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View Full Version : Bereznek, Tait and the Dickwolves Saga (Sunday Papers)



Rii
19-09-2011, 08:41 AM
This was meant to be a comment in the Sunday Papers thread but the spam filter is determined to eat it for some reason; I'm used to that sort of thing but this was a 600 word comment so I'm gonna bloody post it SOMEWHERE no matter how terrible it is. To wit:

So that Tait piece was BLOODY LONG. I think I read it in three sittings is how long it was. And the to-my-nonexistent-daughter angle was totally uncool on account of it being totally unrealistic as such and serving largely as a vehicle for much passive-aggressiveness to boot. And yet there were a lot of good points made and wouldn't say I wasted my time in reading it.

I'm not going to delve into the broader debate because I've already spent what seems like three months of my life reading about it on the various internets, but I wanted to zero in on a particular argument raised by Mr. Tait and relate it back to a past controversy. Because I'm a dick like that.

On a couple of occasions Mr. Tait seems to suggest that the sheer VOLUME of correspondence directed at Ms. Bereznek as affecting in some way the merits of individual comments, where the overall effect is of a crusade out of all proportion to Ms. Bereznek's wrongs.

EDIT: Example:


The furious punishment became, after a short while, more significant than the crime. It continued long after any compassionate person would have kept his silence. For each studious rebuttal, there were nine withering, sexist remarks riding sidecar. And this I believe, kiddo—the man who leans in for insult number one-thousand, having already seen the first nine-hundred ninety-nine reprisals vault from the barbed tongues of his peers, is furthest in the wrong.

And I can kinda go along with that. I don't think it's reasonable to implicate individual commentators for their role in the mess except insofar as their posts were of themselves problematic, but I can certainly acknowledge that from the perspective of the recipient i.e. Ms. Bereznek their effect will be cumulative, that such cumulative effects can indeed impose a disproportionate burden on the recipient, and that in an ideal world we would each be conscious of these cumulative effects and consider whether adding our voice to the mix is really going to make the world a better place.

Which brings us to to the Dickwolves saga. OH YES I'M GOING THERE.

There are a number of different perspectives about what went down with PA and the Dickwolves saga, but amongst the more thoughtful corners of the internets it seemed to me that the most common view was that the original comic was perhaps insensitive, but where Gabe and Tycho really screwed up was in their 'batten down the hatches' response to the criticism they received for it, that response starting with the 'go and rape no more' comic and ending, so I am told, with the Final Battle Between Good and Evil at the End of the Universe.

And so far as that goes I think that's fine, it's pretty close to my own position on the matter. But where I differ from the party line is as insofar as that criticism is considered. PA didn't receive a polite missive from the Rape Survivors Guild, rather they fielded a VOLUME of criticism (much reasonable, some unreasonable) from a large number of commentators. And as per what we've been discussing, that tends to have a cumulative effect contributing to a siege mentality on the part of the recipients.

It is I think therefore not surprising that PA opted to 'batten down the hatches' as they did. It would've been great if they hadn't and were instead able to rise above it and respond in a mature fashion, but that they didn't is less indicative of Demonic Possession than a predictable human response under the circumstances.

And so I find it interesting that the import or effect of the VOLUME of criticism is being raised here in defence of Ms. Bereznek (or rather in condemnation of the geek community's response to it) when that same factor was largely ignored by largely the same parties in assessing PA's behaviour in the Saga of the Dickwolves.

TillEulenspiegel
19-09-2011, 02:55 PM
Meh, bullshit. Your moral values and ability to think should be functioning regardless of the situation.

If you're going to choose to behave irrationally and defensively just because lots of people disagree with you, you've got problems. I'm going to judge you based on what you do, not what the nasty internet men said to you.

When you're wrong, when you're being a dick, you should expect people to tell you about it. When you do it loudly and publicly, lots of people will tell you. If you're emotionally incapable of handling such a situation, I would suggest that you should either grow a thicker skin or shut the fuck up in public before more offensive garbage spews from your mouth.

/New Yorker and Open Source contributor

Tei
19-09-2011, 03:03 PM
I think the term rape and stuff related has ben used politically. Actually, I think is a trenches war, with both fronts near another. And a butterfly flyiing over the no-mans land can trigger a disasterous attack.

One thing you never never never never never never must do, is to fall as down as Iran or other country where people want to kill comic authors for drawing images of Mahoma. In any even, the comics authors are just messangers. If you kill the messangers, you will stop receiveing the bad news, but these bad things will stop happening. There are rape, is not news for anyone. Stopping Penny-Arcade from talking about rape will not stop it. What people want to do, and how want to do it, don't fit.

The tone of the original comic was very dark, and rape fit on it. Is dark humour, it could have ben about canivalism or any other dark topic.

