The one-honey twird episode of our podcast, Paul and Storm Talk About Some Stuff for Five to Ten Minutes (On Average), is now online.
This week’s episode: the busy, the laziness, and forgetting; the unattractiveness of aliens; shooting Tim Gunn into space; the Kraken vs. Aquaman vs. Ringo Starr; technical difficulties and building a hot 80s computer; our take on the Ocean Marketing debacle; have nerds become the bullies; Nerd/Bro is the new Nerd/Jock; and foods that BLOW YOUR MIND; don’t forget that bacon really is good.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION ALERT: Did the Ocean Image marketing guy deserve to be hit with the million-pound shithammer, and/or did he instead become the victim of bullying?
I think the Marketing Douchenozzle (heretofore referred to as MDN) guy deserved the shithammer he got. When trying to explain why he was not in the wrong he said it was unfair because it was like he picked a fight in a bar and turned out the other guy was a martial arts master. That was the analogy he went with. As if it would have been totally OK to pick a fight as long as he could win.
Also, Mike didn’t wade into the email fray until MDN brought up PAX in one of his rants at the customer. And I quote: “See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.”
Additionally, Mike didn’t reveal this guy’s insanity to the public until he started antagonizing Mike and the PA site. Again I quote: “Your spamming me you’re not on a mailing list you idiot ! You sent me an email remember . Make sure you stir up a lot of controversy about us the more the better we needed some drama gets good blood flow going about the new product launch . Your sites amateur at best my son could put together a better site than yours and you run PAX ?? Wow , Ill put my marketing team on a smear campaign of you and your site and your emails , I have about 125 dedicated people to run PR , Blogs , Articles , Videos you have no clue who I am . Thanks again”
The anonymous morons who threatened his family are unfortunate but you cannot put Mike (or anyone else) in charge of the Internet at large. This shitstorm was not from just PA fans and I guarantee he had no idea it would blow up like it did. When it DID go viral the Penny Arcade site itself (which gets lord knows how much traffic per day) was temporarily reduced to a smoking cinder.
The shitstorm was essential. His repeated misuse of “your” alone makes me want to set him on fire.
While I think that the steroid-using troglodyte deserved all scorn heaped on him by the Internet community, I do agree that bringing his family into it wasn’t necessary (or cool) at all. I don’t think that Mike was responsible for it happening because I doubt that it would have occurred to him to push it that far himself, so he didn’t upfront think that others would do so. (Wow, what a crappy sentence that was. My jacked-up sinuses have disabled the part of my brain that handles good writing, so please forgive any further craptastic writing today.)
As for calling it “bullying”, it’s more that nerds now have better means for fighting back when it comes to douchey behavior than we used to. This braggart stupidly name-dropped and got called out on it by one of the people whose convention he named dropped and then still proceeded to be a douche. At that point, “nuke it from orbit” was pretty much the best plan of action for dealing with him.
Hey Paul, if you guys ever end up in Massachusetts again, take a drive to Western MA (specifically Chicopee)to go to Bernie’s Dining Depot for prime rib.
They do the best prime rib you’ll ever have and the portions are crazy huge. I get the smallest one and make three meals out of it. The largest one looks like it comes out of the Flintstones’ cartoon. Mmm….prime rib… Oh yeah, ask to be seated in the old train dining car. The seats are super comfy and it’s a neat experience.
The Twitter discussion I had (which I believe stemmed from the same post Storm mentioned) solidified my opinion: if you have enough online cachet to unleash the Internet Hammer, pointing it at an individual is *always* a violation of Wheaton’s Law. They might deserve it, but it’s still kind of a dick thing to do. (Yes, even if it’s Wil wielding the hammer.)
In this instance I do not feel a lick of remorse over my schadenfreude, because douchePRbro is such a remorseless jerk himself. I think nerdiness is often tied to a rigid sense of fairness, which means many nerds (myself included) take bloodthirsty joy in vigilante justice when it looks like being nice will result in the “bad guy” getting away with his misdeeds.
Mike/Gabe admits to being an asshole about this, and why should we argue? I think it’s naïve to assume that anyone who spends much time in gamer/Reddit culture isn’t aware of the inevitable trolling that results from using the Internet Hammer. Asking people not to engage in 4chan behaviour is a nice gesture, but it’s not going to stop the anonymous douchebags. Despite that, I feel it’s important to *say* it’s inappropriate, to remind the hive mind of community standards. (I sat through the 2011 Canucks hockey riots—it’s disgusting what “normal” people do when they think they have the support of the mob.)
I feel the Internet Hammer technique can be effective to gain the attention of corporations and other interest groups which will never cede to an individual. When pointed at a single person, though, it is *always* a bully tactic, and I doubt it ever teaches the victim the intended lesson.
In the case of Ocean “Marketting” douchebro? Don’t care. I wish no harm upon his family, but I’d be thrilled if he had to change careers.
Like I said, bloodthirsty.
Aside: Storm, you’re absolutely right about the bro being the natural enemy of the nerd. There just wasn’t such a specific word for it before.
UM UM UM
Ringo Starr has some serious underwater experience.
1985 Alice in Wonderland, singin’ in a Mock Turtle suit.
The thing is, even before the guy revealed himself to be a Douche of the Highest Order, he was still godawful at Customer Service. I’ve worked in CS myself before now, and when a customer asks for an updated delivery date you don’t just send a reply that says ‘Dec 17’ and nothing else. You apologise for the delay, explain why there’s been a holdup and make it clear whether the date you’re quoting is when you expect the stock to arrive with you or when it should be with the customer. And preferably you do all of that as soon as you know there’s a delay, rather than waiting for them to chase you. So that alone makes me wonder what on earth he was doing in this job in the first place. The fact that he then went crazy is almost secondary to that (although, you know, it goes without saying that no matter what you might think about the customer, you never actually say any of it, especially not in an email where there’s always the opportunity to stop and think before hitting send).
As for the massive power of the Internet Hammer? Well, by all accounts this wasn’t actually the first customer he’d been a massive douche to, and yet he was still in his job up until now. It seems the Internet Hammer was the only way of creating enough of a ruckus to get anything done about him. So I’d say it absolutely needed to be unleashed in this case, but still certain individuals went too far. I’m not sure the Internet Hammer itself constitutes bullying, but some people were and it needs to be made clearer where the acceptable line is.
Nerds of this generation have probably been bullied by the jocks for a significant chunk of their lives. Is subsequently folding the abuse back on the jocks a good thing?
YES: maybe they’ll learn their lesson
NO: it makes the Nerds just as bad as the bullies
Could Mike have given more warning to Christoforo that the ensuing furore was likely to happen? He could have given him an idea of what might happen. If Christoforo had not been a douchebag maybe that warning would have been heeded. Yes, just hit the bit on the podcast where Paul says this and that Mike should have given some warnings to potential bullies. Concur.
I’d question whether the pure impact of the WebHammer caused the abuse of Christoforo’s family or whether that will always happen in this kind of situation because there will always be crazy people in the world. In 2005 my favourite band publicly fired their singer and thousands of people emailed her husband (using an address on the band’s website) with messages ranging from pleas to consider the way forward to straight up abuse. People are stupid.
Best result of the Avenger/Ocean Marketing incident would be that companies who haven’t previously would start to provide good Customer Service to one and all, and ideally not simply because they might get massively dumped on. And also that Dave gets his Avenger and finds it to be all that he wanted and more. And that people everywhere would generally start to be a little nicer to each other. And that marketing company executives everywhere would realise that they are indeed satan’s spawn and go build an earthship. And world peace.
Not much to ask really