Thursday, 29 January 2015
A TV scriptwriter, who has been described behind his back as “Doctor Who's embarrassing bigoted uncle” has taken to Twitter in an attempt to save women from harassing themselves online.
Gerald Lardon, whose previous screen-writing credits include House full of Catholics and There are nerds living in the basement where I work, said: “Gamergate is, by my own definition, a misogynist hate movement. Therefore any woman who claims to be a supporter of Gamergate is also a misogynist and fully committed to driving herself off twitter with a sustained campaign of harassment and death threats.”
Changing tack slightly, Lardon continued:
“I have just this moment confirmed with myself that 100% of the women in Gamergate are actually men with very small penises, who have mistaken themselves for women. That is why they are angry all the time.
“Because they aren't proper women I am allowed to talk down to them and call them idiots if they disagree with me.”
Reverting to his original premise, Lardon added:
“I call upon all women in Gamergate to embrace the feminine virtues of temperance and modesty of opinion, and to end their pathological self abuse.”
Gamergate supporter, Margaret Lapper - a time travelling suffragette who commutes to contemporary London from the year 1912 on stream-powered penny-farthing – said:
“Mr Lardon accosted me in the street outside St Pancras railway station in a blur of tweed, leather elbow patches and pipe smoke. He was extremely belligerent and demanded several times that I stop harassing myself. At the same time he attempted to force a placard into my hands that read: 'Down with women.'
“Fortunately I was able to take refuge in the British Library. The myriad points of view represented in the library's collection of over 14 million volumes are overwhelming for a man of Mr Lardon's dogmatic leanings, and he cannot enter without his head spontaneously combusting.”
Lardon is one of many celebrities to identify Gamergate as the earthly embodiment of pure evil.
Among the movement's chief critics is the screenwriter and director Julian Weary, whose new movie - Umberto the Robot Turns 14 – charts a young robot's development from childhood to puberty, and was painstakingly filmed over 12 years.
In a lengthy statement on Twitter, that took full advantage of the bonus characters accrued by his confirmed celebrity status, Weary said:
“Gamergate claims to be about ethics in games journalism. In fact it is a vile consortium of terrorist organisations, rogue dictatorships and hate groups, who have joined forces with the shared goal of driving women out of the video gaming industry. This includes organisations such the KKK, ISIS, and the Hitler Youth.”
Weary's statement has surprised many fans of his work. Kenyan law student, Kito Owiti, said:
“As someone who has openly supported Gamergate on the understanding that it is about raising ethical standards in games journalism, I was surprised to learn from Julian Weary that all this time I have in fact been a participating member of the KKK – a white supremacist group with a long history of racially-motivated violence. To protect myself from my own toxic racism I have, as a precautionary measure, reported myself to the police and will be seeking a restraining order against myself at the earliest opportunity."
Back in the UK, the battle to silence Gamergate has been taken up by Chesterfield Bloke – A social commentator whose 'angry man attempts to induce an early coronary by shouting at his TV' schtick has inspired copycat shows in which members of the public are filmed shouting at their TVs.
“When I was young I would spend hours cultivating a set of values based on opinions that I formed by carefully weighing up the available evidence. I used the knowledge I acquired to launch insightful satirical attacks on privileged targets, which I punctuated by gurning at the camera and blowing raspberries.
“Thankfully I can now afford to outsource this tiresome business to a consultancy firm and purchase a set of values more in keeping with the ones held by the people who finance my various TV projects. This includes my ongoing series of highbrow finger-wagging morality tales, which I write by removing the animals from Aesop's Fables and replacing them with Apple computer products and human actors.
“I have painted all the mirrors in my home black as I can no longer bear to look myself in the eye.”
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Trigger warning: The following article engages in the practice of straw-manning in order to make a broader point about the disgraceful treatment of straw men in our society.
In accordance with Mode 5's new culture of ethical disclosure, the author must entertain the possibly that he did not write the article of his own volition, but was instead manipulated into doing so by the Machiavellian puppet master - Josh McIntosh.
