Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cathy Young, Jesse Singal & Gamergate

Cathy Young wearing a pro-Gamergate
T-shirt from Know Your Memes
I am actually pretty glad I'm not better-known, contrary to Cathy Young's claim last week that I'm trying to "get in the spotlight somehow." If I was better known I might become the target of a vicious misogynist mob, and if I was, Cathy Young would no doubt cheer them on.

I admit before she and Jesse Singal teamed up to personally attack me last week, I hadn't really paid much attention to what Young was up to, especially since she wasn't included in the Intellectual Dark Web article written by Bari Weiss. A fact for which Young expressed what sounds like sour grapes to me, here.

I was more aware of Cathy Young's ideological twin and fellow Reason Magazine contributor, Christina Hoff Sommers, who was mentioned in the Weiss article and who was also a friend of Milo Yiannopoulos and a booster of the men's rights movement.

Up until this week I had only mentioned Cathy Young, in passing, four times in the entire almost 12-year history of this blog.

I blogged about the May 2015 article in Boston Magazine which gives detailed information about the horrific evil of Eron Gjoni, the man who started Gamergate by harassing and doxxing his ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn. An excerpt:
He chooses his words deliberately, spending much of our time together describing the month after his breakup with Quinn: how he extracted details from her Facebook, text, and email accounts; how he tracked her movements and shadowed her conversations. The process he described to me sounded as if he were gathering the pieces of a horrible machine, with each component designed to be as damaging to Quinn as possible. Eventually, the machine would have a name: “The Zoe Post,” a 9,425-word screed he published in August.
Then later:
From the start, it seems, Gjoni wanted to make certain that his blog about Quinn would connect with a large base of people in the gaming community, some of whom he already knew were passionately predisposed to attacking women in the industry. 
As Gjoni began to craft “The Zoe Post,” his early drafts read like a “really boring, really depressing legal document,” he says. He didn’t want to merely prove his case; it had to read like a potboiler. So he deliberately punched up the narrative in the voice of a bitter ex-boyfriend, organizing it into seven acts with dramatic titles like “Damage Control” and “The Cum Collage May Not Be Accurate.” He ended sections on cliffhangers, and wove in video-game analogies to grab the attention of Quinn’s industry colleagues. He was keenly aware of attracting an impressionable readership. “If I can target people who are in the mood to read stories about exes and horrible breakups,” he says now, “I will have an audience.” 
One of the keys to how Gjoni justified the cruelty of “The Zoe Post” to its intended audience was his claim that Quinn slept with five men during and after their brief romance. In retrospect, he thinks one of his most amusing ideas was to paste the Five Guys restaurant logo into his screed: “Now I can’t stop mentally referring to her as Burgers and Fries,” he wrote. By the time he released the post into the wild, he figured the odds of Quinn’s being harassed were 80 percent. 
As he wrote, Gjoni kept pressing Quinn for information. About a week after their final breakup in San Francisco, Quinn finally stopped responding to Gjoni’s barrage of texts, Facebook messages, emails, and calls. He interpreted this not as a surrender or a retreat from his unwanted advances but instead, paradoxically, as a kind of attack. As he wrote at the time and later posted online, “GOD FUCKING DAMN IT. SHE’S AVOIDED ME EVER SINCE THIS CONVERSATION BECAUSE SHE IS PARANOID I MIGHT GO PUBLIC.” From this circular reasoning emerged a twisted justification: By withholding information, Quinn was somehow forcing Gjoni to “go public.” Eventually, Gjoni would come to see himself as the victim. “I was panicking at the thought of not publishing [‘The Zoe Post’],” he told me. “I didn’t care what the outcome was for Zoe.” 
After crafting the post for weeks, Gjoni shared his polished draft with about a dozen friends—mostly female game developers—as well as his mother, and asked them to weigh in on whether he should unleash it. He says about 10 of them gave him the green light. His mother, he claims, reluctantly approved, but was “very worried that I was going into it overly emotional.” One Gjoni friend I spoke with, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, said, “I felt it was healthy to get it out there…. What harm would it do to get his feelings out?” 
Others who later read the post saw something much more deliberate and malicious. Jesse Singal, an editor at, said it clearly “followed a script” of “these sad, specific ideas that a segment of the gaming community has about women being duplicitous and breaking men’s hearts.” Slate’s Arthur Chu told me, “He’s an articulate, well-spoken guy who knows how to put together something on the Internet. That’s the kind of weapon guys like that have…the ‘crazy bitch’ story. It’s a very potent trope to use…. It’s a very nasty, very calculating train of thought, and it worked.”
The "Zoe post" was not only incredibly vicious it was well thought-out and vetted -  Gjoni even got his mom and female friends to review it. This wasn't a moment's act of passion, this was a crowd-sourced project. It's astounding how so many people knew Gjoni was stalking his ex-girlfriend and planning on a massive invasion of her privacy and didn't talk him out of it.

And Gjoni knew exactly what the effect would be of his vicious attack, because Zoe Quinn had already been harassed online, as documented by an article in the New Yorker, simply for publishing a video game the harassers didn't like.

