Literate Twitter found the perfect analogy to shatter the shady rhetoric of #Gamergate (“it’s not about misogyny, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism!”), once and for all. #Readergate seems to have started on Wednesday by writer Tauriq Moosa and friends after a recent essay in the Daily Beast on harassment and is spreading rapidly. The joke involves taking the most common, petulant arguments from the #Gamergate “movement” and applying them to books and authors. #Readergate tweets might fly over the heads of many #Gamergate defenders, but to anyone who reads, they handily illustrate the point that insisting a genre of art or entertainment be untouchable by cultural criticism is patently absurd. The brazen misogyny in many of those arguments becomes obvious when applied to books, too. Most important, the jokes are great.
Books have been around for long enough that the tradition of literary criticism has grown beyond the simple consumer review, and as a culture, we’re better off for it. Video games, like all forms of entertainment, are not created or consumed in a cultural void. but #Gamergate defenders who would love to pretend that they exist in some pure state unaffected by history and culture have lashed out with violent threats against critics, especially women, who suggest otherwise.
#Readergate asks us to imagine literary criticism in that void — focused solely on the facts of the book, not the content.
REVIEWERS! ALL WE WANT TO KNOW > BOOK LENGTH > WHAT IS BOOK > HOW DO PAGES FEEL > HOW MANY WORDS > WHAT ARE WORDS > WHATS A BOOK #readergate
— Tauriq Moosa (@tauriqmoosa) November 6, 2014
And any attempt to analyze the content beyond “was it fun to read?” is a feminist SJW plot to hijack gaming for their own twisted cultural agendas:
Why does Frankenstein have to be about so-called 'embattled bodies'? #readergate trolls won't let monsters just be monsters!
— Joseph Koivisto (@Joseph_Koivisto) November 7, 2014
American psycho has nothing to do with the hollowness of materialism its about a cool guy that kills people #readergate
— Elijah craan (@BasedElijahC) November 7, 2014
Because, after all, women writers and readers are dilettante “casuals” whose concerns and work shouldn’t be taken seriously:
But nefarious connections between authors and journalists (it’s about ethics in literary criticism!) definitely should:
Especially women authors:
JANE AUSTEN SLEPT WITH ALL THE BOOK BLOGGERS AND THAT'S WHY THEY GIVE HER FAVORABLE REVIEWS #readergate
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) November 6, 2014
But it’s not about harassing women!
There's no reason for all of Jane Austen's protagonists to be females, it's just tokenism #ReaderGate
— prize bull octorok (@BullOctorok) November 7, 2014
It’s about exposing a vast left-wing conspiracy that could destroy literature forever: