Saturday, 30 May 2015
(SATIRE) A transmission from Gamasutra HQ to Leigh Alexander: Lone inhabitant of Offworld Starbase Alpha (A poem by backwards7 - aged 9)
Ground control to Leighka.
You who followed your
Soviet namesake into ascension.
Take your salt tablets and put your helmet on.
The President of Earth
can't come to the phone right now
but wishes to inform you by proxy
that you are performing important work
simply by being in outer space
thousands of miles
removed from the Terra firma
with no practical method of return.
The words that you funnel
into the megaphone
forever poised at your lips
will die unheard in the vacuum.
They will not stir the tides
where once they made waves.
Your gaping mouth
is a black hole
from which no
as you go about
your appointed task
of cataloguing all
the CIS white stars
in the heavens,
where they twinkle
with audacious privilege.
In moments of silent reflection,
that arrive with the frequency
of Halley's Comet,
you attempt to distil
a decent vodka from the replica
dilithium crystals signed by Will Wheaton
that were given to you
on your departure.
In orbit, there is no brandy, Alexander.
The sponsors who
propelled your fiery ascent
withdrew their funding
from the space program
before the smoke
on the launch pad had cleared.
You now remain
to the firmament,
an entitled constellation
muscling your way
into the zodiac,
of dubious merit.
Friday, 29 May 2015
TRIGGER WARNING: MODE 5 has never heard of Madison City, Missouri
A ragtag band of academics, keyboard warriors and cycling enthusiasts are to be moulded into an elite unit of hardbitten commandos by the late actor Lee Marvin. The small task force, who have been dubbed “The Empiric Eight” on account of their unconventional fondness for fact-based argument, will be deployed in operations pertaining to Gamergate.
Standing in front of a freshly-constructed assault course, built from scratch by his new conscripts using credible peer-reviewed books and academic journals as materials, Marvin, who has been inactive since his death in 1987, said:
“I am in the process of putting the raw recruits through their paces. While they will all be trained in survival and desert warfare, along with various forms of hand to hand and ranged combat, we initially expect missions to involve participation in moderated debates on videogaming-related issues.”
Marvin then broke off to bark orders at a soldier loitering near the barracks:
“Yiannopoulos! I see a rope in your future and I don't mean the one you hang your soap on.”
Later, former journalist turned army Private, Milo Yiannopoulos, took to Twitter to vent his frustrations:
“Lee Marvin just made me climb a 20 foot rope. Unbelievable.”
When asked to elaborate on the unconventional fighting force Marvin said:
“When putting together a unit like this you can't just pull soldiers from the rank and file. What we look for are outsiders - Men and women who would struggle to adjust to civilian life in certain areas of San Francisco or on the campus of Goldsmiths University of London, where antisocial traits such as stability, rationality and a sense of humour would be likely to land them in jail.
“In the search for recruits we deliberately steered clear of these safe spaces. Many of the men and women who you see before you today were drawn from a watch list of passengers booked onto flights leaving San Francisco, who had refused to check their privilege in the main hold before boarding.
“Private Yiannopoulos is a former 'put down man' for the UK armed forces, capable of ending a skirmish with a single withering quip. He once brought an entire mechanised platoon to a demoralised halt by pointing out that the forest camouflage pattern on their tanks clashed with their uniforms.
“I tracked him to a restaurant in Mayfair, where he was making a living hustling patrons in games of canasta, while subsisting upon a meagre diet of champagne and lobster. It pained me to see a man of his natural talents having fallen so low.
“I rescued Colonel Sommers from hostile forces who were attacking her via the medium of jazz hands - a sign language developed by proponents of social justice that reduces the rich lexicon of human communication to a single meaningless non-discriminatory gesture.”
Other recruits to the unit were ensnared by means of elaborate traps. Private Campbell said:
“I followed temporary signs for a new cycle route. These eventually led me to this compound where I am now being tutored in a verbal martial art developed by Karl Popper. I have also been taught how to whittle a tent pole from a human shin bone.”
Speaking of the ongoing process of shaping the recruits into an effective debating unit, Marvin said:
“Many of these individuals are difficult characters and consequently I expect a certain amount of rough-housing. The watershed moment will come when a pair decide to go AWOL and the others band together and utilise the debating techniques they are currently being instructed in to convince them to return. I will of course interrogate everyone in an attempt to find out what happened but none of them will crack and this will be a bonding experience.”
Already signs of a collective identity are beginning to emerge. Private Young said:
“The cake a lie, however not disclosing that you had the cake and then ate it, and that the donor of the cake is a close personal friend to whom you owe money, is a far greater lie.”
“We are considering using this as a motto for our unit, only in Latin obviously.”
With the unit's first mission scheduled for mid-August training had been stepped-up to ensure readiness for operations in the field.
“I can confirm that the unit will be a debating against an as-yet unidentified force...” said Marvin.
“...They will deploy from a hovering Black Hawk helicopter, rappelling from the gun doors down to the main entrance of the venue where they will check in and collect their ID badges. They will subsequently advance from the lobby to the debating area where they will assume tactical seating patterns behind the tables provided.
“Under a UN directive no Pokémon will be deployed during the debate although companion Pokémon will be allowed as mascots. We will observe the UN treaty on arms escalation which forbids the use of 60-card Magic: The Gathering decks.”
At the barracks yesterday the pervading sense of nervousness and anticipation was best summed-up by Private Wardell:
“There have already been excited discussions regarding which one of us will lose their virginity to their childhood sweetheart the night before the operation. Also one of us is bound to go mad during the mission, while another will be revealed as an enemy agent who we will be forced to neutralise.”
When questioned on whether the survivors of the debate would be transported to the ward of a military hospital where Marvin would solemnly read out a list of the names of those who had been killed in action, Private Yiannopoulos said:
“We are not expecting any casualties. After the debate we will probably go to a bar or a restaurant.”
Monday, 25 May 2015
(SATIRE) Further delays to Feminist Frequency video series caused by failure to complete misogynist text adventure, '8chan'
TRIGGER WARNING: The following article is subject to Rule 34 in the United Kingdom, under the Provision of Fap-worthy Material Act 1988. If you are viewing this page from outside the UK please refer to local laws and statutes for guidance.
Delays to a popular series of short films exploring the role of sexism in the evolution of videogames, are the result of the producer's failure to complete a popular misogynist text adventure called 8chan.
When Feminist Frequency's Tropes vs Women in Videogames series first blazed onto the internet in 2013, it was hailed by critics and audiences alike as a natural heir to much-loved television staples such as The Wire and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. The show rapidly gained a cult following, however lengthy gaps between new episodes have left ardent fans literally foaming at the mouth in anticipation.
