Sep. 29th, 2013

pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
Long long ago, Penny Arcade made a comic that included the phrase "raped to sleep by dickwolves." I though the original comic was fine- not safe space appropriate, but not trivializing rape either. To the extent it was a cheap shock-laugh, that was sort of the point of the comic.

Lots of people weren't okay with the comic. Some of them were perfectly respectful about it. I've seen claims that others were not, although I haven't seen direct links to back this up. Penny Arcade responded with a strip that really definitely trivialized rape and dismissed all criticism of them as hysterical. Meanwhile, some of their supporters on twitter were threatening to rape their critics (no direct link for that either, but enjoy the #teamrape hashtag).

Penny Arcade responded with a Team Dickwolves t-shirt. I thought this was annoying when I first heard about it but just now put together that they essentially sold a shirt that said Team Rapist while their followers were threatening to rape people. I think that is the point where they lose the benefit of a doubt. Some time later they pulled the shirt.

3 years later, !Gabe was asked what he regretted most in his time running Pax, and he said something that could have been interpreted as "pulling the dickwolves shirt". Later he posted a clarification on his blog.
So let me start by saying I like the Dickwolves strip. I think it’s a strong comic and I still think the joke is funny. Would we make that strip today? Knowing what we know now and seeing how it hurt people, no. We wouldn’t. But at the time, it seemed pretty benign. With that said I absolutely regret everything we did after that comic. I regret the follow up strip, I regret making the merchandise, I regret pulling the merchandise and I regret being such an asshole on twitter to people who were upset. I don’t think any of those things were good ideas. If we had just stopped with the strip and moved on, the Dickwolf never would have become what it is today. Which is a joke at the expense of rape victims or a symbol of the dismissal of people who have suffered a sexual assault. the comic itself obviously points out the absurd morality of the average MMO where you are actually forced to help some people and ignore others in the same situation. Oddly enough, the first comic by itself is exactly the opposite of what this whole thing has turned into.

What I read from this is that !Gabe genuinely regrets hurting people, and also the tremendous amount of work doing so created for him. He does not understand why people are so upset about this and does not plan on any effort to dp so.

Ta-Nehisi Coates had this to say about white Southerners grappling with the Confederate flag:
If you accept that the Confederacy fought to preserve and expand slavery, then you might begin to understand how the descendants of the enslaved might regard symbols of that era. And you might also begin to understand that "offense" doesn't even begin to cover it. Reading Penthouse while having Christmas dinner with your grandmother is offensive. Donning the symbols of those who fought for right to sell Henry Brown's wife and child is immoral.

Nothing is changed by banishing the Confederate Flag out of a desire to be polite or inoffensive. The Confederate Flag should not die because black people have come to feel a certain way about their country, it should die when white people come to feel a certain way about themselves. It can't be for me. It has to be for you.

This is about how I feel about dickwolves. To the extent people who want a Team Dickwolves t-shirt exist, I want them to wear it so I know who they are. What I want from !Gabe is an understanding of why people found the comic and especially his follow up and really especially the Team Rapist T-shirt so hurtful and so scary. I don't think he gets that he's not the the victim in this situation


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