Essay: “What GamerGate Means To Me”

The Internet is the greatest expression of free speech the world has ever seen. One of the amazing things about living in America in the 21st century, is you can say anything you want, with no fear of censorship, ideological monitoring, or repercussions. As long as you are not directly encouraging others to break the law, or committing willful  slander or libel, no one is going to stop you from voicing your opinion, or punish you for expressing unpopular thoughts. There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers, and the Internet has given us the freedom to ask any question we like, recieve a plethora of answers, and become better, more informed citizens of the world in the process.

That’s what I used to think. Then, I unexpectedly found out that the majority of the sites I visit regularly, do not in any way share my view of the 21st century. To them, the 21st century is a time when the voices of hundreds of thousands of people can, are, and should be silenced, the instant those voices prove uncomfortable for someone well liked in their insular community of Internet celebrities. For them, the 21st century is a doublethink nightmare of being so tolerant, that they cannot allow anyone less tolerant than they to speak a word, for fear that the utterance might offend their refined and inclusive sensibilities. They see a world where some questions are so stupid, so offensive, so out of bounds, that no one should ever be allowed to ask them, under any circumstances.

You see, I have recently come to find out that I am a cretin. I am, apparently, an ignorant, bigoted, childish, brutal, manbeast. A source of such virulent evil and rampant misogyny, that nothing I could ever say, should be allowed to be seen or heard, in even the most obscure forum. That I would think to crawl out from under the rock I so evidently live under, and dare to question those of so much higher a station, and so much more enlightened a worldview, just proves how unrepentantly odious I truly must be.

Luckily, the glorious meritocracy that is the Internet, has provided an entire caste of properly educated, wellborn monitors to save the world from my insidious and corrosive misconceptions of freedom. A cadre of valorous defenders of all that is correct and proper, to uphold the values that we little people are too petty to comprehend. These valiant heroes of everything sacrosanct, have diligently taken upon themselves the onerous burden of shielding the fragile constituency they represent, from my hateful, perniciously unregulated, and unmitigatedly stupid questions concerning their propriety and conduct.

That is not the world I wish to live in. That is not how this thing we call the Internet is supposed to work. That is not the role I expect the chattering class of bloggers to fill. And that, I suppose, is what #gamergate means to me, and why I refuse to accept the new rules of conduct that are being forced upon me.

Lee Lloyd

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