Press silence, black privilege, and unintended consequences

A provocative article at the conservative blog Hot Air comments on a pattern in American coverage of violent interracial crimes. When the perps are white and the victims are black, we can expect the press coverage to be explicit about it, with predictable assumption of racist motivations. On the other hand, when the perps are black and the victims are white, the races of all parties are normally suppressed and no one dares speak the r-word.

If I were a conservative, or a racist, I’d go off on some aggrieved semi-conspiratorial rant here. Instead I’ll observe what Hot Air did not: that the race of violent black criminals is routinely suppressed in news coverage even in the much more common case that their victims are also black. Hot Air is over-focusing here.

That said, Hot Air seems to have a a separate and valid point when it notes that white victims are most likely to have their race suppressed from the reporting when the criminals are black – especially if there was any hint of racist motivation. There is an effective taboo against truthfully reporting incidents in which black criminals yell racial epithets and threats at white victims during the commission of street crimes. If not for webbed security-camera footage we’d have no idea how depressingly common this seems to be – the press certainly won’t cop to it in their print stories.

No conspiracy theory is required to explain the silence here. Reporters and editors are nervous about being thought racist, or (worse) having “anti-racist” pressure groups demonstrating on their doorsteps. The easy route to avoiding this is a bit of suppressio veri – not lying, exactly, but not uttering facts that might be thought racially inflammatory.

The pattern of suppression is neatly explained by the following premises: Any association of black people with criminality is inflammatory. Any suggestion that black criminals are motivated by racism to prey on white victims is super-inflammatory. And above all, we must not inflame. Better to be silent.

I believe this silence is a dangerous mistake with long-term consequences that are bad for everyone, and perhaps worst of all for black people.

Journalistic silence has become a kind of black privilege. The gravamen of the Hot Air article is that gangs of black teenagers and twentysomethings can racially taunt whites and assault both whites and nonwhites confident in the knowledge that media coverage will describe them as neutrally as “youths” (ah, what an anodyne term that is!).

I’m here to say what that article could have but did not: suppressio veri, when performed systematically enough, itself becomes a code that can be read. What the press is teaching Americans to assume, story after story, is that if “youths” commit public violence and they are not specified to be white, or hispanic, or asian — then it’s yet another black street gang on a wilding.

Here is my advice to anti-racists and their media allies: it is in your interests to lift the veil of silence a little. You need to introduce some noise into the correlation – come clean about race in at least some small percentage of these incidents to create reasonable doubt about the implications of silence in others. You do not want your readers trained to assume that “youths” invariably decodes to “thug-life blacks on a casual rampage”. I don’t want this either, and I don’t think anyone should.

I am not mocking or satirizing or being sarcastic when I say this. I don’t like where I think the well-meant suppressio veri is taking us. I think it’s bound to empower people who are genuinely and viciously bigoted by giving them an exclusive on truthful reporting. I don’t think it’s good for anyone of any color for bigots to have that power.

Nor is it any good thing that “youths” now behave as though they think they’re operating with a kind of immunity. We saw this in Ferguson, when Michael Brown apparently believed he could could beat up a Pakistani shopkeeper and then assault a cop without fearing consequences. (“What are you going to do, shoot me?” he sneered, just before he was shot) As he found out, eventually that shit’ll get you killed; it would have been much better for everybody if he hadn’t been encouraged to believe that his skin color gave him a free pass.

I have no doubt that studiously blind press coverage was a significant enabler of that belief. The Michael Browns of the world may not be very bright, but they too can read the code. Every instance of suppressio veri told Brown that if he committed even a violent crime in public a lot of white people in newsrooms and elsewhere would avert their eyes. The press’s attempted canonization of Trayvon Martin only put the cherry on top of this.

It’s not clear to me that this kind of indulgence is any better – even for blacks themselves – than the old racist arrangement in which blacks “knew their place” and were systematically cowed into submission to the law. After all – if it needs pointing out again – the victims of black crime and trash culture are mainly other blacks. Press silence is empowering thugs.

Are we ever going to stop doing this? Anyone looking for a way that the system keeps black people down need look no further than the way we feed them fantasies of victimization and entitlement. For this our press bears much of the blame.

UPDATE: The “What are you going to do, shoot me?” quote is not confirmed. It may derive from confusion with another incident a few days later in the the Louis metro area.

148 thoughts on “Press silence, black privilege, and unintended consequences

  1. Seems as though you agree with my theory about the cycle of racism and white guilt. Simply put, white guilt makes people give special treatment to people who aren’t for fear of being called a racist. Non-whites, especially kids, start noticing this and thus learn that they are getting special treatment and act as such. This then makes whites have contempt for them and feel oppressed, which then feeds into the media and the cycle begins anew.

    I don’t know if we’ll ever stop doing this but I sure do hope so. It’s a vicious cycle indeed.

    Also, I really hope you don’t mean canonization as in Sainthood. That would disgust and embarrass me almost as much as the clueless astronomer wanting to name an asteroid Trayvon and when asked about it claimed that the “social justice” showed to him was lacking. Whatever that means.

  2. I have a counter-theory: People observe reporting in the early stage (where the police may not even have a suspect) and see that there is no race reported, and project their own ideas about what that means. See http://imgur.com/9mv7hhD for people assuming that no reported race means the perp was white, in direct opposition to your theory.

    If the races were really “suppressed”, then you would have no data, because you would not know what the suppressed races were. So, all of your examples are in fact cases where there was an initial report that failed to mention race (or just failed to mention it in the headline), which later came out as the story developed.

  3. Pff.

    Recently an MBTA transit police officer was suspended for posting racist comments to Facebook, under the name “Al Sharpton”, no less. And the thing is, he’s not the exception: I’ve read countless variations of the same story: a sysadmin sets up or administers a police-only online forum, and is shocked to discover what officers of the law say about racial minorities when they think their only audience is other cops.

    Maybe, just maybe, if you end the institutional racism in America first, reporters will not feel so inclined to overcompensate by saying “youths” when they mean “black teenage gangsta-wannabes from Compton”.
    But then again, if a corruption scandal erupts involving a major politician, newspapers will announce their party affiliation in the headline if a Republican; and mention it only in passing in the story’s continuation on page D-4 if a Democrat.

    Like I know the media is full of liberals and everything, but come on people. Call out your own. You’re supposed to stand for something, not just against the Republicans.

    And then there’s the whole problem of if a beautiful white twentysomething goes missing it’s on heavy rotation at Fox, CNN, and CNBC for a month or more. But if a black girl goes missing? Hardly a peep (although I sometimes see local stations pick up particularly tragic or bizarre stories involving missing black females). Guess they figure that’s Thursday in the hood.

  4. Then there’s the whole #GamerGate thing.
    http://gamergate.giz.moe has good coverage.
    It starts out with someone named Eron posting on his blog that his girlfriend, Zoe Quinn, slept with five guys, most in the gaming press or otherwise in a place to do PR. From there, the gaming press rallies around the abuser, sort of denied it affecting their journalism, said she received death threats, then eventually there was a coordinated (via no longer secret mailing list) to say “gamers are dead”. And it got worse…

    (Ironically, if you read Eron’s blog post, it includes screencaps of Zoe saying if you don’t tell someone about having an affair, it is rape; so Zoe raped Eron based on the expanded definition, and so her supporters are defending a rapist; I kid you not).

    The SJW/feminists v.s. the rule-of-law (we want good games, not to have our consciousness raised) gamers parallels the black-white. And press corruption.

    Now Intel has pulled their ads from Gamasutra and the sh*tnado is getting worse. Is there an F6?

  5. Jeff Read: To say this is “overcompensating” for “institutional racism” is a huge stretch. I think it’s simply the media slanting things to fit their preferred narrative. It’s a form of confirmation bias. In the modern leftist world view, “racism” (and other forms of oppression) explains pretty much everything, including all bad behavior by blacks. (Or at least, the statistical excess of that behavior compared to whites.)

    Thus, a white killing a black is Yet Another Example of a Larger Problem, and we must all discuss it and search our souls and Do Something. But when a black kills a white or another black, it is to be downplayed or ignored because it doesn’t the narrative. Or even better, figure out how to do an ideological trick shot and blame it on… white racism.

  6. I was going to ask how you explain a youth’s awareness of public perception of his crime, squared against the possibility that any youth pre-inclined toward crime lacks overall intelligence, which ought to select against said awareness. But you addressed that (“may not be very bright, but they too can read the code”) – by your argument, the signal is intense enough to be obvious.

    That said, I think Random832 may have a point, or at least an existence proof of a counterfactual. Not exactly the brightest sounding tweets, but if authentic, then there’s more than one signal going around here.

    There’s also the usual angle of media’s business model. Draw eyeballs; and one sure ticket to eyeballs (without overtly intentionally lying) is to drum up fear of another culture war.

    Another question: to what extent might this fear of naming the race in black-on-X crime be fueled by institutional fear of the return of lynching?

  7. >Another question: to what extent might this fear of naming the race in black-on-X crime be fueled by institutional fear of the return of lynching?

    In 2014? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s been an actual lynching in the U.S. in 50 years. Most of the people committing suppressio are young enough that even their parents couldn’t remember one, and come from the wrong parts of the U.S. and the wrong social strata anyway. It seems unlikely to me.

  8. An extreme example of this phenomenon: the 2007 torture/rape/murders of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian. Warning: do not read the details of this case if you have a weak stomach. If the races had been reversed, this would have gotten the publicity of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown combined. Heck, I think if the perps had been white, it would have gotten more publicity. A century ago, white racists would have used this as prime proof of their beliefs. Today, the media (and school system, and government at all levels) are so afraid of being perceived as racist and of “reinforcing stereotypes” that the whole thing got minimal coverage.

  9. See also Rotherham (UK) and the “Asian”* rapists of white girls.

    Some parts of the police/judicial system/press are so scared of being tagged as racists that they will actually not just hide the reports they will actively blame the victims

    *i.e. Pakistanis (in fact IIRC Pakistanis from some very specific parts of the country)

  10. Now Intel has pulled their ads from Gamasutra and the sh*tnado is getting worse. Is there an F6?

    Matthew Garrett is now refusing to patch Intel’s code because of this. Sarah Sharp’s resignation letter incoming in 3… 2… 1…

  11. >Matthew Garrett is now refusing to patch Intel’s code because of this.

    Really? Really?

    The specifics of GamerGate aside, this crosses a line. Deliberately introducing political particularism where it damn well does not belong. Shame on him.

  12. “Deliberately introducing political particularism where it damn well does not belong. Shame on him.”

    What, exactly, did you expect from a hard-left fundamentalist Stallmanite?

