Penny Arcade Extends Olive Branch, Apologises For Dickwolves Fallout

Penny Arcade Extends Olive Branch, Apologizes For Dickwolves Fallout

Four days after provoking debate about his comic strip's most notorious joke, Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik offered an explanation of his position about the strip and the actions that followed it. He expressed many regrets.

During an interview this weekend, Penny Arcade artist Mike Krahulik said that he thought pulling the Dickwolves merchandise from the Penny Arcade store as a 'mistake'. The merch, if you recall, ended up making fun of people who took offence to a rape joke in a World of Warcraft comic (the comic, overtly, was about the way players handle or think about missions). Today, Krahulik clarifies his statement during the interview, and also offers an apology for the way he originally handled the reaction to the comic strip.

From the Penny Arcade blog:

So let me start by saying I like the Dickwolves strip. I think it's a strong comic and I still think the joke is funny. Would we make that strip today? Knowing what we know now and seeing how it hurt people, no. We wouldn't. But at the time, it seemed pretty benign. With that said I absolutely regret everything we did after that comic. I regret the follow up strip, I regret making the merchandise, I regret pulling the merchandise and I regret being such an asshole on twitter to people who were upset. I don't think any of those things were good ideas. If we had just stopped with the strip and moved on, the Dickwolf never would have become what it is today. Which is a joke at the expense of rape victims or a symbol of the dismissal of people who have suffered a sexual assault. the comic itself obviously points out the absurd morality of the average MMO where you are actually forced to help some people and ignore others in the same situation. Oddly enough, the first comic by itself is exactly the opposite of what this whole thing has turned into.

There are people who were offended by or hurt by the joke in the strip and rather than just let it go we decided to make a second strip. That was a mistake and I apologise 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. We should have just stopped right then but we kept going and made the 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. Any action we took at the time just dug us deeper regardless of what it was. What we needed to do was stop. just stop. I apologized for it at the time and I will still apologise for it. Everything we did after that initial comic strip was a mistake and I regret all of it.

You can read the rest of the post here.


    I feel so stupid right now, cos this is the first I've heard of this whole controversy thing, and when I saw "Dickwolves" I thought it had something to do with Law and Order creator, Dick Wolf.

      Don't worry, you didn't miss much. Just people on the internet thinking the fact they were personally offended by something actually matters.

      They posted something a couple of days ago and it was the first I'd heard of it too. Seems pretty ridiculous though.

    Basically all the lefty hipsters were like: "Your jokes shall not pass". And the internet was like fuck this shit. Nek minitt penny arcades apologizing to the lefty hipsters.

      What really happened is they caused some controversy and they displayed their inability to react to criticism by throwing an artistic tantrum with the grace and elegance of a hormonal tween.

        Why should they bow down to butthurt people because of a rape joke?
        This whole storm in a teacup bullshit over a joke is disgraceful.
        If anything people should be getting up in arms about with the PA people is Mikes opinion on trans people as thats an actual opinion not a fuggen joke.
        But this is just STUPID. This is a series of white knights who are trying to enforce their opinion on that there should be no rape jokes.

          Why should they bow down to butthurt people because of an opinion?
          This whole storm in a teacup bullshit over an opinion is disgraceful.
          If anything people should be getting up in arms about with the PA people is Mikes rape joke as thats an actual piece of merchandise not a fuggen personal opinion.
          But this is just STUPID. This is a series of white knights who are trying to enforce their opinion on that there should be no opinions.

        "throwing an artistic tantrum"

        They didn't do that. They made a comic strip about it explaining that it was a joke about an imaginary animal in an imaginary context and they don't condone rape or violence in any way. But apparently it still wasn't good enough.

          By artistic tantrum I meant they made t-shirts and pendants to troll the people they offended.

            So yea, not the same.

              Are you saying those shirts weren't artistic?

              *monocle drops into martini

                I'm saying you can't create anything when you're already throwing a tantrum.

                ...and I could definitely illustrate a better Dickwolf.

                  "I'm saying you can't create anything when you're already throwing a tantrum."

                  Completely disagree.

    I honestly cannot stop laughing at the name Dickwolves ahahaha

      You should see the picture Mike drew, It's pretty bizarre...

    Maybe now people can move on and stop thinking that Penny Arcade is the devil and that anyone who supports PAX is the equivalent of a Satanist.

      So that explains the blood sacrifice of a CoD player to the gaming gods during my time at PAX AUS.

        I take it the gaming gods weren't pleased with that sacrifice.

      Maybe now people can move on and stop thinking that people who criticized Penny Arcade are ruining society and that anyone who boycotted PAX is are going to bring an end to free speech.

      Last edited 06/09/13 5:07 pm

        By boycotting an event because it is run by people, who made a comic that has a joke in it which involves imaginary rape, because they didn't apologise properly to the people that were offended by said comic makes it seem like you an an advocate of the belief that certain subjects shouldn't/can't be talked about, ie: censorship of certain subjects, ie: non freedom of speech.

          there's a difference between not talking about something because you aren't allowed to, and not talking about something because it's in bad taste

            If you're going to go to such great lengths to hurt people (financially, by boycotting and getting others to boycott, or otherwise) because they made a joke about something that you find offensive you're putting out a message that anyone who does similar things that offend you will be treated the same. Thereby bullying people into not talking/joking/discussing whatever it is you find offensive. Thereby restricting which subjects can be talked about/joked about by way of threats and manipulation.

              You should be a politician because boy, you can really put a spin on things I tell you that much. I hope you're trolling because if you really believe what you just wrote, I'm speechless.

                I write clear, concise explanations of my viewpoints, you just copy and paste stuff other people say and change a couple of words in some weak way to troll them and not contribute anything to a discussion.

                Guess that makes me Rudd and You Abbott.

                But seriously, how else would you describe a boycott? Why do people boycott if not to try and exact change?

                  Like I said, I'm speechless. There's few people, even on the internet, that I can't have a friendly open minded conversation with, and you're one of them. That makes you part of a very small list. It's clear by the way you spin and twist what people say into something else entirely that you're not really interested in exploring viewpoints other than your own. I don't really feel like there's a chance of a true exchange of thoughts or understanding with you, so, respectfully, I'm out. No hard feeling or anything. I'm just not interested in talking to you any longer.


                  Ok so when i ask you a question, you just say you can't have a conversation with me...? Why not answer my question? Why not participate in the discussion?

                  Meh, sounds like a cop out to me, but whatever. No hard feelings either way.

                  For what it's worth, The answer to my own question would be: People boycott a company because they don't agree with the company and it's actions and want to show them that they don't support that company by not giving them any money. Why? So they can try and influence the company's decisions to hopefully change back to the way the people want it/previously liked it. In this case, to make PA apologise, and stop them from making jokes about things they are offended by, thereby advocating and perpetrating the belief that some topics should be talked about/joked about because they may offend people. Which is nonsense.

                I'm speechless.

                That's Rohs point - you shouldn't be in a position where you feel speechless as that's censoring yourself - if you think he's a dick - go ahead and say it. But to act like you're in an Ivory Tower looking down by being 'speechless' you're implying moral superiority.

                I for one, know not of this whole Dickwolf affair and I wont be looking further into it and giving it air.
                I may not agree with what people say, but I will defend to the death, their right to say it (or something along those lines).

                The worst form of censorship is self-censorship - feel free to get your hate on if that offends you.

                  I'm not offended at all. I couldn't agree with you more. Censorship is dangerous.

                  I was outraged when Mortal Kombat was banned in Australia. And I questioned the people who opposed Dead Island's bloodied zombie torso statue (despite personally thinking it was disgusting) because I feel very passionate about freedom of speech and I hate it when people tell me I can't enjoy something because they're offended by it. And try this on for size, although I wouldn't be interested, I think people should be able to play rape and pedophile simulators, do you?

                  Respectfully, I think you've misunderstood my reply to Roh.

    I'm not fine sitting on the fence regarding this anymore. I'm tired of pointless PA non-apologies, and I'm tired of reading comments like every single one above.

    Please educate yourselves:

    This shit is not okay.

      I find it interesting that in the article it lists the ways a person could deal with the situation where a joke is made that involves rape but there is no option that is simply 'it was a joke, not meant to be taken seriously, treat it as such and get on with your life'.

      If jokes about murder, suicide, plane crashes, tsunamis, earthquakes, abortion, racism, the holocaust, the class divide and every other sensitive subject are ok, then why is rape out of bounds? Or jokes that just mention rape, but are actually about game mechanics? It's definitely in bad taste, just like making jokes about the subjects i just listed is definitely in bad taste, but i don't think it should be excluded.

      People have a right to make jokes about whatever they want, just like you have the right not to listen to them, or read them on the internet or go to PAX or whatever.

        The reason the subjects you mentioned are in bad taste is because they are likely to hurt people. It's a lot harder to shrug off that kind of thing when it's personal. I doubt many Holocaust survivors just shrug off Auschwitz jokes, or suicide survivors laugh away jokes about killing themselves.

        The difference is, there's a very high likelihood that you know somebody who's been raped, so it's a lot harder to live in a bubble insulated from it. You're a lot more likely to hurt someone with a rape joke, so you're more likely to get a response.

        People have the right to exclude people who say hurtful things from their lives, just as the people saying the hurtful things have the right to say them.

          Totally agree.

          People have the right to exclude people who say hurtful things from their lives, just as the people saying the hurtful things have the right to say them.

          I completely agree with this, but it doesn't seem to apply, when some people are demanding PA apologise because they were offended by some the comic, and then getting even more upset when they thought the apology wasn't good enough, that's about the time Mike started to go into troll mode, and you know what they say about trolls...

            when some people are demanding PA apologise because they were offended by some the comic, and then getting even more upset when they thought the apology wasn't good enough

            To be fair Mike hasn't made a single sincere apology for it. He simply isn't sorry. I can understand why. There's a totally reasonable case for 'it's not a rape joke, it's a joke where the punchline is rape is horrible and you'd be a monster for shrugging off the pleas for help from a rape victim'. Whether you agree with it or not it's a reasonable argument with some merit, just like the counter 'any jovial mention of rape actually does hurt rape victims, regardless of the authors intent'.

