A case study in internet celebrity
June 18, 2014 1:13 AM   Subscribe

This Is Phil Fish. A video that's not entirely about Phil Fish. (SLYT, 19:05) Previously: 1, 2
posted by jklaiho (63 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
At the end it mentions that Phil is a white, straight, cisgender male, and that if he weren't all of those things, he could have expected to have been attacked much sooner. I've personally always wondered if his French Canadian mannerisms othered him enough to the audience to make him seem like a target in a way that an Anglophone North American would not have been. Are Quebecers more direct than other Canadians? Would Americans in the Phil Fish hate fanclub have any idea what typical English Canadian stereotypes of Quebeckers are?
posted by Space Coyote at 2:08 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

the only thing i really know about phil fish is that he did Fez.

therefore I like Phil Fish
posted by Riton at 2:21 AM on June 18, 2014 [10 favorites]

This is really, really good; I'm very glad I hung in there for the whole thing even though I've never been overly interested in the whole Phil Fish controversy/hateathon. Thanks for posting it, jklaiho.
posted by taz at 2:36 AM on June 18, 2014

Yeah, I never got how going on the internet and acting like an angry 14yo earns anyone hate. I thought that was basically the default outside of our Cerulean Tower here.
posted by cthuljew at 2:40 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

That was great, and really interesting. Thanks for posting.
posted by RokkitNite at 3:29 AM on June 18, 2014

Really great, and there's such a lot there to unpack. How we make people avatars for certain behaviours; the curse of fame for fames sake; how behaviour is perceived through the filters of position and our own personalities. This is going to stay with me for a while.
posted by zoo at 4:31 AM on June 18, 2014

Definitely a cool little video. Fez was a great game, and the whole hate fest around Phil Fish was only something I would ocassionally read about and never really got. He's just a fairly abrasive (but not even that bad) talented nerd, which isn't exactly uncommon.

As far as the (French) Canadian angle is concerned, I can definitely imagine that being a factor. I don't know how much of that would be from the culture of Quebec as such though. I guess the stereotypical Quebecois would be a direct, plaid wearing, no-nonsense working class type person, but at the same time, Montreal is typically considered the 'sophisticated' city in Canada (whatever that means).

If I would identify something that made him a target, it wouldn't be any Quebec influenced aspect of his personality, but just his mild french Canadian accent. I hope this isn't way off base, but in my experience Americans can be pretty intolerent when it comes to accents.

As a guy from Toronto, I've been given a hard time about the 4 or 5 things I say differently. I've also see some pretty brutal interviews of brits by americans where the americans can't get around the completely pedestrian RP of the interviewee.

The Quebec accent on the other hand is probably relatively unknown, but constantly there, and in any case present amongst people who seem to speak near perfect english. So I have a feeling that it adds a whole uncanny valley type quality to his speech for most people, especially since it is doesn't seem often highlighted that he is french Canadian in particular. So non Canadians probably just feel like he's a Canadian who feels the need to talk like a weirdo.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
posted by Alex404 at 4:32 AM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

An excellent video. Worth the twenty minutes.
posted by Scattercat at 4:45 AM on June 18, 2014

I though this was going to be about Abe Vigoda.
posted by jonmc at 5:02 AM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

That was a great post and a fantastic video. Thanks.
posted by bakery at 5:17 AM on June 18, 2014

Oh, ummmmmm... I made this. Thanks for the frontpage.
posted by Peevish at 5:19 AM on June 18, 2014 [62 favorites]

I had no idea who Phil Fish was (I'm not into "indie" gaming either, so no surprise there) and about two thirds of the way through I started worrying that it was going to end with an announcement that he had killed himself.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:22 AM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's a good video, but I think it missed out on the major reason people hate Nickelback (And to a certain extent, Phil Fish). It's because that's what Other People On The Internet do. Hating Nickelback has become a meme. You say you hate Nickelback because Cool Youtube Dude joked about Nickelback sucking, even though you only vaguely know which song they got famous for.
posted by ymgve at 5:38 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

You know those pages you have to pass through and accept the EULA when you connect to public Wi-Fi? They should make you watch this video too.

I almost can't stand being online any more with the constant Public Hatings.
posted by selfnoise at 6:03 AM on June 18, 2014

I have no interest in gaming, no idea who this person that was profiled is (well, I guess I do now), and I absolutely loved this video. I would like many, many concepts about how things on the internet work to be presented just like this so I can gather them up and show them to the folks I work with who are trying to force certain things to happen on the internet without knowing how things happen on the internet.
posted by xingcat at 6:19 AM on June 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Great argument! I don't normally watch 20 minute videos on the Internet but this was great.