  13. >What, exactly, did you expect from a hard-left fundamentalist Stallmanite?

    No, this is a new line he’s stepped over. It’s one thing to have ideological debates with each other within a context where we nevertheless cooperate to solve problems. It’s another – a far more serious thing – to defect from cooperation over outside political issues.

  14. As I am confident Eric and others here are well aware, this is not a phenomenon unique to the US. FrancisT noted the “Asian” rape gang reporting from the UK. “Youth” rioting in certain districts of Paris (and other large French cities) over the past decade have resulted in France declaring reporting of such incidents illegal. Similar events in Germany, Holland, Sweden and elsewhere have gained notoriety as well in recent years.

    This is much more (and much less) involved than has been suggested here so far, I think.

    It is a fundamental premise of classical strategy that people always seek to advance their position (which includes each of us as well as all of our societal creations – yes, this gives most of us multiple positions to seek advancement of). Which amply explains the behavior of both the “youths” in question and those reporting on their activities, as well as those seeking to regulate same (youths, reporters, innocent bystanders; opportunities all). No conspiracy theory required, although it’s a safe bet there is a good deal of that going on as well (if only in the general meaning of “planning together in private”).

    Understanding this makes it clear there is no “universal solution” to all of this, but it does make more obvious that any response that involves a participant willingly working against their own perceived interest (advancement of their position) isn’t likely to achieve much success. Which does provide a metric for designing a self-sustaining response. That, along with convincing (as firmly as insisted upon) a majority of people in a given country/social class/ethnicity/enter-sub-division-of-your-preference-here to a different standard of measuring “success”, would make for an appreciable change in people’s behaviors, because that would change why they seek positional advancement which in turn largely influences the acceptability of how.

    Or that’s my reading of Sun Tzu …

  15. There’s a big difference between “refusing to patch Intel’s code”

    and

    “But I’m also free to spend my unpaid spare time as I wish, and I no longer wish to spend it doing unpaid work to enable an abhorrently-behaving company to sell more hardware.”

    His time, his effort, his choice.

  16. >His time, his effort, his choice.

    His choice, yes. But if hackers start defecting from cooperation with each other over outside political issues, where will it end?

  17. As to “Asians” in england -it goes far deeper than just “not reporting crimes in the news”.

    Look up Rotherham.

    1500+ girls repeatedly raped, sold into prostitution, or worse, over more than a decade.

    The first kicker? Police/social services/etc. were aware of it, and decided not to act because they didn’t want to appear “racist.” Reportedly at least one person trying to report on it was censured for being racist.

    The second kicker? After this came to light – most of the people who should have been “looking out for the kids” in the got off scott free for this gross negligence.

    The icing on the cake – 1500 girls or more girls raped, and the feminists who make “SVU” one of the longest running TV shows ever have nary a peep….

    And finally the cherry on top…. A girl – one of the victims IIRC – accosts one of the rapists on the street, and SHE is hauled off for racism/etc.

  18. It’s the same thing with “nigger”. It’s absurd and ridiculous that an entire race of people sustain the use of a word that offends them precisely BECAUSE it offends them. It doesn’t matter what the word is. Right now it’s “nigger”. But it could be “negro” or “darkie” or “black”. Yes, I’ve heard that people have started taking offense to being called a black person.

    The trouble is that a subset of black people, which I call, for the lack of a better term, “black culture” requires that members take offense at these words. If a member takes offense at being required to take offense, they are subject to correction. “He called you a nigger! Did you hear that? What are you going to do about it?”

  19. There’s another dimension to this.

    Black on white hate crimes are dismissed as “robberies gone wrong.”

    Black mahogany mobs that beat up white people are dismissed as “fights.”

  20. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s been an actual lynching in the U.S. in 50 years. Most of the people committing suppressio are young enough that even their parents couldn’t remember one, and come from the wrong parts of the U.S. and the wrong social strata anyway. It seems unlikely to me.

    I think you’re right about it being around 50 years since the last one (FWIW, Wikipedia claims “through the 1960s”), but that doesn’t mean the institutional memory is gone. People still talk about it; they still know the song “Strange Fruit”; Grisham’s A Time to Kill still touches a nerve; James Byrd Jr. was murdered in 1998; the KKK still exists; and even in 2014 people find nooses placed to be found later. Even if they’re false flags, they’re understood. At best, lynching’s return may be overblown today, but that just makes it a bogeyman for young journalists to fear all the more.

    (The journalism industry in general seems unusually saturated with fear to me. Not as surprising considering the grain they grind, but I’ve never really thought about it that way before.)

  21. Eric, I think your focus is too narrow also.

    The media problem you describe is not solely (nor even essentially) about a wayward business model, or endemic liberal bias, or lack of professionalism. It is part and parcel of a much bigger picture. Major media organizations are functionally tools of Gramscian memetic manipulation. Please forgive me if that makes me sound like a nutter conspiracist, but these acts are way too omnipresent to be incidental and of limited importance.

  22. >Major media organizations are functionally tools of Gramscian memetic manipulation.

    While I think that’s generally true, it’s a stronger hypothesis than is required to explain the particular behavior I’m describing.

  23. > His choice, yes. But if hackers start defecting from cooperation with each other over outside political issues, where will it end?

    Unfortunately, the question of what issues are political and what issues are real injustices is itself political.

  24. >Unfortunately, the question of what issues are political and what issues are real injustices is itself political.

    Which is why hackers have a tacit tradition of not letting politics get in the way. I’m concerned about the precedent this sets.

  25. esr on 2014-10-02 at 22:27:55 said:

    >Which is why hackers have a tacit tradition of not letting politics get in the way. I’m concerned about the precedent this sets.

    Mozilla wasn’t a big enough warning sign? The times, they be a-changing…

  26. In France, it’s already the case that “youth” means “any arab (or black) criminal less than 40 year old”. They are responsible for ~90% of violent crimes in France. And only “far right” websites will give the truthful news about those crimes.

  27. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s been an actual lynching in the U.S. in 50 years.

    The last lynchings recorded by the Census were 3 in 1964. I believe this was the three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi. Previously, there were
    1963 – 1
    1961 – 1
    1959 – 1
    1957 – 1
    1956 – 8
    1951 – 1
    1950 – 2
    1949 – 3
    1948 – 2
    1947 – 1
    1936-1946 – 52 (4.6/yr)
    1923-1935 – 338 (27/yr)
    1905-1922 – 1,170 (65/yr)
    1882-1904 – 3,174 (138/yr)

    From Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970, p. 422.

    I don’t think it is really Gramscian damage. I think it’s White Guilt syndrome; in Europe, augmented heavily by fear of ethnophilia and nationalism. The European elite is (understandably) terrified by the catastrophes of WW I and WW II, both driven by ethnic and national chauvinism. The deep purpose of the European Union and its predecessors was to prevent any further horrors by eradicating the feelings that caused – and any related sentiment, including patriotism.

    There are institutions in a society whose function is to pass on information: scholars, teachers, the news media. When healthy, they tell the truth and refute lies. This syndrome causes them to lie and suppress truth in a “good cause”. The damage done is not so much the particular falsehoods propagated, as the loss of general trust in these institutions. Eventually their lies are found out, and their authority is destroyed. Then wholesale liars and fantasists of all sorts run wild. Anti-vaxers, Truthers, medical hucksters, conspiracy mongers, race hustlers… When they get to tell a suppressed truth, all their foul baggage is confirmed.

    I decided a while back that global warming is no great threat – but “global warming” could bring down civilization – by the colossal waste it engenders, and by the damage to the credibility of science.

  28. What makes me marvel is that there isn’t a post from 10 or more years ago on this.

    When your news media is afraid to report facts for fear of the consequences, they yield their role in society to cranks and loons and worse.

    Maybe it’s because I ride more buses than most, and get to hear what black people say to each other in urban areas…

    But there’s a lot of straight up conspiracy-crank discussion being bandied around with as much general agreement as, say discussions on this blog agree about the evils of proprietary code.

    It is unquestioned that cops are racist and just looking for a chance to kill you. It is common knowledge that white fast food workers already get a $15/hour minimum wage just because they’re white. The level of black on black scuffling and sexual harassment makes my skin crawl. Seeing black high school students get their tits groped by every black “youth” walking past their seat and just do the thousand yard stare, rather than raise a fuss, or trigger a fight…

    We have a problem. It’s called “black males growing up without male role models”. It’s also called “Nigga culture”.

    It’s only the racism of low expectations. It’s also a pattern with other barely assimilated subcultures.

    It could be fixed easily. Just not in any fashion that’s politically acceptable.

    You want welfare, the government moves your family out to a rural Midwestern farming town that’s dying and you and the kids take up a trade or go into farming. The government outright owns a lot of dead and dying farming towns due to tax liens. Some are literally crumbling away…

  29. “I think it’s simply the media slanting things to fit their preferred narrative.”

    Indeed. It seems awfully similar to the pattern of reporting party affiliation for Republicans involved in embarrassing news items, but not Democrats, which doesn’t look much like “we must not inflame” to me.

  30. The bigger picture.

    Prior to the 1960s, black people in the US were genuinely subject to harsh bigotry and attendant hardship (as were many immigrant ethic groups, e.g. Irish, Italians, Asians, etc.). Lifting yourself out of poverty meant acquiring a tough skin, working incredibly hard, and persevering against the odds. During this period, one of the few strengths in the black community was it’s devotion to family and church.

    Then came Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Movement and the advent of the modern liberal welfare state. Practically overnight, the anonymous government welfare check drove out black husbands and fathers from these households and ushered in the era of single mothers married to the entitlement handout.

    This change was extreme. Black men who formerly practiced extraordinary self-sacrifice in order to support their families were now emasculated and cuckolded by government bureaucrats. Black women, who formerly were fiercely loyal to their husbands in solidarity to their plight, were now reduced to the role of whoring to the state. Duplicitous politicians bought these votes and guaranteed their incumbency, but at the price of destroying the historical primacy and dignity of the black family.

    Music is a barometer of this downfall. Prior to the 60s, black people favored religious ballads and created jazz. The wreckage of the welfare state has replaced this with misogynistic rap music, which is the literal antithesis of early black culture.

    The beat goes on and major media organizations are clearly complicit, but not innocent in their actions.

  31. “Deliberately introducing political particularism where it damn well does not belong. Shame on him.”

    Ahem,

    http://catb.org/jargon/html/politics.html

    “But if hackers start defecting from cooperation with each other over outside political issues, where will it end?”

    I think it ends at Galt’s gulch.

  32. [The media slanting things to fit their preferred narrative] seems awfully similar to the pattern of reporting party affiliation for Republicans involved in embarrassing news items, but not Democrats, which doesn’t look much like “we must not inflame” to me.

