Comfortable and Furious

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Intimidation Game

“In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.”

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit has done the impossible: it has made the completely fuck-tarded GamerGate controversy (which is still going on in complete defiance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics) look positively classy and civilized by comparison. This episode is a landmark event in our culture, and stands as a defining moment of Obama’s Presidency. It’s all led to this. Obama’s 11-dimensional chess has just met its mate, resulting in the final statement on 2010s America. Summary: We’re fucking doomed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Who watches Law & Order: SVU? Watching this show is like watching your parents fuck. Everyone out there reading this knows that their parents probably fucked while Law & Order Classic played in the background at some point in their lives. It’s happened. You know it, I know it, and your parents certainly know it. Hell, they’re probably thinking about doing it right now!

What can I say, guys? Sometimes you need to watch your parents fuck. It keeps you grounded.

So here we are: SVU‘s take on the GamerGate thing. This is up there with that episode of Step By Step where the nerdy son turned into a video game addict in terms of ridiculous portrayals of video games on television. It’s worse than that time they changed the format of Video Power and sent my prepubescent self into a fit of uncomprehending anger. Fuck the GamerGaters for unleashing this shit upon the world. Jesus Fucking Christ!

Anyway, where do I even begin? I guess I can follow the opening of Astro-Creep 2000: “Perhaps you had better start from the beginning…”

We open with Mariska Hargitay talking to a therapist about her young son breaking a teapot and another toy during a playdate with some young girls. Yes, right from the start, we’re knee deep in Anita Sarkeesian’s toxic masculinity. “Sounds like a boy,” the therapist interjects. He makes a great get the fuck out of here face during her description of her son’s antics, finally adding: “Boys run around. They break things. They hurt themselves. It’s in all their DNA.” See? Boys can’t help it. They’re genetically programmed to destroy everything!

Cut to Ice-T playing Titties Fail, or some other such bullshit. He whines about Campers and Noobs, explaining each term to his female colleague because Women Don’t Play Games, LOL. They’re at some video game tournament; it’s like EVO for FPSs or something. The game is called “Kill or Be Slaughtered”, or “KOBS” for short. It’s serious business!

Time for the PLOT! Two GamerGaters harass a girl that works at a booth for a new game called “Amazonian Warriors”, designed by female game designer “Raina Punjabi”. They rant about Anita Raina, calling her a bitch, a slut, a whore, etc. I forget which terms they used here, exactly, but it’s a common theme throughout the episode. Bitch. Slut. Repeat. Yawn.

They follow her into the bathroom and sexually assault her. The female detective is alerted and goes to the bathroom to check it out; Ice-T and the other male detective are too engrossed by the vidja games to do their jobs. That is not a joke. Anyway, when the female detective asks the girl what happened, she exclaims, “These guys, they just can’t stand Women in Gaming!” Oh God. Oh no.

Female Detective: “What did they do to you?”

Girl: “They leveled up.”

Congratulations! You’ve just survived the first five minutes of The Intimidation Game! Would you like to know more?

“They were like, total FALs”, the girl says to the detectives after the credits. Ice-T works as a translator for the other detectives, as he is the only one on the team who speaks Gamer. Anyway, FAL stands for Failure at Life. He later translates “FPS” as “First Person Shooter”, even though they just showed an FPS on-screen three minutes ago. It’s like the intended audience for this show consists of mouth-breathing troglodytes or something.

Oh wait.

Anyway, after the interview with the girl, Ice-T explains to Mariska: “These guys want Raina Punjabi out of the gaming world”. Mariska is aghast: “Just because she’s a woman?” It is at this moment that I realize that this is a real episode. They actually made this fucking thing. Dear Lord!

For the record, though, if you’re one of those guys who actually has sent death threats to Anita Sarkeesian or fired off misogynistic bullshit against female game designers: fuck you. I’m making fun of this episode because it’s dumb as all hell, but there’s no excuse for the behavior exhibited by certain young men in this episode. In other words, even though this episode is an unintentional parody of reality, if you are in any way reminiscent of this parody, you’ve got problems.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled review of a shitty Law and Order episode!

Ice-T namedrops Civ 5 while talking to Raina. What is F. Scott Fitzgerald going on up in here? Anyway, Raina’s got a new game launching on Tuesday and doesn’t want the death threats to affect it. She doesn’t want to let the cyber-terrorists win! (Yes, they use the term “cyber-terrorists” in this episode. Multiple times.)

