MEDIA ETHICS ISN’T A GAME

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GG1

Is it ethical to refuse to talk about ethics?


Yesterday concluded Ethics Week for the Society of Professional Journalism. The end didn’t arrive fast enough for the freaked-out leaders of the world’s largest and oldest organization for reporters and editors.

If you followed the hashtag #SPJEthicsWeek, you surely noticed it was hijacked by GamerGaters.

Explaining GamerGate to those who don’t have a clue is like explaining the Israel-Palestine conflict to a child who asks, “They’re neighbors, so why are they killing each other?” The controversy is so molecular, you can’t recount a single historical fact that isn’t in dispute.

In GamerGate, the battle is also between neighbors: videogame enthusiasts and videogame journalists. The former say the latter are colluding with developers and PR agents — even exchanging sex for positive coverage. But their war crimes have included hijacking, flaming, hacking, doxing, and rape and death threats so severe, women have fled their homes in fear.

Here’s…

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False Accusations Make Victims of us All

In 2009, a girl I once knew named Tami Zall reported that she had been the victim of a violent and random sexual assault in her own apartment by a strange man in the city of Abbotsford, British Columbia. The Abbotsford Police Department, in response to such a serious situation, expended numerous resources conducting a search and calling in major crime detectives and forensic identification units to catch this person. The response was swift and picked up by media sources all across British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, creating a public response of fear and an outcry of support for the girl. In light of the tragedy that occurred in Abbotsford fifteen years earlier with the murder and sexual assault of Tanya Smith and the attempted murder of her friend Misty Cockerill, Abbotsford residents genuinely feared the risk of another psychopath roaming the streets.

The difference, of course, was that Terry Driver, the Abbotsford Killer, had actually committed the crimes. In Zall’s case, it was entirely fabricated. Her false report wasted the valuable time of the police, and instilled fear in a public still concerned about the emergence of another psychopath.

Fast forward to today, and we see that Zall’s situation is not at all unique, especially in light of the Morgan Triplett Hoax, in which a young lady solicited a stranger on Craigslist to beat her up in exchange for sex, the rape threat perpetrated by Meg Lanker-Simons… against herself and the now-infamous UVA rape hoax.

This is just a small, small handful of a much larger smorgasbord of rape hoaxes.

And for what reason? How are these hoaxes and false accusations justified by those in the femisphere?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a variety of responses.

Such gems include:

“They aren’t hoaxes. Women would never lie about sexual assault. They have no reason to.”

“Men benefit from the experience of being falsely accused of rape.”

And the ever-insightful:

“Even if false, these accusations bring much-needed attention to the topic of sexual assault in America.”

For what it’s worth, I agree with the last statement. Just not in the way the statement was intended.

The reality is that false rape accusations and hoaxes do bring attention to the topic of sexual assault… the wrong kind. Think of any major media story over the past several years that got people talking… and at its core, you’ll find that the vast majority of them were hoaxes.

We’re told that we live in a culture of rape, which some people have taken to mean that rape is a low-level crime, barely worthy of the notice of society at large. (A false belief refuted by the leading researchers of sexual violence in the United States, RAINN.)

So I’m going to break down exactly what rape hoaxes perpetrate.

It perpetrates disbelief. If a person has been raped, it should go without question that they should have our implicit support. To live through such a harrowing experience is one thing, to heal from it another. But when we’re bombarded with news stories such as the ones I’ve already listed, in which people were worked up into an anti-rape frenzy… only later to discover they’ve been duped, time and again, by attention-seeking liars, it devalues and marginalizes legitimate victims of sexual assault and rape.

I’ve known people who have been raped, both men and women. Even I woke up once after imbibing a bit too much at a party to a young woman performing oral sex on me in my early 20’s. These things do happen. I’ve also known false accusations to happen to people I knew, in two other verified cases besides the Tami Zall situation I outlined above.

But with the media always hungry for a decent rape story, you find that many of those willing to share their tales are fabricating them, spinning a yarn for publicity and attention. The excuses vary, but in almost all the cases, it boils down to basic attention-seeking behavior.

But this self-serving behavior does not help anyone, in fact, it hurts far more people. It hurts those who have been falsely accused, because there exist a contingent of angry anti-rape activists who steadfastly refuse to disbelieve stories even after the perpetrator has admitted to lying or media has admitted to error who have permanently branded the victim of the accusation a rapist for life. Take the cases of Brad Wardell, Max Tempkin, and more recently, Paul Nungesser.

It hurts legitimate victims of sexual assault and rape because people are so fed up with false accusations that sometimes it’s honestly hard to believe them, whether legitimate or not.

