By Sweep 120 Comments
This was supposed to be a blog but I posted it in the forums by accident. Here is the actual blog:
The Offending Strip:
The second strip in response to the initial controversy:
The Blog where Mike (Gabe) removes the dickwolves shirts from the Penny Arcade store:
" It’s true that we have decided to remove the Dickwolves shirt from the store. Some people are happy about this but a lot more of you are upset. You think we’ve caved into to pressure from a vocal minority and you’re not entirely wrong. let me at least break down why we did it though.
First of all I would never remove the strip or even apologize for the joke. It’s funny and the fact that some people don’t get it, or are offended by it doesn’t change that. People complained about the strip and that’s fine with me, my response as always is “if you don’t like it don’t read it.” It is very easy not to log on to Penny Arcade and read our bullshit. We’ve always made offensive comics and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If jokes about violence,rape,aids,pedophilia,bestiality,drugs,cancer,homosexuality, and religion bother you then I recommend reading a different webcomic.
PAX is a different matter though. We want PAX to be a place were everyone feels welcome and we’ve worked really hard to make that happen. From not allowing booth babes to making sure we have panels that represent all our attendees. When I heard from a few people that the shirt would make them uncomfortable at PAX, that gave me pause. Now whether I think that’s a fair or warranted reaction doesn’t really matter. These were not rants on blogs but personal mails to me from people being very reasonable. It’s how they feel and according to them at least, removing the shirt would make them feel better about attending the show. For me that’s an easy fix to the problem. I really don’t want to have this fight and if not having it is as simple as not selling a shirt then I’ll do it. Contrary to what they might think I’m not a complete asshole.
Now for some people removing the shirt isn’t enough. They don’t want to come to PAX or support PA because of the strip or because they think Tycho and I are perpetuating some kind of rape culture and that’s a different matter. First off it assumes a lot about us that simply isn’t true but more importantly it’s not something I can fix. I’ve gotten a couple messages from people saying they are “conflicted” about coming to PAX. My response to them is: don’t come. Just don’t do it. In fact give me your name and I’ll refund your money if you already bought a ticket. I’ll even put you on a list so that if, in a moment of weakness you try to by a ticket we can cancel the order.
So there you go. It’s not a simple decision. No matter what we do we’ll have people mad at us. If you want to talk more about it we can chat at PAX."
The blog from yesterday about how someone threatened to kill Mike's family:
" I think this has really gone too far. We have people on both sides of this ridiculous argument making death threats and worse. Kara was certainly upset to see someone mention on Twitter last night that it would be funny to come to my house and murder my wife and children. I know there are people who see themselves as being on our side that have made equally disgusting comments in the other direction. I want to make it very clear that I do not approve of this kind of bullshit.
I am certainly guilty of being snarky, sarcastic and rude. I apologize if that gave anyone the impression that I would ever condone this sort of behavior. If you are out there making these sorts of threats thinking that you are somehow doing our good work, please stop. I never should have engaged them at all much less the way I did. Obviously Courtney Stanton has been very vocal about her dislike of us and our behavior. But she is not censoring us, she has not stripped away our freedom of speech. She didn’t even have anything to do with our decision to remove the shirt. I’m sure she is just as upset with the threats being made by people who consider themselves her supporters. So I’m asking you to please leave her alone.
Personally I’m done with this argument and I’m asking you all to be done with it as well. Don’t go read the blogs, don’t respond to the Tweets, just let it go. Thank You. "
Jerry (Tycho) reiterates in his slightly longer more convoluted blog from yesterday:
"The other reason I didn’t speak about it is because I didn’t want to draw unwanted attention to the sources of complaint. Apparently, there are people who imagine they’re doing us some kind of a favor being jackasses and saying terrible things to critics of the site. Well, I’m a big boy, and I can handle my own shit. If you’re a reader, and not somebody just out for a scrap, if you love me at all you’ll put an end to that kind of bullshit. When someone believes something about you that isn’t true, the optimal strategy isn’t to prove to them time and time again that they were actually right all along - that you may be dismissed out of hand, that you have no merit. I assume that’s the opposite of what you want.
Can we all agree that threatening to kill someone’s wife and children, as happened yesterday, has no place in any fucking society? This is why I had to say something: because people who imagine themselves to be “agents” of each side have now graduated to threats of actual, physical violence."
WHAT SWEEP THINKS ABOUT ALL OF THIS:
Now we get to the actual blog part.
What the fuck, internet. I can understand a base level of intolerance for slightly edgy humour - for every victimising joke there is a victim, sure. That's the whole point. I don't understand how someone can be so overwhelmingly confused by the difference between ironic parody and malicious intent. There is a difference between making a joke about rape and actually wanting someone to be raped. I don't see how people can get so caught up about the content of a comic strip, something which is conceptually fucking obnoxious - let alone in the context of videogames. I don't understand why people feel the need to pounce on an issue which I thought was socially redundant by now. If you are personally offended by what you see in the world around you, tough shit.
EDIT:A couple of people have got in touch with me since I posted this blog on the subject. I guess the reason that I feel the way that I do is because I can't relate to someone who is being fucked up by this issue. I can't relate to a rape victim who is suffering from repeat trauma, depression, panic attacks - I don't have the mental capacity to do so - but I can appreciate how horrifying it is and that's not something I would wish on anyone, ever. So whilst my opinion remains the same, I do appreciate that humour like this does contain the capacity to really fuck someone up. As a friend of mine just wrote to me on steam - both sides in this entire argument have been completely insensitive to the intentions of their dissenters.
EDITEDIT:I urge all the people who are saying "It's just a fucking comic strip, people are too easily offended" I urge you to go read this article over on IGN which made me rethink my entire position on the subject. Cheers to Gaff for the link.
But that's not the point of this blog.The point of this blog was to address just how far some people are prepared to take this shit, and despite the fact that I can't relate to the sentiments of the people opposed to this, I can't see any way of justifying a threat on the oppositions family. Despite Tycho asking for this nonsense to end I think it's important to address what is obviously fucking bananas - I would hate to think that people think this is acceptable behaviour, online or otherwise.
You just have to learn to deal with it just like everybody else - and as Jerry wrote in his blog:
" people deal with horror of this kind in different ways, and one of them is with humor."
Seriously, internet.This is why we can't have nice things.
Thanks For Reading