My Take on Sarkeesian (or, How Dishonesty is a Great Marketing Tactic)

The case of Anita Sarkeesian has been very interesting to me, both as a gamer and a gaymer. She has been one of the influential figures to change my mind about mainstream Feminism: In the past, especially when still living in Iran, I did not have a negative opinion on Feminist ideas. If anything my thoughts were mostly positive. After watching Sarkeesian’s videos, listening to Feminist colleagues at work, reading some Feminist outlets, and what went on with #GamerGate, my ideas shifted dramatically to consider the current mainstream Feminism in the media as one of the enemies of reason in this day and age.

The Case Against Sarkeesian’s Views

Terrible arguments: Simply put, Sarkeesian’s “criticisms” of the role of women in video games is a none-argument, and therefore baseless. Looking at the first 3 videos of her “Tropes vs. Women” series, she usually starts by naming many games that use some form of the “damsel in distress” cliche, and at the end makes a conclusion in the lines of “Women are disempowered [or killed, shown provocatively etc.] in these game, and this has larger ramifications in the society”.

This just simply does not follow that. If after 85% of one’s video [essay, book] has passed, one still cannot answer the question “So what?” in a conclusion derived coherently from what one has put forward, then one has failed tremendously as a thinker. Moreover, this conclusion is about real people in real world, and must be backed up by hard data, something Ms. Sarkeesian has failed to do entirely. Instead, her video goes something like: “These fictional characters this, therefore real women that”. Absolute garbage.

Greatest propaganda campaign of the decade?: Imagine a political figure or generally a follower of a particular ideology, giving a speech in front of a crowd of people. Say, just as an example, a Fascist speaking to a crowd of Jewish people. Now, being a good Fascist, he (or she) will not hesitate to say something in the lines of: “Jews are responsible for much of the violence in the world! They were responsible for both world wars!” I think we can all agree that the crowd will not show much sympathy for the speaker, first they will loudly object, then they will shout at him, and finally send him home by throwing eggs and tomatoes at his head.

It is fair to assume that our good fascist will run back to his skinhead friends covered in eggs, take some pictures and publish them in the media that happens to agree with him, and claim: “I was right about all the Jews! They are scum of the earth and these pictures prove my point!”

The illogical step is taken when one claims that the reaction of a certain group to one’s claims prove their point. This simply cannot be always true: An argument must be presented with evidence and good assumptions, and must be defended as such.

Now enter Ms. Sarkeesian. Numerous people criticized her videos, especially and specifically on YouTube, the place which she put her videos herself. Many of these videos were harsh, but many had great points and arguments to make [Thunderf00t, KiteTales are two examples out of hundreds]. How many of these videos did she mention, responded to, or discussed directly? The answer is none. How many of her critics did she ever mention, or debate? None. To my knowledge she has never, ever, engaged with any of her critics. Instead, in any speech she has given afterwards, she deliberately brings up abusive or troll comments.

Why is that? Is it because she wishes to pretend as if there is no legitimate criticism of her series? Is it because she wishes to pretend she is right about “sexism in the gaming industry” while she presents a carefully handpicked selection of insulting or troll comments irrelevant to her argument? Perhaps she genuinely believe her own crap. I am not sure.

I am not suggesting Ms. Sarkeesian is a Fascist, but she is great at her propaganda campaign of swaying the SJW crowd and others who know not how to logic or reason to follow her garbage.

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The Foot Soldiers of Illogic: The Failure to Understand Statistics (1.1)

This is simply a follow up on my previous post regarding the failure of some of the so called progressive and SJWs regarding statistics and logical reasoning. Our good twitter user @shezumi has the following tweet for us:

@shezumi_statistics_fail

Again, just like the post I have linked, this is a failure to understand statistics and logic. Let me make it very simple:

(a) “Most white animals are Not rabbits”
(b) “Most rabbits are white”

=> (a) being true does not necessarily prove (b) false.

In the same way, “Most rapists [in US] are white” does not prove “Most Mexicans are rapists” false. You need another set of data for that. The simplest of those is the ratio of say [in this case] Mexican rapists divided by total number of Mexican immigrants.

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Again this is not to take the side of Trump, but one wonders if progressive cannot do simple logic, then who is worse?

The Foot Soldiers of Illogic: Feminist Propaganda

One of the unfortunate side-effects of having a Facebook page is getting to see a great deal of spontaneously generated propaganda in memes, pictures and comments posted every day. One can simply forget them for the most part, but sometimes they are made legendary by simply being spread very fast. As if no one can see the stupid within them.

Case and point? The following text [1] is taken from a note written by a student under her image in her high school yearbook.

I need feminism because I intend on marrying rich and I can’t do that if my wife and I are making .75 cent for every dollar a man makes.

One’s high school yearbook is presumably about what one wants to be remembered as. It could be an amazing range of attributes and states of mind: Funny, witty, happy, serious, kind, gay and so on. It may as well be one’s political agenda: Feminist, Liberal, progressive, Socialist and so forth.

Although, perhaps one would wish “uneducated” to not be one of those attributes. We have to congratulate our feminist student here, from this yearbook she can be remembered as the only student who never learned the average of a sample of data is not its maximum.

