talk about these ideas our political opponents and I think good studies indicate that when you hear an opposing viewpoint that you're actually more likely to be entrenched in your own position mm-hmm like so when people say oh just listen to the other side you know download that podcast read this blog right that's actually probably not going to actually change their mind in most cases in fact it's probably like to make them more extreme more radical mm-hmm I don't think that's a problem with people hearing opposing viewpoints per se that might be part of it but I think part of it is how we go about having these conversations so often we we throw red meat out to our bases we we strawman the other side we are so willing to to make arguments from inka Judy to make arguments attacking people rather than actually presenting our arguments and having our discussions in a way where someone who disagrees with us could listen to it and be like you know what you make an interesting point I don't agree but I think you make a good point right that's how we should be framing our discussions when we have these these live streams and these podcasts and so on and so forth we should be having them in a way where someone from the other side hears it and thinks you are being fair and thinks we're being charitable and it's actually willing to understand what we're saying what if they're not making a good point well some people aren't gonna make good points right yeah yeah yeah and obviously if they're not making good point then you provide the strongest possible argument for the position mm-hm and then from there you explain why you think that's wrong mm-hmm yeah I'm not saying you can't just agree with people god no I said no no I yes I mean so in a way that is designed to build them up and build up other people who disagree with you yeah we're watching rather than just attack them and just throw throw some red meat out there to your face because they don't want to hear you destroy somebody right well yeah I try not to pay attention to what the Chad is saying because I think that there they there is a lot of people that just want to see I'm walking to the chat they want to see the blood get spilled right but yeah I mean I I think that it's it's definitely like at the very least what I try to do is if I'm talking to someone and they're being disingenuous or they're trying to you know you know they're not arguing in good faith or whatever is I just try to I try to get to the root of what they're getting at I try to ask for more clarification if they say make a statement and I think it sounds ridiculous I'll repeat it but like you know try to make it sound clearer to see where they agree with me at so that I can get a better idea of what they're coming where they're coming from and then you know then I'll try to explain my I try to be charitable but that's not for me that's not the same as saying you know if they if they don't have a good point I don't tell them they that they do I just say oh no I mean not know I just say let me try to understand exactly what you want or what you're trying to say and then we'll see if that has any merit right and – the other thing about what you're saying there was a you said there was a study done and people are more likely to become more entrenched in their own views if they hear opposing views there was something else – that maybe this can be partnered with do you know who Jonathan height is yes so how long are the American mind the righteous mind yes yeah yes so he did that a study that he did where he had people who well let me just try to simplify because I don't wanna take up too much time essentially what his study concluded is that people who are on the Left do not understand or I cannot represent accurately right-wing views or Center it or centrist views for that matter and people on the right have a better understanding of left-wing positions and of course their own and so as a result of that the conversation between the two sides it it almost can't take place because people and this is just I'm you know I'm really simplifying this it's it's way more involved but I'm basically breaking it down is that their the the information that the left is getting about the right is wrong because it comes from people within their own circle because they don't want to talk to the other to the other side and the information from the right is actually more accurate and the reason is because and again when I say this I'm not talking about liberals and conservatives I'm talking about left-wing people right-wing people and those are different they actually have a better idea because and I think this is probably part of the reason they've the people on the right have been essentially put in a position where they have to understand left-wing arguments so that they can better refute them well it's not even just that our culture generally is more on the left so you're always zero your culture is more oh yeah so we you're inundated constantly with left-wing viewpoints yeah you talk about when you say the culture you mean like like when we go what when we turn on television when we go to watch a film when we turn on the news that kind of thing like our media yes for sure and our academia too as well right yes yeah no I agree so you basically get like it's like they say you know because most academic institutions I think 85% of them have a left-wing bias when right-wing students attend them they get a more well-rounded worldview because they take theirs and they merge in the other stuff and they actually do shift moderately whereas people who are on left go to these things and they just go further