A spokesperson-kin (literally a spokesperson born into the body of a woman) for Feminist Frequency initially refused to speak to MODE 5, informing us that we had been blocked from all communication for reasons that they were unable to disclose. After our reporter had wandered round the corner, removed any identifying credentials, and returned for comment, the spokesperson told him:
“I can confirm that the current delays affecting production of our popular Tropes vs Women in Videogames web-based serialette are a result of our struggle to make progress in a videogame titled 8chan, and a failure to identify the negative tropes within this game that will form a framework for the upcoming episode.
“Furthermore, we have struggled to find in-game footage of 8chan on YouTube that we can use in our upcoming video and this has added to the delays .”
“8chan is a fiendishly difficult misogynist text adventure. It is an early title in the popular chan saga and has retained its popularity despite sequels now numbering in the hundreds.
“Players begin the game as an anonymous 'newfag', stripped of any identifying characteristics that might determine their level of privilege. The purpose of the game is to reclaim your lost identity. To achieve this goal a player must travel through lands (or boards as they are referred to within the game) and gather skills, artefacts and information that will aid them in their ultimate quest to depose the wicked cyborg king - Fire Tires - who has claimed dominion over these scattered realms.
“Along the way you will encounter potential allies such as the LOLcats and the powerful celibate wizards. You must also battle dick wolves and feral gamergaters, while maintaining viable salt levels.
“8chan deviates from the forked pathway structure used in traditional text adventures, most recently in the excellent Depression Quest, its sequel Depression Quest II: Rise of Zanghar, and its street racing spin-off Depression Quest: Miami Hardpark. Instead the game adopts an ambitious sand box setting, making it the Grand Theft Auto of text adventures with all of the associated negativity.
“Despite being predominantly word-based, graphics are scattered randomly throughout the game world. Some of these are intended to penalise the player who must avoid being triggered by images of the made-up rapist and avid penis-harvester Ramsey Bolton, from Game of Thrones.
“More positively, players can be awarded cards, such as the '8chan gold account', that will grant them additional powers or resources. During a recent session, Feminist Frequency earned the coveted 'OP is a glorious winged faggot' card which we believe will allow us to fly to previously inaccessible areas in the game.
“While navigation between boards and interaction with the immense cast of non-player characters is intuitive, performing actions in the game can often be complicated and frustrating. There are no instructions and any attempt to acquire knowledge of the mechanics are cruelly mocked by NPCs.
“8chan is online only and earlier versions were plagued with stability issues that would cause it to briefly disappear from the internet. Progress within the game is saved automatically but is deleted after a randomly generated period of time. This can result in a player being forced to return to previously explored areas and repeat earlier activities.
“An ad- hoc customer support system does exist within 8chan with some NPCs offering suggestions on how to optimise the performance of the game. One in-game helper who expressed concerns over the slow frame-rate on our PC advised that we delete the System32 directory which, they told us, is designed to slow down games to Canadian frame-rate speed limits and can be safely removed with no long-term impact on the OS.
“While exploring a game world dedicated to the music of the Hip Hop act Insane Clown Posse it was also suggested that we re-align the electrons on our computer hard drive by rubbing a powerful magnet over it in a figure of eight pattern. This has rendered our main gaming PC temporarily inoperable while the system reconfigures itself. We have been instructed to place the PC tower in a large newspaper-lined cardboard box, cover it with straw and place it in a warm dark place such as an airing cupboard, checking on its progress every couple of weeks.
“Some NPCs, when pressed, will also give advice on how to make progress within the game. We were recently informed that in order to 'level up' and gain access to the powerful triforce spell we must first seek out the lemon party and find tub girl.
“Despite what you may have read on the interent, Feminist Frequency is staffed by hardcore gamers. Our office is full of consoles both old and new, such as the The Playbox, The Nine-ten 360 Classic, The Soba Moon, and The X Live Zone. However we will always consider ourselves, first and foremost, to be Superior PC Aristocracy.”
Following this interview MODE 5 was contacted by the spokesperson for Feminist Frequency, who issued the following statement:
“There are things that I couldn't say earlier. What I couldn't say is that the only thing to emerge from the hundreds of hours I have invested in scouring the 8chan text adventure for misogynist tropes is an almighty ball of Christ-the-fuck-knows-what. If I don't make any progress soon I'm going back to playing Windows 95.”
Thursday, 21 May 2015
TRIGGER WARNING: A Play Doh version of this post is available for those who are easily offended
Vocal critic of Gamergate and one true Scotsman, Josh McIntosh, has revealed that he is tormented by a privileged white male who silently stalks him through reflective surfaces.
The pan-dimensional entity has been described to the FBI by McIntosh as “a stereotypical white masculine construct exemplifying the dominant patriarchal system.”
Speaking about his experience of being stalked, McIntosh said:
“For as long as I can remember an embodiment of the white male supremacy trope has dogged my footsteps. I may occasionally lose him in a crowd but he always finds me.”
Ask whether the mirror-dweller had ever directly threatened or attempted to harm him, McIntosh responded:
“By occupying a space in my eye-line that could be more appropriately filled by a less privileged archetype - a woman, an ethnic minority, or somebody who thinks they are an Angelfish trapped in a human body - my stalker has made himself an active participant in the exclusion of genders, races, and minorities, and the silencing of their voices.
“The very fact that he has chosen to stalk me as opposed to a poor woman of colour marks his actions as both sexist and racist.”
Speculating on the possible origins of his tormentor, McIntosh said:
“Occasionally I will see him wearing clothing with backwards writing on it, or carrying literature phrased in what appears the Cyrillic alphabet. This leads me to believe that he may be Russian.”
“I was horrified on one occasion when I caught sight of my work colleague, Anita Sarkeesian, standing behind this man, having apparently been kidnapped by him.
“Despite my concerns for Anita's safety and well-being, I knew that she would not want me to engage in the damsel in distress trope by attempting to rescue her. Having turned my back on the mirror, with the intention of walking away, I was heartened to discover that Anita had already escaped the clutches of her captor requiring no help from either myself or Mario.
“After this I don't see how anybody can say that Gamergate is not a violent hate group that targets women.”
Asked whether he had ever been tempted to confront his stalker, McIntosh replied:
“I will not conform to the masculine trope of employing violence as a means to an end; not while Orwellian behaviour modification remains an option.
“At first I attempted to create divergent paths for my stalker's masculinity with the addition of further mirrors. Unfortunately this resulted in a toxic replication of an undesirable stereotype, leading to what I would describe as a dangerous hyper-masculinity.”
McIntosh added that, in an attempt to bring matters to a non-violent ending, he had studied at length the lyrics to the Michael Jackson hit 'Man in the Mirror' but had so-far reached no firm conclusions.