            It's not unreasonable for people to stay pissed at him when, right or wrong, he's doing nothing to satisfy the people he offended or resolve the situation.

              What about the one above? STILL not good enough?

              The fact that he is doing anything at all shows that at least he's listening, and when you get right down to it...


              He doesn't have to apologise to anyone because he's allowed to say whatever the hell he wants on his website. If he doesn't want to apologise, or doesn't feel he has to then it's his decision, it's not up to some white knight moral compass for the entire internet to decide for him and make him do it.

              People keep missing the point: It's his website, go there or not he can do what he wants, he shouldn't have to apologise to anyone for what he does there. if you or anyone else doesn't like it just DON'T GO THERE. No one is forcing anyone to go there and read it, or go to PAX, or buy a dickwolves shirt.

                Could not agree more, i dont condone rape in anyway but the joke was funny, and just that a joke, ON HIS OWN WEBSITE, the simple solution is if it offends you dont go there.

                Man half these people need to go read the sexy losers comics, that shit would give them a heart attack.
                I take no responsibility for ANYONE that googles sexy losers webcomic, i warn you now in advance DO NOT DO IT.

                The one above, where he says he regrets everything that happened afterwards but skirts around the issue of the original strip being offensive/inappropriate and ends up quietly defending it?

                I'm actually on their side as far as the initial strip goes. He was even perfectly within his rights to have such a childish reaction to it all, just as people who aren't going to let him live it down are well within their rights. I'm just pointing out that he's apologising for everything except the main thing people demanding an apology for. There is no way what he's written there is going to satisfy the offended people offended by the original strip because he's essentially saying 'sorry you were offended because you didn't get the joke' rather than the 'sorry I made a rape joke' those people want.
                Like I said before, I don't think they made a rape joke, but I can totally understand why people who think he did are still demanding an apology. This apology resolves nothing and I can't understand why anyone would think it would.

                Frankly if he's going to stand by the original strip he needs to show some backbone and actually admit he's defending it.

                  He does though, I'm not sure why you think he isn't? He kicks the entire thing off with "So let me start by saying I like the Dickwolves strip. I think it’s a strong comic and I still think the joke is funny."

          I doubt many Holocaust survivors just shrug off Auschwitz jokes

          You may be surprised:

          or suicide survivors laugh away jokes about killing themselves

          I do.

          (UPDATE: Just to put suicide in perspective against sexual assault - there were estimated to be 80 sexual assaults per 100,000 people in Australia in 2012, according to the ABS. In 2007, there were an average of 179 suicide attempts per day in Australia (and 6 per day were successful). You are about 20 times more likely to meet a rape victim than a victim of any other type of violent crime, but you are 40 more times likely to meet someone who tried to commit suicide than a rape victim. Another interesting stat - approx 83% of sexual assault victims in Australia are female, while approx 78% of suicides are male).

          I also had a family member die by choking to death on a hot dog, but I find the scene in Basketball where Ernest Borgnine dies by choking to death on a hot dog very funny. A little sad, too, but still very funny. Someone else who had someone close to them who died from chocking on a hot dog might find that very offensive. What makes their "offendedness" more valid and need to be considered than my not being offended?

          One of my favourite discussions of this was a quip from Mel Brooks (

          Brooks' The Producers (which was first a movie, then a smash Broadway musical, then made into a second movie) also ruffled some feathers with songs like "Springtime for Hitler." During one early showing, a man got up and started walking out of the theater. Brooks went after him and asked why he was leaving.

          "I was in World War II," the man told him. "How dare you do this, with the Nazi flags and all?"

          Brooks' quippy reply? "I said, 'I was in World War II. I didn't see you.'"

          Last edited 06/09/13 12:51 pm

            Mel Brooks is the man. That quote is awesome, probably delivered quick as lightning too!

              The other one I like - which is also kind of relevant to this discussion - is his definition of comedy:

              If I got a paper cut, that’s a tragedy. If you fell down an open manhole and died, that's comedy

            @sparhawk0 - you did my work for me - I was thinking of Mel Brooks too when people above made the throw away line regarding holocaust and suicide.

            If you're not a vicitm of these horrible things - maybe you shouldn't assume you can speak for them?

            I also have alot of experience with suicide attempts and success' - doesn't mean I lose my mind when others make ill-informed commentary or jokes about the subject.

              Given Godwin's Law, I think that quote is probably on a lot of people's chat equivalent of speed dial. :)

              I like his approach - the scarier the monster, the bigger the ridicule: Springtime for Hitler, The Inquisition Song, Jews in Space, etc. (For the record, I would still go see Jews in Space if he decided to actually make it - he could raise the money by suing MGM for ripping off his spaceship designs and using them for the Ori ships in Stargate SG-1)

              From experience, it seems like people would much rather speak for people who've suffered these things than to people who've suffered them (although, I'm making an assumption about Holocaust survivors, obviously). Which is understandable, because it is also much easier to do - angry, offended tweets to someone you don't actually know are much quicker and less messy than helping a neighbour or colleague deal with trauma.

