For Our Consideration


The Worm Turns

The creator of Earthworm Jim is running a Kickstarter campaign for a new game, but his anti-gay comments make it tough to separate the art from the artist.

By Bob Mackey • June 17, 2013

Last year, political controversy erupted from an unlikely source: chicken sandwiches. You could spin any number of health scandals from the fast food industry’s dependence on factory farming, but a poultry-specific mad cow scare isn’t what made Chick-Fil-A a news item. When news of the company’s contributions to anti-gay groups went public, supporters of social justice rightfully took to the streets to boycott a corporation that aimed to deny civil rights to all but “traditional” married couples.

This revelation caused an outbreak of cognitive dissonance for otherwise well-meaning people who, quite literally, wanted to have their chicken and eat it too. In response to some of his friends who held this mindset, socially conscious comedian Paul F. Tompkins performed a fantastic and funny monologue on the issue that he’s graciously allowed to remain on YouTube. Though a quote will do this bit no justice, here is Tompkins’ punchline, as it were: “No one is asking you to investigate Coca-Cola, or AT&T, or anything. No one’s asking you to carry a sign in front of Chick-Fil-A. They’re just saying, ‘Now that you know this shit, don’t eat that fucking sandwich anymore!’”

The world of video games felt a mere ripple of this controversy when Doug TenNapel, an animator and cartoonist famous for creating the Earthworm Jim games in the 1990s, recently launched a campaign on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site. TenNapel is asking fans to fund Armikrog, a spiritual sequel to his brilliant and whimsical 1996 point-and-click adventure, The Neverhood. Though TenNapel makes a living as an artist, he’s known by many for his inflammatory public statements concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

In 2011, GayGamer wrote about TenNapel’s views as seen in the comments section of his webcomic, Ratfist, where he compared gay marriage to “taking a dump” in the wrong bathroom. TenNapel only grew more repellent in the comments section of GayGamer’s own report. But you don’t have to dig so deep to discover TenNapel’s beliefs: His Twitter account makes them clear, with frequent drum-beating for causes that would feel right at home on any ultra right-wing talk-radio program.

Here’s the thing: I want Doug TenNapel to be able to voice his beliefs publicly, even if they conflict with my own. But the idea of donating to a person who views a significant chunk of the population as subhuman? That makes me take pause.

If this controversy sounds somewhat familiar, the game industry went through a similar debacle in 2009, when Chair Entertainment’s Shadow Complex based its story on a ham-fisted political novel by Orson Scott Card, a notorious anti-gay advocate. Though the game contained no notable anti-gay themes, some players disagreed with the prospect of supporting Card in any way, which caused some perfectly reasonable adults to act, well, unreasonably.

Shadow Complex

Shadow Complex

Writer Peter David, who penned Shadow Complex’s script, seemed to ignore the historical importance of boycotts with his statement to Kotaku on the matter: “If anyone wants to boycott the game and thus damage me or Chair while doing nothing to change Orson’s opinions, that’s naturally their right. Or they can display the sort of tolerance for someone who is different from them that they feel is lacking in Orson and thus prove they’re better. Your choice.”

Demonizing those who hold anti-gay views isn’t hard, especially when their statements are ugly and stomach-churning. I don’t view TenNapel as a cackling villain; if anything, he’s a talented guy who got exposed to some particularly toxic ideas that stuck in his brain. My interactions with him on Twitter bear this out; after tweeting a few times about TenNapel’s history of anti-LGBT statements, I unexpectedly found him tweeting back in response. But the surrealism of having him reach out to me soon faded when he exposed the base and boring philosophy behind his troubling beliefs: He feels that criticism of his comments equates to censorship, that the freedoms of others encroach upon his own, and that we’re enveloped in a culture war in which both Christianity and heterosexuality are under attack. Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have dreamed up a more obvious neo-conservative stereotype.



Because the idea of a Neverhood sequel is a genuinely exciting prospect, otherwise rational people may find ways to justify their wants while keeping their consciences quiet. No, supporting Armikrog won’t actively stop gay marriages in progress, but it is giving TenNapel a pass on the severity of his statements. If you want to go all “Butterfly Effect,” then sure, it’s possible that the success of Armikrog could lead to TenNapel donating to anti-LGBT causes (not with Kickstarter funds, mind you), which could in turn affect public policy, and so on. But I’m most concerned with feeling terrible about giving money to a hateful person, just for the sake of playing a video game—and I don’t think it’s especially heroic to deny your own pleasure for the sake of doing the right thing. If anything, it should be expected of us.

As Tompkins detailed in his monologue, the intersection between ethics and capitalism is often littered with bloody pile-ups. We work for corporations that use their profits to affect our lives negatively, buy products from these same corporations without question, and live first-world lives in which nearly every object we encounter is the product of misery. But the fact that we’ve entered into this contract doesn’t mean we should ignore our responsibility to make things less miserable. And, as Tompkins also noted, this isn’t a matter of politics, it’s a matter of social justice. You history buffs might recall that the idea of arbitrarily treating certain groups as less than human has been a prickly pear for our species since, oh, forever.

From just a quick sampling of his art, it’s easy to see that Doug TenNapel is capable of great things. That makes it all the more tragic that he views compassion and empathy as threats to his world view. If any good can be spun from this, it’s that fans have yet another opportunity to “vote with their wallets,” as they are wont to do. But this time, they’re voting for a cause that’s more important than the latest anti-consumer efforts of the games industry. Again, you should be free to pay for, play, and enjoy Armikrog in the comfort of your home, surrounded by family, loved ones, and supportive pets. Regardless, my refrain will be the same: Now that you know, don’t eat that fucking sandwich anymore!

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437 Responses to “The Worm Turns”

  1. Jankos says:

    This isn’t Doug TenNapel’s project. This is by Pencil Test Studios:

    • John Teti says:

      This is the first paragraph of the Kickstarter page, in large text: “Pencil Test Studios presents a new Adventure Game made of Clay. From Doug TenNapel and the creators of The Neverhood.”

  2. HobbesMkii says:

    I think this is one of those critical questions in art. Shortly after reading Speaker for the Dead (which I hold is the best of Orson Scott Card’s novels) and its attendant sequels, I learned Card was further to the right than “Keep Right” signs. It was like someone telling you that eating ice cream kills puppies. It’s tough to get over, and I still haven’t read a Card novel since.

    But since then, I’ve thought about it a lot, and the way I approach it is two-fold:

    1) An artist’s belief system cannot help but shape their work.
    2) After its creation, the work stands separate from the artist, and the artist can exert no influence over it unless the consumer allows them to.

    There’s a line in the otherwise completely forgettable 1999 film Cradle Will Rock where a character declares “Artists are the worst whores of all!” I think that’s a fairly decent point. We don’t pay artists to spout political opinions. We pay them to produce art. And they’ve by and large done that without getting too overtly political about it. Sometimes they have and it’s wonderful (Guernica), but more often when they’re overt, it’s trash, and everyone knows it. If the art they produce is political in a way you dislike, if espouses hate or opinions you find contrary, then go ahead and boycott them. But if it’s not, don’t judge the art for the artist. I realize this isn’t perfect advice. It’s a lot easier when both the art and the artist are repugnant *cough*Ayn Rand*cough*. Some art is far more subtle in its political positions. It’s hard to know. Ezra Pound was a fascist through and through (he even played Goebbels to Mussolini’s Hitler). But many of his poems are not fascist. They are beautiful. And, arguably, without his work, we wouldn’t have Yeats, Frost, Hemingway, Joyce, and especially T. S. Eliot. Art does not necessarily reconcile itself to its creator.

    When we address belief systems it’s important to realize that you can’t “correct” a person’s thinking, really, through restrictions or punishment. It’s not something that’s healthy for art in general, or a society that gains its robustness from the synthesis of conflicting ideas. Instead, you punish bad behavior. The Civil Rights Act didn’t stop racists from being racists. It stopped them from behaving like racists. It’s been a mixed bag in how well that worked, but I think it’s safe to say that the country has become more tolerant as intolerant behavior has been punished.

    This isn’t easy for me–Card’s and TenNapel’s positions (and those of like-minded people) are in direct opposition and offensive to mine, and can (and have) hurt people I love and care about. But from my direction, I think of other people I love and care about–those on the other side of the fence. Would I want them to say that they won’t read my writing because my political positions oppose theirs? I hope not. It would hurt me if a friend said, “I won’t read this story because you support gay marriage.” I’d want them to read an engage (and judge!) the work on its own merits. Not on my merits. I will always be a flawed human being. But I’d hope my work could surpass me in quality.

    Will I buy another Card novel? Probably not. Will I donate to TenNapel’s Kickstarter? Definitely not (Not an Earthworm Jim fan). But I’m not going to castigate those who do. You shouldn’t feel shame about supporting the art you like.

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      This makes sense to me. Anyone who buys a book, an album, a game, etc. is making both an aesthetic connection and an economic transaction with the artist. When it comes to aesthetics, you can absolutely separate the art from the artist — whatever is relevant about the artist is also present in the art. That is, if wingnutty Orson Scott Card writes a paranoid novel about liberals destroying America, the objectionable politics are there in the work, and you can deal with them there.

      But I don’t think it’s reasonable to pretend that you’re not also making a very real economic transaction with the artist, and that it’s morally acceptable (and even laudable) to refrain from doing business with repugnant people. And that’s a line I think every person has a right to draw for themselves. Personally, I don’t mind buying hot dogs from the hot dog stand even though I heard the owner griping about Obamacare. I might change my mind if I heard him use a racial slur.

      Similarly, I wouldn’t mind transacting with, say, James Lileks even though he’s a right-winger and kind of a jerk. But someone like Doug TenNapel goes out of his way to promote a worldview that is actively repulsive to me, and I wouldn’t buy water from him in hell.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Yeah, as a corollary, I wouldn’t castigate anyone who refuses to donate to TenNapel’s Kickstarter on the grounds that they don’t care for his political persuasions. You’re allowed to not shunt your views off to the side just as much as you’re allowed to.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Yeah, well Ezra Pound’s dead now. And he’s not begging for cash out of one side of his mouth while gleefully debasing homosexuals out the other. I will happily enjoy TenNapel’s art secondhand, (Serendipitously, I just found a copy of Earthworm Jim at a used game store today.) but I’ll be damned if I’m going to support this artist.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Argh, I wish I had the necessary reference books with me right now.  Let me try to recreate them.

      1. It sounds like a pretty Hegelian view of history.  There are 2 positions, they clash, and a 3rd, superior position emerges as the path of history.  The ideas clash, the winner gets normalized by punishing wrong behavior, and the loser is sublimated somehow into the winning path.  To me, this degrades art into being propaganda for ideas and causes rather than mere lenses to examine them.  You wouldn’t SERIOUSLY read a Kipling story or poem if it was written by someone born in 1987, would you?  So, ideological diversity is only temporary.  People have a window to be wrong.

      There is lots of art, past and present, that present “wrong” or even distasteful end opinions or thematic thrusts, but I find great value in them for the moments in which they arrived at them.  I would hope that someone who finds Kipling’s racism (or at least feelings of ethnic superiority) or empire-cheering can still find much value in how he describes the difficulty of absorbing the entirety of 1 culture in 1 gulp, the loneliness of war and how that can make people great, and the funny quirks of “translating” folk stories between cultures.  If 2025 TenNapel makes a game explicitly condemning marriage as practiced in the U.S., I’d hope same-sex marriage and no-fault divorce proponents would see how he mapped culture decline in a beautifully tragic way or lamented the fragility of erotic love before he included some fart jokes.

      2.  What’s your view of “the critic” in society, then?  It sounds like most of us constitute the crowd, and if we-as-a-whole reject something for reasons that aren’t aesthetic, we-as-a-whole have done ourselves a disservice.  Does Bob, as a smart, well-played critic, have a responsibility to describe art, or should he direct us to the art most worth our time?  If he’s a guide, should he be a stand-in for us or should he judge art by how its aesthetics and ideology strikes him personally?  This is not passive-aggressive sniping at either of you, I swear; cultural gatekeepers just interest me.

