‘…It’s such a weak society. It’s so sad how weak and pathetic everybody is. Everyone is trying to make this about feminism. This isn’t about feminism. This is about greed. This is about a bad idea. This is about an algorithm movie where they’re just taking another movie that was awesome and beloved and they’re just repeating the same beats in this movie. And I don’t care…
… it does look terrible…
… quit ripping off the original and do something of your fucking own…
… this is just written by a bunch of people with pie graphs…
… it’s about greed, it’s not about feminism… a bad idea from a bunch of corporate assholes…’
Anthony McGlynn (@AntoMcG) repeats claims made by David Sims (@davidlsim) of The Atlantic and Devin Faraci (@devincf) of BirthMoviesDeath. The claim being that James Rolfe’s video is sexist; simply for stating he has no intention of seeing “Ghostbusters 2016”. For context, for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, here’s the video their claims address.
This journalist backlash against the Angry Video Game Nerd demonstrates conclusively that journalists will invent a sexism moral panic narrative from nothing. Their reaction to the Nerd’s “Ghostbusters” comments show an ever-growing disparity between what journalists report about geek audiences, and what geek audiences actually say. So if any journalist disagrees with me. Then I have one challenge, one simple question for you.
What were the actual words that came out of James Rolfe’s mouth that you found to be sexist?
For my research, I’ve examined 23 articles that have covered James Rolfe’s “Ghostbusters” comments. Sixteen of these articles make points regarding a connection between general “Ghostbusters” criticism and sexism. Thirteen of these have directly made a claim that Rolfe’s criticisms have a basis in sexism (a couple of these are worded sarcastically, although they are, in my opinion, still direct. And I have included a pastebin link of all articles examined, including quotes, so you can judge for yourself). And the hard fact is that only one article from the group of articles which I examined defended Rolfe. So if you can show I have made a mistake in my research, then feel free to point my error (s). So that I can correct and update this article.
Nevertheless, none of these articles are able to provide a specific quote from James Rolfe’s “Ghostbusters” comments that they believe to be sexist. These outlets are also lacking any serious audience research in their audience character judgments.
Nick Patch (@ByNickPatch) for the Toronto Star framing gender as the basis of criticism without providing a specific quote.
Keith Phipps (article excerpt below, can be contacted at @kphipps3000) takes the position that the simple act of objecting to the film opens the door for ‘soft sexism’. The actual nature of the objections seems to be irrelevant.
The Daily Beast also refers to Devin Faraci’s ‘soft sexism’ article. Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) makes a point regarding unconscious prejudices and ties this to misogyny around “Ghostbusters” criticism, but fails to provide any quote from James Rolfe to demonstrate this.
You’ll notice a specific pattern in Faraci’s article and laced throughout these multiple outlets.
They reject Rolfe’s stated reasons for choosing not to view the film.
They have decided that Rolfe has a secret, ulterior reason for choosing not to see the film.
They have decided that this secret reason is sexism.
They cannot provide a quote from Rolfe to meet their burden of proof. It’s pure argument from Ignorance. James Rolfe has been accused of a thought crime, and his accusers cannot even describe how this thought crime manifests. What’s more, in each of these articles, this accusation of thought crime is a deliberate generalization of “Ghostbusters “(2016) criticism.
Faraci completely fails to describe how he comes to his conclusion of sexism. Prior to this paragraph, he was on a tangent, talking about trans people and bathrooms. It’s a subject that has nothing to do with the words that came out of James Rolfe’s mouth. So, how did Faraci come to the conclusion that Rolfe was being sexist?
This set of journalists have such wide definitions of what constitutes sexism that any criticism of “Ghostbusters” (2016) can be viewed as sexism. When dealing with an inherently subjective art form like films, the goal posts they have set are not reasonable in any sense. Simply put, people are not obligated to support films which they think look like shit, no matter the gender of the cast.
So, what are the specific formation of words that came out of Rolfe’s mouth that Faraci finds to be sexist?
Faraci fails to meet even the simplest burden of proof. And when you label a person sexist, or label what they say as sexist, as a journalist you have a responsibility to back this up. I will not widen the goal posts as these journalists have. Rather, I will hold them to a rigid, reasonable standard of evidence. They do not soften their burden by calling Rolfe’s criticisms ‘soft sexism’.
Faraci refers to Rolfe’s position – not wishing to see this big-budget film – as dangerous. He refers to things unsaid, things under the surface, and sexism that ‘quietly lives inside us’.