              Probably my biggest problem with the whole dickwolves saga is that ultimately, it makes it harder to talk about this stuff, because it perpetuates that the topic is a taboo. To my mind, it actually increases the feeling of victimisation, by increasing the gulf between "victims" and "normal people" (because normal people don't even want to think about it, let alone talk about it or worse, make jokes about it). At least when I talk about my suicide experiences, people don't immediately clam up and look at me like I am suffering from uncontrollable flatulence (well not straight away - it does happen eventually, but I'm not sure if that's discomfort about the topic or it really is the incontrollable flatulence).

        you can make rape jokes, no-ones stopping you - but it's the kind of thing a decent person would not do, because of the harm it might cause to someone else

        Last edited 06/09/13 12:07 pm

          Way to strip away all the semantics and fluff and make a staggeringly true statement.

          Definitely agree, it has a lot to do with taste, context, company, judgement etc.

          No one should be told what they can or can't say, or be berated to apologise for something that is completely arbitrary.

      Educate yourselves?
      Youre trying to inflict your opinion that rape jokes shouldnt happen cause people get raped.
      Fuck. Off.
      Seriously. Fuck. Off.
      Rather than trying to advertise that maybe JUST MAYBE, people shouldnt rape. Its "dont make rape jokes cause the people that have been raped will be offended."
      But of course, that would be a sane rational argument rather than trying to tell somebody what they can and cant joke about.
      I seriously cant believe in this day and age people are trying to tell others not to say something cause it may hurt somebodies feelings rather than deal with the MAJOR issue.
      Thanks Ben White for "not sitting on the fence" about this, its good to know you have an opinion that jokes about rape "are not okay".

        that's not it - you're allowed to make rape jokes, the question is whether or not you would feel comfortable making a rape joke, knowing that if someone who has been raped heard it, it might trigger a flashback or whatever for them?

        for me the answer is no - although i know i'm allowed to make rape jokes. i choose not to - but it's really up to the individual at the end of the day whether they feel comfortable doing it or not

        Last edited 06/09/13 12:27 pm

          and i dont believe for a second that making a rape joke suddenly makes you no longer a decent person either.
          What you find funny or what you joke about doesnt actually indicate anything other than your sense of humour.
          Laughing or making a rape joke should not even be in the same ballpark as the ACTUAL crime itself, but the way some of the people are acting and bitching over this whole dickwolves debacle it sure seems like they would like it to be, all because of 'flashbacks'.

            i'm not saying making a rape joke makes you no longer a decent person period - no singular thing can make you good or bad - i'm saying it's not a decent thing to do generally, unless you can be sure that in the group of people you're making the joke to, no-one is going to be hurt or offended by it

            it's like ben said below - you're theoretically allowed to turn up to someone's funeral and start making jokes about cancer or death or whatever, it's just an inconsiderate, shitty thing to do

            after all the purpose of comedy is to make people laugh right? how much is that laugh worth if in the process of illiciting that response in a person you concurrently make someone else feel the exact opposite

            Last edited 06/09/13 12:57 pm

          Not allowed and choosing not to is different, you already pointed that out. Not sure how you could get them confused? Not allowing YOURSELF is maybe what you mean?

            yeah that probs wasn't clear enough :) - i'm not trying to make a value judgement about anyone else's choices, but yeah, for me, the answer is no - i'm allowed to make rape jokes, choose not to

              I see what you mean, but maybe your word choice is a bit misleading.

              Not allowing yourself sounds like you actually want to but you're stopping yourself.

              Choosing to sounds like you don't want to, so you don't.

        Not sure where in my post I mentioned the act of rape was fine. Of course that is a bigger issue, but that's not what the discussion is about.
        It's not about what you can/can't do, it's what you should/shouldn't do as a fucking decent human being.

          And ill repeat. A Sense of humour is not indicative of a being a decent person.
          We live in a country where tomorrow people are going to elect in a person who is gonna slam the door on alot of female & LGBT rights, but here we are, arguing about whether or not rape jokes should/shouldnt be done if youre a decent person?
          Am i on fucking tumblr?

            I'm not sure how you've come to the conclusion that humour can be easily separated from decency, especially online.

            Spot the difference between:
            "Racism is awesome!"


            "Racism is awesome!"

            Doesn't matter which one was the "joke", it's still a shitty thing to say in any context.

              You have given NO context for your 'Racism is awesome!' joke, so your argument is completely irrelevant. There is no way to say that it's a 'shitty thing to say' without context of some kind.

              Context is EVERYTHING.

                Cool! So provide me with a context in which that statement is okay.
                Then do the same with a rape joke.

                  I'm not that funny, but there's plenty of stuff on you tube that is hilarious (providing you have a sense of humour).

                  Louis C.K.
                  Dave Chappelle
                  Ricky Gervais
                  Many more...

                  Have fun!

