"It is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects." ~ Anita Sarkeesian
And I would add the same is true, not just of media, but of people and organizations and ideologies as well. You can love them while still being critical of them, which is what I'm going to be doing here.
The title of this article actually serves dual purpose. In the first sense, I'm going to continue rebutting the caricature that Feminist Frequency is just a man-hating, money-grubbing cult like an all-girls Church of Scientology or something, now that I have new evidence and progress to report on that front. Then, in part two, I'm actually going to provide my own pushback against their proposition that video games, and media in general, create a culture of systemic violence and sexism; but I'm going to do it in a respectful and nuanced way.
So both defense and offense in one.
In a previous article, I'd gone to great lengths to defend Anita Sarkeesian's good character and what I believe to be her honest, heartfelt intentions. In that article, I rebutted many of the criticisms levied against her and made a very thorough and (I believe) fair case for why I think Anita is a person worthy of profound respect and admiration, even if you completely disagree with her postmodernist ideology.
That you can disagree with her, while still not being against her.
I left myself an out, of course, in saying I was willing to change my mind if anyone came forward with proper evidence of wrong-doing. Some people have tried since then, but their arguments all failed on the grounds that they were attacks levied against her feminist ideology, not her character, which again I said was fine to criticize, just do it respectfully.
Case in point, in one thread, someone sent me links to Thunderf00t's critiques of Anita, which in their intros teased at evidence of fraud and sock-puppets, but then never actually got around to providing said evidence to support those claims. What TF does do is a thorough job of dismantling her arguments about violence and sexism in games like Hitman but that's about it.
Ironically, someone actually thought I was a sock-puppet account of hers, which just goes to show how emotionally wound-up some of these people are. Ultimately, we talked it out and I was able to prove to their satisfaction that I wasn't. Sort of like how some people think I'm a Russian bot created by the Kremlin to shill for Donald Trump, until I point out that I'm in fact from New Jersey.
Unless the Russians are also free speech advocates who supported Kim Guadagno during the election.
Returning to the topic at hand ... in other instances, people have made comments on Anita's videos that would have actually been answered if they'd just watched the damned video. Case in point, someone asked what she thought about patrilineal monarchy in Black Panther, which she answered quite thoroughly in that very video.
To me, that's just disinterested, lazy thinking. You're not there to debate, you're there to bitch and moan and troll. It's the same intellectual dishonesty that Scott Adams or Jordan Peterson face on a regular basis wherein people respond to things they never actually said, just creating strawmen to defeat in their own self-aggrandizement. It's the same crap Stefan Molyneux got on his Why People Hate Donald Trump video, in which he said it was gonna be long from the onset and then people bitched about how long it was in the comments.
On that same point about monarchy, that particular video is good example of how Anita is actually quite capable of receiving criticism and being swayed. Clearly her cohosts, Carolyn and Ebony, disagree strongly with Anita on many things, yet there is an understanding of friendliness and humanity between them which underscores their criticism. At one point, Ebony even facetiously revokes Anita's visa to Wakanda, which is just hilarious and they all laugh and take it in stride. They can laugh about stuff like that because there's an implicit understanding of respect underlying their relationship. Anita knows her friends only criticize her, not because they hate her, but because they love her. They're not out there looking to destroy her, but to make her a better person - a stronger and wiser person more in line with the truth as they see it - which is my point to all of you people.
It's not what you say so much as how you say it.
So yeah, thus far, no one has yet put forth a compelling argument to change my mind about Anita's good character. Maybe someday they will, but I doubt it.
Frankly, internet, if this is your best, I'm really disappointed in you. It just shows the weakness in your own arguments, or at least your lack of confidence in your ability to assert them, that you have to resort to petty ad hominem attacks before you even have the full information.
You may as well just quit while you're behind.
Then again, half of you reading this also seem to think Donald Trump is an evil Russian-backed dictator who'll put women, brown people, and LGBTs in detention centers, while at the same time you also think it's somehow a good idea to get rid of your guns and that you can just talk and/or punch your way to victory against fully-armed "Nazis," (ya know, just like we did in WWII) who, at least by your definition of the word, currently make up about two thirds of the country, so ... I guess the bar's set pretty low.
Seriously, someone's gonna have to square that circle for me.
