The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Congratulations, ‘Dishonest Fascists’ — #GamerGate Destroys Max Read

Posted on | July 21, 2015 | 78 Comments

“Never underestimate your enemy,” is a maxim of military strategy. Before you decide to go to war on the Internet, first consider the fate of Max Read, who was riding high as editor of Gawker until he decided that insulting #GamerGate was a smart move. He chose poorly.

Custer at Little Bighorn, the French at Dien Bien Phu — military history offers many parallels to Max Read’s fateful miscalculation, but perhaps the best would be Gen. John Sedgwick. On May 9, 1864, Sedgwick was directing the placement of Union artillery near Spotsylvania, Virginia. Annoyed that his men were ducking to avoid fire from Confederate sharpshooters a thousand yards away, he said: “Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” A moment later, Sedgwick was killed by a bullet from one of the Confederates whose marksmanship he had disparaged. Hubris, meet nemesis.

The resignation Monday of Max Read as editor-in-chief of Gawker, along with his executive editor Tommy Craggs, will not likely be interpreted by major media as a vindication of #GamerGate, because most of the media share the same shallow prejudice that led Read to declare his disdain for #GamerGate as “a small, contemptible crusade . . . of dedicated anti-feminist internet trolls.” Well, he who laughs last, et cetera:

Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of Gawker Media, and Max Read, the editor-in-chief of, are resigning from the company. In letters sent today, Craggs and Read informed staff members that the managing partnership’s vote to remove a controversial post about the CFO of Condé Nast — a unprecedented act endorsed by zero editorial employees — represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff. Under those conditions, Craggs and Read wrote, they could not possibly guarantee Gawker’s editorial integrity.

So, in departing from the Web site he helped destroy — because Gawker’s foolish war against #GamerGate has cost them more than a million dollars in ad revenue — Max Read inflicts still more damage, by declaring that there is no longer any “editorial integrity” at Gawker. Because “editorial integrity,” apparently, means smearing private citizens at the behest of extortionists. Or, to quote the Headline of the Year:

Gawker Staff Smears Feces On Itself, Boards a
Schoolbus Loaded With Gasoline and Napalm, Then
Intentionally Drives That Schoolbus Into a Cargo Train
Transporting Toxic Waste and Retarded Clowns

The weird thing about this is that Max Read and other Gawker staffers seem to have no clue what led to their fateful error:

What Craggs and Read fail to accept is that this is not an editorial board with a scoop of monumental importance who are being shut down by some squeamish money managers because the story rubs certain powerful interests the wrong way.  They are defending a gutter trash post that would never have been written, much less put up, if the site had any integrity of any kind, editorial or otherwise, and if they actually did care about the writing staff and their fellow editors as they claim, they wouldn’t want to put the future of the entire company at risk by leaving it up there to be Exhibit B in Hogan’s lawsuit.

Yes, Gawker is being sued by pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and if they had a lick of sense (which they obviously don’t) they would not have published a shabby story that made them look recklessly irresponsible.

“Exhibit B,” indeed.

“This most recent scandal . . . is not an anomaly. It’s exactly what you get when you mix bad leadership, bad incentives, and selfish, self-loathing people. . . .
“It is essentially a twelve-year spree of destruction, pain and waste. . . .
“No wonder Gawker crosses the line. They have no idea where it is.”

Ryan Holiday, New York Observer

It is not as if Gawker publisher Nick Denton had no prior notice that Max Read is a hubristic fool. Consider how Read reacted when they lost a major advertiser in October 2014:

On October 1, the computing giant Intel pulled its ads from Gamasutra, a trade website for game developers, over an essay called “‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over” by a journalist named Leigh Alexander. . . .
Intel surrendered to the worst kind of dishonesty, and we allowed it to do so without ever calling it out. So let’s say it now: Intel is run by craven idiots. It employs pusillanimous morons. It lacks integrity. It folded to misogynists and bigots who objected to a woman who had done nothing more than write a piece claiming a place in the world of video games. And even when confronted with its own thoughtlessness and irresponsibility, it could not properly right its wrongs.

Really, Max? Did you not stop to think of the psychological projection involved in accusing Intel of “thoughtlessness and irresponsibility”?