                  @Roh, Mark is actually a huge fan of every comedian in that list (in addition to Frankie Boyle). From the stuff I've seen over the years, they all have amazing material. Some of which I find hilaaaarrious (geddit), some surprisingly insightful, and some I personally just find offensive. Can't say I've come across a rape joke yet though. Not sure how that would suddenly make it okay? A famous funny person said it, so it must be okay?

                  Dave Chappelle dressed as a KKK member calling out "White Power" is hilarious.

                  Context is everything.

                @benwhite (sorry can't reply directly)

                It's not a case in which I'm saying it's 'ok' or 'not ok' because i feel it's not anyone's place to say that as everyone has different tastes, it's a matter of providing context to a situation where a joke is a joke and not trivialising subjects or attacking victims of rape/violence/tragedy etc

                You asked how it's possible to use rape/racism etc in a funny context and i gave you examples of people who make a living from doing just that. Louis c.k. once talked about raping unborn babies and how that theoretically could bo ok as people say it's not actually 'alive' yet (abortion AND rape in a joke).

                People laughed at the joke as it was absurd and shocking in a flippant kind of way (black comedy), some people were probably offended too, but i didn't see or hear them demanding he apologise because they were offended by a comedian they chose to go and see.

              This coming from the person trying to tell others that making a joke about ANY subject that you personally frown upon is indecent.
              Context is fucking EVERYTHING. Hell you even mentioned in a post below this that it would be a shitty thing to do in that context. But what if that person wanted a humorous wake?
              Subject doesnt make things funny/unfunny does, more often than not its about context and the art of a joke. (Example. Youre "Racism is awesome" example. One would be an opinion, the other would be a thing said in jest, while knowing the exact opposite. Which isnt funny to alot of people, cause saying things that are the opposite without any context, punchline or buildup)
              I know youre a MOD on HERE and your job is essentially censorship., but what youre advocating is censorship on a much grander scale on things you simply dont understand, or wish to understand either.
              But that IS what your advocating, this is WHAT the subject at hand is.
              Censorship for the unfortunate.
              Whats worse is youre not even advocating censorship in form of hateful, ignorant opinions. But rather what is and what isnt funny or maybe more accurately what is and what isnt acceptable to be joked about.
              Ben you have your opinion that it shouldnt be joked about.
              I however have the approach that there is no special treatment for ANY subject, even one as tragic and preventable as rape.

              If we couldnt joke about all the horrible things in this world, what would we have to laugh about? Fart jokes?
              (EDIT:broke the cardinal rule of the internet of my your vs youre)

              Last edited 06/09/13 1:19 pm

                The badge is misleading. I'm not a mod, just a dev. The publishers and eds handle moderation, but I have been approving most of the comments in this thread. Don't tell anyone though, I should be doing my actual job.

                One would be an opinion, the other would be a thing said in jest, while knowing the exact opposite. Which isnt funny to alot of people, cause saying things that are the opposite without any context, punchline or buildup

                That's kinda my whole point. But in the case of rape jokes, instead of it just being a crappy/hurtful/unfunny joke, it can instantly take a victim back to that situation. How is that a cool thing to do? Why would you stand up for people that do that?

                  Ben, i have PTSD from a few events in my life that are rather traumatic, nothing as bad as rape (thats not exactly a sentence that fills me with joy to say) but are still pretty bad that i wont be going on about, especially on here, so even tho this is the internet, you'll just have to take my word for it.
                  However, i dont ask, nor expect special treatment and have my friends or loved ones to censor themselves with their sense of humour, even if they are incredibly inappropriate, crass or do infact cause a flashback.
                  I stand up for peoples rights to do that, because the idea that they have to treat me OR the world differently and censor themselves, not due to ignorant or hateful opinions or beliefs but rather than to stop them joking about something because somebody out there has had a great evil inflicted upon them rather than addressing the issue of the evil itself is disingenuous.
                  Rather than educating people that its wrong, rather than bringing to light the trauma that rape does its victims, that racism, sexism and other 'isms' have a long lasting effect on people and that it shouldnt be done, its "stop making jokes about these subjects cause of hurt feelings"
                  Rather than deal with the major problem, the root cause, people and in this case, you, deal with the minor problem, the problem down the line because its the only problem they feel like they can fix.
                  This argument can be replicated in the dumbing down of society for the dumbest people, or taking away rights from all due to a very small percentage.
                  I dont believe in taking away the rights or shaming a group of people for making jokes.
                  It isnt 'cool' making jokes at rape victims expenses, however it isnt not cool either.
                  Its just humour.

                  I stand up for peoples rights, in this case penny arcades because they they provide an artistic entertainment heavily based in humour (I havent read penny arcade in years and only read 'dickwolves' to see what the fuss is about.) as humour is subjective, they are going to make jokes that alot of people arent going to like, but i will never stand up for the removal of said rights or shaming them because they make jokes that people dont like or cause a level of distress to people.
                  But major argument here (and i do apologise for repetition) is that people have traumatic flashbacks to a traumatic events, you can choose to take that information and try to coddle them and the entire world because of it, which is done by shaming people by making jokes, using manipulation (like advocating its indecient to make such a joke) which is whats being done here, which isnt right.
                  I dont stand for censorship, even if it will help the lives of those who are less fortunate a little easier while doing nothing to stop the core issues.