Meanwhile, Mariska worries about her adopted son’s future. She says something about “cyborg Cowboys and Indians”. Does she mean that the Cowboys are cyborgs, and that they’re fighting against fully human Indians? Or does she mean that they’re both cyborgs? Does Mariska Hargitay even know what a cyborg is?

Mariska, please tweet the definition of a cyborg. I just want to check.

Anyway, it’s been like three minutes since the last violation of the Constitution, so one of the detectives decides to force a gamer (who was apparently an offender from a previous episode found not guilty at trial) to troll some forum posters that were admitting to the bathroom assault. He arranges a meeting so that the two gentlemen can be apprehended. At some point, “doxing” is explained to the audience. This is the worst thing I have ever watched.

Later, at the meet-cute, one of the GamerGaters from the opening asks, “So, you doxed that other bitch?” BITCH. SLUT. BITCH. Over and over and over. It’s like a wheel within a wheel. A trigger within a trigger. Luckily, Ice-T is there to save the day with a one-liner: “Nice try. No reset button in the real world.”

Little did I know that shit just got real.

That’s right, folks: Gamer-ISIS! He’s got a Nacho Libre mask and everything! It’s like a Juggalo mated with Mark Zuckerberg. Even our fuckups are fuckups compared to the fuckups of earlier ages. We really are doomed.

Later, Raina gets arrested during a live-streaming interview. After the customary commercial break to build suspense, it turns out to be a swatting! Cue ten second description of “swatting” for the audience. I’ll forgive them for this, because it led to my favorite moment of the episode: Raina calls the swatters “Anonymous Cowards”! I know Slashdot has gone downhill, but that shout-out still made me smile.

By the way, here is a Slashdot thread about some idiot doxing a federal judge. It apparently happened on the “baphomet” board of 8chan, which I don’t read. I’m not hip anymore, guys. I’m old. I bring all of this up because typing Baphomet into Google Image Search gives some hilarious results:

Obama is Baphomet! Then again, these guys see Baphomet everywhere, apparently. Like on Beyonce’s crotch:

And in Madonna’s helmet, or whatever it is:

And with Lady GaGa, apparently, because why not?

As retarded as these images are, they still blow The Intimidation Game out of the water. At least these images are voicing actual arguments. They’re terrible arguments, but they’re arguments nonetheless. The Intimidation Game is just a string of bullshit news headlines without content. There is no analysis. There is no point. Let’s just throw all of it into a blender and call it “writing”! Ice-T is doing his best to carry this shit, but it’s just too much.

All of this is just so depressing. I’ve never liked the word “gamer”, anyway. Long ago, in the late 80s and early 90s, there wasn’t a special name for video game fans, at least I can recall. You were just a kid that played a lot of video games. Everyone had a NES or whatever, so playing games wasn’t strange. Playing them all the time was different, but there wasn’t a label for that. If there was, I was too young to know about it.

At some point in the 90s (I believe around the advent of the PSX) the word “gamer” started appearing in the magazines of the time. I always thought it seemed like an appropriation of video games by marketers and corporate types that didn’t really understand games. They were trying to sell an identity to fans of video games that I, for one, didn’t need or want. The “gamers” were the guys that loved 3D graphics and hated the SNES and Genesis classics. They wouldn’t be caught dead playing a Monkey Island game. They were embarrassing.

Anyway, this episode is the culmination of everything wrong with the popular conception of video games over the years. From the Night Trap scare to now, it’s all crammed into this 40-minute episode. I find myself simultaneously marvelling at the writers’ skill while recoiling at the clusterfuck of bullshit unfolding before me. Anyway, I guess it’s time to wade through the rest of this dreck! Get ready, guys!

The board where the GamerGaters congregate is called “Redchannit”. No, seriously! Anyway, the GamerGaters threaten to rape and mutilate Raina’s corpse on “Redchannit”. She’s still alive, guys! Your verb conjugations are all wrong!

In a shitty YouTube video, the lead GamerGater rants about SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS. Kill me now. He also rants about Raina’s game being “mind-numbing, derivative garbage.” Yeah, and Call of Duty 17: Modern Warfare 10: Black Ops 5 isn’t, right? Once again: Jesus Christ. Ice-T notes that it was “uploaded through the DarkNet”, by the way. Oooooo, the DarkNet! I’m quivering in fear!

