WARNING: POSSIBLE TRIGGERS. WHEN DISCUSSING ONE OF THE INTERNET’S MOST RENOWN DICKS, OFFENSIVE ISSUES AND IMAGES ARISE
A year ago Ryan Perez made an unprovoked attack on Felicia Day. Unsatisfied with the public response, he escalated to harassing Felicia directly and repeatedly on Twitter until friends and fans were outraged and took action. More of the story plus links to relevant other blogs is here.
Traffic to my ‘Don’t be a Dick’ blog has averaged about 1000 visits a day for the past few days, an exponential increase from last week. I revisited the blog to update it and found that Ryan hasn’t really learnt much from his experiences except maybe to not attack Felicia Day. In fact, Ryan has recently indulged in some self-righteous self-pity.
Let’s take a look at a sample of his blogs, shall we?
On 1 Feburary 2013, Venture Beat published this article by Ryan: Fake is fake: On sexual objectification, offensive material, and all things ‘naughty’ in fantasy.
According to Ryan, the below ‘sculpture’ is acceptable for purchase because FANTASY.Ryan Perez claims this is not offensive
I recommend you don’t bother with Ryan’s article and just go to this response by Cara Ellison.
Cara’s blog is funny and pointed.
On February 12 2013 Ryan published Tiny Tina be trippin’: On free expression and artistic integrity. This is about verbal black face: a white character imitating the accent and slang of ‘the hood’ because ‘ARTIST INTEGRITY.’
April 19 2013, Ryan said Inclusion/diversity for its own sake does not matter to videogames
Um, What? I don’t usually bother reading shit like Ryan’s. Although I’ve seen some awesome blogs by literate feminists and allies that were probably intended as responses to this bullshit, I didn’t put the crap together with the cleaning agent.
How can a lack of inclusion and diversity ever ‘not matter’?
Obviously inclusion and diversity doesn’t matter to the selfish straight white male suffering from superior entitlement issues whose tastes are abundantly catered to in the majority of videogames. One day this dude is going to get into a relationship. And out of said relationship because ENTITLEMENT ISSUES. One day he might have a daughter. Will Ryan tell her “here are your four games. Stay out of daddy’s enormous video library because MENZ.”
On May 9 2013, in Between pundits and priests: On moral appeal in videogames journalism,
Ryan appears to take the moral high ground: apparently Ryan’s background in journalism justifies his sermonising in videogame journalism as he lectures those he considers inferior:
The issue presents itself with the fact that young up-and-coming weblogs need to fill a void of content, all for the sake of establishing a readership. They often achieve this by featuring second-hand information and, more commonly, an abundance of editorial, which is often simple, provocative, and entertaining.
Oh wait, Ryan is talking about OTHER PEOPLE, apparently not himself.
With this “anything goes” mentality that even professional blogs can retain, those who organically grew into journalism can sometimes turn the wagging finger of individual belief into a slamming fist of broadcasted evangelism. So, if they retain an underlying dissatisfaction with certain societal, cultural, and moral commonalities that the medium may sometimes feature, you bet they’re going to voice their seemingly brilliant viewpoint on it.
Let the impassioned journalizing begin.
Ryan’s later arguments left me speechless with their absolute hypocrisy:
So then what’s the issue? Well, firstly, this is not what journalism is typically about. With a few intellectual exceptions (e.g. Christopher Hitchens), the profession is predominantly based on the information one knows, not the sort that one merely believes. Journalism is a service, and that service calls for little else than stating that blue is indeed blue, not that the color is inappropriate and shouldn’t exist.
Obviously Ryan’s research in this area is limited, not including Pulizter Prize-winning narrative non-fiction articles, anything by Hunter S. Thompson etcetera. I should sit at the almighty Ryan’s feet and just skip the Writing Non-Fiction subject at university next year, because clearly Dr Peter Ellings KNOWS NOTHING, JON SNOW. And those hours I wasted reading Storycraft – oh Ryan, you should have said sooner!