Another gamer example of this unhealthy fame dynamic is the relationship between professional League of Legends players and their fans on Reddit and elsewhere. At the moment two of the 8 North American teams are on social media blackout, deliberately ignoring what people are saying because the hate directed at them got to be too much of a distraction. But the pro players mostly come from this community, are of it, and part of their being relatively famous is caring about what their fans say a little too much.

I'm grateful I'm not part of the subculture that spent years pouring over the Phil Fish Story, the pre-launch hype and criticism. That kind of fame cycle is so boring. So I got to experience Fez just as it came out, knew it was an anticipated game, and I liked it very much. I'm hopeful Phil hasn't stopped making games, just has dropped out of the non-creative fame culture and focussed on making Fez 2 quietly. He has all the fame he needs to get attention if he releases another game.

Being creative and productive is such a fragile thing, I wish we supported people more.
posted by Nelson at 6:52 AM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

So.. P. Vish.. will Nick Elback also be joining us?

(Jokin. That was lovely. Thank you.)
posted by Ahab at 6:56 AM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is like a Barthes essay on Youtube. Tremendous.
posted by angusiguess at 8:08 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thank you for bringing up the French-Canadian theory of Phil Hate! Having hung out with the guy a few times, and being French-Canadian myself, I think there's definitely a bit of cultural disconnect that contributes to the impression people have of him.

I had seen Indie Game before meeting him, I had some preconceptions, but the minute I started chatting with him in French I got it (even though I have some trouble articulating what "it" is). We have a word for it: "baveux", a light-hearted trollish arrogance that's meant to not be taken seriously. I think that attitude is juuuuuust different enough from your garden-variety Anglo troll to get lost in translation and make him appear more assholish than he really is.

I had the same epiphany about Foucault when I started reading his work in English. There's a specific strain of French unserious jerkiness that just doesn't translate. The intent, the hint of a wink is lost when conveyed in English, even if the speaker is perfectly fluent.
posted by Freyja at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2014 [12 favorites]

Apropos from the Twitters: Phil Fish and Notch lamenting the stresses of their high profile positions in a community of monsters.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is amazing. I still feel sad about the shelving of Fez II after Fish's online meltdown, and I'm not even a "real gamer."

I've noticed this phenomenon in other communities - "DJ famous," "local artist famous," "comic book famous," etc. - but the Internet and social media have blown this up to the point where anyone, LITERALLY, can be "meme famous," and talent becomes not the means but the target. Those who crave fame as a reward for being talented are no more likely to earn it than someone who injures him- or herself in a horrific fashion or has a particularly expressive face.

Frankly, I'm sick of meeting invites that read "viral marketing brainstorm session." Maybe I should share this around the office...

Fame itself is an ouroboros, and this video illustrates that point perfectly. Very well done, cheers for sharing!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2014

There's a specific strain of French unserious jerkiness that just doesn't translate.

YES! This explains a lot. When I (an American who loves absurdist and deadpan humor) worked for Gameloft (A primarily Parisian / Quebecois company) I felt immediately at home with my Francophone coworkers, and had a BLAST visiting Montreal. Everyone had this highly refined sarcasm detector, and almost nothing was taken 100% seriously, you could be direct and abrasive without anyone taking offense, and it never crossed the line into harassment or slurs. The email threads were priceless. That experience is probably why I immediately "got" Phil Fish's style, and felt horrible about the crazed reflexive pile-on.

There are so many Internet People who just do not operate on that wavelength at all, and are all-business-all-the-time, to the point that the concept of exaggeration or hyperbole doesn't even register, and they engage with you seriously without even attempting to understand context. It's maddening!

As an example, I recently posted on Twitter:

"Today I learned from talk radio creationists that without God we couldn't breathe, since there's nothing to keep the atmosphere stuck on the earth"

I got like 5 Very Helpful "Actually," responses from Very Serious Internet People pointing me to articles about how air indeed has mass and is affected by gravity. I closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and then replied that their fancy book-learning was useless here, and that you can't believe everything you read on Wikipedia.

I'll leave the rest to your imagination!
posted by jake at 10:33 AM on June 18, 2014 [12 favorites]

I love the twin conceits that any of this is new and Phil Fish is a Job like figure to whom all of this stuff just happens.