Another example is a quote from Annabel Crabb, Australian journalist [2], circling around on Facebook and Twitter as a semi-meme picture:

I am a feminist because it bothers me that a woman gets killed by her male partner every single week, and somehow that doesn’t qualify as a tools-down national crisis even though if a man got killed by a shark every week we’d probably arrange to have the ocean drained.

Way to get irrelevant things mixed up. I suppose we must award Ms. Crabb with the best red herring of the year: Shark attacks make no difference towards the importance of violence against women. Separate issues must be dealt with separately [3], and it does not help to mix up serious issues with exaggerated nonsense just to make a point.

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[1] http://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/feminist-yearbook-quote?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#.tiAbaMnEz

[2] http://www.smh.com.au/comment/annabel-crabb-im-proud-to-be-a-feminist-despite-my-regular-lapses-20150305-13wrw2.html

[3] http://www.aic.gov.au/dataTools/facts/vicGenderCrime.html

The Foot Soldiers of Illogic: The Failure to Understand Statistics (1)

Anger is a double edged sword, it could derive one to pursue different subjects passionately, but also blind that person to ignore or simply not understand the facts of the matter. Issues of racism in US have much anger and passion surrounding them, and thus many angry fools on all sides making nonsensical claims.

Read the case of our good blogger, Ziggs Unscripted [1]:

Kill the myth that Mexicans and Blacks cause the most rape in the USA

I’ve been pretty mad the last couple of days.  From Donald Trump saying that all Mexicans are rapists and criminals (except that few “good ones”) to that white terrorist saying that blacks are rapists that are taking over this country.

I’ve done some digging and apparently white men are more likely to rape and cause sexual assault in this country.  Not Blacks, Mexicans, Asians, etc. but White men.  And its hardly a contest about 65% of rapists in 2012 were white. Yea just let that sink in.

Here are some Sources: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/43tabledatadecoverviewpdf

http://www.sarsonline.org/resources-stats/reports-laws-statics

https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders

http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/sartkit/about/about-sa-so.html

One may not dig, when one does not have the understanding of a high school student to interpret and use the findings to get a meaningful conclusion.

First, one must define the ideas being confirmed or debunked very clearly. We should ask, “What” is actually being debunked? The author of that post wishes to debunk “Most rapes are caused by non-whites”. This is clear from the title, however, at the start of the article we clearly see another claim, namely that of Mr. dead-fox-on-empty-head, Donald Trump and other racists: “All (or most) non-white people are rapists”.

It must be shown to the author of the above post that debunking the first claim does not debunk the latter. In other words, one can prove without contradiction that: “Most rapists are white” is true, while “Most non-whites are rapists” is also true. The truth of the second statement can only be determined when we compare the number of non-white rapists in proportion to their respective population.

This ratio will mathematically translate to the total number of rapists of each ethnicity divided by the total population of that ethnicity, all definitions kept the same.

The author of that post must stop being mad about things that bother him/her, and start thinking more clearly. Maybe take some time to study a bit more about how to analyse statistical facts.

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Note: These numbers, even corrected, mean nothing on their own. Too many variables (from social to criminal justice system) are involved, and to my knowledge no study links race and violent sexual behavior directly.

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[1] http://ziger123.tumblr.com/post/121936726589/kill-the-myth-that-mexicans-and-blacks-cause-the

The Foot Soldiers of Illogic: Unintended Propaganda

Recently, in March 2015 in fact, star of stage and screen, Mark Ruffalo published the following very short article in his personal blog [1]:

“My response to the “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon….

First of all, it’s clear you don’t know what feminism is. But I’m not going to explain it to you. You can google it. To quote an old friend, “I’m not the feminist babysitter.”

But here is what I think you should know.

You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.

You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis center, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.

You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).

You’re spitting on the legacy of every woman who fought for women to be allowed to own property (1848). For the abolition of slavery and the rise of the labor union. For the right to divorce. For women to be allowed to have access to birth control (Comstock laws). For middle and upper class women to be allowed to work outside the home (poor women have always worked outside the home). To make domestic violence a crime in the US (It is very much legal in many parts of the world). To make workplace sexual harassment a crime.

In short, you know not what you speak of. You reap the rewards of these women’s sacrifices every day of your life. When you grin with your cutsey sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.“

— Libby Anne

The original article, as is referenced, was written by a “Libby Anne Bruce” [2]; and was published in other websites including in the weblog “Freedom Fighter” (2014) [3] before the publishing of Ruffalo.

I must admit, every paragraph of this article made me cringe uncontrollably. The sheer illogical nonsense drips from every word, making it impossible to read with a straight face. One can clearly recognise the fact that the writer was very passionate about what she was writing, but misguided passion is sometimes worse than a simple statement out of ignorance: One is simply wrong, the other is propaganda.

Libby claims she is responding to an internet phenomenon, but as we immediately realize the phenomenon is in fact merely a statement, namely “I am not a feminist.” Any reasonable person, when confronted with a statement which challenges their beliefs, should ask a very important question: “Why?”

