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Penny Arcade, T. Hunt, and Rape Jokes

Snoopy

I want to preface this post by saying everyone messes up.  We all say things without thinking.  We say things that are hurtful, offensive, or just plain stupid.  To me, what’s important is what happens next.  Do we try to listen and understand and decide whether or not to be more mindful in the future?  Do we get defensive?  Do we go on the attack?

Last week, Tarol Hunt (creator of the Goblins webcomic) posted on Twitter:

I’ve gotten laid before, but I’ve never gotten laid using only the power of hypnosis. But one day I will. Oh yes, I will.

As most anyone could have predicted, there was backlash to the idea — even in jest – that gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to have sex without having to worry about that silly old consent business?  Because a disgusting number of people genuinely believe consent is nothing but an obstacle to be overcome by any means necessary.

Hunt followed up by explaining how it was just a joke, and you can’t really hypnotize someone to force them to have sex against their will.  Also, “…hypnosis + sex = rape. This is true in the same way that killing NPCs in WoW = murder.

My clueless.  Let me show you it.

The thing is, pretty much everyone got that this was meant as a joke.  I don’t think anyone believed Hunt was seriously planning to become a hypnorapist.  The fact that it’s a joke isn’t the point.

From what I can tell, he did start listening and trying to understand.  He apologized to anyone he offended in a blog post a few days later, and acknowledged that he was being insensitive.  But he also kept up the defensive “no person on the planet has ever been forced into sex via hypnosis” bit, and brought up questions like why his hypnosis joke was triggering but not the rapist character from his comic?  (Answer: the rapist character doesn’t make rape into a joke, or feed into the attitude that consent is an irksome obstacle to be overcome.)

His second blog post suggests, to me, that he’s working on it.  He’s still stumbling, but I think he’s trying to listen and understand.

Penny Arcade posted a comic last August in which they referenced slaves “being raped to sleep by Dickwolves.”  Once again, there was backlash.  Once again, the immediate response was, “It’s just a joke,” with an added helping of “You’re stupid to be offended” as seen in their follow-up comic: It’s possible you read our cartoon and became a rapist as a direct result…

They didn’t get it.  Unlike Hunt, Penny Arcade had zero interest in understanding why people were upset.  Instead, they promptly turned around and began selling Dickwolves T-shirts and pennants.  Essentially, they declared open season on those who felt offended by humor about rape, and their supporters gleefully jumped into the fray.

Folks like TeamRape on Twitter were upset that the mean people were trying to censor Penny Arcade’s Freedom of Speech.  (A PA blog post notes that this is bullshit.  “[S]he is not censoring us, she has not stripped away our freedom of speech.”)  DickWolvington (account now deleted) attacked rape survivors, demanding proof they were really raped.  PA continued to make a joke of it all, on Twitter and elsewhere.  There’s more.  Timeline here if you’re interested.

I don’t believe PA intended to offend or hurt anyone with the original comic.  But once people began saying, “Hey, this isn’t cool,” PA’s response was a big old “Fuck you.”  Having been told that people were upset by the comic, PA deliberately set out to do it again.

Everyone messes up.  Everyone, sooner or later, says something that offends another person.  When that happens, you have choices.  You can assume that person is an idiot who just likes being offended, and mock them for it.  Or you can try to listen and understand why this person took offense.  Maybe you’ll agree with them, maybe you won’t.

Personally, I find Hunt’s “joke” more distasteful than PA’s original comic.  But PA’s response has been despicable, ignorant, and deliberately hurtful.

If you’re talking about rape, even as a joke, and someone confronts you about it, you might consider:

To Penny Arcade, I say no, your comic did not magically transform readers into rapists.  But your actions did encourage people to mock and disbelieve rape survivors.  You encouraged people to joke about rape, about the concerns of people who have been raped and people fighting to end it.  You belittled people who are damn tired of rape being treated as nothing but a joke.

Thanks for making things that much harder for rape survivors, and for those of us doing our damnedest to try to put an end to rape.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Comments

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cowansfaith
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
I definitely hear you. My husband and I tend to get livid about that kind of thing.

We had an acquaintance (I never called him a friend) who thought we liked him more than we did (despite me saying "I don't like you" to him repeatedly. Husband chose the path of tolerance with this individual. Until one day he came over, and the conversation went like this...

"My little cousin got raped. It was funny."

Husband and I froze. "Excuse me!?"

