Misrepresentation as an Art Form

What is it called when someone takes the time in an article to quote another person exactly, then below that quote, completely ignore it and transform the statement into something the person didn’t say? Oh yes. It’s called misrepresentation.

The Grande Dame of The Usual Suspects just can’t help but heap hate on Christina Hoff Sommers. She goes to all the trouble of actually doing at least a partial transcription of a video Sommers made concerning Gamergate and then proceeds to change the subject.

Here’s a perfect example from the post where she first quotes Sommers (Note: This is her transcription, not mine)

Male gamers, as a group, do evince a strong a preference for games with male heroes and sexy women. Could that be because they are – uh [quick eye roll] male? There is no evidence that these games are making males racist, misogynist, or homophobic. In fact, all the data we have suggests that millennial males—born and raised in video game nation—are far less prone to these prejudices than previous generations.

Then she proceeds to interpret that for her readers

All the data? I doubt that. Misogyny is too prevalent and hip and fashionable for that. It’s coming from somewhere.

Well, to begin with, Sommers didn’t say “all the data”, as you just read, but said “all the data we have”. Thats a big difference in my mind and shows that there might be room for a different evaluation in the future as more data are gathered.

Then she proceeds to state that misogyny is prevalent. So, she disagrees with the statement that “There is no evidence” for misogyny, yet provides nothing to back up her own statement.

I’m not surprised. It’s just another hate/hit piece. It’s fine to disagree with others, but can anyone be taken seriously when they constantly misrepresent someone with whom they disagree?

I don’t think so.

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4 thoughts on “Misrepresentation as an Art Form

  1. “Then she proceeds to state that misogyny is prevalent. So, she disagrees with the statement that “There is no evidence” for misogyny, yet provides nothing to back up her own statement.”

    I agree that Benson should provide evidence. But where is your criticism of Sommers for not actually providing evidence herself. Sure, she claims there is evidence. But a skeptic doesn’t just accept the claim something exists without insisting that the evidence actually be provided.

  2. “There is no evidence that these games are making males racist, misogynist, or homophobic.”

    Whom among feminists or any other group criticizing the sexist stereotypes in games has made this claim? Where is your criticism of this strawman used by Sommers?

    • It’s not a straw man. It’s a reply directly to those that claim there is racism, misogyny (as Benson), and homophobia in gaming.

      Many of the anti-gamer articles written recently make these types of claims.

  3. Now that really is an extraordinary claim: that racism, misogyny, and homophobia are not present among gamers. If this is true then they are an extraordinary bunch, given that racism, misogyny and homophobia are almost certainly present in every other subculture in our society to some degree or another.

    Furthermore, the strawman is not that Sommers is claiming that critics have claimed there is racism, misogyny and homophobia among gamers. They have, and correctly so. Sommers strawman is that she is claiming the critics are claiming that the games are turning people into racists, homophobes or misogynists. This is not what the critics have claimed. They are saying that there are sexist, racist and other types of bigoted and prejudiced images in the games. This is a true allegation.

    However, It is obvious that there is this kind of bigotry among some of those in the gaming culture given some of the hateful and vitriolic remarks made by some of the gamers, not to mention the death threats that have been directed at some of the critics of these games by some of the gamers themselves. I have no doubt that the bigots in the gaming culture did not develop their bigotry and sexism as a result of playing the games. No. They almost certainly were bigots and sexists before they started playing the games.

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