MODE 5 would like to dedicate the piece to The Guardian and ABC News in recognition of their continuing efforts to eliminate the insidious practice of journalism from current affairs media.
They were once the respected guardians of our rural communities. Now in a post-9/11, increasingly urbanised United States, where 90% of children under the age of 10 are unable to correctly identify a tractor*, American scarecrows are a marginalised underclass. More recently this isolated group has become the unlikely target of so-called Social Justice Warriors, who believe that they can usher in a new golden age of equality and diversity on a foundation of half truths and arbitrary cornfield beatings.
Professor Dan Cowen of Yay! University, California, who has spent over a decade living among Social Justice Communities and documenting their behaviour, says that the recent attacks have not come as a surprise:
“A common methodology within this group is the practice of straw-manning, in which a Social Justice Warrior seeks to misrepresent the views of their opponent and then directs their attack at this fabrication, while ignoring the actual argument. It was inevitable that, in some cases, the extreme fringes of social justice would escalate in their behaviour patterns and begin venting their anger on actual straw men.”
We spoke to Ellen - a self-professed Social Justice Shield Maiden, who claims to regularly participate in scarecrow beatings, which she says are empowering:
“People online are always telling me that straw men are an invention of my own demented, malformed psyche . All I can say is the scarecrow who I felt crumple under my blows last night felt pretty real. Ha, ha, ha.”
When we asked Ellen why she felt the need to attack members of the scarecrow community, she expressed a commonly-held belief among Social Justice Warriors: that scarecrows are responsible for a tide of violent and misogynist video games that exclude women and minorities.
In an attempt to establish just how pernicious the influence of scarecrows was on the videogaming industry, MODE 5 contacted a number of AAA game developers:
Running With Scissors said: “Despite our robust diversity policy and a headhunting initiative undertaken by our Human Resources Department, which to our eternal shame degenerated into actual headhunting, we have to failed to recruit a single scarecrow.”
Of the developers we spoke to, only Ubisoft employed a scarecrow, although not in a games developing role. A spokesperson for the company said:
“We currently employ a scarecrow to watch over the cornfield in Iowa, that we purchased erroneously for several thousand times its actual value, thinking that 'cornfield' was the name of a new social media platform. Actually it's just a really big cornfield. It's still pretty great though if you want some corn.”
As the number of assaults on scarecrows increases, the reverberations are being felt beyond their insular community. Mode 5 travelled to Cornerstone, Nebraska, where Conner Burden and his ten year old daughter, Marcie, are facing ruin after their scarecrow, Mr Pickles, was savagely beaten, leaving their barley crops vulnerable to attacks by birds.
“We found Mr Pickles in three pieces. Doctors expect him to make a partial recovery but it's unlikely he will ever scare crows again,” said Burden.
Mode 5 was able to speak briefly to Mr Pickles – a veteran of the Second World War who fought at Iwo Jima as part of the 12th Armoured Scarecrow Division:
“As scarecrows we are expected to stand firm and resolute, however I admit that a felt a tremor of fear as that sour-faced mob of blue haired harridans emerged from that Prius,” he said.
Pickles, who has a previous conviction for robbing a pharmacy, went on to describe how decades of stereotyping portraying scarecrows as expressionless blood-thirsty mass murderers have negatively affected public perception and made straw man beatings borderline acceptable:
“It only takes one scarecrow to slaughter a cabin of teenagers with a rusty scythe, and then do more or less exactly the same thing in the same location the following year, and then commit a string of murders in space, and then in the ghetto. It's not long before the public believes that all scarecrows are homicidal."
As the Social Justice movement gather momentum there are concerns about who or what will be their next target, with some states already recording a rise in attacks on statues.
Social Justice Warrior, Jemima Wilkes Booth, said:
“There's a statue of Abraham Lincoln in my home town, pointing in the direction of my house, literally doxing me! That shit lord didn't count on the internet research skills that I brag about endlessly on my résumé. Having typed his name into Google and found out where he worked. I wrote to his employees asking them if they were aware that one of their staff was a harasser of women and a potential rapist.”
