Dick Wolves just won’t go away (not the Law & Order one, though that is also true in a different way).

I should’ve known something was up when this blog was suddenly hit by hundreds of searches for “dick wolves.” My piece recapping the incident suddenly rose to the top of my most-read list. An aggressive spam campaign for a particularly questionable adult site, perhaps? Nope. As reader Vetty pointed out, the Penny Arcade guys — rather than simply ignoring the criticisms of a single solitary blog that most people probably didn’t side with in the first place — decided that it might be a good idea to stoke the flames. The Broken Toys blog has all the details:

Penny Arcade isn’t the moral arbiter of the cosmos, and people make tasteless jokes on the Internet daily. The world moves on.

Except Penny Arcade didn’t move on. They made a shirt commemorating the “Penny Arcade Dickwolves” sports team.

They drew a dickwolf at PAX. You get the feeling that someone really likes priapic wolves.

Or failing that, really likes insulting women.

Finally, someone had had enough.

“Leaving aside the fact that I think it’s a little wrong-headed for people in the industry to get too tied into a fan convention in general, what I want to say is that as someone working in the game industry, I think the recent merchandising decisions of Penny Arcade have made PAX and PAX East into spaces that I don’t want my industry to align itself with, and I’m not going to give Penny Arcade content as long as they keep selling that merchandise.”

Penny Arcade took down the shirt from their store two days later in response.

It’s true that we have decided to remove the Dickwolves shirt from the store. Some people are happy about this but a lot more of you are upset. You think we’ve caved into to pressure from a vocal minority and you’re not entirely wrong. let me at least break down why we did it though.

First of all I would never remove the strip or even apologize for the joke. It’s funny and the fact that some people don’t get it, or are offended by it doesn’t change that. People complained about the strip and that’s fine with me, my response as always is “if you don’t like it don’t read it.” It is very easy not to log on to Penny Arcade and read our bullshit. We’ve always made offensive comics and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If jokes about violence,rape,aids,pedophilia,bestiality,drugs,cancer,homosexuality, and religion bother you then I recommend reading a different webcomic.

PAX is a different matter though. We want PAX to be a place were everyone feels welcome and we’ve worked really hard to make that happen. From not allowing booth babes to making sure we have panels that represent all our attendees. When I heard from a few people that the shirt would make them uncomfortable at PAX, that gave me pause. Now whether I think that’s a fair or warranted reaction doesn’t really matter. These were not rants on blogs but personal mails to me from people being very reasonable. It’s how they feel and according to them at least, removing the shirt would make them feel better about attending the show. For me that’s an easy fix to the problem. I really don’t want to have this fight and if not having it is as simple as not selling a shirt then I’ll do it. Contrary to what they might think I’m not a complete asshole.

Now for some people removing the shirt isn’t enough. They don’t want to come to PAX or support PA because of the strip or because they think Tycho and I are perpetuating some kind of rape culture and that’s a different matter. First off it assumes a lot about us that simply isn’t true but more importantly it’s not something I can fix. I’ve gotten a couple messages from people saying they are “conflicted” about coming to PAX. My response to them is: don’t come. Just don’t do it. In fact give me your name and I’ll refund your money if you already bought a ticket. I’ll even put you on a list so that if, in a moment of weakness you try to by a ticket we can cancel the order.

So there you go. It’s not a simple decision. No matter what we do we’ll have people mad at us. If you want to talk more about it we can chat at PAX.

I’ve quoted this in full for a couple reasons. First off, because this really isn’t an apology. It’s akin to the original comic that was done in response: surly, defensive, “we didn’t do anything wrong”, “if you don’t like it don’t read it”, “no matter what we do people will be mad at us”. This may be honestly how they feel (in fact, I’m pretty sure it is) but it’s also not helpful. It would have been better had the shirt quietly disappeared, with a note left for the hardcore forumgoers what happened.

