The Sincerest Form of Flattery

I'd like to thank Ezra Klein for his excellent work in creating a Readers' Digest version (1 November) of my post (21 October) and podcast (31 October) explaining the tribalistic aspects of Gamer Gate.

It did a great job of simplifying the details for the lower IQ audience over at Vox, and my thesis didn't lose too much in the repackaging.

Normally I'd expect a shout-out in the form of a link, but given that my post excoriated Ezra in the fifth paragraph for being a Pink activist (for creating Journolist to help coordinate Cathedral media air cover for the social justice warrior shock troops), I can see why he wouldn't want to point his readers at my original.

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. sinij says

    @Clark, while your overall idea was spot-on, detours through crazy land (e.g. Otto von Bismark) to get there is what likely made it un-creditable. It is just too easy to dismiss entire blog based on your creative over-reach.

    Put it this way, any detractor only has to say something along the lines: "LOL! Clark is blaming Otto von Bismark for GG" and that would be all consideration anyone would ever give it.

  2. Wick says

    Clark. Dude. You sooooo need to get over yourself

    Also, buying into the Journolist conspiracy theory doesn't help your credibility.

  3. says

    @Wick:

    buying into the Journolist conspiracy theory

    I am unaware of any Journolist conspiracy theory; I am only aware of documented Journolist facts.

    What conspiracy theory are you referencing?

  4. says

    @sinij

    detours through crazy land (e.g. Otto von Bismark)

    • Zero explanation as to why my assertion was crazy
    • Blanket assertion that it was beyond the pale and therefore not worth addressing.

    You argue like a progressive.

  5. mud man says

    But Ezra didn't get into the English Civil War at all, which I thought was the interesting part of Clark's theory, leaving only "why can't we just get along" (period, not question mark)

  6. says

    @mud man:

    But Ezra didn't get into the English Civil War at all,

    Like I said, I think it was a decent attempt at a dumbed-down-for-Vox-readers version.

  7. sinij says

    @Clark

    You argue like a progressive.

    How about I try to argue as Clark instead?

    Clark, your lack of understanding of my point has its roots in the to Plymouth Colony settlers. Their Protestant Reformation roots shaped through generational experiences of Thirty Year War's shaped their anti-establishment and anti-papal world view that end up being passed down to you. As such, your over-developed attribution bias combined with anti-establishment tendencies leaves you prone to conspiratorial explanations and improbable and/or implausible conclusions.

    ———-

    On more serious note, yours wasn't the simplest possible explanation, as such the burden of proof that what you say is the case is on you. Meanwhile I remain skeptical that present social conflicts have any deeper history and/or causal relationship than one or two generations. At the same time I agree with your functional description of tribal nature of such social conflicts.

  8. says

    Hey!
    I read Vox. And I read your piece too.
    Your implication that Vox readers are all dumb(er) is…is…racisssss!!! Also, the commenter above kind of has a point. While tribalism is the case, I don't think it clarifies matters to go back all the way to Otto. But I enjoyed your piece.

  9. HamOnRye says

    @wick

    I guess David Weigel was fired because he was part of a fake conspiracy. Talk about crappy luck.

  10. b says

    "You argue like a progressive."

    I did have to laugh at that, because I assume you're only too aware of how poorly everyone argues, within the bubble of their own side's ideology. That said, I still think your disorganized kitchen-sink approach of late is doing your arguments a disservice. Eh, the more self-satisfied you become, the more you automatically ignore honest criticisms of both style and substance, the less effective you will be.

    I'm still stuck on whether there's practical use to your simplified models, however you arrived at them.

  11. KG says

    Shoot, David Brooks has been writing this column for years. I think he churns out a new version whenever he's behind on a deadline. Something something american politics something something tribalism something something whatever new buzzword David Brooks is trying to make a thing this week.

  12. asdf says

    @Clark

    I thought the exact same when I read Ezra's piece.
    I was almost surprised to not find a link back to your piece as the thing voxsplained.

  13. says

    @sinij:

    Clark, your lack of understanding of my point has its roots in the to Plymouth Colony settlers.

    Well, say what you will about me, but at least I'm consistent: I'd consider a big rant that started out that way to be ABSOLUTELY worth reading.

  14. Wick says

    @HamOnRye: You may be willing to make the logical jump from "the Washington post fired Weigel for saying mean things about conservatives" all the way to "JournoList was a conspiracy to "help Cathedral Media cover for the Social Justice warrior shock troops""

    See more generally Ken's Rant 7 in his #gamergate post. I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories, media or otherwise.

  15. GeoffreyK says

    – Zero explanation as to why my assertion was crazy
    – Blanket assertion that it was beyond the pale and therefore not worth addressing.

    As I read this comment, all I could hear in my head was Da Vinci's Notebook's "Title of the Song". Highly recommended!

    I also ran across the Vox post this weekend independently, and thought to myself, "Gee, this seems to be a lot like Clark's piece, except less colorful."

  16. Brandon says

    Love the graphs, but whats the deal with Republicans and 12 Years a Slave? It was a really good movie. Was there another movie Republicans preferred for some reason?