"My cousin's a boy. He got raped by two women. I wish I could get that lucky!"

What he got was told what-for, physically ejected from our home, and banned from returning. We explained why. He just didn't get it.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
I just ... sometimes there's not a big enough clue-by-four in the world.

I've heard jokes like that before. Because of course its every boy's fantasy to be raped by a woman. Ugh.

Your acquaintance might not have ever understood, but hopefully he at least got a clue that some people don't find that crap funny.
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silk_noir
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
And not to mention, helping to normalize the efforts of certain members of the GOP to redefine rape.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
Pretty much hand-in-hand with the "It was just a joke" disclaimer will always be some sort of statement about how "real" rape is of course an awful thing. ::Headdesk::
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awsumpossum
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
I'm having two simultaneous reactions to this post.

On the one hand, I agree with everything you said.

On the other hand, I think people are too easily offended and comfortable with attacking people for being offensive.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your second point. The internet certainly makes it easier to confront, or to complain about things that one finds offensive. What does it mean for people to be too easily offended, and how does one make that call without crossing over into "I'm going to judge what you should and shouldn't take offense to"?
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mtlawson
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I followed the PA activity, and yeah, it drove me nuts. And the tendency of a certain subset of gamer to use the term 'rape' within a gaming context pisses me off too. ("Hello! McFly!")

/sigh

Happy President's Day, Jim.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
As I understand it, you also tend to get flooded with gay/fag jokes. Lovely.
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lurkerwithout
Feb. 21st, 2011 03:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the PA crews terrible handling of everything led me to drop their comic from my read list. The original comic didn't bother me at all, but the follow up one did. And then their actions after that? Yuck...

I don't follow Thunt's twitter so I missed his poorly done joke. But I did read the latest blog post and it definitely looks like he's going the right way with it...
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
PA has done some really funny and fun stuff, but yeah ... I don't think I'll be reading them anymore.

As for Hunt, I think he's trying. (Obviously I can't know what's going on in his mind.) While there's a part of me that's still frustrating at some of the hedging, and that he's not completely getting it yet, there's also the part that remembers struggling with various issues 10-20 years ago, and some of the very patient people who worked to chip away at my cluelessness. (Not saying I never screw up or struggle today, but where Hunt is coming from reminds me of some of the realizations I had back then, if that makes sense?)
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pocketmouse
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
I only read PA occasionally, here and there when I remember it, so I confess I haven't been following all of this. But I seem to recall reading a news post in which they a. pulled the shirts, and b. offered full refunds to PAX, because people had been privately emailing them and saying they no longer felt safe coming to the event. Of course, they then turned around and said 'you're welcome to come and explain to us in person why,' or something to that effect, so it's obvious they don't get it, but was there more after that that I missed?
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
The shirts were eventually pulled from the store, but there's a report on the timeline of someone getting one just a week or two back, and it sounds like they were still planning to wear the shirts at Pax. I hadn't come across anything about offering refunds, or any of that. (Doesn't mean it didn't happen -- there's been a lot of fallout and discussion, so I'm sure I'm missing some things.)
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eefster
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
If you haven't read it before, this quote from Kate Harding is pretty fantastic as to why this stuff matters. The original source was a blog post about the harrassment that Kathy Sierra was getting when she started using her real name. KateHarding.net post

‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.


You don't know me, and I don't know you, but thanks for making it clear that you're not on "that guy"'s side.
rikibeth
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
curiosity, not contradiction, and probably NSFW/TMI
Does "I'd hit that" fall in with the rest of it, though? Yeah, it objectifies; yeah, the particular phrasing can imply violence; still, at least in my head, "hit" in context is closely related to "tap that ass" which is just about the mechanics of pelvic thrusting. But, at least in the context where I hear people using it, it's got about the same emotional implication as "I wouldn't kick so-and-so out of bed for eating crackers" or "So-and-so can leave their shoes under my bed any time they like."

The rest of it feels a lot more diminishing of women's value and agency than the unadorned appreciation of erotic attractiveness I perceive when I hear someone saying "I'd hit that."
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rikibeth
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
some of my words may be triggering to others, although I hope not offensive
It's curious, one of the first reactions I had to the initial tweet (just now, this was not on my internet radar at all otherwise) was, "hey, I know some people whose kink interests include hypnosis, I wonder if he'd consider sex with someone who identifies as a hypno-submissive and who's therefore already interested in having sex while hypnotized to fall under 'only with the power of my mind' or if he was thinking of something ickier, like Owen's creepy pheromone spray in Torchwood?"

