|sigelphoenix (sigelphoenix) wrote,|
@ 2009-02-18 20:30:00
|Current music:||"Metal Heart," Garbage|
|Entry tags:||anti-racism and racial privilege, feminism and sexism, general geekery|
Fail, Penny Arcade, fail
I like Penny Arcade, I really do. Even though I'm a more of a tabletop gamer than a video gamer, I find them clever. This made me lol. This is one of my favorite webcomics of all time. I enjoy their con. I think their Child's Play charity is awesome - so yes, I know they do charity, and no, I don't think that means it's impossible for them to unwittingly act like assholes.*
And, okay, yeah, I don't expect them to be particularly progressive. I go to them for laughs and geekery - and, as with much of my geekery, I don my armor and hold my breath and hope to get through unscathed.
The misogynist insults? Made me roll my eyes, but the joke itself was funny - and, notably, would've been just as effective with non-sexist language - so I just tried to ignore it. (And please, no bullshitting about how the language isn't anti-woman just because it wasn't directed at a woman, or some such. "Bitch" and "pussy" are blatantly gendered insults, and are used to deride women, or "feminized" men - gay men, weak men, etc.)
Of course, it was easier to ignore before they made a T-shirt of it.
Then there's this. (And yes, it's an old strip, but I found it because it was linked in a recent newspost - without the slightest hint of apology or embarrassment.) It's always fun to be reminded that, if I commit the offense of being inebriated and annoying while female, I deserve to be reduced to "some bitch" or a "drunken whore." As a note of comparison, I doubt they would refer to me as "some chink." I wonder if they would refer to an inebriated and annoying gay man as "some fag." None of these forms of derogatory language are okay - not the homophobic language, not the racist language, not the sexist language.
And finally, there's today's strip.
I'll give you the charitable reading, and link to the newspost first. In it, Tycho concurs with the criticisms of the racist imagery in Resident Evil 5, noting that, "it's impossible for us to play it without the metanarrative of race providing a grim context for our every in-game action," and, "Playing the game does nothing to dilute the imagery people have found objectionable, the trailer wasn't out of context in any way." He goes no further in the critique than that, though, and finishes rather weakly with, "is the game somehow less racist if I join someone else's game as co-op partner Sheva Alomar [who is half-African]? I hope so."
Here is today's comic, which I read first without the context of the newspost. My first reaction was anger, but I waited to see the newspost, and also discussed it with ratzeo to gain a second perspective. Since the newspost indicates that Tycho, at least, is attempting to give the criticism a decent amount of consideration, I came to this conclusion about what they probably intended with the comic.
What the Penny Arcade guys probably meant:
Panel 1: "Yes, this white protagonist shooting a black zombie is racist."
Panel 2: "A black protagonist shooting a black zombie might not be racist ... but I have no idea."
Panel 3: "I'm so confused, let's end with a non sequitur of a robot and a praying mantis!"
Panel 1: "Everyone's complaining about a white guy shooting a black zombie."
Panel 2: "See, you can be a black woman shooting a black zombie, so that gets rid of the problem."
Panel 3: "See, we never complain about different alien species killing each other, so complaining about whites killing blacks is stupid/hypocritical/PC."