“Last week I received a letter from the White House in Washington, informing me that Lincoln no longer works there. Chalk up another victory for social justice!”
* 90% of U.S. schoolchildren thought tractor was Blue Whale (MODE 5, March, 2012)
Sunday, 18 January 2015
Trigger Warning: The following work of satirical fiction imagines a dark alternate reality where Brianna Wu really is Batman, where Zoe Quinn is dating Bruce Wuyne, where Josh McIntosh's wish upon a star transforms Anita Sarkeesian from a blank wooden automaton into a real girl, and where Patreon doesn't get around to implementing a fair, ethical code of conduct for its users, which of course it will because of all the “super helpful” emails people keep sending to the founders of the company offering encouragement and advice on how to do just that.
Not since Captain Scott found himself locked in a fierce contest with the Norwegian 'icetronaut' - Captain Roald Amundsen - in a race to be first to the South Pole, has the world been so gripped by the outcome of a contest for dominance between two mighty warrior kings of our age.
On one side, the fantasy novelist - George 'winter is coming... eventually' Martin – moves with slow but deliberate purpose towards finishing the two remaining books in his A Song of Ice and Fire saga, which he began writing in 1809, a year after the invention of wolves.
His opponent in the race to get shit done is the upstart peddler of e-welfare – Patreon: an online service that, in the past, has allowed impoverished hipsters to whine their way to a kind of haphazard financial solvency. Patreon is now clawing a path towards respectability by implementing a long awaited code of conduct for its users; one that will close off the possibility of the service being used as a spawning point for fiendish acts of high bastardry.
At the time of writing, people who claim to be experts on this kind of thing have judged both parties to be neck and neck in a race to the finish.
Youtube blogger Cassie Amos said:
“George 'all special snowflakes are doomed to die' Martin recently translated the first novel in A Song of Ice and Fire into the language of wolves. Last week he posted a new chapter from book six in the saga – The Fretful Winds of Summersby Place – written from the point of view of Tyrion Lannister's glove as it describes another glove belonging to Daenerys Targaryen. At the end of the chapter one of the gloves is thrown into a fire, while the other is carried away by a crow and dropped in the sea. I will definitely be attending PAX this year dressed as a sexy glove.”
Despite the recent burst of progress from Martin, Patreon remain confident that they will emerge as victor in the race to finish what they started: A spokesperson for the company said:
“Our new code of ethical practice for users is currently at the calibration stage. We are currently attempting to fine-tune all the variables by applying them to one of our most disadvantaged users, in this instance a profoundly disabled man with brittle bone disease. In the interests of accuracy we are also running a control group where over-privileged users, who have very little to complain about, will be carry will allowed to carry on acting like total arseholes with complete impunity. Only by subjecting our new code of practice to these two extremes can we develop a set of rules that gathers together all our users beneath the rainbow of equality.
“To ensure that our new rules are implemented with complete impartiality, Patreon will turn over the day to day application of our ethics strategy to a pseudo A.I. This has been coded using the exciting new 'And N' programming language, designed by Nathan Grayson by accident during his slapstick attempt to insult the journalist lothario - Milo Yiannopoulos - on the internet.”
The spokesperson added:
“Winter is coming but ethics are coming first. Ride the ethics wave in the year 2093AD*”
Freelance Games Journalist, Lyle Havers, who claims to have a lover in every AAA Games Development Team from Amsterdam to Port Royale, said:
“The race between George Martin and Patreon is shaping up to be a real tortoise and the hare situation, only with two tortoises. For some fucking reason one of the tortoises has three eyes.”
*MODE 5 has been asked to point out that 2093AD is a provisional date only.
Thursday, 8 January 2015
Trigger Warning: This obvious work of satire was co-authored by a senile, second-hand PC running on an Intel Core 2 CPU, partnered to an erratic cooling fan that sounds like an anonymous heavy breather masturbating in a public phone booth. Kindly recalibrate your eyes to safe-space mode before reading.