And then I thought about the historical accounts of Mesmer and women's reactions to him, and wondered if he was thinking about that, too. Or Rasputin. Or Svengali.

I do like that he seems like he's trying to get it, and trying to consider his future behavior from a place of compassion. I do wish that, in addition to getting why jokes about rape contribute to a culture in which rape is too easily dismissed, he'd pick up on the nuances between "censored" and "criticized."

He's reacting a lot more thoughtfully than the PA guys, that's for sure.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
Re: some of my words may be triggering to others, although I hope not offensive
Reading your comment, I had the following thoughts...

1. I hadn't realized there were people whose kink included hypnosis, though it shouldn't surprise me. Interesting.
2. I've got the first season of Torchwood, but haven't started watching yet.
3. Need to read up on Mesmer and the historical references you're talking about.

My guess -- and this is just a guess -- is that he probably wasn't thinking about it that much. It was just a "funny" comment he tossed out there, thinking it would entertain folks.
cat_mcdougall
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Thunt stuff really bothered me, but... I'm glad to see him struggling. I'm glad to see him questioning and asking for clarification and even though he isn't quite there yet, I have hope that he will get there. And for everyone we get to that point we're that infinitesimal step closer. I'll take it.

Odd that you posted this today, because just this morning I rambled a lot about PC-ness, historical context and things I am/am not comfortable writing.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Heh - I saw your post after mine went live, and was bemused by the timing.

And yes. Some of this stuff can be hard to sort out, especially when so much of our culture gives very different messages. So I'm glad to see him struggling with it too.
socchan
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC)
“no person on the planet has ever been forced into sex via hypnosis”

First thing I thought of [TRIGGER WARNING]: my high school psych teacher told the class about how licensed hypnotists couldn't get their own private offices in Iowa. She sited a case where, IIRC, a woman had regularly been seeing a hypno-therapist to help her out with marital difficulties, but eventually decided that things were going really well and she and her husband could work things out on their own. The hypno-therapist wasn't too happy about this, so maybe he lost his concentration or something. Point is, on her last session, he hypnotized her and raped her. Apparently he had been doing this at every session, except that last time he'd neglected to erase her memory of the event after.

Even without that example, to me, the idea that no one in the entirety of human history had ever taken advantage of someone in a highly suggestive state is very difficult to believe. Not because I don't want to believe it (gods, how I wish I could), but because rapists have attacked people in far less suggestive states of mind.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
My sense with hypnosis was close to Hunt's, that it was difficult to impossible to force most people to do something they didn't want to do using hypnosis alone. That said, it's been 15 years since my undergrad psych classes, and I'm not well-read enough to say for certain.

"...the idea that no one in the entirety of human history had ever taken advantage of someone in a highly suggestive state is very difficult to believe."

Makes sense to me. Or as a police officer once said, no matter how despicable or disgusting, if you can imagine it, somebody out there has done it to another human being at some time or another.
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shoiryu
Feb. 21st, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Just thank you. I meant to say it on another recent post of yours, but got distracted. Thank you for being vocal and having your head in the right place and for having the energy and the eloquence to discuss all this when a lot of us can't. I've been really proud ever since I found your blog to recommend you and your books to my friends who have varying degrees of this kind of awfulness in their lives and who have been hurt by these things or frightened by these things. It's just really gratifying, Jim. Thank you.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about being thanked for this sort of thing. I went into it in more detail a while back, here. Mostly it's frustration that so many men just ignore sexual harassment and abuse, so when a guy actually says or does *anything*, it becomes a bigger deal. Does that make sense?