Jeff Lintman – a barista at the Flat White Knights Coffee Emporium in San Francisco said:
“While I broadly agree with Josh's outlook on things, he is the only person I know who will routinely drop the word 'hegemony' into a drinks order. It is for this reason alone that I hope his mirror-bound nemesis finds a way of dragging him through the looking glass and imprisoning him in an alternate dimension forever.”
Some kid called Kyle Reese who hangs around outside MODE 5's California offices said:
“My mother told me that if you say Josh McIntosh's name three times in front of a mirror, he will appear in the room and lecture you on why all your Star Wars action figures are racist and why Boba Fett's Mandalorian battle armour oppresses women.”
“It's tough finding the money to buy Star Wars figures when you're a 7 year old kid being forced to pay alimony to a girl who has given birth to a son fathered by your future self. Actually I'm not supposed to talk about any of this on account of the gagging order.”
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
(SATIRE) Love Slaves of Gamergate: An excerpt from an erotic novel by Madeleine Figbough, set in Edwardian Buckinghamshire
MODE 5 is of course aware of the persistent and ongoing speculation surrounding the true identity of the erotic authoress Madeleine Figbough. Many claim that she herself is nothing more than a work of fiction - a nom de plume of the alleged games journalist Ben Kuchera.
As an ethical news source we will give no further credence to this idle gossip beyond repeating the frequently-made observation that Figbough (or the “the right hand of Ben” as she has become known in literary circles) and Kuchera have never been sighted together in the same room, despite a rumoured sexual relationship.
We would like to warn our readers that the following excerpt from Ms Figbough's latest bodice-ripping masterpiece contains spoilers relating to its prequel Count Milo: The Brunch Satyr.
Mindful of the erotically-charged prose that lies ahead we insist that anyone planning to venture beyond this preface, first dons seepage-factor five waterproof undergarments and avoids making direct contact with expensive upholstery.
MODE 5 can accept no legal responsibility for any inconvenient erections.
Margaret Badgerstroke was 23 years of age. By the social conventions of Lower Gitford – the quaint rural parish where she had resided since birth - she was considered an old maid, marked for the barren life of a spinster. At social gatherings she was a timid almost transparent presence, inseparable from the wallpaper and furnishings of a room, ostracised from any surrounding gaiety or social intercourse with a callous yet formal politeness. In the garden party hierarchy of her insular community she had been browbeaten into the role of a delicate and downtrodden flower – one who has obligingly wilted beneath the glaring expectations of those women who regarded themselves as her superiors.
It was these contemptuous beauties, blessed with the good fortune to have married well, who now, in consideration of Margaret's advancing years, had silently dictated that she would spend the remainder of her cloistered existence primly embroidering bible verses onto cushion covers; or else, busying herself with church floral arrangements, while dusty beams of sunlight projected like toppled columns through the stained glass, casting into unforgiving relief the premature ruin of her womanhood.
Yet in spite of these dismal forecasts Margaret's heart once again trembled, like a butterfly that has roused itself from the dormancy of its chrysalis and is now poised to take flight. The long-denied girlish passions that she had thought locked away forever once more stirred within her bosom.
The source of her reawakening was the return of the Earl of Rochester to his family's country estate following an absence of well over a decade. Margaret's first sighting of this man of pleasing aspect and obvious means, occurred mere minutes after his arrival. From the gates of his property she watched coyly as he supervised the removal of a Japanese contraption known as the Sony Prefecture 4th Generation Palace of Entertainment from the roof of his carriage. In that moment, with a silent yet hardened determination that was often overlooked by her peers, she resolved to ensnare him as her husband.
Margaret had of course heard tales of Earl's rakish pursuits. Her niece, in whom she had confided her intentions, had earnestly counselled against the dalliance, insisting that no possible good come from courting a gentleman who had ardently dedicated himself to the completion of Paper Mario – a childish amusement contained within a device from the far east known as Shogun Nintendo's Curious Cabinet of 64 Wonders.
An oft-repeated tale concerning the Earl's predilection for juvenile amusements had it that, following a formal dinner at Grindrs Hall, he and the other gentlemen had retired to the drawing room, with the intent of engaging in a few vigorous hands of whist. Thereafter they reclined upon the strewn furnishings, each one surrendering himself to the coddling embrace of the opium pipe.
The Earl had steadfastly declined both the pleasures of gambling and narcotic torpor, electing to remain sober. He had been witnessed later that evening, naked from the waist down and in an obvious state of arousal, engaged in the solo campaign of Halo: Combat Evolved which he played on legendary difficulty setting, though the man who claimed to have laid eyes upon this spectacle was never able to state with certainty that what he had seen was not some long buried nightmare dredged from the recesses of his consciousness, brought to light by the spirited over-consumption of port and Stilton cheese.
Supplementary to his reputed skills on the imaginary battlefield, the Earl was no stranger to the art of real-life combat and frequently found himself a participant in duels. It was said that he had been spared mortal injury upon numerous occasions by virtue of the seven proxies that he wore beneath his waistcoat.
Another rumour claimed that he was the top musketeer in the all of the king's armed forces with 300 confirmed kills to his name.
The Earl's pet sea lion had been the subject of frequent gossip. He had procured the animal at great expense and dressed it the manner of a gentleman in a top hat and a ruffled shirt. Thereafter the creature had been trained to follow enemies of the Earl in close pursuit on both land and sea.
Most troubling of all were whispers that the Earl had, through his libertine actions, damned his soul: That his return to Buckinghamshire had been not been entirely of his choosing but had been impelled by his family after he and his sister were caught playing a vintage Double Dragon arcade machine in two-player co-opt mode – a scandal that had shaken polite London society to its foundations with many calling for his arrest and trial.
Further to his chequered past, the Earl exhibited numerous eccentricities which some had taken as indicators of a mind that has fallen prey to the early stages of syphilis. He sometimes found himself unable to field small walls that would have been easily climbable had he chosen to make an attempt, instead of choosing to jump repeatedly at them only to be deflected.
He had claimed publicly that he was unable to enter the county of Sussex. The reason given was that he had “not yet unlocked” this region of England. He stated that on previous attempts to make use of bridges and roads that allowed others access to county he had found these thoroughfares blocked by landslides or other obstacles. He remained insistent that were he to gain access to Sussex by some clandestine method he would be vigorously hunted by armed men in carriages.
A long gallery in his home was dedicated to the display of trophies celebrating his many achievements. Some of these were fantastical - the slaughter of 500 pigeons on the grounds of his estate during a single day. Others (a shield commemorating a visit to the pantry at a neighbour's property) were so absurd as to be scarcely be worthy of mention.