But the problem is PAX. PAX, or Penny Arcade Expo, has fairly quickly become the primary go-to convention for gamer culture – what everyone who tried to sneak into E3 thought E3 was supposed to be. Lots of lan parties, game demos, 2nd tier science fiction actors, and Jonathan Coulton concerts. Geek nirvana, essentially. And game companies have embraced PAX because of that critical mass of success. So, in a very short time, one of the primary social and marketing events of the computer gaming industry is in the benign stewardship of two surly cartoonists who think it’s funny to crack jokes, and sell merchandise, at the expense of furious rape victims (and watching as fans attack said victims).

You know, a lot of this could have been avoided with what my elementary school teachers liked to call “common sense.”

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on February 2, 2011, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Like a lot of other people, I wasn’t bothered by the original strip so much as their follow-up, but the thing that’s weirded me out this whole time is that I’ve never seen anyone respond seriously to their “why this strip” defense. As they say, they joke about murder, child abuse, the whole lot, so while I understand hating a particular strip, thinking it’s disgusting, etc., why get angry at them for making light of this horrible atrocity that’s committed daily and not the others? I dunno. My sister has Down Syndrome, and nothing makes me more pissed than jokes about people with any sort of disability. I think that if I I could get away with it I’d become some sort of vigilante out beating douchebags with retard jokes to within an inch of their life. But if I watch a show or read a comic that mocks other people’s culture, religion, or other things that are as important to them as my sister is to me, do I get to rail against said show or comic when they insult, by implication, my sister, when I was cracking up when it was mocking someone else’s faith?

    But yeah, funny how you throw that shit on a t-shirt, which is just a lot harder to make the same excuses about as we make for art and entertainment, and it’s like “Yeah. You made a shirt that alludes, no matter how indirectly or obscurely, to rape. You made a rape shirt. Don’t be dumb.”

    • I think what really bugs me about that shirt isn’t so much the original intent (the whole “rape” question) but that it’s starting to cross over into bullying.

      1.) Penny Arcade makes a comic strip about dick wolves and rape.

      Response: some people find it kinda funny, a small group finds it offensive. and writes a blog post about it.

      2.) Penny Arcade responds with an “apology.”

      Response: apology is insincere, people who didn’t find the first comic all that offensive think it’s bad for because a.) they’re not apologizing, and b.) they’re sort of taunting people who were offended by the first strip for being stupid enough to think that they ever condoned rape.

      3.) Penny Arcade makes “Dickwolves” shirt.

      Response: not content with pointing out how stupid their critics were, Penny Arcade makes shirts to show them that they are so wrong there are fans who not only agree with them but will buy a T-shirt to prove it. Because, seriously, that’s the only reason I can imagine anyone actually buying a “dickwolves” shirt.

      So basically the whole cycle did nothing more than to stroke Holkins and Krahulik’s egos to show the world (or the one blog that dared to be offended at something they made) how right they are and how wrong everyone else is. That’s what I find most distasteful about the whole thing, anyway.

      • So basically the whole cycle did nothing more than to stroke Holkins and Krahulik’s egos to show the world (or the one blog that dared to be offended at something they made) how right they are and how wrong everyone else is.

        That’s their regular M.O. Why be surprised?

    • To me, this is a classic case of “agreeing with neither party”. The first comic didn’t so much joke about rape, as it did about the absurdities of the MMO genre. Rape wasn’t the punchline, and used as an example of one of the most awful things you can do to a person. And then people got offended, which I though was an overreaction. And then the PA guys posted that second comic, which was just stupid. But what’s the point here? That the guys who made the joke are dumb bastards? Well, I wouldn’t have agreed at the outset, but they’ve proven as much. So what? Dumb people exist, and by going out of your skull over it, you’re only being one of them. Some of the blog-posts I’ve read related to this seemed just as self-righteous as those PA announcements.

      • Yeah, I’d agree with both of you. I think there was a lot of reactivity on both sides and neither came out smelling like roses. I like the PA guys, I even enjoy watching their webshow, but poor handling on this. And yeah, El Santo, I’ve always wondered just who it is that feels comfortable walking around with the word “dick” emblazoned on their chest, and Penny Arcade has produced at least three. Odd.

