penny arcade dickwolves strip

The Penny Arcade Dickwolves Go To State

I’ve been interested in reading this Penny Arcade Dickwolves debacle ever since this timeline was posted because it deals with many intriguing issues. In mass media outlets, often you end up with political correctness, vocal minorities, and advertising sponsors winning the upper hand, and that’s even if the producers let it go that far. Never do the creators get a say. That’s why people like me turn to the web to find entertainment that’s not limited by corporate executives. But Penny Arcade is a entrepreneur webcomic, made by guys who aren’t afraid to call a spade a spade.

For those who don’t want to click the link, here’s the highlights. Penny Arcade, probably one of the biggest web-exclusive strips, published the comic above on 8/11/10. This drew objections from a “feminist” blog. Penny Arcade posted a response (in the form of a comic) the next day. Various other blogs weigh in, mostly objecting.

Later, Penny Arcade announces they’ll be selling a dickwolf t-shirt in their merchandise store (it’s not offensive, it’s a sport t-shirt, and resembles a mash-up of the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves logo — are PA from my corner of the world?), but Courtney Stanton (works as project manager for a video game company) objects. On January 24th, she announces that she was asked to speak at the Penny Arcade convention, but declined. Two days later, all dickwolf merch is removed from the Penny Arcade store. More blogs weigh in, and interpretations abound.

Separated at birth?

This is where it gets interesting. On January 29, someone asks Mike (one of the Penny Arcade people) whether dickwolf t-shirts will be allowed at the Penny Arcade convention. Mike responds “I’ll be wearing mine”.

More blogs weigh in. Some are conflicted. Some object to Penny Arcade’s handling of the situation. Some object to their removal of the merchandise. Some object to the objections. (You just can’t win, can you?) Courtney Stanton displays a pictorial breakdown of some of the responses she’s gotten, many of which involve the words “fat”, “whale”, “ugly”, “die in a fire”, and other unpleasant things.

On February 3rd, Mike and Jerry, the creators of Penny Arcade, finally weigh in on the issue, probably prompted by a tweeted death threat saying “A funny joke: Go to Mike Krahulik’s house, literally murder his wife and child” (paraphrased for readability). Basically, they summarize what’s happened so far, and ask people to stop behaving like sociopaths.

Rape as Comedy” is nothing new, just as “Rape is Love” and “Rape as Redemption” are common in media. Yes, girls, even your favorite “Gone with the Wind” is no doe-eyed innocent. Don’t you remember the scene where Rhett Butler forcibly carries Scarlet unwillingly up the stairs, kicking and screaming? In the next shot, she’s laying there in bed with a smile on her face, with Rhett next to her. Exactly, what do you think happened?

But that’s not what intrigues me about the argument.

The interesting thing is this also comes on the heels of a recent controversy where BitchFest made a list of 100 YA novels for the feminist reader. Some people objected to some of the entries on the list (mostly “Tender Morsels” which involves graphic, continuous rape and incest content). BitchMedia removed those entries which prompted people like Scott Westerfeld (among others), who also had entries on the list, to object to that removal, and ask for his own entries to be removed when it was clear that BitchMedia made a kneejerk censorship reaction and hadn’t even read the book. See here for a summary of that debate. Personally, why anyone would put stock in what an outlet called “BitchMedia” says is beyond me.

But back to Penny Arcade. This is what those guys were thinking: a dickwolf — a wolf with erect phalluses for limbs — who rapes people to sleep is ridiculous. So ridiculous, it’s hilarious. Twelve-year-old boy hilarious, but still, it’s so silly it’s funny. That’s what comedy is — pushing the envelope to the point of absurdity. They weren’t condoning or marginalizing rape, because why would they? It’s not on their mind 24/7. They were marginalizing video games’s dubious moral stance in real world scenarios.

I sympathize with PA in this debate because A) I’m anti-censorship & I wouldn’t want either the government or “the masses” determining what my product should or shouldn’t say B) I’ve been here recently when I tried to make some comments on Jim C. Hines’s forum. Everyone there attacked me and my opinions immediately. It doesn’t matter which side was right, we could not have a rational discussion about it, because people were too emotionally charged. It’s the same as racism. Same with abortion. Same with homosexual rights. We cannot solve these problems until we argue with objectivity, logic, and rationality. Not emotions, personal feelings, or gut instincts.