    Media wants fights because of its business model. Fights draw eyeballs, which looks good to other people wanting to buy ad space. If no fights are evident, media has an interest in exaggerating whatever conflicts are around, or anything else that will grip the hindbrain (such as a health scare or safety defect).

    Rich Rostrom has a good point about the risk this poses in eroding trust in media. If media is caught lying to attract attention, it loses authority; if it is caught bending the truth, it loses it gradually.

    I believe that informs a lot of the way in which media builds its narrative: namely, by taking whatever values it perceives as universal among its audience (everyone, at the start), and reporting stories in a way that takes the goodness of those values as an underlying premise. For example, anti-(African-)racism is a universal value in the audience; so, never report on a racist in any but sinister terms, and anyone who exhibits even small symptoms of racism should be reported in language that makes it clear that a poison is in progress. By putting on this display, the press affirms its claim to authority with the audience, since the press is seen as affirming these universal values, even internalizing them.

    It may be that every values premise evident in a news article is traceable to the publisher’s inference that that premise is held by the audience. Furthermore, articles published under a column with a named author (as opposed to giving the author’s name in a small byline) are the mechanism by which new values are discovered; a sandbox for the publisher to propose such values, adopting them if feedback is positive, and using “the opinions of Joe are not necessarily…” if feedback is negative.

    When I lay it all out like this, it actually seems rather obvious, tautological even. Maybe I’ve been reading Neil Postman too much.

    One thing I find interesting in this model is how an information system whose driving principles are “be seen” and “be believed” gradually morphs from one that enjoys near 100% of the attention of the total audience, to one that enjoys less than 50%, due almost wholly to the emergence of another information system that found its own set of internally reinforcing values among a different cohort of the population. And then the dynamic accelerates, in that each information source loses the trust of the other source’s audience even faster, so much so that “the other source cannot be trusted” itself becomes a universal value of each audience, for each respective source to exploit. The only media elements impervious to this are those reporting raw sports scores, stock prices, weather forecasts, and event announcements.

    At this point, I’m not even just talking about mass media; the forces at play work in politics as well. I’m trying to imagine an analogue of this in more localized information systems, such as animal nervous systems. The only cases I can think of that bifurcate like that are basically births, and I’m trying to entertain something a bit more general than that – say, some signal being accepted by the brain, while the liver might “think” “no way, that signal is bogus, and by the way, don’t trust anything the brain tells you”.

  33. “afraid of being perceived as racist and of “reinforcing stereotypes” ”

    It’s perhaps counter-intuitive, but not wanting to reinforce stereotypes actually reinforces stereotypes.

    If blacks are not confronted when they display “stereotyical” behavior due to this fear, then that behavior is effectively encouraged, producing more of the behavior that then fuels the stereotype.

    I didn’t get a chance to hear it when it happened, but apparently about three weeks ago, Glenn Beck made a comment about the number of Texas Prison guards who are from Nigeria, and make frequent tripback to West Africa. He said that it seemed risky to have people traveling to the area where Ebola is raging, and was roundly denounced as a paranoid with just a hint of racism (Seth Meyers said “at least he pronounced ‘Nigeria’ correctly”). See, we can’t even be concerned about spreading a deadly disease if it happens to be endemic in Africa, and any attempt to control it is “racist”.

    Oh, a few days ago, a case of Ebola in Texas was confirmed.

  34. In 2014? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s been an actual lynching in the U.S. in 50 years.

    And what makes you so sure they won’t come back? Nothing’s more American than good old-fashioned fear of the other. It’s deep-seated in the American consciousness. All it would take is the right restimulation…

  35. His choice, yes. But if hackers start defecting from cooperation with each other over outside political issues, where will it end?

    This is not an outside political issue. This was harassment of a female developer for being female, which Intel tacitly enabled by chickening out under pressure from the trolls. In so doing Intel threatened the health and vibrancy of hacker culture itself. Garrett could not in good conscience do nothing about it, and felt no need to continue supporting such a company with his free time. End of story.

  36. > Which is why hackers have a tacit tradition of not letting politics get in the way.

    But if one person doesn’t consider an issue to be mere politics, they aren’t, from their own perspective, letting politics get in the way.

  37. > This was harassment of a female developer for being female,

    No it wasn’t. It may have picked up some steam on that basis, but you do not in any way have a credible claim that there is nothing wrong with what she was accused of doing, that people would not consider it to be wrong if a man did it, or that the majority of the people involved do not sincerely believe she did it. This could not have happened to someone “for being female”.

  38. P.S. Nor, for that matter, that people would not as readily believe an accusation of a man doing it, for that matter.

    Note that I’ve carefully constructed my statements so that none of the things I’ve said require or suggest absolutely any of the accusations are actually true. Even if it’s all lies, lies can happen to anyone.

  39. >my earlier post> But if one person doesn’t consider an issue to be mere politics, they aren’t, from their own perspective, letting politics get in the way.

    Note also that a lot of people have incorrect beliefs about the facts of the incident (see above), and the set of facts that they have been misled to believe is not mere politics, by any definition.

  40. …Nothing’s more American than good old-fashioned fear of the other…

    FFS…I think you’ll find that’s a *human* failing.

    I think that something more on the opposite end of the spectrum is possible – the societal shunning of blacks.

  41. Unless you’ve been threatened with an accuser forming up a rape gang, finding your home and fucking you in every orifice you have, you really don’t know what it’s like working as a female in computer games industry.

    I have two friends who are female, and work in game dev. Every time a patch is posted, their inboxes explode with meticulously detailed home-invasion-and-rape-fantasies. Their advice to other women getting into the field?

    Never, ever, ever, connect your real name and gender with your professional persona if you work in games. There are far too many fuckheads out there who were never socialized to the point of seeing women as people, for whom games seem to be the only social interaction they have.

    I went ‘holy shit, this is…awful.’ when I saw Melanie’s inbox.

    She shrugged. “It’s the Tuesday after a patch release.”

    I have a different rant about how a lot of these misogynist asshats show many signs of PTSD, and react exactly like someone whose “safe space” is threatened.

    Intel pulling ads because of the “controversy” of gamergate is chickenshit cowardice.

  42. @Ken Burnside

    And that’s supposed to, what? Excuse her of what she’s accused of doing? Prove that it’s all made up? Remember that “gamergate” is about a specific person who has been accused of real offenses, not about what it’s like to be a woman in the game industry, or any industry, in general.

  43. @Randon832: Ah, but to social justice warriors, everything is political and thus must fit into predetermined ideological boxes. And so The Problem is not merely some male gamers being jerks to women, and a female gamer sleeping around for good reviews, but Sexism and Oppression and all the other cultural Marxist crap.

  44. “And that’s supposed to, what? Excuse her of what she’s accused of doing? ”

    I think her not having done it should be excuse enough.

  45. @ww: I’ll file that one under “prove it’s all made up”. Accusations like this are not routine, and you have not shown and likely will not show that people would have any less readily believed it of a man.

  46. Maybe I am entirely wrong here, but bear with me: the purpose of emancipation is to see people who were seen previously as less than human as fully human. From this follows, it means the admittance that they are capable of the full range of human behavior, including the shitty ones.

    Oppressive narratives obviously emphasize the shitty range, and emancipatory ones obviously go for the other, positive angle, to counter-balance it. This is good and necessary.

    Still there is a certain point beyond which you are just making caricatures of helpless saintly victims which is per definition dehumanizing and patronizing because you deny them full humanity, because full humanity also includes the capability to be an asshole.

    Not being American the depth and complexity of your racial issues eludes me. Over here ethnic nationalism is much bigger an issue. So I would rather focus on feminism as an example to illustrate my point: it is OK to counter-act negative narratives about women with positive ones, but the endgame can only be this: women are fully human, hence, capable of doing bad things. To be fully human is to be autonomous, to be able to choose between good and bad, to be able to choose both. Hence, once you can discuss women doing bad things as well, without feeling overly oppressive or un-PC, you have achieved emancipation. When it can be casually discussed, by both men and women, how and why some women are gold-diggers, without it being a feminist issue, and without a lot of inhibitions because it is understood this is just part of the human capability to choose good or choose bad, emancipation is achieved.

    Maybe you can translate this to race.

    This was not an easy thing for me to understand. It may be confusing for some. I don’t know.

  47. @Shenpen, the concept of “civil rights” has shifted over the years. The old idea, which I believe underlies your comment, is that the goal is to liberate people from unfair discrimination and then let the chips fall where they may. The new idea is that if designated oppressed groups are not represented in good jobs etc. in precise proportion to their percentage in the population, then it proves discrimination. Plus, anything that offends those groups must be suppressed.

    Hence, in Gamergate, the goal is not to simply stop some guys from being jerks to women, or to have some games aimed at women/blacks/gays/whatever. No, the goal is to stop other people from making games that do not cater to the sensibilities of women/blacks/gays/whatever. A game with a sexy woman is something that needs to be stopped. (Here, the modern SJW is in perfect agreement with the Comstockian bluenose reformers of the past.)

    The secret collusion among SJW types and much of the gamer media is only part of the outrage. The rest is outrage among average gamers at being slagged as misogynists etc. because of the actions of a few and because of the games they like to play. My sense is that if Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian got together and made a perfect politically correct game, most male gamers would not give a shit. However, it looks like such games got undeservedly good reviews for purely political reasons (or because of hanky-panky), and there’s an organized effort to push gaming in a SJW direction by people who are doing it for self-serving reasons, so they’re pissed. And that’s totally understandable.

  48. ” I’ll file that one under “prove it’s all made up”.”

    That is an… odd way to view the burden of proof in an argument.

    Game dev A was accused of sleeping with journo B in exchange for B writing a favorable review of A’s game. However, B never wrote any review of A’s game. What is it that you would want proven? A and B have admitted to sleeping together. Should they be required to prove they slept together for the right reasons?

    Even for the readership of this blog, that is one strange position

  49. Here’s some context: every 8 years as many whites are murdered by blacks as blacks were lynched 1882-1968. 25% of all lynchings during that period were whites. 90% of the black lynchings occurred in the former Confederate states. Outside that area it was 3 1/2 whites lynched for every black. Source is the Tuskegee Institute and FBI.

  50. >(Here, the modern SJW is in perfect agreement with the Comstockian bluenose reformers of the past.)

