[note: this began life as an IM conversation, hence the occasional second voice]
The assertion that enthusiast or commercial games writing needs to be more academic in order to be “better” or “more valid” or whatever words Cameron wants to use…fuck that argument, it is classist and bullshit.
Counterpoint: he’s not saying MLA citation. he’s saying hyperlink other writers? Like Lana Polansky did in the piece he linked as a good example.
I get that it’s possible to suggest playing teacher for your audience and linking around to other stuff but that’s not what he’s saying, he’s saying it needs to be more academic, that is the language and frame he chose for this, and it’s a fucking bullshit frame to the highest degree. It is the policy of some sites (but not many game sites) to embed reference links, so why is this not a criticism of the policies of Polygon and PA Report and Kotaku? Why is this “Mattie Brice isn’t writing validly enough for me”?
“Let me be honest: I don’t think online games criticism could be hurt by mimicking academic standards a little.” …Cameron dug himself DEEP into that trench.
Counterpoint: but immediately followed with “t the same time, no. I’m not calling for works cited pages or proper in-text citation. I want articles that acknowledge that others have written on the topic.”
If the practical outcome he wants is, “more embedded links inside games writing,” there are ways to do that that aren’t “I, a PhD candidate, am going to demand that games writing mimic academic standards ‘a little’.” Do you see that? Do you see how this is a white guy coming down from the mountain to tell all the little brown girls they aren’t writing smart enough?
I get you can look past the general tone and see all the ways he chipped away at that original block so it’s not QUITE shaped like THAT, because it’s not about you. I am GROSSED THE FUCK OUT by the overall tone of this piece and so, being kind of nauseous, it’s harder to be like, “oh well I guess he didn’t mean EXACTLY that”.
I think he chose a really silencing oppressive framework for his point to be made in and I think it’s one that specifically puts him completely at odds with Mattie’s public persona and work. A cis white academic man telling a poor trans woman of color how to “mimic academic standards a little” is the kind of context that Cameron seems to think requires hyperlinked citations in order to be valid, especially since he wraps up with asserting that her essay amounts to LITERALLY NOTHING BEING SAID since she didn’t put any links in for him to click on.
(And to play Cameron’s own nitpick game: in his essay he calls Mattie’s essay as an essay over and over, but keeps holding it to the standards he laid out for criticism.)
Making up rules for grading someone else’s writing and then grading it with those rules publicly and co-opting someone else’s really deeply personal essay and holding it up as a teaching lesson for the internet at large is a shitty thing to do. It’s the kind of thing you to do to shitty people who you don’t care if they’ll ever talk to you again…it certainly is completely lacking in any tone of considering Mattie a peer.
“So for Brice, experiential writing and using her voice to speak and and [sic] claim that she exists is rebellion, period.” Cameron dismissing that in particular was revolting, it’s just so gross, I feel so badly for Mattie.
“How could Brice’s essay not have been made better by actually dealing with the arguments of her interlocutors?” I am reminded of times that feminists have refused to show up for panels or debates with really hateful anti-feminist people because they didn’t want to position themselves as just one side of a two-sided argument, as if thinking women don’t deserve bodily autonomy is somehow just one valid opinion versus another. They didn’t want to validate the other side by deigning to consider their arguments, because they aren’t actually valid…and I feel like Cameron’s suggestion that Mattie have to deal with everyone who fucking disagrees with her every time she opens her mouth…it borders on abusive, honestly.
Also it’s so intensely blind to the kind of ‘arguments’ Mattie receives, I mean, I see what I get and I’m a hetero-married cisgender upper middle class white person. It’s amazingly, simultaneously showing off how fucking little Cameron knows, and silencing as fuck toward Mattie. This is that dude who opened his “response” to Mattie’s Would You Kindly with the “thought exercise” that trans people should just not transition if they didn’t want to get abused so much, that’s the dude Cameron thinks Mattie should be thinking about and responding to and engaging with in future writings…I guess for Cameron’s amusement?
What must it be like to be able to completely divorce a single idea from the toxic transphobic person who put it forth and be able to actually respond to it in any non-draining way? Who the fuck has that superpower?
And then to cap all this shit off with “I am totally on board with experiential writing and I think it is a valuable partner to game centered criticism.”
fuuuuuuuck you man
fuck you five times
Sure, as long as it’s cited to his satisfaction, engages with whichever abusive jerks Cameron wants to see engaged in, and doesn’t actually require the reader to deem the lived experience being written about as valid all on its own.
And again: OVER A FREE PERSONAL ESSAY SHE WROTE FOR THE BORDER HOUSE, A COMMUNITY BLOG.