Angry Robot


Here’s Leigh Alexander’s vitriolic, already-seminal piece on Gamergate. She argues that Gamergate is the death spasm of “gamer”, the identity based around games, which is becoming obsolete in an era when everybody plays games.

“Gamer” isn’t just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Gamers are over. That’s why they’re so mad.

And here is an interview with Mikael Colville-Andersen, head of Copenhagenize, a bike-related urban design company and associated weblog. This passage is interesting:

The cycling sub-cultures are a hurdle to mainstreaming bicycle culture, even though that may sound counter-intuitive. The nature of sub-cultures is insular. They are not often keen to see their beloved hobby/activity become mainstream. Much bicycle advocacy in North America is done by the “avid” cyclists. They have a sense of ownership over all things bicycle. They don’t, however, realize that the 99% doesn’t want what they want. They don’t want over-complication with gear and fancy bicycles. People – Citizen Cyclists I call them – just want to be able to ride a bicycle safely and conveniently.

Having avid cyclists doing the talking about bicycles is like having race walkers doing the talking about pedestrian-friendly cities. It doesn’t work. It’s two different things.

The parallel is striking, and weird.

Ultimately, if you think about telling hobbyist cyclists that they “drank the kool aid” and are “angry young men” who should “grow up” because “traditional [biking] is sloughing off, culturally and economically, like the carapace of a bug,” it seems waaaay over-the-top. These are just a bunch of dudes who enjoy riding around with their friends, really fast! You would want to say something much less threatening, like “you guys are right, biking is awesome! While we value your advocacy, we also need to hear from other bikers, people who may not share your point of view exactly, and in fact those people already outnumber you. But this doesn’t mean you have to have to change anything – keep doing what you’re doing!”

It’s a shame that the Gamergate thing has already gotten so out of hand that such dialogue seems impossible. I guess that’s what happens when the death treats start.