But thank you :-)
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cat_eyed_fox
Feb. 21st, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned this, but the initial joke of the strip from PA wasn't just rape, but that type of quest gamers get where they must rescue a required number of NPC from horrible situations (like genecide, slavery ect), but once that number is reached the quest is done. You are expected to leave behind countless (regenerating) NPCs who are, within the reality of the game, going to suffer the horrible situation forever. Or until another player comes to rescue the same arbitrary number. Yes, the phrase "raped to sleep by Dickwolves" is particularly graphic and can be triggery, but so is the visual cue of subterranian slavery. Is PA endorsing slavery? no. Nor were they endorsing, or making an explicit joke about rape. It's about the moral ambiguity that occurs to the thinking gamer. "Wait so I'm to risk life, limb and hours of my precious time to rescue 15 Gnome Slaves, but once that number is reached I can leave? ...Something is wrong here."
I admit they handled the reaction badly, but you're forgetting that they apologized and explained themselves months ago! And were v respectful to fans when it was brought up at cons. The actions of a few vile human beings can only tangentially be connected to them, and that's like saying the someone burning the house of hunter down is b/c the ASAPCA's sad commercials about animal abuse.
I think to two dudes who are on the "moderate" spectrum of Gamer Dudes in their politics and social awareness being attacked for endorsing rape in a stripe that points out the inherent problems in Rescue Quests triggered their snark. Hell this topic triggers my snark. Yes we live in a rape culture. It is a vile awful problem endemic throughout the world, but it's not because of this webcomic strip and it's not because of these guys.
I'm not dismissing or handwaving anyone's opinions or genuine reactions to this topic or comic strip. But I think many are interrogating the text from the wrong perspective. People hear "Popular webcomic Penny Arcade made a JOKE ABOUT RAPE and now we're protesting them. See the offensive strip here!" and look at the strip with their minds already made up about it's topic and content.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm not forgetting. However, I haven't come across any apology from PA. I have, on the other hand, come across a number of rather insulting "explanations" as to why people are wrong and/or stupid to be offended by their joke.

"The actions of a few vile human beings can only tangentially be connected to them..."

I don't believe PA is directly responsible for the actions of their fans. But PA modeled a response in which they were insulting and dismissive, and their fans/followers ran with that.

Your analogy might work better if the ASAPCA was out burning down houses and said, "Hey, come join us, guys!" PA's followers were engaging in the same sort of behavior that PA themselves were.

"I'm not dismissing or handwaving anyone's opinions or genuine reactions to this topic or comic strip."

You kind of are. I know perfectly well what the strip was about. I read it a number of times, I get the joke, and hell, I even appreciate the humor of what they were pointing out. Whatever I think of the unnecessary addition of raping dickwolves to the comic, I stand by my concluding statements about their actions.
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pretzelcoatl
Feb. 21st, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
One of my friends complained about the Penny Arcade situation publically and got a slew of trolls saying vile things.

HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE A POPULAR WEB COMIC. HOW VERY DARE YOU.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
I do understand the cognative dissonance it can create. I like a lot of what PA has done. I strongly dislike the way they've handled this issue. That creates some internal conflict.

Unfortunately, it also seems to create a lot of mindless trolling and piling on of anyone who dares to criticize something folks like.
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polenth
Feb. 21st, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
My only experience of Penny Arcade was in a MMO, where a group involved with them decided to grief the roleplaying community by creating characters with racially offensive names and hanging around making rape jokes and shouting racist insults at people (then posting about it on their forums, which is how we knew where they came from). I've been griefed many times as a roleplayer, but that was definitely the most extreme due to what they decided to shout.

So I can't say I'm surprised by any of this. Nor am I surprised that people think it couldn't possibly be wrong because they like the comic (because some people had exactly the same reaction when we were griefed). I don't think you'll ever change PA, but it hopefully others might listen eventually.
jimhines
Feb. 21st, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, I doubt the PA folks are even going to notice my blog post, and even if they did, I wouldn't expect it to change their minds. But for other people reading ... well, I think it's worth it.

Clarification -- when you say a group involved with PA, do you mean a group Krahulik and Holkins were directly participating in, or was this a looser association? (Informal fangroup, for example?)
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peri_peteia
Feb. 21st, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I'm sorry that not being horrible about this sort of thing is rare enough that I feel compelled to thank you for it, and I'm sorry that society is such that many people will be more inclined to listen to you about this solely because you're male and speaking "calmly," but thank you nonetheless.
jimhines
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks. And ... yeah.
graymary
Feb. 22nd, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
long time reader of PA -- long, long time. a lot of our injokes around the house are PA jokes. but this busted me up. i was so /furious/, and upset, and -- all sorts of things. it really drove home just how clueless people can be. it really showed me how callous people can be -- people are suppose to BE like me.

at some point one of the pro-Dickwolf side reported someone's rape for her. and it was just awful awful awful.

so this post, the fact you weighed in -- amazing. thank you. how cool are you.
jimhines
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
"...at some point one of the pro-Dickwolf side reported someone's rape for her."