I remember a Tracie Harris video with an incredibly apt metaphor for Faraci’s fallacy. It’s as though Faraci has an empty jar, and is telling us the jar is full of sexism, but he cannot describe how it manifests in a way. We can see or hear or measure in any way. The sexism is an innate, unseen, unsaid trait of the empty jar. That’s his argument. Following this metaphor, what Faraci describes as sexism is the same as describing nothing. He’s inventing sexism from nothing.
Faraci is claiming clairvoyance into the unconscious thoughts of others. His argument does not get beyond the fact that Rolfe does not want to watch “Ghostbusters” (2016). That Faraci’s article has been cited by others in a media led attack against Rolfe is demonstrative of their failure. Their position has no basis in reason. This helps to explain the disparity between what these outlets report about audiences, and what the audiences are actually saying. If Rolfe’s criticisms are sexist, anyone’s criticisms are sexist. These outlets will be as ungenerous as possible in their interpretation of “Ghostbusters” criticism. They will accuse you of being a witch.
It’s also worth noting that the same outlets citing Faraci did not cite his personal attacks against James Rolfe.
These outlets do not represent geek audiences.
TotalBiscuit also said in a separate comment that you can’t reason people out of a position, they did not reason themselves into. He says not to bother arguing with the people who make these empty claims. Nevertheless, I think it is useful to document such a clear-cut case of media faking moral panic. So by challenging this narrative, not only do we challenge these journalists, but we also help to inform other people that this is happening. And by doing so, we can speak to the future. And I believe people will look back and examine today’s media driven moral panics, in the same way that we looked back on the moral panics of the past and see them for what they are today.
This is my message: Today’s media, movie critics, bloggers, video game journalists – they abuse their positions by acting like Orwellian thought police, chastising people with accusations of thought crime and attacking hobbyists for the most innocuous of positions. Their work is poorly reasoned, with little to no research, constantly making character judgments and generalizations about audiences and enthusiasts with no sign that they’re actually listening to the people they make judgments about. Let’s take audience research, for example.
Many of the articles that make these sexism claims do a poor job of providing examples of what they’re even referring to, if they provide examples at all. Examining comments sections – looking at what are the sorts of comments to float to the top with a high number of likes, or the articles that receive backlashes in comments (when they even allow comments), this is a valid approach to audience research. Sexism, bigotry, trolling, these things exist, but they do not float to the top. They are the vast minority, and we cannot trust these outlets to report with an accurate sense of proportion regarding those comments. Reasoned arguments, good-natured banter, and witty burns against hacks, these are the comments that float to the top.
It’s the marketplace of ideas in action, and it shows that people outside of their echo-chambers are not buying the snake oil. When these outlets take the position that Rolfe’s comments are sexist, we cannot trust these outlets when they tell us that general criticism of “Ghosbusters” 2016 is sexist. When the goal post is ‘you don’t want to see the movie, therefore, you’re sexist’, they’ve lost the argument.
Maybe a backlash against something you subjectively don’t see the issue with doesn’t make sense to you. Does Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice deserves to be rated lower than Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” on RottenTomatoes? Maybe, maybe not. So, why the backlash? Why is The Room rated higher? The hype machine around BvS leading to disappointment, the ‘it’s so bad it’s good’ factor of The Room – there’s a hundred reasons you could conceivably come up with before ever considering bigotry as the reason.
Faraci and the rest of these hacks are bleeding themselves to death on Occam’s Razor. They cannot accept Rolfe’s stated reasons. Therefore, there has to be more to it. Therefore, it’s sexism. Is that really the simplest assumption? Or is the simpler assumption that Rolfe just doesn’t like the look of the film, and means what he says when he says ‘it’s a shameless attempt to bank on the name’?
So, one more time – this is my open challenge to any hack journalist who wants to attack the Nerd and claim sexism:
What were the actual words that came out of James Rolfe’s mouth that you found to be sexist?
Bonus challenge: If you wish to write another ‘Ghostbusters 2016 haters are sexists’ article,. Then instead of making the Nerd your target, make Comic Book Girl 19 your target instead. They never would, of course. To do that would be to undermine the premise of their argument.
I have a confession to make, at the risk of seeming hyperbolic. These people have bullshitted and engendered such ill-will to such a degree that I do consider them, and the others who push false moral panics, to be my enemy.
So if you have the time and the inclination, and if you agree with the message of this article. Then I’d like you to take a minute to contact these hacks. As it is your right to voice your dissent against publicly stated opinions, especially against journalists who are full of shit. Let them know they don’t speak for you. Send this article to them, and tell them about my challenge, if you wish.