          There is a real self importance and self-centeredness that come from arbitrating what is right and offensive to you should then apply to me and everything I do.

          Offense is subjective. You offend me incredibly.

          So to quote m2d2 as he so eloquently put it: Fuck. Off.

            Ok, so explain to me - you think rape jokes are fine, because:
            a) You give zero fucks about rape victims feelings
            b) You don't think rape is 'a big deal'
            c) ?

              C) In a certain context they could be construed as 'black comedy'.


              " humor that makes light of otherwise serious subject matter"

              AGAIN: Context is everything.

              Good god you're terrible at having a discussion, emotion filled strawmans your only recourse here?

              Because they're jokes. Ben. Cause they are jokes.

              C) , , , (particularly, ,

                Some very interesting reading there, good looking out.

              In black humour, unpleasant things like racism, incest, rape and bestiality are used specifically because they are horrible. To use the Penny Arcade example (although personally I don't care for the site) the dickwolves are used to escalate the severity of the prisoners situation. Unless you believe rape is serious, unless you believe rape is a terrible thing, the joke doesn't make any sense. If you thought rape wasn't a big deal, you would use something else, because the joke is that the player doesn't care about these prisoners, he's already rescued 5.

              The thing that confuses me, is that while my own struggles with PTSD (while not as traumatising as sexual assault) help me understand why a victim would not want to be reminded of their ordeal, I do not understand how that leads people to think that darkly humourous rape jokes should not be told. Two of the things that helped weaken the hold of racism on western culture were Lenny Bruce and All In The Family/Till Death Do Us Part, which mocked racism for the stupid and horrible thing that it is. Obviously I'm not suggesting we cut a pilot about a family of predators, but given how under-reported sexual assault already is, I don't think making it taboo to even use as an example of the worst thing imaginable makes any sense.

            sorry dude but i've gotta call bullshit on that - people who insist on their right to do whatever the fuck they want regardless of the harm it causes to other people, THEY are the self important and self centered ones

            I don't understand how you can think that people who are choosing not to do something they're perfectly entitled to do purely because it may hurt someone else are self-centered - it's called compassion

              But now we're in the realm of deciding what is offensive and what isn't offensive. It's subjective, and contextual.

              Right now, you're offending me cause you're coming off as a gibbering white-knight with no conception of the separation between real life vile acts and imagined ones.

              People who insist on their rights are self centred?

              You must hate Amnesty international, fighting for human rights and all.

              Imposing one's own moral code on other people is wrong. You're entitled to think what you want about what I do or say, but don't tell me I have to apologise because you're offended.

                I like you. Can we be friends?

                  Well we do seem to have a similar viewpoint on freedom of expression!

                like i keep saying - i'm not offended at all and i'm not making a value judgement about the offensiveness of the jokes to other people, that's not what my point is - offensiveness isn't the problem

                my point is about having some concern/compassion for the unintended effects your actions can have on other people, that's all - i've also said this is just my opinion, i'm not telling anyone else what to do

                roh - you know that's not what i'm talking about......

                  I think what you are talking about are individuals and characteristics of their personality, rather than outright censorship, which is a whole 'nother can o' worms.

                  Basically i'm saying there should be no restrictions on what people do or say, particularly in private or on their own website, but that doesn't mean i condone racists or rapists or anything like that, because they are individuals who choose to act like that, and are just plain ignorant.

                  I fully recognise that people should use their better judgement and know when to do or say things, there is a time and place for rape jokes, like Louis c.k. telling them in a comedy show at a theatre, not at a rape survivors meeting. I think people should feel empathy/sympathy for one another and act accordingly, that's just basic human interaction.

                  But NO ONE should tell anyone they can't talk/joke about a certain subject, NO ONE has that right. NO ONE should demand apologies from someone else because they are offended by a subject, that is just self righteous ignorance.

                  (BTW I don't specifically mean you derrick, i'm more talking about the people who originally criticised PA after the FIRST comic, which is what started everything, and also just generally speaking)

          So who decides what is a decent thing to do then? Jokes about rape fall into the category of what isn't decent? What about rock n roll? I hear it's the devil's music!

          I think it's purely up to the individual to decide for themselves what is decent and indecent, but it's not ok to impose those personal beliefs on someone else, and demand they apologise when they have offended you because your morals differ from theirs.

      Yea, you're right rape isn't right.

      You know what is alright, a fucking joke. Mate.

      But I do agree with you on one thing, oddly. Penny Arcade apologizing for a joke. That shit ain't right.

      Cause in the end, the world, and penny arcade. Don't owe you dick. Pun intended.

      'Stupid people treat jokes about bad things with the same fear and loathing as intelligent people treat the actual bad thing.' - Ricky Gervais, pretty much sums up my stance on the matter.

        That's a nice quote, but it completely disregards context.
        You wouldn't rock up to the funeral of someone who just died of cancer and start making cancer jokes. That would be super shitty.

