Links For October 18, 2014

Lady Ada Lovelace in a letter to her mother eloquently explaining why she is uniquely qualified to science the hell out of stuff.

The power not only of throwing my whole energy & existence into whatever I choose, but also bring to bear on any one subject or idea, a vast apparatus from all sorts of apparently irrelevant & extraneous sources. I can throw rays from every quarter of the universe into one vast focus.

Trouble at the Koolaid Point

I now believe the most dangerous time for a woman with online visibility is the point at which… her readers have (in the troll’s mind) “drunk the Koolaid”. Apparently, that just can’t be allowed. From the hater’s POV, you (the Koolaid server) do not “deserve” that attention. You are “stealing” an audience. From their angry, frustrated point of view, the idea that others listen to you is insanity.... That just can’t be allowed. You must be stopped. And if they cannot stop you, they can at least ruin your quality of life.

Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage

And there’s the aggrieved underdog stance, calling disco artists and producers “elitists,” spinning a narrative that rock was authentic music made by blue-collar kids in garages while disco was being “pushed on” America by corporate labels.... And then the paranoia. The straight-up fear of a world in which disco singles consistently topping the charts was the new normal. The narrative of “disco influence” as infection, of freaking out any time a rock act “went disco” with a single track, like KISS and “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.”

Taste Privilege and GamerGate

But we need to remember that all of these cultural shifts or policies make privilege visible to the privileged: when your unspoken norm is spoken, it loses its assumed, invisible status, and this feels like a threat. That revelation of privilege can hurt, as people with such privilege have not had a lifetime of experience processing the role of difference and inequality, so it can feel like a sudden shock to the system and disruption of your assumptions. You put that sense of shock, threat and hurt into a community defined by a love for a medium foregrounding violent simulations, anonymous smack talk, and demeaning representations of people outside the dominant norm, you get GamerGate.

Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign

Anita Sarkeesian on GamerGate: ‘We’re Going to Fix This’

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’ve Been Forced Out Of My Home And Am Living In Constant Fear Because Of Relentless Death Threats From Gamergate

On GamerGate: A letter from the editor | Polygon

White Male “Allies” Have Surprisingly Little To Say About Fixing Sexist Tech Culture

I didn’t have high hopes for the “Male Allies Plenary Panel” at the Grace Hopper Celebration on Wednesday night. But at least I figured the assembled male tech leaders would at least know better than to repeat the same tired “encouragement” that women have heard over and over. Especially considering that most of the 8,000 conference attendees are female, and likely know those lines by heart. It was even worse than I expected.

Roxane Gay and Lena Dunham on Online Criticism

[Dunham] And I’m sure you know that feeling where there are thousands of tweets where you’re [going], what a fucking idiot, what a fucking idiot, and then somebody says something, and you go, no, that is real and I need to find a way to respond to that because I have not accurately represented my belief system or the values that I hold dear.

[Gay] Absolutely. I run into it because so much of what I get is noise and people being evil, and there is nothing I can do to fix that. But then something comes through, whether it is in a comment or on Twitter or via email, that is lucid and that challenges me in a truthful way, and that is when I respond. I respond when I am going to be able to become better and do better.

R.I.P. Jan Hooks of Saturday Night Live

Kids Games Device Osmo Secures $12M, Hits Apple Retail Stores