      • Girard says:

        ” I’d hope same-sex marriage and no-fault divorce proponents would see how he mapped culture decline in a beautifully tragic way or lamented the fragility of erotic love before he included some fart jokes.”

        You realize this is Doug Tennapel we’re talking about, right? The guy who does middling zany cartoon humor (e.g. Earthworm Jim, Neverhood) and abysmal, pretentious, embarrassing attempts at profundity (e.g. Creature Tech)?

        This isn’t some genius pursuing questionable interests or attitudes in his free time that will likely be sublimated by the particular alchemy of genius (I’m thinking David Lynch and his TM devotion, or Beck’s belonging to Scientology, or countless visual artists like Dali or Picasso who were insufferable narcissists). This is some middling-at-best cartoonist whose cultural contributions will not be missed and whose work isn’t thoughtful enough to warrant close critical scrutiny. That he’s also a hateful, arrogant, nasty person (who is well within his ‘wrongness’ window, considering the attitudes he holds and the time in which he is holding them – so the Kipling analogy doesn’t hold, I think) only makes it easier for folks to decide to deliberately opt out of his work, rather than do so as a matter of course.

        • Merve says:

          I don’t feel comfortable about the implication that one can “buy” bigotry with artistic relevance. (Not that that’s necessarily what you were implying, but I think this point is worth discussing.) For starters, artistic relevance or quality is at least partially subjective. Secondly, it’s not clear to me how one performs the mental calculus here: “he’s created 4 great films, so he can use…7 racial slurs”? Bigotry is bigotry, no matter who expresses it, and it should always be condemned as such. But a bigot’s art can be judged on its own merits. (Whether or not you want to economically support art made by bigots is a different story.)

        • The problem with conversations like this is that people tend to think of bigotry as a binary thing, and a negative thing, so if you say “You’re a bigot” they will say “nuh-uh” because nobody thinks of themselves as a bigot.  You’re never going to change anybody’s mind by calling them a bigot.  What you have to do is recognize that it isn’t binary; that a person can be prejudiced or bigoted about one specific thing.  Yes, this can give you reason to call them a “bigot” — but it’s just going to make them defensive and less likely to recognize their own bigotry, entrenching it further and deeper.  I find it way more satisfying and interesting to explore the assumptions that lead the person to a bigoted conclusion.  Sometimes, it even gets through a little.

          [But it helps, in cases like this that, being heterosexual, I don’t have any real skin in the game.  I believe in the cause, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact on me that it does on most homosexuals, so it’s easier for me to stay dispassionate on the subject.]

        • tedthefed says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus  See, I’m not sure I entirely buy that.  It’s definitely true that in a lot of cases people explicitly define prejudice as whatever they themselves wouldn’t do, but here?  Tennapel KNOWS he’s prejudiced against gays; he’s proud of it, and he thinks it’s good for society.  
          I urge everyone to read the comments to that original GayGamer story.  Tennapel has a defender that shows up early, and at the beginning, he’s trying to be all haughty… “I’m neutral here; I just think it’s foolish and childish to care so much, goodness gracious.”  By the end of the thread, he’s calling everyone a faggot.

          Point is, in order to have redefined prejudice so that it doesn’t apply to you, you have to think the prejudice is bad in the first place.  Tennapel loves freedom, but he thinks freedom and Christianity and American traditional values as he understands them are all the same thing.  There is no way to make someone like that understand anything they don’t already want to understand.

        • valondar says:

          I dunno, Rudyard Kipling was a bigoted right-wing git by the already low standards of 19th/20th century Britain. I think if an artist is on the wrong side of an argument and there IS an argument, then that’s worth noting.

      • Enkidum says:

        From Orwell’s essay on Swift, Politics vs. Literature:

        “It is often argued, at least by people who admit the importance of subject-matter, that a book cannot be ‘good’ if it expresses a palpably false view of life. We are told that in our own age, for instance, any book that has genuine literary merit will also be more or less ‘progressive’ in tendency. This ignores the fact that throughout history a similar struggle between progress and reaction has been raging, and that the best books of any one age have always been written from several different viewpoints, some of them palpably more false than others. In so far as a writer is a propagandist, the most one can ask of him is that he shall genuinely believe in what he is saying, and that it shall not be something blazingly silly. To-day, for example, one can imagine a good book being written by a Catholic, a Communist, a Fascist, pacifist, an anarchist, perhaps by an old-style Liberal or an ordinary Conservative: one cannot imagine a good book being written by a spiritualist, a Buchmanite or a member of the Ku-Klux-KIan. The views that a writer holds must be compatible with sanity, in the medical sense, and with the power of continuous thought: beyond that what we ask of him is talent, which is probably another name for conviction.”

        If I understand correctly, TenNapel is not a propagandist for his cause, at least not in his games. I can’t imagine myself contributing to the Kickstarter, but I can’t really bring myself to care that much about people who do.

        Also, everyone should read that essay by Orwell, and then all his other essays, because it’s good for you.

        • That is an intriguing point.  You would think that, in all American history, there would be at least one “great” novel written by a Klansman, but I’m not familiar with one.  Even one which isn’t about race at all.  I can think of one aggressively pro-Klan movie, ‘Birth of a Nation’, which is generally regarded as technically brilliant and morally inferior, and even in that case, my understanding is that D.W. Griffith was not a KKK member and, in fact, quickly came to regret his involvement in the movie.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus William Faulkner was a proponent of the Lost Cause, and his namesake (his great-grandfather) was a Confederate hero who was apparently deified by his family. He probably wasn’t a Klansmen himself, but was almost certainly sympathetic to their viewpoint.

        • @HobbesMkii:disqus The sense I get from reading Faulkner is that he couldn’t have been *that* racist, but I admit that would be begging this particular question.

          I feel like Faulkner is from that time period when it was considered reasonable and rational that you could sympathize with the South without being racist about it.

          But now somebody will probably have some terrible letter they can link to to prove Faulkner was racist.  Dammit, and I like Faulkner…

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus : Arguably, Asa Carter, who tried to hide (but didn’t repudiate) his past, and published The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Education of Little Tree as Forrest Carter. (That would be “Forrest” as in Nathan Bedford Forrest, also the namesake of Forrest Gump, of course.) 

      • Sarapen says:

        Regarding Hegel, you’re thinking of thesis-anti-thesis-synthesis.

    • Ryan Perez says:

      I agree almost entirely with every point you’ve made, with the slight exception of “An artist’s belief system cannot help but shape their work.”

      While much of expression is derived from personal aspects, it’s too generalizing, presumptuous, and assertive to assume that artists can’t help thinking outside of their own influence.

      Literature has provided some considerably unsavory characters. This does not mean that the authors who penned them, in any way, share the same qualities.

      • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

        Well, if they see these characters as noxious, odious, onctious, Randian, etc. surely their belief system influences them to see them that way? They’re implying that they do not agree with a view by penning those that hold it as terrible people.

      • Girard says:

        But the way those characters are framed certainly would embody the artist’s attitudes. The sympathetic treatment of a murderer in Crime & Punishment for instance, of course doesn’t tell us Dostoevsky encourages murder or especially identifies with murderers, but it does tell us his views about crime, guilt, and punishment, and that he feels the qualities that make a character/person sympathetic are disconnected from their relationship to the law of the land.

        A better counter-example could be artists who eschew any sort of content in their work – pure formalists – as their work contains no explicit ideas one could find objectionable. But even then, the choice to  go that route still tends to communicate something about the artists and their beliefs or backgrounds – Rothko and Newman’s non-objective canvases acting as a nod to their Jewish heritage, Pollack’s splatters illustrating an emphasis of gesture over representation, etc.

      • duwease says:

        The way I read it, he’s saying that the process of creation naturally comes from the thought processes of the mind doing the creating.. ways of thinking that are alien to that person cannot be represented.  So in that sense, what is created is naturally limited by a person’s point of view. 

        However, that doesn’t mean that you can then infer the author’s beliefs from the resultant work.. once created, the result is all the rest of us can see, and the machinery that led to it can only be guessed at.

        A metaphor from the computing world would be the keys used in secure transactions.. a particular complicated process generates a very specific security key that represents that process.  If you know the process, you know exactly what key would result.  However, it’s incredibly difficult, given only the key, to guess the details of the process that generated it, as the possibilities are endless.  In other words, given the process, the key is deterministic, but given the key, you can’t accurately infer the process.

      • GaryX says:

        I’d also further counter that it doesn’t totally matter what the artist thinks about his/her/they/whatever’s own work. It can begin as a jumping point for your own thought, but I don’t think it’s the be all end all of how to digest the art.

        But that’s a whole other chestnut.

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      For the most part, I don’t need to agree with the message/theme of a work of art in order to appreciate it. I can enjoy “God Save the Queen” even though I support the monarchy. 

      But some views are so distasteful and contrary to what I believe that I can’t maintain that academic detachment. And foremost among those is racism and hate speech. 

    • MadScienceGuy says:

       As a bit of an FYI, I actually interviewed Card around the time he wrote Lost Boys. So 20 years ago. At that point he was much more a humanist, and in fact his novel Pastwatch bears this out. He only seemed to go off the deep end later on, really post 9/11.

      In fact that seemed to happen to a lot of people. Christopher Hitchens for one, who let himself descend into simple bigotry after that.

      Artists are people; whether we acknowledge it or not they change over time. The Car I met in 1992 in a Berkeley cafe is for sure not the same guy I would meet now. Which is, in a way, too bad. That guy had empathy.

      Which further complicates the questions you raise, by the way.

      For myself, I’ll say that there is a difference, first off, between a dead guy and a living one.

      Second, I tend to separate the artist and their work, to a point. Maybe it’s old-fashioned of me but I do draw a bit of a line between some types of art and others. A video game is a piece of art, but it isn’t The Great Gatsby.

      I also think you have to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis. There really isn’t one blanket principle that works.

      Part of that is that we live in a capitalist society, and most consumers just aren’t in a place where they can “vote with their wallets.” The system is interconnected. I could decide I don’t want to support companies that exploit labor but then I would never by clothes again or even eat very much. Nor could I really function without banking. The whole idea that you have to go live in a cabin in the woods like the Unabomber is simply silly. (See Noam Chomsky on this).

      But that doesn’t mean there’s no recourse, and in cases like this where the relationship is more one-to-one than it is with say, Orson Scott Card, it’s more feasible to say you won’t support an artist who says things that are repugnant. I might add would the equation change if the artist walked up to you personally and used a racial slur? Most people wouldn’t contribute to his Kickstarter if he did that.

      • Roswulf says:

        I really appreciate the Card story. Card’s crazy homophobia hits me very hard, not just because I loved his books growing up (and oh how I did- I read his seven-hundred page, polygamy-apologist Mormon historical fiction novel SAINTS multiple times for god’s sake), but because they played a significant role in the development of my attitudes towards otherness, and tolerance, and human decency.

        I have a lingering fear that he somehow set a timebomb in my ethical system, and upon turning 45 I will suddenly transform into a raging bigot BECAUSE ALVIN MAKER.

        • MadScienceGuy says:

          And that’s why I was a bit unhappy when I found out what a raging wingnut he became. There was always a wee bit of it in his work — his Alvin Maker series tends to essentialize a bit. And I noticed that his Call of Earth books started to edge towards what I’ll generously call a traditional view of gender roles. And reading his stuff now, holy hell does he seem to have issues with sex. (I mean, come on, normal people do not refer to sex as “mating.”)

          But that said. I remember how when I spoke to him he said that you can’t look at people on the opposite side of an issue from you as devils. He seems to have lost track of that, somewhere.

          Pastwatch is a part of this. In so many ways that novel is like a plea for human tolerance and a kind of wish-fulfillment. He didn’t write any of the characters in it as evil, just people trying to get by and fix a horrible situation.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Honestly, I think there’s a turning point even before 9/11.  Achilles is a completely different style of antagonist than any of his previous books had featured.  There’s no empathy for him, Card doesn’t care about his point of view.  He’s just EVIL!  Bonzo and Stinson were assholes, but they were children.  Their actions were understandable and recognizable.  Even Marcao, the abusive husband and father that “his” children hated, was revealed to be a tragic figure in Speaker for the Dead.  Achilles, however, deserved it, because he was EVIL!