    Hm. Interesting parallel, PZ Myers: “I won’t meet privately with students either — I always keep my office door wide open, and when I’m working with students in the lab, I find excuses to move out and let them work on their own if it turns into a one-on-one event. I just can’t afford the risk.” “Zoom, I was right out the door at that instant; asked a female grad student in the lab next door to sit with the student for a bit” http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/03/03/oh-lord-the-stupid

    Inadvertedly reinvented the social-sexual morals of about, what, 1850? A guy and gal should be together in a room, at least leave the door open, but better leave or get a chaperone. It’s sad and all but at some level incredibly funny that this is now progressive. (Double funny: knowing what a ardent atheist PZ is, I could probably find a post from him complaining how the biggest problem with religion is unhealthy sexual repression, Sigmund Freud / Margaret Mead style.)

  51. “Nothing’s more American than good old-fashioned fear of the other. It’s deep-seated in the American consciousness.”

    Ah, yes. “Americans” and their “fear of the other”.

    Like the “Americans” who were responsible for the Armenian genocide, and the Belgian Congo, and the Holocaust, and the Holodomor, and the Khmer Rouge, and the Great Leap Forward, and the Rwandan genocide, and the various genocides and “ethnic cleansings” in the former Yugoslavia (which continue to this day… the press has just buried the reporting), and Congo (again, but homegrown this time) and Darfur, and ISIS, and…

    Tell you what: when the rest of the world (most *especially* including Europe) manages to go a full generation without overt genocide breaking out, we can revisit the issue of the Evil Americans and their alleged “fear of the other”. Not before.

    Maybe we can even pencil in some time to discuss the issue of the blind, reflexive, jealous hatred that so many Canadians hold for Americans. Many (not all) Canadians are absolutely convinced that the United States is worse than Nazi Germany, but somehow fail to explain why, if that’s the case, Canada continues to exist.

  52. Eric, what is the source for this quote:

    >> (“What are you going to do, shoot me?” he sneered, just before he was shot) <<

    When I search, I find it on a bunch of forums, comments sections, and blog posts, none of which cite an original source.

    Blog posts can report news, but the blog posts containing this quote that I found were opinion pieces that were taking this quote for granted.

    Does anyone have a reliable source? Or even something claiming to be the source rather than just assuming this quote as a fact?

  53. >When I search, I find it on a bunch of forums, comments sections, and blog posts, none of which cite an original source.

    I’ve looked, and you’re right. I can’t find an original attribution either. Unfortunate.

    It is the kind of thing anyone stupid enough to assault an armed policeman would say, though. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if it were definitely confirmed

  54. @Random832:

    > Accusations like this are not routine…

    You’ve never spent any serious amount of time talking with a divorce lawyer, have you?

  55. @shenpen:

    Inadvertedly reinvented the social-sexual morals of about, what, 1850?

    Back then it was to protect the female, but today it’s to protect the male.

  56. @Jonah Glou:

    > Does anyone have a reliable source?

    Beats me. It’s a meme, rendered plausible because it has happened before both in real life and in movies.

    IIRC, there have been studies that show that things should be phrased positively when possible, e.g. “Never do X” is often translated as “X is something that is within the realm of my possibilities.”

    In line with that, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” is apparently not what one should utter to someone who has a gun trained on you, especially when you do so repeatedly and in a condescending manner:

    http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=526

  57. Why does Rose Fox still work for Publisher’s Weekly after Tweeting “Alas, my job doesn’t let me refuse” when it comes to reading work by white men and “I’d say most white men should come with TWs for unthinking privileged arrogance, but that’s like saying books need TWs for ‘contains words’.”

    If I wrote that about black women I’d be fired in two seconds. Instead they put her on SF convention panels.

  58. If you can’t talk about anticapitalism and the media then you’re missing the point. White racism = ratings. Evil capitalism = ratings. Western culture destroying mother earth = ratings. All of these tropes require a socialist/statist media paradigm. The media can’t and won’t even report what is happening in Hong Kong for what it really is. An uprising against the corruption of the Chinese Communist Party. Almost not a single word has been uttered regarding the systematic take over of Hong Kong political power by Chinese Communists. Thus, everything one hears and reads from the corporatist media complex is utterly wrong at a philosophical level. Race is no different.

  59. > It is the kind of thing anyone stupid enough to assault an armed policeman would say, though. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if it were definitely confirmed

    I haven’t found a reliable source for what Michael Brown did or did not say, but there is video footage of Kajieme Powell (also in Ferguson) yelling “Shoot me me now, motherfuckers!” while approaching police with guns drawn.

  60. And that’s supposed to, what? Excuse her of what she’s accused of doing? Prove that it’s all made up? Remember that “gamergate” is about a specific person who has been accused of real offenses, not about what it’s like to be a woman in the game industry, or any industry, in general.

    The accusations give off every whiff of being a Tucker Max-style tall tale intended to “put a bitch in her place” by discrediting her, for the unforgivable crime of being a woman and being uppity enough to think she can compete in a man’s field. So yes, as far as I’m concerned it is, very fucking much about what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated field and have this kind of shit heaped on you for being born with a vag.

    Hence, in Gamergate, the goal is not to simply stop some guys from being jerks to women, or to have some games aimed at women/blacks/gays/whatever. No, the goal is to stop other people from making games that do not cater to the sensibilities of women/blacks/gays/whatever. A game with a sexy woman is something that needs to be stopped. (Here, the modern SJW is in perfect agreement with the Comstockian bluenose reformers of the past.)

    Gaming has a problem. Its culture is dudebro-oriented and that needs to change — if for no other reason then for the health and vitality of gaming itself. Feminists don’t want to abolish sexy female characters; what they want is more balance. A more realistic portrait of womanhood We’ve seen a lot of stripper costumes, chainmail bikinis, and the like; but very few depictions of women when they aren’t being damsels to be rescued or sex toys to be conquered. Even female video game protagonists — like Lara Croft — are designed explicitly for the benefit of the male gaze. There are exceptions, of course, but they are notable for their very paucity. The norm has been not just to sexualize, but to oversexualize.

    And this is a problem. It tends to repel women and girls from gaming. If you have a cultural backdrop that assumes the participants are male, and that women are there for them to ogle at, women feel weird and awkward participating in that culture — like they don’t belong. It’s alienating and objectifying. So for the sake of a healthier gaming culture and gaming as an art form, activists like Anita Sarkeesian agitate for change.

    That’s different from “banning attractive women in gaming”. One of the most lauded female game heroes has been Samus Aran from Nintendo’s Metroid series, depicted — when she is out of her human-tank battle armor — as a very comely blonde woman. But the thing that separates Samus from most female game protagonists is that Samus is not just appealing to look at — she’s very awesome to be. She’s a mercenary bounty hunter with incredible battle skills and sweet weaponry. What’s not to like? So there is a great deal of satisfaction from playing as her, even if you’re a guy and her tits and ass are not on display all the time. Of course they took all that and fucked it up in Metroid: Other M, but we’ll pretend for the moment that game does not exist.

    I’m not even touching on the other issues with gaming’s dudebro culture, for example the acceptability of threats of violence — and specifically sexual violence against women — in video game contexts, particularly first-person shooters. But addressing how women are viewed in game content itself is a useful starting point.

    Side node: The Law of Hipster Irony applies, to wit: Anything is acceptable if delivered with a good dose of hipster irony. For example, your chances of seeing a racist joke deployed in any given episode of Family Guy are high, but since one of the writers is Asian and is satirizing stereotypes of Asians themselves, an “Asians can’t drive” gag is perfectly within the bounds of acceptability. (You are not expected to understand why this is, only that the irony is there and it excuses an otherwise unacceptable joke.) Similarly, hipster irony invalidates many of the concerns about oversexualized women in gaming; and there was some, but appreciably less, feminist backlash against characters like Bayonetta from her self-titled game or Mad Moxxi from the Borderlands series, both of whom sport exaggerated figures and bordello-appropriate clothing. Personally, I find this to be problematic, but I don’t make the rules.

  61. Jeff: “And this is a problem. It tends to repel women and girls from gaming. If you have a cultural backdrop that assumes the participants are male, and that women are there for them to ogle at, women feel weird and awkward participating in that culture — like they don’t belong.”

    I should get one woman who’s a gamer I know – and who writes for the Femme Gamer blog – to reply to this…she’d tell you you are overgeneralizing.

    But then, leftists tend to speak for the oppressed minority in society, and if a member of that minority tells how she’s not oppressed, to kafkatrap her into shutting up.

  62. “The accusations give off every whiff of being a Tucker Max-style tall tale intended to “put a bitch in her place” by discrediting her, for the unforgivable crime of being a woman and being uppity enough to think she can compete in a man’s field.”

    How is this not the exact same “unsupported analysis that perfectly fits my preconceived biases” that you’re accusing others of doing? I read through quite a bit of the initial posting from Quinn’s ex, do you have any actual reason to think that entire massive thing was fabricated? Every specific detail I’ve seen had been validating, though I freely admit I haven’t been following this too closely, and my sources could mostly be fairly described as having skin in the game. Or that there’s any other incorrect accusations being flung aside from the explicit “had sex for good reviews” one, which does appear to have been a leaped-to conclusion? Because the defense against the GamerGate mob gives off *every whiff* of a textbook example of “defend the female tribe member at all costs, in full, indignant defiance of reality” married to standard SJW contempt and hatred for Others.

  63. > You’ve never spent any serious amount of time talking with a divorce lawyer, have you?

    I should revise that – they’re not routine for “women in game development”, or any other industry, that would allow this controversy to be attributed to sexism, even if they are routine for people of either gender who have been in failed relationships.

  64. > I’m not even touching on the other issues with gaming’s dudebro culture, for example the acceptability of threats of violence — and specifically sexual violence against women — in video game contexts, particularly first-person shooters.

    I’m skeptical that you need anything other than the Great Internet Fuckwad Theory (“Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad”; http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19) to explain the toxic parts of “gamer culture”.

    Subcultures nest fractally, this one more than most, maybe, so it’s kind of odd to talk about a single gamer culture. But whatever you want to claim gamer culture “really” is, I’ve probably been active in it at some point or at least along the fringes. I’ve played all kinds of games, dabbled in ROM hacking, been to tournaments, gone to LAN parties, a few of the conventions and even know some of the more obscure parts of its history.

    And in meatspace, I’ve seen exactly zero cases of the kind of misogyny you’re referring to. I’ve seen a few cases of guys being poor losers, and/or loudly and obnoxiously complaining that something or another wasn’t “fair”, but I have yet to see a single case of hatred or contempt directed towards women. Maybe some males are whispering quiet misogyny when I’m not around, but if that ever happened, the reaction I’d expect from most people I know would be either shocked silence or loud outrage.