So until you can stop calling people a fat whale or threaten to kill someone’s family, shit like this will keep happening. At this point the debate is causing more pain than the original act.

But here’s the two things I want to say. One: I cannot reconcile the fact that they decided to pull the t-shirt from their stores, then Mike says that he’ll be wearing his at PAX. That seems pretty hypocritical. I know there’s got to be more to the story than that. It could have been left hand not knowing what the right was doing. That often happens in business. But it wasn’t enough to say that there won’t be any restrictions on dickwolf t-shirts, he had to say he’ll be actively wearing one. Isn’t that like Murabak wearing a “Free Egypt” t-shirt? I don’t think PA needs to apologize over this, but I do think they need to clear it up. I don’t think there’s anything they need to apologize for. Apology implicates regret, sadness, and remorse, and you should never have that for something you created unless it hurt people. No one is hurt by a comic strip. PA should stand by their work.

Second: I’m not going to talk about this in terms of censorship vs. sensititve issues like rape, but I will use this analogy:

Say you’re at a playground, you brought lunch, there’s a bunch of kids around playing. Now a mom, a total stranger, comes up to you and asks “excuse me, my son has a severe peanut allergy. Could you wash your kids hands so they don’t get peanut butter all over the equipment?”

First, you might not think this is a big request. But think about it a little further. Wouldn’t you be surprised? Taken aback? I know I would be. In fact, I might feel forced to leave, unwelcome. I might not want to come back to that playground if that woman’s going to be there again. I know it’s awkward for her to ask, but it’s awkward for me to give in to a foolish request.

Who knows if someone’s peanut-laden kid was there five minutes ago? Do you think wiping a kids hands is going to do anything but a passable job to get the peanut butter off? I don’t have a sink in my diaper bag. Why is it your job to safeguard this kid’s life when you’re not the one who has the problem?

No, I’ve never been there. I have no allergies. I don’t know what it’s like to have allergies or asthma. I imagine it’s bad. Not being able to breathe is scary. But if I don’t have this condition, why should I be forced to act like I do? I’m not the one with the allergy. Why is one person dictating the policies that change it for all of us? Why are we listening to a few screwballs instead of listening to the people who had no problem? The majority of the people liked the comic, but they had nothing to complain about, so they stayed silent.

(Here’s the post where I gleaned the scenario from. Be sure to read all the comments.)

Remember what Neil Gaiman said. Freedom of speech is not a scalpel. It’s a club. It must defend all speech or none, even icky speech. This is the web. Offensive material is everywhere. But anyone who says it should be taken down because of their personal feelings is being selfish and inconsiderate to a lot of people.

–Some comments on the comments below–
  • I don’t believe in the “slippery slope” argument.  If a tree falls in the forest, do all the other trees around it fall?  When radio debuted they thought it was the end of live music.  Then they said the same thing about movies and television and videos.  They are all still around.  Slippery slope is a logical fallacy.
  • Wheelchair ramps don’t inconvenience me.  I can still take the stairs.  Blind accessibility won’t inconvenience me. All websites will be first engineered for the “sighted”.  You can add things for the minority, and that’s fine, but when you start taking away something away, that’s when I get pissed.
  • Rape culture is a bit of a misnomer.  As I understand it, it’s the word for when rape is treated lightly or as a joke and thus is implicitly condoned.  I don’t believe this causes rape (just the same way that violence in video games does not cause violent human behavior), but it does provoke misconceptions about its nature (Jim C. Hines just posted a nice example of this).  Did PA do this?  I don’t think so.  At least not NEARLY as bad as mass media news outlets do.  It’s farcical comedy, people.
  • PA are not rich white guys (not sure what their being white has to do with this).  They are hard workers, they frequently give back to the community, and I see no evidence that they have mansions or are “privileged”.  (You ever see their reality show?  Their office space is tiny.)
  • Dickwolves, in themselves, do not offend people.  It’s their “raping to sleep” act that does it.  When I hear the world dickwolf I imagine a wolf with phalluses all over.  Not a wolf in the act of raping someone.  So the shirt itself does not promote rape.  Humans rape, but a picture of a human on a t-shirt is okay.
  • I don’t know what spectral integrity is, but I want it.  Sounds boss.
  • I don’t know what the offended people are expecting from PA, but I suspect no matter what they do, it would not be enough.
  • One last thing by Jim C. Hines he wrote today: “Everyone messes up. We all say things without thinking. We say things that are hurtful, offensive, or just plain stupid. What’s important is what happens next.”
  • Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.


