Recently, there have been some headlines that have caught my eye.
One, of course, is the tragedy of a recent high school shooting
in a town about 10 miles to the north of me, in the extreme boondocks, called Chardon. I've actually been to Chardon for my job, I have coworkers who live there (including one who had a daughter who witnessed the event), others who do business there... it just seems so surreal, not just because of the tragedy, but by how close it seems. I haven't even kept up with the news about it, but it is just weird to hear random people talking about something that happened not so far away. Put it like this: Chardon isn't a town you ever hear in conversation unless you live around here. I only hope that the families and friends of the victims, and the community in general is coping as well as they can.
Number two, I woke to the somber news that someone I didn't particularly care too much for in life, one Andrew Breitbart, has died
. I think Cenk Ugyur of The Young Turks program mirrored my sentiment on the issue in a video addressing Breitbart's death
: that he has died at such a young age, leaving behind a family is sad, horrible even. Personally, I can identify with this -- my mother was 45 when she left us, my siblings and I were fairly young, and it was just a devastating experience. To add to that, it felt as if Breitbart was becoming rather unhinged in recent times. From his outburst at a Occupy gathering, characterizing the participants as rapists just to gain more views on his site, to his recent appearance on the same Young Turks show a couple weeks ago, prompting a rather vitriol-fueled summation of his career on my part somewhere else on the Internet of which I was reminded today, or rather, yesterday -- Breitbart just seemed... disheveled, high-strung, just like on the verge of something less than stable.
And now this. I don't really feel good about his death, for a number of reasons beyond what was already expressed above. It will certainly mean that he is lionized among his supporters (some of whom have deep pockets and are a pernicious influence on American government and society), and that the solemn nature of death often gives a "pass" to those who don't really deserve it. Ugyur was more fair than I would have been to Breitbart, but he did drive the hammer down when it came to the smearing of Shirley Sherrod and the general dismantling of ACORN using tactics that were downright illegal. I don't like a number of other things he did that I won't discuss here. Most of all, I lamented that his brand of "journalism" was legitimized just because he had a crack team looking for "wieners" on Twitter and just happened to be right.
Of course, there's the argument that you can always focus on the things you enjoy in life. I don't have to pay attention to the Breitbarts of the world. However, it seems that even when I do that, I'm confronted with shit I just don't wanna hear or see. Case in point: the recent drama over the Cross Assault
Internet "reality show" used as a promotion vehicle for the upcoming Street Fighter x Tekken
fighting game. Now completely by accident, surfing at work on one of the sites that was not blocked, I read a curious comment about someone named "Miranda". I went further down the rabbit hole when I went home, and I found that they were talking about a chick who was selected for this Cross Assault
show who seems to be rather "Claw-bait" and built to rather "Claw-approved" proportions and a face that isn't totally offensive. Of course, in a boy's club like many of these fighting game events tend to be, populated by the types that tend to be at this sort of thing, and sprinkled with Internet "goodness"...the combination was sure to be a recipe for disaster.
And I was right. Already I was disturbed by the fact that there was a tumblr devoted to the girl's body. I log on to Shoryuken
today, and I find the shitstorm on full display. The situation with "Miranda" had devolved into a heavily documented case of sexual harrassment while the cameras were rolling, extreme opinions, a poor, ignorant defense of bad behavior, which all spilled into a referendum on the all-too-familiar "rape culture" charge that is increasingly being levied upon male-dominated mediums, such as video games and what not. The video game blog/mag Kotaku has been addressing these topics dare I say it, ad nauseum in recent months.
At the risk of sounding horribly insensitive: I don't wanna hear about this shit. Castigate the ones who are guilty, but if I have to be subjected to any more discussions about sexism in gaming, and about "rape culture" in general, I think I might just drive my Volvo off the Valley View Bridge. The shit ain't going to change by just simply making the plea to dudes to be more decent human beings. It isn't. And making a dude like Aris (the implicated harrasser in this story) do the perp walk isn't going to change things either. I realize that women don't seem or feel welcome at these events and I agree that in a social, public forum -- one should do whatever it takes to be welcoming to as many people as possible without subjecting them to an uncomfortable experience. I mean, it's like going to work. I can't go in to work and start scoping out asses and being a dillweed, I'd be fired.
But something bothers me deeply about this subject, or rather, how it is addressed, or rather the circumstances that precipitate the klaxons of morality. I can't quite figure it out.
Perhaps it's because I feel like the realities of what creates this sort of culture in the first place are ignored. Or rather, they're reduced to "misogyny" and "patriarchy" without any sort of nuance. I don't think male babies are born into the world, made to hate girls and women. Some sort of socialization over the years does it. Ideas, expectations are levied upon them. Some are painted into a corner, embracing mediums that seem to speak to the parts of the world from which they've been locked out. Just like the women in these discussions.
I guess I'm trying to say that it's a real hard sell to get adults to change up their game, because plainly, by then it's too late. I realize that may sound cynical to some, but I just have not seen enough hard evidence that it works... or it wins.
For as much as we as humans desire, or pretend to promote a moral high ground, to "turn the other cheek" to follow the golden rule... it never pays off. Those who do are either assassinated, or ridiculed. Some say that's the cross you must bear to effect change. Meanwhile, I'm seeing better results from the amoral nowadays. Or rather, maybe it's been like that for longer than I think. People don't want the "white knight"; they want the "edge", the want the "bad cop". They want what they want. Why deny them? I guess it doesn't hurt to spread the word of the evils of being a creepy douchebag, but it's a quixotic effort.
I'm tired of this losing shit, really.
Without a silver lining in this cloud,