I missed that. Dear God. Way to strip control away from someone working on recovering from being raped. Ugh...
(no subject) - sylvanstargazer - Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Social Priorities
"But your actions did encourage people to mock and disbelieve rape survivors. You encouraged people to joke about rape, about the concerns of people who have been raped and people fighting to end it."

It's odd how many people are unable to comprehend the awfulness of rape. It's almost as if the act is SO horrible that people's minds just can't encompass it.

Still, I haven't heard anyone make a joke about the Holocaust for a long, long time. Some things are just not fit subjects for humour. Eventually, God willing, the same will be true for rape.

notphil
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC)
This whole PA thing has just been a disaster, and I've found it very upsetting to discover that people whose work I generally enjoy and who I admired for their charity work and their efforts toward making an inclusive, welcoming gaming convention that I hoped to attend someday have now essentially put up signs saying "but you are not welcome in this community." What bothered me the most in all of this was the PA creators denying the existence of rape culture after watching their supporters publicly attack rape survivors as though demanding that a rape survivor furnish them with proof of his/her own rape wasn't an utterly reprehensible thing to do. If that isn't rape culture at work, then I don't know what is.

Thanks very much for your weigh-in on this. I have a lot of respect for you, and it really means a lot to me to see you addressing this so thoughtfully.
atdt1991
Feb. 22nd, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
I continue to think that their original comic used rape 'humor' in a way that is appropriate (believing that it is possible) - they were using it to highlight the absurd lack of morality of most player characters in MMO video games, where you save some people, but not others. Torture of NPCs does happen, and we do save some but not all NPCs, but that is "good enough" for the game. The fact that they were "raped to sleep by dickwolves" instead of just raped seems to be something people focus on, and I am not entirely sure why it makes a difference (though I see it does). It's supposed to be funny, and I think the dickwolves are supposed to mitigate the rape comment, but it is also a valid criticism (similar to Daily Show criticism-through-comedy) of certain kinds of gaming.

The first strip can be misunderstood, and whether misunderstood or not, can be triggering, but I believe it supports the same things that anti-rape people are in support of, including heros who are not rewarded for ignoring the suffering of others.

Everything they have done beyond the first comic strip, I heavily disagree with, and I think it was a foolish reflex of theirs that cost them a great deal of good will, myself included.
bearpaw9
Feb. 23rd, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
** The fact that they were "raped to sleep by dickwolves" instead of just raped seems to be something people focus on**

Yeah. I think you spotted the center of the first controversy.

I think we get some divergence on the interpretation of this phrase because for people who are more aware of the horrors of rape, a little thought shows that being raped to sleep would take a long time. People who find rape more abstract and impersonal (due to lesser exposure to it), might just roll right past that sentence, without dwelling.

And now for more dwelling...

Complete the following phrases with the most common idea that comes to mind (like on Family Feud).

"_____ed to sleep"

and

"raped to _____"

My brain connects "____ to sleep" with rocked to sleep. I connect "raped to _____" with raped to death</u". Because of the dissonance in my mind between "rocked to sleep" and "raped to death", I find the phrase "raped to sleep" pretty disturbing. I understand that other people's mileage may vary. I would ask them to understand that sometimes people have different interpretations. Mine isn't automatically wrong, and for damn sure I don't think "you" (generic PA fan) are always automatically right. In the matter of opinions, opinions vary.
(no subject) - atdt1991 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atdt1991 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atdt1991 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atdt1991 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bearpaw9 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atdt1991 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
kmarkhoover
Feb. 22nd, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
I like Hunt's work on Goblins, and have even linked his comic to my LJ. But I was very sorry to hear about this. :(
genarti
Feb. 22nd, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
You continue to be a reasonable voice, and I respect and appreciate that a lot.