Major league athletes have had to deal with this sort of thing for decades. Movie stars, rock stars, local TV personalities have all found that there's a method to interacting with Fame, and it's reality bending effects. Phil Fish has decided that he's not going to do that. Phil Fish made a game. Phil Fish doesn't live by your rules.

Which you know, cool - it's his life and he can be like Dennis Rodman all he likes.

I had never heard of Phil Fish before, and now what I know of him makes me glad I've missed out. I don't dislike him because I am not cool enough to understand, man. I dislike him because he's not very likeable - on top of being a racist asshat.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:48 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's kind of funny/sad watching this given that Phil Fish spoke up on twitter for the first time in a while this morning about his feelings on YouTube Let's Play people owing game developers a cut of their income. Then he seemed to regret having said anything, said "nevermind" and proceeded to completely delete his account.
posted by sparkletone at 11:11 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

you got a screencap of that or something sparkletone?

I am very sympathetic towards PF. I hate pile ons, and I hate when people get hated. I thought this video was incredibly well done, so thanks Peevish.
posted by rebent at 12:02 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the comments, everybody. The reaction this is getting is bizarre and humbling.

Notch and Phil tweeting about exactly this topic the day after I uploaded the video is surreal, and seems have led to Notch tweeting the video when he saw it. I don't know what to think. This video had 40 views when I went to bed last night...
posted by Peevish at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

grar i hate peevish because they are undesrvedly poplar how dare!!!

(just kidding i love you)
posted by rebent at 12:25 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

no but seriously, man, i feel like "how to deal with getting popular" should be part of the internet TOS or something.

Another reason anonymity is important - Peevish unfortunately might be interpreted by PF haters as a PF supporter, and the more popular the video gets, the more vitriolic the reaction might be. To be Peevish today and Punvish tomorrow is, I think, essential.
posted by rebent at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can call 'Flappy Bird' is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.
- Dong Nguyen, creator of 'Flappy Bird'
posted by straight at 12:56 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm totally making a documentary following Peevish and his rise to fame and the difficulties that entails, also how he owes money to Phil Fish and all the devs in his little short documentary for helping him achieve fame, and then I'll be famous and someone can do one about me, and...

It's fame and hate all the way down!
posted by symbioid at 1:24 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I just subscribed to the Peevish youtube in hopes that more video essays like this happen. Fantastic stuff. #TeamPeevish #FuckTheHaters
posted by naju at 1:49 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

This bit can't be emphasized enough:

Internet Celebrities:
-are famous only to the people who talk about them
-are famous BECAUSE people talk about them
-are hated because they are too famous
-become more famous as people talk about how much they hate them

posted by naju at 1:55 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

ersatz suggested I post the transcript, so I put it on my Tumblr.
posted by Peevish at 3:56 PM on June 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

I prefer YouTube's machine transcription, because it thinks that “this video is about everyone in the world who isn't selfish” and “to talk about shellfish is to talk about fame.”
posted by mbrubeck at 4:11 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

Oh wow - I've long thought "famous people become symbols" but I totally didn't put that together with "social justice used as a way to hate people who do famous wrong." I love the whole side point about how the majority of "famous" people are really only famous within subcultures, and that they are largely the product of the people who speak about them.

This really ties into the phenomena of bullying on the internet, I think, and how we interact with each other both as individuals and as the concepts created when other people talk about us. The internet has altered the balance of power back to what it was when societies were much smaller but without necessarily losing the sheer amount of numbers - no longer is the attention of a lot of people necessarily predicated on appealing to a small number of gatekeepers.

I'm reminded of Penny Arcade and the variety of issues Gabe has had with navigating his fame and his tendencies toward, as he puts it, "putting on [his] asshole hat". There is a way in which fame is inconsistent with being a person that I find deeply troubling.

I was about to say that famous people often have influence, but the more I think on it, the more it isn't true. To continue with Gabe as an example, he helped found Pax, does charity work with Child's Play, and has a comic that a lot of people like and cite - but he doesn't set policy. He does, however, sometimes set the tone for things, or represent larger trends - I'm thinking of the "dickwolves" incident, where he was (in my opinion) on the wrong side of a not-funny rape joke; yes it was a bad joke, but the larger issue was that many more people used this as pushback against women who were objecting to rape jokes - a sort of social appeal to authority where the authority was Gabe. So on the one hand he served as a flashpoint, but on the other hand it was an issue already (and continues to be one) because men and women tend to relate to rape differently, and rape is gendered in a way a lot of other crimes are not.