    The one negative emotion I’ve seen in person is genuine fear of approaching women; a convention I went to held something roughly equivalent to a high school prom, but with videogame cosplay instead of formal wear. Which was both sad and hilarious, watching the sheer number of guys standing at the edge of the dance floor, too nervous to ask for a dance. (This experience also provided me the humiliating answer to the question, “What did I look like during that one high school dance…”)

    Maybe fear of women translates to vocal misogyny, given the anonymity of the internet. But I doubt the solution is to loudly complain about how much the culture needs to change. It’s easier and more effective to just not feed the trolls.

  65. The “male gaze?” Oh, no. Please, stop. Anything but that. That’s too weird and unnatural. There’s not enough underwire support for the whole planet, which does kinda look like one big tit through my male gaze.

    And “dude-bros?” They need to stick with their cis-broads.

  66. “I’m here to say what that article could have but did not: suppressio veri, when performed systematically enough, itself becomes a code that can be read. What the press is teaching Americans to assume, story after story, is that if “youths” commit public violence and they are not specified to be white, or hispanic, or asian — then it’s yet another black street gang on a wilding.”

    Ultimately true and will certainly become so in the long term, but I think you perhaps overestimate the proportion of the population that is aware of this now. Most peoples’ pattern-recognition and critical thinking skills are much inferior to yours or those of the average reader of this blog. As is their partisan neutrality.

    Moreover this has selective impact. People who are open to this possibility are, broadly, racists, near-racists, and a tiny minority of people who can step above social conditioning views to at least some extent. Most liberals will read these reports as intended, because it reinforces rather than contradicting their worldview. They have no reason to doubt it; it’s entirely to be expected that crimes commited by whites against blacks are overwhelmingly racist-motivated and crimes commited by blacks against whites are not (indeed, they’re caused by insufficient wealth redistribution to blacks, which is only necessary because of historic and current white racism…).

    And I think we have to admit that we are only less susceptible to this sort of thing because our worldview (libertarianism of some sort, for the most part) doesn’t exist in the public arena and so there’s no strong cultural reference point.

  67. @Iconochasm:
    “my sources could mostly be fairly described as having skin in the game.”

    That’s true for everything I’ve read on the subject as well, except for this.

    https://www.facebook.com/mallorie.nasrallah/posts/10152274324055882:0?_fb_noscript=1

    If Ms. Nasrallah is being honest then I can’t figure out why anyone would work with Quinn or consider her a friend. Quinn has many, many friends and colleagues who have gone to bat for her; if she really behaved in the manner Ms. Nasrallah describes, I can’t believe any game developer, indie or otherwise, would willingly associate with her, much less defend her.

    However, I also cannot figure out what Ms. Nasrallah stands to gain from being dishonest in her account. As an erotic photographer, I’d expect Ms. Nasrallah to be someone you could trust with demeaning, nude pictures of yourself, not someone who would intentionally ruin a client’s reputation for a little bit of e-fame.

  68. @Jeff Read:

    Feminists don’t want to abolish sexy female characters; what they want is more balance. A more realistic portrait of womanhood.

    I disagree. Not every segment of every subculture should or even can be “balanced.” Gaming is the way it is because the vast majority of its audience wants it like that. It is already “balanced” in the sense that it balances out the larger politically-correct culture that looks down on “dudebros” playing FPS games with sexy female characters. Sarkeesian’s proposed reforms make about as much sense as a man complaining that the men in romance novels are “unrealistic” because they’re all ruggedly handsome and capable. I suspect readers of romance novels would react similarly to a “reformer” who demanded that there they have more more bald, overweight, and ugly heroes. And again, there is nothing that prevents the creation of Sarkeesian-approved games, except that nobody seems to see much of a market for them.

    She is not “having this kind of shit heaped on her for being born with a vag” but because she’s trying to rain on other people’s parades. And because she’s admitted that she’s not really into games, and because she lies, and because she steals other people’s artwork, and because she’s a self-promoter who raised a lot of money on Kickstarter but hasn’t produced anything. And, to some extent, because she’s a self-appointed Chekist rooting out “incorrect” words and images and stories.

    To bring this back on topic: like the media in general, the gaming media has been proven to have a political agenda at odds with the majority of their readers. It involves slanting coverage, behind-the-scenes coordination that amounts to corruption, and repeated condescension and outright insults to their audience.

  69. Sarkeesian has a point – she then hammers on it until I have difficulty maintaining empathy with her.

    As to “Gamergate:”

    Zoe Quinn slept with whatsisnname, a game journalist.
    Whatsisname never wrote a review of her game. His employer wrote a blurb about her game about 8 months after it came out. Not a review, a “this is neat, check it out…” review.

    Woo. Scandal! JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY RUINED!

    The worst thing the woman has done is had sex with someone who wasn’t her primary partner without negotiating the parameters first. Hardly a violation of professional ethics; it wasn’t, as many have portrayed it, “pussy for favorable press.”

    And for this, she gets death threats and rape threats.

    Uh huh. Yeah. It’s all about “ensuring there’s journalistic integrity” in a press venue that’s so narcissistic and set up for payola that it might as well be self-fellating.

    So, if you think Zoe Quinn broke some sort of ethics code, ask yourself “Is getting my news from her jilted ex-lover really getting it from an objective source?”

    Even if you do think an ethics boundary was breached, the person who breached it would be the person who write the favorable review for getting laid. Since that review was never published, and the guy who’s accused of doing this is, well, a guy…

    Why the hell aren’t you threatening him with rape and death threats? I mean, you’re apparently OK with them being leveled at Zoe. Doesn’t he deserve the same treatment?

    Or is it that you’re afraid of being seen as queer for doing this to another guy, but doing it to a woman is just fine?

  70. >Why the hell aren’t you threatening him with rape and death threats?

    Calm down, Ken. Nobody here is threatening anyone on either side of that fight

    And you are behaving … irrationally. In a way I don’t expect from you.

  71. I have noticed a trend in this discussion and the last one (in the comments of “Reality is viciously sexist). People on either side of the argument have widely different ideas of the frequency and intensity of threats that we are talking about. To one side, they are limited to prominent writers with ideological content to their writings, and are no more intense than those received by similarly prominent male writers. To the other side, they are universal, and merely being on the credited list for a piece of software is enough to receive more every time that software gets patched. Neither side has, at least here and now, produced a single shred of evidence for their position.

  72. > People on either side of the argument have widely different ideas of the frequency and intensity of threats that we are talking about.

    If you don’t mind me speaking in metaphor, my mental model of the angry, death-threat issuing, internet collective of video game trolls is that of a swarm of wasps randomly attacking anything that offends them, and attacking en masse if the visibility of the ‘offense’ reaches a critical level.

    Trying to predict where the hoard is going to clump next is like trying to predict the result Brownian motion.

    But you wanted evidence. Well, off the top of my head a patch to the firing rate, damage, and reload times of weapons in some Call of Duty game resulted in death threats:

    http://kotaku.com/death-threats-follow-small-call-of-duty-tweak-888324886

    And some rabid fans of the Metal Gear Solid series issued death threats to Hideo Kojima (the original creator) because he didn’t want to direct the latest sequel:

    http://www.ps3today.com/Blogs/News/hqs/blr_957.aspx

    (Like I said, “swarm of angry wasps”…)

    The rest of this is idle speculation (I really don’t want to spend too much time getting inside the head of a troll), but I think “Gamergate”-type incidents arise when someone tries to enter the industry with lofty (if misguided) goals of “reforming” gaming to which the immediate result is insults, death threats, etc.

    The people who’ve been around for a while know not to feed the trolls.

    The misguided newbies are outraged, and fight back, insulting their insulters. And the swarm of wasps grows…

    I forget where I heard this from, but someone told me once, “Yes, someone’s threatening to kill you. Get over it. Only boring people never have that experience.”

  73. Oh, good grief, Jeff. You do know who Poettering is, don’t you? The author of systemd? The guy who, pretty much singlehandedly, has caused the greatest schism in the Linux world since RMS launched GNOME? The guy who refuses to listen to, never mind accept, valid criticism of his pet project? The guy who’s one of the most arrogant assholes in a community known for being made up of them? That Leonard Poettering?

    No, I don’t think death threats are an acceptable way to resolve technical disputes. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

    But don’t you think that this is at least in part a case of reaping what you sow? I still haven’t formed an opinion of systemd, but the attitude coming from the systemd camp has me more and more suspicious the more I see of it. I have no trouble understanding why some people are so frustrated by it all that they feel the need to take recourse in that kind of thing.

  74. Jay,

    Channelling Kramer from Seinfeld, “You’re a rabid anti-Stallmanite!” I agree with you on many points of opposition to Stallman’s extremism, but laying blame for GNOME at his feet is beyond the pale. :) All RMS did regarding GNOME is to find it interesting enough to give it the GNU Project imprimatur and right to use the GNU name. But he’ll do that for anything that’s GPL’d and broadly aligns with his ideology. GNOME was started primarily by Miguel de Icaza.

    And yes, I know who Lennart is. But that he himself is arrogant, a bit brusque regarding complaints about his software, and dismissive of bug reports does not invalidate his points. The anti-systemd crowd is full of raving loons — reminiscent of the 1990s anti-Microsoft crowd — and when someone sugggests taking out a hit on Lennart it’s very hard to tell if they’re joking or ha ha only serious. Furthermore, Linus has been called out on his “management by perkele” behavior before, notably by Sarah Sharp of Intel. It’s not conducive to a healthy vibrant open source community. People shouldn’t need to live in fear — either fear of a humiliating opprobrium or fear for their lives — when writing open source software. Too much cortisol in the bloodstream impedes higher-level thought needed for hacking.

  75. I also haven’t formed a real opinion on the merits of System D vs. its competitors, but I rather doubt that its opponents are “raving loons”. In particular I found these two accounts thoughtful and fairly convincing:

    http://skarnet.org/software/s6/why.html
    http://boycottsystemd.org/

    When I heard a few years back that various Linux distributions were standardizing on a new init replacement called, “System D”, which was supposedly superior to both Ubuntu’s Upstart and System V init, I thought, “Great, finally!” Only earlier this year did I hear, third hand, about System D’s problems.

    I admit a soft spot for anyone inspired by DJBs approach to writing small, secure, correct, reliable programs. So if I shipped or maintained Linux or Unix systems for a living, I’d definitely look into s6. But since I don’t, it got filed in my, “Hm, interesting; perhaps I will someday investigate further in my Munificent Free Time.”

