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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cathy Young publishes a steaming pile of non-apology for GamerGate

Cathy Young, alerting her Twitter followers to her
friendly interview with Eron Gjoni
"for the 2nd anniversary of #GamerGate"


As I noted on this blog last month, Cathy Young celebrated the second anniversary of "the Zoe post" by giving a friendly interview to Eron Gjoni.

Three years later she's had a chance, as a sober-minded public intellectual of late-middle-age to reflect on GamerGate and possibly reassess her support for it.

Perhaps consider apologizing for her role as a GamerGate cheerleader.

No, of course not.

Instead she's doubling-down publishing (another) defense of GamerGate in Arc Digital.

And she's still defending Eron Gjoni. Young is a contributing editor for right-wing/libertarian Reason Magazine, and I thought libertarians were in favor of privacy rights.

But Cathy Young thinks it's perfectly OK for Eron Gjoni to tell the entire world about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend.
For instance: The ex who started it all, programmer Eron Gjoni, was a pro-social justice leftist who ostensibly intended his post on August 16, 2014 as a “call-out” about psychological abuse (as recently noted on Twitter by strongly anti-GamerGate video game journalist Ana Valens). He also published it with support from female, and feminist, friends. Gjoni accused Quinn, a prominent progressive activist in the video game community, of multiple infidelities and deceptions — with chat screenshots as corroboration — and charged that this conduct violated Quinn’s own professed ethical standards, under which a truly consensual relationship requires absolute honesty.
WHY is it Cathy Young's business what Zoe Quinn does in her personal life?

Young doesn't appear to think that what Gjoni did was unethical in the least, instead preferring to constantly harp on Quinn's ethics. This tweet is from less than a year ago, September 25, 2018.




If the genders were reversed it's unlikely that Cathy Young would be so cavalier about Gjoni's obscene invasion of privacy. It's truly instructive to compare Cathy Young's defense of Eron Gjoni, who did something clearly unethical and vicious, with Cathy Young's hatred of Kristen Roupenian because Roupenian committed the crime of writing a short story in which a fictional man is portrayed unflatteringly.

Is there any doubt that if a woman posted a screed against her ex-boyfriend, causing the ex-boyfriend to be the target of constant death threats, Young and the rest of the GameGate apologists would never stop using the phrase "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? The rules are different for men.

This obvious double standard reveals the toxic, festering, internalized misogyny of Cathy Young, which is what Reason pays her for.


Imagine how much Cathy Young would hate Kristen Roupenian
if she had violated the privacy of a non-fictional person,
causing that person to receive death threats.

Cathy Young has already written many, many articles in defense of GamerGate, but I suppose her shamelessness would not rest until she did it again, in response to the NYTimes series on the topic. And Arc Digital apparently has nothing less done-to-death to publish.

The worst thing about the article is Young's shameless dishonesty in omitting the role she played, personally, in the promotion of GamerGate, neglecting to mention she was referred to by fans of GamerGate as "based auntie" (in contrast to their honorific for Christina Hoff Sommers of "based mom.")

Young mentions Milo Yiannopoulos in this latest GamerGate apologia:
There is strong evidence that as the alt-right began to gather steam in late 2015, Yiannopoulos tried to channel GamerGate — which he often tried to treat as his private army — in its direction. In January 2016, someone leaked chat logs in which pro-GamerGate blogger Ethan Ralph, who was close to Yiannopoulos, and several of his friends from /ggrevolt/ trashed GamerGate, agreed that the culture war needed to move on to the alt-right, and discussed plans to “reappropriate” GamerGate for the alt-right by purging liberals, who were mocked as “SJW-lite.” 
But Young doesn't mention that she appeared on a panel about Gamergate with Yianopoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers in 2015. Nor does she mention that in an article she wrote for Arc Digital in 2017 she said:

This is not to rehash GamerGate but to say that I still think Milo was basically on the right side of it.

I was alerted to Young's most recent defense of GamerGate by Matt Jameson on Twitter. He makes an interesting point about Young and Sommers being non-gamers and much older than the median gamer.





So why exactly did Cathy Young and Christina Hoff Sommers get involved in GamerGate?

My theory starts with Young's description of Yiannopoulos in this latest Arc Digital piece:
...some conservatives and critics of the social justice left were sympathetic. Breitbart, in particular, made GamerGate its pet cause, starting with a September 1, 2014 article by the soon-to-be-infamous Milo Yiannopoulos titled “Feminist Bullies Tearing the Video Game Industry Apart.” Yiannopoulos also championed GamerGate on Twitter; with his flashy bad-boy persona, he quickly became a hero to many in the movement, even those who otherwise had no affection for Breitbart’s politics.
It was catnip to catty persons. After all, hating women in general, and feminists in particular is why the Kochs and other right-wingers support the careers of women like Cathy Young and Christina Hoff Sommers. GamerGate was a chance for them to level their careers of hating feminists up to notoriety, glamour and relevance thanks to Yiannopoulos and his "flashy bad-boy persona."