Margaret was tantalized by the reports of the Earl's colourful life and the many idiosyncrasies that set him apart from his peers. Yet she remained at heart a callow womyn and could not bring herself to imagine that anything so salacious could actually occur behind the sedate ivy-clad façade of Teagbaggers Hall - the country estate where the Earl had made his home.
And so it was that one evening with great trepidation, Margaret, having sent her maid servant to bed, stole from her parents' home and made her way across the knotted silhouette of the night-blackened heath in the direction of Teabaggers Hall, her progress over the scrubby common lit by the ubiquitous lens flare of the full moon.
Upon arrival she knocked demurely on the back door. Her timid entreaty was answered a few moments later by the sickening sound of splintering timbers. The door, now somewhat the worse for wear, fell open on its hinges revealing the unmistakable figure of the Earl's manservant 'Freeman' framed beneath the lintel, a crowbar in one hand and a lantern dangling down at head height in the other.
“Miss Badgerstroke: The Earl has been expecting you since Tuesday. If you would be so kind as to follow me to the gaming cellar.”
Obediently Margaret followed Freeman through the rambling corridors of the mansion, pausing only when the lantern's battery was depleted and they were forced to wait patiently in the darkness until it had recharged.
Finally they reached a small wooden door that had been embedded into an irregular triangular-shaped alcove under a back staircase. A small varnished sign above the portal had been branded with the words: “Rape Cave”.
“Please disregard the crude attempt at humour,” counseled Freeman. “It is an ironic reference to the manner in which this room has been characterised by the Earl's many enemies. I assure you now that while your experiences within the gaming cellar may transport you beyond what were once narrow, yet comfortable horizons, the activities in which you partake will be entirely consensual and you will be free to leave whenever you choose.”
Margaret stepped back a few paces back while the manservant repeatedly lashed at the door with his crowbar. When the last scraps of smashed timber finally fell the floor she could discern in the gloom beyond the portal the beginnings of a flight of stairs. Freeman stepped formally to one side allowing her to pass. He remained stationed in the doorway, holding his lantern aloft, lighting the way ahead and casting lurching shadows onto the wall as she descended into the semi darkness alone.
The Earl was sprawled next to a washer/drier, with his back to the staircase, his recumbent form absorbed into the folds of a beanbag chair. Initially he seemed oblivious to Margaret's delicate approach. When she reached the foot of the steps he appeared to detect movement in the corner of his eye. Removing a pair of headphones he rose to meet her.
He had evidently dressed in expectation of polite company. His doughy torso was tightly enveloped in a slept-in Spiderman T-shirt, the iron-on transfer showing extreme wear, the armpits gaping holes trailing loose strands of cotton. The ensemble was completed by a pair of grubby sweat-stained tracksuit bottoms. He procured from the floor a small, shiny red bag containing thin triangular edibles and offered it to her.
“A delicacy from the new world. The call it 'nacho cheese flavour.'”
Margaret tentatively removed one of the golden triangles from the packet and gingerly tasted a small corner. Immediately an explosion of flavour gamboled across her tongue. It seemed that her mouth had become the impromptu venue for a ball where the guests had thrown off the hindrance of convention and the regimented formality of the waltz and the minuet, electing instead to cavort according to their personal whims in a thoroughly debauched and abandoned manner.
“S,Sir...” she stammered breathlessly. Her head was a muddle of conflicting emotions. She recoiled disgusted yet strangely fascinated by her sudden and unexpected arousal.
“Madam, if I may...”
The Earl took hold of her pale wrist. Raising her hand to his mouth his skilful tongue darted across her fingertips deftly removing the orange seasoning from where it had stained her milk-white skin.
Having removed the last of the tangy crumbs he withdrew to a nearby coffee table where he poured her a glass of cloudy water from an open bottle.
“Please drink this salty fluid. It will restore your body's electrolytes and prepare you for the experiences that lies ahead.”
While Margaret took delicate sips from the beaker the Earl busied himself with a device in the corner of the room.
“Even a sheltered girl such as yourself must surely be aware of Dr Gate's Patented Box of Mystery. To fully engage with the many wonders that reside within, one must first agree to enter into an ongoing written correspondence with Dr Gates on a subject matter of his choosing. Should a deadline for a letter be allowed to pass with no communication having been received, the good doctor will dispatch footmen to your residence who will lock the box barring any further use, except perhaps as a small table.
Margaret stared ashen faced at the device. Within her social circle Dr Gate's contraption was regarded with disdain; its usage looked-upon as a coarse mannish pursuit of interest only to those of low breeding.”
“Sir, I do not think it befitting of a Lady to...”
“Then do think!...” snarled the duke the passion rising in his voice.
“...But know my lady that the restorative powers of Dr Gate's miracle device have been proven effective in the treatment of gout. Perchance exposure to its contents could address the ill humours that have waxed your complexion.”
“Then sir I am ashamed, for in spite of my advanced years, I am a n00b.”
The Earl hauled a game pad from the ground by its cable. Margaret noted a tone of irritation visible in the character of his actions. The controller bore, she thought, a passing similarity to crossed spokes that a puppeteer might use to guide the movements of a marionette, however any resemblance ended there - the casing was black and engorged, studded with buttons and small levers. It trembled in her hands as she took hold of it.
“Be reassured my lady that under my skilled tuition you shall become L33t and all will fear your prowess,” said the Earl.
“We shall begin immediately with your first lesson: See how that by pressing the green letter A we can compel the Master Chief to jump upon the spot. Regrettably he suffers from a similar affliction to myself and cannot clear high walls but must instead find a way around.”
Margaret depressed the letter A several times as she had been instructed. On a screen in front of her a knight clad in green armour repeatedly leapt a short distance into the air, each jump a flawless copy of the one which had proceeded it.
The Earl had taken up position behind her. She was aware of his body heat permeating through her thin garments, mingling with her own. His hot breath caressed the delicate flesh of her bare neck. A pre-coital flush, that she would forever associate with the Cairo Station chapter of Halo 2, blossomed across her chest. Her perfume began to peel away from her skin in layers rising from her body on an up-swell of perspiration.
The Earl's knotted hands covered her own , his authoritative fingers guiding hers as together they maneuvered the Master Chief along corridors and up and down staircases.
In the distance some figure hostile figures had emerged from behind a barricade.
“He's over here,” cried one of assailants.
“Good sir, they are doxxing me!” cried Margaret.
“And we shall make them rue their discourteous actions.”
She felt the Earl guiding her and surrendered her movements to his will. The controller shuddered, the tremors reverberating through their entwined bodies as together they depressed a trigger unleashing an ejaculation of hot plasma across the screen, causing the Master Chief's enemies to flee in panic.
From the top of the basement staircase there came the sound of men's voices. Two male figures descended into the room.
The Earl relinquished his gentle embrace.
“Mikey! Jon!” he bellowed.
