It’s honestly weird how people go out there and search for articles that they don’t agree with, solely to dunk on those for whatever reason, often accusing others of “wasting their time” and other stuff. It’s odd. It’s awkward, almost. It makes me uncomfortable. A little.
Typically, you just unapproved, trash or mark a comment like this as spam. Typically, you don’t respond to this kind of stuff, much less so in post-format… but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about a bunch of topics, including calling out bigotry and spreading awareness.
It’s important to call out bigotry because by just being a bystander, you’ll be part of the problem. If you see someone being bigoted, you gotta call it out as long as it’s within your means and as long as it’s safe to do so for you.
A lot of journalists do it all the time even when they know that it’s not safe for them. And for that, they’re heroes.
Note: I’ve included cat pictures here to make the reading experience better. That’s all.
So, the other day, I published a post on “The Hogwarts Legacy Controversy“, talking about antisemitism and other issues with the game’s premise. From the fact that the lead developer of the game supports and defends GamerGate to the fact that the game perpetuates the stereotype of blood libel… and I even talked about Rowling and Streaming the game, although those arguably don’t have much to do with the game itself… but they’re part of the debate.
The post is structured into six sections, each with a different topic relevant to the controversy.
I mean, the 5th topic being my relatively mild stance is not that relevant, I guess and the 6th one is just game suggestions and a shoutout.
Are Commenters allowed to disagree with me on my site?
(TLDR: Yes, of course!)
Anyhow, I got this comment today by a person that wants to defend Rowling on top of using scare tactics to get me to… not use my platform to call out antisemitism and bigotry…? It’s an odd thing to do. If you criticize people calling out bigotry, aren’t you the bigot? Aren’t you defending bigotry? It’s weird.
I feel like this is a self-report.
So, this commenter clearly doesn’t want me to reply, given that their name is “You are welcome to not post this on your site” – which is weird given that I never asked them for that opinion. Their e-mail is quite literally a non-sense e-mail address… meaning they won’t get a notification if I do end up replying… and I figured I’d censor the IP because I’m not sure if people can do anything with an IP but in case they are able to, I don’t want to support that.
This person is well within their rights to post a comment on here disagreeing with me… buuuut I ended up unapproving it because it’s using scare tactics and not adding any “value” to the debate.
It’s not unapproved because they’re disagreeing with me. I just have a valid reason to assume they didn’t read the post at all (more on that later) – and based on that reason/assumption, I think it’s just your typical hate comment that you get from time to time. Nothing worth harbouring on here.
Just to be clear… there was another person hat commented on that post and they’re great and they disagreed with me on some matters but they did so civilly… They were open to have a little friendly discussion and our perspectives enhanced the post. Just boycotting something obviously doesn’t help fight bigotry – fair point! I added onto that that buying the game doesn’t help fight bigotry either, though, and that not everyone is able-bodied or in a financial situation to protest in front of WB Studios.
So, our exchange added value to the post and essentially contributed to spreading awareness which was the goal of the post.
If I write a review on a game and talk about my positive experience with it and if you were to have had a very different experience with it, you’re more than welcome to report on that in the comments. It would actually be a good thing. It would add value to the review and give people looking at it insights into what the game is like for people other than me.
So, yes, you can disagree with me – but please, may read the post first.
Am I defaming Rowling?
The commenter states that apparently calling Rowling a bigot is actionable under UK defamation laws – and she would easily win that court case if she would bother to… but it’s not that easy.
Now, I’m no lawyer and I’m no expert with UK defamation laws… but in Germany, there was a case where Björn “Bernd” Höcke from the AfD (“Alternative für Deutschland” – Alternative for Germany, basically a far-right party) did use a lot of Nazi jargon in an interview and in speeches, and he ended up threatening a ZDF journalist with “consequences” if he continues to ask questions on certain topics.
The journalist in question called Höcke a fascist. Höcke brought this to court under defamation laws – and the judge ruled… not guilty. You can officially call Höcke a fascist since he’s a fascist. I’m allowed to say that. Here’s a source if you speak, read or can understand German.
So, in my post, I talked about Rowling and I mentioned a lot of things. I introduced her as Joanne K. Rowling aka “Robert Galbraith”, a popular author who is primarily known for the Harry Potter franchise, as well as a book where a male serial killer is dressing up as a woman. (Do I have to mark that as a quote since I’m quoting my own post here?)
According to Wikipedia’s page on the English defamation law (I know, it’s Wikipedia but I’ll trust it this time around…), the burden of proof is placed on the defendant, meaning the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove falsehood. In that case, I would have to prove that Rowling is a bigot for making bigoted statements.
At that point, it could be semantics… Maybe she’s actually a lover of transwomen and is merely “trolling” or something like that… but I assume that calling transpeople death eaters is pretty bigoted and I think any judge would agree with that.
I then talked about Harry Potter. Some problems with Harry Potter. And then I said that she took issue with the fact that the article didn’t make use of the word “woman” but rather “people who menstruate”. I then talked about her infamous threads where she’s invalidating anyone trans, as well as about the tweets where she keeps comparing transwomen to rapists and sexual offenders.
This is bigotry.