Everyone can get offended by everything, but that don't means everything must stop to avoid messing with somebody sensitibilities. So basically: deal with it. It will be hard, to tell these words to a group of anti-rape, but are the correct words. Some comic authors have made a comic where rape is part of the creppy background. Deal with it. These comic authors live on the same world as you, and see in the same view (with horror) these things. Don't try to police how other people feel about the world.

zeekthegeek
23-09-2011, 03:42 AM
Of all the dubious ideas I've heard, the idea that just mentioning rape somehow empowers rapists is /possibly/ the stupidest. There is no evidence for it anymore than there is evidence that saying the word 'Vampire' empowers Draculas.

Nalano
23-09-2011, 04:36 AM
Because picking on PA for making an off-hand throw-away joke about rape is a lot easier than actually fomenting public policy that reduces the number of rapes.

This is the internet, after all.

TillEulenspiegel
23-09-2011, 04:45 AM
The mediocre joke was never the issue. It was how they treated the tiny, tiny number of people who were offended by it that caused the situation to blow up, and a lot of people to go what the fuck. The second comic, the t-shirt, and all that.

Y'know I could be a PR consultant with just one bit of advice that handles 90% of all situations that aren't plastered all over the media already: don't say a fucking thing. Just ignore it. Whether you're a business, or a politician, or whatever. By reacting, you almost always make it worse. Glenn Greenwald ropes in an incredible number of high-profile suckers just by writing a blog criticizing them. It's unbelievable, and they invariably make themselves look worse by responding.

sinister agent
23-09-2011, 10:11 AM
This is particularly true for accusations, where merely acknowledging them does enough harm in itself. If you ignore it, it's a bullshit rumour. If you deny it, everyone goes "AHA!", and even if they believe the denial, they'll remember the rumour forever.

thegooseking
23-09-2011, 10:58 AM
I'm a vegetarian. I've noticed that meat-eaters act like the biggest dicks when trying to defend their meat-eating. I don't actually give them any cause to defend it; they just launch into it before I have a chance to explain that I don't care what anyone else eats.

And in many ways that's the problem I had with Tait's article. There may be sexist undercurrents in the gaming sphere, and that's terrible, but all he did was replace a negative stereotype of women with a negative stereotype of gamers, putting the entire community on the defensive. And, like I say, putting people on the defensive is a terrible way to get them to stop acting like dicks. Mainly that's a criticism of section 8 (I think?) of the piece; the rest of it wasn't so bad, except insofar as that one section changed the overall effect of it, which was significant.

deano2099
23-09-2011, 12:17 PM
Y'know I could be a PR consultant with just one bit of advice that handles 90% of all situations that aren't plastered all over the media already: don't say a fucking thing. Just ignore it. Whether you're a business, or a politician, or whatever. By reacting, you almost always make it worse. Glenn Greenwald ropes in an incredible number of high-profile suckers just by writing a blog criticizing them. It's unbelievable, and they invariably make themselves look worse by responding.

You are Steam's PR guy, and I clam my five pounds.

Drake Sigar
23-09-2011, 12:23 PM
tl;dr Tolkien would be proud. Maybe I’ll go over it when I have an hour free, I just wanted to comment on the comic and say complaining about rape jokes on the Internet is like sending a scolding letter to a whirling tornado.

Tei
23-09-2011, 04:59 PM
Y'know I could be a PR consultant with just one bit of advice that handles 90% of all situations that aren't plastered all over the media already: don't say a fucking thing. Just ignore it. Whether you're a business, or a politician, or whatever. By reacting, you almost always make it worse. Glenn Greenwald ropes in an incredible number of high-profile suckers just by writing a blog criticizing them. It's unbelievable, and they invariably make themselves look worse by responding.

You are right. But maybe Penny Arcade wanted to stand by his words and draw a line. Some people must learn that theres a line, and where is drawed. The noise generated by this could help making this line visible to more people.

Nalano
23-09-2011, 05:47 PM
I'm a vegetarian. I've noticed that meat-eaters act like the biggest dicks when trying to defend their meat-eating. I don't actually give them any cause to defend it; they just launch into it before I have a chance to explain that I don't care what anyone else eats.

I'm an omnivore (seriously, nobody outside of maybe Alaska eats meat only), and admit to being a douche to a militant vegan once, but only because I couldn't eat a ham sandwich without getting a lecture about how inhumane (never mind that they're not humans) factory farms are.

It was college, and college breeds single-issue zealots, and so in retort I bought a bacon cheeseburger with a side of fried eggs and ate it in front of her, extolling how goddamn delicious it was. About halfway through, I declared that I was full and left the rest. She never spoke to me again, and I thank the four animals who gave their lives for that small victory every day.