          Well would you look at that, I was going to say the exact same thing about context. Cause last I checked, PA made a joke on THEIR site and sold merch in THEIR store.

          It's the internet, if you hadn't noticed, it's a big fucking place. You're bound to offend someone.

          Last edited 06/09/13 12:58 pm

          You wouldn't rock up to the funeral of someone who just died of cancer and start making cancer jokes. That would be super shitty.

          Well penny arcade did not do that. They made a couple comic strips and t shirts. All of which are Opt-In for the offended parties. No one took those comic strips, and found rape victims, and forced them to watch. PA have the right to discuss and satirise anything they like. You and I have the right to view penny arcade, or choose not to.

            Why can't you just choose to not read that comic and instead read every other comic?

              Because that's too sensible dammit!

          Yes it would but, you could do it in your own home, that way people can choose to come to your home and listen to you or not.

          Just like how people CHOOSE to go to penny arcade to read the comic and CHOOSE to go to PAX. Yelling cancer jokes at a funeral is a bit different as you can't get away, it's not like PA hijacked a rape victims website and plastered their comic on every page.

            If PA advertised they were telling rape jokes then your assertion would hold water.

            But they didn't, and it's an unreasonable expectation for someone to imagine they would do so as a matter of random chance.

            So in terms of upsetting people who have a legitimate reason to be upset about this issue, it was a dick move. You may or may not find the term 'trigger warning' amusing but it exists for a reason.

            Yes, people with no history of rape shouldn't be FREAKING OUT over this.

            Just make sure you differentiate who you're targeting with your judgmental posts, because your 'logic' only applies to a very small subsection of people - and tarring other people with the same brush makes you come off as a gigantic douche.

        You sound like you're really edgy and have spent time at the school of hard knocks!

        Sorry, I meant to say you sound like you're really fat and have spent time on Reddit.

      I never said it was okay, but the other day I read an article titled 'Quit fucking going to PAX already, what is wrong with you'. Nothing is wrong with me or anyone that chooses to attend PAX. We go because we enjoy our time being around people who have the same interests as ourselves. We go because PAX is FUN. What we DON'T do is go because we condone rape or even because we agree with Mike's words and actions (I don't, by the way).

      I get that some people choose to boycott PAX because of this incident. I get that people have been offended and no amount of words will probably convince them to support PA. Sure, tell us why you don't like them and tell us why you won't go to such events. That's YOUR right. But please don't imply that there's something wrong with me because I choose to support an event which is all about enjoying my games and spreading the love of gaming throughout the community. That's MY right and I should be able to do that without criticism from PA's detractors.

        'Quit fucking going to PAX already, what is wrong with you'

        That sounds like a ridiculous article. Contradictory too, "look at these intolerant assholes! I can't stand them!!!"

          Leigh Alexander posted yesterday that that article perfectly summed up her attitude to Mike, Jerry and PAX (her post was called "Why I'm Still Never Going to PAX"), and described anyone who was defending their decision to still go to PAX (or Mike and Jerry's actions) as "militarily self righteous" (without any hint of irony). Patricia linked to Leigh's article yesterday in the post on Kotaku yesterday (I think it was the link about boycotting, from memory).

          Whether or not Patricia (and possibly, though more passively, Mark going by some the comments yesterday) actually hold that same outrageous (and to me, far more offensive than anything Mike said) view, they're certainly promulgating it without any apparent qualification. Which is their right, but it seems ... almost sinister - or at least hypocritical. To me, anyway - though admit I might be being a bit hyper-sensitive.

          Last edited 06/09/13 8:21 pm

    Eh, I still follow South Parks idealology. Either it's all okay, or none of it is.

    Besides, the real problem about jokes is whether or not they're actually funny.

      "Either it's all okay, or none of it is."


    ...the comic, overtly, was about the way players handle or think about missions

    This comment, overtly, was not portraying the comic as an attempt at promoting the acceptability of sexual assaults in society as part of a hidden cultural conspiracy embedded in everything the PA authors say and do.

    Last edited 06/09/13 12:37 pm

    Personally I do not see the comic as a 'rape joke' and I totally understand how jokes about rape can be offensive. I've read articles like the tl:dr ones posted above and they did change my mind about the impact of said jokes.

    This comic was not a joke at the expense of rape victims or a joke celebrating the acts of rapists. This was a joke about exaggeration and hyperbole. The humour is about just how HORRIBLE it is, how RIDICULOUSLY HORRIBLE a concept like Dickwolves are, and playing that against the unfeeling nature of game players/protagonists.

    I said in another thread that we shouldn't be laughing at rape, we should be laughing at the absurdity that rapist themselves are. As John Cleese once said: "There's a difference between being serious and being solemn."

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, on the one hand: rape isn't okay. Whether it's male/female male/male female/male female/female. Talking about it often brings out the worst in people especially on the internet.

    You've also got the way Mike and Jerry handled the blow-out from the strip and subsequent strips. Instead of handling the criticism like mature adults, they flopped to the floor and threw a tantrum. People who supported them, did it without observing the facts and the people who disagreed with them did it to the point of being as bad as the PA guys themselves.

