Recently, GamerGate’s ultimate nemesis, Anita Sarkeesian, was placed on Time’s list of The 100 Most Influential People. To commemorate her appointment on this largely useless list, former child actor Wil Wheaton, known mostly for his oft-reviled role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, wrote a shill piece about Ms. Sarkeesian. As could largely be expected from such a shill, the piece was light on facts and heavy on hyperbole. In fact, saying the piece is light on facts is a bit of an exaggeration, as the essay is almost completely devoid of anything resembling facts.
Breaking down the short essay word by word isn’t necessary, but we’ll pinpoint the three main lies strewn throughout it.
Lie #1: Anita Sarkeesian Is A Gamer
To find the first lie, you don’t have to go very far at all. The short essay roars to life with this bit of revisionist history right in the very first sentence:
Anita Sarkeesian has played video games her whole life.
Is this actually true? There is no better way to find this out than to go directly to the source. Let’s hear it directly from Ms. Sarkeesian herself:
Note specifically in this clip about how she mentions she “would love to play video games.” How exactly does this jive with her being a gamer her whole life? Answer: it doesn’t. Anyone who is a native speaker of English knows that using the modal verb “would” to describe an action, and then followed by the conjugation “but” indicates that the person not only doesn’t participate in this action, but most likely never will (second conditional, for you English geeks).
Furthermore, any actual gamer knows that only a certain subset of games involve “shooting people and ripping off their heads.” Even the old lady whose sole gaming habit is playing Candy Crush Saga on her newfangled smartphone can tell you that. It’s not hard for most people to tell just from these few words that Anita just isn’t a gamer. So clearly, either Mr. Wheaton or Ms. Sarkeesian is lying. I think we can guess who in this case.
Lie #2: Her Kickstarter Page Was Flagged For Terrorism
A little further down in the essay, good ol’ Wil lists off the typical allegations that Ms. Sarkeesian has levied against GamerGate followers over the last few months:
But she also became the target of vicious, misogynist harassment that included death and rape threats, pornographic vandalism of her Wikipedia page and a coordinated effort to have her Kickstarter flagged as terrorism.
Wait a minute. How can a Kickstarter page be flagged for terrorism? With this being a rather bizarre allegation, further research is necessary. Doing a search for “Anita Sarkeesian Kickstarter Terrorism” doesn’t yield any news reports or articles detailing such a thing, other than from sites that quote from the essay in question. So, where did this allegation come from?
A few hits show a missive within one of the many shill pieces written about Ms. Sarkeesian’s adventures with “terrorist threats”, including one article from some unknown website, which will not be linked to in this article. Instead, view the short blurb in the image below.
Clearly, this lists her YouTube videos being marked for terrorism, not her Kickstarter page. In fact, is it actually possible to flag a Kickstarter page for terrorism? A thorough look through Kickstarter’s Rules and Community Guidelines mentions nothing about terrorism, nor is there any option to flag a Kickstarter project for terrorism in the “Report this project to Kickstarter” link at the bottom of every project page.
Granted, it’s possible that Will may just be confused rather than outright lying. But, surely someone such as Mr. Wheaton would know that getting your facts straight is important if you plan on voicing your opinions loudly. Again, all we are seeing is hyperbole instead of facts.
Lie #3: She Wanted to Have a Conversation about Women in Games
Just below the last text quoted in this article, we have one more lie thrown in, just for good measure:
“All of this because she wanted to have a conversation about the way women are portrayed in video games.”
It would be nice to assume that Mr. Wheaton is aware of the definition of the word conversation. Just in case he isn’t, let’s show him the actual definition of the word, courtesy of Merriam-Webster.
As we can see here, a conversation is something that involves two or more people. Ms. Sarkeesian has definitely been talking, but she’s only interested in hearing her own voice. She offers no alternate viewpoints in her video series, is quick to block people on Twitter who voice opinions contrary to her own, and has even disabled all comments on her YouTube videos. What she is doing is giving a lecture, not participating in a conversation.
Getting The Facts Straight
It is unknown whether Time Magazine reached out to Mr. Wheaton or vice-versa in regards to writing a fawning shill piece on Ms. Sarkeesian. However, both entities should be aware that facts are important if people are to take their words seriously. Again, this demonstrates a clear failing when it comes to the mainstream media and SJWs in putting their heroes on a pedestal and shouting their message.