Again, since most pundits in the games industry don’t have any vocational background in the profession, they misconstrue it as an opportunity to be an activist of sorts for their personal ideals. Much like how they sometimes regard the gaming medium, reporting is a sort of tool that is meant to trick or “teach” people into believing one way or another. If they feel a great injustice is transpiring in the industry, they feel it’s a natural obligation of their job to explain how it’s utterly deplorable and why you should be entirely against it.
What Ryan seems to be saying here is that it’s not appropriate for people to campaign for diversity in videogames and a move away from objectification. It appears it’s ok for Ryan to campaign against their campaign, arguing for ‘artistic integrity’ and appreciation of fake and naughtiness in Fantasy. After all, a headless torso with stuck-on boobs covered in a US flag bikini is so tasteful.
On May 15 2013, close to a year after Ryan’s unprovoked attack on Felicia Day, he published this article: When burn victims become arsonists: On public shaming in the videogames industry
No self-interest here, is there? No personal stake in this story, it’s 100% pure journalism, facts and no red-neck agenda on the radar here, no, not at all.
Leaving my own experience out of the equation, I looked to others whom were “burned at the stake” for their trespasses, both minor and extreme. … In fact, too few individuals even bother considering every potential result when it comes to their actions, particularly those convinced that they are doing something noble or good.
It’s a damn shame, because some of the worst offenses anyone can commit are often perpetuated by God, “justice,” and a personal sense of absolute morality.
It gets better as Ryan reinforces his entitlement to the moral high ground:
No matter how compelling and valuable your commodity may be, if your sales pitch consists of vilifying language and a condemning regard for your hopeful customer, they will not feel inclined to give two steaming shits about what you’re selling.
When people stumble — myself, Allistair, and even greater authorities like David Jaffe and Jim Sterling — the goal is to make us learn from our mistakes, but what do we learn if the lesson is delivered by a figurative bat to the head?
Ryan describes his repeated and escalated attacks on Felicia Day as a ‘stumble.’ Ryan criticises those who stood up to defend Felicia from Ryan’s ongoing flaming that he then expanded to others. After I wrote my original ‘Don’t be a dick‘ blog, Ryan attacked me on Twitter until I blocked him. This was not a stumble, Ryan waged a holy war against anyone who did not stand for straight white males with superior entitlement issues.
Treating anyone like they are subhuman is equally as deplorable as whatever behavior may have instigated it.
Ryan, you treat women like we’re subhuman with lesser entitlement than you: what do you claim we did to ‘instigate’ that?
We all desire for others to understand us. In the process, though, we so often become the new embroiderers of scarlet letters (“M” for misogyny). We claim to have the high ground, yet voluntarily remain in the piss-soaked dirt of the struggle below. That provides nothing substantial or positive to the games industry we claim to serve, and it perpetuates an even greater disconnect between social groups.
“Goodness” and “kindness” are not subject for debate, nor are they anyone’s to redefine. If you still feel that fighting fire with fire is a reasonable and justifiable strategy for extinguishing a societal blaze, then perhaps you should spend more time off to the side, watching the flames burn everything to the ground.
Ryan clearly doesn’t understand firefighting techniques. ‘Burning off’ is a great Australian tradition where dangerous levels of scrub are burnt during safer weather to reduce fuel for high fire danger days. Another firefighting technique is ‘back burning’ to create a firewall (in the real world this is a space with no fuel for the fire) when a blaze is heading in a particular direction. Yes, Ryan, fire IS used to fight fire.
Having said that, I prefer a more water-based method. Drip, drip, drip (no this is not a reference to Ryan’s personality). Water wears away stone over years. We’ve had a misogynistic society for centuries; a quick blaze now isn’t going to create permanent change. Look at the gains made by Women’s Liberation in the 1970s, cheerfully surrendered by recent raunch culture.
We need to carefully argue with entrenched views while strategically channeling public focus where appropriate. Occasionally water-bombing flamers like Ryan is necessary because to stand silently by is to be a part of the problem.
On a more positive note, Ryan has been responsible for a shift towards more liberal views in some people, simply because some people no longer want to be associated with his ilk. The resulting discussion raised public awareness and gave some momentum for an egalitarian movement.
But the fight isn’t over. Yet.