Thursday, June 2, 2016

Just Who Are The Angry Nerds Here?

We're now about six weeks away from the moment of truth. Ghostbusters 2016  – which I've written about before (see my writeup on the trailer) – will be coming out in the middle of July. People will go and see it. Reviews will be written. Viewer ratings will be assessed. Box Office numbers will be crunched. Personally, I'm not going to see it because I didn't see its spiritual predecessor Adam Sandler's Pixels either, and I'm not sure if I can follow the story without having seen the first movie.

I'm kidding. I know they're in no way related, save for the level of one's brow when it comes to humour. That said, you really couldn't be blamed for thinking they were, and that is where the bulk of the criticism is coming from, regardless of what the production company or their unwitting allies in the press would have you believe. Sony and Paul Feig have been playing a very risky game with the marketing of the film, banking heavily on outrage culture and progressive buzzwords in an attempt to sell it to an audience that would probably go see it solely on the gender of the characters, and even going so far as to delete negative criticism that wasn't based on sexism from the trailer's YouTube comments section.

I'm not the only person not going to see it, either. Recently, James Rolfe (aka The Angry Video Game Nerd) released a video, approximately six minutes long, explaining to over 2 million viewers why he wasn't going to see it even though he's a big fan of the original films (or at least the first one). He calmly, reasonably lays out his reasons for it, briefly dismissing the fact that women are playing the starring roles, and explains that he's just not interested, doesn't think it'll be good based on the trailers he's seen, and won't be providing coverage of it for his channels. See below for the statement in his own words.

That was a pretty reasonable statement, right? I thought so. Apparently I'm in the minority on that, as what happened next was a coordinated strike the likes of which hadn't been seen since GamerGate or the Sad/Rabid Puppies coverage. No fewer than 20 outlets dropped hitpieces on Rolfe:
  1. The DailyBeast
  2. IndieWire
  3. The Atlantic
  4. Birthmoviesdeath
  5. Pedestrian
  6. Wired 
  7. Salon
  8. TheSuperficial
  9. BroBible
  10. DeathAndTaxes 
  11. Fastcocreate
  12. TheStranger
  13. Fansided
  14. PopCrush
  15. FiveThirtyEight
  17. Gothamist
  18. NZ Herald
  19. Filmink
  20. SomeEntertainment
All of this because a moderately e-famous comedy critic said he wasn't interested in seeing the movie. (Credit to the archivists at KotakuInAction for compiling that list; it was taking me forever to hunt them all down). And every single one of them furthers the narrative marketing that Sony and Paul Feig have been pushing hard since that first trailer came... no, even before the trailer, since the very first announcement.

Having actually seen the video, the only way I can wrap my head around this is to imagine that these 'journalists' saw the title of Rolfe's video and judged the content of it without watching it. And with that, the needle on my irony meter has hit the red so hard that it came loose and lodged itself in the wall, barely missing my beloved Play Arts Kai Harley Quinn figure. 

I mean, isn't this what you're criticizing Rolfe himself for? For judging a movie not worth the $11 it would cost for a regular screening (not even 3D or IMAX) without having first seen it? It wouldn't have even cost you anything to watch his video and judge his reasons yourself before calling him a dickless man-baby, only a mere six minutes or so of your life. Is the world of 'journalism' so fast-paced that you can't spare six minutes that you'd have otherwise spent just making stuff up?

I can't help but think to something Anita Sarkeesian once said, and how she was right without even knowing it. It's not that sex sells; instead, sexism sells. Sexism is what gets you clicks and page-views and ad revenue, not actually reviewing your sources and telling the truth, and the bigger target you can paint the better. Queue Notch, aka Markus Perrson, the creator of Minecraft.

Perrson recently responded to a tweet about 'mansplaining' wherein he called it 'a sexist term designed to silence men via gender shaming.' He cleverly followed up with 'cuntfused' and sent the gaming journalism world into a tizzy, with hitpieces from Destructoid and Vice hot on the wheels of the AVGN incident, with headlines like “Minecraft billionaire feels oppressed by women.” The poor bastard even got the dreaded label of "MRA" for speaking his mind.

Dare to disagree, people. Dare to disagree. 

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