“Wan-kah!” shouted one of the men.
The Earl turned to face Margaret.
“And now I fear that we must curtail the lesson. The time has arrived to partake in multi-player.”
Margaret felt the warm flush that had cocooned her body evaporate in an instant.
“Mutli-player! but Sir, such a thing has been forbidden by the bishop McIntosh hymself.”
“Fie on McIntosh and all the puritanical tenets of the bastard church,” bellowed one of the men as he applied talcum powder to his palms. “The hour of 7pm was the previously agreed upon time for multi-player. That hour has duly arrived and all joystick ports must be filled. This night I shall soundly beat off all comers on the Rainbow Road.”
Margaret felt her her head began to swim. She swooned backwards not, as she had dearly hoped, into the reassuring embrace of the Earl, but rather into the folded arms of a life-size cardboard standee of Batman.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
“The last thing we need is to wake up in 50 years and find that a bunch of #gamergate nobheads are running Mars” - Martin Robbins, The Guardian (6th May 2015)
Rocket Technicians sympathetic to the Gamergate cause are winning the space race and may put a videogamer on the surface of Mars by 2065, according to fears voiced in The Guardian newspaper.
The warning comes as the yoghurt-weaving hipster journalists of Kings Place, London, continue to grapple with the task of designing a 'non-triggering' rocket that doesn't resemble a giant metal phallus.
Earlier this year Guardian Space Editor – Peter 'Space Guardian' Bishop talked to MODE 5 about a long-term commitment by the paper to remove from star charts “problematic” planets, that contain high proportions of the so-called misogynist group of chemical elements.
Discussing the progress of The Guardian's space program he said:
“In our design ethic we have chosen to lay to one side concerns over the aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. What we are trying to avoid is sending something that resembles an enormous penis blasting through a ragged hole in Earth's upper atmosphere. The last thing any of us want is for film of the launch to be included in a comedy montage featuring stock footage of nodding oil pump jacks, trains disappearing into tunnels and other similar images that collectively imply sexual intercourse.”
Asked to comment on The Guardian's pledge to beat Gamergate to Mars, he added:
“Ever since the location of Mars was determined by astronomers and the coordinates for the red planet illegally published in books and online, Martians been subjected to an ongoing campaign of stalking and harassment. In the past this has been confined to being leered at through expensive space telescopes. The advent of the Gamergate space program seems poised to take this harassment to a face-to-face level and that is unacceptable.
“We at The Guardian have chosen to demonstrate our solidarity for the Martian people by drawing pictures of rockets and forwarding our sketches to an approved list of scientists and engineers who have all promised never to wear shirts that offend the shrill vocal minority of social justice advocates and cultural Marxists. Our hope is that, upon receiving our designs, these highly-skilled individuals will build our space craft for us for no financial renumeration.
“Naturally, as social commentators, our preferred course of action would be to simply shame all those involved in the Gamergate Space Initiative into giving up on their dream of Mars colonization and slinking back home with their tails between their legs.”
Despite Bishop's hopes, the momentum of the Gamergate space program shows no signs of abating. Mission control is not confined to one location. Rather it comprises a loose-knit, geographically-scattered array of internet compatible devices – a combination of PCs, gaming consoles, mobile phones and E-readers, along with a few obsolete throwbacks such the Mircosoft Zune, and at least three re-purposed Game & Watch LCD hand-helds. There is no overall mission coordinator and the countdown to the launch is occasionally paused to allow time for the acknowledgement of the appearance of double figures or 'dubs'.
Colt Gordon - Grandson of the late Flash Gordon – spoke to MODE 5 about the origins of the program:
“As a joke, somebody started a board on 8chan called The Gamergate Space Exlporation Initiative. It turns out that a lot of people there have physics or maths or engineering degrees. Before anyone was really aware of what was going on we had a fully-fledged space program was under way.
“There were a few early setbacks - the board admin's girlfriend had SJW tendencies and got butt hurt over something so we had to set up a new board. Plus there were a few hours when everybody stopped focusing on the Mars mission and started posting images of sea lions.
“Despite these detours, eight hours after we began we had completed designs for three rocket prototypes and a terraforming module, and had raised most of the funding for our Mars mission. Tomorrow we are thinking about curing cancer, or we might just kick back and reminisce about Street Fighter II."
The rapid progress of the Gamergate space mission has sent alarm bells ringing in the social justice community with many voicing concerns about a Gamergate colonisation of Mars occurring within their grand-children's lifetimes:
Harriet Gwyneth Wells first developed an interest in astronomy after she was required to wear a neck brace for medical reasons and walk around with her head tilted upwards for most of 2009. She now manages Skywatchers for Social Justice - a non-profit organisation that advises Twitter on invading alien races who may have misogynist tendencies. Dressed in a plaid shirt and sitting cross-legged beneath the stuffed and mounted head of E.T., Wells outlined what she regards as escalating patterns of victimization directed at Mars by Earth-based videogaming culture:
“No one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that Mars was being watched keenly and closely by beings with Super Mario Bros high scores greater than any achieved by the Martians themselves; that as the green-skinned women of Mars busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied through the lecherous prism of the male gaze, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a pair of high-powered binoculars might scrutinise a group of women changing in and out of their swimming costumes on a deserted beach.
“At most Martians fancied there might be men upon Earth, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome one-off sex in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation in exchange for a lifetime of brow-beaten servitude. Yet across the gulf of space, stunted intellects, dim and socially inept and liberally stained orange with Doritos seasoning, regarded Mars with lustful eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans.”
While Wells stands in firm opposition to the Gamergate conquest of Mars, others in the social Justice Community have confessed to having mixed feelings:
Claire Wowser – a lobbyist for the UK South-East chapter of Send Gamergaters Offworld said:
“While I welcome the news that Gamergate plans to eventually leave Earth of their own volition, this does present me with the inconvenience of finding somebody else to blame all my problems on. I also worry that supporters of Gamergate, once out of Earth's orbit, will no longer be able to clearly hear me complaining loudly about how their private activities infringe upon the many supplementary human rights I have bestowed upon myself.”
The mooted off-world exodus may also have unintended consequences for society, according to Martin Bishop of The Guardian:
“We can assume that any departing Gamergate colony vessel will take with it a great swathe of the moderate and libertarian left wing. While that's great in the sense that it will allow us to drop any further pretence of being a newspaper and focus our attentions exclusively on producing outraged clickbait, I do wonder what effect this mass migration will have upon the price of a four-bedroom town house in up-and-coming Hastings. Also, who is going to make me my Soy latte?”