And it even hurts the accusers themselves… sometimes. It’s not entirely uncommon for a false accuser to get off scott free without having to answer for false accusations.

Recently, the infamous Mattress Girl, Emma Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University alongside the man she accused, Paul Nungesser. I won’t get into the details of the accusation, or the outcome of the NYPD investigation or even the internal investigation by Columbia University. But sufficed to say, Nungesser was investigated and found to be innocent.

Despite this, Sulkowicz doubled-down and refused to take back her accusation, even in light of evidence that shows she was cordial and inviting to her rapist, even months after the alleged rape was said to have occurred. She engaged in a public shaming campaign against Nungesser which culminated in a so-called art project in which she carried her mattress around with her everywhere she went. To class, from class, and yes… even during her graduation ceremony, even after being asked not to.

The claim is that the art project was a protest, a project to bring awareness to the topic of sexual assault on campus, which has been claimed to affect up to one in five female students during the course of their university career. (A claim that, if true, outnumbers the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in third-world countries. But also a claim that has been thoroughly debunked.)

The accusation carried no weight, no evidence, not even a preponderance of evidence. And the university allowed her art project to continue, knowing full well that the project itself was aimed at her accused. Possibly knowing full well that the accused with then later sue the University for allowing his continued defamation.

Her project, like every other false accusation I’ve mentioned before does nothing to help true victims of rape. In my opinion, it’s little more than seeking attention and publicity and is ultimately self-serving. And this is evident when you take into consideration that, now that Sulkowicz has graduated, she intends to sell her mattress to the highest bidder.

Rape is a serious crime. One that, when an accusation has been made, sends people into a frenzy. I have seen with my own eyes what happens when mobs form calling for the blood of an accused rapist. Even innocent ones. I have seen people’s reputations destroyed by a jilted ex-lover seeking revenge for a bad break-up, and I have seen a man’s entire life shift course because of a mutual drunken hook-up at a wedding in which the woman regretted it after the fact and brought forth an accusation.

This cannot be allowed to continue. Not just for the sake of the falsely accused, but mostly for the sake of future legitimate victims. As a father, I could not bear the thought of something like that happening to my child, and it’s entirely likely that I would hunt down whoever had victimized her and destroy them before the police ever got to them. But I could not stand in judgement of those that disbelieved her, either, knowing full well the culture of rape hoaxes that have sprung up over recent years. And it is not the strangers standing in judgement that are to blame, but those that sought attention, or to alleviate their own guilt and shame by blaming others for their own poor choices.

In short, in order to take accusations of rape and sexual assault seriously, the false accusations must be treated as such. But in today’s culture, we see even false accusations taken more seriously by those in the media that legitimate crimes.

It’s almost as if the fiction is more trustworthy to the femisphere than the reality. And if that’s the case, I feel for the future victims that such a culture will inevitably create, both for the falsely accused, and the future victims who refuse to report it because they’re afraid they won’t be taken seriously.

With that said, never fail to report rape. It is a crime. Report it always. Because while it might be hard to recount your tale to the police, it’ll be ten times harder to go through life feeling like a victim, and the pats on the back and victim-sympathy you’ll get from enablers boil down to little more than fluff.

Progressives Can Be Racist Too!

It’s no secret that I tend to view the claims of self-professed Social Justice Warriors with a critical eye. While it’s apparent that I will agree with them on certain subjects, such as the notion that racism and sexism is unacceptable behavior, in recent years, I’ve discovered that while we may stand in agreement on the statement itself, the understanding of the statement differs vastly. So, for that reason, among others, I feel I must distance myself from them. Not because I don’t care about justice, but rather because the common thread of their idea of justice is rather… well, one-sided.

Many so-called champions of social justice are heralded by progressive media as heroes and media darlings. Their stories are spread across the media, in everything from major news networks to small niche blogs dedicated to, it would seem at first glance, gaming and geek culture.

An example of this began last year, when, in the wake of the now-infamous Zoe Post, the subject of that expose, Zoe Quinn, received headline after headline after headline telling her side of the story.

But interestingly, not one major headline ever thought to cover the other side of the tale. The side of the story that prompted the now much-maligned GamerGate hashtag ‘movement’ to rise from all corners of the internet, from the anonymous messages boards to social media users to professional journalists, game developers and even academic professors.  The side that, at first recognized Eron Gjoni, the author of the Zoe Post as a victim of abuse. The side that later rose in unison to speak out against what they perceive as corrupt, unethical and ideologically-driven journalistic practices.

And, I have to say that, if I had not been privy to this information since the first day it was made public, I might even have believed the media. But I read the Zoe Post and felt sympathy for Gjoni because I had been through the exact same thing in the past, and I recognized how cathartic it was to simply vent.

