Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"Diversity", The New Century's "Buy American"

Matt Schlicht, whom I had never previously encountered, has produced an essay so tendentious, dumb, and shot through with clickbait-y culture war victimhood, I just about couldn't help myself. Apparently some girls got together to girl power their way into the virtual reality world with an apparently retronymed organization called SH//FT (Shaping Holistic Inclusion in Future Technology).

Anyone following along with the noisome row that is Gamergate should anticipate what's coming, and that is an immediate hoisting of the victim flag. Schlicht does not surprise in that regard, starting with his title, "She Posted Online And Immediately Men Everywhere Told Her To Shut Up". Cherry-picking a few quotes from obvious jackasses, the author spends a great deal of time bypassing other Facebook comments such as...
 ... and ...
... and ...

And this is among just the top handful on the Facebook thread. This leaves the impression that the author's subtext is to silence any criticism of this fairly naked attempt to shame virtual reality companies into creating diversity bureaucracies that have nothing to do with the creation of good games, i.e. it is yet another spear tip for "commercial feminism".

Along the way we learn that a go-go dancer at a Microsoft company party must go (only one!), and that even mentioning sexual uses for VR is the same thing as saying women are only good for one thing:
Schlicht's Victorian reaction to Virtanen's comment is actually pretty sad, because porn has had a great deal to say about the rise of the commercial Internet (sorry, AP, I'm not giving up my capital-I). By rejecting such applications, they're putting themselves at a significant disadvantage.

In the end, the customers — some of whom, presumably, include the commenters above — are concerned about one question and one question only: is this an interesting, fun game? But Schlicht, Helen Situ, Jenn Duong, Julie Young, and all their other numerous minions and henchwomen are more concerned with who makes games, rather than the games themselves. This represents the reverse of everything the civil rights revolution of the 1960's fought for, demanding equal outcomes rather than equal opportunity. It also hearkens back to a 1970's slogan from the bad, old era when "planned obsolescence" hit its peak: "buy American". That is, we were supposed to care as much about who built cars (Americans) as how well they fit our needs. In the end, people will buy things they like, identity of the team be damned. A market with real choices will ultimately crush a credentialist Silicon Valley 2.0.

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