          Also, Card really, really cannot write women. At all.

        • Colliewest says:

          @MadScienceGuy:disqus I think you’re totally right about the sex issues. My personal opinion is that he has desires his religion makes him feel are wrong and subjugating them has made him increasingly bitter and less tolerant over time. 

          @Roswulf:disqus I don’t think he could implant that kind of timebomb in you, so you shoud be fine.

          Or maybe that’s just me justifying why I still like his early stuff – he wrote it while he was still trying to maintain his humanism.

      • Jon Cassidy says:

         Cite an example of bigotry by Christopher Hitchens, you slanderous ignoramus.

        • MadScienceGuy says:

           Read the stuff he wrote post 9/11 about the what he called particular problems of Islam. There’s a whole issue to be had with the framing of that.

          Criticizing religion is all very well, and Islam as much as any other, but  Hitchens started to fall into a lot of traps about how it was somehow different or unprecedented. And that in turn led to his support for basically bombing the brown people who had nothing — nothing whatever — to do with the 9/11 attacks. He bought the whole premise that bin Laden was an Arab, Hussein is an Arab, why by George they have to be connected somehow! That’s bigotry, straight up.

          The fact that Hussein and bin Laden were from, you know very different political traditions and usually opposed to one another never seemed to cross his mind. But that’s a whoe ‘nother discussion.

        • Jon Cassidy says:

          Re below: His better known coinage for the ‘unprecedented,’ ‘different’ and ‘particular problem’ of jihad was Islamic fascism, which is all of those things. His argument against Hussein had everything to do with Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds — he even wrote a book on it. And it had nothing to do with the thing somebody told you that you’re repeating here. Hitchens did write about how Hussein had a Koran written in his own blood, about the giant murals around Iraq of Hussein in the robes of a mullah, as evidence of megalomania and irrationality, aside from the obvious significance. He wrote about Hussein switching his support from secular Palestinian groups to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And he wrote about Wissam Zahawi & A.Q. Khan visiting Niger at the same time, and what that meant. Hint: it wasn’t just that they were both ‘brown people.’ The only person writing or thinking in such indiscriminate terms here is you. I’m not saying you’re a racist. But if you weren’t ignorant of both the Middle East and Hitchens’ writings on the region, you could write with a little more accuracy and subtlety. My plea: avoid easy accusations of bigotry. It’s vicious and unserious.

        • Geo X says:

          Indeed.  Now using nonsense terms like “Islamofascism:” that’s the sign of a Serious Thinker.

        • Jon Cassidy says:

          As fascism gets used to describe everything from dad to closed software, it’s surely lost most of it’s meaning. But what meaning it retains, let’s say the dictionary definition, is what Hitchens meant: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

      • tedthefed says:

        Actually, this EWJ guy really seems like he’s probably one of those people who went nuts after 9/11.  

        What a weird phenomenon, people turning into right-wing nutcases right then.  There’s a whole list… Dennis Miller, David Mamet, the Airplane! guy, Victoria Jackson…

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I don’t agree with the “art =/= artist” point, but the rest is so beautifully argued that I have to ‘like’. ^_^

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Yeah, I’d like to clarify that I don’t think that art exists in a vacuum, separate from its author, but the consumer (and I use this word in the sense of “consumes/beholds art” not “pays for art”) can–and frequently does–engage with it without being colored by our impressions of the artist (often because we have no conception of who, say, Rodin was as a political human being). I don’t care for New Criticism (which says you can only engage with the work itself, not its context or its author) because that seems naive to me, but I do respect that they have a point about the way in which we come to find art.

        That said, we have far more insight into the mind of the artist and the creative process today than we did in the days of yore, or even the 1960s when the New Critics were at the fore. I really liked Fables and probably would have read (and purchased) all the trade paperbacks, had I not discovered through Wikipedia that Bill Willingham was rabidly pro-Israel (which isn’t exactly a viewpoint I’m doggedly against, just that I’m for a two-state solution and Willingham isn’t). I don’t know that, if I’d stayed ignorant of that, I wouldn’t have been able to keep reading the series past the point in which one character declares he has an “Israel Strategy” (which is where I put the book down). It might have just been a weird blip for me. But now I can’t help but see the whole series through the lens of that conflict and Willingham’s viewpoint, and it’s impossible for me to read.

        Had I remained ignorant, Willingham’s point for writing might have blown right by me, which would have been fine. I just wanted my fantastical secret refugee fairy kingdom stories.

        • His_Space_Holiness says:

          If it helps any, that Israel analogy only comes up once and isn’t a recurring theme in the series, so I think you can read the rest of Fables, especially since (VAGUE SPOILERS! THEY DON’T COME VAGUER THAN THIS!) the political situation in the series changes rapidly after that, so Israel stops being a point of comparison altogether. And there’s an arc in between where the main Fables form an alliance with the Arabian Nights characters, for what it’s worth.

          Although there is one point where a character makes an approving reference to “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” signs, and implicitly the discriminatory use thereof, which stuck in my craw. But again, they’re brief bits that don’t have much to do with the rest of the narrative. I like to reconcile them in a tongue-in-cheek manner, reasoning that these characters are hundreds of years old, they’d probably be racist as hell in real life.

        • I read about the Israel thing before I read ‘Fables’, and I found it kind of over-blown.  The statements seemed quite reasonable as attributed to Bigby Wolf, and it really was just a one-off thing.

          And it’s also interesting to speculate… if such a big deal over Willingham’s position hadn’t been made, would he continue to make as big a deal about it as he does?  Would he bring it up in interviews, or do interviewers bring it up because they want to hear if he’ll stick to his guns?

          Which is obviously relevant here with TenNapel, because even though I find what he has said to be terrible, it does seem like he pops up to say those things mostly when prompted by people for having previously said them.

          This is when this whole whicket gets way too sticky for me…

        • Sarapen says:

          The Israel comparison doesn’t even hold very well since the David and Goliath narrative doesn’t cover US support keeping the state alive, plus there wasn’t a group of other Fables already living in New York that the new group pushed out to set up the new town.

    • Sarapen says:

      But even being apolitical is a political position, almost aggressively so considering how much effort it takes to avoid a subject that diffuses the daily life of an artist.

      You might say that an artist is merely ignorant of politics, but a person would have to be very active to avoid any political discussion at all.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Reading over my post, it does seem like I’m advocating for apolitical art, which I’d like to clarify is something I think cannot exist. What I meant is that the vast majority of art is inoffensive in its politics and artists by-and-large produce art that isn’t noxious in its political persuasions. 

        We need radically political art. The rebels, the boundary pushers, often raise the bar of the quality that comes out of middle. But the price of being a rebel is that only the rebels will want you (at least at the start). And the price of having rebels is that sometimes they will say things diametrically opposed to what the middle feels.

        • Roswulf says:

           Yeah, but nevertheless in so doing you are shamelessly abusing a quote from Cradle Will Rock, a movie that argues quite explicitly that inoffensive, non-noxious, abstract art is itself making a pollitical statement of complacency. Cradle is clear that most artists are whores servicing the American capitalist edifice.

          Sorry, as the one person in the world who unabashedly loves Cradle Will Rock I’m required to grumble about such things. I don’t have any substantive critique of your comments. But Bill Murray reluctantly teaching Jack Black ventriloquism alone…

        • @Roswulf:disqus I’m with you on ‘Cradle’.  It’s a very strange movie I never recommend to anybody any more, but I do like it.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @Roswulf:disqus and @facebook-663669914:disqus I like it, but really feel like it misfired. There’s about it. Robbins can be an excellent director for being incredibly obvious in his political allegory (Bob Roberts is and will always be a masterpiece). But I think Cradle just deals with the issues a little too directly in ways that lead to the characters delivering a lot of statements about ideology that seems weird. I looked up the character who gets the line, and it’s Bertolt Brecht (no evidence he actually said it). It’s a lot of telling and not enough showing, for me, really. Which is odd, because it’s about things that did actually happen.

        • Roswulf says:

           @HobbesMkii:disqus No question, Cradle has all the subtlety of a baseball bat. This does not bother me, especially as the ideological bludgeoning is coupled with very strong acting performances and, you know, jokes. But to each his own, and yours is certainly the majority opinion. Which is to say YOU’RE ALL WRONG! THE REVOLUTION WILL WIPE YOU AWAY! THE CRADLE WILL ROCK!!!

          Ahem. I’m also very much a fan of The Cradle Will Rock, the musical that provides the movie’s title and central narrative, and which is about as subtle as a man screaming into your ears while bludgeoning you with two baseball bats studded with nails and broken glass (and with a great score!). Blitztein was a Brecht disciple through and through, and I see Robbins’ Cradle Will Rock as intentionally fitting into that same tradition of annoyingly preachy political theater.

        • @HobbesMkii:disqus I have nothing to disagree with there.  It clicked with me because the unrealistic dialogue was done in a style akin to that of ’30’s and ’40’s farce, so it never felt to me like anybody was trying to be “realistic” and, therefore, didn’t feel like a failing when it didn’t achieve that.

          But I think mostly I like it because it’s a movie making those points that so few movies even consider making, so I’m sympathetic to it, and it does so without sacrificing entertainment value and pacing, which is usually what holds up “statement” movies (for me).

    • I really wish Disqus had a “favorite” button, rather than merely “like”.  Because this belongs on that list of favorite comments on here.  And is a comment I need to be able to return to every so often when I find myself similarly frustrated by my disconnect between the Cards and TenNapels of the world and their art.

    • Danny Rivera says:

      I’ve yet to make up my mind on this issue (while I know many that have), so I’m grateful that this post and the article above provide good counterpoints on the issue, jumping off points, if you will, from which I can begin the debate with myself. I, for one, absolutely loved ‘Ender’s Game’ when I first read it, and am fairly excited about the movie…that is, until Card’s anti-gay comments came to light (for me, at least) around the time he was supposed to begin work on that Superman series.

      It’s basically a case of wanting to “have my chicken and eat it, too,” wanting to like the stuff I like and not be made to feel guilty because I do. But therein lies the question: *do* I have the right to choose art despite the artist, especially when their beliefs are so ugly to me? Or should I honestly shun them because it’s the right thing to do?

      I have a feeling I already know the answer, but I’m just refusing to admit it to myself. Either way, it’s reassuring, at least, to know I’m not the only one aware of this.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Card’s a difficult character to get a finger on. During the development of the Ender’s Game film, he once posited that the character of Colonel Graff (played by Harrison Ford) could be made a woman and floated Janeane Garofalo and Rosie O’Donnell for the role. This was in 1998. In 1990 he advocated laws that would have made homosexuality a crime (he’s since recanted that approach, but has subsequently linked being gay to mental illness).

  3. Ryan Smith says:

    Interesting column with some good points. 

    I think part of it comes down to our ability to separate the art from the artist. It’s something that’s been discussed a lot in the context of people like Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski and as you mention, Orson Scott Card. I don’t think there is an easy answer to that.However, I do think that the application of this principle of voting with our wallets for certain causes isn’t very inconsistent. Few people I know tossed out their Apple products after we’ve learned recently that they’ve dodged billions in U.S. taxes by keeping money overseas through a loophole. Or the highly publicized series in the New York Times last year that revealed that factory workers building Apple products in China often toiled in poor conditions, including excessive overtimes and exposure to dangerous chemicals or that some Chinese vocational students were forced by teachers to work on iPhone 5 assembly lines. These are social justice issues too.How many people tore up their ATM cards with Chase Bank or Bank of America for their role in the the huge economic recession in 2008? Also, if you care about gay rights, Bank of America donated $1 million to the campaign of Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate who opposed gay marriage. Chik Fil A is an easy target for progressives. It’s a chain restaurant born and bred in the Deep South that’s closely identified with food courts and shopping malls. It’s run by a brazenly outspoken bigot. It’s fast food. I think along those same lines, someone like Doug TenNapel might be an easy target because of the broadcasting of his idiotic views.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       Papa John’s Papa John also donated to Romney and openly worried that Obamacare would cause his pizza prices to rise (i.e. he’d jack them up on purpose, which he did). I will admit to still purchasing Papa John’s.