    • theWallflower

      That's true. However, that's the only logical end I can see to this problem. Either PA goes on and does nothing different, or they start censoring their own content (or someone makes them).

    • Anonymous

      I had a brilliant comment, but there's a 4,096 character limit (imagine that).

      So I'll summarize:
      Why is it your job to safeguard this kid's life when you're not the one who has the problem?
      Slippery slope argument on account of people in wheelchairs getting ramps and people who are blind getting legislation with regard to accessibility on websites. In the case of peanutbutter – who knows, perhaps it should be banned in schools.. it would just be difficult to enforce and control (as opposed to ramps) and would only cover those with peanut allergies (little Johnny should be vacuumed thoroughly every day because little Marie has a cat dander allergy).
      Similarly, you can't post a trigger warning for everything, a generic trigger warning would not be suitable, trigger warnings in themselves may be trigger warnings, so don't bother with them.
      Similar to that (it read a lot better in my longer post, darn!), comic authors should absolutely continue to write whatever about whatever, as self-censorship at the urge of third parties is yet another slippery slope.
      That said, PA handled this horribly and should have simply acknowledged the original complaint, regret that they triggered them, but explain that PA is PA and it's entirely possible that a future comic would (inadvertently, as per this comic) trigger them again. That would have put the ball in the original complainant's court and given this all a different direction.
      Then again, the direction it has finally taken after the mudslinging was over is a good one – discussion about (perceived) inequality can only be a good thing. Ah, if only the discussions were on a level beyond that of 14-year olds.

      The longer version was a much better comment – darn you, blogger!
      Oh, and the ex-President of Egypt is called Mubarak 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thankfully the feminists have such a small footprint in the gamer community that they can't strongarm censorship into anything and are essentially just burning all their bridges, history has shown that the chronically offended or intolerant don't last long in the gamer community or industry.

      I could sympathize with how touchy of an issue rape is with them if they'd at least feel some sympathy for murder victims or other kinds of suffering but no they apparently don't, everything's about them.

    • Anonymous

      It's not a freedom of speech or censorship issue. At all. The tweet was not a death threat, not even a veiled one. At all.

      It's about calling Mike and Jerry on being petulant sociopaths who prize some spectral "integrity" of a bad joke over the feelings of human beings. Who made fun of (and MARKETED making fun of) rape victims. Not "people who were offended" – rape victims. (Trigger warnings have nothing to do with "people who were offended".) Who stamped their feet and said "you're stupid I'm not listening" until they got bored/worried, at which point they issued a disingenous "apology" and said "that's that", without ever having engaged with what actually happened.

      The two rich white guys do not need your sympathy, no matter how much they want it.

    • Anonymous

      I've just started following this insanity, too, and I think your post has, by far, been the most sensible. I have two things to say in response:

      (1) Our analysis of PA need only extend to the first comic: was it unreasonable? The answer is no, obviously not, and our job is done. Lots of people make the mistake of saying, "well, the first comic was fine, but it was their response that wasn't." This doesn't make any sense. If the comic was fine, then there was no justification for a negative response. If there was no justification for a negative response, then PA was justified in dismissing the response. See what I mean?

      (2) There is a serious free-speech issue here, but not the one anyone talks about: the chilling effect on speech. Look at the comic that "started" all of this: do you think future artists will be deterred from writing similar works or posting similar images? I do. The ferocity with which this issue has been pursued (on both sides, it's true, but there was a moment where we had only a comic and people alleging something similar to the notion that PA aided and abetted rape) has absolutely raised the social "cost" of dealing with these issues. Self-censorship will happen in the future, and it will happen to more people than PA.

