Ok, I’m breaking my no Penny Arcade links for this. And I waited to talk about this so I could really think about what it says, and why we don’t have to accept it.
First, about the “apology” strip: “That was a mistake and I apologize to this day for that strip. It was a knee jerk reaction and rather than the precision strike back at our detractors that we intended, it was a massive AOE that hurt a lot of innocent people.”
Ok, first, in admitting this, you admit that you specifically created that apology comic to hurt your detractors. You know, the sexual assault survivors who called you out. Even if it had been a “precision strike at our detractors” it would still have been hurting sexual assault survivors. They were the ones who called you out.
I admit it. I got the “Sixth Slave” strip. And while the use of rape in it made me a little uncomfortable I got that you intended it as the worst thing you could think of for someone to go through. I get that. But writing the follow-up strip was an act of both aggression and engaging with those detractors. So was creating the Dickwolves merchandise.
“Had we left it alone, the ongoing tension about the whole thing might have subsided but Robert made the call to pull the shirts. In hindsight all this did was open the wound back up and bring on a whole new wave of debate.”
Pulling the Dickwolves merchandise was not engaging, it was the one decent thing you did. It didn’t open the wound back up. It was a step toward healing it. The only people “opening up debate” after that were the assholes who wanted to buy the Dickwolves merchandise, and in doing so show their support for rapists, and their disdain for rape survivors. Every feminist website I read lauded the decision. We weren’t the ones berating you for that decision.
“Any action we took at the time just dug us deeper regardless of what it was.”
This is a bullshit cop-out, that’s what this is. “No matter what we did you just weren’t happy!” Um, no. We weren’t willing to immediately trust you again, no. And insisting that we do is ridiculous. You mocked sexual assault survivors and created “Team Rapist” merchandise.” Of course we weren’t in any rush to forgive you for that. You do not erase a hurt by simply apologizing.
Which is why the apology is only a start.
There’s this thing that people, especially parents tell their children when they’re fighting with their siblings or classmates, that you have to forgive someone once they apologize.
That is bullshit.
See, you should apologize because you realize that you fucked up, not to get forgiveness.
And while it’s nice that he did apologize, what we really need is for him to quit doing shit like this. See, you can apologize to me for stomping on my foot, but if you KEEP DOING IT, I begin to doubt your sincerity. See, part of people’s problem with what’s going on is that it keeps happening. An apology only goes so far if you keep fucking up.
Also, while they’re quick to claim credit for mobilizing their fanboys for things like attacks on Jack Thompson, or giving money to Child’s Play. They also need to take responsibility for when that fanbase attacks the women speaking out about the fucked up shit they did.
Mike and Jerry need to call off their fucking fanboys. They need to start calling out sexist bullshit publicly and consistently. When people tell them, “Hey, your fans are harassing us, making death threats and rape threats,” they need to stand up and tell them to knock it off. They need to call their fans out. “Dude, that’s not cool.”
Someone asked on Twitter what more we wanted.
That’s what we want. We want Mike, and the rest of Nerd Culture, to DO BETTER.