[Trigger warning for everyone, especially you!]
This week I sensed a profound disturbance in the force, as if a thousand hands went to facepalm and then suddenly fapped. Serial-pest Melissa McEwan is at it again friends, in her crusade against the ‘dudebro’ culture of everyone’s favourite game themed web comic, Penny Arcade. Regardless of where you stood on the whole ‘using rape in a comic’ issue, it now seems that Dickwolves themselves are the article of offence, quite aside from all the raping they do. The combined groans of Gabe and Tycho must have been palpable this week, as Melissa McEwan espied from her high-horse their new line of garb featuring their now most famous of mythological concoctions; the Dickwolf. She set upon this as another instance of the incorrigible duo supporting rape culture in spite of the fact that the garments bore no actual mention or depiction of rape, and ignoring the delicious irony that she herself is effectively responsible for creating the market conditions for ‘Team Dickwolf‘ T-shirts to be a profitable line of merchandise.
Sexual assault and violence is a malign and morally barren pursuit, rightly condemned by anyone with even the slightest regard for their fellow human beings, it is also a diabolical problem, not least in the way one should address it in the hopes of dissuading would-be perps from pursuing their dire intentions.
The seriousness of this crime can also lead to robust discussion and debate when irreverent rogues attempt to broach or reference this act with absurdist humour, glib puns or occasionally callous offhand remarks. This is understandably met with some consternation and angst by people who have been more intimately touched by sexual assault in their daily lives, who regard the normalising effect of humour as accommodating rapists in their ignoble pursuits. Unfortunately (read: amusingly) however, the reactions of the latter camp can upon occasion take on absurdly disproportionate proportions, and thus we can find ourselves in polarising situations like the flurry of feminist moral panic surrounding the now infamous Penny Arcade strip.
Penny Arcade’s detractors wrongly construed the mention of rape as being the skit’s punchline, when the punchline itself was actually the frighteningly arbitrary nature of performing good deeds in MMOs, with the mention of rape being largely incidental. In fact if one were to substitute the line ‘raped to sleep by Dickwolves’ with ‘felched to sleep by Ethan Pipher’, the message of the skit would remain largely intact, it was an inconsequential line of dialogue only given power by the indignant plaints of Melissa McEwan herself.
That particular episode occupies a very special place within the pantheon of the ridiculous, yet this week’s furore elevates the conversation to new and uncharted heights of the farcical, as it seems that the very mention of Dickwolves is now strictly verboten. This latest charge is truly perplexing, is this to say that these proud mythological beasts are now untermensch simply because a few of them raped? Or is Melisa McEwan’s campaign against Penny Arcade really just a campaign against cock, and menfolk’s pride thereof?
How might this work? Dicks are used for raping, therefore through the transferral of properties dicks = raping, ergo penises are offensive? Surprising? No, not really, this looks to be much the same as the crude logic of; Dickwolves raped in a comic -> all Dickwolves rape -> a T-shirt featuring Dickwolves is offensive. You see, this is how bigotry works (a subject very close to our hearts here at Lusipurr.com), you observe one Russian peasant eating their babby and then extrapolate this behaviour onto the entire population – or to frame this notion within the current terms of reference; Melissa McEwan sees one Dickwolf raping, and uses that to stereotype the entire population of Dickwolves, to the extent that the mere act of being a Dickwolf is found to be offensive to this high minded serial complainist. Heretofore without a voice in this conversation are the non-raping moral majority of Dickwolves, who really just want to do the right thing by women and get on with their lives. Dickwolves have now become a metaphor for men, haven’t they?
The key to understanding the method to Melissa’s madness can perhaps be found in her own words:
making it vanishingly unlikely that a dude with lots of dude friends and family members and co-workers and associates doesn’t know at least one dude who has attempted or committed sexual violence.
And thus we are once again confronted by something which resembles that tired recurrent trope of the bitter old man-hating feminist, way to uphold the stereotype Melissa, goodness knows us dudes just can’t get enough of all the raping. Now, for all of her bigoted misandry I don’t actually believe that Melissa hates all men, I do however think that she chooses to surround herself with the type of man who feels that they have to constantly apologise for having a penis, the type of man who feels they owe a debt to every conceivable minority because they were born with the correct skin colour and sexual orientation to get ahead in western society. At the very least you would have to conclude that she doesn’t have a terribly nuanced perception of men; they are either asexual femme-pets or rapers and rape enablers, with no room for intermediacy between the two. This is why Gabe and Tycho rub her the wrong way (ewwwww), she thinks it’s the man’s role to apologise for existing, when for Penny Arcade eschewing all seriousness means never having to say you’re sorry.