    • Anonymous

      @Anon post 9:58 PM, February 16, 2011:
      Going to tangentially refer to what you said later.

      @Anon post 6:22 AM, February 17, 2011:
      I agree that it's not a freedom of speech issue, but only because the initial complaint wasn't some call for PA to remove the comic, or modify the comic so that rape were no longer mentioned.
      That's not to say that such calls haven't been made -afterwards-, though.. once enough people who are naturally offended by such things (be they rape survivors (did you really just write 'rape victims'? blimey, I'd seek cover if I were you!) or otherwise) read the comic after having read very anti-that-comic blog posts.
      If that sort of fallout, be it justified or not, gets associated with writing the word 'rape' in a comic, even where it nor the topic thereof is integral to said comic, then many authors may very well choose to self-censor. Not because they don't wish to offend people who get offended by it, but because they can do without the fallout. That's even worse, no?

      No, they didn't make fun of rape victims – although they poorly handled response to the point of people thinking they did. They also didn't merchandise it.. they made a shirt that is well-designed and many find funny simply because it says 'dickwolves'.. juvenile as that may be, it's still perfectly valid merchandise. It's only the fallout that has caused it to be associated with the term 'Team Rape', where those who wear it simply for the shirt that it -was- when they bought it, are likely to be labeled "Team Rape" players. Come on now.

      Also – why does it matter that they're rich and white? I'm detecting a bias there that's not even related to the issue here.

      @Anon post 10:01 AM, February 17, 2011
      Err – you fail in logic, plain and simple.
      Let's say these events unfold:
      1. You state that you think guns are cool.
      2. Somebody points out to you that guns are often the cause of family tragedies where kids shoot themselves/friends.
      3. You respond that those kids are just Darwin Award winners and the world's better off without them.
      Now I cannot agree with your assessment point 1 without also defending your statement in point 3?
      The two are completely disconnected. Thus I can defend PA's use of the word 'rape' in that comic, while condemning their response to a complaint.

      Which brings me back to @Anon post 9:58 PM, February 16, 2011. What if they had used the word "beaten" instead? Would that have been intrinsically better than "raped"? If so: why? Plenty of people who get beaten severely, may have lasting physical and mental injuries, be in a wheelchair for the rest of their life, etc.
      But I guess at least the current 'debacle' would not have occurred – as at least the original complaining parties are really quite focused on Rape Culture issues, and people getting beaten.. well that's a fair bit down their list of important things to address. Perhaps others would have been triggered, though. But then what word does one replace it with?

      I suppose you could suggest not using any words.. just to play it safe. Dark Legacy Comics had a completely similar comic which definitely didn't mention rape, or beatings, or etc. (Thanks, 'debacle' tumblr timeline thing):

      But hey.. it's still somebody who is kept prisoner without just cause. Plenty of those around in the world, too – some of which really did get locked up in cages. But either those have not yet read that comic and gotten offended/triggered, or their numbers are too small to generate the 'debacle' we're seeing now. But does that make their plight any less?

    • Anonymous

      @Anon 10:01am and Anon 12:33pm

      10:01, I agree, especially about point (1), and this is where I disagree with you, 12:33 – if the argument against the Dickwolves strip was wrong, then there's nothing wrong in being dismissive towards it.

      We can disagree about whether the argument that Dickwolves supports "Rape Culture" is right or wrong, and I suspect we will. But the way I see it, and the way I think 10:01 sees it, is that you can't eat your cake and have it too. It doesn't make sense to say "The first comic was alright, but the second wasn't"

      If the first comic was okay, then the "Rape Culture" allegation must necessarily be false. If that's true, then the argument was wrong, and I'd say it's okay to be dismissive about it, as the second comic was.

      I just don't see the middle ground here. The second comic may have been impolitic; it may have even been rude, but it wasn't wrong if the first comic was okay and the arguments against it were spurious.

