Twenty four hours after posting about Palestine, MVS, the biggest gaming mag on the planet, pulled the article.
“You wot?” cackled the smaller gaming mags, “well, shit, time for an article about removing an article.”
“Mind,” sent the editor of GGamers, in a SMS to her newest teenage contributor hopeful, as they scrambled to put something together, “don’t take a side, stay neutral, that’s professional journalism. Now, feel free to criticise the magazine as much as possible for their lack of integrity, and add some jokes and comments from the public.”
The young budding game industry journalist didn’t really understand what professionalism was, at any rate, and just wrote what came into their head.
Taking a look at the draft, the editor thought about sending another warning but then again, this was just another kid who would quit tomorrow. Fortunately there was no end to the queue of sign ups, and no end to their disappointment. She wondered when this ride would actually end, or whether she would get off, or if she even had a choice. The pay was a relative joke, but the rent got paid. The rent was not too bad as she was paying her mother to stay at the holiday home, and got a considerable discount, but still, she was officially independent. She was managing to put some money on the side. It was enough to continue her treatments and have a drink on Friday. She suddenly had the urge to reach down and itch the phantom balls that used to sit there. Why did they itch? She could never pinpoint the reason, thank god they were gone. Now her finger skritched along her jawline. Skritch, skritch. She clicked the button and without having really read it properly, the article was published.
The Coach looked over the fuss on his timeline. He saw the photos of Israeli soldiers pointing guns at children, the dead bodies, the buildings flashed in yellows and oranges.
He kept on looking, something told him to move on, to not get involved. It was like walking into an darkened arcade in 1998 and sensing the stares from a bunch of youths and so turning around and walking straight back out again. And then running.
Black Lives Matter and Trans Rights and all those social movements were easy to support; he gobbled and regobbled the posts; he felt like a better person for it. But here, here, he didn’t feel like it was clear what was wrong and right, and felt even less comfortable having an opinion. He even felt … afraid. And he wasn’t sure why. He couldn’t put his finger on it, and if he pushed, he imagined it was going to get burned off.
He kept scrolling until he found the GGamers article.
“What the fuck.” He gobbled, “What part of this is about games? Why is this posted on a gaming website? What is this?”
And the replies echoed the question. Gathering speed, a new hashtag #nopoliticsgamers was born. Aghast, he tried to specify that certain politics were ok, but the horde had long stampeded.
The editor tried to defend her writer for face value, and then threw them off the nearest cliff. The comments continued to pour vitriol, the hit count went up, and the ad revenue came in.