PAX: That Was Awkward.
Let me make this very clear before anyone moves forward: this is simply my OPINION of the most current PAX and Penny Arcade. Don’t take it as serious journalism- I’m just ranting and getting my thoughts down into words. It’s taken me a few times to write and re-write this blog, followed by banging on the keyboard because I’m just so frustrated. How do I say what I want to say and effectively; without sounding like a twat and engage in a thoughtful manner.
Honestly, that’s a question Mike “Gabe” Krahulik, of Penny Arcade, needs to ask himself, and often.
In case you convention geeks forgot, PAX- Penny Arcade Expo- was held in the past couple of days; and Gabe dropped a bit of a fucking doosie during his day four Q&A: he regrets ever removing the Dickwolves merchandise from the Penny Arcade store….and his business manager supported this thought.
Now, some readers are most likely letting out collective gasp, or shrugging, others are scratching their head. Let me briefly recap the Dickwolves incident: Penny arcade released a comic in which the word “rape” is used. Terrible use of the word, and in personal opinion it’s never okay to use. The collective internet consensus objected to it, and instead of being a grown up and removing the word or even issuing an apology, Penny Arcade instead capitalized on the rape joke by providing merchandise.To be perfectly honest, I’m not okay with the word rape being used to lightly- specially in an entertainment light. What bothered me the most about this situation was the fact that Penny Arcade generated a profit on it. In this situation, I feel that Penny Arcade monetized on someone’s personal nightmare.
Regardless, this blog isn’t made to re-harp specifically on this one incident- though necessary because it proves one thing: Gabe needs to learn when to let things go, grow a diplomatic pair of balls, and how to approach situations MATURELY. As an industry giant ( hell, they have their own EXPO dedicated to themselves and Penny Arcade)- Penny Arcade needs to own up to the fact that what they say, write, draw, etc, IS influential.
Continuing with what I said earlier: While during his day four Q&A, Gabe made it perfectly clear that he wished the dickwolves merchandise would have stayed in the Penny Arcade store- and this is where I lost it. The situation, for the most part, had blown over and somebody had to go and open a can of worms. While watching that stream, you could tell his partner, Tycho, was utterly uncomfortable. Tycho had to make an awkward change in gears, just trying to be done with the situation and talk no more about it. Frustratingly, I ask why did Gabe feel the need to open pandora’s box with his dickwolf merchandise, which at this point, (whether he meant it or not) is now being viewed as a problematic rape situation. Ironically,weeks before on their Penny Arcade blog Tycho is in support of Not in the Kitchen’s Anymore claim against a player who threatened to rape her. Found here.
….Somehow, I just got massive mixed signals.
What makes me most angry about this, is that Gabe utterly fails at being diplomatic and continues to be painfully insensitive. And though, I hate to say it, in his position as an influential industry giant he is held accountable, Penny Arcade is held accountable, to what the hell he says. He may not have signed up for this, but, with Penny Arcade’s success it comes hand in hand. It sends awfully confusing messages when Gabe thinks his response to upset fans should be to piss them off even more.
Understandably, in this situation, I can see where others would like to argue that Penny Arcade really was NOT implying a rape joke and nor did the dickwolf merchandise promote rape. However, may people on the internet viewed this situation as such and instead of taking a negative situation and trying to make it positive- by bringing more social awareness to sexual assault- Gabe took to his Penny Arcade merchandise store in juvenile rebellion, and made a dickwolf merch campaign that stated:“Dude, Penny Arcade is MY comic and people can’t tell me what the hell to do.” I can relate to this-the last thing I want is for Geektrum to hit it big, and then I can’t post opposing blogs (such as this) because I will piss off a certain sect of humanity. I don’t want anybody telling me HOW to write on my blog and what I should put up- but if I manage to offend people on a serious personal level, and it’s brought to my attention, I’m not the kind of person to shrug and say “But I didn’t mean it that way. Should I make a shirt to prove my point?”
And I am NOT saying Gabe should stop making whatever he wants to make- I just think he needs to stop, count to 100, and think about his reactions. Because the way he reacts has certainly stopped people from supporting PAX and Penny Arcade. (Check out Fullbright who backed out of PAX this year because they weren’t cool with how Gabe handles affairs) During his Q&A he even said they just need to NOT react to the situation ,or the out cry from people who were/are upset- and in this case, I would have to agree. You can’t always compromise your work for other people- but you can react so immaturely to make them even more upset and paints you to be the villain. Be diplomatic about it, be a little more mature, agree to disagree, and let sleeping dog lie. Instead, he just opened up Pandora’s box on the situation AGAIN, after saying they never should have reacted in any way.
As for where I stand in support to Penny Arcade? Gabe has said too many things, reacted in too many negative ways, that I’m having a very difficult time enjoying anything Penny Arcade produces. Yes, Penny Arcade has done some amazing things, like Child’s Play- but can I really overlook all the things said and done because they run a charity? Unfortunately, no. I feel it will be a matter of time before another incident happens, and Gabe has gone too far, said too much and he can’t get out of it (even after a hefty donation to the cause he insensitively mocked) and we’ll see Penny Arcade crash and burn.