  17. Arthur says

    Clark, it's kind of hard to rip off something that is literally too crazy to be comprehensible.

  18. Marzipan says

    …except that Ezra Klein's thesis was the temporal opposite of yours. Namely, his argument is that there has been a marked increase in political polarization over the past few decades (and presents summaries of data to support that point). Your thesis is instead about how the battle lines drawn in this particular kerfuffle stem from a purported thousand-year Kulturkampf featuring two poles: Protestant, centralized, "scientific", pushing for "the greater good", and "Blue"; and Catholic, decentralized, "traditional", tolerant of inequality, and "Red".

    The problem is that the data don't support lumping together those various terms into the poles you ascribe to them. The notion of Protestant centralization (well, perhaps with the exception of the Anglicans) is a non sequitur, as the movement was a decentralized phenomenon with at least three separate prongs and that currently has a striking divide between mainline and evangelical branches. Furthermore, it's currently the Protestants who feature more inequality in their municipalities than the Catholics.

    Even the shift in ideology from the time of the original Kulturkampf to today demonstrates the fluidity of the ideological labels whose supposed solidity undergirds your polar definitions. Today, it's the evangelical Protestants who are largely conservative; mainline Protestants and Catholics are both as moderate as they are conservative. Likewise, Catholics are more likely to hold scientific world views compared to evangelical Protestants. In Kulturkampf times, the generalizations about the poles might have held in Germany, but in today's world (and the USA in particular), they crumble to pieces.

    Thus, Klein's poles are empirically supported, and I don't think he'd argue for them as more substantive than reflecting current (highly polarized) ideologies. Yours are self-contradictory. Perhaps it's economic inequality itself that predicts the sides people take on the culture wars. Or religious affiliation. Or a host of other variables. But the alleged poles are ground to unstable dust under the weight of historical forces and aren't the monolithic forces themselves you ascribe to them. I think your point about entryism explains how groups can shift over time nicely.

  19. King Squirrel says

    What color is the media pundit tribe?

    I think you can trace the tribal narratives and rituals there a lot easier – not to history but to the playground. Sex sells is learned early: "Susie and Billie k.i.s.s.i.n.g….". Sensationalism is probably learned earlier than that: "but I know something even grosser than boogers…".

    But earliest of all is when a youngster finds two children in disagreement. "Fight! Fight! They're gonna fight!" draws a bigger crowd faster than just about anything. If no disagreement is at hand, creating one from whole cloth or out of the past – "you should have seen them fight" – works almost as well.

  20. DaveK says

    Clark, you've been a sucker. Tribalism is a lousy justification for your choice of sides. GG is an organized campaign of harassment aimed at suppressing the freedom of speech of certain individuals in the games industry based on their views in relation to gender issues, and that is the only angle that a Popehat writer should take on it.

  21. sinij says

    DaveK came down from the mountain and declared The Gospel of SJW thus:

    GG is an organized campaign of harassment aimed at suppressing the freedom of speech of certain individuals in the games industry based on their views in relation to gender issues, and that is the only angle that a Popehat writer should take on it.

    Word of DaveK 13:1

    Then a lot of smiting of unbelievers and internet locust swarms ensued.

  22. HamOnRye says

    @DaveK

    That's odd. I thought it was about a lot of things. It's an event that's an esoteric Pasta Primaveria if you will.

    Given that games are such a broad collection of personalities, nationalities, and cultures it could hardly be monolithic.

  23. HamOnRye says

    @Wink

    You may be willing to make the logical jump from "the Washington post fired Weigel for saying mean things about conservatives" all the way to "JournoList was a conspiracy to "help Cathedral Media cover for the Social Justice warrior shock troops""

    Oh yes! I was just speaking with a dear friend about that horrible epidemic of journalists being fired because they said mean things about conservatives.

    Truly this witch hunt has gotten out of hand! I have even heard that if you fart in the general direction of a conservative you are put on a super top secret watch list!

    They claim it's about ethics, but we all know those damn conservatives are after me lucky charms!

  24. L says

    As in any battel/war, it is the women (and children) that take the biggest damage. They are black and blue.

  25. HamOnRye says

    @Wick

    These and other remarks were drawn from Journolist, an off-the-record listserv for several hundred independent to left-leaning commentators and journalists that was founded in 2007 by Ezra Klein, now a liberal blogger for The Post's Web site.

    That's from your link, which you obvious didn't bother to read through.

    So…tell me again about this fake conspiracy that's so fake it shot past imaginary and right into existence!

  26. Wick says

    I read the article. I am still waiting for anything resembling evidence of a conspiracy to control the narrative, which is what Clark alleged. There is none in the article.

  27. Marconi Darwin says

    Well, one thing in common were that they were both long-winded. Nod goes to Ezra though, because at least his was just a short 25 point listicular essay.

    Where you differ is in the identification of the tribes. You were far cleverer in making the obviously unintended insinuation that the blue tribe waz the bad guys. The preceding was dumbed down for the Ezra audience.

    Hey, no dig at Scalzi?

  28. Smugleaf says

    There sure is a lot of smug satisfaction in this post from someone who seems to think that Protestantism is inherently more centralized than Catholicism.