rynling: (Teh Bowz)
[personal profile] rynling
In a chapter of her new book Kill All Normies titled "From Tumblr to the Campus Wars: Creating Scarcity in an Online Economy of Virtue," Angela Nagle summarizes her theory on how the right was able to take political power even while the left has become more stridently vocal. She writes:

In the early days of Twitter, a platform in which users are supposed to compete for followers and through which lagging careers can be instantly boosted through the correct virtue signaling, minor celebrities realized that one could attract a following greater than through traditional media. At first, self-righteously or snarkily denouncing others for racism, sexism or homophobia was the most instantaneous and certain way to achieve social media fame. Something about social media platforms, it turned out, was conducive to the vanity of morally righteous politics and the irresistible draw of the culture wars. But soon the secret was out and everyone was doing it. The value of the currency of virtue that those who had made their social media cultural capital on was in danger of being suddenly devalued. As a result, I believe, a culture of purging had to take place, largely targeting those in competition for this precious currency. Thus, the attacks increasingly focused on other liberals and leftists often with seemingly pristine progressive credentials, instead of those who engaged in any actual racism, sexism or homophobia.
 
Although I tend to think that Tumblr functions differently than Twitter in a number of meaningful ways, this hypothesis makes sense. In fact, I've posted multiple times here on Dreamwidth about how confusing and frustrating it's been for me to be attacked for seemingly minor infractions (such as finding nonwhite fictional characters attractive in the "wrong" way) on Tumblr while actual literal white supremacists drove the U.S. presidential election and were then treated seriously in the discursive forums of mainstream media.

That being said, Nagle's ostensible emphasis on rationality and resulting lack of empathy for other human beings calls her conclusions on leftist culture into question in its creation of major critical gaps. To give an example of what I mean, Nagle is deeply steeped in academic ideology (she wrote a dissertation about this, after all), but for some reason she refuses to reference any political theorists who aren't white, male, and European. As a result, the only women who appear in her discussion are either (a) real or hypothetical victims of online harassment, (b) "special snowflakes" on Twitter and/or Tumblr, or (c) herself, whom she repeatedly positions as being above the "fetishization of vulnerability" that she claims characterizes identity politics.

Essentially, Nagle is uncomfortable looking at the current political situation from the intellectual perspective of anyone who is not white, male, and European. This leads her to make numerous statements such as the following, which precedes a brief discussion of Gamergate:

First, let me be clear on my own position on gaming. If you're an adult, I think you should probably be investing your emotional energies elsewhere. And that includes feminist gaming, which has always struck me as being about as appealing as feminist porn; in other words, not at all.

Statements like this demonstrate that, for someone who goes through great pains in order to connect the contemporary alt-right to twentieth-century academic political philosophy, Nagle really... hasn't done all of the required reading, I guess.

Even though what Nagle is saying about the self-cannibalization of identity politics on Tumblr makes sense, I find it difficult to have any faith in her overall argument, which is basically that the trolls on Reddit and 4chan hate Tumblr-based leftist culture because of course they do, any sane person would. I mean, that's a reasonable thing to say, but it's not really a thesis statement that I would expect someone with a PhD to make, you know? What I'd like to see is a more sensitive and nuanced critique of Tumblr-based political culture from the perspective of someone who is more sympathetic to the concerns of the people who have created communities there; but, to be fair, Kill All Normies is very clear regarding the fact that its focus is on white men.

Date: 2017-06-11 11:18 am (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
If you're an adult, I think you should probably be investing your emotional energies elsewhere.

lol

And that includes feminist gaming, which has always struck me as being about as appealing as feminist porn; in other words, not at all.

If she doesn't weigh in on anime and MLP I'm going to be disappointed.

When she kept talking about how "terrible" Zoe's game was I was just like alright lady, I, Gaming Connoisseur Extraordinaire, shall be the judge of what is terrible. Also, she said something about fascist Ukrainian mob rule? IDK man.

I want her opinion but I don't want her opinion, if you know what I mean. Just gimmie the deets already.

Date: 2017-06-15 11:32 am (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
I feel like the way people talk about Zoe is a good barometer for how seriously they need to be taken when discussing games, honestly.

Someone who, by her own admission knows nothing about games, goes out of her way to repeatedly talk about how Zoe's game, which by her own admission she did not play, is "dreadful" while understanding everything that happened to that developer was nightmarishly out of proportion to a woman making a deeply personal indie game so people could better understand how she felt and was in no way her fault.

Why? Because Zoe cannot go unscathed? Because even understanding GG was pure distilled misogyny that was not in any way justified or warranted, we still need to give her a little passive-aggressive kick on our way out the door to reaffirm the pecking order?

That aside, I think some of the articles she wrote gave me the idea she might have some interesting observations about the--forgive me--"adult" Left online, who appear (at least to me, as an outsider) to be backed into a corner rhetorically and strategically, and she might have possible strategies for extraction.

So, I may have misunderstood the scope of the work.

I feel when one blames Tumblrites and collegiates they are essentially blaming young women. I might be extrapolating unfairly, but this is a familiar song and dance. Because women, especially young women, are totally the worst, right? Yet boys will be boys. The inequity of blame never stops.

Date: 2017-06-15 09:29 pm (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
Sure, I mean I don't know what the heck I'm talking about but

Date: 2017-06-12 12:04 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
....holy shit, that fucking quote about gaming and porn. I. *head explodes, goodbye*. What the ever loving crispy fuck, that's a shit-ton of nasty biases on display right there.

I have been thinking lately about purity politics on the left and how they are, in essence, the same thing we've been critiquing the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus/etc. for on the left (purity at the expense of reason, ability to govern, reality, the list goes on....) The left has got to pull its head out of the circular firing squad ass and there are a lot of people who seem to not get that.

Date: 2017-06-16 12:24 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
A good and correct response, A+

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