The Tao of Notch - Beyond Twitter

Brad Glasgow | 3 Aug 2016 12:00
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TE: Let's talk about SJW's.

MP: (Laughs)

TE: I'm sorry, I'm not trying to get you in trouble here!

MP: No, that's fine.

TE: Some people think just using the term, "SJW" means you're a certain kind of person. They say SJW is a pejorative and they're just good people who want social justice. What to you is a social justice warrior?

"The idea, especially online, of your physical attributes having to limit how you express yourself I just find completely ridiculous."

MP: I think it's a bit of a strawman, of course. And it's also a broader movement than like every single individual can be an SJW or not. It depends on the time of the day or your mood or who you're hanging out with or what you're discussing. Everyone can turn into someone like that. For me I use the term because it pisses people off. For me it's more about outrage and being upset on behalf of other people. Like building this culture, we have to be afraid of everything we say potentially offending someone. To a very, very absurd level sometimes. I read on Reddit somewhere, and I think I tweeted this as well, that an SJW is someone who would rather remove the stairs than install a ramp next to it, because it would be offensive to have that ramp next to the stairs. To me that's not very practical. I agree that everyone should be treated equally or at least have the same opportunities. If you end up being a dick then you should be treated like one. Everyone should have the same opportunities and we should try to be inclusive but not at just the lowest common denominator. We can't just go having super-factual converasation with each other where we don't share any opinions. We have a bunch of comedians that won't do shows at colleges because of this exact climate that's going on. So to me I don't really like this kind of like cultural movement of self-censorship.

TE: There are a lot of people who outright attack you on Twitter. They're pretty damn mean.

MP: Yeah.

TE: These people, are they typically the SJW's that we're talking about?

MP: No, no. It's completely random. I think the reason there's this "SJW vs. the Gamergaters" is because it's become this very polarizing issue. If you've seen the video "This Video Will Make You Angry" by CGP Grey it kind of digs into that polarizing opinion of just having an opinion and making a stance. That's happened a lot with SJW's and Gamergate, so every single issue can somehow be made to be related to that, weirdly. I can tweet something about how I like a certain genre of music in a funny, joking comment like about Norway not existing or Jazz not being a real music form and sometimes it will just affect someone and they will attack you. A lot of times it's jokingly, but sometimes it's not. I tend to just assume the best about people and I know that I've been like, when I was younger especially and fairly anonymous, I would just write something mean. It's not because you want to actually hurt another person. It's more that you just want to, I don't know, it's like punching a pillow.

TE: Some of the people on Twitter, and I have to admit I'm not sure how they've decided this, but they say you are transphobic.

MP: Yeah I don't think they actually think I am, but it's just an easy-to-use term just to throw at someone.

TE: Yeah like I said I have to admit I've looked through your Twitter and your interviews and I'm not sure where that claim comes from, but that claim is out there. If you do a search there are people saying you are garbage, anti-trans.

MP: (Laughs) Yeah I don't know how that happened. Maybe it's because I refused to choose sides in something at some point or maybe it's because I reacted to it so then it's become easy to use that, but I don't know. I really do not care what people do at all. This is not me being transphobic. I just want people to be able to express themselves. Part of that is you have to also not care what people do. I'm not going to go around encouraging people to change their gender. If someone says they're going to change their gender, then good for you! If you want to talk about it I'm here for you. But otherwise I don't care.

TE: If a man transitions into a woman, is that person now a woman? What pronouns do you use?

MP: Whatever they want to be called. The idea, especially online, of your physical attributes having to limit how you express yourself I just find completely ridiculous. I mean we shouldn't ignore the fact that reality exists and people are born in a certain way from a biology standpoint, but the gender labels, especially online, are so much more about expression. So even if someone is not even transgender but would like to be called he or she, then why not? Why would anyone care? You can have a blue avatar for all I care.

TE: OK, let's move on to game journalism. You've made it crystal clear you are no fan whatsoever of game journalism. You called Kotaku, "an echo chamber of SJW filth trying to hang on to the sinking ship of pretense, virtue, and power tripping."

MP: (Laughs)


TE: What is wrong with video game journalism? What don't you like about it?

MP: I like it. I read it. But it's pop culture, it's not journalism. And they kind of go like, "yeah but I'm a reporter!" like they have some outstanding privilege in life because of it. But they're not reporters. It's not journalism that's going on. And people go, "but shouldn't we be able to condemn a game for not having a female Link?" And I go, "no", because that's literally the opposite of journalistic core fundamental tenets. Trying to be as objective as possible is like one of the main distinguishing features if you consider yourself a journalist. And people don't want to read games journalism about just cold, factual reporting of reality, so it's more like some kind of... I mean all of it is opinion pieces and editorial. So I think people referring to themselves as journalists when they talk about how boob physics are weird or how they spend 20 minutes trying to reload in a game in virtual reality talking about some anecdote about from when they were a child and guns being bad? I mean I'm Swedish and I don't like guns, but that's not what I want to see in a video about virtual reality.

TE: You've talked about journalism in general and objectivity, and there are some journalists and game journalists who say that objectivity is impossible, that it's better to be open about your biases. What are your thoughts on that?

MP: I feel there's definitely room for that kind of entertainment. The game journalism that doesn't even try to be objective, there's definitely some room for that. It's fun to read. It's kind of nice to read someone who agrees with you. It can be fun to read someone who disagrees with you. But I feel like the claim that objectivity is impossible, what about science? We've managed to - "we" (Laughs) I've never scienced in my entire life - but scientists have managed to get out of the whole opinions and trying to make sure everything is measurable. Of course it's way more easy to do with a hard science than something like psychology, which is more nebulous. But just acknowledging that you're going to be biased, yes, that's great. But then try to develop tools for not being biased instead of just embracing it. Because otherwise you're going to situations like "This Video Will Make You Angry", opinions just being shouted at each other for the sake of shouting opinions.

TE: You brought up Gamergate. What's your opinion on it?

MP: When it went on I kind of just shook my head and kind of felt embarrassed for everyone involved. I think that a lot of people did a lot of things wrong, but not even remotely to the degree of the shitstorm that it's become. The talk about like the IGF judges being biased and stuff, it's kind of like a small competition thing that hasn't been around for a long time. The people who are judging are part of the community. Of course they're going to have their own personal preferences. That's not even a little bit of a surprise. It's kind of like the Oscars. If someone makes a movie about a horse and gets an Oscar because they deserved it, then you can kind of tell there's probably something going on behind the scenes because maybe it's his time now. It's not just about the actual best performance. I've never actually seen The Revenant so I don't know, but you can kind of tell, it's time. But that's because it's about the celebration of it and not declaring that it was the best movie ever. Or that this is the best game ever. So I mean yeah you'll probably be biased towards your friends partially because you like them and partially because you really understand the work they put into creating it, especially when it's that fairly niche small thing.

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