But I also recognized something else entirely in that Zoe Quinn was a self-professed Social Justice Warrior, a particular type of progressive that I’d had experience with in the past.

I feel it’s important to note that there’s a vast difference between a social justice warrior and an advocate against discrimination.

Social Justice Warriors, by and large, claim to stand against racism. And this is true… somewhat. Allow me the chance to explain.

Racism, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, states that it means:

“A belief that one’s own racial or ethnic group is superior, or that other such groups represent a threat to one’s cultural identity, racial integrity, or economic well-being; (also) a belief that the members of different racial or ethnic groups possess specific characteristics, abilities, or qualities, which can be compared and evaluated.”

How I interpret this, as I’m sure many others do, is that it means that racism is indiscriminately discriminate. Anyone can find an ideology within racism, so long as they believe that one race is any more inferior or superior than another, no matter what that race is.

Now Social Justice Warriors, as you encounter them in some university classrooms, social media or, God forbid, tumblr, tend to by and large adopt a slightly different definition of racism, one that adds a particular caveat. That in order to be racist, the aggressor must have a position of power over their victims. A very similar definition is also applied to sexism, and discrimination against LGBT. I made a video on the topic not too long ago.

It might seem like a benign redefinition to many, and as such, people still offer their support to social justice warriors who happen to be on the receiving end of criticism and scrutiny for their opinions.

I feel that defending them is silly, because the revised definition isn’t as benign as they would like to believe.

Case in point: I’d like to introduce you to Goldsmiths, University of London’s Student Welfare and Diversity Officer, Bahar Mustafa.

Bahar-Mustafa-anti-racism-57281828DB823F00000578-3087790-image-a-53_1432038800610

Bahar was recently put under the spotlight for some ‘controversial’ social media activity, which included, among other things, disinviting men and whites from an event about racism, calling someone ‘white trash’ over the university’s Twitter account and utilizing the hashtag #killallwhitemen.

There was a significant amount of backlash over her antics from all over the racial and gender spectrum. It wasn’t just white men putting her under scrutiny, it was women and racial minorities as well. Basically, anyone who believed that her role as Welfare and Diversity Officer should have come with some level of professionalism and less discrimination.

In response to the backlash, Bahar made a prepared statement refuting the accusations of racism, surrounded by a gaggle of her supporters, who all the while patted her on the back and told her she was doing the right thing.

It’s important to note that, by her own admission, Bahar is a proponent of the revisionist definition of racism and sexism. And at one point during her statement, she said:

“There have been charges made against me, that I am racist and sexist to white men. I want to explain why this is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist to white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.

And therefore women of colour and non-binary genders cannot be racist or sexist as we do not stand to benefit from such a system.”

She added:

“In order for our actions to have been deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have to be one which enables only women and people of colour to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men who for the past 400 years would have had to have been subjected to colonisation.

Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real.”

For what it’s worth, I agree with her last statement. Reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real. The reason they’re not real is because they simply describe regular old racism and sexism.

But as for the rest of it? In my opinion, it’s little more than a foolhardy over-justification. I’m of the opinion that Bahar literally cannot conceive that her words could be construed as hateful, because in her eyes, it’s ‘justice.’

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

I don’t think anyone with their finger on the pulse of history is going to deny that racism in the past never happened, or that it still doesn’t, even on an institutional level. But those of us who are capable of looking forward recognize that the proper response to discrimination is not to discriminate more.

Because even if she were correct in her assessment that, because she is an ‘ethnic minority woman’, she cannot be ‘racist or sexist’, that still doesn’t excuse her from practicing prejudice and discrimination.

Bahar is twenty-eight years old, and she seems to be lacking in one of the most fundamental truths conferred to us in elementary school: Two wrongs do not make a right.

But the concerning part is that Bahar isn’t alone in this. Rather, she is merely a cog in a much, much larger machine that has been pushing since 1970 for a redefinition to racism and sexism. A machine that has been working harder and stronger in recent years to justify discrimination against whites and males the world over. Whether this was meant as some sort of misguided revenge disguised as justice or not, who can tell?

But ultimately, it’s a machine that’s been noticed by a growing number of people every day. People from all walks of life. Men and women, black and white, gay and straight, trans and cis alike are taking a stand against this sort of immature justification for poor behavior, despite Goldsmiths’ Student Union offering her their implicit support.

And that shows in the response to a petition demanding she be removed from her position as Goldsmiths’ Welfare and Diversity Officer and that her degree be revoked, currently standing at just under twelve thousand signatures at the time of this writing, from all over the world.