    On the other hand: I liked the original strip. There's actually a message in there if you stop long enough to think about it. It's a little funny, but the actual context of the 'joke' isn't. If you can't find the message, then the strip isn't for you and you might want someone to explain it to you.

    The whole thing has turned into a giant clusterfuck of emotions. The worst part about it is that it'll never go away. People are always going to be offended, people are always going to rape (it's a sad, but true fact) and people are always going to make jokes about inappropriate topics. What I think is important to remember is that we can actually talk about these topics like adults. We have the ability to use a wonderful language, so why don't we try to communicate with it?

    I am so, so tired of this story. Nobody seems to ever win by adding more fuel to the fire, but it keeps happening.
    I thought the original comic was funny.
    Rape wasn't the punchline. People who experience great (as in, large) sexual violence weren't the punchline. They were the means to the end. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. Maybe? Player's apathy towards NPCs once their little quest meter has already filled up, that was the punchline.

    Mike handled everything afterwards poorly. No doubt about that. He handled it all about as well as Hitler handled losing the war (not particularly well).
    I think the reaction to the comic was larger than it should've been. People are always going to be offended, and that's okay. They're allowed to be offended. There's ample room for discussion, as there has been, about the rights and wrongs, the shoulds and should-nots of society and comedy and that's perfectly fine.
    But we have people telling other people that they are abhorrent people if they go to PAX because the creators encourage "rape culture", and I just don't see that. Rape isn't a punchline, rape wasn't a punchline.

    On the subject of rape as a punchline, that Tosh guy. That guy deserves a thousand times the dickwolfgate that Penny Arcade got.

    I think the equation is really simple in the end.

    Penny Arcade has every right in the world to run whatever content they want. And the audience has every right in the world to register their offense. Penny Arcade is not purely an outlet of art and creativity, they're a business with a demographic. So it's up to them if they want to persist with the content in the name of creative integrity, or decide that retaining a percentage of their audience is more important to them.

    It's pretty simple.

    This horse has not only been beaten to death, it's been beaten into a fine dust and smeared onto the faces of the people who won't let it go, who now dance in circles around a campfire worshiping the fucking horse and baying for blood and calamity.

    At the heart of this entire thing is a simple philosophy that some people get and other people don't: being offended is a personal matter, and one that is wholly controllable.

    When you were a kid, when you got upset or angry you'd hit things or kick things or break things. Everyone did it at some point. And as you grew up, you learned to control the impulse to hit and kick and break when you got upset, because you learn over time that acting on that impulse rarely achieves anything positive. For many kids, this is one of the first examples of discipline that they learn.

    Taking offence at something is another impulse. And just like hitting and kicking and breaking, all it takes is a little discipline to control that impulse and not let it rule your actions. The problem is everyone gets taught as a kid that being violent is negative, but nobody gets taught as a kid that being offended is negative. Trying to learn it as an adult, when you're already set in your ways, is much harder. So there are many people that just don't even try, and justify their behaviour as normal. The problem with that should be obvious: there are people that feel the same way about their lack of control over violent impulses. As a society, we have a hard line 'sorry but this is something you have to learn to control' attitude towards the latter, but we let the former slide.

    Nothing is inherently offensive, because offensiveness is a purely subjective notion. There is no such thing as a universal truth of what is acceptable and what isn't. The sooner people learn that their views and sensitivities are personal, the better.

    Sure, people can try to offend you, just the same as people might try to provoke you to violence. If someone in your life does that and you don't like it, walk away. It's not difficult. But walking away is your personal decision, based on your personal feelings. Don't drag others into it, don't make an issue out of what should be something you choose to do and then move on. If other people have a problem, they can deal with it themselves in a way they find appropriate, they don't need you trying to speak or act for them. Don't try to force your personal values on everyone else, especially not the people who don't find whatever it is offensive. Just walk away.

    I'll try to put this politely: If you get offended at things - anything - try exercising some willpower. Ask yourself why you feel offended. Ask yourself what benefit there is in feeling offended. If it's a problem for you, ask yourself how you can solve it in a way that doesn't infringe on others. Try choosing to not be offended. Choose to not let it affect you. Don't invent excuses: it can be done, it can be done by everyone, and it can be done about any topic.

    And if it's all too hard, then make the personal choice to walk away, and have the decency to understand that you're not the centre of the universe, society doesn't revolve around you, and nobody is obliged to change just because you can't let it go.

    Last edited 06/09/13 7:26 pm

      Of course, there's also the personal choice not to sound like an arsehole via cheap shock value posing as a joke.


        Thats the sound of a well thought out, well worded and reasoned post's point flying over your obvlivious head.

        Have a nice day! :D

    herp derp I'm dumb

    Last edited 07/09/13 1:21 am

      You're a bit late. That post is what this entire article is about. Scroll up to the top, it's linked and quoted.

      And yeah, I'd say it's about time to drop it now. Gabe has laid his cards on the table, peoplecan take it or leave it I suppose.

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