CMaster
23-09-2011, 06:24 PM
I'm a vegetarian. I've noticed that meat-eaters act like the biggest dicks when trying to defend their meat-eating. I don't actually give them any cause to defend it; they just launch into it before I have a chance to explain that I don't care what anyone else eats.

Hell, it's far from just defensive. People who eat meat get crazy aggressive and attack people who are vegetarian. Frequently perfectly normal and nice people. It's weird and a bit worrying. (I'm not a veggie incidentally, I just find it weird that people like me who eat whatever apparently care so much about the choices others make).

Xercies
23-09-2011, 07:43 PM
I don't unless there really really bagging onto me about how eating meat hurts the animals and what not, I don't mind having that conversation once but if its every time I'm eating meat you can go to hell!

sinister agent
24-09-2011, 12:25 AM
I've yet to meat a vegetarian or vegan who was a mouthy dick about it, to be honest. Excluding people on the internet, who don't count because you're not real.

They get a bad press, I think, because of a few loudmouths and because of a fair few people who eat meat but protest too much.

Nalano
24-09-2011, 01:31 AM
I've yet to meat a vegetarian or vegan who was a mouthy dick about it, to be honest. Excluding people on the internet, who don't count because you're not real.

They get a bad press, I think, because of a few loudmouths and because of a fair few people who eat meat but protest too much.

http://www.peta.org/

The people who tried to get Fishkill, NY to change its name because none of them realized "kill" meant "stream" in Dutch.

sinister agent
24-09-2011, 11:43 AM
Ye, I've heard of PETA. I don't see how some idiots forming an idiot club has anything to do with people who simply choose not to eat meat, though.

thegooseking
24-09-2011, 01:36 PM
Ye, I've heard of PETA. I don't see how some idiots forming an idiot club has anything to do with people who simply choose not to eat meat, though.

They're a lot louder, so when people think of vegetarians, they're more likely to think of them than they are to think of the quiet vegetarians who don't get in your face. It's the whole "they give the rest of us a bad name" thing.

Anyway, I didn't mean to turn this into a thread about vegetarianism; that was just an analogy.

TillEulenspiegel
24-09-2011, 01:55 PM
They're a lot louder, so when people think of vegetarians, they're more likely to think of them than they are to think of the quiet vegetarians who don't get in your face.
But that's crazy. If someone casually tells me they're a Christian, I don't assume they're like the nutters on TV.

If someone says they care about the environment, nobody goes on a rant about ecoterrorism or even Greenpeace antics. Well, maybe Tom Clancy would.

I'd hate to think the worst of an individual when they've done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

archonsod
24-09-2011, 04:24 PM
Hell, it's far from just defensive. People who eat meat get crazy aggressive and attack people who are vegetarian.

Well obviously. They're herbivores and will likely taste nice with some fried onions and mashed potato.

Nalano
24-09-2011, 06:27 PM
But that's crazy. If someone casually tells me they're a Christian, I don't assume they're like the nutters on TV.

Stereotypes propagate because nobody has the time to personally judge every since member of a certain constituency - indeed, we invent constituencies in order to gloss over those sorts of details - and indeed one of the drawbacks is that we tend to hold odd views on the otherness of said folks.

I know in NYC that the activist group Critical Mass is hurting the image of bicyclists because everybody now associates bicyclists with loud, obnoxious hipsters (and also Brooklyn with loud, obnoxious hipsters, and also locavore environmentalism with loud, obnoxious hispters, and also microbreweries with loud, obnoxious hipsters, but I digress). NYC also is the home to most right-wing media moguls, as well as the vast majority of political money funneled into Republican candidates, but when we think of Republicans we tend to think of mid-west dingbats with a hardcore flat-earth complex.

TillEulenspiegel
24-09-2011, 09:20 PM
Stereotypes propagate because nobody has the time to personally judge every since member of a certain constituency
No, but I'd hope you'd take the time to judge the person standing in front of you rather than assuming they're all the same. I mean, unless they've told you they're a Nazi or a console gamer or something.


but when we think of Republicans we tend to think of mid-west dingbats with a hardcore flat-earth complex. It's a party of two halves, really - the economic conservatives (the rich and the deluded), and the social conservatives (the backwards assholes).

Nalano
24-09-2011, 11:10 PM
No, but I'd hope you'd take the time to judge the person standing in front of you rather than assuming they're all the same.

Of course; I never indicated that I didn't. I did act a dick to one vegan, but only because the vegan was a dick.


It's a party of two halves, really - the economic conservatives (the rich and the deluded), and the social conservatives (the backwards assholes).

Point being, the backwards assholes (or at least their spokespeople) seem to live in the most liberal bastion in the country, which I find funny to no end.