And I entirely agree with what you've said here. There are jokes it's in poor and offensive taste to make, but once you've made one of those (especially if you don't realize it at the time, and have to have it pointed out to you), there are good and bad ways to go about reacting to it. Everyone's learning experiences come with some stumbles and mistakes, no matter what it is they need to learn, but actually, genuinely trying to learn counts for a lot. Not everything, but still, a lot. Actively refusing to learn, apologize, or take other people's feelings into consideration while continuing to disagree -- well, that counts for a lot too, but in the opposite direction.
attackfish
Feb. 22nd, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)
As a little thought exercise, I decided to create a hypothetical situation in which hypnosis + sex =/= rape. It would take one hell of a prior arranged heavily negotiated scene for it not to be rape, and there would have to be a whole lot of trust involved, which would negate the whole idea of getting laid via the power of his mind. Tarol Hunt obviously doesn't understand the meaning of the word rape. Yeah, sorry, you have to talk to women and convince them you are someone they might want to sleep with, Mr. Hunt. I could see how that might be hard for you with attitudes like that, poor baby.
jimhines
Feb. 23rd, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
comrade_cat goes into the scenario a bit more in the comments upstream, at http://jimhines.livejournal.com/556143.html?thread=14294895#t14294895
a_proxy_for_my_thoughts [yahoo.com]
Feb. 23rd, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
The boat is over there...
Jim, I appreciate your article. At one point I agreed with you, but I later came to understand that I, like you, had made some big, big mistakes in analyzing what PA did:

1) This happened on the internet, which is a MANY TO MANY place.

2) You can't honestly judge or discuss PA's actions without addressing the actions they were responding to.

Others have made more detailed timelines, but I'll break it down for you:

a) PA put out a comic
b) They got responses from MANY people.
c) They responded to SOME of those people directly (we don't have this correspondence, but we have a few quotes out of context from both sides)
d) They got more responses in reply.
e) They made a 2nd comic in response to SOME people
e.1) They didn't need to misunderstand rape culture to make this comic
e.2) They had been accused of "Contributing to rape culture (which they didn't do) which leads to more rape"
e.3) When someone says A => B and then accuses you of A, it's not ignorant to say "I did not do B"
e.4) Again, people had accused them of 'encouraging rapists'.
f) Mike went over to shakesville to try to engage. It was a shitfest, first on shakesville's side, and then he got sarcastic.
g) MORE people see Mike's comic and misinterpret it.

Let me make this clear: you say that Mike and Jerryr "had zero interest in understanding why people were upset"

That's bullshit. They understood. The people who were upset were wrong.

Period. The end. They were wrong. They were wrong about the comic being a part of rape culture. They were wrong in the way they used the term rape culture. They were wrong in saying that you can't address topics like rape or murder in humor.

So Mike and Jerry gave them the same treatment they gave everyone else who has been so wrong: they made fun of them.

They made a comic aimed at the most idiotic of their detractors. It's pretty damn clear that that's what it was. Other people said "oh, what a bunch of ignorant assholes! They' don't get it!"

They got it. They weren't talking to you.

Then mike made a crack on trigger warnings. Honestly, I think that was stupid. There's no relevant context there. It's actually the kind of thing that DOES marginalize victims, though I don't think that was his intent.

Then he made a t-shirt that "declared open season on those who felt offended by humor about rape, and their supporters gleefully jumped into the fray."

My question to you is, so what? So Mike can't encourage people to fight against that brand of ignorance? It's perfectly clear to anyone who considers the evidence for 5 minutes that the shirt is not about saying "rapists are OK".

You say that "If you’re talking about rape, even as a joke, and someone confronts you about it, you might consider..."

And then what? OK, I've considered all that. I'm still going to make satire about rape. I'm still going to make this comic. Aaaaaand....?

"PA’s response has been despicable, ignorant, and deliberately hurtful."

Despicable? no. Deliberately hurtful? I guess. They mocked people they thought were ignorant and wrong. They meant to hurt their feelings. And?

Ignorant? Not nearly as ignorant as you appear in this article. You don't even address the many-to-many issue of posting on the internet, which is a central part of this debacle. You don't acknowledge that Mike and Jerry communicated with their detractors. Jerry even explained in plain English that he tried to understand where they were coming from, and determined that his world view and theirs were just too incompatible (he was right).

So, Jim. You were ignorant. You misrepresented events and motives. What are YOU going to do about it?
jimhines
Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC)
Re: The boat is over there...
"You don't even address the many-to-many issue of posting on the internet..."

I don't even know what that means. Yes, I get that they weren't talking directly to me. I'm not sure what your point is. Am I only allowed to respond if addressed directly? Or is it that I'm only allowed to respond if I read each and every post, by everyone remotely involved, so that I'm sure to have 100% of the context?

"My question to you is, so what? So Mike can't encourage people to fight against that brand of ignorance?"

He has the right to say whatever he likes. Where did anyone say he wasn't allowed to do that? He's allowed to sell his shirts. Of course, I'm also allowed to say that I believe it's a dick move, no pun intended.

