In a story that I’m posting about mostly because I find it effin’ hilarious, Arthur Chu –former Jeopardy champion who tweets at @arthur_affect about geek culture — has a problem. See, for the last several months, Chu has been a stalwart critic of GamerGate, that thing that I planned to write about regarding feminism and gaming culture and never pulled together into something coherent. Chu has written several columns, and his Twitter timeline is prolonged documentation of his Leonidas-style one-man-stand against the Persian hoards of angry
misogynists gamer purists anti-racists defenders of ethical journalism I-don’t-know.
Arthur Chu is also the guy on the right in the picture above.
Ian Miles Cheong is a former Reddit moderator, editor-in-chief of Gameranx, progressive, and GamerGate critic who now tweets at @stillgray. He is also the guy on the left of the picture above.
There are apparently some folks who support GamerGate who are having trouble telling these two individuals apart.
GamerGate’s drama has become so convoluted and involves so many different people yelling so many things at so many other different people that I can no longer keep track. But, from what I gather, Cheong has been targeted by GamerGaters and ousted by Reddit for 1) being a link-spammer, 2) a possible pay-to-play scandal, 3) being progressive, or 4) some combination of all of the above. GamerGaters have since chosen as their primary talking point that Cheong is a neo-Nazi and an anti-Semite for some troublesome things he said in a private chatlog 15 years ago. See more.
Let me be clear: the shit that Cheong said when he was 15 is fucked up and I do not condone it. I don’t know what Cheong’s racial politics are now, but he certainly feels differently enough that a now-30-year-old Cheong apologizes profusely in a series of 9 tweets that someone helpfully Storified. But, the internet is forever, and a racially-confused Asian American teenager really might find his thoughtless bigotry coming back to haunt him over a decade later.
So, let’s pause for a summary here: Ian Miles Cheong was a kid who self-identified as a banana 15 years ago and who said some really, really, really dumb, anti-Semitic shit in a chatroom once. Now, there are some GamerGaters who are using those chatlogs as evidence that Cheong is a living, breathing neo-Nazi today, and as evidence of the overall racism of the anti-GamerGate position. With me so far?
So where does it get weird? These same “anti-racist” GamerGaters also can’t seem to tell Arthur Chu and Ian Miles Cheong apart. Why? Because Asian.
A lengthy — and absolutely hilarious –Storify, has compiled two months’ worth of tweets wherein Arthur Chu is repeatedly mistaken for Ian Miles Cheong. Chu has taken to counting the number of times he’s been mistaken for Cheong, and as of yesterday, is up to 36. Yes, that’s right: 36. So far.
— Haris (@EvilFiek) September 23, 2014
@arthur_affect All asians look alike, apparently.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 24, 2014
If I have to tell you about how this shit is really racist, then you’re not paying attention.
The best tweet ever, however, goes to Ian Miles Cheong when he wonders:
What would happen if @arthur_affect and I were to do a Dragon Ball Z fusion? Would the world end?
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 28, 2014
I don’t know, but maybe that’s what it would actually take to end GamerGate.