    But that any of this should have any connection whatsoever to ESR’s original post above is tenuous, at best…

  76. Not everyone opposed to systemd is a raving loon; but the anti-systemd camp has attracted some genuine nutters.

    And Eric was railing against what he perceives as the tyranny of the politically correct in reporting on crime and race. Someone brought up Gamergate as similarly tyrannical P.C. thought control. My contention is that in both cases, the “politically correct” are addressing valid concerns; and furthermore, you will not like who rises to control the debate should the politically correct go away. (Racists and trolls, respectively.) It’s like the central fallacy of libertarianism: if you think government is bad, wait till you meet who takes over in its absence.

  77. I’ve not felt moved to comment before as the regulars seemed to have it covered.

    @esr on 2014-10-02 at 18:41:09 said:

    >Matthew Garrett is now refusing to patch Intel’s code because of this.

    Really? Really?

    The specifics of GamerGate aside, this crosses a line. Deliberately introducing political particularism where it damn well does not belong. Shame on him.

    Are there not issue on which you might take a similar stand?

    Imagine, for example, that took a concrete position supporting the Iranian government while you were working against it. I’d expect the resulting tension to generate at least a blog post explaining how you resolved an apparent contradiction.

    Thanks for the continuing free ice cream, BTW.

  78. >Are there not issue on which you might take a similar stand?

    I’ve never even been tempted, so far.

  79. Bother. My tag that indicated “relevant company name here” was swallowed by some helpful text swallower.

  80. > All RMS did regarding GNOME is to find it interesting enough to give it the GNU Project imprimatur and right to use the GNU name.

    And invented the problem with Qt. As far as I know, before the KDE “controversy” – which Stallman was motivated in by, of course, not wanting people to use it [i]at all[/i], it was generally believed that there was no legal problem with distributing a dynamically linked program (since the work that is a derived work of both is created at runtime and not distributed) or with an end-user statically linking it (since it is not distributed). GNOME was motivated by him raising the spectre of lawsuits based on his oddball interpretation.

  81. @Random832:

    … before the KDE “controversy” … it was generally believed that there was no legal problem with distributing a dynamically linked program

    Yeah, but never by Stallman. And anybody who was paying attention coulda, shoulda figured it out. I know I did. Eben Moglen did too, and, being who he is, he said some rather disingenuous things to forward Stallman’s agenda.

    GNOME was motivated by him raising the spectre of lawsuits based on his oddball interpretation.

    Stallman’s oddball interpretation was clearly evident 5 years before the Gnome project even got started (over 6 years before its first release). There is no clearer example of the tail wagging the dog than the one demonstrated by this exchange:

    http://clisp.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewvc/clisp/clisp/doc/Why-CLISP-is-under-GPL

    I think “the lawyer made me do it” is the new “the dog ate my homework.”

  82. >>Are there not issue on which you might take a similar stand?
    >>I’d expect the resulting tension to generate at least a blog post explaining how you resolved an apparent contradiction.

    >I’ve never even been tempted, so far.

    The lack of such a post had me suspecting it had never risen far enough to require much thought. In this case, it obviously has for Garrett. Equally obviously, you are not even tempted.

    I was mostly interested in whether this is just a matter of being so far below your threshold of temptation (or even caring) that it’s not worth considering, or if there’s a genuine difference in kind that I’m missing (between the gamer fracas and my Iranian hypothetical). I wanted to watch you watch your brain work.

  83. I’d like to add, I don’t mean that in the “Dance, monkey, dance!” way, but rather in the “Nice illumination!” way.

  84. After googling a little about systemd, this seems suspiciously like an attempt by Red Hat to triple-E Linux.

  85. > It’s like the central fallacy of libertarianism: if you think government is bad, wait till you meet who takes over in its absence.

    This is the central straw man of anti-libertarianism. Libertarians don’t think government is bad; it’s anarchists who think that. Libertarians think when government makes things worse than they were before it stepped in, it’s bad. When it confines itself to defending people’s lives, liberty, and property against aggression, it’s “anti-bad”, AKA “good”.

  86. > Libertarians don’t think government is bad; it’s anarchists who think that.

    These sets are not mutually exclusive, so you shouldn’t talk as though they are.

  87. > I’ve never even been tempted, so far.

    Almost certainly any such issue you wouldn’t think of as political at all.

    The best analogy for what I’m thinking of is – for each person, there is a line – analogous to the Overton Window but for individuals rather than societies – across which something is no longer a question of politics but of black-and-white morality.

  88. There is no clearer example of the tail wagging the dog than the one demonstrated by this exchange:

    Except in this case, readline is the dog, and CLISP is the tail. The program depends on readline. Whereas on the other hand, it is KDE that depends on Qt, and not the other way around.

    And there’s no reasonable basis IMO for saying that using function calls to communicate inherently ties two programs together more closely than using any kind of RPC interface (which also surfaces as function calls in any higher-level language), or pipes or sockets, or the line discipline or ptys (what if readline were built into a terminal emulator? Would most users know the difference? The MS Windows equivalent is, so history, arrow keys, etc, all work in cat.) Sharing an address space? What if your processor doesn’t have protected memory? What if it does but the kernel can directly access the running process’s address space?

  89. The great thing about the readline example is that there are existing examples of every way a program with this feature might communicate. Windows has it in the kernel, or near enough (csrss and kernel32.dll aren’t exactly the kernel kernel, but they’re close, and equivalent to something like a line discipline), Readline is a library. Rlwrap communicates with pipes. Any MUD client (e.g. tinyfugue) communicates with sockets. There was once a program called “atty” that communicated over ptys, in effect acting as a terminal emulator middle layer like screen. Plan 9 does it in its graphical terminal emulator.

    All of these do the same thing: add line editing and command history capability to programs that don’t otherwise support such a thing. The only difference is in how they pass the final line back to the application.

  90. I don’t remember the exact details, but someone demonstrated a way to disinfect GNU readline by means of a truly free, API-compatible (but not functionally-) replacement. The Stallmanite argument is that writing to the readline API makes your program a derivative work of readline itself, because your program cannot be linked with anything else; the API-compatible replacement destroys that argument.

  91. @Random832:

    > Except in this case, readline is the dog, and CLISP is the tail.

    WTF!!?!

    clisp did not, in any way, shape, or form, require readline. readline made it nicer, but WAS NOT REQUIRED.

    Because readline existed, the clisp people had better things to do, and since they didn’t really care that much about the license, they caved.

    I’ve written the equivalent of readline probably 10 times in my career. There is no there there.

  92. > clisp did not, in any way, shape, or form, require readline. readline made it nicer, but WAS NOT REQUIRED.

    I didn’t mean it in that sense – just that the idea that a library is the foundation and an app is the building is reasonable in a general sense, and so a library has more claim to an app being a derived work than the other way around.

  93. I don’t remember the exact details, but someone demonstrated a way to disinfect GNU readline by means of a truly free, API-compatible (but not functionally-) replacement. The Stallmanite argument is that writing to the readline API makes your program a derivative work of readline itself, because your program cannot be linked with anything else; the API-compatible replacement destroys that argument.

    The readline API falls under the same copyright as the rest of the program; any implementation of that API must therefore be GPL-licensed. See: Oracle v. Google.

  94. Ah. I was talking in specifics. readline is like a plugin that can be used by a bunch of different programs. Not a foundational anything. Truly a tail. The dog survives even if it’s docked, unless it has terrible DNA.

    There is no question that a statically linked app using readline is a “derivative work”. Some think even a dynamically linked app is. Some, such as Oracle, think that a replacement library is. But even Oracle hasn’t been brazen enough to claim it owns the sourcecode of unrelated apps that use Java interfaces and that have the ability to be linked to Oracle code.

    clisp was distributed as source, WITHOUT readline. It could use readline, but didn’t need it. Stallman had the temerity to claim that the readline copyright had to prevail due to the mere fact that clisp could, effectively, use readline as a plugin.

    I cannot string together enough bad words to describe my feelings about that.

  95. @Jeff Read:

    > See: Oracle v. Google.

    As many bad things as I have to say about Stallman, AFAIK, he hasn’t actually claimed that interfaces can be copyrighted, which does put him in the unusual position of, as Jay Maynard pointed out, thinking that it makes a difference whether or not there is another implementing library.

    Oracle v google is not at all over over. IMO, in a couple of years when it gets to them, the Supreme Court will rip the Federal Circuit about as big a new one on software copyright as they did in the business patent case.

  96. > I don’t think anyone would be surprised if it were definitely confirmed
    “My confirmation bias is almost as good as an actual confirmation”

  97. Monster: Libertarians don’t think government is bad; it’s anarchists who think that.
    Eric: These sets are not mutually exclusive, so you shouldn’t talk as though they are.

    Namely, you’re asserting that some libertarians are anarchists, right Eric? As opposed to “there are anarchists who think some parts of government are all right” (or some weaker “there’s a spectrum” argument)? If the former, then it sounds like Monster could have made his point fine by just replacing “libertarians” with “minarchists”, which sounds like what he meant anyway.

    (I’m asking just in case I’m missing something interesting.)

  98. >Namely, you’re asserting that some libertarians are anarchists, right Eric?

    Er, yes. An assertion I can make with confidence since that “some libertarians” includes me.

  99. Ah, Rawstory, that beacon of objectivity and even-handedness.

    When it comes to Ebola, I suspect Fox News is closer to the truth than Rawstory, and probably PBS as well.

  100. This is what you on the other side keep failing to understand: the criterion by which a media narrative should be evaluated is not “closeness to the truth” (whatever that means; whose truth are we talking here?) The SOLE criterion for evaluating the emanations of the media machine is: what is the operational goal that the release of the media story helps achieve?

    The Ebola narrative has been shaped to achieve a few goals: first, to prevent white middle-to-upper-class America from panicking, i.e., to convince them that Ebola is a disease of dirty primitive darkies in West Africa (just like AIDS was a disease of those vile homoqueers until Magic Johnson came along and fucked that story up). Secondly to promote and foster support for a policy of military containment rather than medical aid. Think U.S. troops sent into Liberia ordered to shoot anything that looks sick. Ensuring the disease never gets a foothold in America by wiping out its human disease vectors — which is totally okay because they’re dirty primitive subhuman darkies. Fox News just tipped their hand in this instance a little too much for the comfort of the American establishment. This talk about witch doctors is dogwhistle for “we don’t want sick niggers washing up on God’s blessed American shores”.

    Now back to the original point: what goal do you think would be achieved by making a point of reporting black criminals as black? Hint: anti-black hatred still seethes just below the surface of consciousness in many parts of America, and all it needs is the right excuse. But that would prevent the American establishment from maintaining any shred of the moral high ground. Why do you think the Civil Rights Act got passed? It’s because the USA was losing credibility to the Soviet Union; “in your country they lynch negroes” was the default Soviet retort to American accusations of human-rights violations. So if you could sublimate the lynchings you could claim moral superiority. But the lynching *urge* never went away; it’s still there and just needs a little push to escalate into full-on race war. So now, reporters bite their tongues in order to avoid a little fig-leaf slip…

  101. >Now back to the original point: what goal do you think would be achieved by making a point of reporting black criminals as black?

