Dangerous Gamers: An Overview of the Media’s Hysterical Assault on Low Culture

Sunday , 6, August 2017 21 Comments

Why did Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, and A. Merritt have to be torn down the way they were? Why did it matter enough for somebody to dedicate themselves to their displacement? Why is it that their place in the canon had to be contested– and why even the notion that their was a science fiction and fantasy canon in the first place so strangely controversial? Why is it that so many people behave as if not reading anything from before 1980 is some kind of virtue? And why is it almost every book review or criticism referencing these authors seems to contain some kind of warning label pointing out that they did not conform in every point to contemporary progressive notions of acceptable thought?

These are question I have spent a great deal of time delving into, and I have to say… there is so much nonsense drummed into peoples’ heads these days, it takes quite a bit of effort to convince them that something even happened. Look into a major magazine or newspaper, however, and the articles uniformly give the impression that science fiction and fantasy somehow sprang into existence ex nihilo during either 40’s or 70’s depending on how aggressive the commentators are.

Who are these people, anyway?! When did this sort of thing start? And how in the world did these people decide to go into low brow culture like pulp fiction, role-playing games, comic books, blockbuster movies, and video games and mark it all as their territory?

That’s a really interesting story, actually. And if the first time you became conscious of these shenanigans was at the height of #Gamergate when games journalists dropped a whopping sixteen Gamers Are Dead articles across nearly as many media outlets over the course of a couple of days, you may be surprised at just how far back it goes.

A lot of people kicked around the idea of writing a book about this. Only one guy delivered: Xavier Lastra aka The Frisky Pagan. His book Dangerous Gamers is absolutely engrossing and takes apart not only the agenda of the parasitical commentariat class, but also delves into their origins of their agenda and unearths their bizarre “intellectual” forbears. If you want to know why the culture wars are playing out like they have, this is the only game in town.

Some people can think outside of the box. Xavier Lastra has a bigger box!

Check it out!

  • JonM says:

    Can confirm. This thing is packed with “I should have noticed that myself” moments.

  • Rawle Nyanzi says:

    Likewise, JonM. While I haven’t finished the book, I’ve learned quite a lot from it.

  • Nicholas Archer says:

    “Why is it that so many people behave as if not reading anything from before 1980 is some kind of virtue?” Where are you getting your information? I have never met anyone with this attitude.

    • John E. Boyle says:

      I’ve met a number of people with this attitude. To them, everything written before a certain date (1980 in many cases, 2000 for my youngest students) is:


      propaganda that is poorly written to boot. They feel that they are better off never reading it in the first place because then they avoid contamination, and “that old stuff is just a waste of time” anyway.

      I’ve been a teacher for more than 30 years, and I’ve been seeing this in the students I’ve taught since the late 1980’s.

      This is NOT just in Mr. Johnson’s imagination.

      • TPC says:

        So nobody reads fairy tales or folk tales?

        • Jeffro says:

          No they don’t. The traditional fairy tales and folk tales have had their concepts and lessons of virtue dumbed down, expurgated, or inverted.

          When I point this out to the sort of people that ought to have stood up against this tide in order to promote the values they supposedly adhere to, I am sneered at and laughed at by people that have made a virtue of conceding cultural ground to people that hate them.

          At this point, I’m not sure which group of people I hold in more contempt. I don’t suppose it matters as they are effectively on the same team.

        • John E. Boyle says:

          In my experience, no, they do not.

          The only exceptions to this are people who have been home-schooled or who come from a very strong traditional family environment.

      • Andy says:

        I was a high school student in the late 80s, so I saw it from the other side 🙂 Most (not all) teachers were very much pushing the racist/sexist/colonialist/etc. stuff throughout classes. Increasingly less emphasis on what may have been right about the past, more and more negativity and self-flagellation.

    • Frisky says:

      “Attitude” may give the impression it’s a self-aware stance, when, as the next paragraph implies, it’s more like a reflex reaction. Sure, some believe it (and there are more like that every day,) but it’s more like a pre-emptive assumption that many people hold or an ad-hoc argument deployed to justify cultural illiteracy (“Yeah, well, I may not know about those classic but they aren’t worth it anyway because they are [insert nasty word]”)

      And now we also have all those warning labels (“Keep in mind that this work was written in less enlightened times!”) in the introduction of any older works.

      • Xavier Basora says:


        When you wrote this book, did you come ac4oss this attitude in Eurooe and mre specficially in Spain?
        I’m picking up whiff from say nuvol.com but it appears to be frings. I’ve never heard of anyone denocing Tirant lo blanc. The closest is Jaume Roig’s lo espill which a few critics have labelled misogentist.