To get a sense of what GamerGate and Eron Gjoni are really about, you can't depend on the self-interested, dishonest portrayal by Cathy Young in an op-ed rag like Arc Digital. I recommend Boston Magazine's Game of Fear - the Story Behind GamerGate by Zachary Jason - a better publication than Arc Digital and a better writer than Cathy Young. An excerpt:
Gjoni, a software engineer, had set out to construct a machine to destroy his ex. Every written word Quinn had ever entrusted with him—all of her flirtations, anxieties, professional grudges, and confessions about her family and sex life—would serve as his iron and ore. He scoured their entire text and email history, archiving and organizing Quinn’s private information on his laptop and cell phone. Then he typed it all in black and white—minus, of course, the tones in their voices, their laughter and tears, and any context whatsoever. 
Of course, Gjoni could have just deleted the document, along with Quinn’s phone number and email address, and tried to woo one of the millions of other women on OkCupid or joined any of the roughly 5,000 other dating sites. He could have posted his thoughts on a blog and omitted her name. After several days, though, Gjoni decided to go through with it—after all, he was protected by the First Amendment, right? Gjoni has sometimes claimed that he simply wanted to warn people about his ex-girlfriend. But over the course of several months, he described to me how he painstakingly crafted “The Zoe Post,” a post that detonated with ruthless force and efficiency, for maximum pain and harm. 
From the start, it seems, Gjoni wanted to make certain that his blog about Quinn would connect with a large base of people in the gaming community, some of whom he already knew were passionately predisposed to attacking women in the industry. 
As Gjoni began to craft “The Zoe Post,” his early drafts read like a “really boring, really depressing legal document,” he says. He didn’t want to merely prove his case; it had to read like a potboiler. So he deliberately punched up the narrative in the voice of a bitter ex-boyfriend, organizing it into seven acts with dramatic titles like “Damage Control” and “The Cum Collage May Not Be Accurate.” He ended sections on cliffhangers, and wove in video-game analogies to grab the attention of Quinn’s industry colleagues. He was keenly aware of attracting an impressionable readership. “If I can target people who are in the mood to read stories about exes and horrible breakups,” he says now, “I will have an audience.” 
One of the keys to how Gjoni justified the cruelty of “The Zoe Post” to its intended audience was his claim that Quinn slept with five men during and after their brief romance. In retrospect, he thinks one of his most amusing ideas was to paste the Five Guys restaurant logo into his screed: “Now I can’t stop mentally referring to her as Burgers and Fries,” he wrote. By the time he released the post into the wild, he figured the odds of Quinn’s being harassed were 80 percent. 
As he wrote, Gjoni kept pressing Quinn for information. About a week after their final breakup in San Francisco, Quinn finally stopped responding to Gjoni’s barrage of texts, Facebook messages, emails, and calls. He interpreted this not as a surrender or a retreat from his unwanted advances but instead, paradoxically, as a kind of attack. As he wrote at the time and later posted online, “GOD FUCKING DAMN IT. SHE’S AVOIDED ME EVER SINCE THIS CONVERSATION BECAUSE SHE IS PARANOID I MIGHT GO PUBLIC.” From this circular reasoning emerged a twisted justification: By withholding information, Quinn was somehow forcing Gjoni to “go public.” Eventually, Gjoni would come to see himself as the victim. “I was panicking at the thought of not publishing [‘The Zoe Post’],” he told me. “I didn’t care what the outcome was for Zoe.”
Cathy Young, who still seems to admire Eron Gjoni for what he did, in a rare act of legitimate journalism, and after the Boston Magazine article was published, got Gjoni to admit he would do it again:
Cathy Young: Let’s say that tomorrow someone comes to you with a time machine and you can go back to August 2014 and decide whether or not to do it all over again. Would you do it, and would you do anything differently? 
Eron Gjoni: It would be harder to do it. I would still do it, but it’s like—oh, this is going to suck. (Laughs) I suppose I’d take out the “burgers and fries” joke. I wasn’t sure about it, but people who were looking it over at the time said it was too funny to take out [and] like, “All right, I’ll trust you on it.”

I just hope that Gjoni never publishes a work of short fiction which presents a non-existent man in an unflattering light. Cathy Young might call it quits after that.