It's a sunny morning in Santa Clara, CA. Overnight the grounds of our hotel have been over-run by pelicans. MODE 5 counts 81. A large number are engaged in an impromptu, but vigorously contested, hacky sack tournament. A gardener watering a raised flower bed outside the reception informs us that the birds are employees of the Microsoft Corporation:
“They come here roughly once a month on business, and to attend the team building seminars at the Marie Stein Foundation. They're big fish eaters. Good tippers too.”
MODE 5 has been summoned to the cutting edge 'Techquarters' of the Intel Corporation - a pseudo-sentient building installed with an environmental operating system so advanced even Stephen Hawking can't work out how to open the windows. On the taxi ride over, my driver tells me that MIT professors believe a practical solution to the ventilation problem may only become available after somebody solves the Hadamard Conjecture. In the meantime negotiations are under-way between Intel senior management and the building's air-conditioning units, of which there are over 2000, each controlled by its own A.I. Recently the air conditioners have divided themselves into three factions and are presently engaged in a bitter, religiously-motivated climate war. Upon arrival on the Intel campus I am advised not to take off my coat, or accept any propaganda leaflets that are blown in my direction.
In the chilly, 2000-person capacity 'Feels Auditorium'® (named after Benjamin Feels, the co-founder of the Emo® movement) the Head of Development Team Development, Brian Wick® is navigating a labyrinthine stage set, built to resemble the scaled-up architecture of the company's latest T-class® Icosacore Processor®. Ten minutes later, and with a waiting audience of boorish technology journalists – among them The Guardian's Jessica 'shoe on head' Havisham - growing increasingly restless, he at last locates the exit of the innovation maze®. Taking the small piece of cheese offered to him as a reward by a pair of cognitive behavioural therapists dressed in lab coats, Wicks ascends a short flight of steps to the podium. His breath condenses into a white fog as he addresses the small crowd:
“On the 25th December, 2014, Intel launched its latest T-class Icosacore Processor with the advertising slogan 'A processor so advanced it will empty your bank accounts, then fuck your life partner hard from behind, ten times faster than its closest rival.'
“This marketing strategy has drawn heavy criticism on Twitter which, according to our Head of PR, is worse than being reprimanded by God.
“We understand the misdirected anger our actions have elicited. In hindsight it was a mistake to place so much emphasis on the T-class's boundless libido and casual attitude towards obtaining and fecklessly spending other people's money. I am here today to state categorically that the T-class Icosacore Processor will not engage in sexual intercourse your significant other, nor will it attempt to rob you. Functioning genitalia and the insatiable desire to acquire money by any means necessary have been removed from the commercially available version of the processor, although the original spec will still be optional for some governments and large corporations.
“In an attempt to regain the trust and goodwill of our customers, Intel is pleased to announce the foundation of a £300 million diversity project headed-up by someone who knows a thing or two about this issue.
“I present to you the newest addition to the friendly family of American patriots we like to call 'the Intels'. Lady's and Gentlemen, please welcome Anita Sarkeesian®.”
A prim, unsmiling woman, dressed in a plaid shirt emerges from the wings to scattered applause and robotically takes up position beside the podium. Wicks pauses for a second while the audience settles, before continuing:
“Unfortunately the servomotors powering Anita's lower jaw are currently offline. She will be unable to smile or answer any of your questions...”
A few hours later MODE 5 finds itself handcuffed to Intel's Deputy Media Containment Officer, Harriet Garnes, who takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the Intelsphere. This turns out to be a 12-storey hexagonal block. The original spherical building broke free from its foundations in 2010 and rolled down the hill devastating the neighbouring Native American settlement of Wuquinn Butts (English translation: Shimmering turquoise river of the eternally butt hurt warrior buffalo).
“Anita swept through here like the 2004 tsunami cleansing our work engagement habitat of anything that she found problematic...” Garnes enthuses.
