What’s the worst English language word you can think of? That word that you only pull out to express your displeasure at the very worst of traffic jams or to describe some self-important waste of skin trying to cut the queue at the bank. Maybe that word that gets your blood boiling and everyone knows never to say whenever you’re within earshot. Personally I shudder whenever I hear the word yummy spoken aloud, but I expect most people would cite more extreme examples. F-bombs, Sugar Honey Iced Tea, the odd bit of blasphemy, both the clinical and slang terms for reproductive organs and, of course, the big C. That’s the one I think we need to talk about internet, because that’s the one I’ve been seeing a lot of lately.
Earlier this week I read an article by Zoe Quinn on Cracked.com about her recent experiences as the internet’s most hated person. If you don’t know anything about the recent GamerGate controversy (or the Quinnspiracy or whatever else they were calling it), lucky you. Because it’s bloody stupid. Just another chapter of gamer culture’s ridiculously misogynistic treatment of women, with the key difference this time being that they tried to use ‘concern over journalistic ethics’ to lend credibility to their anger that women don’t want to sleep with them. It’s not an issue I can write about with a perspective worth reading. I’m a young, straight, white male who’s not part of the industry and never been subjected to the kind of stupidity that women (and racial/sexual minorities) have to deal with beyond a few high-pitched voices back when I still tried playing CoD online. But I kept track of the … debate … as did many others. As I did when the internet’s wrath was focused on Anita Sarkeesian and Jennifer Hepler, (hell, Sarkeesian is still under attack). Amongst all the rape-threats and poorly spelt character-attacks there’s a word I keep seeing, and quite frankly think a lot of people need to get over using.
Right, before this continues I’d like to put a great big warning here. While I have nothing against a bit of profanity I do understand that not everyone wants to read it (especially in bulk), and it’ll probably get heavy in the next few paragraphs (since it’s hard to talk about using a word without, well, using it) so: Language Warning.