  2. I think the Penny Arcade guys are just in the same state of fascinated disbelief I am. Common sense tells me that the original comic was only offensive if you deliberately misunderstood everything about its intent and its creators. How to deal with that? Penny Arcade chose to deal with it by making another comic about the perceived absurdity of the situation, figuring that the absurd always makes for a decent joke.

    The thing is, there is no way they could apologize sincerely: They don’t actually think they did anything wrong (because really, they didn’t). Would you rather they get better at faking it? Or not communicate the reasons for their decisions at all? They just can’t do anything right, can they?

    • Yeah I’m with you.

    • I’d rather they’d just ignored the critics if they couldn’t apologize. If you make a blog that deals in edgy humour, you should be able to take a complaint without having to make another comic and a T-shirt to defend your position.

      • Able, possibly, but why would you have to? Are the only appropriate responses to criticism either apology or silence? If you ask me, there is another appropriate response – a self-reflective, honest, reasoned evaluation of and reaction to the critic’s viewpoints. Which is what happened here.

        It’s not like they made either the follow-up comic or the shirt “to defend themselves” either, not mainly anyway. The follow-up comic, just as the original comic used the absurdity of the concept of MMO quests with “people saved” limits to make a joke, used the absurdity of having yourself accused of being “pro-rape” because you used “being raped by dickwolves” as an example of something absolutely horrid to have happen to you to make a joke. It’s a perfectly valid, and funny, subject matter.

        Neither was the purpose of the shirt to “defend their position”. The purpose of the shirt was to be sold for money. It carried with it, perhaps, the implication that the Penny Arcade guys still don’t believe they did anything wrong (because they didn’t); but they didn’t design and put out the shirt to have a “take that” at their detractors. They pointed out, in essence, that having as many people as possible feel comfortable about visiting their conventions is more important to them than making money with merchandise, and even offer refunds to any who still don’t want to come because of the controversy (however wrong they think they may be, but it’s not up to a host to judge or confront their guests except for the sake of other guests, and these guys understand a thing or two about being good hosts). I don’t see how they could have handled this any better, given that they can’t sincerely apologize for the comics or the shirt.

        Back to the follow-up comic for a bit. Yes, if you are successful and in the business of making jokes for a living you can’t possibly react to every single bit of criticism, however petty, you receive. In this case, it got quite a bit of momentum, and happened to carry with it the accusation of being “pro-rape” or otherwise “promoting or perpetuating a culture of rape indifference”. It’s because they think rape is absolutely terrible that they didn’t keep silent when they were accused otherwise. It’s, by the way, because they think rape is absolutely terrible that they used the concept of rape to create a scenario of something absolutely terrible to have happen to a human being in order to make a video game joke. Might as well accuse a guy wearing a blue shirt of hating the color blue because they never wear blue shirts.

        The problem of the people who didn’t get the joke in the second comic is not that they have some sort of superior standard of morals and ethics compared to that of those who made the joke. Their problem is that they didn’t get the joke.

        Perhaps the cause of much of this (fracas? rumpus? Doesn’t that only get used in newspapers?) is a popular misconception that if something is terrible enough you can’t make jokes about it or anywhere near it, and if you do, you somehow imply these things aren’t terrible. As with just about any circular conflict in the universe, at the bottom lies the fallacious assumption “this person must think like me”. Only if you succumb to that fallacy, you can go from

        “I think this is terrible. I don’t think you can make jokes about or near things that are terrible like this.”

        to

        “This person makes jokes about this thing or near it. Therefore he doesn’t think it is terrible.”

  3. I recall reading somewhere that Mike and Jerry WERE going to let it die, but saw numerous home-made Dickwolves t-shirts and decided to make an ‘official’ PA shirt after the fact. I guess they figured if a number of fans are okay with it, we’ll keep the ball rolling.

    It was a bad decision and now they’re closing the door on all discussion by pulling the merch and moving forward. I don’t blame them for doing that, since endless time is wasted in a circular debate – they don’t think its a big deal, others do. Minds won’t be changed on the subject at this point, so its best to just drop it and keep going.