      • Ryan Smith says:

        Yep. Gotta feel sorry for the guy. Papa John can’t afford to pay living wages because how else can he shell out the big bucks for Peyton Manning to appear in commercials!

      • stepped_pyramids says:

        Well, if you were buying Papa John’s already, clearly you have a strong stomach. *cough*

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Hey man…you know what’s really easy to do when you’re under the influence? Order online. The phone gets rough.

        • Enkidum says:

          @HobbesMkii:disqus I was… influenced.. this weekend in a town that I don’t know well and successfully called a cab to come pick me up at my friend’s apartment. I felt like I was a frigging superhero.

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        The Daily Show did a great rebuttal to Papa John’s BS about not being able to afford healthcare for his workers.  Jon Stewart pointed out how during the Super Bowl, Papa John’s did a promotion that gave out the same amount in free pizzas (something like $10 or $20 million) that it would cost for him to get healthcare for his workers.  So obviously it wasn’t really the money he was upset about.

        • GaryX says:

          Is it ever?

        • HobbesMkii says:

          I remember that. He was so clearly grandstanding, so obviously shilling for his pal Romney, and I hate his guts for it. But, you know, sometimes I don’t want to cook or talk to human beings to order my food or care how awful that food is. And Papa John’s has met me on this middle ground of sloth.

        • PhonyPope says:

          Again, not to repeat myself, but do you understand the basic concept of promotion/advertising?  They aren’t throwing that money down a well.

          Certainly Stewart understands that, even if you don’t, which makes his comments kind of sleazy and disingenuous.

        • Andy Tuttle says:

          I thought I would go to the good Thai place a lot more often when I moved closer to it; I still ended up buying Papa John’s pizza. It’s that damn garlic butter sauce.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          @PhonyPope:disqus  – Yes, I understand that marketing/advertising is different than other money spent.  I was going to include that point in my original post, but assumed (obviously incorrectly) that it was a given.

          The point is, a guy who lives in a massive mansion and owns a multi-million dollar business complaining that he is being required to offer his minimum-wage-earning employees some basic health care is obnoxious.

        • “Again, not to repeat myself, but do you understand the basic concept of promotion/advertising?”

          Speaking personally, I think “Don’t you want your food served by people who get their diseases addressed instead of coming to work?” would be a much better tagline than “Yeah, everybody who serves you came into work sick at risk of getting fired, but the pizza itself is free!!”

          But, admittedly, I’ve never in my life lived in a place where there wasn’t a better option to Papa John’s.

        • lokimotive says:

          This page contains many threads relating to the difficult intersection between, art, creation, celebrity, capitalism, and social responsibility. It’s a huge topic that gets at the heart of some of the difficulty of living in a modern society and trying to walk a slippery path of righteousness.

          But, instead of engaging in that, I’d just like to echo @HobbesMkii:disqus ‘s point about the wonderful attraction that Papa John’s pizza establishment offers. Fuck yeah, ordering pizza on the web in your underwear while drunk.

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      It’s ultimately less a matter of principles than of disgust. Nobody in the world can claim to be perfectly principled in everything they buy, and anyone who can is probably a pretty unbearable person. But disgust, or abhorrence, is a powerful motivator for collective action.

      People find it easier to be disgusted by individuals (like the Chik Fil A owners) causing harm to people they know and love (gay people) as opposed to organizations (Apple) causing harm to other organizations (the US government) or people they’ll never meet (Chinese workers).

      • Ryan Smith says:

        But the counter to that is that what Chik-Fil-A did was give money to organizations that fought gay marriage. It’s essentially the same thing when you donate money to campaigns of conservative politicians that oppose gay marriage. Look at the list of companies that donated money to the GOP and its anti-gay agenda and the list is frighteningly long. So should we just single out Chik Fil-A or TenNapel because for various reasons, they’ve become more publically associated with these issues?

        • stepped_pyramids says:

          Right, but gay marriage is an issue that a lot of Americans feel very personally about. You can factor the anti-gay marriage organizations out of the equation — all it has to boil down to is “Chik Fil A gave money to oppose gay marriage” and you have something to latch on to.

          I wouldn’t argue that Chik Fil A was the most logical target, or the best, but it was a convenient target for both sides to focus their frustration and disgust.

          ETA: I don’t think most Americans feel strongly about working conditions in China or big corporations paying their fair share of taxes. They might have general sentiments about those issues, but not enough to march in the streets.

        • TheBryanJZX90 says:

          Isn’t that just being defeatist? If you can’t completely eliminate a problem, you shouldn’t do anything to address the problem whatsoever? Or, alternately, “he’s doing it too!” as a valid defense?

          On the other hand, only punishing those most vocal in their views may simply encourage them to continue supporting those views, only in a less obvious way, like contributing to a politician.

        • Craig says:

          Encouraging bigots to conduct their business in secret is one of the ways you create a society that is intolerant of bigotry.  We might go from slavery to Jim Crow to red-lining to dog-whistling, but I think even the most cynical person would acknowledge that that is a trend-line which is moving in the correct direction.

        • Bureaupath says:

          Well, in Chik-Fil-A’s case, they chose to use their company as a flag to rally their personal cause. I remember when this thing was in the news, there were lines of people who went on Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day, and when interviewed, basically said they go here because they support Chik-fil-a’s stance against gay marriage and homosexuality in general. And to me, that’s when Chik-fil-a crossed the line and mixed up personal convictions with business practices. I mean, you can’t argue that your business and beliefs are separate and yet be happy that your customers are using your business as a rallying symbol.
          It isn’t just incidental public association, like they accidentally leaked this information, to me it seemed Chik-Fil-A wanted to do this and to send a message on an election year.

        • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

           Boycotting one problematic organization while supporting another does not cancel out the boycott. Ideally you’d boycott both, but boycotting one is still better than nothing.

      • Bureaupath says:

        Plus, there are virtually no ethically sourced computers, tablets or smart phones available anywhere. This is an industrywide issue and in this case, a boycott wouldn’t be feasible, but continued engagement would be.

        • Girard says:

          Exactly. I can excise a stupid game or chicken sandwich (or even all meat) from my diet much more easily than I could excise all electronics from my life. And all electronics are at least in part made by wage-slaves in China out of materials mined by actual slaves in Africa. Which is a tremendous evil to which we are all complicit, but the best we can do is mitigate our support, rather than out-right boycott it.

        • George_Liquor says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus The best alternative I can think of is to make the electronics one does own last as long as possible. 

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          This. In fact, I’m less likely to reconsider buying Apple products when they’re being made the whipping boy for industry-standard practices, on the dubious basis that Steve Jobs was a hippie about forty years ago. 

        • Sarapen says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus You know, wage slavery doesn’t necessarily mean working in a sweatshop. If you’re drawing a wage, then technically speaking you are a wage slave. So basically anyone who isn’t self-employed is a wage slave.

        • @sarapen:disqus That’s not true.  A “wage slave” would be a person who is living exactly within his/her paycheck, or slightly above.  That is to say, they are not saving anything, so they must continue to work in order to survive paycheck-to-paycheck.

      • tedthefed says:

        I think you’re misusing emotion words, here.  Disgust isn’t the same as the righteous feeling you have when you perceive injustice.  In fact, the people who are likely to put moral value on disgust are not the ones likely to be upset by people hurting others by misusing power.  There’s actually a lot of research on this.  

        But I do totally agree with you about it being harder to have ANY moral emotions towards an organization.  I wonder, actually, if that is part of why people feel like this artist/value thing is more nebulous than when a person does anything else.  The work of art just feels less directly connected to the person who made it.

    • Sillstaw says:

      The way I see things like Apple products, part of the reason I’m not throwing out my iPod touch (besides it being so addictive and useful on long bus rides) is that my money’s already been spent on it. Whether I use it or not, any damage it’s done is done. It’s not only a lot easier to decide not to eat at a crappy restaurant, it keeps more money away from them.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Ironically, I have a Working Assets Visa which is serviced by Bank of America.  We live in a gordian knot of completely and inexorably intertwined cultural and political contradictions.  No single action is isolated.
         And yeah, I’m reading this on an Apple display, but I doubt the Compaq keyboard I’m typing on or Ikea table it’s all resting on are devoid of some wretched environmental/humanist/political consequence.
         Simply existing is to participate in some capacity with a thing you morally disagree with.
         In fact, it’s why I find the simplicity of finding TenNapal to be a shithead and not buying his games to be so blessedly simple.

      • Ryan Smith says:

        I’m compelled by the argument made in this article about the protests of Whole Foods from a few years back.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Whole Foods is a fascinating one to me, because it’s one of few major businesses I can think of that doesn’t hew exactly to the liberal/conservative dichotomy that defines these conversations.   CEO Mackey comes out against mandatory health care and there are news reports showing hard libertarians and conservatives showing support by shopping at the store.
             The image of a Tea Party grandma clutching a fistful of organic Lacinato kale being the strongest visual counterpoint I can imagine to the Chik-Fil-A rally.
             But Mackey also supports the very things that are used as conservative talking points against the effete, out of touch elitism of the Democratic party.  Organic, artisan foods, reduced plastics and recycling, etc.
            It’s a rare corporate study in the actual complexities of how people live and identify.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       People rely on cell phones and banks. They can go without Chick-fil-a sandwiches pretty easily, though.

    • “Also, if you care about gay rights, Bank of America donated $1 million to the campaign of Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate who opposed gay marriage.”

      The fact that people don’t boycott BoA over this kind of defeats your overall point about how progressives are too quick to boycott things.  Going after somebody for donating to a political campaign is not the same thing as going after somebody for donating to a campaign to block a law from being passed which directly affects actual people, and then insulting those people.

      You may also feel that even that latter thing, that is to say “what chick-fil-A actually did to get boycotted”, is also not worthy of a boycott, but to pretend that they were being boycotting merely for opposing gay marriage is ridiculous and disproven by your own point about BoA.

  4. Cloks says:

    Separating the art from the artist is something that I’ve had to think about a lot lately as I’m attempting my third read through of Cerebus. This comic is famous for a lot of reasons but chiefly among them is the vitriolic misogyny spewed in the later parts of the story and how the creator still stands firmly behind them. Seeing as I’m not a hateful person (intentionally anyway) I’ve ultimately decided that I’m reading this story for other reasons – you can embrace a work to argue with it and still appreciate it, especially something as sprawling as a 300 issue self-published story that ran for more than two decades.

    What I have a problem with is creators who have viewpoints that I consider against what I believe in and don’t espouse these in their work, instead making them a part of their public persona. To tie this into video-games, let’s consider the writer of Advent Rising, Orson Scott Card. Card is famous for such works as Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow and his hateful anti-gay stance. I used to be a fan of his works, indeed I have a picture of myself with him and a few signed novels, but I can’t in good conscience give him money or even engage with his output seeing as his positions aren’t put forward as part of his work – they’re something that looms over it while never emerging as something that can be rebutted in terms of what he’s created.

    If somebody takes a controversial opinion and brings it into what they create, I can still support them if only to debate that opinion. I believe that endorsing such hate as a footnote to one’s career is a cowardly and wrong position and can’t support anything that’s created by such persons.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      That’s a unique position to take.  What’s your bright line for “relevant but hidden opinion,” though?  Let’s just take the 3 examples used here.  Cerebus (and his later, underrated work) covered enough ground that most of Sim’s opinions ended up being relevant and included.  Card’s creating a functioning science-fiction universe, so, again, most opinions on “the world” are relevant, but he excluded them.
      We don’t know what Armikrog will be, but it appears from the Kickstarter description that its world won’t be explained, like The Neverhood/Skullmonkeys (cosmogony excluded).  It would be weird to apply an ideology to it.  Assuming that Pencil Test and TenNapel are one and the same, where does this fall?

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      There’s something about art by loathsome artists that really brings out the cold Apollonian rationality in people. Nobody really separates the art from the artist; at best, that’s a technique used to allow yourself to enjoy aesthetically superb work from a morally despicable person.