Martian reaction to the impending arrival of Gamers from Earth has been more measured. One inhabitant of the red planet who we met holidaying in London said:
“If I believed what I read in The Guardian I'd think that all Gamergate supporters have penises where their heads should be. Fortunately I am not an idiot. All the gamers I have spoken to seem like normal guys and gals. Thank the star gods that none of them have blue hair as on Mars we find that terribly offensive.”
When questioned about what he might do on a hypothetical visit to Mars, Gamer, Jason Metzer said:
"Probably just play the new GTA. If the weather was good I might drive out and visit the grave of the three-breasted mutant from the film Total Recall - she was my great aunt so it would be good to pay my respects in person. If there's time I might go and get my photo taken on the spot where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rachel Ticotin were sucked out of a bio-dome and into the cruel unforgiving Martian landscape where they almost suffocated.”
As the debate on Mars colonisation rages, and those on either side prepare the vessels that will transport their supporters to the red planet maybe the last word should go to noted technocrat and space-travel visionary Alfa Magnuson.
Addressing the ailing Guardian space program, he said:
“The closest you will ever come to ascending into the heavens will be to stand atop the summits of the molehills you have bulldozed into mountains. Even at those high altitudes the rarefied air will muddle your already impaired judgement, while your self-obsession will anchor your ambitions firmly to the ground. Humankind's destiny may well lie within the stars, however I predict that the small-minded, joyless, socially-regressive subset, to which you have allied yourselves, will never leave this world.”
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
The twitter hashtag 'StopGamerGate2014' has been approved for retro kitsch status by the London-based Worshipful Company of Hipsters. Experts claim that it is now mere weeks away from mainstream re-acceptance and appearances on cheap British Home Store cushions, where it will be merged with the equally passe expression - 'Keep Calm and Carry On' - to form the new slogan: 'Keep Calm and StopGamerGate2014'.
The hashtag, which was created by Social Justice advocates in the late summer of 2014, captures the baseless, wide-eyed optimism of a movement who blithely assumed the war they had started with hardcore gamers would be over within weeks.
“I was told that we had heavyweight mainstream media outlets like The Guardian and New Statesman on our side and that Gamergate would be finished by Christmas,” says Social Justice Warrior (SJW), Lyle Pulleymane.
“We assumed, wrongly as it turns out, that gamers would recognise us as their social and intellectual superiors and would impotently mumble any words of dissent into the tattered necklines of their soiled, slept-in T-shirts while we ruled over them like gods.
“By the time December rolled around, all I wanted was for Santa Claus to hold me in his arms, press my reddened, tear-stained cheek against his coarse, tobacco and clementine-scented beard, and whisper in my ear that Gamergate was really dead this time and that everything was going to be alright.”
Fellow SJW and self-ascribed non-gendered entity, Brianette W/hh said:
“In common with the numerous over-funded kickstarter campaigns I have been involved in, absolutely nothing came of #StopGamerGate2014. By late March, 2015, me and some of my fellow Social Justice Templers were beginning to wonder out loud whether the hashtag might be obsolete. We were soundly chastised by our online community for expressing this opinion in public and I have spent the past weeks deleting the offending posts from my social media accounts and issuing grovelling apology after grovelling apology in an attempt to claw my way back into everybody's good books.”
W/hh refused to add any further comment, informing our reporter:
“I find the tailoring of your shirt triggering and equivalent to gang rape.”
Odious human piss carpet - Jeremy Whetton – a man who has the gall to describe himself as a Social Media Trends Analyst - has been monitoring the ups and downs of the hashtag since its inception:
"There were a couple of months at the beginning of 2015 when #StopGamerGate2014 was so hackneyed and uncool that using the hashtag on social media or, even worse, saying it out loud with accompanying air-quotes, marked you as a pariah, hopelessly out of touch with youth culture - basically the walking embodiment of everyone's parents.”
Whetton's analysis is confirmed by a post made in February, 2015, on the social networking website, Tumblr, by user Anneltte74:
“Yesterday my dad was driving me and my friends to school which meant that we were all exposed to 20 minutes of Mark Knopfler's most recent album. It was either that or get drenched waiting for the bus. We pulled up at some red traffic lights. My dad leaned over the backrest of the driver's seat and said: 'You know, I think that we should all work together to stop Gamergate in 2014'. Then he made a weird shape with his fingers which I think was supposed to be a gang sign. I was mortified.”
Recently there have been signs that the StopGamerGate2014 hashtag is ready to be co-opted by hipsters and possibly printed on T-shirts as an ironic statement, prior to being re-accepted back into the mainstream for its kitsch value.
Gerald, a hipster from Shoreditch, London, told MODE 5:
“My Apple watch alerts me whenever a long-discredited piece of cultural ephemera is ripe for reappraisal. Being able to home-in on forgotten trends before others of my human sub-species is essential if I am to ascend the hipster pecking order and gain mating privileges. I intend to consummate my passions beneath my ultra-rare limited-edition Slint 'Spiderland' poster, under the ever-watchful monochrome gaze of guitarists Brian McMahan and David Pajo.”
Magpie-eyed hipster entrepreneur, Kent Option said:
“My friend Nigel is an economics graduate from Reading University who, for some reason, sports a thin 6-inch waxed moustache and dresses like a farm labourer from 1910. Together we are planning to open an awful cafe based around Social Justice principles. Customers will be served in reverse order of their social privilege, which will also determine the items that they are allowed to select from the menu. Ordering anything other than a salad will result in you being accused of perpetuating rape culture and your employers will be notified. Your food will arrive two years late, if at all. Customers must pay in advance and may be asked to leave at a moments notice with no refund. With the exception of myself and Nigel no white males will be allowed in. The entire venture will be bank-rolled by Patreon donations. These funds will be bolstered by our claims of victimisation whenever anyone posts a bad review of our cafe online, which I predict will be often.”
Kent and Nigel are not the only ones to have identified the commercial opportunities inherent in the flagging anti-gamergate movement. MODE 5 was invited to watch blue-haired SJW, Sophie Hussey, as she pitched her new Muhfeelz fashion range to a panel of grimacing, sour-faced venture capitalists on the popular reality TV show - Dragon's Den:
“Muhfeelz is the safe space you can wear – a funky one-piece body suit lined with kitten skin, housing a built-in wi-fi transmitter that texts or emails your Patreon or PayPal details to any mobile device within 50 yards. I am asking for an investment of £15million in return for a zero percent stake in my company.”
The rekindled fringe interest in all things anti-Gamergate has not gone unnoticed by the establishment, with rumours abounding that had the Royal baby been male it would have certainly been christened 'Josh'.
Meanwhile, the UK broadcaster, ITV, has announced a new pre-watershed sitcom titled Literally Who's Coming To Dinner in which a group of Social Justice Warriors move in next door to a house full of Videogamers.