    I agree with bashing their limp-wristed excuse though. A simple “Sorry, we fucked up and it was in bad taste.” would suffice – but instead of placating their fans, they decide to placate their sponsors – and that makes Mike and Jerry look even worse in the eyes of their detractors.

    Personally, I don’t give a shit. It was a crass, ignorant joke that gathered far too much steam and was mishandled. If I was a rape victim or close with a rape victim, I’d probably change my stance on supporting the site – but since I am not, I can just detach myself morally and keep reading their stuff.

    • “A simple “Sorry, we fucked up and it was in bad taste.” would suffice”

      But they didnt fuck up. Never at one point did they ever have anything to say “Sorry” for, thats you projecting them being guilty for something they didnt commit.

      • They proved themselves guilty whether they truly felt it or not (I suspect not) by pulling the merch to placate a sponsor. All I’m saying is, they could have avoided all the bullshit by doing the same thing at the start by caving.

  4. Listen, I am very close to a rape victim. I understand the devastation. However, I choose to read Penny Arcade knowing that it might be offensive. I don’t expect an apology for everything that offends me whether its a strip or a shirt. Lets face it, the world is full of offensive things that we can’t avoid, much less what we can. I find the debate frustrating because we, me included, have better things to do then debate the word “rape” in a comic strip. Its not like Mike and Jerry are desensitizing the whole world to the evils of rape. We see it on TV, in books, in movies, on the news. Aren’t these more impacting then a comic strip that wasn’t even about rape in the first place? This is our culture so its not like we can take out two people, tar and feather them, and think its going to change anything. It doesn’t.

    • I don’t think that there’s anyone here who would disagree with you, Ray. Read around the blogs and responses criticizing how Penny Arcade handled everything. Almost all of them will say, to the one, that they don’t think Penny Arcade desensitized the world to rape. (This blog I linked to, for example, spends the first few paragraphs on a huge disclaimer.)

      They are, though, pretty miffed that the Penny Arcade guys have been acting like smug assholes, when a simple short post would have done. Like I said in another post, it’s crossed the line to bullying.

  5. Hah! Now I’m considering myself under the obligation to comment on the matter here after doing so on the Broken Toys forum, but I want to avoid cannibalizing my own remarks there. So I guess I could start by posting a link to the Shakesville reaction to this latest episode of the controversy. That was the site, if you remember, that started it all and prompted Penny Arcade to act defensively.

    From what I have seen of Shakesville, I would hardly call that a reputable site. It’s the first site I have seen that actually turned off its comments under the pretext of giving its moderators a break — pretext, because there have been new additions to that site, but this specific page is still closed to new comments, so I call hypocrisy on that one. And the comments that are there all point, at the very least, to a prevailing groupthink that bullies its opponents into silence; the most skeptical comment of the official line there had this editor’s comment added on top: “[Edited by a mod to add TW: rape culture apologia, tone arguments, concern tolling, accusations of bad faith, minimization of triggering, silencing tactics.]”.

    At worst, I could accuse that site of simply removing unfavourable comments and banning the users who post them; from webmistress Melissa McEwan herself: “If I, or one of Shakesville’s mods, tells you NO YOU CANNOT COMMENT HERE via revoking your commenting privileges, and you do an end run around our security in order to disregard having been told no and disrespect the boundaries of this space, you are behaving like a rapist.” Or a cat burglar, I’d have thought, but okay, you love hyperbole, I get it.