      But it’s interesting to see where this falls short. As far as art, I’ve yet to see anyone call for people to separate the art from the artist when it comes to Chris Brown. I’ve yet to see it applied to other forms of performance, like sports; nobody says “I separate the passes from the quarterback” about Michael Vick. (That’s not to say that both men haven’t largely gotten a pass for their transgressions, but for different reasons.)

      And, to cheerfully jump face-first into Godwin, nobody ever talks about separating, say, Nazi science from the death camps. America and other countries quickly snapped up Nazi technology and scientists, but it was justified by expediency, not on rational grounds of separation.

      • Sillstaw says:

        I hate to keep replying to your arguments specifically, but with Chris Brown, part of the problem is that he’s not only continued to be a violent, abusive jerk, but he’s made songs and albums that, to quote the AV Club, appear “to be begging for public sympathy for having beaten up his girlfriend.”

        • stepped_pyramids says:

          To an extent. I think a lot of that comes from anything he writes being viewed through that lens — pretty much any popular musician today has “who cares about the haters” songs, but those songs seem different when the haters are hating domestic violence.

      • Merve says:

        There’s actually an interesting video by Todd in the Shadows comparing Chris Brown to Michael Vick and explaining why the former has gotten so much more hate than the latter:

        Long story short: Vick has actually been apologetic for what he did. Brown, not so much.

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        MICHAEL VICK has largely gotten a pass for his transgressions?  He went to JAIL for almost 2 years, is now a pretty big animal rights activist and people still harp on the fact that he abused and killed a bunch of dogs 4 years after he was released.

        Ray Lewis is a murderer, Ben Roethlisberger, Kobe Bryant and Josh Lueke are rapists, Donte Stallworth killed a pedestrian on a drunken hit and run.  Not one of  these people, all of whom have inflicted irreversible harm on another human being, get one iota of the hatred that Michael Vick receives to this day for killing those dogs.

        Shit like this is why we, as a society are fucked up and will continue to be until we value the health and safety of a human above that of a dog.

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, and when I commented on another blog to the effect that I was disappointed in Neil Patrick Harris for appearing with him in a musical number in the Tonys, someone responded to the effect of, oh, can’t you just drop it already? 

    • Enkidum says:

      I tried and failed to read all of Cerebus – I’ve certainly looked at every single page, but the last 40 issues or so are just total shit. An astounding visual artist, and someone who had created a fascinating world populated by interesting characters, who created art with a depth and importance that is generally lacking these days. But also someone who is clearly deeply mentally ill, and that was coming more and more into the story. The pages and pages of biblical exegesis are basically one step above the pamphlet handed to me by a homeless guy about how the government is measuring his penis with radio waves. And all his obsessively-detailed research into Hemingway and the Three Stooges didn’t produce anything that was actually interesting, or funny.

      It didn’t help that I read the single issues, with the letter pages included, and his occasional essays. Which… well if you thought the infamous issue of Reads was bad, you ain’t seen nothing.

      I’ll say that up until about Going Home, you’re really dealing with one of the astounding achievements in literature of any age. I think it very well might be read centuries from now. But I have a message for all those graduate students from the future: it’s ok to skip those last couple of books. Seriously.

      • WarrenPeace says:

        I’ve read the whole thing (the only part I skimmed over was the commentary on Genesis), and I’m pretty much in agreement. I wouldn’t say the last few books are total shit, but the ratio of good to bad is pretty damn low. He’s still a fascinating artist, but that last part is when you start to marvel more at his insanity than at his artistry.

        I’ve argued this elsewhere, but the thing with Sim is that as odious as his beliefs are, they’re almost beside the point. Unlike Orson Scott Card, who directly affects the freedoms of gay people, Sim is so out there that I don’t think anybody really reads his anti-woman rantings (or his even-more-out-there religious beliefs) and is actually influenced by them. He’s said some astonishingly awful things, but he’s not converting anybody to the idea that women are soul-sucking emotional voids who seek to extinguish the male creative light. Reading his comics ends up being a sort of trip through the mind of a certifiably insane person, allowing you to marvel at the dark paths he goes down, but also how beautifully he illustrates them. 

  5. GhaleonQ says:

    Ugh, gross, Bob.

    To the extent that I care about people’s opinions of this, I always wondered how they incorporated his lack of self-importance (ESPECIALLY compared to his during, say, the years when he made the The Neverhood games) into the equation.  Unlike Card, who must sythesize antipathy into energy for him to function for as much as he invites it,  TenNapel has never seemed to take himself or his views so seriously beyond the scope of his megaphone.  He obviously think he’s right, but this (as far as I know) this has not led him to marginalize friends or coworkers with whom he disagrees.  Moreover, The Hall Of Records is the best use of religion in video games to date, and it includes large amount of parody, especially of Christianity and Judaism.  And yet the picture you paint is of a banal-yet-monstrous oaf.  Cripes.

    It was weird for me to watch Patton Oswalt audition for Wasserman Schultz’s job during the last election (note: not “too leftist” or “too progressive,” but just a shill for whatever, like, Joe Biden was saying at the time, even if it was factually incorrect or politically conservative on its face), but the politicization of culture is the death of culture.  I wasn’t about to hasten its demise by pouting about it on the internet.

    (For the record, I acknowledge TenNapel definitely self-selects what sort of information he takes in and has engaged publically for so long that he resorts to shorthand, jadedness, and occasional self-pity, but I’ve followed him for awhile and his input-output is no worse than that of the median dad of your circle of friends.)

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      Heh. I’d say TenNapel is easily louder and more right-wing than 90, 95% of my friends’ dads. Perhaps that kind of environmental variation has an effect on what people find beyond the pale.

    • George_Liquor says:

      All I can say in reply is you and I must have a very different circle of friends.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        @stepped_pyramids:disqus  Heh, I should have specified, “friends with whom you grew up.”  Self-selection’s easy as you get older!  I’ll leave it, though.  *laughs*

        • stepped_pyramids says:

          Actually, it’s more true of the friends I grew up with than the ones I know now. I grew up in a very liberal neighborhood of a very liberal city, went to a very liberal church, etc.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

         Depends on what you quantify as politicization.  Simply because gay rights has been folded, as is almost every aspect of human culture, into an either-or political party dichotomy, does not reduce it to a solely political issue.
        You, being open about the importance of your faith, I feel would be the first to admit that.  You’re better than that level of dismissive reductionism.
         So then, this is not a matter of politicization of culture.  This is a question of culture, within which art easily nests.
         And speaking solely for myself, knowing an artist thinks on many of my friends and coworkers as monstrosities simply for their existence is mighty relevant indeed.
         If Creature Tech clumsily explored the inherent virtue of a flat tax instead of clumsily exploring faith, and I write an essay about not wanting to buy his comics because it might end up as donations to the Cato Institute, that would be political.
         This is more intimate than that.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        I’m headed to bed, so sorry if I misunderstood.  I don’t think we have a definitive history of TenNapel’s public opinions as it relates to the topic of human sexuality.  So, I call it political because I recall things this way.

        1. TenNapel is not particularly publicly interested in sexuality or (except as required to move a plot along) romantic relationships.
        2. In the early 00s, the necessary conditions for sustaining a political movement are reached by the marriage equality community, couching it in non-discrimination at the workplace and fairness at the altar-or-whatever and home.
        3. TenNapel REACTS to this political movement in his personal life largely because it threatens his view of the broader culture (as you rightly assessed).
        4. In response, at most, he has used portions of his art not to deconstruct that opposing worldview, but to positively portray his own.  (If we were writing about atheism, you could use Ratfist as a counterexample here.  I don’t think the 2 worldviews map 1-to-1, though.)

        In his limited time as an artist, he chose to flesh out his ideas that mattered to him most as long as they were lucrative.  Same-sex marriage and sexuality generally were not among them.  They are not a part of his contribution to culture, so any attempt to make them so amounts to imbuing culture with outside “current events” (or, more accurately, what a critical mass of people think is currently important in world events).

        Your self-identity, national identity, sexuality, and love are definitely not to be marginalized as “an agenda,” but making the conversation about a creator’s tangential opinion definitely is.

        If there is an example of him e-mailing, “Scissoring.  LOL,” in 2003, I will recant.  Also, throw up, because I don’t want to imagine him imagining scissoring.  AND WHAT I THINK IS GROSS SHOULD BE STOPPED, BECAUSE THAT IS HOW I AND MY COMPATRIOTS CONCEIVE OF THE WORLD.

        • Girard says:

          Why would a personal email make you recant, when it appears like you’re saying that he shouldn’t be held accountable for any of his personal opinions, even ones expressed publicly, as long as they aren’t expressed in his artwork?

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I dunno.  Any time you engage in something as intimate as art -accepting an open invitation to a person’s creation and identity- I think that pretty much shackles any notion of what cannot be brought to the experience.
             In the most mundane sense, people will take away from your work, regardless of your intentions, what they want all the time.  You present something and people will respond how they will.
             And I don’t think any knowledge gleaned about the artist, regardless of the relevance to a given work, is inapplicable.
             It’s not always a negative.  Knowing Diane Arbus committed suicide inevitably saturates her work with an even more biting sense of loneliness and alienation than it already carries.
             And knowledge of an artist’s identity doesn’t instantly mean you have to renounce their work.  If your response to a person’s belief doesn’t impact your assimilation of their intended message, than great, I’m not going to tell you it should.
             But for me, in this instance, it does.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus The date was the important thing there.  “TenNapel was publicly or privately engaged on this issue prior to others forcing the issue on him and his work.”

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      I always cut Christians lots of slack on this issue.  If I boycotted every Christian who thought homosexuality was wrong, I’d be boycotting half my extended family.  So I say separate the art from the artist in most cases.

      TenNapel, though, is just kind of actively being a dick.  He’s compared gay marriage to a guy taking a shit in a woman’s bathroom and made AIDS jokes.  He’s not just passively stating his beliefs when asked, he’s out there actively trying to incite people.  So I won’t give him my money mainly just because he’s shown himself to be an asshole.
      Which isn’t censorship or even political really as it has nothing to do with his beliefs, but everything to do with how he’s expressed them in the past.  I don’t object to Christians believing that homosexuality is a sin, but I do object to rudeness and being an asshole.  

      If a store owner is rude to you, I highly doubt most of you would think twice about not returning there again.  Same principle here.  

      Which IS a separate thing from aesthetics, but I would argue that one can appreciate a work of art aesthetically while still  not wishing to give the artist any of their money.  Critically evaluating or even appreciating a work of art does not demand that you also must financially support the artist–that’s a seperate dimension entirely.

      • Girard says:

        And if Tennapel were an artist even one-tenth as notable as Picasso, this might be an actually hard decision to make. Luckily, I can get by very easily without Tennappel’s ‘contributions’ to culture.

    • Girard says:

      I would suggest that Doug Tennapel is certainly quite ‘self-important’ in how he presents himself, and that the Hall of Records is not the best use of religion in games, but MAY be the most egregious use of an info-dump in games. The actual writing in it is unremarkable, and the ‘parody’ and ‘satire’ in there is, like most of his work, pretty facile.

      It’s interesting that you distinguish between his behavior behind “his megaphone” and apart from it. Obviously, we haven’t all spent Christmas morning at the Tennapel household and had him bake us gingerbread cookies despite our differing ideologies, so most of us can only go by the public face he puts forward, which has consistently, both on the “megaphone” of his webpage, and in more personal exchanges on comment and message boards, painted a picture of a “monstrous oaf” (the “banal” part of the equation is covered by his artistic output).

  6. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    He feels that criticism of his comments equates to censorship, that the
    freedoms of others encroach upon his own, and that we’re enveloped in a
    culture war in which both Christianity and heterosexuality are under
    attack. Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have dreamed up a more obvious
    neo-conservative stereotype.

    Yeah, there are people I am related to who if I described them, you wouldn’t believe them.  You would call them cartoonish strawmen I made up to exagerate the ridiculousness of conservative claims.  But you would be wrong.