Likewise, his "[person] + [anonymity] = [asshole]" comic is cited as "evidence" of it's truth, but his comic came out of a culture where it was already being touted as a reason why trash talk wasn't so bad. (I'd also argue it kind of is true, if you substitute [minimal consequences] for [anonymity].) That it is used as an excuse to be an asshole to pseudonymous people in a byproduct - the thoughts are already there, he just put a pretty picture to them.

There is a power in making those thoughts more easily spread, however, but it's not a direct power and it's not a power a person can direct. Lots and lots of food for thought;t hank you so much for this.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:06 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

OMG Peevish is in the thread. *fans self*

/semifaux fangirl moment
posted by Deoridhe at 5:11 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

you got a screencap of that or something sparkletone?

Nope, sorry. He tweeted the stuff about YouTube, then deleted those and posted "nevermind" and then was gone from my timeline. I very rarely screencap twitter and just assumed he'd gone silent again. I didn't notice the deletion until one of the Giant Bomb guys made a comment about the whole thing and someone replied pointing out that @PHIL_FISH was no longer an account. Not private, not emptied out like Kanye sometimes does, completely gone.

The reaction this is getting is bizarre and humbling.

Since I didn't state it outright in my other comment: Just wanted to say that like naju and everyone else in the thread, I thought this was really great and thought-provoking. Hope you do more things like it.
posted by sparkletone at 9:44 PM on June 18, 2014

Semi-related: This Ars piece about what it's like to have the angry swarm of wasps after you feels pretty relevant to the thread, though I don't think it mentions anything videogame-related at all.
posted by sparkletone at 9:46 PM on June 18, 2014

Thanks for posting the transcript, peevish.
posted by ersatz at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2014

Thanks for the transcript.

"Phil praising and defending Anita Sarkeesian didn’t become news; nothing positive Phil ever says becomes news."

Although in that particular case, a defense of one of the OTHER most despised-by-the-gaming-community people certainly didn't help his image, even if they were smart not to be open about it. One thing I've seen in the "gaming community" is an emotional need to be seen as Superior To Other People (at least partly due to being seen as Inferior to Other People Outside Of The Gaming Culture for many years), and that's a role PHIL FISH was in a perfect position to play.

"For people who are any kind of social minority, they can expect Phil Fish levels of hatred, or worse, for any perceived offence. Sometimes the perceived offence is having any opinion at all."

Still, "French Canadian" is, for some, a kind of social minority... sorry, MeFi Straight White Guys (like I am), this is just another thing your privilege and prejudice has a role in.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:16 AM on June 19, 2014

Peevish: ersatz suggested I post the transcript, so I put it on my Tumblr.

Yay transcripts!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:18 PM on June 19, 2014

Nice work, Peevish!

Just ended up watching it today (via Gamefilter rather than here, but it's everywhere at the moment, which must be gratifying), and you laid out the whole difficult issue exceedingly well. (My day job for decades has been teaching in one form or another, so I have a kind of professional appreciation when tangled ideas that can be a little slippery to grasp are explained in clear and accessible ways.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:59 PM on June 19, 2014

Fez is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played, and am happy that someone's stepping up to defend Fish.
posted by JHarris at 2:36 AM on June 20, 2014

Fez has a fantastic sense of place, music and art direction.

Polytron are apparently still active and they'll be basically publishing another dev's game. I hope Ph. Fish is still working on Fez 2 without fanfare.
posted by ersatz at 5:53 AM on June 20, 2014

rebent: "you got a screencap of that or something sparkletone"

Phil Fish Says YouTubers Are Committing Piracy, Owe Him Money - Game Informer
posted by the_artificer at 10:13 AM on June 20, 2014

Fez is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played, and am happy that someone's stepping up to defend Fish.

Defending Phil was never the point.
posted by Peevish at 12:42 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ah, that's fine. I haven't hada a chance to see the thing yet and got the wrong idea. Sorry about that.
posted by JHarris at 2:23 PM on June 20, 2014

Some food for thought from Liz Ryerson: Indie Entitlement
posted by naju at 2:23 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

(I admit I don't really understand the problems she has with "This Is Phil Fish" and how the video relates to the under-representation of marginalized people. I feel like the video is not going there at all, and when it does, it makes some effort to tie its points about indie internet celebrity into people like Anita Sarkeesian and non-white male cis people, rather than seeking to somehow devalue them with its points.)
posted by naju at 2:54 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I feel like Liz R's point is orthogonal to what Peevish was getting at.