    And just get a whiff of their commenting policy:

    “Comments are open to anyone as long as they don’t traffic in racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, ageist, sizeist, or otherwise overtly objectionable commentary based on people’s intrinsic characteristics. Differences of opinion are welcome; no one has ever been nor will ever be banned on a difference of opinion alone. Hate speech, rape apologia, rape jokes and metaphors, violent imagery, threats, trolling, concern trolling, derailing, playing the Oppression Olympics, pointless belligerence, sockpuppeting, silencing tactics, accusations of bad faith, disrespecting the mods, including ignoring them, telling contributors what they should be writing about or how they should be writing about it, and/or invoking the blogmistress’ personal experience to use against her, or doing the same to any of the contributors, mods, or other commenters, could result in any of the following: Your comment edited to remove offending material, your comment replaced with an incredibly sophomoric paraphrase, your comment deleted, and/or your commenting privileges revoked.”

    It should come as no surprise that the entire blog, according to the description, seems to turn around her anger, to the extent that the first comment on that page wonders whether it’s a blog or a cult.

    But anyway, enough background information. They fired the first salvo, and they’re still all over it with their accusation that Penny Arcade is perpetuating “rape culture”. This, for the record, is what they consider “rape culture”.

    And it’s here that the accusation falls apart regarding the first Penny Arcade strip, “The Sixth Slave”. Most of the definitions of “rape culture” on that page involve women as victims — but in the PA strip, the victim is male. So that rules out the largest part of “rape culture” as well as the accusations of that woman who wanted to boycott PAX over the issue. Second, they’re apparently so red-hot in anger over rape that they completely forget about the other forms of oppression mentioned in the strip, slavery and physical violence; I wonder whether Shakesville, with all its “trigger words” and blinders, would have expressed indignation over the issue if Tycho and Gabe had written “thwacked on the back of the head with two-by-fours” instead of “raped”.

    And the thing is, Shakesville missed the point. Oh sure, it claims to know “what it’s all about”, but if you think about it for a second, “The Sixth Slave” was precisely about the trivialization of rape; you could use it as evidence that “rape culture” exists not because Tycho & Gabe indulge in it, but because they expose it. The more outrageous the treatment of the slaves, the more efficiently the point is driven home.

    The only problem with that hinges on this: by reacting to the issue the way they did, Tycho & Gabe went ahead and proved they were the pricks Shakesville claimed they were. It’s like that final scene of “The Caine Mutiny” where the captain bringing mutiny charges against his junior officers just succeeds in demonstrating to everyone that he was indeed paranoid.

    So I am forced to walk a tightrope between those two unsavoury types, the exploiters of packaged outrage and a couple of callous, insensitive men-children with a webcomic I don’t respect and a following I would never want to hang out with.

    Tycho & Gabe, from the minute they were accused, had two possible options. First, say nothing, and let your comic strip speak for itself. Second, go on an all-out attack on your detractors, seeking to refute each and every one of their points, but at least by taking the matter seriously. Oh well, there was a third: hire a lawyer, but that would have been overreacting.

    Instead, they let their gamer instinct take over. By which I mean, come up with a standard and utterly inappropriate answer — the gamer’s typical nihilistic sneer. The worst possible option. Then what followed when more accusations started pouring in? “We gamers are persecuted! Circle the wagons!”

    And you thought they couldn’t sink any lower, someone over at Penny Arcade had the idea: “Hey, we have this controversy going on! Let’s make money off it!” Hence the dickwolves merchandise.

    At which point I just walk away in disgust, hoping someone suffers financially for this. And hoping, too, that someone can put those Shakesville nutjobs in their place as well — someone with more credibility than Penny Arcade.

    • …And what do you know, I’ve posted a comment on a Shakesville follow-up thread (copy here).

      Less than two hours later, my comment was deleted and I was banned from the site. Freedom of speech at work.

      • Oh, yeah, calling them “nutjobs” totally makes me feel sorry for you. What made you think you were “obligated” to blog about being banned?

        • When you complain, as that webmistress did, that attempting to post on a site while being banned by that site is similar to raping, then posit that rape is being trivialized, well, I’d say that you are trivializing rape.

          Oh, and by the way, the word “cult” was used by more than a few people in describing that site; even other feminist sites wonder what they’re about.

          • Thanks for linking to my blog. It’s not officially a feminist blog, though. Only one of the three bloggers identifies as feminist ard most (but not all) feminists view us as antifeminists.

