December 02, 2015

Oops! I Joined a Cult!

It sounds like a pre-Jonestown 70s sitcom, but it is both scarier and stupider.Someone named Jared Burrell (via) reflects upon the recently arrived at realization that his game development networking group had become a cult.

Do read the whole thing.

Trigger Warning for those who have been involved in fandom to any great extent...this will bring back memories; annoying and perhaps creepy ones, but be aware that these pathologies are far more mainstream now and in some fields it is nigh impossible to just walk away. 

Certainly this still rings true...

 You know what’s really condescending? Anointing yourself the Tone Police for the betterment of mankind. Let’s call a spade a spade. There’s no metal detector and this is no "safe space.” It’s a bourgeois space, with bourgeois conventions, and bourgeois sensibilities. All this talk about protecting "marginalized groups” is cover for making sure upper middle class kids – who can always call themselves nonspecifically "queer” to gain victim status – receive the same physiological coddling as adults they received growing up. We’re looking at an entire generation of helicopter children entering chronological adulthood. They can’t handle the world as it is so they want to turn everyone around them into their own personal helicopter. And "social justice” is their vehicle for that. 

That certainly jives with my observations of some of the individuals I interact with at college. But there is more to it than intellectual indolence. These little exercises are an effete' and passive aggressive way of proclaiming and protecting one's social status...

The entire language of social justice – the up talking, the indirect phrasing, usage of words like "problematic” and "uncomfortable” – functions in such a way that rich kids can identify one another and enforce their sensibilities on everyone else. If you’re from a working class background and want to fit in, you had better learn to speak that language. So every gamedev networking situation is a contest to demonstrate that you belong to the correct tribe. That’s how you make friends. The only thing a Safe Space Policy does is formalize what’s already going on, and give an organizer explicit permission to bully and ostracize someone who fails to conform to a certain bourgeois sensibility.

I'm sure most of us have met this guy...

For a thoroughly self-hating, emasculated man like MyCult, this his only opportunity to feel like a tough guy. He’s not physically imposing or rich, and these days one can expect women to be financially independent, so the traditional role of protector and provider is closed to him. Grasping for some remnant of masculine identity, he’s taken the mantle of Chief of Tone Policing, which he can do without guilt because it’s easy for him to believe that other men are as misogynistic as he is. 

I urge you again to read the whole thing. It does a very good job of conveying what a chilling effect this sort of thing can have and what a perniciously effective gatekeeping tool this is. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 03:52 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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