      Also I should point out how utterly ridiculous this whole thing is. The Internets are serious business apparently. The first complaint was unnecessary, the response was unnecessary, the blogosphere's civil war on this issue was especially unnecessary, and don't get me started on "TeamRape" or the death threats. Guys made a comic; girl didn't like it. Great, okay. I won't read her webpage, and she can stop reading PA. Why it did not end there actually baffles me.

      All best.

    • Anonymous

      Unlike the two of you, I will not resort to ad hominem attacks, because I understand that they inherently devalue my arguments. Please refrain from doing so in the future, not for my sake, but for the sake of your own views.

      I attempted to illustrate that the concession that "the original comic was okay" necessarily undermines the position that the PA response was disproportionate. You (Responder 2) also created a false analogy: "guns are cool". Here, the "bad idea" (guns) is proclaimed as being "good" (i.e., cool). PA did *not* say that rape was cool; in fact, the essence of the comic was that rape was a social ill. This analogy fails to apply. You and Responder 1 also did not understand the thrust of my point: let me try to work backwards as opposed to forwards. If you want to argue that PA's dismissal of criticism was inappropriate, then that criticism must have had merit, correct? In order for the criticism to have had merit, then there must have been something in the comic that deserved the criticism, correct? Therefore, our analysis of PA–and the ensuring catastrophe–really is limited to the contents of the original comic. As a matter of objective fact, you have already misunderstood the purpose of the comic by the analogy you provided, however, you may still feel free to decide that the comic was "subjectively" wrong. However, subjective objections are inherently weak, and I would not advise anyone to respond to them, ever.

    • Anonymous

      @Anon 12:33 PM, February 17, 2011

      Yeah… you know what I'd do if someone objected to my use of "rape victim", there? I'd say "shit, my bad, no offense intended". Or, if I felt strongly about using the phrase (I don't), I'd say "I'm sorry you're offended, but I stand by my usage and here's why". I wouldn't say "fuck you", sell a T-Shirt about it and sic my nerdhorde (I don't have one) on the objector.

      Your bias detector is calibrated correctly. I'd say social station is definitely related to what words people can throw around, and especially to how they respond to the complaints of already-marginalised groups. But mainly it's related to how much help and support they need in debates about "freedoms". Rich, wide dudes in the West? On the internet? Pretty fuckin' free.

      @Anon 12:57 PM, February 17, 2011
      Congratulations on your use of "Ad Hominem". Don't forget "Straw Man", "No True Scotsman" and "I have an incredibly poor grasp on logic but at least I got these arguin' phrases I heard". I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who made an Ad Hominem attack ("over-simplifying robot"), unless you're talking about my references to Mike and Jerry, in which case – same guy, and I'm sure they're grateful for your ardent defense. Maybe they'll comp you one of the TibetLOLs T-Shirts they're co-producing with Groupon.

      Apparently you have no idea how analogy works. The content of the statement 1. in 12:33's timeline is irrelevant. The point is that while objection-to-objection 3. agrees with statement 1., a person in agreement with statement 1. would not logically be obliged to approve of o-to-o 3.

      The following is not an insult unless you hate on Autism spectrum conditions, but I strongly suspect you may have undiagnosed Asperger syndrome, since you seem so unable to integrate empathy into your "objectively logical" (it's not) stance.

    • Anonymous

      "PA are not rich white guys… They are hard workers, they frequently give back to the community, and I see no evidence that they have mansions or are "privileged"."
      You can be rich and still be a hard worker who gives back to the community and doesn't own a mansion. You see no evidence that they are privileged? Look harder. I don't think even they'd argue they aren't.

      "Dickwolves, in themselves, do not offend people. It's their "raping to sleep" act that does it. When I hear the world dickwolf I imagine a wolf with phalluses all over. Not a wolf in the act of raping someone. So the shirt itself does not promote rape."
      This line of reasoning might work if Dickwolves existed before the Sixth Slave comic. Or if the T-shirt had been designed before the complaints and the Breaking it Down response comic.

    • Anonymous

      I don't believe in the "slippery slope" argument.
      Oh good – I was trying to point that out with my wheelchair/accessibility bit.