    The point would be not teaching people to assume that all violent “youths” are black unless specifically described otherwise, which is what the present suppression (combined with what comes out on Internet videos of many of these neutrally-reported incidents) is doing.

    If it turns out that there is in fact no epidemic problem of non-black violent “youths”, then we have a different problem, which is that the ethno-nationalists and racists just got confirmation from reality. I’m not assuming that, but it sounds rather like you think black crime is an intractable problem that needs to be kept under wraps.

  102. And once again, Jeff Read demonstrates just how little he thinks of America.

    Really,, now, Jeff. If you want to live in a Eurosocialist state, get the hell over there!

  103. > (whatever that means; whose truth are we talking here?)

    The truth, a.k.a., that thing that doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it.

  104. @esr:

    > If it turns out that there is in fact no epidemic problem of non-black violent “youths”…

    Everybody has an agenda, so it’s hard to find un-spun statistics, but overall it doesn’t appear that there is any sort of violence epidemic for any race, if by epidemic you mean crime rates exceeding historic norms for that race.

    The bleak exception seems to be a few places like Chicago where black gangs reign supreme, but AFAICT violent crime rates are the lowest they have been since the 1970s, across all races, and the murder rate is lower than in the early 60s.

    Assuming that crime rates really are falling, there is no shortage of theories, including easy availability of abortion, reduction of lead in the environment, and increased incarceration rates.

    I’ll toss another one out there, assuming, again, that I’m not mis-reading the statistics and that black crime rates really are going down: is it at all possible that, in general, people act better when they don’t see constant media portrayals of members of their group as violent sub-humans?

  105. >is it at all possible that, in general, people act better when they don’t see constant media portrayals of members of their group as violent sub-humans?

    Oh, quite probable. But the taboo against portraying blacks as violent sub-humans has been firmly in place for most of my lifetime even as (for example) Detroit was destroyed by an increasingly degenerate and violent black urban subculture.

    Whatever gains that taboo may have produced seem to have been easily swamped by the effects of drugs (bad) and the welfare state (worse).

  106. @Patrick Maupin
    “but AFAICT violent crime rates are the lowest they have been since the 1970s, across all races, and the murder rate is lower than in the early 60s.”

    It is a global, and historical, trend. See “The Better Angels of Our Nature” for collected statistics.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

    There is something to say for the explanation Pinker suggests for the rise in crime rates during the 70’s and 80’s and their fall during the 90’s (basically a kind of “lost generation”).

  107. There is something to say for the explanation Pinker suggests for the rise in crime rates during the 70’s and 80’s and their fall during the 90’s (basically a kind of “lost generation”).

    Funny how this “lost generation” seems to coincide with increased libertarian influence in political and economic thought, including an era of Randian- and libertarian-inspired deregulation and a self-serving “greed is good” mentality throughout the economic sphere.

    Nah, it’s just a coincidence. Rational self-interest really makes you a nice chap.

  108. @Jeff Read
    “Funny how this “lost generation” seems to coincide with increased libertarian influence in political and economic thought,”

    Pinker thought more along the lines of a section of the generation that considered themselves as not bound by rules. I have no idea whether that made them specifically flock to Libertarianism.

  109. Pinker thought more along the lines of a section of the generation that considered themselves as not bound by rules. I have no idea whether that made them specifically flock to Libertarianism.

    You’ve got the causality backwards. What I’m suggesting is that the 1970s-1990s were an era of libertarian-influenced political and economic policies under which taxes were cut, regulations lifted and social welfare programs reduced; this created an environment in which people felt the rules no longer applied — or at least that they were on their own and had to live by the law of the jungle (depending on socioeconomic status).

  110. @Jeff Read
    “What I’m suggesting is that the 1970s-1990s were an era of libertarian-influenced political and economic policies under which taxes were cut, regulations lifted and social welfare programs reduced;”

    According to Pinker, you have causality backwards as the changes started with changes in the way children were raised in the 1960’s.

  111. > Whatever gains that taboo may have produced seem to have been easily
    > swamped by the effects of drugs (bad) and the welfare state (worse).

    Drugs (and the War on Drugs) (bad) and the welfare state (worse).

  112. But even Oracle hasn’t been brazen enough to claim it owns the sourcecode of unrelated apps that use Java interfaces and that have the ability to be linked to Oracle code.

    If Oracle thought it profitable to assess a fee per API invocation from client Java code, they would do so in a heartbeat. They are only not doing so now because of the importance of the open-source Java community to the greater ecosystem it’s a part of.

    Before you comment on how far-fetched this is, consider that the life’s work of Brad Cox, creator of Objective-C, is to make true software componentry the standard for development, and combine it with DRM in such a way to enable charging a microfee for each API invocation of a component. Such a scheme, if developed and standardized, would be a pot of gold to enterprise ISVs like Oracle.

    Oracle v google is not at all over over. IMO, in a couple of years when it gets to them, the Supreme Court will rip the Federal Circuit about as big a new one on software copyright as they did in the business patent case.

    Google has just filed a motion for the Supremes to hear the case, speeding the process up a bit. What you say is true IF the Supremes decide to hear it (they may not, in which case the CAFC decision stands), and IF they are sympathetic enough to the tech-savvy position to rule in the way you favor. Since the Supreme Court justices are not particularly tech savvy, and they have in the past been very circumspect about not taking a stand against software patents, it’s not at all clear that they will “rip the CAFC a new one”.

  113. @Jeff Read:

    > IF the Supremes decide to hear it … and IF they are sympathetic

    I think the odds are good they will decide to hear it. For all the reasons google put in their petition for certiorari (circuit split, previous supreme 4/4 split, etc.) but also for a few reasons google couldn’t directly put in their brief. For example: (1) It’s a really clean, simple question; (2) Answering it in the way google wants would not adversely impact anybody’s business model (except the new one Oracle just invented), while leaving the CAFC decision standing would adversely impact a lot of companies, and while it’s not really supposed to be about that, at the end of the day, it is (especially for big companies); and (3) this particular case will attract amici briefs like crazy, almost all of which will point out that (a) everybody in the tech world has been operating under the assumption (based in significant part on several previous supreme court cases) that google’s interpretation is correct, and that (b) upending that will cause no end of harm, and that (c) there’s no really good reason to do that, because the easiest reading of the statute easily supports google.

    And if they do decide to hear it, I think they will be sympathetic to google. The Supreme Court may not be particularly tech-savvy, but they do seem to be relatively business savvy.

    In the realm of copyright and patents, they have (IMO) an unhealthy deference to Congress (limited term? really?), and they seem to have no aversion to either law-mandated monopolies (such as the patents or copyrights themselves), or to what they apparently view as monopolies occurring “naturally”.

    Nonetheless, AFAICT, they always attempt to limit the scope of the monopoly to make it as narrow as possible while still conforming to statute and preexisting caselaw. In patents, we have the recent decisions in Mayo and Alice, and in copyrights, we have the recent decisions in Cambridge University and Kirtsaeng.

  114. @Jeff Read

    As for the culture of gaming, you are, ironically, doing something very stereotypically American here: you are professing an IMHO unreasonable faith in democracy.

    I think it does not even require any proof to say that gaming went from something elitist or aristocratic to something democratic – from the nerdy hobby of a computer-savvy nerdy few to something basically as pop-culture as MTV and Hollywood, especially with the advent of gaming consoles that no longer even require checking hardware requirements. It is not even that nerdy anymore, I think, watching hockey (jock) and playing hockey on a console (geek) almost became equivalents. Not quite, but almost.

    I am not in any sense a minority person (in my own country, and except for the part of being a geek) yet I consider 95% of todays games silly, crass, consumerist, boring crap. I need to hunt and peck hard to find something quality enough to entertain me – of course there are still excellent titles, but it goes down, in IQ, not up.

    Remember Populous or Powermonger? Jane’s Fleet Command?

    Even the Elder Scrolls or Assassins’Creed series, the few quality ones got dumbed down, and todays even really dumb things like Infamous 1-2 are just dumb.

    And you except this democratic crap, this consumerist shit meant for the tastes of the common man to somehow not be sexist? Really?

    If the market is flooded with shit meant for the masses, like God of War, why exactly sexist, of all the other markers of something representing the common man, shouldn’t it be?

    You are more stereotypically American than you like to admit you are. I think not seeing the contradiction between something being democratic, popular, meant for the masses, basically going all-out for popularity, maxing out sales – and the requirement to represent intelligent, elite, aristocratic, classy values like non-sexism.

    Please try to grok it. You need to have a more aristocratic sense of society. You need to have a sensibility that not all is meant for all, that some are meant for the top levels, some are meant for the bottom levels, that people are not equal. Non-sexism is an entirely valid notion for products meant for the top-level, but it is unreasonable to expect something meant for the masses to be so.

  115. @ESR

    >The point would be not teaching people to assume that all violent “youths” are black unless specifically described otherwise, which is what the present suppression (combined with what comes out on Internet videos of many of these neutrally-reported incidents) is doing.

    I think we have the same problem in Europe. It is often so that there is an article with the title saying Germans ran a slave ring in Greece, you click on the title, and then all the Germans in question are called Yusuf and Abdul. I am not even questioning if they are “really” Germans, that is not even my issue here, for all I care they can be, they can be 3rd generation migrants who can’t even speak Turkish anymore. I am not questioning their identity. The issue is, many people do.

    My issue is that a lot of people don’t believe that, and have this feeling that the media is fooling them.

    And then because they feel like being deceived, in many particular cases, when the media reports nationality or passport in what they expect to report ethnicity, they will tend to think ALL criminals have a migrant background.

    I think we are on the same page here. A naive attempt to reduce prejudice ends up increasing it – for racists or ethnicists, a few cases of trying to hide means ALL cases when it is not clear, it must be “them”, it must be “the other”.

  116. But Shenpen, the goal the SJWs is to impose their beliefs on the ignorant masses. Gaming is just the latest front in their war.

  117. @Jeff Read

    > Linus has been called out on his “management by perkele”

    I find it ironic that it sounds exactly like something the social justice folks should take an exception to, namely an national or ethnic stereotype / insult. (He is not even ethnic Finn actually, but whatever.)

    Actually, I think this is not wrong, I think people should have a thick enough skin to take quips like this one. I think this was funny. But that is precisely why I was never an SJW.

    How did you reconcile this in your brain consciously or subconsciously?