“...At one point we weren't sure whether she was pointing at a potted plant or Jerry, our Chief of Online Security and the only person who knows how the anti-virus software functions. Just to be safe we got rid of both. Now half of the computers on site redirect to a website streaming anthems praising the achievements of the North Korean leader - Kim Jong-un.”
Another employee who insists that MODE 5 calls him by his office nickname - Bradley Porter Jnr - says:
“Everyone was blown away by how Anita has outsourced critical thinking to a third party. While we were all wasting time formulating ideas and concepts into sentences she was reading them off cue cards held up by her PA - I can't recall that guy's name – Josh, I think, or maybe Jamie.”
After a buffet lunch of what are later revealed to be pelican sandwiches (“There always seem to be loads on campus so we thought we'd eat them” one of the in-house catering staff tells me) we hook up with Kyle Carsey – Director of Human Resources. Carney turns out to be as excited as the rest of the team at the prospect of Anita's appointment. He offers us a moon cup of Kool Aid from one of the 100 gallon drums that are situated at the centre of every work area. We politely decline.
“We knew Anita had good contacts in the tech and gaming socio-spheres as she often posted the personal details of these individuals online. We felt that somebody with her breadth of experience could only be an asset to Intel and we intend to make full use of her talents,” he gushes.
MODE 5: “Anita has become adept at concealing her abilities, or maybe we haven't been paying close enough attention. Can you briefly outline what they are?”
“Sure. The insights Anita gained while working alongside a registered pick-up artist will certainly come into play as we develop the dating algorithms that will form the bedrock of the Intel employee breeding program. Her previous career as a handwriting analyst will aid us in the development of the image recognition software we are creating to track down escapees from the afore-mentioned breeding program.
“And it doesn't end there: Anita's 'shut up, listen and believe' management credo, coupled with her zero tolerance approach to any form of debate, has already increased efficiency, shortening the length of meetings by up to 97%.
“Her knowledges of Japanese history, her cultural sensitivity and her soft touch diplomacy are sure to bolster our reputation is the far east.
“By writing off the entire male gender as the collective bearer of an invisible, socially corrosive malaise eating away at the foundations of human civilization, she has elegantly streamlined our diversity program by instantly dismissing around half of the global population.
I would say that the thing I like most about Anita is her professional attitude and, in particular, the way she puts to one side any personal reservations she has about her work in order to get the job done. She says that she doesn't relish the prospect of stereotyping an entire group of people, but for the greater good of diversity she'll damn well do it.”
During Carsey's monologue, MODE 5 has become aware of Maurice Moaner, Intel's Head of Financial Numeracy, hovering in our eye-line waiting for a lull in the conversation. Sensing an opportunity he now steps forward. MODE 5's attempt to shake his right hand is inadvertently thwarted by Harriet Garnes, to whom we are still securely shackled:
“Anita has a proven track record of raising venture capital that significantly exceeds the initial amount requested..." he says.
"Combine this with her ability to take very large sums of money and then invest them in an inferior, incomplete product that looks like it was made for a few dollars, and is released way behind schedule, while, at the same time, maintaining the goodwill of her investors, and you have a paradigm-changing business model. We predict that by embracing Sarkeesian economic theory, Intel can probably get away with issuing one new processor every two decades. I can promise you now that when that processor eventually appears on the market it will be a sub-standard design that will bring nothing but ruin and misery upon all who purchase it.”
As MODE 5 prepares to depart the Intel campus we spy Anita and her PA – Jonah? leaving the Intelsphere via a fire exit, trailing long sections of buckled copper wiring and attached plasterboard behind them.
As we await the arrival of a solar-powered taxi, their battered pick-up truck draws up alongside. Jason? - the PA - leans out through the driver window and asks MODE 5 if we know a place where they serve cocktails in jam jars.
We plead ignorance and they pull away. As the truck slows on the approach to a gentle downhill bend the brake lights briefly illuminate a 'Fuck the patriarchy' bumper sticker.