A spokesperson for ITV said:
“I can confirm that the first two episodes of Literally Who's Coming To Dinner will be broadcast at 8pm on successive Wednesdays – a time slot that has become synonymous with high quality television. Subsequent episodes will air on random days at some point between the hours of 11:30pm and 2:30am.
Commenting on the shifting fortunes of #StopGamerGate2014, Twitter oracle, Sensible Ethel, said:
“While Hipsters are essentially cultural scavengers with delusions of grandeur, they do perform a valuable role in our society by telling us when its okay to like things that have previously been cast aside on the basis that everyone thought they were shit.
“It's very much the circle of life, as was described by Elton John in the song of the same name. Any hashtag or expression that falls into disuse has the potential to re-emerge in a neutered form, forever divested of its original meaning and intent.
“There was a time when informing your peers that you were 'chillin' n' illin'' would instantly mark you as a monumental bad ass – the kind of unconventional human being whose propensity for holding objects sideways in a gansta-style meant that they could not be trusted around change purses or scalding hot mugs of tea. Now you can't move in the aisles of Marks & Spencer for old ladies talking like they're from Compton in the late 1990s.”
Sunday, 3 May 2015
MODE 5 was founded on the shaky premise that ludicrous interpretations of real-life happenings inevitably beget ludicrous fan-fiction penned by chronically-bored Englishmen. For those of you operating a social justice mind-set, who find the distinction between fact and fiction blurred, fiction is the one that didn't really happen. If you are confused or triggered by this distinction we strongly advise you to Google “Courage Wolf” for photos of adorable puppies.
(SATIRE) The continuing adventures of Christina Sommers: Secret Bartender
To her friends and her colleagues it was academic: Christina was a woman of rare sophistication and boundless intellectual means. A college professor. A mannered yet hardened debater – certainly no pushover. The author of a number of books and numerous journal articles and papers. If her contemporaries occasionally noticed a certain steeliness creeping in from the corner of her eye – a thousand yard stare that clouded her otherwise welcoming expression – the kind of look that would stop a chain-swinging biker in his tracks at 20 paces - they were polite enough not to mention it.
By night Christina would close the door to her study, leaving her books and her student's term papers shrouded in darkness. In the back room of some waterfront dive bar she would don a work apron that, within fifteen minutes, would be damp with beer suds; the elongated, bowed front pocket lined with broken peanut shells. She told no one of her secret double life as a bartender but got down to the business of dispensing beers, dispatching trays of jello shots to the off-duty dock workers, delivering devastating roundhouse kicks to unruly patrons, and adjudicating party fouls.
I first laid eyes on her at The Nelson Shorehouse Tavern in Greenwich – a misnomer since the establishment had been constructed on sinking foundations and would find itself completely submerged every high-tide, only to emerge from the ebbing surf draped in seaweed and crawling with shellfish. The locals had another name for the place: They called it 'Crabs'.
Christina was the first person I saw as I pushed open the warped door at the bottom of the staircase. She remains forever freeze-framed in my memory, laying down the law to a new patron:
“When I say 'consume' the first words out of your mouth had better be 'What?' and 'How much, ma'am?'”
Her vocal chords had been seasoned over four decades by whiskey of dubious provenance.
A controlled blow from the flat of her palm sent a two-litre pitcher of absinthe, with a wedge of lime bobbing incongruously on the surface, sliding the length of the wooden bar, following a well-worn groove in the varnished oak, coming to a gliding halt a few inches from a trembling young man – a college student I later learned when the paramedics fished the ID out of his wallet.
“You're swimming in the deep end now, boy,” remarked some wise-ass, whose ample buttocks were in the process of enveloping the maroon leatherette of the adjacent bar stool.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP, NORM!” yelled a chorus of barflies in ragged unison, suddenly roused from their private stupor by an inside joke as worn and threadbare as their clothing.
In a distant corner I noticed a gaggle of hipsters writing down snatches of overheard bar conservations with a studied glumness. One held an iPad up in front of him panning it back and forth along the row of hunched-over drunks.
Sommers glanced in their direction.
“They don't drink much but the city planning office says they function as good as a supporting wall so I'm happy.”
She peeled a long uneven strip from the label of an empty beer bottle; rolling the smooth, then grainy, torn paper between her thumb and her forefinger; inserting the resulting tube between he lips where it dangled limply from its wet end, like an unlit, home-made cigarette. Her gaze had drifted over to a narrow ribbon of stained glass that traversed the far wall a half-foot from the ceiling, the leaded multi-coloured panes filtering the muted orange glow of the street light outside through a veneer of grime that was older than the Obama Presidency.
“Had a biker gang in here last night. Called themselves The Shitlords or some such. Nice guys really, once you get past the front. Their leader, Milo, has facial tattoos, bleached blonde hair. Kind of a real stoic guy, like monosyllabic conversation was too much for him.”
A dishevelled man dressed for an office job that he had evidently failed to attend deposited a handful of small change on the bar.
I watched Sommers make a quick mental calculation before shaking her head.
“Larry, I already called time on happy hour.”
“Jeez. Christina, I need this.”
“If I make allowances for you then I'll have to do the same for everyone.”
Defeated, the man scooped the change over the lip of the counter. A small silver coin ricocheted off the ball of his thumb joint and bounced onto the flagstones where it was lost in the gloom among a thicket of worn chair and table legs. The man swore under his breath. Fascinated by his badly chewed nails, I watched his vain attempts to claw a quarter off the bar where it had become glued to a translucent film left behind by the swipe of a wet dish cloth. Having at long last retrieved the errant coin, he retreated to the door, muttering under his breath.
“Say, you speak Italian?” queried Sommers.
There was an awkward pause before I realised that she was talking to me.
“Well, I've seen the first two Godfather films.”
“There's some Italian graffiti in the men's john. City says if want to keep it up we need to put up an English translation next to it, so it's accessible. I'll pay you in Coors.”
Across the room, one of the hipsters had located a Godspeed! You Black Emperor single on the aged jukebox. The cavernous empty space reverberated to the sound of droning cello.
Like any academic, Sommers had enemies on campus. The most dangerous of these were the people who lacked the intelligence and wit to confront her work head on, but who did not consider themselves above a bit of anonymous character assassination. Somehow one of them found out about her secret bartending. The ensuing drama was blown out of proportion by the campus press. Reluctantly, I think, but to keep the peace, she called time on her nocturnal double life; returned to the respectable world of academia; sublimed into leafy quadrants and wood-paneled offices; never again set foot behind the bar at Spikey's or The Buffalo Whirlitzer.
The last time I visited Crabs I was served by a guy who looked a bit like the novelist, Martin Amis.