      • Its a personal blog. You don’t get freedom of speech there. You don’t get freedom of speech here, or on any other blog, personal website, any comments section. They have every right to censor you, and you need to deal with that okay.

        Don’t complain about “freedom of speech” in a place where you should have known you had none.

        • Oh, I know, but something happens when you start deleting all comments that don’t agree with your vision of the world: you’re being dishonest.

          In the end, you get an echo chamber. Not that it matters, really: Shakesville had an “open thread” (how open, I do not know) on the PA question the next day, and the few people who went there to defend the cartoonists were just silenced with so many accusations of “privilege” and “mansplaining”.

          It’s no use to try discussing an issue with people who keep their ears plugged.

  6. Well wall-of-texty beat me to the, ’cause I just wanted to point out that in the comic it was a guy getting raped by a dickwolves, not a ladyfolk.

    But yeah, I read the comic when it first came out. I laughed at the idea that that sort of thing happens all the time without anyone really caring (not the rape, but the whole going further than you need to thing), and really that WAS the punchline. Not rape.

    It seems far more like a case of trying to get offended than anything.

    And while I haven’t done the research in this point, surely by now Penny Arcade have made a rape joke before this one?

  7. If you go here http://www.penny-arcade.com/2011/2/2/ and scroll to the bottom post, you’ll see Jerry’s fairly objective view on the whole ordeal, and I feel it wraps up this whole nonsense pretty well. It also put into words something that was bothering me about the whole affair.

    “The fact of the matter is that the strip that started all this is about how empty, amoral, and borderline vile electronic heroism actually is. When I look at it now, it’s hard to imagine the chaos this comic stands at the center of. To the extent that it discusses rape, it is in the context of men and an imaginary creature. It’s certainly not the “joke.” The depicted scenario seemed so ridiculous to us, so unmoored from reality, and its indictment of player “morality” so complete, we felt like it was worth doing.”

    I realized that I wasn’t getting the fact that people didn’t understand the point of the comic, even though it was obvious to me. I instantly ‘got’ that the strip was about the horrible notion of only being asked to save five people, leaving the rest to a horrible fate, simply because that was the task given to you. I didn’t understand why everyone thought the rape (used for extreme hyperbole) was the ‘joke’.

    Also, for anyone in the TLDR camp, I thought that his reasoning for the second comic was also fairly illuminating.

    “We make disgusting, immoral comics on occasion to be sure; we’re used to correspondence in that vein. But when mail started to come in to the effect that we were perpetuating a fundamental social conspiracy to rape, we couldn’t believe what we were reading. That is the entire point of the second strip, which some people took as a literal response or apology, neither of which was its intended purpose. The only people who are pro-rape are rapists. The idea that you would have to specifically enunciate an idea like that is almost overwhelming. It’s self-evident. Hence, the comic.”

  8. Oh ho, if you haven’t seen it already, the latest PA (http://www.penny-arcade.com/2011/2/2/) news has Mike AND Jerry on the subject matter.

  9. You’ve gotta stop commenting on these sorts of things el Santo. You’ll drown in the walls of text!

  10. better call the whaaaambulance jeez

  11. Incidentally, I googled “dick wolves” and this site pops up first. I don’t know if I should be proud of that or not.

  12. People who I suspect of enjoying the middle ground fallacy like to claim the first comic was relatively inoffensive, but PA’s response follow it was horrible.

    Think of a time you were suddenly confronted with a vile accusation. Something you didn’t do. Something you couldn’t imagine anyone should rationally suspect you did. Something that pisses you off in principle. Something as despicable as encouraging people to engage in rape or violence towards women.

    Or as close as you can get to that, because a lot of people probably haven’t been there.

    For me, I would probably respond with anger and vitriol in kind. If I was in an odd mood I might laugh at and ridicule the weakness and stupidity I perceive in my accuser instead.

    My instinctive response would certainly not be to wonder what context and situation my accuser was coming from. If they might have suffered something to bring us to this point. I wouldn’t stop to worry about how harsh words in the argument to follow might affect the way the people around us feel.