      On the other hand, I also argue that it could be a slippery slope if (comic) authors decided to self-censor for issue A.. as issues B through Z and then some will follow. Just because there's still authors using issue A in their works, doesn't mean there aren't less of them.
      An example: This Movie Not Yet Rated clearly demonstrated that you wouldn't want to be NC-17, but similarly you really wouldn't want to be R if you're trying to hit the largest audience.. you want to be rated PG-13 at best. So what happens? Film authors often do adjust their movie to get that PG-13 rating. Not because they aspire to make PG-13 movies, per se, but because that's the only way to hit their widest audience. In the process, they stray from what they were really going for.
      Sometimes an R cut then ends up in DVD form. That's great, but doesn't change the fact that the theater version was made PG-13.

      Wheelchair ramps don't inconvenience me.
      You can add things for the minority, but when you start taking something away, that's when I get pissed.
      Would the lack (taking away) of the word 'rape', or subject thereof, in comics "inconvenience" you?
      It inconveniences others; those offended/triggered/whatever.

      @Anonymous 12:53 PM, February 17, 2011
      Why it did not end there actually baffles me.
      As you mentioned, the point in 'there' was after 1. comic published, 2. complaint issued. If you follow the next step, 3. response comic issued, then I believe you find why it didn't end there. But that's largely opinion as I don't know what went on behind the scenes.. step 3 above may very well be step 4.

      @Anonymous 12:57 PM, February 17, 2011
      These "@Somebody" aren't really 'ad hominem', they're just pointing out who we're quoting / attempting to discuss with. Perhaps my "you fail in logic" would have been better phrased as "I believe your argument is logically flawed, and here is why:", but they really just say the same thing and there's that 4,096 character limit to keep in mind 😉

      ( Which I broke again, so the remainder of this comment will be in a follow-up one. )

    • Anonymous

      ( Here's the follow-up )

      @Anonymous 4:47 AM, February 18, 2011
      re: 'rape victim' vs 'rape survivor', I recommend reading some of the 'feminist' blogs on that subject. Personally I think 'victim' is the appropriate nomenclature – much like a 'stabbing victim' doesn't become a 'stabbing survivor' if they don't die as a result. But I do understand the psychological value of seeing oneself as a survivor rather than a victim.

      sic my nerdhorde (I don't have one) on the objector
      I might have missed something, but I haven't seen PA issue something like a command to go forth and attack. Lack of PA telling people to stop doesn't imply approval – though I agree with you if you're saying they certainly should have said exactly that.

      ( Also, being Anonymous, you actually have a vast nethorde 😉 )

      Your bias detector is calibrated correctly.
      Whew… that thing is a bugger to tune, you know? 🙂

      I'd say social station is definitely related to what words people can throw around, and especially to how they respond to the complaints of already-marginalised groups.
      In many ways – sure. After all, there's the ubiquitous "black people can say the N word, but not white people" example.
      My point mostly was that I don't see why it matters in the given context. Is rape more frowned upon if a black, yellow, red, blue, etc. person is the perpetrator than when they are white?
      More to the point still, is writing a comic that tangentially mentions rape more easily forgiven when the author(s) is/are white/caucasian than if the author(s) is/are any other color/race?
      In my opinion: no. But that may be a lack of exposure to the factual situation (especially in the U.S. / comic world).

    • Anonymous

      @Anon 8:45 AM, February 18, 2011
      We're largely in agreement. My point with the "rich, white guys" thing is that rich, white guys (as a group) are not oppressed in any meaningful way, and that makes them less attuned to the concerns of marginalised groups. I suppose it is immaterial here – Jerry and Mike have done plenty to demonstrate they're not attuned to the concerns of this specific marginalised group! I just find the huge rush to their aid utterly bizarre.

      -Anons 6:22, 10:29, 4:47 & 6:31

      (P.S. I will say, despite how vehemently I disagree with AuthorQuest's post, this coward appreciates the ability to comment anonymously. Even if it does get confusing.)

    • Anonymous

      "and you should never have that for something you created unless it hurt people. No one is hurt by a comic strip. PA should stand by their work."

      But it did hurt people? People were hurt by it and stated that they were? You're essentially denying what another person feels. You can argue that that is not the best reaction for them to have, but it's still their reaction. They still feel that way. They were still hurt.