I was very interested to see that Young and Singal were on opposite sides of Gamergate, as I highlighted in the passage above. Cathy Young was such an enthusiastic supporter of Gamergate that she celebrated the second anniversary of the "Zoe Post" with this tweet, alerting her followers to the interview she had done with Gjoni.

She published it in something called Heat St. which appears to be no more, but I found it on the Wayback Machine, and reposted the interview here for ease of access.

It's clear that Cathy Young thinks Eron Gjoni is just swell:
The man who started it all has kept a relatively low profile. Gjoni, who was born in Albania and came to the United States with his family at the age of six, still lives in Boston where he and Quinn met. He is working on creating an artificially intelligent animation program that he hopes will be eventually be used by people who don’t have access to a major studio. He is on Twitter, where his posts often show a wry, quirky humor. (His profile quote is, “A good pun is its own reword.”)
This was published after the Boston Magazine article which Young mentions in an attempt to suggest it was unfair to Gjoni:
CY: Speaking of which, are there journalists who have given you a fair shake? 
EG: I think the closest was that journalist from Vice [Mike Pearl], and it was the closest because he ignored what I said completely and just talked about my views on [GamerGate mascot] Vivian James. 
CY: Zachary Jason’s piece for Boston Magazine insinuated that you’re still obsessed with Zoe Quinn because you suggested meeting at the place where you and she had first hung out. And the real reason was… 
EG: It’s because I’m vegan. He suggested lunch, and I said, “Cool, let’s go to a vegan place.” There are no vegan places [in Boston] where I have not been with her.
She also gets Gjoni to admit that if he could do it over again, he would stalk and endanger and invade the privacy of Zoe Quinn all over again:
Cathy Young: Let’s say that tomorrow someone comes to you with a time machine and you can go back to August 2014 and decide whether or not to do it all over again. Would you do it, and would you do anything differently? 
Eron Gjoni: It would be harder to do it. I would still do it, but it’s like—oh, this is going to suck. (Laughs) I suppose I’d take out the “burgers and fries” joke. I wasn’t sure about it, but people who were looking it over at the time said it was too funny to take out [and] like, “All right, I’ll trust you on it.”
Cathy Young doesn't only think Eron Gjoni is swell, she was pals, like Christina Hoff Sommers, with Milo Yiannopoulos  bonding over GamerGate. All three can be seen together in this Youtube video on Yiannopoulos's channel under the title Milo, Christina Hoff Sommers and Cathy Young explain journalism to the SPJ.
Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos in particular seemed such a desperate opportunist that we never predicted his rise to prominence, having explicitly stereotyped gamers in the past as “overweight” and “embarrassing”. A disgraced journalist and entrepreneur who had to close his tech site The Kernel due to unpaid debts, leaving staff uncertain if they would ever be paid, he’d then spent the next few years spouting insincere hateful ideas to a burgeoning Twitter audience who responded to his anti-feminist, anti-establishment invectives. He was eventually banned from the platform after finally abusing a woman who was apparently just famous enough for Twitter to respond.
It was apparent to me that there was something off about Yiannopoulos the first time I heard him, but Young and Sommers were either too dull or just didn't want to understand what a psychopath he truly is.

Young has defended Gamergate many times.

Cathy Young defends Gamergate - Reason Magazine

Cathy Young defends Gamergate - Reason Magazine again

Cathy Young defends Gamergate - RealClearPolitics

This is not to rehash GamerGate but to say that I still think Milo was basically on the right side of it. (I also think he did it far more harm than good.)
Young might have been on the opposite side of GamerGate from Jesse Singal, but a year before the second anniversary of the Zoe Post, Young was able to use Singal's complaints about the UN report on cyberharassment as an excuse to attack Anita Sarkeesian as a "professional victim."

Sarkeesian was another target of the GamerGate mob who had to cancel a talk at Utah State after receiving threats.

Since GamerGate, Young and Singal seem to have bonded over their antagonism towards transgenderism. In February 2016, months before she celebrated the second anniversary of GamerGate Young defended Singal against "political correctness" over an article of his which had antagonized the transgender community.

Singal has been criticized often for his articles on transgenderism and I do find it odd how often he writes on that topic. I will be exploring Singal and Young's apparent obsession over transgenderism at some point in the future. We already know that another of Young's right-wing employers, Quillette has a hostile editorial line towards transgenderism.

Singal left Twitter for a very short time. When he came back he and Young had become a kind of team, something noticed in December 2017 by another Twitterer.

Anita Sarkeesian was driven from her home because of GamerGate. So was Brianna Wu. So was Zoe Quinn.

Meanwhile, Cathy Young expresses far more concern for Jesse Singal's very brief Twitter hiatus than she ever did for any of the women driven from their homes by the misogynist mob that Cathy Young celebrated, supported, encouraged and defended. And Jesse Singal seems to have no problem with Cathy Young's viciousness.

And talk they did. I think Young helped get Singal a gig at the Koch brothers' Reason Magazine. He's published two articles there so far, one suggests the #MeToo movement has gone too far, and the other is the absolute non-issue "Is it Racist to Refer to Space Colonization." I'm sure sooner or later he will publish something about transgenderism.

Cathy Young really should seek counseling for her internalized misogyny, although if she did get help, it could threaten her career of siding with monstrous men against women. And after all, constant attacks against other women is what the Koch brothers pay her for.