It seems to me Peevish was interested in the idea of Phil Fish becoming a symbol of What is Wrong With Indie Games but wasn't interested in what actually is wrong with indie gaming. Liz R wasn't interested in Phil Fish becoming a symbol but was very interested in What is Wrong With Indie Games.
posted by RobotHero at 10:21 AM on June 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm very interested in What's Wrong With Indie Games, though I didn't get into it in this video, and I agree with Liz's point. The relation of the video and her thesis makes sense if you read the video as an attempt to rehabilitate Phil's image, which wasn't my intent at all, but seeing as a few other people have read it that way, I have to question whether I sound as neutral as I meant to.
posted by Peevish at 11:34 AM on June 21, 2014

You sound relatively neutral on Fish, Peevish, which maybe makes it sound like you're defending him given how most of the media about him is trashing him. Anyway don't be bothered if people who didn't even bother to watch the video are rushing to comment on it at Metafilter, that's sadly par for the course here. And another demonstration of the phenomenon you're documenting, for that matter.

I feel certain there's a classical Greek tragedy about the way people iconify celebrities, but I'm scratching my head to remember which one.
posted by Nelson at 11:58 AM on June 21, 2014

In making a video that examines peoples' motives for reacting to Phil Fish they way they do, some people are going to see it as a defense of Phil Fish that you don't just accept that their sole motive is Phil Fish acting like an asshole.
posted by RobotHero at 12:03 PM on June 21, 2014

Anyway don't be bothered if people who didn't even bother to watch the video are rushing to comment on it at Metafilter, that's sadly par for the course here.

Oh, thanks.

It's not always a case of not "bothering" to watch a video -- time is tight and I've had to work a lot lately. My note was in passing, just something to get out there while the thread was still relatively fresh, and having to do with a fact that seemed backed up by the other information on it in the thread. I haven't even had time to get to the transcript yet. My reading was incorrect, my take was mistaken, and I was anxious to admit that, because I didn't want to perpetuate the incorrect impression that I had gotten.

There are lots of reasons to post in a thread. It happens that I greatly enjoyed Fez and spent a lot of time breaking its codes and puzzles, back when I had more free time for these things. It comes and goes. But its not always the case that someone has to "experience" something in order to say something about it. There are other sources of information than first-hand.

As for watching the video or reading the transcript, I still haven't. It's not for lack of wanting to. SIGH.
posted by JHarris at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think one of the interesting reasons for analyzing white, presenting-cis, presenting-able-bodied-presenting, affluent straight men in a situation like Fish got into is that it gives the purest example of how "internet celebrity" can work because none of the usual reasons for attacking him for existing exist.

A woman simply becoming known will get a baseline level of sexist harassment and abuse, and the increase from that is exponentially she does something disapproved of by the narrative held by the "audience". This is even if she is simply a member of the "audience" who happened to make a minor piece of response - a tweet, a blogpost, a tumble gif - that catches attention. Ditto with anyone with any other visible or discussed difference from the cultural default of white, male, able bodied, straight, cis gendered, affluent.

The internet is littered with examples of people who did something in a private capacity, and then became the target of some sort of free-floating cultural attention - like Ghyslain Raza ("Star Wars Kid") who received some support but more really disheartening abuse for once video taping himself doing something fun, and still is mostly important societally (and in infinite recursion, within this post) not for who he is as a person, but rather for what people think of him - be it an avatar for the self, loving Star Wars that much, or an avatar for what not to be, loving Star Wars that much.

It is a reality now that people can become an "internet celebrity", that is known by a disproportionate number people in a limited capacity, for anything and nothing. A girl posts a picture of herself holding her favorite new book and gets rape and death threats (yes, it happened). Someone is video taped at a rally and there is a thousand dollar bounty put on her name and address (that happened, too).

I think it's really vital that we, as people on the internet who make internet celebrities, begin to accept the real and pernicious downsides of how we think about people we only know through a limited capacity. Abuse seems to not only be acceptable but encouraged against individuals who are deemed acceptable targets in some manner - be it Fish and his attitude or members of culturally marginalized groups for existing and/or speaking up.