On the plus side, I did actually managed to persuade a few people about Anita, getting them to come around to my way of thinking, which makes me happy, knowing that my #HealTheDivide campaign is working. As time goes by, hopefully more people will start to back off with the ad hominems and maybe we can start to get somewhere productive. 38D
I also said in my article that there were many points I disagreed with Anita on and I would quickly pivot to offense if one of those particular topics came up.
(The preceding paragraph on Trump and guns being one of them.)
Towards that end, and in keeping with my promise to not treat her like a pariah, but as someone worthy of conversing with as equals, I'm now going to show you how to use the Persuasion Filter to express your disagreement in a way that she will (hopefully) be more receptive to. But first, a little detour to set the table.
Some of you might still not be convinced she'll listen, but I have reason to think she will.
As I already showed, if you listen to her podcasts, you'll notice there are many times in which Ebony and Carolyn disagree with her on stuff and get her to change her mind. So you have to admit it's at least possible, you just don't know how to do it effectively.
You might then say, "Well they're all friends and that's different from her listening to someone like me."
Fair enough, I suppose.
Speaking just of my own efforts, though, I've reason to believe that not only would she listen to someone like me and be persuaded, but in a way, she already has.
I should point out from the outset that, what persuasion looks like to the layperson will be different from how it looks to someone employing the Persuasion Filter. It's not magic, even though it sometimes might seem that way. There are things it can do and things it can't do. Those of you who follow Scott Adams already know this well enough. For the rest of you, let's just say I wouldn't expect Anita to ever put on a MAGA cap and suddenly start carrying an AR-15 around with her. That much seems highly unlikely to me, though I'll stop just short of saying it could never happen, if only because I was once a commie too at one point and people can change if they're wiling, but that conversion took many years of deliberate study in my case.
A more reasonable expectation would be if I could get her to clarify a misconception or maybe shift her perspective of a single issue by one or two degrees towards my own. That much is attainable and I'm willing to claim I've done just that, while remaining open to the possibility I could also be misreading this entire situation.
I'm still only an apprentice wizard compared to Scott,
but I've still got a few tricks up my sleeve.
I also wanna go on record and say, if the following assessment happens to be completely wrong, then I owe Anita an apology beforehand for what otherwise must surely appear to her a bunch of conceited, narcissistic ramblings. Hopefully, she's willing to cut me some slack since I'm trying to divine all this from afar. It'd be a lot easier if the two of us could just sit down and talk. We could clear up a whole lot. Maybe someday. But, I've high confidence I've got it right.
So what actually happened since last time?
Well, without going into too much detail, I actually got a response from Feminist Frequency about my recent online activities. I'm not gonna post the contents, but hopefully they'll forgive my sharing a few tidbits if it's in the service of improving their public image.
I'm assuming Anita wrote it (either her or Ebony; it was just signed Feminist Frequency) and she was in fact quite diplomatic and kind in her approach to criticizing what she perceived to be some of my more pernicious behavior (which wasn't actually pernicious at all, at least not intentionally, but I can see why she might think so at first blush). Keep in mind I'm not a mind-reader, so this is all just speculation; but even without her expressly saying so, I'm about 95% confident - based on that one email and the podcast she did that same week - that she actually read my piece on her (or at least part of it).
The other 5% could simply be that I repeated stuff from my blog post in debates with her critics in what she called my "pervasive presence" on her Twitter feed. I had screencapped whole sections of that post (including the part I'm thinking of) to avoid rewriting out the parts I'd covered, so either she read the whole thing, or she at least read those parts.
Either way, she is at least aware of my "vigorous defense" of her, which is a good start.
She didn't like how I implied we were friends, which is a shame. Hopefully that changes someday. There's no reason I can see that we couldn't be, since trust and communication are the twin pillars of any relationship. If nothing else, I at least consider her my friend, even if she doesn't yet reciprocate. At this point, it should be fairly apparent that I I trust her (or else I wouldn't have willingly given her a Sword of Damocles to hold over my head in the first place) and am trying to communicate more directly with her.
The only way to make someone trustworthy is to trust them, as the saying goes.
Now, I wanna be careful not to presume too much influence at this point, and I'm cognizant of the fact that all this careful diplomacy and rapport-building could easily fall apart very quickly if I happen to say the wrong thing; but suffice to say, I've demonstrated proof of concept if nothing else. That you don't have to be a jerk to illicit a response from her, and in fact that approach just flat out doesn't work, whereas being nice and polite and helpful actually does pay dividends, howeve