First of all I would never remove the strip or even apologize for the joke. It’s funny and the fact that some people don’t get it, or are offended by it doesn’t change that. People complained about the strip and that’s fine with me, my response as always is “if you don’t like it don’t read it.”
Bullshit. It was nothing but a self-righteous "well I'm sorry if you took offense but I don't think I did anything wrong" non-apology, intended not as an apology but to bat the responsibility away from the offender to the wronged.
"Every night we are raped to death by dickwolves" is a rape joke. The humor comes from the absurdity of the horror. We are meant to chuckle at that line, as the little joke that comes before the full punchline, which is an established comedic structure. The thrust of the comic is not a rape joke; the comic could have completely omitted any mention of rape and been just as funny.
Really? What is it about comics on the internet that should exempt them from consideration? If I draw a series of webcomics about how Jews should be tortured to death, should I respond to anyone who objects by saying "It's just a comic on the internet, go fuck yourself"?
Again, what is it about the fact that an idea is expressed in a comic that makes it trivial?
Oh, get out of here with your elitist twaddle.
The comic, the shirt, the resulting discussion are a great PR tool for gamers.
The medium through which ideas are expressed does not make those ideas invalid or trivial, kthx.
Not being an asshole doesn't make you a loser.
Metafilter: The rape is pretty much irrelevant.
Number one, fuck this shit right here. Just because there are greater ills in the world does not give you the right to be a lesser ill, nor does it make people who attack those lesser ills wrong.
Number two, if you had any ability to observe the world and connect the things you see happening, to figure out how the events around you relate to one another, you'd understand that jokes which make light of rape are both the product and a perpetuator of a culture in which rape is not taken seriously and in which rape victims are routinely minimized, harassed, ignored, and condemned. Rape culture is rape culture, and every bit of it must be attacked and torn down, not just the most egregious examples of it.
Again: the word "dickwolves" is a funny word. Outside of context, it's a great team name as a joke.
No one's calling for the Carolina Hurricanes to change their name, are they?
"The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure".
I love Penny Arcade. But what have we got to lose by having some respect for people's feelings in our community when they speak up and ask us to hear them? I don't want to be part of a community where people say "hey, we're really hurt," and we say, "shut up, bitches."
If the subject of that statement equates calling-out behavior/actions (what you're doing is a racist thing) with name-calling (you're a racist!), then there really isn't much hope for the dialogue, but that problem is the subject's, not the person who's doing the call-out.
The structure of mainstream US sitcoms almost always involves foolish dudes who are called out for their behavior by beautiful intelligent women. Occasionally they spice it up by having the foolish dudes be astrophysicists, or by having a gay couple fill the same roles. While that's sexist in its own way... if you can see rape culture in sitcoms, you can probably see it just about everywhere.
Here is the thing, okay? Coming into a feminist conversation with, “Have you considered that sometimes [terms like "rape culture" are not immediately understood by the layperson]?” is like walking into graduate school during Philosophy finals and saying, “Have you considered that the color blue that I see may not be the color blue that you see?”
No, absolutely not. We're turning into a nanny state where we legislate morality, we legislate safety, we legislate the fuck out of everything
Just out of curiosity, was anyone's mind changed or opinion reversed on this topic after reading the 800 or so comments here?
I don't think it's up to the rest of us to make a judgement about whether a life was 'destroyed.'
When you initially mention it, and someone responds with, "Mentioning that is rape apologism and re-victimizes the victims of rape", right off the bat, then defensive outrage is entirely justified.
"I'm sorry if I was a jerk to you earlier. That was unnecessary and had nothing to do with defending the comic. I was just being snarky." -cwgabriel
One of the most important essays I’ve ever read is by Philip K Dick, entitled “How To Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later.” In it, he describes his idea that people can experience reality in such different ways that they lack a common language and therefore can’t relate to one another. He’s talking about schizophrenia, but he’s really talking (as is his way) about all people, everywhere.
The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown of communication... and there is the real illness.
If I haven’t been seen to discuss The Matter Of Dickwolves, this is the reason why. I’m not entirely certain that a conversation is possible. This isn’t mere cynicism - this is a fully rational assessment of the situation. The perspectives in play, the lenses, are too different: one side believes that not according the issue of rape the proper respect fuels a kind of perverse, perpetual engine called rape culture. There is a vast, specific lexicon and hundreds of tacit assumptions that gird it. The other side (that’s me, but not just me) believes that when it comes to expression nothing is off the table. It is the creator’s prerogative to create something - even something grotesque - out of anything they can find.
The fact of the matter is that the strip that started all this is about how empty, amoral, and borderline vile electronic heroism actually is. When I look at it now, it’s hard to imagine the chaos this comic stands at the center of. To the extent that it discusses rape, it is in the context of men and an imaginary creature. It’s certainly not the “joke.” The depicted scenario seemed so ridiculous to us, so unmoored from reality, and its indictment of player “morality” so complete, we felt like it was worth doing.
I have to tell you that we could never have conceived that people would construe the comic as pro-rape; this unfortunate fact may help you to understand everything that followed. I have a daughter who is not yet two years of age, and I am flooded with hormones every time I look at her which say “this, this is why you are here.” I don’t have any intention of going into specifics, but speculating about my own sexual history or the sexual history of the people we know is profoundly unwise. I will also tell you that people deal with horror of this kind in different ways, and one of them is with humor. There’s no monolithic “woman” just as there is no monolithic “feminist” just as there is no “man,” no “true” way of dealing with tragedy. We think of the strip as one of those glass tanks with the gloves that reach in, a safe place to experiment with dangerous ideas, which we’ve more or less been doing continually for twelve years.
