Thursday, October 7, 2010

A slightly more coherent post on PA's rape comic

(Trigger warning: rape)

First of all, a huge shoutout to Questioning Transphobia, who linked to Devil May Rant's last barely-coherent ragepost. Much appreciated, and I'm honored.

But now I'm going to try and be a little more explanatory about all the problems with this, and why Gabe and Tycho's incessant insensitivity is downright incredible. A recap first.

As you all know, Gabe and Tycho did the rape-joke comic, where someone says "every night we are raped to sleep by the dickwolves." People took offense to this, because rape is not something you should toss about lightly. It creates PTSD and stumbling across 'being raped' could very well cause a reminder of the horrible experience I'm sure the person would just like to forget. Plus, it's just more of the same Bro-gamer bullshit, padding on more and more insensitivity to a topic that (almost entirely) affects just women and pushes to alienate them.

Penny Arcade's response was as subtle as a nuclear bomb. In their next comic they talked of being sorry that "fictional creatures made out of dicks raped fictional people" and that "anyone who became a rapist because of our comic should stop." Okay, you do not fucking make fun of people who take offense to your work, especially not in this instance. They flat out ignored the issue or completely didn't understand.

When I glanced at Gabe's twitter someone posted the response to him where they talked about all the reasons that the horrible word being used was enough, not necessarily the context it was used in. He replied with, "I read it," and left it at that. I'm beginning to think that he knows of this, but either outright disagrees with it (which is, um, wrong, I mean I wouldn't tell a rape victim what they should or should not feel or take offense to) or just doesn't care and is planning on milking the PR for all its worth.

Now, if that were it, it'd be okay. They're being assholes but maybe they just believe in comedy being the higher authority, and that nothing is sacred. That's a disagreeable stance, I mean you wouldn't toss around 'faggot' or 'nigger' in a standup comedy routine and expect to be taken as anything other than a homophobe or a racist, but at least I could shrug and remind myself that PA is just the pinnacle persona of the gamer society.

I can't expect them to change their minds since they're ultra-successful thus far and probably think what they're doing is working. I can take offense, but they are more than likely not to listen as evidenced by their response. I'd rather just forget about it and so would everyone else. 

So if that were it, it'd be alright. BUT!

Next week's comic had a person talking on the phone and, on his shirt, was an outright second serving of cockslap to anyone who took offense, where he was wearing a shirt that said, "PENNY ARCADE  - DICKWOLVES"

The internet blew up a second time. Were they really going to make a shirt? Were they honestly just making any attempt to wring out some money from anything, including rape victims? 

Surprisingly, no, and the shirt concept vanished. To me, at the time, it seemed like they were heading forward into trolling the internet some more and ran into Blade Barrier cast by a maximum-level cleric and decided to back out. Maybe this was a bit much for them, and they decided not to after all.

If that were it, it'd be okay. BUT!

Just yesterday, in the blog post I mentioned, they announced their new shirt, Dickwolves. It was made out to be a sports jersey-style, IE, "Timberwolves." The internet once again exploded into a frenzy. This is about the time I took a step back.

Let's just analyze it for a moment, shall we? From the very getgo it's all been about "the dickwolves." Whenever they talked about the PR storm coming from it, this was the phrase they used. Was this one concept really so offensive? Rape was, yes, but who's making the connection now, anyway?

Maybe Gabe and Tycho just really liked the concept of wolves made out of cocks, with a bulbous wolf-head? And to be fair, that's pretty funny, aside from how these days is connected to a comic where they were raping people. So let me be fair to them and say that maybe they just don't understand what was so wrong about it, and instead want this joke to be the focus and try and move people away from connecting it to rape. 


Remember the trigger warning I gave at the beginning of this post, where I essentially said I will talk in great detail about rape to avoid anyone stumbling across this and accidentally suffering from a trigger? Gabe's post right before Tycho's dickwolves shirt announcement talked of a trigger warning for "attempts to coerce laughter through foul language, Dungeons, Dice rolling, contempt for Hydra’s bodily autonomy,Dragons,"

This is the patriot missile right into the left wing of my attempt to be fair to them. This blows any and all attempts to be nice or generous to them utterly away. They are insensitive, greedy, conceited assholes, and can't possibly be bothered to consider that they might be wrong. 