      It's like this, you accidentally cut someone. The correct response is to say, "Sorry I cut you, that wasn't my intent." The response people are getting is, "I didn't cut you, fuck you for saying I did."

      It's not a perfect analogy but I haven't slept for a day and a half, so I doubt I'm going to come up with a better one right now.

    • Anonymous

      @Anonymous 9:20 AM, February 18, 2011
      My point with the "rich, white guys" thing is that rich, white guys (as a group) are not oppressed in any meaningful way
      Short of certain areas, this is indeed true.
      Of course, if you're a rich white guy who also happens to be gay, you're once again an easy target for those who seek targets.
      ( Not that the PA guys are gay.. or are they? and if they were – would it matter? aaaaaa! )

      I just find the huge rush to their aid utterly bizarre.
      I would be -very- surprised if either of the PA guys would label the rush of supposed support as 'aid' at large. There surely have been a few who honestly tried to see things as a freedom of speech thing and defended it as such.. but for the most part, the rush has been mostly from people setting out to upset 'feminists' (not sure I consider most of them as such, but that's another blog post comment thread) just 'for teh lulz' so to speak. Those didn't do anybody any service. Of course there's plenty 'on the other side' that simply became anti-PA for the sake of being anti-PA as well.
      I tried to make a comment that delved into this at another blog – whose author has as of yet to approve my comment.. their blog, no problem – but it essentially boils down to there being a great many parallels to the situation depicted in the movie "Shut up and Sing". It's a decent documentary to watch as long as you don't get too swayed by solely the protagonists' point of view. I concluded that PA, after acknowledging the original complaint, should just "Shut up and Draw". Neither self-censoring nor antagonizing needlessly.

      this coward appreciates the ability to comment anonymously. Even if it does get confusing.
      Do I detect a Slashdot visitor? 😉

      It's actually possible to use a Name here without logging into anything (and boy do I hate that sites tend to force this lately – especially through services such as facebook.. *cringe*).
      But once you put a name to something that is essentially still 'anonymous' (I'd imagine there's IP information and a slew of other things floating about – hi there Panopticlick), it's a bit deceiving to the reader.. after all, one could still be the same anonymous person and simply put a different name to it and claim to be a different person. Sure, one can do that with the actual "Anonymous" option.. but at least there people acknowledge that one is an anonymous poster and dial back the trust level a healthy amount.

      That said, I'm glad you have not abused the Anonymous option and we've been able to have a civilized discussion on this matter. If I had a hat, I'd take it off for you.

      I think I've said all I've got on the whole 'Dickwolves' matter, though.. some future insight might lead me back here to post once again (surely there's a comment time limit to prevent such insanity), but for now I'll be in reading mode 🙂
      … and watching "Shut up and Sing" again.

    • Anonymous

      What I find ridiculous is how everything is saying this is about censorship. It was never about taking the comic down, or redoing the comic, or keeping PA from making their form of "art". It was the disrespect they showed towards those who objected. It was the way in which they handled things. It was the back-handed way they "apologized" and in turn trivialized rape in the same sentence. It was the way they continued to escalate the situation rather than leave well enough alone. The angry mob of feminists would have eventually just left well enough alone. But no, PA had to keep pushing buttons. They just had to keep instigating things. There were so many illogical arguments being made about this that it has morphed into something entirely away from the original point.

      That Penny Arcade made a joke that got taken out of proportion. Period. Let people feel the way they're going to feel. You're never going to be able to please everyone. Ever.

      The fake apology and subsequent assholery made this all SO much worse than it ever needed to be.

      The one thing it never was about… was censorship. If it was, those who believe that should L2ReadEnglish.

    • FemBot3000

      @Anonymous (the last one)

      If it wasn't about the comic then feminists wouldn't of complained, it WAS about the comic, claiming it wasn't now is just retroactive damage control because it became apparent that flipping your shit for 6-7 months over a comic was bad for PR.

      PA had every right to be dicks after being accused of causing rape (doesn't matter what most feminists think, Shakesville represented them and made the accusations, and feminists lined up behind them when PA fired back, feminists are fighting Shakesville's fight). And no, being dicks to feminists doesn't justify rape or cause rape anymore than the comic did.

