The Escapist Magazine is coming back. Enthusiast Gaming, the current parent company over Destructoid, is reviving the gaming outlet. They rehired editor-in-chief, Russ Pitts, from back during The Escapist’s early days. [Correction: The original statement mentioned that Pitts was the original editor-in-chief, but he was actually the second editor-in-chief. The original editor-in-chief was Julianne Greer, from 2009 to 2011]
According to culture critic Bob “Moviebob” Chipman, he’s also been rehired.
So, THE ESCAPIST is coming back. Under OG management from before it turned into… ahem.
I’m coming back with it, and I’m bringing some stuff I think you liked back with me. Details soon 😉
For now, I’ve waited few years to say this, Internet:
I WIN 🤘 https://t.co/KRsOmLl01d
— Bob Chipman #RehireJamesGunn (@the_moviebob) July 26, 2018
Culture critic and gaming enthusiast, Liana Kerzner, inquired into getting hired for the relaunch of The Escapist, but they denied her a position at the resurrected rag.
So people stop asking me…
I already looked in to working with The Escapist again under the new Canadian owners.
They weren’t interested.
Posting this so I don’t have to respond to 10000 inquiries.
The blacklist is real, people.
— Liana Kerzner (I ♥ Atari) (@redlianak) July 26, 2018
Plenty of gamers began questioning the motive behind the revival and whether or not it would be an actual gaming outlet or another propaganda mouthpiece for activists operating as social engineers for the cardinals of the Intersectional Inquisition. According to Russ Pitts – and despite having the very politically motivated MovieBob back in the fold – The Escapist will be “leaving the politics at the door”.
Pitts’ comments did not sit well with game journalists and Social Justice Warrior activists, many of whom went on the attack like a shark on a feeding frenzy in bloody waters.
First it was the Pronoun Prelates from the parish of Progressivism that came out of the woodworks to reproach Pitts’ aim for a non-partisan publication.
Self-destruct your website, losers.
— Kortney (@Kortney) July 26, 2018
The audience that’s calling for “politics to be separated from games journalism” are the worst audience you can possibly attempt to kowtow to, and The Escapist is literally betting Everything on catering exclusively to them lol
— Bad Game Hall of Fame (@BadGameHOF) July 27, 2018
Escapist: “We are not going to talk politics, just games.”
— Brandon Lee Carey (@newdarkcloud) July 26, 2018
When the furries and the otherkin concluded digitally defecating on the apolitical agenda set forward by the reborn Escapist, it was time for some of the old faces and haggled names from the heyday of #GamerGate to resurface from the graveyard of e-celebs, offering their half-a-cent’s worth of criticism on the matter.
i guess it’s so much easier to leave politics at the door when the escapist were super welcoming to a mob that harassed and abused women in the game industry. no “we’re sorry” – just “we’d like to forget this ever happened.” sure, dude. https://t.co/Zp0D7ZSWh2
— needlessly obscenity-laced (@randileeharper) July 26, 2018
But it was the game journalists that topped off all the vitriol, leaving little room for others pious in the ways of “Progressivism” to get in any words. Lengthy diatribes and harangues with Social Justice perorations were put forward by the ivory-tower prefects of postmodernism. Leaving plenty of room and ample time to pat themselves on the back after rolling out Twitter threads denouncing Pitts’ potential nonpartisan take on publishing pablum for video games.
He’s an idiot and a pig.
— Nick Capozzoli (@NickCapozzoli) July 26, 2018
“Politics at the door” translates to game coverage that ignores human angles. Gamergate was largely a campaign for “apolitical” game coverage, which just meant coverage devoid of feminist-critique, labor concerns, etc. Fuck Escapist Mag in its previous and future incarnation. pic.twitter.com/xt1JsEFbqG
— David Tres (@DaTres) July 26, 2018
I wish the best to everyone at the new Escapist, but to avoid political topics — unionization, crunch, sexism, worker rights, harassment, the rise of the alt-right, and so on — is to neglect your job as a journalist covering games https://t.co/020TZ9OfPv pic.twitter.com/AjpEEXec2h
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 26, 2018
Let’s be real: The people who want “politics” out of video game coverage don’t want games reviewers talking about racism or sexism. This new Escapist philosophy is blatantly trying to appeal to those people
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 26, 2018
Austin Walker from Vice’s Waypoint joined in on Jason Schreier’s paean of Progressivism toward the altar of artificial altruism. Unlike Schreier, however, Walker had a lengthy speech rolled out on Twitter, stating…
“Okay, at risk of adding fuel to fire, here’s my genuine, non-subtweet take on the escapist relaunching with the goal of “leaving politics at the door. One of the realizations this little corner of the world has had to make in the last few years is that cultural work is always carries some politics. I don’t mean lower case p, democrat-v-republic politics, I mean a capital P Politics about how we imagine our ideal world and lives
“This realization has complicated the job of reporting on and critiquing games: suddenly, we recognize that old “common sense” techniques, angles, and story selection carry bias we’d ignored. And many of us have reacted to this in with a rush of creativity.
