They made a strip, the Sixth Slave, about the ignoble underlying nature of World of Warcraft players, and it somehow became a lightening rod for rape culture. (they followed up with a strip, Breaking It Down, about the lunacy of attributing the comic strip to the promotion of rape, which was then misconstrued as mocking rape victims). Refusing to back down, they proceed to sell a tshirt and pennant featuring a dickwolves mascot and sporty logo.
Here is an interesting summary of the community response, PAX Speakers Withdraw Over Controversy, by Alexander Bevier. I couldn’t resist offering my penny’s worth of thoughts:
If you wish to change the culture, I would encourage you to do the hard thing: and attend these PAX events.
Seek to speak there, and engage the gaming culture, instead of abandoning it to fester.
Best case, by refusing to take part : you will further damage how the PAX artists/businessmen are perceived (and paid) – but only by those who are sensitive to your cause.
I expect PAX will continue to be heavily attended by all those confused young men who are not sensitive to your cause.
Perhaps they just won’t see the connection between “the fantasy world of games” and that modern rape culture you hope to annihilate. They probably won’t see any connection to “mocking those people who wildly misinterpret our jokes as part of an agenda” either. These things may all be connected, but most of the attendees will not see it. Unless you go and explain it to them.
p.s. Wasn’t this whole question of “whether comedians and artists should be persecuted & ostracized for potentially damaging our society through their obscene comedy” already answered by the trials of Lenny Bruce?
this clip seems particularly relevant:
edit: USEFUL LINKS
Great breakdown of the overall timeline (many links): http://debacle.tumblr.com/
Fascinating essay from Jerry about his/PennyArcade’s perspective
P.K. Dick’s essay about perspectives that can never meet up
Ms. McEwan’s blog post regarding the comic strip criticisms.
– “One criticism is that rape jokes are triggers for survivors of sexual violence (and/or attempted sexual violence). The other is that rape jokes contribute to a rape culture in which rape is normalized.”
“Someone who is triggered may experience anything from a brief moment of dizziness, to a shortness of breath and a racing pulse, to a full-blown panic attack. … No ‘joke’ is worth triggering someone. Not if you understand what triggering someone really means.”
KirbyBits explanation of the opposing team’s shirt:
Dear 33rdArmy, I won’t be approving your bizarre hate filled comments.
Either you really are a cliche bigot, or you’re baiting. Either way: no interest.
Let’s stick to the discussion and steer clear of the bizarre jerky side effects.
Weird hate-comments remind me of another interesting point of contention, though, which I keep seeing come up:
Why would Mike say he’ll be wearing his Dickwolves shirt around PAX?
Could there POSSIBLY any explanation other than HE TOTALLY ENDORSES THE RAPES?
Actually yes, there is another explanation, and I’m not seeing it offered up.
It is quite possible the artist doesn’t think the shirt is about rape. It is also quite possible he doesn’t see himself as an imposing man that would intimidate any of these folks who emailed him, mentioning that they were hesitant about attending. It’s possible, he sees himself as the perfect example of a man you don’t have to worry about, when you see him wearing the oft-confused Dickwolves shirt.
I’d bet money he thinks the Dickwolves are just some sort imaginary creature he invented, that has been wildly misunderstood. He might even be eager to explain exactly why the shirt isn’t about rape.
Think about it. Why has no one mentioned this? jeez, people.
Just read the final sentence in his explanatory post, “If you want to talk more about it we can chat at PAX.”