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beverlynoelle avatar 4:36 PM on 02.22.2011  (server time)
Sterling: Pitchford tells feminist organizations to CRY MOAR over Duke

Note: This is a response to the recent front page news article, "Pitchford: Feminist organizations welcome to attack Duke" by Jim Sterling. It is not an examination of his past pieces or stances; honestly, I really don't want to draw any more attention to them. No, for the sake of this post, I am going to take this recent front-page news post and judge it on its own merits (or lack thereof). And yes, I understand how silly it seems to write about this on the very site that employs Jim Sterling--but what better place to post it, really? Now, onward, and bring on the trolls!

Recently, a front-page news article caught my attention: "Pichford: Feminist organizations welcome to attack Duke." Oh man, Randy Pitchford making a statement telling feminist organizations to bring it on for the unapologetic over-the-top chauvinism of Duke Nukem Forever? Scandalous! Juicy! I had to read it!

Imagine my surprise and disappointment to find a very limited snippet of Pitchford's quote (from an interview with Eurogamer) in what appeared to be a platform piece for the articles' author, Jim Sterling, to spout his own views on feminism and misogyny.

Most of the time, this wouldn't phase me. I'm used to many different opinions on feminism, and even if I don't agree with them, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man. So the fact that Jim Sterling has his own ideas about feminism and misogyny is not surprising; what is surprising, however, is his manipulation of Pitchford's quote to further his own agenda.

Part of the issue is grabbing on to Eurogamer's misleading headline ("Duke: Pitchford welcomes feminist anger") and expanding on it. While the original Eurogamer article doesn't insert the author's own opinion much (except for that attention-grabbing title), Jim Sterling certainly does.

Jim Sterling's affection for hyperbole is part of what makes his posts so outrageous and enjoyable to read; however, in situations such as this it can be downright harmful. By downplaying the whole "Dickwolves" fiasco in his post as "some people throwing a hissy fit" (when Gabe himself even said messages to him were from "... people being very reasonable"), he already sets the stage to put a negative spin on Pitchford's interview.

When Pitchford makes statements such as "I'll tell you what, if some feminist organization that is doing a great job advocating women's rights worldwide, which I think is really important, can get some advantage by using Duke... go for it," it's not a challenge for feminist organizations to "attack" him or the game, which is what Sterling's article seems to be suggesting; rather, Pitchford seems like he actually wants feminist organizations to use the game if it can help further the cause of equal rights. To this end he talks about the subject of inequality for several paragraphs in the Eurogamer interview:

"... the fact is there are people in this world who get s*** on for no other reason than just their identity, the color of their skin, where they were born, their gender, and that's f***ing bullshit.

"Now, because of the unfairness in the world, sometimes people get... you know, organizations grow up and they become advocates for those issues, and there's some very legitimate and worthwhile organizations that are promoting everything from women's rights to gay rights to racial equality and religious tolerance, which are all really important things for our world.

"Now, sometimes, an organization that has an agenda and is interested in promoting that, especially when they're legitimate, worthwhile agendas, they need to find ways to get attention and to help people understand the problem."

Based on this interview, at least, Pitchford seems to understand that this game can be used in a way to promote equality and bring attention to serious issues, which is why he welcomes feminist organizations to take a look at it. It doesn't have an air of "haters gon hate" like Sterling claims--or perhaps he is just hearing what he wants to hear, to justify his own misguided stance on feminism?

Sterling is right in the sense that terms like "misogynistic" can be thrown about carelessly, which may desensitize people to actual misogyny (a "boy who cried wolf" scenario). Indeed, "an insidious exploitation of emotionally-charged labels" is a poisonous and unconstructive thing. So tell me, then, why is Sterling's article titled "Pitchford: Feminist organizations welcome to attack Duke," when Pitchford himself never actually said that? The term "attack" is used to discredit feminist organizations--look, they're SO MILITANT and ANGRY!!!--and is an example of the very "exploitation of emotionally-charged labels" that Sterling denounces later in his post.

But, who knows! Maybe slapping around emotionally-charged language to garner buzz for games is somehow different than using it to get page views. Nah, that's not "making a mockery of serious hate issues" at all.

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