Typically when you want to create an “enemy”, you want to tar them all with a brush and paint a negative image utilizing emotional inputs that make the people you want to recruit angry at this common enemy. In this case, rape and other sexual offences are used to paint transwomen as a threat to society.
The far-right often keeps using “groomer” and “trans” as synonyms. “Groomer-Panic!” from the people behind “AIDS Panic!”…
Rowling is using the same tactics – and it’s easy to tell where she got these tactics from…
Alyssa MacKenzie recently talked about the “10 Stages of Genocide” in a Twitter thread, comparing this conceptualization of how genocide happens to what is currently happening to Transpeople.
Note: I felt a bit uneasy with the comparison, at first, just as a disclaimer… but it’s an interesting thread and the similarities are there. What’s happening currently in the United States of America and some other countries are actually really extreme an I believe that a comparison like this is necessary to “open people’s eyes”, if one wants to phrase it like that.
The Stages are…
The fourth stage is dehumanisation and transphobes and other bigots typically dehumanise the people by calling them less than humans – in this case, they call trans people “mentally ill”, “perverts”, “paedophiles”, “groomers”, “sexual predators”, and other things.
And well, in the U.S. of A., there are persecution laws being passed and people like Rowling only help perpetuate stigmata and stereotypes about transpeople…
So, Rowling is a bigot is what I’m trying to say… and this is just a little discourse.
So, back to the original commenter that left that comment. The whole “this is defamation!!!!11!!eleven!!!” argument is false. It’s a scare tactic that can work at times to get people to take a step back and take down posts or videos, exposing others.
When people threaten with legal actions, they rarely go through with it… When they do, it can be quite scary but it’s important to know when to hold your ground. In this case, nobody is threatening me and they’re just stating that it’s a possibility according to them… which won’t work. I think.
Anyhow, scare tactics aren’t great. Typically, you use threats like this when you don’t have any arguments to make.
Assumption: They didn’t read the post.
This commenter probably only read the headings and didn’t read any of the actual post – otherwise, they would have been able to tell that the post has plenty of examples of bigotry in it.
This person is not commenting on the antisemitism… which either means they’re okay with it (because they’re not against it) or it means that my assumption is correct – or it means that they’re okay with me calling the game bigoted but in that case, they probably should have clarified that they agree that antisemitism is bad.
This person didn’t comment on my stance. They probably don’t care. But they called me petty which is ironic because albeit not wanting to have a discussion (as seen by their name and e-mail), they clearly are petty enough to write a comment with a fake e-mail and a fake name. Quite elaborate irony!
“You’re going to lead a sad and diminished life if you seek to exclude those that hold different views”, they state… but “different views” means bigotry in this context. I don’t think I’m going to leave a sad and diminished life if I exclude antisemites and transphobes from my friend groups, especially considering how many friends of mine are converted Jews or trans.
I learned a few years ago that a friend that I got to know at a party is a raging homophobe according to a friend. So, I confronted him, asking if it’s true and he said that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with people that are gay. I told him that I’m also into men – and then he said that I’m the exception and I cut ties with him. I’m not miserable about it, though.
If anyone is reading this right now: Do you tolerate antisemitism? If no, are you leading a sad and diminished life?
This is a big red flag and self-report, in my book. Good thing they call themselves out like this.
The thing about “excluding those that hold different views” is that it’s a weak argument. Arguably my doing a Nazi reference is also a bad argument because you can’t really argue against it… but the thing is:
They’re stating that me unfollowing someone (which I’m entitled to do if I don’t feel comfortable with them – which I explicitly stated in the post… if only they had read the post, btw) is me excluding them based on their views being different… but is that really such a bad thing?
If I learn that a streamer or content creator I watch is into crypto, I’d probably stop watching them. It would suck because I’d lose out on a content creator to watch but I think that’s valid if I don’t wanna support them.
Also, I’ll just toss the paradox of tolerance in here cause why not.
This person won’t this but I think it’s odd to write a comment like this, telling people to “get a grip” solely because they decide to not support something they disagree with.
I got a bunch of comments like this one… typically calling me the T-slur, the F-slur or other things that I don’t wanna show… mostly because it would literally be a pink bar censoring the slurs. It’s fine. It happens. They get filtered out automatically.
On my Qatar post, I got two comments that were actually quite funny and by the same person. I know that it’s the same person because despite using different e-mails, they have the same IP and they literally sent it two minutes apart… Sus, innit? Anyway, one of the comments is encouragement for gay people to fuck gay people. I love that. The other one is just funny.
These two comments make me chuckle because they’re very funny in a way since someone thought that this would be hurtful… but clearly they don’t feel as emotional about my Qatar “Calling out Human Rights violations” post as some people did with their very graphic threats on the Hogwarts Legacy post…
Either way, if you don’t really have something to say, don’t resort to threats and don’t make wild assumptions about people’s lives. It’s such a weird thing to say.
When I was a teen, boys in my class would call me a virgin. When I lost my virginity, those comments were funny all of a sudden because they just didn’t know anything.
This commenter tells me to “get a grip” as I’ll be “happier for it” – which is again such a weird thing to say.
The goal of the Hogwarts Legacy post was to spread awareness on the topics discussed in the post and I don’t think spreading awareness is a bad thing. If you’re against that, fine, don’t read that post… but don’t just insert your views into my life and give me unsolicited advice. Advice that I never asked for.
Anyway, people could call this petty but I didn’t want to just leave it at that and unapproved a comment when it sort of demonstrates a few issues.
- Scare Tactics being used instead of actual arguments.
- Unsolicited Advice
- Shrugging of transpeople wanting to be treated as actual humans with the same rights as cispeople as “extreme ideologies” is absurd.
- Not wanting to participate in the discussion but still commenting.
I think it’s fine to just add your two cents to something but doing it in this manner is far too elaborate to have any right to call others petty. This is pettiness incarnate.
I’m not saying that I’m not petty… I’m a petty bitch… but this person should maybe listen to their own advice. Get a grip. You’ll be happier for it.
And like, maybe use actual arguments instead if you think you’re right and actually try to convince people if you want them to change their ways… but that’s not my intention. I’m just spreading the information, raising awareness, and letting people know about the whats and whys.
At least, using actual arguments would possibly make you look better and make people understand that you’re not defending bigotry. Again, since this person is not commenting on the antisemitism allegation or the GamerGate-supporting lead developer of the game, I can only assume they didn’t read the post, didn’t care or are disagreeing with me that supporting antisemitism, GamerGate or excusing sexual assault allegations is okay in their book… I assume they didn’t read the post because that’s the most plausible explanation. Anything else would be wild, right?
This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well. If you find this post on a website other than Indiecator.org, please write an e-mail to me. Thank you!
I am going to think out loud, so to speak. It may well blow up in my face, but I don’t really like the alternative, which is running away from certain topics.
I believe that when you think, discuss and reflect on a subject it is important to do so from multiple perspectives. Listening and considering the so-called “other side of the debate” does not mean endorsing it or advocating it. I also think it wise to continuously re-evaluate your opinion or ideology. Less we forget the apocryphal quotes attributed to both Churchil and Maynard-Keynes “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir”? At the very least, I think it prudent to consider why someone with views contrary to you, holds their specific opinion.
Sadly, there is a school of thought that seems to be growing, that is happy to do none of the above. They feel confident that certain arguments have been “won” on moral and ethical grounds and there is no point or need to debate specific issues any further. I consider this to be a very dangerous and foolish position.
I dislike complex and nuanced issues being presented as simple binary choices. Life is complex and any who says otherwise is a fool or a liar. However, politics and advocacy often eschew critical thinking because reasoned debate shows that many important topics are not black and white. Yes or no choices are easier to sell. Shades of grey are not so favourable because it means that every case then has to be considered on its own merits and circumstance.
So, let’s move on to the real minefield. The subject that most people just say “nope” to because they don’t want to run the risk of being labelled a bigot.
The entire Rowlings/Hogwarts controversy is ultimately about one subject; sexual politics or trans/genderfluid if you prefer.
The entire trans/genderfluid issue is not a simple matter. It’s not easy to understand, it is not easy to discuss and it sure as hell isn’t going to be easy to resolve to everyone’s satisfaction. I have spoken to several trans people, and they struggle with the complexities of the subject and the socio-political affiliations of allied groups. So, what am I, a fat, 55-year-old, straight white guy supposed to make of things? All I can do is read, listen and think.
What antagonises me is the glib way some people will espouse platitudes about equality and then feel pleased with themselves. without doing any of the heavy lifting that is required to create an equal world. I believe in equality but just holding an opinion doesn’t address the matter of implementing it in a sustainable and viable way.
Another point to consider is that previous civil rights battles, such as ethnic minority and gay rights, ultimately had no downside. Equality was extended to marginalised groups and those already enjoying said rights and equality did not lose anything in the process. That may not be the case with the trans/genderfluid issue. We live in a world that rightly or wrongly is defined by biological sex. Altering that status quo is not going to be easy for legal, political, socio-economic, religious and a whole lot of other reasons. If we choose to do so, it will have to be done by smart and diplomatic people. It will require compromise. A concept that is an anathema to many.
Again, let me state that in thinking out loud, I am not advocating a stance one way or the other. I am simply trying to highlight the complexity of things and point out that simply hoping for the best and doing nothing else is unlikely to change things.
I am aware that when you are actually part of a minority and you live the reality, it must be extremely demoralising to see others talking about the things that directly impact upon you, in a clinical, dispassionate manner from a position of privilege. It is important to be sensitive and accommodating when you are on the outside, looking in, so to speak.
Finally, my position is based on critical thinking and tempered feelings. Sadly, such a position is often used as a trojan horse by those who are simply looking for a fight. The same way as the legal right to protest is often used to the advantage of hate groups who just want to cause trouble. I find this frustrating, but such is the nature of public discourse. I’d like to be placed in a third category to the usual binary choice. A category labelled ” considering all the data in a thoughtful and measured way”. Sadly, the argument police don’t seem to like this. However, if you push those like me too hard, we will simply wash our hands of the matter which isn’t useful to those looking for allies for their causes.
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