Wil Wheaton at Comic-Con 2014 - his wife, Anne, has been barraged with abuse on Twitter this week. Photo: Getty Images
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PSA: G*m*rG*t* is still a thing; online hate mobs still target women with distressing regularity

This started in August, and it's still happening. Games culture - and geek culture in general - is a wounded monster, lashing out at the skyscrapers around it as it falls to the ground.

It's been roughly ten months since GamerGate was birthed to this world by a pathetic man lashing out at his ex in a tedious, hateful blog, and sadly - oh god, so much sadness - it's still A Thing. It may have fewer members than before, but that has just made the core that remains denser, more concentrated, more loathsome.

This week's target is Anne Wheaton, wife of former Star Trek actor (and all-round polymath and geek hero) Wil Wheaton. Her crime? After going to the Calgary Expo earlier this month she wrote a blog post talking about how much she enjoyed it, and how touched she was by people telling her that they'd found her writing to be a source of comfort in bad times. Oh, and she briefly mentioned that there were some "angry and unhappy people" there who were looking to be "hurtful and harmful", but that it was OK, because the convention organisers "handled the situation immediately" and everything turned out great.

Turns out, those "angry and unhappy people" really are angry and unhappy - she was referring to Honey Badger Radio, a GamerGate-affiliated men's rights activism group who were planning to run a stall at the expo, sell some merchandise and put forward their views at some of the discussion panels. However, since they didn't actually apply for exhibitor/vendor status - plus a bunch of other stuff, below - they were in violation of the expo's rules, and were subsequently expelled on the second day. Click over to The Mary Sue or to Comics Alliance for comprehensive breakdowns of what happened and why, but the short version is: it made some people angry.

Wheaton's blog post, then, attracted some of these angry people:

Feminist Frequency is, of course, the feminist media criticism website founded and run by Anita Sarkeesian, one of GamerGate's most ancient and venerable enemies. Supporting her - especially financially - is brave, and should be applauded:

Unfortunately, not everyone can handle being this defiant. It's incumbent on the rest of us - especially those of us who know we aren't the main targets of GamerGate - to support those who do come under fire, and to promote and share exactly the games, writing and creativity that this hate group so passionately fights against.

Someday, this bullshit must end.

Ian Steadman is a staff science and technology writer at the New Statesman. He is on Twitter as @iansteadman.

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Why Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were a real horror couple

BBC Radio 4's My Muse sees Kathryn Williams explore the eerie side of Plath's life.

The first in a three-part series in which artists describe the figures that have most inspired them (Mondays, 4pm) followed the English singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams as she went, first, on a pilgrimage to Sylvia Plath’s grave and later to a favourite spot of the poet’s atop Parliament Hill. Williams has written an album devoted to Plath and we heard bits from it – but those weren’t the moments that conjured up the poet. It was when Williams approached the grave in Heptonstall, West Yorkshire – and thunder clapped from nowhere as she reached the headstone (with its inscription from the Chinese: “Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted”) – that this story really got going. “It’s baking hot,” she croaked, “and there’s thunder behind me!”

Occasionally we heard Plath herself reading from poems, talking in that Katharine Hepburnish way, a way you can’t quite believe she spoke in actual life, oddly decelerated and lustrous, slowing into a relentless and deeply uncanny imperiousness. Then, just as Williams visited the bench on Parliament Hill where Plath sat wretchedly after a miscarriage in 1961, a rat ran past her feet. “Wow! Look! What is going on?” By now both presenter and programme were deep into the boding mood that Plath can put you – the sort of mood where you’re bound to meet a million portents and omens. Someone mentioned a woman who thought she saw a picture of herself in the newspaper one day . . . and only after some time did she realise that it was Sylvia.

A more spooky Plath-Hughes ­experience you couldn’t make up. Both poets, masters of the harbinger. Sylvia pulling the worms off her body (“like sticky pearls”) after coming to, following a childhood suicide attempt, lying in a nook under the ­family house. Ted with his horoscopes and his dreams, recalling the howling of wolves in the aftermath of Sylvia’s death (London Zoo was just down the road from him). They were the great horror-writing couple: it is an abashingly real element, vital to their appeal. “Need”, “want”, “an addictive pull”, “moon” and “sea” – those were the sorts of words Williams used in speaking about Plath, in her kind and curious Liverpudlian voice, and with her songwriter’s noticing eye. 

Antonia Quirke is an author and journalist. She is a presenter on The Film Programme and Pick of the Week (Radio 4) and Film 2015 and The One Show (BBC 1). She writes a column on radio for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 25 August 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Cameron: the legacy of a loser