From the outset, anything and everything related to "dickwolves" is to remind people of the rape comic. Clean cut and dry, this is what they are doing. There's not even a joke anymore. The joke has become "people are hurt by rape and we don't care.* Let's make some money off it." Mocking PTSD is their new 'thing'. 

As I said before, PTSD is not something to make fun of. Army vets are now their beating sticks. Child abuse victims are now funny as hell. If they can find a way to wring cash out of either of these things, they'll do it. Psychological afflictions do not penetrate their cold exterior of generating humor. People who wish to be gamers who have suffered rape now will go to PAX where hundreds of gamers will wear "dickwolves" to remind them of their rape and how PA, by extension, doesn't care about their feelings.

The connection is intentional. I'd expect this kind of shit out of fucking ICP or Juggalos, not a gaming webcomic! Can Gabe or Tycho just imagine what would happen if one of their wives had to suffer through this? They would be extensions of the culture and, unsurprisingly, they would be repressed and humiliated by something their husbands are making a mockery of and desensitizing.

I can imagine that, if this happened, they would probably retract their shirts and try to forget about it. We ask this of them, and they mock us. This is insensitive, you assholes. "A tragedy is what happens to me, a no big deal is what happens to you." 

They didn't just guffaw and handwave someone taking offense. They told an offensive joke, someone got offended, and they promptly started mocking them to all their friends, and now have made a shirt that says RAEP IS GRAET, are selling it, and while wearing it began dry-humping people, loudly announcing "LOL RAPING LOOOOOOLLLL!" 

*Dox said this, not me, and I'm jealous I didn't think of wording it like that! 


  1. Learn how to write, this diatribe is unreadable. You are a shameless attention grabber.

  2. @Steve: Go fuck yourself

    @Mirai: Reads fine to me

  3. I hope Steveo understands that I'm pretty much going to ignore him to death.

  4. I love your breakdown here. I mean, I'm always a little bothered by speculation on 'what if it happened to someone you loved'- it always has the feeling of dragging in third parties- but at the same time, I think your analysis of that is completely right. People do behave differently when something affects them personally.

    Sometimes people behave differently if something affects people only distantly associated with them (like, say, fans?) personally. Apparently not in this case, though.

  5. I have to disagree with your assessment of the Penny Arcade folks mental state. This is not "rape, loollll." And nowhere in the comic can this type of rape be connected to the normal type of rape you might encounter in real life (which is sad and horrible, of course). This is fully fictional rape, and the person describing themselves and their people as being raped each night, is a guy. It's not gender specific to women being raped. An ENTIRE VILLAGE is being raped each night until they fall asleep. I would assume that this includes children as well, which the Penny Arcade guys have...

    More importantly, we're talking about Dickwolves here. What else would a dickwolf do but rape? I mean, unless Dickwolves can find people who would consent to sex, but who wants to fuck a Dickwolf? Maybe Catherine the Great would have had a Dickwolf orgy every night, but I doubt any normal people would want to go near one.

    Dickwolves are a fictional creation, and their rapist nature is fictional. Yeah, there are people who at the mere mention of rape might suffer some trauma, but that just means they need more therapy. Particularly when the context is as humorous as Dickwolves clearly are.

    This comic wasn't intended to hurt anyone's feelings. It was humor for humor's sake, and damn it, Dickwolves are hilarious, you said so yourself.

    So until some Furries start making Dickwolf costumes and start trying to rape people in real life, I'm okay with this level of "insensitivity" in humor. And even then, I think the Penny Arcade guys would be just as incensed if someone turned their humorous creation into a real rape situation. Not unlike Kurt Cobain was pissed when some scum bags sang his song Polly while raping a girl...

  6. I was quite clear that A- fiction leads to societal mindset of rape being a joke, B- women are primarily the targets of rape but not in all instances, and gender specifics do not make it 'okay' to rape anybody ever, and C- maybe you should go read some other blogs like Questioning Transphobia or While!finished as to why rape jokes are a bad thing before telling me I'm taking it too seriously.