left right I don't have the data necessarily on on whether or not that's true but I I think it is I could be wrong but that was some another study that I saw from years back about that so it's hard to say um okay so we're at about 358 you said where can people find your book on Amazon so gamergate first battle of the culture war on Amazon is for Kindle and paperback if you buy the paperback version you'll get a copy of the Kindle version for free I think if you buy it from Amazon if you'd buy from a third party seller I'm not sure if you get it or not cool and yeah it looks like a good book very informative you know and you can get it on how much is it paperbacks $18 and kindle is 15 that's because the paperback cost money to print so yeah of course of course and so but if you buy the paperback it's only 18 you get the Kindle for free yeah so why wouldn't you just do that and you know it's good to have more information out there so I guess like the last thing is is that um what would you like if you're gonna put your let's say like give your elevator pitch for this book and I think it's absolutely related to everything we've talked about but because I do you know again like you said at the end you talked about the the ripple effect or the kind of you know how this contributes to how this is a symptom of a much larger you know organism that we're looking at how would you pitch this book out to people who don't know what gamergate is or they don't think it's relevant anymore but you think that this book has something to offer what would you say you know I'm I'm actually really bad at that I've had conversations to real life with people who aren't really gamers and you know I mentioned I wrote a book and like so my co-workers like oh you were a book what's it about and I'm like I only have to think like five seconds to Mike how do I put this no way they'll understand I guess it's it's looking what I usually say is it's uh it's a book that looks at a conversation that fell apart in the gaming industry and how we can better engage in social cultural dialogue in the future mm-hmm it's a case study on that's all part yeah there you go and plus you know even if you're not a gamer or you don't care about that stuff but let's say you like watching you know shows on HBO or you like going to the movies you like the MCU you like to read comics you like anything that's probably there's probably something you can get from it right I hope so I hope that even if you don't care about media per se but if you just are concerned about wider society and say to our dialogue then you should plug it up all right all right well I want to thank you for coming on the fireside chat I want to thank you guys for joining us please stick around for the after-show we're gonna go in after show and continue to talk to mr. McDonald so if you want to be a part of that you have to become a badger by going to feed the Badger comm and starting a monthly subscription it'll get you into our discord where you'll be able to get a link to the hangouts because we're doing this on Google Hangouts and hangout with us in the after show but most of the time we do the conversations within discord itself I just don't have that open right now so once again that is feed the badger comm give us a couple a couple bucks it'll get you into the discord so with that said I'm gonna close out this episode of the fireside chat I want to thank Kevin Macdonald once again for coming on and telling us about his book and talking with me about the sort of larger culture war and some of the the philosophical issues with the West itself and I thank you guys for joining us please leave us a comment in the low bar if you wish you know call me whatever names you feel like calling me I'm sure that you guys have opinions that's fine and be sure but while you're at it you know while you're leaving me a comment hit that like button subscribe to the channel if you're not already subscribed and hit the bell for notifications because subscriptions don't seem to mean a whole lot for people anyway so with that said we're gonna go ahead and get out of here thanks guys for coming on and we'll talk to you next time thank you

10 thoughts on “Author Kevin McDonald On His New Book About #GamerGate & the Culture War | Fireside Chat 114

  1. You guys should have him on as a regular guest. He seems very knowledgeable and articulate on the issues 👌

  2. 48:00 I started to call them the authoritarian left. Because those so called liberals are not liberal and they have no right to claim the word liberal for them.

  3. Why is it so called Men's Rights Activism supporters give the prominant male host of honey badger radio the least amount of likes ??!? Are you controlled opposition trolling or true supporters of this cause? Prove it, hit the damn Rogan up~!

  4. Proponents of GamerGate are stalwart champions of independent thought. So long as none of you blue-pill normies work up the gumption to ask said folks questions like: "Keeping them boobies in the latest addition to the DOA franchise/chasing the fags and trannies out of Assassin's Creed….Are such victories likely to benefit men(or anyone else, really)any more than slavery reparations are likely to benefit blacks in modern day America? Given that video game addiction is a malady that bedevils males almost exclusively, isn't our leadership here at the MRM's whole hearted embrace of GG tantamount to the The NAACP selling crack to inner city youths, all while preaching the uplift of Black America from the pulpit?"

  5. Talk about this stream and more in the Fan Discord server.

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