      At least PA had the decency to use a sort of passive aggressive and humorous response, accuse someone on the street of being a rape apologist or some kind of tool of rape culture and they'll tell you to fuck right off.

      If feminists can be dicks, PA can be dicks, drop your double standards because no one outside of feminism is going to roll with it.

      Modern feminism is a paradox, originally meant to create equality yet functions solely by promoting inequality and double standards, it is irrelevant and paints a bad image on successful women who don't blame their failures on the manspiracy.

      Anyone who thinks a Judge is going to throw out a rape case on the grounds that rape doesn't seem serious has no idea of how the justice system works.

      Go back to protesting Duke Nukem Forever so your intolerance can at least be turned into a form of advertisement.

    • Andy

      "What I find ridiculous is how everything is saying this is about censorship…"

      This is the problem with arguments on the internet… many people DID tell them to take it down, or, more to the point, made the argument that PA is responsible for anyone who triggered by viewing the comic. Holding artists responsible for harm that someone voluntarily viewing the art suffered DOES have a chilling effect on art, and thus, is a form of censorship.

      YOU may not have made that argument, but many other people have.

      "The fake apology and subsequent assholery made this all SO much worse than it ever needed to be."

      What fake apology? The second comic targeted at people accusing them of encouraging rapists?

    • Anonymous

      @FemBot3000 Obviously you have a very negative view if feminists. That's your opinion, you realize, which does not constitute as actual fact just because you believe so strongly about it. Feminism is similar to politics in that there is no black and white. It's a spectrum. There are those on the far, extremist end and many who fall somewhere between the extremist end and apathy. To lump ALL femimists into a single category is like saying all Catholics, or Republicans or African Americans are the same.

      You says "If feminists can be dicks then PA can be dicks" as though PA weren't already dicks, reactung as dicks and promoting general dickery. That sentence should read as "If PA can be dicks then feminists can be dicks@ or have you not been following along? I'm not talking about the TeamRape twitter crew. Or the Pro-Dickwolves, or even the anti-Dickwolves. I was referring to wht it was before it became what it is today. The original Shakesville article did not say the comic should be taken down. It exoressed concerb over triggers.

      You don't have to have a trigger to be kind to those who may possible be triggered. When walking down the street you can't know at first glance who is a rape survivor, or who is a rapist. But it's easier to find the victim/survivor once you yell out "I'm gonna rape you."

      What PA did after Shakesville wrote ther article was escalte the situation. What they should have done was nothing. At all. No apology. But also no half-assed pathetic excuse of an apology either. They should have just stfu. Instead what they did was trivialize the experience of being raped. What they did was reword what the original concern was to express that Shakesville and others meant to "censor" them by "claiming dickwolves promotes rapist behavior." when really, that wasn't the case at all.

      PA took what was a funny comic that was partially offensive to a small group of people and made it into a shitstorm. Period. They should have kept their mouths shut. It's suddenly unfunny when someone wife gets threatened in a joke tweet. Suddenly it's serious. Well, rape is serious for many people. Especially females (and i'm not excludin males but the reported statistics for male sexual assaults pale in comparison to the numbers provided on female victims).

      Dickwolves was funny. Trivializing rape was not funny. And Teamrape is definitely not funny in any way shape or form. The phrase "teamrape" alone is condoning the behavior and again, trivializing the experience for many people. What this whole thing has turned into is a clusterfuck of opinions and no respect.

      Both you and Andy need to know I was referring to what this originally was about. It's become
      About censorship because of Teamrape and Pro-dickwolf groups who've taken it upon themselves to fight PAs battle.

      I don't have to agree with you to be respectful. And if, for some unknown (to me) reason you were offended by something I said and then brought up to me… I wouldn't have trivialized your feeling and belittled you. Publically. But that's me. And it seems there are truly not enough adults in the gaming industry to offset the overly childish, knee-jerk reactions.

      (I apoligize for the horrific typos I wasn't able to catch and fix. I'm typing on my phone, in bed, in the dark. I am not actually mentally handicapped).

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