  118. @PapayaSF

    I don’t care about SJWs as such, but, perhaps, about the market for ideas like that. I think Jeff Read is more in the market for that than being so – he is way too smart for that.

    And I do think something elitist is going to be less sexist than something populist, and this, at the very least, even if it has nothing to with SJWs it at least predicts where they will be listened to.

    Plain simply a high-brow market tolerates better that there are more than 2 kinds of people, that individuals differ, that people can be ambiguous and not binary and so on. Any kind of not-oversimplified portrayals of people requires intellectual complexity. This is inversely popular to popularity, or rather, to the appeal the lower-class or lower-IQ demographic. That is all really. Position cultural products. Make them for the top, and make them all complex and ambiguous as you like, or for the bottom, and then make men like “real men” and women like “real women”. That is all.

    There are exceptions. I admire how 1) Game of Thrones is popular 2) complex, non-binary (not good, not evil) moral characters like Tyrion Lannister are still somehow popular and accepted by the common folks. Maybe they got smarter. Amazing, actually.

    But I think this is more of an exception.

  119. > I find it ironic that it sounds exactly like something the social justice folks should take an exception to, namely an national or ethnic stereotype / insult. (He is not even ethnic Finn actually, but whatever.)

    Simple, it is a well known fact that stereotyping white men is not in fact offensive and is in fact encouraged, because PRIVILEGE.

  120. @Jeff Read
    I think Linus is doing a great job telling people what he thinks of their code.

    “Could be better” and “A mess” are often just euphemisms. But the problem is, you have to escalate your rants to keep them effective.

  121. >> It is the kind of thing anyone stupid enough to assault an armed policeman would say, though. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if it were definitely confirmed <<

    In the interest in accuracy, perhaps you should remove the quote or at least not it's not been confirmed.

  122. >In the interest in accuracy, perhaps you should remove the quote or at least not it’s not been confirmed.

    Done.

  123. >>In the interest in accuracy, perhaps you should remove the quote or at least not it’s not been confirmed.

    >Done.

    Er… I still see that quote in the OP.

  124. Oops. I apologize. This’ll teach me to look carefully before commenting.

  125. I find it ironic that it sounds exactly like something the social justice folks should take an exception to, namely an national or ethnic stereotype / insult. (He is not even ethnic Finn actually, but whatever.)

    Sharp didn’t bring up the “perkele” term, but Linus’s behavior fits the expression more or less: the man has made quips about switching to Finnish cursewords once English runs out of colorful ones.

    But whether you call it management by perkele or management by swearing up a blue streak (analogue behaviors certainly exist in other cultures), open source culture is becoming less tolerant of such behavior, even from leaders like Linus.

  126. You are more stereotypically American than you like to admit you are. I think not seeing the contradiction between something being democratic, popular, meant for the masses, basically going all-out for popularity, maxing out sales – and the requirement to represent intelligent, elite, aristocratic, classy values like non-sexism.

    Yes, and I possess the stereotypical American optimism that things can be changed for the better, and the baseline for the masses’ cultural values to be lifted to something a bit more civilized. Perhaps this is folly, but it’s darned well worth a shot.

    Perhaps this form of American optimism can best be summed up with the statement Michael Moore uses to close out his film Capitalism: A Love Story: “I refuse to live in a country like this. And I’m not leaving.”

  127. In the European press, “youths” are generally Muslim.

    It’s a form of journalistic cowardice.

  128. Papaya, this is brilliant.

    “Sarkeesian’s proposed reforms make about as much sense as a man complaining that the men in romance novels are “unrealistic” because they’re all ruggedly handsome and capable. I suspect readers of romance novels would react similarly to a “reformer” who demanded that there they have more more bald, overweight, and ugly heroes.”

    As to the original post… the interpretation of “youth” as a racial slur is a real thing. “Urban” has already joined the official list of racist “code words”. It doesn’t take much intelligence to hear the subtext of speech. This is something that we learn to do even *before* we learn to speak. It’s how we acquire language in the first place! So when a concerned liberal woman very earnestly opined on some comment thread or other that Holder and Obama were *proud* men and therefore could not be expected to put up with insults that other male politicians routinely endure… it was not the least bit difficult to understand that by “proud” what she meant was “black.” (Not attributing her opinion to any larger group, it is her own… but the example seemed appropriate to the understood meaning of the terms “youth” and “urban” or “urban youth”…

  129. “This is what you on the other side keep failing to understand: the criterion by which a media narrative should be evaluated is not “closeness to the truth” (whatever that means; whose truth are we talking here?) The SOLE criterion for evaluating the emanations of the media machine is: what is the operational goal that the release of the media story helps achieve?”

    Um… so… truth isn’t important… end goals are important. So if one must ignore true things in media reporting in order to reach goals, how *exactly* are citizens in a democracy supposed to form their opinions or solve societal problems? Some media idiot with a degree in journalism just appointed him or herself the Decider, not just of what we get to know, but what goals we must have, and which methods must be employed to reach them.

    I am, sir, self-censoring a whole bunch of bad words just now.

  130. Original source for the “officer’s side” in Ferguson seems to be talk radio. Audio is supposed to be available here:
    http://www.971talk.com/blogs/dana-show-blog/audio-demand/exclusive-caller-claims-be-friends-darren-wilson-knows-his-side

    Regarding gamergate, as I understand it this started with an ex-boyfriend’s cry of the heart regarding his former relationship and includes long extensive chat logs. If he made that up, the lady should sue and I suspect that she would win a significant judgment. He’s caused significant damage to her reputation, there’s no way that he accidentally created such extensive false transcripts, and demonstrating malice should be a slam dunk.

    But that’s only if what he says is untrue. If what he said is true, gamer journalism is an inbred, degenerate cesspool that desperately needs a major turnover in supervisory staff because there are no adults at the helm. That turnover should happen no matter how hostile, sexist, or otherwise nasty gamer culture is. The two problems are independent of each other.

    If Intel didn’t investigate the truth of the allegations, they’re fools.

  131. “If the races were really “suppressed”, then you would have no data, because you would not know what the suppressed races were. ”

    True IF the races were fully suppressed by *all* media outlets, but often there are cracks in the wall.

    My starting paper is normally the NY Times, good for many things, great for some, and almost utterly reliable at the sort of racial suppression discussed here (sometimes they run photos if the crime is sufficiently egregious).

    But the rival New York papers aren’t always so coy, and sometimes a local television station will run video of the crime, or show a teary interview with the alleged perp’s mother, or some such that resolves the mystery.

    Whenever the Times intrigues me with their suppression I guess at the race (and sad to say, I normally make the percentage bet), then poke around other sources to see whether my judgment is accurate. Sometimes I am surprised to be wrong; sometimes I am unsuccessful in my sleuthing. Most of the time I can develop another data point about NY Times suppression, but of course not universal media suppression.

  132. @Sukkie
    “In the European press, “youths” are generally Muslim.”

    Nope. In binge drinking, they are just young people. In Saturday evening violence, they are young men. In any specific circumstances, they are the young people most likely to perform the action. Which means that in French suburban rioting, they will be North African “Muslims” (we actually do not know whether they are practicing). But in Dutch rioting, they will be native, white hooligans.

    @Sukie,
    “It’s a form of journalistic cowardice.”

    Sometimes. But at other times, it is simply not known for sure. And we do have laws and a sort of code of conduct to protect the identity of (young) suspects before they are officially charged and tried.

  133. Not only does suppressio veri adversely affect trust in reporting and be used to support actual racist agendas, I contend it also poses a risk to public safety in that information that could be used to identify a dangerous criminal is masked.

    I live in a city that is majority Black, so the idea that a suspect is Black can, in no way, be logically thought of as racist, but the absence of the useful, obvious identifying physical characteristic of skin tone is almost always left out of any report. “Police say the suspect was a male in his early twenties wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt.” Would it kill you to provide a better actual physical description so I can be a good citizen if I happen to see someone meeting that description?

  134. “No conspiracy theory is required to explain the silence here. Reporters and editors are nervous about being thought racist, or (worse) having “anti-racist” pressure groups demonstrating on their doorsteps. ”

    I disagree. Reporters who suppress the race of the participants in their news reports are themselves racist and are treating different races differently because of it.

  135. Some media idiot with a degree in journalism just appointed him or herself the Decider, not just of what we get to know, but what goals we must have, and which methods must be employed to reach them.

    The deciders do not work in media. Some of them (like Murdoch) own the media.

    You’re confusing is with ought. I’m describing how American media actually works, not how it ought to work. Of course news organizations ought to report the truth. But how they actually work is as a propaganda arm of a belligerent party: the bankster class and their cronies who actually control the government in the USA.

  136. Paul,

    . If no fights are evident, media has an interest in exaggerating whatever conflicts are around,

    Indeed. My son worked for a few years for a local TV station, and his stories about their management make Family Guy sound like a documentary. “Is Quahog in the grips of a dangerous serial arsonist?? Police say No…. but our news director says YES!!!”

    Jeff Read,

    What’s not to like?

    How about we start with “She’s a mercenary bounty hunter with incredible battle skills…” ?

  137. @Jeff Read et al.
    People everywhere want to hear the world is going down. Even Plato was already complaining the world was decaying around him. It has never stopped.

    Back to the USA. Crime rates have been going down for two decades now. But people become hostile when you tell them that.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141021125937.htm

    “What we found when we asked a series of questions pertaining to fears of various crimes is that a majority of Americans not only fear crimes such as, child abduction, gang violence, sexual assaults and others; but they also believe these crimes (and others) have increased over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Edward Day who led this portion of the research and analysis. “When we looked at statistical data from police and FBI records, it showed crime has actually decreased in America in the past 20 years. Criminologists often get angry responses when we try to tell people the crime rate has gone down.”

    See also the discussion here:
    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/10/survey_on_what_.html

    We had some of the same reactions over here. When they started to close down jails in the Netherlands because they were half empty, some politicians went into a fit demanding more people should be incarcerated.

  138. The roles have reversed since the Civil Rights Movement. Before the 1960s nonwhites in the West were submissive to whites. Now it’s the complete opposite. Thus giving the impression that racial equality is a pipe-dream. Well, it is a pipe dream. White nationalism will become mainstream in the future. It’s been inching closer to the center in Europe for the past 20 years. Whites have nothing to feel guilty about regarding blacks. In fact, I don’t think whites do feel guilty. But I do think they feel tremendous pressure from the establishment to at least pretend they feel guilty. Blacks came from a slave culture in Africa. They sold their own people, and continue to practice slavery to this day. They are collaborators in the Atlantic Slave Trade, not innnocent and saintly victims of it.

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