Finally, it’s time for the launch of “Amazonian Warriors”! As Raina gives her speech about her new game, a laser sight lands on her forehead. Yes, a laser pointer is used to place a dot on an Indian woman’s forehead. Stay classy, SVU.

Suddenly, the lights go out, and it’s on! “No social justice in gaming!” booms over the speakers as Raina disappears from the stage. In the confusion, she is led outside by a fake security guard and subsequently abducted by the GamerGaters in a classic white van. The GamerGaters even manage to hack a nearby big screen television and taunt the police:

Ice-T and The Blonde Chick trace the white van to an abandoned warehouse and find a banner for KOBS, the video game the GamerGaters are re-enacting because they can’t tell fantasy from reality. On a nearby chair they find a smartphone open to a video that shows one of the GamerGaters ripping open Raina’s shirt and punching her in the face. Ominous green text appears over the video: LEVEL COMPLETED.

I had to pause the episode because I was giggling too hard at that. Always remember your title cards when taunting the police with a smartphone video! They might not take you seriously otherwise!

Anyway, we end up watching a livestream of the captive Raina on an iPad with two of the detectives back at the station. “Shut up, bitch!” Jesus, this show is vile. “This is what happens to slut bitches who mess with gamers!” Just so you didn’t have any doubt, the sound guys made sure to dub in a sound effect for the guy’s jeans unzipping as he gets ready to rape Raina on the livestream. Once again: this is the worst thing I have ever watched.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to #SVU! Tell all your friends about all the raping in tonight’s episode!

The GamerGaters break Raina, and a video “uploaded to Redchannit” depicts her tearful rejection of female game development at gunpoint. It’s just wrong on all levels. I know that this episode is a terrible pastiche of elements from various news headlines, but the thought of actually losing an artistic voice over such bullshit truly bothers me. I’m not bothered by much; I mean, I watched Transformers 4 in its entirety and survived! For some reason, though, this episode is actually upsetting me. This show is total garbage and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

The GamerGaters accidentally leave GPS information on the video, and it is traced to the house of one of the GamerGaters’ moms. The police talk about the need to avoid being inadvertently used in a swatting, and then storm into her house and start yelling at her with guns drawn. “Do you have a son?” “Does he play video games?” “WHERE? WHERE DOES HE PLAY?”

The mother shows the detectives where her son plays video games: the basement. That’s right: One of the GamerGaters actually lives in his mother’s basement. This entire episode is just a giant troll, right? I honestly can’t tell. It is possible that SVU really is this stupid.

The detectives show one of the GamerGaters’ misogynistic 4chan posts to his mom. She is shocked and appalled, though she notes that her son would never rape anyone because “he was raised better than that.” Apparently, he’s been having trouble dealing with his father passing away. At the end of the episode, it turns out that he intentionally left the GPS information on the video upload to stop the other GamerGaters’ reign of terror. He’s a good kid! Well, aside from the rape thing.

Rape. Rape. Rape. At one point, Ice-T notes that, “Rape is a mod in Level 16 of KOBS”. Ice-T actually uttered that sentence with a straight face. If he doesn’t get an Emmy for that, he should.

For the episode’s Admiral Ackbar reference, the GamerGaters force Raina to call the police at gunpoint and lure them to some abandoned storage garage. The police know that it’s a trap, but they go in with the full ESU (whatever that is) in case shit goes down.

Anyway, the elite SWAT team is duped by a recording of gunfire sounds coming out of a boombox. They storm into the storage unit after throwing in a couple flashbangs. Christ, fellas. Even I knew they were fake gunshots! Your tax dollars at work!

They find Raina duct-taped to a shotgun. Ice-T and Mariska have to frantically tell the SWAT team to stand down before they re-enact the Michael Brown shooting. I presume something similar happened during the writing session for this episode as the Lone Voice of Reason on the writing staff desperately tried to make sure that the streams of unrelated news headlines didn’t cross.

Hey, anybody remember the “SWAT” cheat code section from one of the old 90s video game magazines? My mind is unable to recall what magazine it was from, and it’s bothering me. I think it may have been GamePro, but I forgot. Please post a comment if you remember. I will try to respond, but Facebook always seems to eat my comments on this website. Thank you.

