The Damning “Tell” of GamerGate
Go ahead: do a search for GamerGate if you need a foul taste of what I’m talking about…
I’m not a gamer in any sense, so I was slow to notice GamerGate. One quirk that initially puzzled me was the abbreviation “SJW” used as a pejorative by the whiny manbabies of Gamerworld who see a vast misandrist conspiracy in the fact that the game trade “press” has uniformly come out against violent threats as a response to feminist critiques of the pervasive sexism & misogyny in video games. I quickly found that the expansion is “Social Justice Warrior” and that gave me an important insight into the class of cultural pathology this comes from.
Social Justice is a phrase originating in the Christian Left, mainly the Catholic Left. It has been abused and misappropriated occasionally, notably Fr. Coughlin and later Stalinists & Maoists, but it has a real meaning. Social Justice is the idea that justice is not only a product of the legal system, it is also a feature of a society, a product of action taken by people (and their governments) to create and sustain just societies. The reactionary Right, starting with the virulently anti-Catholic KKK, has attacked the concept of Social Justice and the phrase as a symbol for a long time, but in recent decades the attacks had been marginalized along with much of the Anti-Catholicism of the old US Right. Then along came Glenn Beck. In his crusade to expunge all careful & nuanced thought from the American Right, he has smeared Social Justice as a synonym for totalitarian Communism. In an extension of the long theological battle over Justification by Faith, he has been telling his disciples for years that Social Justice is a label used by evil people to hide evil covert schemes of enslavement, and his bullshit has caught on in the media echo chamber of the American Right. But in the real world, Social Justice is a phrase & idea that has become entirely mainstream over the past 50 years.
So when “Social Justice Warrior” is used like a slur, it is a strong hint that the message comes from inside the delusional bubble of the Right. Arguing with someone who thinks “SJW” is an insult is like arguing with a birther or someone who thinks most rape accusations are bogus or that Ayn Rand was a profound, consistent thinker and skilled writer. Or that there is such a thing as a trade “press” in any niche that isn’t broadly corrupt & biased.