It was you, Max, who supported Sam Biddle when he celebrated the “bullying” of gamers and declared “nerds should be constantly shamed and degraded into submission.” Yeah, Max, I’m sure you and your buddies at Gawker laughed it up at that little joke, while you were congratulating yourselves on your “editorial integrity.” And as for those “misogynists and bigots” you contemptuously dismissed?

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”

You see how #GamerGate became nemesis for Gawker. This was assymetrical warfare. Whereas liberals are used to attacking people whose instinct is to flinch and apologize when accused of ThoughtCrime — sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. — gamers are like Homey D. Clown: Homey don’t play that, see? They take pride in their disdain for political correctness because, in the world where they work and play, nobody gives a damn about anything but the fun of winning:

In its arrogance, the media thinks its usual tactics of smear and shame will work on gamers as it has on so many other people, but gamers are a completely different breed. They’re technologically adept, incredibly persistent, and professionally trained trash talkers. They have little to lose and consider this a fight for their home.
In a battle of insults and patience, gamers will win every time.

When a friend, Beth Haper, first alerted me to the cultural significance of #GamerGate, I was skeptical. Really? A bunch of gamers were going to expose the bias and corruption of the media? This seemed improbable, but the fact that #GamerGate was arrayed against feminists drew my interest because, of course, I was working on a book (Sex Trouble, $11.69 in paperback, $1.99 on Kindle) about radical feminism’s War on Human Nature. Let us stipulate that #GamerGate is not “political” in the usual Left/Right Democrat/Republican way that Americans typically think about politics. Nevertheless, as fate would have it, the exposure of the Zoe Quinn/Nathan Grayson connection made gamers aware how unscrupulous women could exploit feminist politics and how unprincipled journalists were willing to assist this tawdry little racket. (See “The #GamerGate vs. Gawker War.”)

In war, your allies are whoever is fighting your enemies, and the motives of your allies matter far less than their skill in battle. Say what you will about #GamerGate, they are skilled and determined fighters.

Operation Disrespectful Nod is making believers of anyone who ever made the mistake of underestimating them. Just ask Max Read.

General Sedgwick could not be reached for comment.



78 Responses to “Congratulations, ‘Dishonest Fascists’ — #GamerGate Destroys Max Read”

  1. BozoerRebbe
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 1:21 am

    Trying to bring the culture wars to guys who play networked war games for a hobby was a classic example of hubris. Likewise, the SJWs who have been taking over science fiction subjugated art to politics and didn’t consider that their opponents could be better writers, and better writers are more convincing, hence the success of the Sad Puppies.

  2. Robert What?
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 3:37 am

    I’m pleased to say that I have not given Gawker even a single click in a couple of years.

  3. Conservatives begin to grok #GamerGate | Neoreactive
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 5:10 am

    […] [email protected] (VD) Robert Stacy McCain salutes the downfall of #GamerGate enemy Max Read. It’s good to see that conservatives are finally beginning to grasp that #GamerGate is an […]

  4. Unemployment office – meet Max Read | The Noisy Rogue
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 5:20 am

    […] quote is from a piece over at the other mccain, and a damn fine piece it is too. Have a read of it and rejoice that things are slowly turning […]

  5. TDman
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 5:45 am

    Great article. I am glad you added that GamerGate is not political. Because this is very important. GamerGate is leaderless and will stay that way. this helps make
    GamerGate impervious to shame tactics and political influence. Also any intellectual dishonesty is considered the problem, it doesn’t matter what goals or “greater good” is being claimed

    While not political it has had great influence on the politics of those involved and following. This whole situation has now opened the eyes of many to what the so called “reputable” media is doing as its not just the likes of Gawker that are a problem, they are just the worst. Ultimately the “left” media is driving people away from the “left” . I personally hope that someone will take full advantage of this before this cultural marxism goes any farther.

  6. V Whitaker
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 7:02 am

    You know, this brings to mind something my dear old mom use to say whenever I ranted about someone else’s bad behavior; “When you’re pointing a finger at someone else remember there are four pointing back at you.” Hear that, Max?

  7. Ross
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 7:21 am

    You are dead right.

    The problem here is that so far there has been four “tiers” of the anti-gamergate side.

    Jon and Anita of course are at the top of the stack and their hustling gives them a nice little earn.