If you couldn’t tell: I’m thinking about anything but this episode. Anything else. We’re almost there, though, guys! We’re almost there!

It turns out that the GamerGaters were on a nearby rooftop. The Blonde Chick and The White Guy were on the case, and they apprehended one of the GamerGaters. He immediately starts shit-talking the other two. “They don’t know what’s real and what’s a game!” I haven’t heard any Miranda Rights, by the way. It doesn’t matter, because as George W. Bush said, the Constitution’s just a piece of paper. Still, it’s telling that even with all the fantastical bullshit in this episode, they didn’t even bother trying to pretend that the rights of the accused matter in the slightest to contemporary America. That’d just be ridiculous!

Anyway, The White Guy disarms one of the remaining GamerGaters, but the other manages to sneak up behind him. The episode switches to a first-person viewpoint, because the creators of this episode thought long and hard about how to make this as tacky as possible. They succeeded!

The lead GamerGater fires off words like “skank” and “whore” in an order that vaguely recalls the form of an English sentence. The White Guy tries to tell him to think about what he’s doing. But the GamerGater can’t distinguish fantasy from reality! It’s all a game to him! Oh no!

Then Ice-T sneaks up on him and shoots him dead. Finally.

The fatal shooting wasn’t the crescendo of the episode, though. No, that happens as The White Guy fires off a question to Ice-T that will echo down through the ages:

“You camping back there?”

I’m going to shoot myself in the face.

In the aftermath, Raina says that she’s quitting video games. The Blonde Chick tells her that if she does that, then the cyber-terrorists have won. But Raina is a mess. She tearfully states, “Woman in Gaming. What did I expect?”

This episode of SVU can be summarized in two words: “Jesus Christ”. Really, though, the entire GamerGate controversy can be summarized with the same two words. Hell, Obama’s Presidency can be summarized with the same two words! It’s the mantra of our age!

Social Justice Warriors. GamerGaters. Women in Gaming. Redchannit. Everyone is fighting each other and acting like complete douchebags about it. It’s a tempest in a teapot that has raged for so long that it’s finally escaped the teapot and ended up on Law & Order. GamerGaters rant about games that feature female perspectives, because God forbid a game feature anything other than dudebro bullshit. SJWs rant about Taki’s breasts bouncing around in Soul Calibur, because we all know that a game where Astaroth slams an axe down on Amy’s head and she gets back up 3 seconds later is going for perfect realism. I become a worse person every time I read any of this stuff. Whatever happened to, “If you don’t like it, don’t play it”? Whatever happened to live and let live? As Rodney King once asked: “Why can’t we all just get along?”

I really don’t understand people who are against women playing and designing video games, anyway. Is it really that much of a shock that women are human beings? What is the matter with these guys? Plenty of old Sierra adventure games had female designers. It’s not like it’s a new concept. These guys who whine about women in the video game industry are not true video game fans. If they were, they would know that Ada Lovelace is recognized as the first computer programmer and would immediately realize what idiots they are.

They’re idiots. Everybody involved with this controversy is an idiot for writing about it and perpetuating it, though. Yes, that includes me.

The silver lining in all of this is that most people in real life have no idea that this nonsense exists. Hell, I haven’t really followed it all that closely myself; my knowledge mostly comes from the trolling articles posted on programming, video game, and technology websites with the sole purpose of generating 1000+ comment catfights. If you talk to people in real life, none of this comes up. For example, at my afternoon tutoring job, there is a girl who is a big fan of Fire Emblem. I mentioned the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask remake on 3DS a month or two ago and she was excited. Hey, you can’t talk solely about math problems for hours; you need to break it up sometimes to retain interest. But is GamerGate ever mentioned? No. Does she care if someone on the Internet thinks girls shouldn’t play games? Of course not. It’s almost as if this whole thing is a clickbait trollfest that nobody gives a shit about in real life!

Case in point: Law & Order: SVU‘s attempt at presenting this topic fairly, or in other words, their complete lack of giving a shit. This is mainstream America, folks. This is our society in all its fearmongering glory. Did SVU care? Of course they didn’t. This is all bullshit!

Anyway, here is a thread on Reddit about this episode, in case you need more. You know you can’t help yourself.

If you need me, I’ll be playing Civilization.



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