We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness. The essential elements of our blogging will be courage, audacity and revolt. Blogging has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap and the blow with the fist. We declare that the splendor of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath ... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. We want to sing the man at the wheel, the ideal axis of which crosses the earth, itself hurled along its orbit. The blogger must spend himself with warmth, glamour and prodigality to increase the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements. Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Blogging must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man. Standing on the world's summit we launch once again our insolent challenge to the stars!
Ask me anything
You want me to walk into a minefield? OK. Let’s try to keep this short.
There are numerous angles to what’s unfolded over the last few days, and I’m not going to address all of them. Please keep that in mind here.
This has turned into TMZ. For just about all of this, it’s not our business.
There’s no excuse for the extreme harassment and abuse in the last few days. No one deserves to have nude pictures of themselves distributed all over the Internet without their consent. No one deserves to have their address blasted on social networks as a veiled threat. No one.
There is no excuse. None, nada.
Some people see a conspiracy. Others see common human decency.
What we have is an ugly corner of the gaming community exploiting an opportunity to tear into a situation with the flimsiest of justifications. The idea that such abuse is warranted because of concerns over the “ethics of games journalism” cannot be taken seriously by people who utter “whore,” “cunt,” “faggot,” and other words in the same sentence. A quick perusal of “zoe quinn” on Twitter will find you plenty of these people.
A response to that line of criticism might be “yeah, but…”
There is a universe where a blog was written specifically to raise ethical concerns about personal relationships between the games press, and not a character assassination meant to tear a person’s life apart.
We do not live in that world. Do not try to pretend that’s what this about.
Disclosure is important. Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo addressed this specifically on Twitter, given his reporter and publication are in question:
I’m on vacation overseas this week, but a matter has come up I need to address. This will take a few Tweets… (1)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
At root there has been a question about disclosure and one of Kotaku’s reporters, Nathan Grayson. (2)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
My standard has long been this: reporters who are in any way close to people they might report on should recuse themselves …(3)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
…from reporting about those with whom their close. If they must report about them, disclosure is mandatory. Readers deserve that. (4)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
The root of the questions about Nathan involve whether he was in a relationship with a developer he quoted in a Kotaku article on 3/31 (5)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan and I have discussed this and he assures me that at the time of that article he has not begun a relationship with the developer (6)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan also has not written about the developer on Kotaku since. I see my reporter as having met standards readers would hope for (8)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan has my trust, and I believe he deserves yours as well. (9/end)— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo)August 19, 2014
Nathan Grayson never wrote a review of Depression Quest for Kotaku. He did write about the indie game jam that went to pieces, which happened to involve Zoe Quinn. Numerous publications also wrote about the same incident, and nothing in Grayson’s write up is particularly different from what you would find elsewhere. On Rock Paper Shotgun, Grayson mentioned Depression Quest in a writeup about 49 other video games that were recently greenlit on Steam. Another mention of Depression Quest was published on RPS written by Adam Smith. You can verify this through the Depression Quest tag.
Yes, disclosure is important. Yes, we should be aware if the press has engaged in a personal relationship with a developer. But nothing justifies what’s transpired since. People have hijacked this for madness.
Cliche but true: some just want to watch the world burn.
Given I’ve spent the last few days trying to ignore folks accusing me of cheating on my wife, you’ll excuse me if I’m over talking about this now.
This is the last I’ll say on this topic. No other questions will be answered.
For those who aren’t a fan of this once-amazing series, The Walking Dead Game has always been lauded for its character diversity (with a wide range of different nationalities and racial backgrounds represented, well-written female characters and characters of all ages and body types featured prominently throughout the game).
In Season 2 we encountered Sarah, a Hispanic 15-year-old girl who is neurodivergent and has trouble coping with the horrors of the new world around her.
Now of course, being a female character and being disabled, she was immediately despised by the majority of the fandom. Slurs were tossed around, people frequently referred to her as “a liability”, and there were frequent posts made on Telltale’s forums, Facebook, Youtube, and elsewhere wishing her dead and hoping for a chance to kill her. This was nothing new - we had seen much of this before, with other female characters in the franchise. However, the ableism was rampant, and people would write essays about how she was “bringing the group down” and why her death would be a “good” thing for the other characters.
(spoilers) Her death came after the player was told several times by a pragmatic character that Sarah was dragging the group down, that she was a weakness, and that she “clearly” didn’t want to live (despite the fact that she screams and cries for help the entire time she’s being eaten). Instead of subverting that character’s pragmatism and showing that people with disabilities can still survive an apocalypse, she is killed even if the player chooses to save her (in a horrible manner, where she is partially crushed under a fallen balcony and then devoured alive by walkers as she screams for help). Her death served to further the already-prevalent fandom belief that disabled people are unnecessary weights holding survivors back, and makes total apocalyptic pragmatism look like a justified belief.
Of course, that made us (Sarah fans) angry and upset, especially considering many of us are ourselves neurodivergent (and several autistic teenage fans headcanoned her as being autistic) and the belief that characters like us are just liabilities is extremely hurtful. But that’s not what’s spurring me to make this post today.
The part where the writers and developers are excited and joking about killing off a disabled character is the part where the entire Walking Dead franchise’s relentless cynical pragmatism, misanthropy and general grimdarkness officially cross some sort of line.