If the writer had bothered to ask herself “Why?”, she would have realized that there are numerous different reasons behind such a statement. One can claim one is not a feminist because “Women belong only in the kitchen”, and another might wish to state “The modern feminist movement is too radical for me to associate myself with” as a reason for not being a feminist.

The immediate follow up of “but I’m not going to explain it to you” further shows the writer simply does not care to explain, in neither what she perceives feminism to be, nor what those who she is criticizing perceive it to be: After all she is not the one claiming not to be a feminist.

That is only the first lines of the article, the continuation is even worse.

What do we understand from “I am not a feminist”? True that no definition accompanies it, but we clearly see that it is a statement made in present tense. It is about one’s current state of being, not past or future. And what does our good feminist claim in the majority of the rest of her article? That one’s current state of being somehow must be necessarily based on historical figures or actions of some decades and even centuries ago.

Sheer stupidity of such argument is blatantly obvious. Any totalitarian government or political ideology can justify themselves based on such argument: “You are spitting in the face of our founding fathers if you disagree with the current affairs of this government!” or maybe “You are an ignorant jerk if you disrespect Islam! Our prophet was the greatest man who ever lived and you disrespect him with your claims about Islam!”.

Mr. Ruffalo must think twice before publishing any garbage he finds in the feminist dumpster of the internet. A stupid article written on Facebook or other forms of social media is laughter material. In the hands of a celebrity however, it becomes propaganda.

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1) http://markruffalo.tumblr.com/post/114661084940/my-response-to-the-i-am-not-a-feminist-internet

2) http://libbyannebruce.tumblr.com/

3) http://dumbledoresarmy-againstbigotry.tumblr.com/post/92696008814/my-response-to-the-i-am-not-a-feminist-internet

The Foot Soldiers of Illogic: A Game of Words

Whether it is in physical sports, scientific studies or even simple activities like board games, doing simple exercises is almost always helpful for everyone. One does not need to be a professional to enjoy benefits of exercises in simple activities of all shapes and forms.

Word replacement is a fun and light hearted exercise one can do to have some laugh while simultaneously practice one’s mental ability to understand language and word-play. So, let us have a read of the following text and then play the word game [1]:

You may think it’s unfair that we have to counteract and adjust ourselves for the ill behavior of other men. You know what? You’re right. It is unfair. Is that the fault of women? Or is it the fault of the men who act abysmally and make the rest of us look bad? If issues of fairness bother you, get mad at the men who make you and your actions appear questionable.

Exercise: Let’s put “black men” instead of the underlined “men”, and “white men” instead of “women”.

Not so fun now, is it?

I wonder if the author of those words does much brain exercise of this type. If the author was aware of the unfairness of such judgments as he claimed to be, he would have realized that the unfair judgement does not belong to men who do bad things, but [in that text] to some women.

If the judgement is unfair, the blame is with those who issued it, not those who have done nothing wrong but to share the same gender with “men who act abysmally”.

Obviously, not all women are insane or idiots who merely judge men based on their gender. Nor all men must be shunned or blamed for the things some other men do. We all are individuals with separate lives and will, separate cognitive faculties and separate agency. Gender, along with color of one’s skin or one’s sexual orientation cannot be the determining factor or a relevant category to judge all human beings, men or women.

There is a strong suspicion that most people, especially the feminist and SJW bunch, find the exercise text highly offensive. Then how is it the case they not only don’t find anything wrong with the original, but also re-blog and write the likes of it frequently in their weblogs and other published articles [2][3]?

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[1] https://medium.com/human-parts/a-gentlemens-guide-to-rape-culture-7fc86c50dc4c

[2] http://dumbledoresarmy-againstbigotry.tumblr.com/post/120660929549/you-may-think-its-unfair-that-we-have-to

[3] http://queertips.org/post/119888189543/you-may-think-its-unfair-that-we-have-to

“Statistics this, Statistics that, Therefore Sexism…”

There are many groups that are very bothersome in this world, religious fanatics, dishonest politicians and intellectual impostures (read the latter as relativists) to name a few. These people do harm, whether it be by means of terrorism, or outright dishonesty, intellectual or otherwise. But there is one group that cannot be seen very easily, and yet exists and persists in its harmful endeavour. But which group is this? Well, not a specific one. And sadly this is the whole issue. This is a group of torturers, not that of living beings, but numbers.

Logically speaking, we must be very careful when we derive conclusions from our premises. Especially, we must care to see if the conclusion of the argument follows the premises. Most of the time it is not very difficult to see bad arguments that do not follow the rule, but when it comes to numbers, the issue becomes much harder to detect.

The following video can demonstrate how facts could be abused, and how one can potentially tackle the issue:

And if you think that this has changed from some decades ago… Well, not so much:

Bad arguments are bad, coming from left or right makes no difference. The right statistics must be used to demonstrate the relevant conclusions. And even before that, the correct method must be chosen to conduct the best argument.

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Note: I did not present the post to bash Feminism, but to point out something that many are guilty of. However, I have observed that many who call themselves Feminist fall into this category of irrelevant fact propagation.