“In the wake of mass shootings, we’re talking again about the depiction of gun violence in games. In the wake of harassment campaigns, we’re paying more attention to how marginalized folks are treated.
“In the wake of revelations about work conditions, more reporting has been done about the state of labor conditions in gaming. And all the while, across editorial and video content, games criticism has transformed and grown in amazing, exciting ways.
“I mean this sincerely: Waypoint’s competition knocks it out the park every single week. Every major site is turning out work that is voice-y and powerful and unique every single work week. (Maybe every day, but I largely catch up on weekends now.) And here’s the thing, much of that work emerges from the realization that there is no sideline to sit on. Realizing that your work carries a politics is freeing. Once you know the words you write have this second set of meanings, you can write with those in mind.
“You can take what would be a stock preview and recognize your own biases in it, and look to challenge those. OR you can say okay, let me lift those from subtext into text proper. That’s such an incredible feeling, and does work for the reader too.
“Starting at “everything is Political” isn’t a move away from fun. It’s a complication of fun that can lift the work you and your coworkers do. As an editor, that’s the best I can ever hope for.
“TL;DR: I think we’ve smartly learned that you CAN’T leave politics at the door, and have used that knowledge to evaluate our own work and push it in new exciting directions.”
Walker’s strophe was picked up and carried to the next checkpoint of garrulous self-aggrandizement when his cohort, Patrick Klepek, leapt into the shallow pool of proselytism to pule to his followers just how “woke” he was.
Good luck “leaving politics at the door” when you ban someone in the comments for being sexist, racist, transphobic, or ableist.
Oops, you just did a politics. https://t.co/zNACla4zBh
— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) July 26, 2018
And even if you don’t intend it, tossing out the phrase “leaving politics at the door” acts as an explicit dog whistle to the GamerGate crowd, the very crowd The Escapist was courting for years.
— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) July 26, 2018
Yes, the line has been moved to the point where anyone who wishes to simply discuss video games without having to deal with the pompous pusillanimity of so-called Progressive culture warriors is now considered a #GamerGator.
You want to have an apolitical forum celebrating gaming? That’s a dog-whistle for #GamerGate.
Interested in talking about what sort of material Beauty and the Beast used to slip into those tight little form-fitting suits without chaffing their sensitive parts without talking about how sexist Hideo Kojima is? Well then, you’re dog-whistling to #GamerGate.
Want to get your hands on a free game trainer because you hate playing the crappy AAA titles that most publishers put out and you don’t want to hear about xe-ra’s dilation issues? Well, I hate to break it to you kid, you’ve been dog-whistled by that closet-keeping, sheet-wearing, sewer-occupying, forest-lurking, shadow-stalking boogeyman that can elect presidents, force Star Wars to bomb at the box office, and even harass people on Mars half-a-century from now… yes, I’m talking about #GamerGate.
As you can imagine, the news about Escapist trying to avoid becoming Polygon 2.0 didn’t sit well with the stinger-free bees of ResetEra. They spent 32 pages bashing The Escapist for wanting to avoid all of the political turmoil that has ruined so many other sites out there.
Of course, the shriekers and the screamers, the blathers and the bleaters… they’re just a small portion of a much larger community out there who happens to be happy that there’s the possibility of an outlet that won’t condemn and berate its own audience for not being “progressive” enough.
The announcement of a new Escapist — and their apolitical stance — is EXACTLY what I’ve been screaming about for years.
Politics belong in games and coverage. But expose only one viewpoint long enough, pretending no other views exist, and this is the end result.
It’s a shame.
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) July 26, 2018
I’m confused over the negative reaction over “no politics” at the Escapist. Having at least one voice choose games as, well, escapism rather than triggering political mires, full of grandstanding puffery, can only be healthy and sane.
— TormaMasuda (@TormaMasuda) July 26, 2018
Of course, some are worried that The Escapists’ talk about leaving politics at the door is just lip-service to lure neutrals, fence-sitters, moderates and centrists back into the fold.
A thread on Kotaku In Action noted that the new management have already removed some of former editor-in-chief Joshua Vanderwall’s articles calling out game journalism and sociopolitical agitprop in gaming. The thread points out that the articles were indeed political, just not pointed toward the Left’s end of the political spectrum. So we’ll see if the removal of Vanderwall’s articles was simply to stay neutral, or if The Escapist will eventually slide back into lock-step with other sites pushing the Progressive agenda.
(Thanks for the news tip Bret Hart)