    The three Feminist “victims” Zoe, Brianna and Randi all get what I describe as “victim bux” from Patreon. The hustle is “I am being harassed, give me cash, and I will expose gamergate” If not said explicitly, this is the implication and time and time again, when things go quite, they suddenly cite a new level of harassment or do a new interview.

    The next level down are the less known hanger-ons like Peter Coffin or Chris Kluwe, that get some financial incentive from being in the club but it is peanuts to the comfortable living that the top two tiers get.

    Lastly is the rank and file who not only get no financial benefit, but they pay for the top two tiers to have financially comfortable existences.

    Where it will REALLY hit the fan and relatively soon is when the mainstream media starts treating Gamergate as old news and refuses the requests for further interviews and when the Operation Disrespectful Nod focuses away from Gawker and hits the unscrupulous smaller firms.

    With Randi, Zoe and Brianna no longer doing anything for their Patreon cash, there will be pushback in the form of difficult to answer questions of “What are we paying you for exactly?” and “What have you done for us lately?”

    There will be an exodus of backers. This will weaken their side and cause internal fighting. They will start eating their own.

    I will break out popcorn and watch the show as it unfolds.

  8. jtdavies
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 7:24 am

    You have 6 fingers?

  9. Ross
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 7:37 am

    One thing worth noting is that there are many people calling themselves Gamergate supporters that are absolutely that BUT are not Gamers.

    I saw what the “Progressives” did to Atheist spaces. I saw these guys taking a stand and I had my hill to die on.

    That was in October and there is a lot of water under the bridge since then. I (like you) am very amazed and proud of what the Gamers have done. As much as this is my hill to die on and with a good bunch of people to do so with, I won’t need to.

    They are winning and will win this.

    The road ahead will be very, very difficult because the well were poisoned so well, but those of us still in it are standing our ground.

    The fight we have had was almost impossible because we were not able to be seen to do anything that that we were accused of, had to go out of our way to denounce any suggestion of impropriety, constantly defend against outright lies, fight against a skewed playing field and character assassination, and with an opposition who had none of these encumbrances.

    I am noticing in tiny ways, the narrative is being chipped away. The sockpuppet “300 people in Gamergate” theory is hard to maintain when 200-300 people showed up in DC
    It is hard to maintain that it is all males or all white when every meet up shows every type of diversity.
    It is hard to maintain that all the harassment is from Gamergate when Gamergate gets a bomb threat.
    It is hard to denounce accusations that anti-gamergate were responsible for the bomb threat when they have used similar levels of proof for EVERY death threat made to people associated with them.
    It is difficult to disagree with Gamergate’s year long campaign against Gawker when finally everyone else jumps on board.

    The narrative is breaking. Another year or two will undo a lot of the dishonest narrative spread by sites like Gawker.

    Are winning and will win. They were always about shock and awe and not protracted fight to the death. That is what gamers do.

  10. Toastrider
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 8:41 am

    If he does, there’s someone looking for him…

    (Props if you catch the reference)

  11. sotarrthewizard
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 9:18 am

    #GamerGate is not the only place where pushback has thrived. The obvious first example, is the response to the Chik-Fil-A boycott. There are others: the Sad Puppies movement in Science Fiction, and their mutant off-shoot, the Rabid Puppies. The adoption of a Matt Taylor-style “Shirtstorm” shirt as a de-facto uniform amongst those who say “No More”,

    I suspect these are the early examples of what could become the “Conservative Insurgency” that Col. Kurt Schlicter writes of.

    Hint: the reason the Left has been advancing, is that the Right hasn’t been pushing back on the Cultural side of things. Move the culture, move the Nation. . .

  12. Finrod Felagund
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 9:31 am

    Yep, I’ve seen it; I’ve heard the drama was played up somewhat in it.

  13. Daniel Freeman
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 12:15 pm
  14. Isa
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

    i only became aware of Gawker’s existence last year. seems i showed up just in time for the bonfire.

  15. Daniel Freeman
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

    Or as the late Andrew Breitbart always said, “Politics is downstream from culture.”

  16. Robert What?
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

    I started avoiding them even before GG when I thought they were just slimy click-bait. Now that I know how vile they really are, it makes it all the easier. If I ever need to read one of their articles – to see what the hubbub is about – it is through a web archive.