We make disgusting, immoral comics on occasion to be sure; we’re used to correspondence in that vein. But when mail started to come in to the effect that we were perpetuating a fundamental social conspiracy to rape, we couldn’t believe what we were reading. That is the entire point of the second strip, which some people took as a literal response or apology, neither of which was its intended purpose. The only people who are pro-rape are rapists. The idea that you would have to specifically enunciate an idea like that is almost overwhelming. It’s self-evident. Hence, the comic.
I’ve received an incredible education during the ordeal, and been exposed to an amazing range of thought, from so-called “radical feminism” to a wholly opposed, Lewis Carroll, through-the-looking-glass mode of thinking called Men’s Rights Activism. It’s my default position to figure out what is wrong with me so that I can make peace, and the web has been very good to me in this regard. I have learned many new words and been altered irrevocably by the months long process. I’m not certain we’ll ever see eye to eye. But they’re not evil, or mendacious; I understand their intent, why this happened. I’m not interested in a repeat performance.
The other reason I didn’t speak about it is because I didn’t want to draw unwanted attention to the sources of complaint. Apparently, there are people who imagine they’re doing us some kind of a favor being jackasses and saying terrible things to critics of the site. Well, I’m a big boy, and I can handle my own shit. If you’re a reader, and not somebody just out for a scrap, if you love me at all you’ll put an end to that kind of bullshit. When someone believes something about you that isn’t true, the optimal strategy isn’t to prove to them time and time again that they were actually right all along - that you may be dismissed out of hand, that you have no merit. I assume that’s the opposite of you want.
Can we all agree that threatening to kill someone’s wife and children, as happened yesterday, has no place in any fucking society? This is why I had to say something: because people who imagine themselves to be “agents” of each side have now graduated to threats of actual, physical violence.
I don’t expect to mollify anyone with this - I think we’re long past that. When I look at the state of play now, dialectically, I don’t even recognize it: in the absence of my participation, in the abdication of my responsibility to communicate, the entire dialogue is based on a sequence of assumptions about each party so long that it’s impossible to untangle. It’s entirely possible that we will have lost readership, or worse, we’ll acquire a unique new demographic hungry for rape material that will be profoundly disappointed by jokes about tabletop wargames or treatises on forks. As I said, so much of this happened because I assumed that a genuine dialogue was impossible. Maybe I was wrong. It’s certainly happened before.
But I am who I am, in the end; the comics I make are the result of my damage. I can’t put it any more succinctly than that.
The only people who are pro-rape are rapists. The idea that you would have to specifically enunciate an idea like that is almost overwhelming. It’s self-evident."
For me, the most problematic part was this: 'The only people who are pro-rape are rapists.'
...when mail started to come in to the effect that we were perpetuating a fundamental social conspiracy to rape, we couldn’t believe what we were reading. That is the entire point of the second strip...
When I have a sense of humor, it is a little offbeat. I have liked, for example, Penny Arcade's comics about the numerous times they've killed each other. I have a dark sense of humor, and I'll admit it.
No, one rape joke does not "cause" someone to go out and commit a rape. But a single rape joke does not exist in a void. It exists in a culture rife with jokes that treat as a punchline a heinous, terrifying crime that leaves most of its survivors forever changed in some material way....
That is the environment into which a rape joke is unleashed—and one cannot argue "it isn't my rape joke that facilitates rape" any more than a single raindrop in an ocean could claim never to have drowned anyone.
If Tycho and Gabe want to make rape jokes, that's their prerogative. I'm not calling for a repeal of the First Amendment or asking their strip to be censored; to be perfectly frank, I would love nothing more than for them to continue their comic with a newfound appreciation for why rape jokes fucking suck, and thus not use (or defend) them anymore by their own choice.
But, failing that, I'd like to see them at least be honest enough to admit that their critics are not accusing them of "creating" rapists or "causing" rape—and have the courage not to hide behind mendacious misrepresentations of why people object to their continued use of rape jokes, and the honesty to admit they just don't give a fuck about survivors.
"When Mike tweeted that he planned on wearing his Dickwolves t-shirt to PAX, I was done," Corvus said. "I was now officially angry. Members of the gaming industry had reached out quietly and respectfully to the PA crew. But instead of trying to understand the issue so many people were having with their actions, they continue to mock the very notion that the concept of rape should be taken seriously."
Unfortunately, the "Dickwolf Debacle" has cost PAX several potentially interesting panels and sessions. Corvus himself was intending to present a panel with the International Game Developers Association at PAX East entitled "One of Us," featuring "members of the gaming community who are underrepresented and often subject to verbal abuse because of it. The panelists will share the coping strategies they've developed and tactics they've used to deal with the effects of being part of a larger gaming community that can be hostile."
Other people who have decided not to attend PAX includes developers Deirdra Kai and Courtney "Kirbybits" Stanton. Writer Arthur Gies of Rebel FM has also decided to abstain from the convention.
It's been fairly clear from the beginning that they don't understand the criticism levied at them and are reading it as "you said rape, you support rape", which is so obviously ridiculous that one can understand their confusion that anyone would take such an accusation seriously.