    As far as boycotts, I tend to be of the belief that every interaction should be judged on its own merits.  I’m not going to buy a religious-heavy OSC  book, but mostly because those tend to be the books of his that are really boring.   But if I want a sandwich, I’m not going to look any farther than whether or not the restaurant makes a good sandwich.   That may seem short-sighted, but here’s my reasoning:

    I grew up and still live in ground zero of the Pat Robertson empire.  There are a lot of people who make decisions around here about where to get their fencing, plumbing, paint supplies, legal advice, physical check-ups, mental health needs (shudder), etc, based on whether or not the company has a fish on their business card.  I find that incredibly dumb and unfair to people who are just as skilled (or even moreso) but choose not to make their personal beliefs about invisible sky creatures an element of their professional business.  When I enter into a contract with someone, I don’t want to be turned off (if they find out) by the fact that I am a bisexual atheist.  I want them to solely consider the value of my work in deciding whether or not to do business with me again.  So, to be fair, I have to give them the same courtesy.  Around here it is hard to not to give money to someone who is going to turn around and give it to a church preaching that God caused Katrina because of the gays (I don’t have a more recent example because that was the issue at hand the last time I went to church — and it was a church that is a major force in the area, not a backwater cast-off).  But the point is that by then it is their money. 

    If people make economic decisions based on political/religious values, then the minority view will always suffer.  The tide is turning on the issue of gay rights in this country, but I’m not naive enough to think that there will never be another time when the majority of the country is in the wrong on an issue.  And I don’t want the minority view to have to hide or lie just to be able to earn a living.  I’d rather promote a view that we do business with people because they have something we want regardless of whether that money is going to end up at the 700 club or planned parenthood.  Such an attitude also allows business people’s views to evolve as they grow, rather than being stuck having made a living off of agreeing with their clientele and therefore being reluctant to examine themselves.

    This, by the way, is an excellent article and the kind of thing I love seeing on GS. 

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      Okay, so you’re in a sandwich shop. You’ve sat down and eaten half your sandwich, and it’s the most delicious damn thing you’ve ever eaten. You get up and look for the bathroom, but take a wrong turn into the manager’s office, which is just covered ceiling to floor in racist memorabilia, pictures of lynchings, the manager shaking hands with David Duke, etc. In the corner is a coat rack, hanging from which is an obviously well-used Klan hood, and there’s a little certificate commending the manager for his generosity in contributing to the KKK.

      Are you going to just go and eat your sandwich? Are you going to go there again? Are you going to recommend it to your friends? Can you really separate the sandwich from the sandwich-maker, even to the utmost?

      • George_Liquor says:

        Well hold on.. Is there bacon on this sandwich? Is it crispy, but not too crispy? 

      • kthejoker says:

        The answer to this and the main article are the same: there are so many alternative ways of spending your finite dollars that it is a nobrainer to go somewhere else and unrecommend the place to your friends and neighbors. Good food and videogames and their creators aren’t that scarce that you have to settle for racists and zealots to get utility for your money.

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

           My whole point is that if I boycott those who hold beliefs I find repulsive, I have no right to hope people don’t boycott me because of mine.  And in many parts of this country, such a boycott would still drive non-Christians out of business.  The concept of boycotts as a legitimate tool is a concept that hurts minority viewpoints, not incorrect viewpoints.

      • flowsthead says:

        Taking the argument to its logical extreme doesn’t mean the argument doesn’t make sense. You aren’t really addressing the argument as it is one based on practical reasoning, not on logical absolutes.

        It’s a simple conjecture. Given a number of choices, should you take the choice that best fulfills your wishes regardless of the people you might come in contact with, or should you choose a subpar option because the people involved will be better? Is the latter possible and sustainable in the long term?

        I would conjecture it is a practical reality that to live in this world you will have to do business with someone at some point down the line that is a terrible person. It’s unavoidable. How much you choose to minimize that person or those persons is up to you, the individual.

        Obviously in the choice where I accidentally walk in to the KKK manager’s office, I am disgusted and throw my sandwich away. I probably never eat there again. But assuming every piece of technology I have is made in an Asian country under poor working conditions, do I stop buying computers and phones altogether? That seems unrealistic.

        The truth is, you are rarely if ever going to meet someone as virulently racist as your manager example. Even terrible people do good things. I imagine most of those anti-gay people we are talking donate to good charities we can agree with (like against cancer), and some of them probably help out at their local soup kitchen or volunteer their time in other ways.

        Are you saying that you would reject someone’s money for cancer research because you found out they were anti-gay or racist? How does that help anyone?

        • stepped_pyramids says:

          I think you and I are actually saying the same thing. I’m arguing that the boycott/don’t boycott decision is fundamentally a personal impulse driven by disgust and counterbalanced by expediency. Boycotts are very rarely an effective tactic for social justice except in narrow situations.

        • “I would conjecture it is a practical reality that to live in this world you will have to do business with someone at some point down the line that is a terrible person. It’s unavoidable. ”

          That’s true.  What does that have to do with art?  Are you saying there are times in your life when you *need* the new Orson Scott Card book?

      • flowsthead says:

         ….Then yes, we are saying the same thing.

      • droopymcjackass says:

        I mean, just having pictures of lynchings hanging around is pretty much a hostile work environment, right? There’s a lot of things you just can’t… DO. For good reason. stepped_pyramids are getting lost looking for bathrooms ‘n’ shit.

    • aklab says:

      You and I must live in the same place. :P

    • zebbart says:

      That’s a very interesting perspective @Mercenary_Security_number_4:disqus To me it only makes sense to boycott or base purchases on ethics when the issue is the product itself or its production. (Full disclosure, I make my living off of the value and distinction of ‘certified organic’, so it’s in my self interest to believe this.) When you buy something you are directly supporting the production of the next unit of that thing, whether it be a good or a service. It makes sense to pay for good products produced in a good way. But I don’t think you are supporting every thing the people involved in the production do with the money you give them though. Once you’ve paid, it’s not your money. You are paying them to produce, not to live their lives and be the citizen they are. To reduce this to the absurd, we could imagine a society where there were “certified conservatively made” and “certified progressively made” labels and you could know that everyone getting paid for the thing you purchase agrees with your politics. Your example of the ichthys on the business cards is near to that already. But would anyone want that, a self segregated society that has no interaction with each other? Obviously yes, some people do, but not me. We’re all in this together despite our differences of opinion, even the vile ones, and when a person does a good thing like make a great game or a great sandwich in a good way I will to support that even if I’ll vote against their agenda or picket opposite them our on the street.

  7. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    Hooray for social justice articles on a gaming site! Yay! 

    It is a peeve of mine when people mock others for not wanting to give money to people who have repugnant opinions on stuff that affects people. I try to be conscious of what businesses tend to support hyper conservative politicians or organizations, because I don’t want to indirectly contribute to that shit. And yes, a lot of big companies are like that, but as soon as i know about it I’ll always have that in the back of my head before i buy something from them. 

    Similarly if I see a shitty ad or whatever for a game I’ll definitely not buy it, and i’ll keep an eye out for the people who made that game and try to avoid them.

    • Fluka says:

      I think it really all comes down to just respecting the boundaries and personal beliefs of others.  It’s hard to really draw a hard and fast line of when an artist overshadows their art, because it is going to be different every time.  It comes down to that subjective question of “Can I enjoy this without thinking about the artist’s personal beliefs the entire time?”  I can enjoy Ezra Pound and TS Eliot with no problem whatsoever (though it does help that they’re dead).  However, I have a hard time enjoying David Mamet now that I know that he thinks liberals like me are ridiculous idiots.  And lord knows the beliefs of Ezra Pound and David Mamet are in no way comparable: both are world-class writers, but one was an actual literal fascist, while the other is just kind of a jerk.  But, like artistic opinions, these things are inherently subjective.

      Things get more difficult when the flow of money comes into play.  Our money goes into so many shitty places that we’re always going to be screwing over some belief we care deeply about.  But at least we can try to make a stand where we think it counts, as symbolic as that might be.  And that’s a very personal thing.

      Like a medieval worshiper purchasing a papal indulgence, I’ll probably balance out seeing Ender’s Game this fall with a hefty donation to an LGBT organization.

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Dammit, Fluka!  Only faith can justify you in the eyes of God!

        /Martin Luthered

  8. TheBryanJZX90 says:

    I wonder if there is a cross-section of the gaming public that wants to boycott Phil Fish for saying bad things about Japanese video games but would still buy something from TenNapel despite also not agreeing with his views.

  9. CNightwing says:

    For me, the fact that you can much more directly assess the impact of your purchase with regards to your social and moral code, is one of the best features of Kickstarter. If you’re shopping online or in a store, and you want to know the provenance of a product, it’ll be damned hard to get that information. On KS, everyone involved is surprisingly upfront – in fact, consumers are so savvy that there’s a relatively high satisfaction rate. I’m not saying that everyone involved in a project should have their opinions on a swathe of political issues queried, but if something matters to you and is relevant – either by the nature of the product or outspokenness of someone involved – you can ask directly.

    I would say the KS model in particular lends itself to political scrutiny. It’s almost Marxist (and would be completely if the site was run for free and there were no transaction costs involved in payment), and each project requires a community of people to fund it. If you run a project, you have next to no say who runs it, so if there is suddenly an overwhelming request from your backers to add something, or change a name, you probably will do so, to secure your funding. So, in this case, I feel the most appropriate path would be to get a strong faction lobbying for the inclusion of a non-stereotyped gay character in the game. Perhaps the others working on the project can override this one guy and make it happen.

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      Yeah, it’s not just “do I want to purchase this product?” but “do I want to invest in this person/organization’s work?” It’s a more personal connection.

    • Sarapen says:

      Could you expound on the Marxist aspects of Kickstarter? I’m not sure I get what you’re getting at with that comparison.

      • CNightwing says:

        Well, it’s fundamentally getting closer to the ideal that there will be no owners of the means of production. You create something, or have an idea, and you can now sell it directly to the masses, without acquiring initial capital from the wealthy, nor giving up profits to distributors or licensors. Obviously it’s not ideal, because you have to give something to KS itself, and if you want to create physical items, you still have to pay for production. Eventually we’ll have replicators!

        • Sarapen says:

          Ah, okay, you were all Classical Marxist, I thought you were saying something about Kickstarter as the vanguard party in the coming game developer revolution.

  10. Professor_Cuntburglar says:

    I was happier before I read this. It’s amazing to me how a dude can produce such interesting art, but his internet comments sound like your average Yahoo News dumbass who doesn’t understand what censorship is.

    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      It’s disappointing, in part because the animation in the embedded video looks absolutely charming too.

  11. SteveHeisler says:

    My reaction to the article isn’t one of justifying when it is and isn’t okay to vote with my wallet. It’s that I finally found my line in the sand for even STARTING that conversation. It has everything to do with how egregious I view the wrongful belief or action—which admittedly is completely subjective.

    Will I support Papa John’s despite his refusal to support a government program that would provide healthcare? That is an actual discussion.

    Will I support Chick-Fil-A despite their insistence that a perfectly normal sect of humanity is somehow inferior to me? No fucking way.

    There is a difference between moral and economic wrongdoing. And no more will I even consider debate about the moral ones worth even a second of my time.

    All this to say, loved the piece, Bob.

    • Ryan Smith says:

      Steve, Papa John lives in a $7.8 million mansion and believes he’s “entitled” to it. Instead of raising the price of his pizza a dime with the cost of ObamaCare, he decided he’d cut the hours of minimum wage workers so they’d be denied health care. I think it’s fair to say that Papa John is directly influencing human misery. And on the same-sex front, Papa John has donated money to Republican politicians who have supported anti-gay legislation. 

      How is not paying your workers a living wage and refusing to help them get medical treatment just “an economic issue” which is different than a “moral issue.”

      Also, President Obama didn’t support gay marriage up until like six months ago. Did you vote for him?

      • SteveHeisler says:

        Oy, everyone sucks. From now on I’ll only be supporting Mom & Pop shops. [Googles Mom & Pop; sees they are members of the KKK.]