In short, the machine has been noticed, and it’s not the system standing against it… it’s the people. A line has been drawn in the sand, and people are willing to defend it against the aggressive ‘progressive’ march.

Game of Thrones is Rated Mature for a Reason

I’d like to present you all with this picture:

This screenshot was captured by a reddit user from a tumblr blog in which the young lady in question took issue with a disturbing scene from Game of Thrones Season Five, Episode Six in which (Spoiler Alert) one of the few surviving Stark children, Sansa, is forced to marry a psychopathic bastard who, predictably, rapes her on their wedding night. (And forces the man Sansa believes killed her two little brothers to watch.)

This brave young lady, in the throes of a panic attack, took the time to arrange a selfie showcasing her apprehension and fear of how normalized and acceptable rape has become in modern western society.

Except that, you know… it isn’t. I mean, at all.

Truth be told, I don’t often worry myself with what attention-seeking teenagers do on the internet, but this particular image infuriated me enough that I felt I had to address a few matters.

First off, panic attacks.

Now I’ve suffered from panic attacks in the past. They’re not enjoyable experiences. And, unlike what some people would like to believe, they’re hardly benign. While the attacks themselves pose no physical danger, sufferers tend to legitimately believe that they’re in the process of dying. Many can’t even pick up a phone to dial 9-1-1 for fear that they might die before they get a chance to dial, let alone arrange a perfectly-posed selfie of their panic attack.

Look at the pictures. That’s not a panic attack. That’s an attention-seeking pose.

Secondly, having actually watched the episode (and granted, being disturbed by it as well), I take strong issue with the statement the original poster made claiming this is the normalization of rape.

Excuse me, young lady? Explain how that rape is in any way, shape or form normalizing. Ramsay Bolton is a psychopathic, sociopathic monster who will no doubt meet his end in a way similar to what he did to others in life. He’s hardly normal. The scene is hardly indicative of how men view women. He’s not even a real person. He’s a fictional stereotype of a psychopath, and a damn evil one at that.

Furthermore, there’s this:

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I’d like to draw your attention to the first warning on that list: Adult Content.

What this means is that there are themes in the show which require a certain level of maturity in order to handle it. Such things include, but are not limited to:

  • Beheadings
  • Incest
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Torture
  • Flaying Humans Alive
  • More Rape
  • Burning small children to a crisp
  • Cutting a man’s junk off
  • Prostitution
  • Did I mention rape?
  • Slavery
  • Dwarves talking about their cocks a lot
  • Swearing
  • Yet more rape

Are you seeing a pattern? It’s expected that those watching the show are going to be psychologically prepared for such things, hence the mature warning at the beginning of every episode.

The funniest part is when I read some people lamenting the lack of trigger warnings, all the while ignoring the giant TV-MA warning once again, at the beginning of every episode.

To the parents who let their children watch Game of Thrones, please, please don’t. Or if you must, take the time to educate your children on the difference between fantasy, entertainment and reality.

Oh, also learn to recognize attention-seeking behavior, and get your children help. Otherwise, they may grow to be adults that are barely more than high-functioning children.

Hitch: On The Origin Of Social Justice Warriors

grey lining

christopher-hitchens-smoking This is what a cunt looks like

If your daily digest of raw information consists primarily of the illiteratiblogindustry – because, y’know, you’re a rebel and you know everything else is a construct of Western patriarchal hegemony, weaving lies and illusions to prop up their shaky, unjust and corrupt machinery of oppression (aka the status quo) – then no doubt you will know Christopher Hitchens was an establishment loving, warmongering fascist1.

OTOH, those that can tie their own shoelaces may beg to disagree and point out that Hitchens possessed an intellect that was in a constant state of flux2 voraciously absorbing new information and updating the old on the fly and that to brand him with any fixed ideology or belief system (not to be confused with disbelief system) was quite simply not possible. And the more attentive will also point out that…

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The Future of Black Trident TV

So, on Friday morning I was met with a rather unique, but not wholly unexpected situation. In the process of attempting to fine-tune my PC… my motherboard melted.

*sigh*

Needless to say, it’s obvious that without a PC, further episodes of Trigger Warning and the various planned, but not-yet-implemented video projects, are going to be coming out with much less frequency.

Jon Wyatt, who has been instrumental in bringing episodes of Trigger Warning to YouTube has offered the use of his PC to produce further episodes of Trigger Warning, and I may take him up on the offer, but in the meantime, I realize that I cannot make any promises to that regard until such time as I manage to afford a new PC.

Now, the good news is that I already have many of the parts needed for a new video editing PC. I’ve got a high-end video card, a case, hard drives, and a 500 watt power supply. But I am lacking a motherboard, CPU units and RAM. As many of you know, I’m also a single father of a teenage girl who needs new glasses, which we’ve been having troubles affording. So as much as I would like to continue with Black Trident TV, there are more important things to be spending my money on. And well… that’s that.

I do plan on getting a new PC, preferably something high-end, but in the meantime I have to focus most of my earnings on my kid, as I’m sure many of you who have children can not only appreciate, but support wholeheartedly.

It was suggested to me by several people to apply for Hipster Welfare, and that is something I’m considering, but for me to be honest, I do find the whole process a little pretentious for people who are unable to offer something to backers. And as it stands, beyond making more videos, I don’t really have much to offer backers other than perhaps a free ebook of my first novel, Children of the Halo. So as it stands right now, I’m a little on the fence on the topic, although I am open to suggestions.

However, and as a result of this, I have decided that until such time as I can actually create videos, I am going to jump right back into writing. There are a number of issues, topics and events that I wish to talk about. There are a number of stories I would like to tell, and I’ve been sorely lacking in sating my creative urges over the past year or so.

And so, I invite you to subscribe to the blog, check out past videos and periodic updates on the YouTube Channel, yap with me over Twitter, or engage in the Black Trident TV community over on Facebook.

Until next time.

EJ.

Trigger Warning: ED50

Transcript:

There’s a concept in medicine called ED50.

It refers to the effective dose of a drug in order to produce an effect in 50% of the people who take it. Depending on the toxicity and potential for lethality of the drug, doctors generally tend to prescribe higher or lower amounts, so it is by no means a representation of what you’ll get in your average prescription.

The amount people are generally prescribed will vary, depending on their individual situations. Could be 500mg daily of Tylenol, could be two Amoxicillin tablets a day, could be Attivan.

Some drugs produce an effect in our brains that stimulates our brain’s reward center by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine, a hormone produced by the brain naturally. Oftentimes, as a result, this causes what we call… addiction.

There are a couple of dozen different classifications of substance dependence. All do the same thing to the brain, roughly.

Dopamine can be produced under a variety of circumstances. Doing drugs, eating lots of sugar, even sex, video games and Facebook. All things that can become addictive if not done… responsibly.

It’s said that dopamine is produced when you’re doing something your brain finds pleasurable. By that stardard, we can assume that anything that allows an individual to feel pleasure with something… can be addictive.

As many of us know, certain emotional states are quite pleasurable. Exhilaration. Happiness. Comfort. Sometimes even anger.

Many become addicted to how others make them feel. Some become addicted to ideas.

But everyone is an addict. And everyone is a dealer.

We tend to take it for granted, but everyone has the potential in them to produce an addictive effect in the minds of others, although we rarely, if ever, realize we’re doing it.

But some can be toxic. And some can be lethal.

Take sympathy, for instance. Too much sympathy growing up can cause a person to become addicted. Too little can cause them to reject sympathy altogether.

Those who become addicted to it, however, can allow it to rule their lives. When they’re not getting it, they’re craving it. When the craving becomes too much, that person can and often does act out in ways such as lying or putting themselves in harm’s way so that… they can collect the sympathies of others. To feed off of them. And those that give too much sympathy are often addicted in much the same way. They all enable each other. And they begin to hate those who refuse sympathy.

Hate can be an addiction too. Extremism. Greed.

Religions, ideas, foods, activities and drugs. Sights, sounds, experiences. Tastes and smells. People and animals. Emotions and interests.

All can be addictive.

But sometimes some of these things are important for surviving the human condition. Sometimes what destroys the addict can save another.

There is a concept in medicine called the Maximum Effective Dose. This is the maximum recommended dosage of a drug in order for it to produce a positive effect. Any further and it begins to produce… undesirable effects. The addict rarely chooses to think about those risks.

We need to remember that all of us are addicts. And all of us dealers. The only thing we do is choose our addictions, often subconsciously.

Some addicts can’t be reasoned with. And so we must treat them as addicts, lest we enable them further. And sometimes, we can’t be reasoned with because we refuse to look at our own addictions. Can you reason with a heroine addict to look past his addiction? Sometimes. But it’s rare.

And so I think it’s our responsible to limit our enabling of other’s addictions to the maximum effective dose. Because right now, there are too many addicts, and we need to achieve ED50.

Trigger Warning: OverPopulation

Since 1798, it’s been realized that our planet runs the real risk of overpopulation, and with it, the conversation of humankind’s responsibility to limit the burden we place on the Earth.

But what options do we, as human beings, have to limit the burden? EJ discusses on today’s Trigger Warning.