  17. DerHahn
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

    But things started to change in the noughties. Gradually, rainbow-haired she-twinks and doughy pyjama-boy cucks started worming their way into the gaming press. I’m not sure why – maybe it was due to the mass expansion of higher education in the 90’s, and some of these otherwise unemployable English or Journalism majors started taking jobs at gaming publications.
    It was in the late 1990’s that the hue and cry started about getting women into STEM fields. Since one of the distinguishing features of SJW ‘logic’ is the confusion of outcomes with means, that meant the start of the push to create girl-friendly computer games on the theory that since boys loved computer games and went on to be come STEM nerds then girls + computer games = girl STEM nerds.

  18. Jean-Philippe D. Leighton
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 6:21 pm

    This whole SJW vs Gamers ordeal is just another Jack Thompson in my eyes. You people remember him? Remember when he tried to say that Violent Games caused violence in younger people?

    Anita Sarkeesian’s argument was that games were misogynistic in their presentation and themes. She then tried to make it appear as a “real world” problem by pulling a Jack Thompson on us, that is that the “radical sexualization” of female characters in games can cause young men to have unrealistic expectations of women. Though I do agree with *some* of what her message is implying. The fact is a lot of us gamers were basically asking for the same thing. We want more characters with more depth than a puddle.

    I only have four real problems with Anita.

    – She tried to paint an issue within a relatively immature gaming industry as a feminist issue. (Very misleading).
    – She then tried to present it as a real world issue by pulling a Jack Thompson. (By saying that these “misogynistic” games can cause us to unwillingly (or otherwise) be misogynistic).
    – She deleted any posts containing any real sort of legitimate criticism/discourse while keeping harassment/troll posts up.
    – She then tried to use said harassment posts as “proof” that games are misogynistic.

    In the end, all us gamers want is to have fun. Sometimes that means trash talking. I don’t really trash talk much at all, unless someone does so to me first. I will retaliate. I do feel satisfied when I cause ragers to rage quit. I mean, I’m 29, so at this point in my life all the trash talking is hilarious. But that was after developing a pretty thick skin. I used to get pretty worked up over trash talkers.

    I do think that the “hardcore” (AAA) gaming industry could stand to grow up a little bit. Their biggest demographic is somewhere between 18-35 or something like that. Within that range you have a lot of gamers who really do want games that have a great deal of depth and interesting characters. Not only that but that age range has the biggest number of working class people. I mean, we all enjoy a good romp once in a while. It’s not about being misogynistic, it’s about getting away from the real world and exploring a fantasy instead.

    Also, I would like to point out that a lot of people were expecting The Witcher 3 to catch a LOT of flak from the SJW community. While there were some peeps here and there, the response was very muted. I wonder why? Of course most of us hail the game as a masterpiece. The characters have fantastic depth, and the sexuality is far from egregious. In the past The Witcher series did receive some scorn (the cards were a bit much…). Those same SJW reviewers and journalists that were more than happy to brown nose Anita and Zoe before wouldn’t give them the spotlight again??? Awwwwww….

  19. theoldsargesays
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

    You could always run that one by queef.

  20. AndronicusDragon
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 9:53 pm

    Damn, you made me remember some very good times lol. I was more into the Warez groups and flame wars went on constantly. The Nomads group trying to take over A.B.W.I.B.M.P.C. Well, even the slack binary group tried to do that. Even before that in FIDO there was a several year flame war about using wd40 as a freaking contact cleaner lol.

  21. Andrew_M_Swallow
    July 22nd, 2015 @ 10:38 pm

    Wait until the press starts asking the trio for proof of their harassment. Then we will hear women lament.

  22. ATDavidD
    July 23rd, 2015 @ 12:05 am

    Finally, a rational explanation for why we were allies with the USSR in WWII:

    “In war, your allies are whoever is fighting your enemies, and the motives of your allies matter far less than their skill in battle.”


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  24. Christophercoaxum
    July 23rd, 2015 @ 8:23 am

    On Our Community h-eothermcca-i Compare You to Others

  25. V Whitaker
    July 24th, 2015 @ 3:17 am

    lol! No, dear old mom did. 😉

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    […] Congratulations, “Dishonest Fascists” – #GamerGate Destroys Max Read “Never underestimate your enemy,” is a maxim of military strategy. Before you decide to go to war on the Internet, first consider the fate of Max Read, who was riding high as editor of Gawker until he decided that insulting #GamerGate was a smart move. He chose poorly. […]