        • Sil says:

          Ok this response just pisses me off. in your original post you are pretty enthusiastic about your own beliefs (no fucking way would you eat at chik fila), but when presented with an argument for why your point of view might just be a little narrow minded, you decide to smear the argument by going the sarcastic whiny pseudonihilist route, so that people can easily dismiss the point Ryan Smith made.
           Economic issues are above all else moral issues. What happens to a gay guy who is constantly broke, because he can’t get a job or only a horrible one and has to pay his healthcare from the little money he has?  how many other gay guys do you think he is going to meet? you support gay marriage, great! but a poor gay guy won’t be able to profit from that, because he won’t be able to afford going on dates at all. So if marriage is legal he doesnt really care, because he doesnt even have the fucking money to fuck. Poverty is the most restricting moral and social issue in our and pretty much most of historys times. So to just see it as an economical issue is pretty ignorant.

    • 1derer says:

      I gotta agree with Ryan re:Papa John. 

      As someone who has had to deal with serious health issues since I was a child, I have great experience dealing with the burden of healthcare costs (and I’m Canadian, so they’re significantly less). As a result of this experience, refusing to help employees get health insurance comes off as close to sadistic to me.

    • zebbart says:

      This common veiwpoint from liberals is utterly mind boggling to me. How and why have issues of sexual liberation usurped issues of economic justice as the ultimate non-negotiables on the left and the sin qua non of liberal respectability?

  12. Mistah Chrysoprase says:

    Wow, that is a LOT of philosophizing. This is why I like simple, godless existentialism, it really can be boiled down to that sandwich quote.
    You can apply all the logical filtration you want, in the end the decision is down to whether the potential for enjoyment will exceed one’s own sense of disgust.

  13. Ambient Malice says:

    This article is an exercise in absurd bigotry. You completely fail to grasp Doug TenNapel’s views on intolerance, and in doing so, you show yourself to be small minded, intolerant, and worst of all – malicious.

    You cite Orson Scott Card as an example. Good thing you don’t directly compare him to Doug TenNapel, since OSC is a left-leaning Democrat who thinks communism is cool, is pro-immigration, and has a classical liberal outlook on the world. Doug is rather right wing, and votes Republican. They’re polar opposites.

    But oh, no. It’s ALWAYS about same sex marriage and homosexuality. Somehow someone’s views on homosexuality are ALL IMPORTANT.

    You need to face the reality that there are people who think differently about the world than you. You need to grasp that you have a responsibility to be tolerant towards them. You’re free to attack their ideas. Tolerance is for people, not ideas, as Doug TenNapel puts it.

    But at the end of the day, if you’re so small minded and bigoted that you can’t possibly tolerate people who think differently to you, you shouldn’t donate to this kickstarter. If possible, you should also stop playing video games. And don’t watch any TV. You might watch something created by someone who disagrees with you.

    I didn’t boycott Orson Scott Card when I discovered that his pro-democracy views conflicted with my monarchist ones. I buy Bioware’s games despite the fact I think the writing team are so far up their far-left arses they can’t see reality anymore. I disagree with a lot of TenNapel’s politics because he is a Republican and I am a monarchist. But I believe in tolerance. I disagree with Harrison Ford about same sex marriage – I still watch all his movies, and I’ll watch Ender’s Game, even if it looks like it will butcher the novel.

    I sincerely hope this Armikrog meets its goals. I sincerely hope Orson Scott Card’s next videogame project, should he make one, is a smash hit. Because I appreciate art, and I appreciate great artists. Even when I disagree with them. But to despise and attack someone for something so petty as not liking same sex marriage is bigoted. It’s as bad as hating and attacking people who are anti-videogames. I might disagree with people who think videogames are a bad thing, but I’ll respect their right to express their views, even if they’re attacking something I love. Because tolerance is about tolerating people.

    • Fixda Fernback says:

      “You need to face the reality that there are people who think differently about the world than you. You need to grasp that you have a responsibility to be tolerant towards them. You’re free to attack their ideas. Tolerance is for people, not ideas, as Doug TenNapel puts it.”

      That would all be fine and good, and applicable, if we weren’t talking about human beings being dismissive of other human beings as less than human. We have no responsibility of tolerance to intolerance. “Oh that kooky old man thinks of non-whites as equivalent to wild dogs, but it’s okay, we have to respect his views!” Give me a break.

      • Ambient Malice says:

         Except that doesn’t apply to Doug TenNapel, since he has at no point said ANYONE is less than human. And no, opposing same sex marriage, and having a moral problem with people engaging in homosexual acts, which he most likely does, is not the same thing.

        • nowimnothing says:

          The only way it is not considering homosexuals as less than human is if homosexuality is a choice and not something innate. He probably believes this, so to him that makes sense.

          But that is not what science tells us. So the truth according to science is that his stance equates to that of someone who wants homosexuals to be treated as less than human.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          No, he has gone to great lengths to explain his tolerance of gays while at the same time saying that gay couples should enjoy the legal status of straight couples.  It’s kind of a deal-breaker and his wishy-washy “no, no, I have no problem with them or their lifestyle” defense doesn’t quite cut it.  I’m sure there were plenty of bigots that tried to make the same case for segregation before and after Brown vs. The Board of Education, insisting that they had no problem with blacks, just the notion of them being in the same school as their children.

          This is just one of those hot-button issues in which you’re either with Them or Us.  Sure, he may not be as far on the fringe as Fred Phelps, but he’s still going to be on that side of the fence.  In the same spirit, they are plenty of people in the LGBT community who are Christian, but they just find a church that will accept and marry them (as well as a place where it will be legally recognized), so they still remain on their side of the fence (I suppose it is possible for a LGBT Christian to be anti-gay-marriage, but that is self-loathing on a level I have a hard time fathoming).  If there’s a common discourse to be had, I’m not sure it matters.  If you go to a bank and they deny your loan, you’re probably not going to take it well no matter how nice they were about it.

          That said, I’m not sure boycotting is the way to go, but not because of some issue about seperating the art from the artist.  As Tompkins notes, no matter how much you try to sublimate it, it will always be there.  So it’s more of a personal issue, whether or not you were already predisposed to fund the work.  It’s
          easy to boycott a chicken sandwich because there’s always other chicken sandwiches out there, but an artistic talent is unique.  You could make the case that some Michelin-star-earning chicken sandwich would qualify in that case, but that’s a larger argument than I want to tackle today.  Boycotting will only deny yourself something you enjoy and further embitter the creator.  Myself, I’ve always heard good things about his work, but never got into it.  Maybe someday when some of the dust has settled, I’ll give this game and its antecedent a fair shake.

          Final bit and I’ll shut up:  Whenever there’s one of these internet dust-ups, I always have the grisly impulse to check it out and view the carnage.  And while he’s espousing or defending the views I disagree with, he can seem pretty venomous or, at best, weasely (although he did apparently apologize for some of his initial statements).  But, then you read his Twitter feed on a normal day when he’s not fanning the flames and you can see that he’s just a guy greeting life in the same way we all do, one day at a time.  When we come to such a fundamental disagreement, we always want to view our rival as some evil Other, who bleeds not blood but rather foul ichor, whose every statement and deed is villianous; It lends such a clarity of hate, especially on the internet where we are faceless clouds of information.  But you dig a little deeper and you can’t avoid seeing the person in there.

        • zebbart says:

          @The_Misanthrope:disqus I’m curious why you imply that one’s stance on gay marriage must be driven purely by emotion and not rational analysis? That assumption is very common in the gay marriage debate (maybe most internet politics debates?) but it cuts the debate right off  before it starts and predetermines that communication is impossible. If someone’ s position is purely a product of hate, anger, fear, disgust, or self-loathing then you have no reason to listen to her or even talk to her, except maybe to establish your identity.

          If you’re curious to hear the perspective of a homosexual who is against gay marriage and seems not to be driven by self loathing, read Maria Selmys’ blog Sexual Authenticity. Not to say you or anyone will be convinced of anything she says, but her thinking is so smart an nuanced and her perspective so unusual that I think anyone would find it interesting. 

    • O Superman says:

      But tolerance doesn’t have to be the same as having no reaction. Part of free speech is that it has consequences and that people are allowed to react and engage with it. So, as a gay man, if someone is professing a strong anti-gay viewpoint in the crudest of terms, I don’t think I should just have to “tolerate” that. I’m allowed to react. 

      Also, to me, the issue of same sex marriage (and more broadly, same-sex equality, since the former won’t suddenly equal the latter) is not “something so petty,” it’s a major issue that strongly affects how I live my life. And call me intolerant all you want, but if I walked into a store and saw a sign on the wall comparing gay marriage to “taking a dump” in the wrong bathroom, I would walk right back out. I don’t need to accept or support that.

      So, in essence, if he’s going to use his public platform to try and affect how I live my life, I think it’s only fair that there are articles about this to respond to it.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Unrelated to the discussion:  I’m genuinely curious, because I’ve never heard someone refer to themselves as a “monarchist”.  What exactly does that entail?

      • neodocT says:

         I’m also curious about that. Like a Constitutional Monarchy or supporting a royal family with, you know, real powers and shit?

      • GhaleonQ says:

        Ask former political writer and super-Catholic Michael Brendan Dougherty!  He’s pretty active on Twitter, and I think 1 time he said he was.

    • OrangeLazarus says:

      Wait: you are an actual monarchist? I suppose you would have to adopt a “live and let live” outlook if you believed in the monarchy in 2013.

      I suppose that wasn’t very tolerant.

      • 1derer says:

        Hold up: An unelected monarchy – whether it’s an arbitrary line of British figureheads or a random beaver you found in the woods – serves several useful constitutional purposes. 

        For example, the co-sovereign constitutional relationship between Canada and her provinces is protected by the fact that both Canada and each individual province has its own Head of State, and that Head of State is the same person (QE2). This has historically protected the provinces from federal encroachment into areas of provincial responsibility, something that has been an issue in many republican federations.

        • stepped_pyramids says:

          People who describe themselves as a “monarchist” in opposition to “democracy” aren’t  looking for a figurehead constitutional monarchy.

    • “But oh, no. It’s ALWAYS about same sex marriage and homosexuality. Somehow someone’s views on homosexuality are ALL IMPORTANT.”
      It is true, I have to admit, that people’s factual beliefs on homosexuality do tend to be the major factor in conversations about whether people’s beliefs regarding homosexuality affect purchasing the art they produce.  It’s kind of built into the definition that way.

      “Tolerance is for people, not ideas, as Doug TenNapel puts it.”

      The basic problem with this is that Doug TenNapel’s “ideas” (that’s a charitable thing to call them, but sure) actually affect real life people.  The only way to pretend that his ideas are entirely detached from human beings is to essentially deny yourself any form of empathy for people who aren’t identical to you.  Then you can reduce homosexual people down to just “ideas” and debate them as an abstract thing.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      A Monarchist?  Are you Ignatius J. Reilly?  Then here’s to Theology and Geometry. 

    • stepped_pyramids says:

      “OSC is a left-leaning Democrat”

      What’s the weather like on your planet?

      “I didn’t boycott Orson Scott Card when I discovered that his pro-democracy views conflicted with my monarchist ones”

      … oh. Heady with the blood of peasants, then.

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Do you know anything about OSC other than the fact that he’s a fundamentalist Mormon?

        That’s a serious question because, if you did know anything else about OSC, you’d know that he’s a classic fiscal liberal.  

        Actually, he’s pretty much my exact opposite ideologically, I just don’t give a shit about his personal opinions as long as they don’t color his work.

        • Haha, now you’re just making things up.

          It’s totally fine to say that OSC is a Democrat.  I find it questionable, but given that he self-identifies as a Democrat, I have no evidence to disprove the claim.

          However, he is not a liberal.  He rants constantly about how “his party” has gone hard left.  He rants against Obama and in favor of Romney.  Well, okay, that makes sense, Romney is Mormon.  But what about defending both Bushes with deflections accusing Democrats of being the real villains?
          No, he may be a Democrat, but try to find a single thing where he identifies himself as a liberal.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus He’s a social conservative who has broken with the Democrats because they believe in all that pesky “social equality” nonsense and were anti-Iraq.  
          He’s undoubtedly big government, though, and in his articles about voting McCain in ’08 he says that the only reason he’s not voting for Obama is   that he wanted to pull out of Iraq.

