Scapegoats are not supposed to bite back. Yet across America, and even the globe, the corrupt media is feeling the teeth of tech geeks, fans of science fiction, comic book fanatics, and yes, especially those who play video games. Like yipping chihuahuas caught in the jaws of a newly awakened and enraged Great Dane, the uninformed peddlers of clickbait and alarmism are seeing their stalls overturned as the marketplace of ideas is flooded by the fiery brook of truth.
Gollum-like, the media shrinks from the rays of disinfecting sunlight, stunned by the fact that there is no falling back on their usual trick of shoving whatever unpopular yet successful minority they can find into the nearest locker. Battle after battle has been won, and now victory in a wider, years-long war is finally in the grasp of a class awakened to their own power and pushed, as a result, into the waiting arms of a rejuvenated right.
Since I wrote about the advent of the #WaronNerds last November, at the height of #Gamergate, many developments have taken place. The embers of #Gamergate itself have cooled (though their flinty resolve can still strike out generous fire), but their resilience has brought about a far greater level of resistance against what just a year ago looked depressingly like a bloodless conquest of the culture. Whether it was from their vanguard at Gawker Media, or their rearguard in the fever swamps of Tumblr, the cry rose from an internet commentary class possessed by the zeal of moral puritanism that like it or not, history was on their side, and if you opposed them, they would bury you.
Their demands were as unreasonable as they were unwarranted and uninformed. “Make comic books less sexist,” they cried, even though the alleged “sexism” was merely portraying women in the poses that their male counterparts previously occupied. “Stop treating women in video games as disposable,” they shrieked, never bothering to notice that countless more men were slaughtered in games than women, or even bothering to check the validity of their examples. “Nerdy men feel entitled to our bodies,” they moaned, while openly sniggering about their desire to transform their most clueless admires into sexually indentured serfs. The whole thing stank of revenge by the least intelligent, least skilled, most bitter ex-Plastics to try and use the culture to reassert their dominance. If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then these people went out of their way to prove that social justice is the last refuge of bullies and cowards.
But real life is not high school, and now the worm has turned. Like clockwork, nearly every alleged “victim” put forward with oozing crocodile tears by these journalistic reptiles has been discredited. Their narrative that sexism dominates Silicon Valley has been crushed under a judge’s gavel. Their claim that depraved captains of tech exploit rape culture to ravish the vulnerable appear to have been exposed as rank opportunism at best. Their allegations that rape has swept America’s college campuses now look like the fabrications of pathological liars and jealous exes. The allegedly “sexist” and “violent” #Gamergate has braved a bomb threat without incident, while its media critics have either been fired, lost millions of dollars for alienating their core audience, or have simply revealed their extremism too publicly to be taken seriously. An army of science fiction fans determined to see merit returned to the criteria used for awarding the prestigious Hugo Awards have stormed the leftist bastille that is Worldcon and reduced their opponents to (ironically) suddenly discovering that an uncritically “inclusive” space might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
And if that wasn’t enough, this week, the Society of Professional Journalists has agreed to hear the case made by #Gamergate supporters that the entire field of gaming journalism has been turned into a hotbed of cronyism and ideologically motivated deceit. This mark of legitimacy was sensibly conferred after a particularly conscientious member of the SPJ quite reasonably pointed out that an accusation of unethical behavior deserves a hearing, no matter how unfashionable its exponents. Whoever #Gamergate fields, it seems very likely that they will have more than a sufficient case to make, and will most likely be able to tear the “you just hate women” ad hominem figleaves from the diseased underbelly of their opponents.
How did this happen? The answer is long and complicated, but to put it simply, no person with a knowledge of political history should ever bet against the nerds. For all the sneers of the New York Times and their fashionable partners in the media elite about the “hyper-whiteness” of the nerd identity, the fact is that those forged in the crucible of anti-intellectual injustice simply will not break. Alex Jones is wrong about almost everything, but he is right to label nerds “the most dangerous people in this country, because they end up running things.” And indeed, today more than ever, to be an intelligent, creative, free-thinker is to be the type of person who ends up on top of the heap.
The latter-day Carrie Nations opposing them should have seen this coming. When comic books were first labeled dangerous, nerds spearheaded their rush to acceptance and broke the censors. When role-playing games were vilified by histrionic, uneducated mothers looking for scapegoats to cover their own lack of parenting, it was nerds who blew the whistle on their ignorance and fraud. The United States was founded by its most highly educated, and the same class built the progressive era in the early 20th century before undoing it in the 80’s through finance, and then ushering in the information age through computers. They put a man on the moon, Silicon Valley on the map, and the world on the internet. You have to get up very early to put one over on an intellectual elite, and it’s dubious whether those who have tried to do so this time ever stop hiding from imaginary triggers in their beds. Small wonder they are losing so badly.
It is not just America where this is happening. Globally, the left is in retreat. David Cameron has crushed the lisping avatar of contentless teenage angst known as Ed Miliband, while Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen out his enemies with the cold reality of geopolitics. Soon, the only place that is left (in both senses) will be your average college campus, and it won’t be long before men like Peter Thiel snatch all their prospectively wealthy students away to innovate, leaving only the army of baristas and mental hypochondriacs that populate the various “Studies” departments. And the more the media caters to them, the more irrelevant it will be.
The War on Nerds is not won, but it has turned. And based on its current trajectory, it may soon not even be a war, but a rout. And when that happens, perhaps we will be free of the taint of Social Justice Warriors, and instead only have to put up with the pathetic spectacle of Social Justice War reenactors.