    And I certainly wouldn’t offer to apologize for my imaginary crime.

    I haven’t seen any evidence Gabe or Tycho are guilty of anything besides lacking superhuman, saintly patience and empathy.

    Fallout from their human weakness is just greater than mine because of their celebrity status.

    • While I can understand the sentiment, I think you underestimate the “superhuman” amount of patience and empathy it requires. Gabe and Tycho are hardly the only ones in the world who have to deal with daily criticism. This is doubly so on the internet, where pretty much everything is met with some of the world’s most puerile jeers from the most immature outlets imaginable (such as this site!)

      But let’s back up a minute: even if you feel they were justified with their in-comic response and blog post, don’t you think making a shirt out of it was taking things a wee bit far? I think that goes a little beyond “lacking superhuman patience and empathy.”

      • So things escalated. They’re not used to self-censoring. They don’t historically have a network or a sponsor hanging over their head with the implied threat they’ll be cancelled if they don’t play nice.

        So like most people, they aren’t practiced at sugar coating their response to unwarranted attacks. If they were they might have taken a step back early in the situation and realized where some of the anger was coming from, and moderated their response.

        Those of us who aren’t directly involved though, we have the luxury of thinking about what was actually intended with the dickwolves shirt. We could characterize it as an attack or rape survivors or an attempt to alienate women or all sorts of nonsense, but that would be stupid and/or dishonest.

        Whatever damage provoked it or however justified it might have been from the accusers point of view, the authors found themselves suddenly attacked with an unwarranted accusation that they were endorsing rape.

        They didn’t stop and ask why someone might accuse them of something so vile. They said, “Hey, fuck you.”

        Somewhat predictably, that didn’t diffuse the situation. Instead, it brought about even more accusations of the same.

        Which is even more upsetting, and also did not diffuse the situation. So they said “Hey, fuck you,” again.

        A pretty obvious cycle emerges, here.

        The shirt is part of that cycle. It was an announcement that they refuse to feel ashamed for having created something so ridiculous even if people took it seriously.

        Now there is a wretched internet subculture out there that actually does seem to be in the business of deliberately minimalizing rape and they seem to have latched on to “dickwolves.” Forces outside the control of Penny Arcade, that Penny Arcade has little or nothing to do with, have created situation. The shirt really has become symbol for insensitivity and downplaying the seriousness of rape and so on. But it wasn’t one when it was created.

  13. Internet Stupidity strikes again, drowning in a glass of water. :)

  14. To be brutally honest I laughed at this. Not because I disagree with the article or what El Santo says because I don’t. Its a well reasoned and logical article.

    The reason why I laugh is that if the American internet finds being raped to sleep by dickwolves distasteful in the extreme I’m not sure what they’d make of Frankie Boyle and this tip top example of modern Scottish humour:

    “When I was invited to appear on Queer eye for the straight guy I thought they’d give me great fashion advice…instead they f*cked me!”

    Yup that appeared on prime time TV. Mock the Week. BBC two circa 2009.

    Boyle and Tycho share the same boat. Both are very intelligent people who rely a lot on very vulgar and dumbed down material to get their kicks. Not very imaginative and very easily offensive material disguised as “edgy and intelligent comedy”.

  15. I commend the guys for standing their ground. Their intent was NOT to start an uproar or campaign for ‘free speech’. They never claimed to be an ‘All Ages Comic Strip’ and I don’t doubt the sincerity of their apology. I DO hope they are at PAX and recognize the financial sacrifice they made in pulling their ‘Dick Wolves’ T-Shirt/Jersey from the racks (so to speak). I’ll continue to read and enjoy their comic and hope that those who are offended by content which was so PLAINLY used in a manner only to entertain and NOT condone rape, can get over it or will quietly just discontinue reading it. If they don’t realize that continued complaints will only draw MORE attention to the comic, then nothing that can be said or written will change the level of popularity it has already (or WILL) reach!

  16. So where can I get a Dickwolves shirt?

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