However, if you do reach out to these so called “journalists”. Then the predictable reaction is that they will most likely block you, because they are intellectual cowards. It’s fun to watch them retreat into an ever shrinking echo-chamber, and record that they’re doing it for all to see. I’ve written this as a follow-up to my previous article in which I addressed incredibly personal attacks from the media against James Rolfe.
***Second opinion by Robin Ek***
I´ve read Ken´s review of “Ghostbusters 2016” and I have just read through KaineDamo´s OP post (the one that you got in front of your eyes right now). So this would be my take on the matter of the “Ghostbusters 2016”, and all the drama that has followed it around since June last year (2015). And right off the bat, I think it´s safe to say that Paul Feig has slaughtered the Ghostbusters IP.
Ghostbusters 2016, or “Drama 2016” the movie?
And I´m not just talking about the low grades, user ratings and the fact that “Ghostbusters 2016” had a +140 million USD budget. And that Paul Feig himself even stated that the movie needed to collect at least 500 million USD worldwide (as anything else would be nothing but a big box office disaster, but the movie hasn´t even made 80 million USD so far). No, I´m also talking about the fact that the movie has been a huge disaster from the very beginning to the end. In the matter of fact, I have never experienced such a PR and drama nightmare in the world of movies before (and I´ve been around since the mid 80s).
And truth be told, if you take away all the Internet drama, the hostile marketing and the fact that the movie uses the “Ghostbusters” name (in my oppinion, the movie should have been called something else. However, Paul Feig tried to cash-in on a famous IP instead…). Then no one would even remember the movie at all. And quite frankly, the drama surrounding the movie is bigger than the movie itself. And it´s been like that since the very first trailer dropped on the market (and even before that). On a personal level though, I´ve been a big fan of the “Ghostbusters” franchise since the early 90s. So I (like everyone else, including AVGN) have been waiting for a “Ghostbusters 3” to happen since 1990 (AVGN was right about “Ghostbusters: The Video Game”, because that game is as close as we will ever get to a GB3). And that´s over 26 years ago.
So once I heard about Paul Feig´s “Ghostbusters” movie (this would be around June sometime last year), I just thought the following things for myself:
1. Who the hell is Paul Feig? (I had no clue who he was at the time).
2. Why is Feig turning the new “Ghostbusters” movie into a gender politics, anti-male and feminazi agenda chick flick?
3. This isn´t the “Ghostbusters” movie that I´ve been waiting over 2o years to see…
And from that moment to the day that Sony Pictures Entertainment dropped the “Ghostbusters 2016” trailer (which they did on the 3rd of March this year), I just started to get a lot of bad vibes about the movie. And those vibes got worse for each day that went by. I simply didn´t buy into the movie that Paul Feig was trying to pitch to me (us, the “Ghostbusters” fans). And when I watched the very first trailer for “Ghostbusters 2016” I pretty much lost my faith in the movie completely.
Please go and see “Ghostbusters 2016, or else you´re a sexist bastard!
So if we jump forward to today´s date, then I can just conclude that I have been right about the “Ghostbusters 2016” movie all along. And when the shit hit the fan (the user ratings, low box office numbers and so on), Paul Feig started to blame the movie´s failure on everything but himself (Feig even tried to pin down his own failure on GamerGate). And then we have all the “please support the Ghostbusters” articles, posts and whatnot (most of them sounded very desperate, in my opinion), like The Cut´s Anna Silman “Seeing Ghostbusters on Opening Weekend Could Actually Help Fix Hollywood Sexism” article, for example.
You know, there is something called “freedom of choice” and “capitalism”. And people like to vote with their wallets, and that´s the way it´s been since the dawn of time (pretty much). So I just find Buzzfeed´s and The Cut´s articles to be pure nonsense. Simply put, people won´t invest their time and money into stuff that´s crap in their eyes.
Sony is having thoughts on making more movies based on “Ghostbusters”
And that´s something which what makes me scratch my head, because to the most of us it´s quite obvious that “Ghostbusters 2016” has become a box office failure (the movie didn´t click at all with the fans). However, none of that seems to bother Sony all that much. Becauseeven though the movie is nowhere near Paul Feig´s 500 million USD milestone (it´s said that the movie needs to earn 400 million USD to break even), and although most people didn´t like the movie. Sony is still having plans on making yet another “Ghostbusters” movie (there might even be more than just ONE new “Ghostbusters” movie). And that makes zero to no sense to me, as it would be like throwing yet another +140 million USD into the sea.
