I was hesitant about what to call this piece. The original name was “A Racist, a Transphobe, and a Misogynist Walk Into a Bar”, but I decided against it. Probably because given some of my opinions on the events of this week people may well apply all those titles to me as well. We’ve had a number of events occur this week that has gotten everyone online in a tizzy about stuff that, well, I find pretty human and understandable. Let’s jump right in.
SHOCKER: 60+ Year Old Southern Debutant May Be Racist
So earlier this week Paula Deen was accused of making racist slurs. She stood accused of using the n-word to describe African Americans, and apparently made some sort of remark regarding her son’s wedding that involved having black men in white suits to simulate an old world “Southern Plantation Wedding”.
Well, it turns out most of the allegations were true. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. When I first heard the story break I was nearly positive that she was guilty in some way or another of what was being alleged. Her company had this to say:
“She was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different parts of the bus. This is not today.”
That was about what I was thinking. I was about to say “I’m not condoning her actions”, but technically I sort of am. Paula Deen did not go out in public and maliciously use the n-word, nor did she wield the word or a racist attitude in any way that she thought was going to harm anyone. She used it in what she thought was a private setting, and which of you hasn’t said something off color regarding some race or creed of people at some point? If you haven’t then you certainly should be the one to cast the first stone.
Either way, the internet has blown up with hate for Mrs. Deen. In responses that are so toxic that I would put forth they dwarf her sins in their gravity people have been saying all sorts of nasty things about the Food Network star.
Paula Deen, please eat lots more butter. LOTS more. And some rocks and dirt and poison.
— GailSimone (@GailSimone) June 20, 2013
— Jim Norton (@JimNorton) June 22, 2013
Anyway, in light of the backlash Mrs. Deen issued a number of apology videos. The first video was pulled offline after a time, and others were issued, but here is the first of them. I believe it was pulled offline because it’s pretty awkward, and difficult to watch.
Despite the apology the Food Network fired Paula, stating that they would not renew her contract which ends at the end of the month. Personally, I don’t blame the Food Network for taking the action they did, but I honestly don’t think it was warranted. Some may say I don’t have a right to even speak to it, because I’m not African American. I’ve thought long on the issue, and I truly believe if she had made some slur regarding “faggots” or something similar I’d feel the same way. I forgive you Paula, even if a lot of other people don’t.
Penny Arcade Artist Transphobic
The artist behind Penny Arcade, Mike Krahulik, is no stranger to controversy. In the past he has been accused of any number of heinous acts, including encouraging rape culture with his infamous “Dickwolves” comic. They received further backlash for their flippant response following the controversy.
Then a few weeks ago he was caught up in another scandal involving their latest Kickstarter. For more information on this you can check out my blog post Penny Arcade Kickstarter: Why Haterz Be Hatin’. It just seems he can’t escape internet drama nowadays, as he has received a fresh wave of backlash for some comments on Twitter regarding the Transgender community.
@juliepagano I don’t think it is a mistake though. I seriously believe women have vaginas. I think you call a person with a vagina a woman.
— cwgabriel (@cwgabriel) June 20, 2013
— cwgabriel (@cwgabriel) June 20, 2013
Twitter went batshit crazy with hate for Krahulik after that. I could link all the insults, death threats, and other miscellaneous vitriol spewed his way, but I’m running long and I think you guys can use your imaginations on this one. People were calling for boycotts of Penny Arcade, their charity Child’s Play, and their convention Penny Arcade Expo. An Indie developer went so far as to pull their booth from PAX.
Krahulik posted an apology on his website, as well as a candid discussion he had with a transgender friend of his. In the apology he posted he writes, “I’m very sorry about yesterday. There are very few things that someone can say to me that will actually make me lose my temper. All my buttons got pushed yesterday though and I snapped. I doubt that will change anyone’s opinion but there you go. I’m not qualified to talk about the ambiguity of sexuality and frankly I don’t give a shit about it. I like drawing comics and playing video games. I’ll keep my mouth shut when it comes to all the other stuff.”
I feel bad for the man, mainly because I can understand his point of view regarding how difficult it is to wrap your head around acceptance of all aspects of the Transgender community. I’m a gay man and sometimes it can be hard for me to fully keep up and understand some of the latest terms and issues that are encountered. That said, it seems like he’s not going to be forgiven that easily for his ignorance on this one.
A popular Kickstarter came under fire this week from various Bloggers and Redditors after they surpassed their fundraising goal needed to publish a guide on how to seduce women. This blog was the one most frequently referenced: This is Not Fucking Harmless.
As the blog title suggests, they believe that the guide not only promoted bigoted male behavior, but also encourages rape culture by encouraging men to be more aggressive towards women. Now, I actually completely agree with the blog, and I also do not find any of the content of the referenced Kickstarter funny. Period.
However, the Libertarian in me cannot help but say that since they managed to find the financial support for their cause, well, tough noogies. We live in a capitalist society where freedom of speech exists. A few days after their project succeeded, though, Kickstarter weighed in.
Kickstarter came out and completely apologized on their blog in a post entitled We Were Wrong. They stated in no uncertain terms that they agreed with the folks who were outraged, and they were wrong not to pull the offensive Kickstarter page down. They could no longer cancel the project, that ship had sailed, but they would not allow any other projects of this nature on their site.
Now, this I can agree with. Kickstarter is a for profit business, their customer base expressed an opinion, and they altered their policy because of it. Not only that, but they donated $25,000 to the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. It’s their business, and I completely support any decision a private business makes regarding their interest, because ultimately it is their choice as to how to run their organization. They just need to be prepared to accept the consequences.
Now there were a few other online outrages, but overall these were definitely some of the largest ones this week. I find most of them fascinating, and just a little sad, mainly because outrage didn’t spark and inflame quite this way years ago before the internet became big. I feel like in a lot of instances some small and innocuous behavior is getting blown hugely out of proportion, and many of us are reacting wildly out of character because, well, we’re reacting online.
In the meantime, I already have my apology for this blog written up for this time next week…