        In any what’s you’re perspective?


        • Frisky says:

          I mention in the introduction that this phenomenon is mostly American or related to English-speaking countries and it seems to correlate with their political cycles.

          From what I have seen, there is a language and cultural barrier since, outside of America, this phenomenon doesn’t seem to have spilled (yet) from Academia here. Besides, cultural studies, critical theory, and so on are very entrenched in America, but in other countries, there still seems to be an intellectual taboo about in criticizing (in the academic sense of the word) popular culture, as if it were “shameful,” I guess?

          I’m sure critics tear down works of literature or even “popular culture” here, but they probably do it in obscure academic journals without the public awareness. In short, as of yet and as far as I know, there is no national “business” of cultural criticism in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, or whatever, with their sibling industries of click-bait, outrage peddling, and so on (they exist, of course, but not about video games or comic books.) The closest things are the occasional translations or reportings of American controversies, or sporadic media panics (like those old media panics about occultism and roleplaying games in Spain.)

          America is the biggest producer of “popular culture,” so it shouldn’t surprise that these things manifest there. We, the rest of the world, are mostly consumers, so it wouldn’t make sense for us to create an industry of click-baiting moral and social commentators. And I don’t see any political group or party here taking a stand against “American” “dangerous” products right now. Well, perhaps “La CUP” or some faction inside Podemos and their allied journalists and pundits I the underlying critical terminology and the modern language of American progressivism become popular or find Spanish equivalents (“white privilege” doesn’t make much sense here, though.)

          I mentioned in the Introduction that these controversies appeared, among other things, because progressive commentators couldn’t attack the President (Obama) since he is one of them. So many decided to criticize and problematize culture, which allowed them to use the same “political” arguments while talking about silly stuff. Now, if this were to happen in Spain, I guess first the government should be a progressive one. As long as you can mock Rajoy and the PP, I don’t see any journalist degrading itself by talking about how Super Mario teaches misogyny or whatever. Still, one never knows with these things…

          • Xavier Basora says:


            Thanks. I’ll need to buy your book and read through it to better understand why this is an Anglophone phenomenon.
            I see your point at how fora de lloc cultural criticism would sound in continental Europe would sound. Further there would be a deep indignity but I’m wondering if the massive immigration that Europe is experiencing will represent the first breaches starting in the Germanic countries?

          • caleb says:

            Arguably, it should have been difficult for their language and ideas to be adapted even for other English-speaking countries, and yet we saw that happening with something as comically absurd as UK equivalent of BLM.

            I can speak a bit for some corners of Eastern Europe: our Left has this unnatural worship for everything that comes from the West, and they try to adopt ideas and language of Western academia even tho they are absolutely, monstrously incompatible with slavic history, culture, current situation.

          • Sam says:

            They are monstrously incompatible with English traditions, the entirety of the West, and the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom. That’s not stopped them before.

    • Nicholas Archer says:

      I will have to take your word for it Mr. Boyle and Frisky. My attitude has always been the opposite; the older the better. It is possible that I am unaware of this Low Culture towards the Pre-1980s Literature as I don’t attend Conferences, Workshops, or Classes, and have only recently started reading Blogs like Castalia House. As a Millennial all I’ve ever noticed is that most Millennials don’t read.

      • Nathan says:

        Tradpub marketing and the Gawker-inspired news sites pushes a “don’t read anything before 2000” line, on the basis that everything before is utterly unrelatable to today’s fans. A quick read of Zelazny or Vance tends to destroy that lie.

    • Gaiseric says:

      Do you not ever look at Amazon reviews of older authors?

  • Mr Tines says:

    I would expect that even if the young shrugged off the buzzword responses they’ve imbibed, they’d move on to saying that the prose is “too difficult” because it assumes too much of the classical education they don’t get in the current Year Zero environment.

    The level of casual smoking in pre-1980s fiction would also be a serious bit of culture shock to the young.

    • Hooc Ott says:

      “even if the young shrugged off”

      Where do you people come from?
      If the compatriot has an age it is not 16 to 30.
      In SFF its origins can be found coming from people like Demon Knight and Asimov.

      In games in came out of Academia from Baby Boomer academics in the 90s into GenX.
      This is all great generation and baby boomer created.
      GenX was a failure at stopping it
      Millennials rebelled HARD with Gamergate
      and if you ever watch pewdiepie you would know the Zyklon Generation is out for blood.

      50 million acne faced teens screaming “The WSJ is fake news”

      poopooing youth over this is perhaps the most idiotic thing a person could do. Youth are the only ones effectively fighting this crap!
      And furthermore they do not “buzzword” as you say. They assassinate with memes.

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