Entire communities have and continue to flourish around the idea of abusing or mocking others based on given characteristics; I cut my eye-teeth in FandomWank, which was a snarky community for people mocking those who over-reacted or did notable things within fandom (and ourselves; dear gods ourselves, we wank like the pros we are). There are web-forums aimed at perpetuating racism and sexism, usually with an unhealthy side of other -isms. Actual celebrities are considered acceptable targets for an entire industry of people analyzing, critiquing, and stalking them, and are often blamed for anything bad that happens despite their continuing to be people and stalking being a shitty thing to do to people.

This sort of response is integral to our society, and it is extremely cruel to the people who become the targets of it, but it is largely ignored as something which is in reality So Fucked Up.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:52 PM on June 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

Okay, I finally read and digested the transcript. It took about 20 minutes, which I note is the running time of the video.

It's good, I see what Peevish means about not wanting to defend Fish, but, as Nelson says, in this climate being neutral and looking at Phil Fish honestly looks like defending him, because of the amazing amount of bile floating around.

In all this, Phil Fish does have one positive thing going for him that many people don't. He made Fez.

Fez is a beautiful game. It has no assholeness in it at all. There's no way to even attack, and there's nothing that could be considered an enemy. It says some profound things. It is wonderful.

When you see the public opinion on Phil Fish, and then you play through Fez, there is a disconnect. How could these be the same person? Well, lots of great artists have been assholes, but we tend to forgive them for that because, in the end, the art itself proves there's something more there, that's not coming across. So it is with Fish, and yes, by saying this I'm saying that Fez is great art. It is.
posted by JHarris at 1:30 PM on June 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

(And now I have to hurry to the pizza mines. SIGH.)
posted by JHarris at 1:30 PM on June 21, 2014

It's good, I see what Peevish means about not wanting to defend Fish, but, as Nelson says, in this climate being neutral and looking at Phil Fish honestly looks like defending him, because of the amazing amount of bile floating around.

Doesn't this kind of inspire looking at how climates like this develop and how all of us contribute to them?

As for their being a disconnect... I don't see it. Everyone has times and circumstances in which we'll be assholes, that doesn't mean we can't not-be-assholic in other times and circumstances.

For certain people, though, they become known for that and then that is all anyone ever points out about them - even to the extent of saying that there is a disconnect between this person and one of their creations. There is something profoundly messed up in this process, and it's worth our attention because it hurts people a lot.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:49 PM on June 21, 2014

Doesn't this kind of inspire looking at how climates like this develop and how all of us contribute to them?

Yes, and I have been. But I've already thought a great deal about that in the past. The fact is, most of us don't have a huge amount of spare time, or at least have to come back to things some time after we first hear about them. Anyway, the case with Phil Fish is that he sparked the ire of young adult and teenage boys, who have some of the most free time of any of us. So, there is that.

As for their being a disconnect... I don't see it. Everyone has times and circumstances in which we'll be assholes, that doesn't mean we can't not-be-assholic in other times and circumstances.

That isn't really what I see recognized by people dissing Fish, though. It's a whole category of people who have just written him off. One of the community-contributed tags on Fez on Steam is OVERRATED, which Fez definitely, seriously, is not.

Even the least assaholic ("Can I have an assaholic beverage? Wait, on second thought....") among us, overall, I'd wager, couldn't make something like Fez. In fact, I kind of think you do have to be slightly an asshole, at least, to make anything of value, if just to preserve your own vision in the face of people saying you're obviously an idiot for trying anything substantive.
posted by JHarris at 7:44 PM on June 21, 2014

I have to question whether I sound as neutral as I meant to.

That's a good thing to do, but for my part I think you came off very neutral with regards to Phil Fish himself, while making a goodnatured but scathing indictment of internet fame and infamy and the way we engage with them, and an attempt to explain what people are actually trying to express when they jump on the bandwagons (or just when they're me-tooing). With Fish and Nickelback as prime examples.

People who were distracted -- despite your disclaimers -- by the fact that Phil Fish and Indie Gaming figured large in the piece and concluded that it was primarily 'about' those things might not, I don't think, have been paying very close attention. Which is pretty much the internet, so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:12 AM on June 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is this the time to mention I actually rather like Nickleback?
posted by Deoridhe at 12:41 AM on June 23, 2014

Didn't they take pennies out of circulation in Canada a few years back? Because hell yeah, who wouldn't like a nickle back when something costs 96 cents? That's 1 percent pure profit, man!

I'll show myself out.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:07 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is this the time to mention I actually rather like Nickleback?

You're everything that's wrong with the music industry!
posted by RobotHero at 9:01 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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