"What are YOU going to do about it?"

I read your comment and responded. I thought about what you're saying, and decided I didn't agree with you. I'm going to point out that it's the height of arrogance for you to judge who has the right to be upset and who doesn't. And then I'm going to walk away.

Edited at 2011-02-23 06:08 pm (UTC)
Re: The boat is over there... - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - effervescent - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - effervescent - Feb. 23rd, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - jimhines - Feb. 23rd, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - bearpaw9 - Feb. 23rd, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - (Anonymous) - Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The boat is over there... - ladenedge [google.com] - Feb. 27th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
https://me.yahoo.com/a/HZgb_OAak_u1VT7cdyknU2QIKTPeZQ--#4dda7
Feb. 23rd, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
"But your actions did encourage people to mock and disbelieve rape survivors. You encouraged people to joke about rape, about the concerns of people who have been raped and people fighting to end it."

And why do they matter more than ALL the other vocal minority advocacy groups? Do you have any idea how many there are covering how many subjects?

You can't just ignorantly home in one one subject and consider it off limits, doing so would trivialize every other group, only fair way is to ban all or nothing, which would leave everyone unoffended yet severely restricted.

If you think a judge is going to throw out a rape case on the grounds that a rape joke convinced him rape isn't serious, you have no idea how the legal system works.
jimhines
Feb. 23rd, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
"And why do they matter more than ALL the other vocal minority advocacy groups? Do you have any idea how many there are covering how many subjects?"

I have no idea what point you're trying to make. Who said that rape survivors mattered more than ALL other advocacy groups? Why is it relevant exactly how many advocacy groups there are?

"You can't just ignorantly home in one one subject and consider it off limits..."

Huh? Wait, what's off limits? Please tell me you're not trying to make the tired old "You're censoring us!" argument here.

I have no idea what you're trying to say with this comment.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Penny Arcade might actually 'get it'
I've seen a lot of people on the internet talking about Penny Arcade "not getting it" (I've been following this thing pretty closely) and I want to offer up the following alternative:

Assume, for the moment, that they do "get it." That Penny Arcade understands that rape is a real, horrible thing. That mention of rape can trigger some people. That some people find jokes about rape offensive, no matter how rape was treated in the joke. Now assume Penny Arcade makes the same two comic strips - how do we make sense of this?

Maybe, even though they know people get triggered by the very mention of the word rape, they don't think this is enough to avoid ever mentioning the subject. Triggers come in infinite variety (I once triggered my boss by mentioning magic markers) and it's impossible to take responsibility for every possible response someone might have to your comic (it's possible, for example, that a rape victim, somewhere, somewhen, has been triggered by Family Circus).

The first Penny Arcade comic did not make light of rape - it did not present it in a context where there was any doubt whether they could be condoning the behavior; in fact, the joke doesn't work unless you think rape is a terrible crime. They were still accused of supporting a rape culture. So maybe, the second comic was not directed at people who were offended by the first, but only at people who felt that the first condone, normalized, or trivialized rape, and helped create a society where etc etc, see definition of rape culture.

Now, they've heard similar things before. They've heard that videogames (and a number of their comics) desensitize us to violence. That they normalize, condone, even condition violence. And they reject that argument outright (doesn't matter what you think of the argument, just know that they reject it.) So, they hear exactly the same argument being made about rape culture, and they reject that argument just as strongly as they reject the first. They take the views of the group that says that any joke that mentions rape supports a rape culture, and they exaggerate those views to mock them, in comic strip form.

Why does this situation need to be about Penny Arcade not understanding the concerns of rape victims, or mocking rape victims? Why can't it be the situation outlined above? I know that if someone said to me that I, by reading that comic, had helped support a rape culture, I, as a feminist, would react much like Gabe did on twitter ("of course I know what Rape Culture is. Saw them once live. Mostly covers but a few new songs.") This would not decrease my empathy towards rape survivors, but I don't believe that because something is horrible that means all jokes about it are off limits forever (I heard some fantastic Holocaust jokes from a Holocaust Survivors conference once - I'd love to tell them to you sometime.)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 24th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
Re: Penny Arcade might actually 'get it'
Sorry, forgot to sign this post. My name is Kai Samuelsen.
Re: Penny Arcade might actually 'get it' - jimhines - Feb. 24th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC) - Expand
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