Saturday, 2 May 2015
In the panel of a comic book, stretched across two pages, costumed superhero, Arthur Man - his tight cowl streaked with torrential rain and his indomitable stubbled chin raised defiantly to the heavens - bellowed “IT ENDS TONIGHT!” into a darkened sky rent asunder by fork lightning.
It was the dramatic finale to the eponymously-titled comic book series 'Arthur Man' - A creator-owned graphic novel that has been published daily in the adolescent, Walter Mitty-esque imagination of the columnist and former game show contestant, Arthur Chu.
Following his dramatic announcement, Chu was witnessed in his mind's eye, framed in a series of overlapping panels locked in hand-to-hand combat with multiple adversaries, prior to facing-off against and defeating the simpering leader of Gamergate. In a previous issue of Chu's mind-comic, the hero's arch-nemesis had been pictured hijacking the world aluminium supply with the intention of using the stolen metal to construct for himself an ornate, tinfoil hat. In his final appearance the self-ascribed Sultan of Sexism in Videogaming is portrayed cowering pitifully beneath the statuesque silhouette of Chu, begging for mercy; the shadow of Chu's dripping muscle-bound fist raised in anger indicating to the reader that the conquered villain will receive none.
Subsequent panels show Chu being thanked by President Nixon for liberating the hijacked aluminium supply and for freeing the world from the tyranny of the patriarchy. The final frame depicts Chu standing at the vanguard of a 'Social Justice League' comprising Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu, among others, while the spirits of Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln and Spiderman kneel in deference at his feet.
Commenting on the conclusion of the graphic novel, Arthur Chu said:
“I am pleased that I allowed myself the full creative control necessary to fully realise my vision. While the stories I have told may be entertaining on some superficial level, I see my writing and artwork primarily as a teaching tool used to convey the lessons that will bring about a new world order – one that is made in my image.
“Using powerful meditative techniques that I picked-up through multiple viewings of Batman Begins, I am able to use my mind as a gateway through which my innermost thoughts radiate outward like ripples awakening the supporters of Gamergate from their delusionary states of mind and ridding the world of this great wickedness that threatens to consume it.”
Following Chu's statement reports have begun to flood-in world-wide of Gamergate supporters suddenly coming to a complete standstill, rubbing their eyes, and blinking in disbelief at their surroundings, as if roused from a deep and terrible nightmare.
“I ate some three-day old pizza that I found on the floor of my filthy basement man-cave and was taken on a vision quest!” confessed avid gamer, Graham Volemoan (43) from his hospital bed, where he is being treated for the effects of drowning, hypothermia, and multiple animal bites.
“In my vision Arthur Chu's salty tears fell upon me like cleansing desert rain. The saline waters nourished me, healing the cracks in my parched soul. I understood then that Gamergate is naught but an illusion - a period of darkness through which one must transition in order to achieve true enlightenment. I realise now that I am not the CIS white male that others perceive, but am in fact sea lion otherkin. In my vision Chu instructed me thus: 'Go unto the ocean where my salty tears will sustain you.' And I did according to his bidding and for a time did swim alongside the sea lions and was later rescued by the coastguard.”
Meanwhile, in the sleepy Somerset village of Ordinary Sullivan, local vicar Clive Peel announced to the assembled congregation at his Sunday morning service:
“Like Jacob I also had a vivid dream. There wasn't a ladder in it, although I think at one point there was a stripper pole or maybe a fireman's pole.
“In my dream I was a handsome gay man called Milo. By day I plied my trade as a journalist writing mostly on libertarian issues. By night I thrust myself headlong into a world of exquisite sensual pleasures that are experienced by but a few. If I may say so, I was quite the dashing man about town.
“It came as quite a jolt when I awakened to discover that I am a man of the cloth who paints bible scenes onto car hubcaps that are used as prizes in the church raffle.
“If the congregation will now rise we will sing hymn number 43, My Faith Is Like An Oaken Staff.”
Several thousand miles away, across the Atlantic, Independent Trucker, Larry Carrotthump stared disconsolately into a cup of cold black coffee resting on the counter of an Illinois highway diner, the silty black liquid trembling to the vibrations of the passing traffic:
“As I slept last night I honestly believed that I was feminist who desired, above all things, true equality between the sexes. My name was Christina H. Sommers. I was witty, erudite, and effervescent with just a hint of intellectualised sass. I was all about winning people over with facts and good natured debate.
“I awoke this morning in the cab of my truck, midway through hauling a consignment of tree trunks to Kansas. These rampant wooden phalli are to be pile-driven into the un-consenting, yet yielding soil of mother earth where they will be used as totem poles for teen summer camps.”
Back in the UK, bleary-eyed Kensington-based socialite, Humphrey Maidenstone III, was slowly reconciling with his true identity, following what he described as a period of “demonic possession, following some late-night arsing around with Ouija board”:
“I can now readily admit that Sargon of Akkad is not my real name. Rather it is an etheric parasite from the infernal plane that latched on to me - something that clawed its way into my life from a fever dream and thereafter took occupancy of my soul.
“I finally awoke from my stupor in the shower this morning, where I had apparently been lost in thought. With me was the actor Patrick Duffy who played Bobby Ewing in the hit TV soap Dallas. Rising like the morning sun above my tramp-stamp was a freshly healing tattoo depicting the world teacher Josh McIntosh cradling a newborn lamb in his arms.”
The man who once insisted that his surname was 'of Akkad' and consequently had several of his credit cards cancelled by the bank, continued:
“The prize for guessing correctly is $2000.
“The answer is: Arthur Chu.
The question is: What is Arthur Chu?
The conclusion: All is Chu.”
Amidst the growing the consensus that Gamergate is over and done, some voices of dissent still linger. Internet aficionado, Voice_of_raison_de_etre_>9000 said:
“I'm just going to come right out with it: Gamergate didn't end because that odious motorway pile-up of god-only-knows what unresolved issues, Arthur Chu, says that it did.
“Milo, for heavens sake, you are not a vicar. Stop using Chu's amateur pick-up artist-level mind control as an excuse for wearing a cassock and engaging in homoerotic church-themed cosplay. There is serious work to be done.
“Christina Sommers: You are not an independent trucker called Larry, hauling a cargo of metaphorical penises across the great American heartland. Dispel that notion from your mind this instant.
“Sargon: Okay I will allow the possibility that your real name may differ from your internet identity. But do you really believe for one moment that you are a high priest in the sacred order of Chu. Tear off your turquoise robes and put your chain-mail back on. We need you on the battlefield soldier.
“Also, nobody here is actually a sea lion, with the exception of Mike – a sea lion at the Whent Ocean Life Academy, who has been taught sign language by his keepers and who has expressed an enthusiastic allegiance with Gamergate.
“While the hashtag #ItEndsTonight is true in the narrowest sense, what is also equally true is the hashtag