Leslie Jones Vs racism and Milo´s perma ban on Twitter
And then we got the part about Leslie Jones and her fight with “racist” trolls and Milo´s perma ban on Twitter. Well, for starter. From what I´ve seen and heard, it all started with Milo´s review of “Ghostbusters 2016”. And then he teased Jones a bit about it on Twitter. And everything just went downhill from there. And in the aftermath due to Milo´s review and his tweets towards Jones, Milo got banned from Twitter (something of which Milo addressed when spoke with CNBC two days ago). And before I jump into that matter, I just want to make it perfectly clear that I don´t approve of death treats, racist slurs and stuff like that. However, I don´t know how many of Jones hate and racist tweets that were legit. Nor if the rumors about Jones being deployed on Twitter in-order to play out the victim card are true.
I do know one thing for a fact though, Leslie Jones did violate Twitter´s own rules on targeted abuse (Jones told her followers to attack critics), and she even admitted it herself.
And not only that, Leslie Jones said quite a lot of horrible things to people on Twitter as well. In the matter of fact, some of it was far worse than anything that Milo said. Even so, we all know who Twitter chose to give the red card to…I also thought about another thing while reading up on Leslie Jones and her Twitter battle against her trolls. And that would be a really old tweet by Tyler, The Creator:
“Hahahahahahahaha How The Fuck Is Cyber Bullying Real Hahahaha Nigga Just Walk Away From The Screen Like Nigga Close Your Eyes Haha” – Tyler, The Creator
And I think Tyler is right. Besides, Milo (and myself) gets tons of mean tweets, threats and whatnot as well. So I don´t really see the difference between Jones situation on Twitter and Milo´s? I mean, both are celebrities and public figures. And sadly enough, that means that you will have to deal with stuff like that (on one level or another).
I also have this feeling that Paul Feig pick an all female “Ghostbusters” crew so that he could use them as a shield against any future potential criticism. Because anyone who would dare to say anything negative about his movie, would automatically be labeled as a “sexist”, “misogynist” and whatnot (AVGN is a perfect example of this, because when he chose not to watch and review “Ghostbusters 2016”. And he got slammed hard for it). Another thought also struck me while I was writing this text. I bet that Feig knew very early on that his movie would turn out rather badly. And that would explain why tried everything he could to piss the Ghostbusters audience off, and then reflect that anger onto the female stars of the movie (the victim card in the making).
Well, here´s the hard truth. “if” the “Ghostbusters 2016” movie had starred an all-male crew. Then AVGN wouldn´t have been slammed for not wanting to review the movie. Milo would still be around on Twitter and no one would talk about “sexism“, “misogyny” or Internet harassments. No, everyone would instead talk about how badly the movie turned out. Then people would try to find out who´s to blame for the disaster called “Ghostbusters 2016”. So in my opinion, Paul Feig is hiding behind Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones. And letting them take all the heat for his mediocre creation.
Ghostbusters 2016 ratings and scores (2016-07-22):
AUDIENCE SCORE: 57%
Average Rating: 6.5/10
Reviews Counted: 250
User rating: 5.3/10 (+41,000 votes)
User score: 2.6/10 (the score is based on almost 1,000 ratings)
And with all of this fresh in my mind, I can actually just think of one positive thing in the aftermath of the “Ghostbusters 2016” movie. And that would be the fact that some of the Millennials “might” check out the old “Ghostbusters” movies, cartoons and games, but other than that. I can´t really think of any more positive aspects to point out in the case with Paul Feig´s “Ghostbusters 2016” movie. So I can´t honestly say that I´m all that excited over the thought of yet another “Ghostbusters” movie (at least not if Feig has anything to do with it).
And with that said, what´s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos #FreeMilo | Mike Cernovich and Stefan Molyneux
Leslie Jones on Twitter
Men Vs women rating
GamerGate’s war against Ghostbusters and Leslie Jones
Box-Office Analysis: Why the ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot May Haunt Sony
Ghostbusters’ Leslie Jones SLAMS ‘sick’ racist trolls
If You Care About Hollywood Sexism, Go See Ghostbusters on Opening Weekend
Leslie Jones Critics Are ‘Obese’ KKK Republican Voters
Robin Ek – Editor and Co-writer
I’m a massive fan of the Angry Video Game Nerd, and have been for years. And this is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
This post has been re-published with the permission of KaineDamo (@KaineDamo, on Twitter).
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