The biggest lesson to learn from the saga of ‘The Sarkeesian Effect’, is perhaps not the message within the documentary but a general lesson about people you should trust. With rare exceptions the lesson as told by Bernard Chapin: Never Trust a Leftist. After the film was finally released last year and all the drama that went in to making it, I was unwilling to pay for the final product. I have seen portions of it though and what I have seen was unimpressive.
I was active in GamerGate until the later half of last year when it more or less ended in victory. I participated in both open and anonymous roles and certainly sent plenty of emails. I didn’t back ‘The Sarkeesian Effect’ when it was announced or at any time during it’s development and difficulties. I hadn’t heard of the two creators and didn’t take much notice of them until the first time there was trouble.
I instinctively took the side of Aurini over Owen simply because he didn’t start it. I took more notice of both of them after that event and became a lot more interested in the project. I was happy to see them get back together and not at all surprised when Owen spilled the spaghetti the second time. By then I’d watched a good few of Aurini and Owen’s earlier videos and got a decent idea of the public persona’s of both. I know that how people present themselves on a medium like YouTube isn’t reality, but I think I had a good idea of their characters and on reflection, my instincts were right.
This second fallout had real importance for GamerGate because it exposed the enemy within GG. Aurini was attacked over Owen, the latter who had done the most damage to the project – if only because of his inability to solve disputes privately. Aurini didn’t conduct himself like a perfect gentleman with either fallout, but it wasn’t hard to see his anger and frustration, especially the second time. eCelebrity figures like Thunderf00t, Sargon and Shoe0nHead all lost my respect for the way they sided with the person most obviously at fault with the project. It was also hard not to notice that they were all on the same political spectrum.
I’ll leave it at that as I could certainly write a whole other post on this eDrama and I’d rather forget it. What matters is not what was said but what was done and in the end, Aurini produced what he said he would and even released it for free.
Overall, I enjoyed it and given the limited budget and the drama detailed above, it turned out a lot better than I expected it would. I wouldn’t have blamed him if it had never been done but I’m glad that he stuck with it and kept his word.
I have to say that I agree with Thunderf00t with regard to the editing. If Aurini is guilty of anything, it is wildly inflating his ability with film editing. The pacing and general flow is fine but the audio is all over the place. I had to adjust the volume several times while watching it and I don’t understand why this wasn’t corrected. I also noticed at least one spelling error in the graphic overlays.
The “yeah… um… uhuh…. yeah…. hmmhmm” of Owen while interviewing has been cleaned up as much as it could be without redoing the interviews. This comes with the amateur nature of the project and I can imagine it might have been hard to tell him while doing the interview to cut it out without making things awkward. It may be a small thing but it definitely bothered me and plenty of others in the comment section.
The documentary does a great job of breaking down what makes gamers so irritated with Sarkeesian’s methods and without attacking her directly. It could have been far more ferocious and justifiably so but as becomes clear, she is just the most visible evidence of a much wider problem. It goes beyond her and addressing it would make her go away much faster than any criticism of her would.
I enjoyed the interviews which included a wide variety of people that came to be associated with GamerGate. If you were on board with the movement then there probably isn’t a lot you haven’t heard or read about already but it is a nice concise coverage of it overall. I don’t think there is much chance it will get the attention of the wider public after all that went on but it is great to see it finally released.
So I definitely recommend watching it, especially since there is a chance Owen will try to have it removed.