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Sean William Scott


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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Point We Keep Coming Back To 

GayGamer.net was offline for most of the weekend after being targeted by denial of service attacks and homophobic postings on their message boards. To the credit of the video-gaming community, most people recognize this as a bias-motivated attack.

There were, of course, other reactions. You can see some of them on display in this thread at Kotaku. For those without the patience to read through, and I don't blame you for not having it, a certain segment of the on-line video gaming community responded to the attack with some variation of "they had it coming." Not because it's a gay site and gays are icky, mind you. But because by specifically setting up the site as being primarily for gay and lesbian gamers, they're setting themselves up for these kinds of attacks. Because they're setting themselves apart. Because they think they're better than you. Because they have to be special. Because it's only about sex. Because they want special rights. Because they want their issues catered to. Because there's no "need" for a gay video game site, because sexuality has nothing to do with video games, and it's not as if all the other video game sites are for straight people.

I don't have to say it, do I?
The very fact that the site was attacked in a homophobic manner points out the need for a gay video game site. That people are so used to the heteronormativity of video games that they can't see that, yes, video game sites assume their readership is heterosexual, points to the need for a gay video game site. That the default insult for the teen/post-teen male audience that most video game sites cater to is "gay" or "fag" points to the need for a gay video game site.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to comics. Whenever the topic comes up of gay issues in comics, or women's issues in comics, or race issues in comics, the response, very quickly degenerates into that same kind of "why do you think you're special, why do you need to be catered to, there's nothing about comics or the comics industry that's hostile to women, people of color, or gays." There is a certain degree of overlap in the comics community and the video game community; they're both primarily geek-centric activities, after all. And although I've noted before the basic conservative inclinations of nerd-dom at large (coupled with an oddly knee-jerk, unexamined libertarianism), I don't think that's whats really at issue here. Because I don't see this willful cluelessness as something confined to geek-culture, but instead it's something I see in the culture at large. It's a deliberate unwillingness to understand the issues and concerns of minority groups that quickly turns into open hostility towards the very idea of people that are different from the majority wanting to have either their voices heard in the mainstream or to have their own spaces. But I see this unwillingness and hostility especially prominent in geek circles. My initial reaction is that the geeks who feel so threatened already feel so ostracized and out of touch from the mainstream that any thing that threatens to unseat them from their self-imposed status of persecuted martyr must be shouted down. In other words, it's the usual fan entitlement rants as applied to identity politics, only in their world nerds are more disenfranchised than any other group in history.

Or, you know, they're just petty, small-minded jerks. In which case this picture of John Tristram should cause their heads to explode:

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