So how then do Gabe and Tycho acknowledge the previous Dickwolf furore when launching their latest line of presumably non-raping Dickwolf merchandise? Short answer: they don’t. Long answer:
In our constant quest to diversify our holdings, we have decided to invest in a sports team! Now, we just have to decide on a sport.
HAHA, well Gabe and Tycho have nothing to say about the matter, and why would they? They have no axe to grind, their garment shows no evident raping, and the nonsense certainly does not appear to be harming their celebrity. There is no preamble, no explanation and no response or even acknowledgment of their vocal detractors, which is perhaps part of the problem (as is so often the case on 4chan). Yet this vacuum provides oxygen for dour trolls like Malissa McEwen to self-importantly declare: “any presumption that they are nice guys is probably pretty foolish”, before high-fiving the sisterhood on creating anti-Dickwolf charity T-shirts, which stand to sell tens of dozen of copies to Shakesville readers …
when it comes down to it, it’s never the makers of rape jokes who create the t-shirts (or whatever equivalent) to raise money for survivors. Funny, that.
A good point, if Penny Arcade is such a stand-up publication then why no handouts for the people who complain about them? I guess Gabe and Tycho were just too busy over the last eight years raising 6.7 million dollars worth of games, toys and books through the tireless efforts of their Child’s Play charity for them to be able to do the same for the grown women who smear their web comic, though presumably Melissa still feels that she and her insular group are entitled to a share of what has been raised for sick and dying children, otherwise the comparison between her self-important T-shirts and Child’s Play’s wide ranging charity efforts would be a silly one. Greedy cunt. This is the problem with championing a special interest, you blind yourself to all else outside that special interest, and lose all sense of perspective. Prior to smearing the characters of the iconic gaming duo, and before they indulge in numerous rounds of self-congratulation at their back-yard anti-Dickwolf charity T-shirt operation, the good people of Shakesville would probably be better served by considering the millions of dollars worth of good work that Gabe and Tycho have performed over the span of the last decade, and then asking themselves who is the bigger figurative waste of space on the moral landscape, yet the insularity of that polarised online space leaves me with little confidence that anything of the sort will transpire.
Ultimately Melissa’s motives for pursuing her campaign against Penny Arcade are neither here nor there, but one does have to wonder whether this raking over of hot coals is really a positive and healthy influence for these women in a world that will never be sanitised of cavalier rape references, real or perceived. By construing the work of Penny Arcade as being victim triggering and blatantly insensitive, when the work in question is related to rape either tangentially or not at all, does this really serve to lessen the intrusive thoughts of rape survivors, when many would have paid it no heed had they remained unbidden? Melissa McEwan may have staked the topic of Dickwolves as a rape survivor rallying point, but that does not make her custodian of the Penny Arcade cannon, that privilege falls to series creators Gabe and Tycho, who will continue to use their intellectual property as they see fit, content in the knowledge that they are making a difference for the better.
Damn Melissa McEwan, now I want a Dickwolves T-shirt.
[Many thanks to ArgentZephyr for bringing this follow-up story to my attention.]
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Quickie: The Ship is Taking on Water, and Still the Fools Dance!
Luis Vasquez rejoice! It is now cheaper than ever before to own a small part of the worst company in JRPG gaming! The value of Enixsoft shares has roughly halved over the previous two years, and doesn’t look to pick back up any time soon. INDUSTRY!!!
Obviously the GFC played a large part in this downward trend, but shareholders would have to be starting to grow concerned that Enixsoft stock has not experienced any kind of appreciable rebound from the lowest trough when the market bottomed out. Further consider that since Enixsoft’s stock crash they have released not one, but two numbered Final Fantasy instalments, while also absorbing Eidos, which one might have hoped would be a value adding endeavour. It is starting to look as though Enixsoft stock was horribly overpriced circa 2008, and that the GFC lows are their new reality.