        • Thank you for posting that link to confirm that he is not a liberal.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

      That is an appropriate username.

  14. Girard says:

    Some artists present a genuine challenge to the audience, pairing great talent with self-absorption and arrogance, or with toxic beliefs and actions. Deciding whether or not to divorce the artist from the artwork becomes a thorny proposition.

    However, Tennapel makes the choice easy: He’s an arrogant asshole, with toxic opinions, whose artistic output is, frankly, not that great.

    I get to not support an arrogant, hateful, bonehead, AND I get to help ensure there is one less piece of artwork out there from the creator of idiotic, ugly nonsense like “Creature Tech”? Sounds like a win-win to me.

    • Ambient Malice says:

      How exactly is TenNapel hateful?
      How exactly is he arrogant?

      And I suppose you’re sworn to never watch Adventure Time again, just in case he co-writes another episode, too.

      (Probably for the best, since Adventure Time is so hipster these days.)

      • Girard says:

        I don’t watch Adventure Time, its zaniness feels pretty vapid, which probably makes Tennapel a good fit.

        He is hateful because he spits vitriol targeting a particular group. And makes AIDs jokes.

        As for arrogant, in addition to the summary of his online exchanges above, I have had the pleasure of interacting with DT on-line in the past. I’ve summarized this in greater detail elsewhere on these boards, so I’ll be brief: He briefly posted on an art critique board I belonged to in the early 00s. His response to any feedback on his work (which tended to be hastily drawn webcomics making poorly-articulated arguments against abortion and gay marriage) was to throw a fit, insult the ‘rank amateur’ giving him feedback (on an art criticism board), and repeatedly assert how famous and what a big deal he was, and how he was beyond criticism (despite no one giving a shit about his output since the mid-90s, and other posters on that board being significant and/or rising comic artists whose merit has long since eclipsed his).

        Basically, every interaction with humans I’ve ever seen him participate in (or in which I’ve participated with him) has shown him to be arrogant, petty, and thin-skinned. In addition to possessing laughably reactionary political and social views.

        • Ambient Malice says:

           “He makes AIDS jokes”.

          You mean the thing he once said about how he was okay with being punched in the mouth so long as the person didn’t have an open sore?

          See, you can’t just claim that was an AIDS joke unless you can prove it was an AIDS joke.

          And just because his political views differ from yours doesn’t make him any less of an artist. His brand of Republican tend to be reactionary. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

          Also, you’re judging him based on how he was over 10 years ago? That’s like judging someone like Kirk Cameron for how he behaved back when he was a self-righteous asshole who got his costar fired.

          I think you’re missing that TenNapel is still a big deal. His literary work still sells. His games are cult classics. The TenNapel I’ve interacted with on twitter goes out of his way to apologise when he’s caused offense, and is polite and helpful in general.

        • “See, you can’t just claim that was an AIDS joke unless you can prove it was an AIDS joke.”

          For the record, according to Tenable, this was an HIV joke, not an AIDS joke.  So you must really have egg on your face!!!

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus   I know we’re all feeling very passionately here, this is a very weighted subject.  But please, please mind what you say about Adventure Time.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      (UGH.  I typed the tangential stuff last night but haven’t had time to write the substantial bit the post I want to make.  I’m just going to post.  Sorry for not meeting the standards of some of the good posts here.)

      Nah.  I can’t help it if you don’t like The Neverhood series.  I get that you’re saying that silly video games + beginner’s Christianity comics + juvenile blog posts =/= profundity, but the little hypothetical I threw out was not merely a combination of those things.  When he’s older, I do hope he does something hyper-ideological and for adults.

      Anyway, this reminded me of Patton Oswalt, as I mentioned.  Frankly, you could make the same argument you made about him (here, TenNapel disciples get substituted with The A.V. Club writers), though I do think he’s 1 of the 15 best comedians ever.  I was thinking about the alternately vile, bitchy, incorrect, and inane things he tweeted and wrote during the last election.  I was thinking about the facile anthropology of religion captured in Sky Cake.  Paul F. Tompkins is similarly insulting (and, from podcasts, he’s DEFINITELY not more articulate on it than TenNapel).  I thought about why I don’t care.

      Oswalt wrote, “There are almost 7 billion people on this soggy marble.  I don’t need all of them on my side.  The fans who unfollowed me on Twitter after I shut down The Pastor – just like the ones who unfollow me when I rage against the NRA, and gay marriage opponents and FOX News? I don’t want them as fans.  As carefully as I’ve curated and cultivated my career, I’m now doing the same with my audience.  Universality was never my goal as a comedian.  Longevity and creativity are.”  It doesn’t surprise me, but it saddens me to view what an artist’s become.  He likes being an artisan pushing a product to a certain market, not a seer revealing emotional, ideological, or personal truths.  I don’t pretend great, past artists had universal appeal, but they certain had universal aims.  From folk tales to symphonies, they contextualized what the busy, ignorant, or untalented experienced.  They assumed that everyone was interested in the same things.  They bought into the idea of society, and I’d argue that much good came of it.

      So, when artists THEMSELVES don’t want to create social cohesion, it’s too much to have audiences destroy it, too.  Authorities can suppress art.  Nihilists can undermine it.  Audiences can decry it.  I get that your idea of a society consists of moving WHAT IS GOOD to the future, all together, but I think the splintering of shared experience into ever finer pieces is far more harmful to “us” than (in your view) a man slinging evil ideas on bad fiction.  I just don’t know why you want tension to go away, why we should have social uniformity and not social cohesion.  TenNapel’s view on same-sex relationships is 1 part of a whole thing that brings, at most, wisdom and, at worst, diversity and a challenge to what we share.  You must explicitly acknowledge that to kill 1 part is to kill the whole.  You don’t want it marginalized, you want him gone.

      And, from there, artists are just your personal buffet and art is sensualist.  There’s not mutual investment, just cherry-picking pleasurable things.  Even if I didn’t value art so highly, I’d think that’s a pretty horrible development on the person-to-person level.  I guess if I can’t write the essay I want, I’ll ask a question.  What’s art for and what are artists for?

      Girard, on a personal note, I work in education reform.  (It’s why I had to sacrifice a lunch break to spit this out!)  This amounts to me interacting with left-wing people 95 percent of the time while doing things with which they’d agree (high standards, culture of safety and focus) and disagree (choice, efficiency).  I get judged a lot by people who have done a tenth of what I’ve done for children, often because of some negligible shibboleth I choose not to say.  It’s left me with a low tolerance for signaling and the superficial people who rely on it rather than deal with complex problems.  (My views on marriage are, hopefully, holistic to deal with marriage as a whole.)  Obviously, it’s possible to pursue justice on more than 1 thing at a time and I think you, more than a lot of people, try to apply your sense of ethics to the culture you consume.  However, I think that your vociferousness (and others’) is puffed-up signaling that comes at no cost to you, and that your rage is subdued or impotent when it comes to industry problems that are more relevant and more costly.  TenNapel/Pencil Test or Ubisoft and Capcom!  1 thinks homosexual love and lust are mistakes and relationships based on them are categorically wrong, and the others grind their workers into dust while isolating them from their loved ones and society.  Whose games will you boycott?!  I know the answer.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Your perception of the role of the artist is carved from a very thin slice of time and place.  The idea of the artist as an independent, pan-unifying agent of cultural uplift is a 20th century, Western notion.
           William Hogarth was one of 18th century England’s most renowned engravers, painters and satirists.
           Among his most famous prints was Beer Street and Gin Lane, a blatant piece of pro-British, anti-French import propaganda.  And hilarious, I might add.
           Other examples being the number of beauteous Renaissance oils originating as families commissioning altar triptychs where the donors are painted into the wings so they can demonstrate their wealth and fealty in public eye.
           Art has almost always universally existed as a tool in service to another powerful body, than as a force of it’s own.
           So in that regard, Oswalt openly cultivating an audience is not particularly noteworthy.
           Your reverence of the arts is admirable, but I can assure you, having been surrounded by those who make it my entire life, also a projection.
           I’ve foregone participating in art I’m more interested in for far lesser reasons than TenNapel’s.  Time, circumstance, mood.  I’ve started reading Brothers Karamazov three times and found it to be so hauntingly beautiful as to amaze me, only to put it down twenty pages in each time.
           I agree with you that as a people, we need to engage in those who disagree with us.  Not just disagreements that fall in line with our personal politics or tastes, i.e. is organic or locally grown better, but on the big, painful things.
           However, we are still allowed to make our distinctions and draw our lines.  That can be an aesthetic, commercial or cultural decision.  We do it all the time. and in matters of human rights, and specifically, TenNapel’s refutation of human rights so terribly articulated, I think it’s so utterly reasonable to say, I’m not participating in this.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          And I’d say that the direct servitude to interests is the abomination and not the rule.  A Medici pope was even more selfish than the patron you referenced and high church Catholicism was definitely not shared by the rank-and-file of Europe (never mind Luther), but, nevertheless, Raffaello created art that drew from and gave shape to his culture’s ideas.  Pick any religion’s art for most of their existences, for that matter: quasi-ignorance at the bottom rung of society, but respect for how the artist honored their world.  I’m a huge fan of prints (again, Lutheran), and Hogarth’s satire is right on board with my point, isn’t it?

          Rutracker has only impressed on me my fleeting attention span, and it’s why I took issue with Bob’s tone.  It’s signalling for lazy people.  Per Tompkins, it’s incredibly easy to do: it’s just inaction!  And yet it requires a movement and self-glorifying to have the intended effect on the individual, which is public respect for being against The Bad Guys and pretending like these are “the serious issues” of the industry.  It’s the worst of both worlds: zealotry without effort.

          To tie the 2 points together before I get back to work: that’s what makes hipsters detestable.

          In any case, sorry for not giving a proper response to this or your other quality posts.

  15. Chris Shaffer says:

    This is actually the first I’d heard about TenNapel’s anti-GLBT shenanigans. That’s a shame.

    And with all due respect to Peter David, I’m pretty sure anyone who’s not actively trying to create anti-Mormon legislation is inherently more tolerant of Orson Scott Card than he is of him (a boycott, after all, isn’t going to magically undo the fortune he’s made off of Ender’s Game). So I feel pretty comfortable calling myself ‘better’ with a straight face while still withholding my money from the bigoted piece of shit.

  16. dmikester says:

    Good article and even better comment thread.  The only thing I’d add here is that this seems to somewhat fall in line with the concept of a famous artist or notable public figure who is known for being both very talented and having nothing particularly controversial about their personality or beliefs, but then do or say something egregious or off-putting and then suddenly become persona non grata to fans and even the general public, often permanently.  This is in stark contrast to an artist or public figure who from day one is known for being controversial and is still accepted by the public; in that case, they can often get away with very bad things and still be fine in the public eye. 

    Examples from the film/television world: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson are both pretty terrible people in their personal lives, but both were known for being so pretty much from the start of their careers, and in recent attempts to revive their careers both have either been successful (Tyson, who just performed at the Tony’s) or are vying for it and have a decent chance at success (Schwarzenegger with the next Terminator movie).  Then look at Mel Gibson or Michael Richards, two people who were pretty much non-controversial people who both either said or did ugly things and are now effectively blacklisted in Hollywood.

    What’s interesting to me about this though is that with the examples I gave above, all of them make a living based on you watching them and recognizing their face, and it makes sense that it’s tough to watch footage of someone doing bad thing in real life and then watch them act on screen and not separate the person from the acting.  But in the case of Orson Scott Card or TenNapel, you never have to know what they look or sound like to enjoy their work, so I think it requires a different level of conscious decision making on the part of the consumer to decide to not support them.

    • nowimnothing says:

      Maybe it is just that violence against women and misogyny is just more tolerated than homophobia and racism. 

      • Nope.  Mel Gibson got a pass for rampant public homophobia for years, and they let him keep making movies even after “The Passion of the Anti-Semites, by way of Christ” because it made money.  It was specifically the threats of violence toward his pregnant girlfriend that broke him.

        • stepped_pyramids says:

          The racist language in said threats couldn’t have helped.

          I think a lot of this stuff is just a “straw that broke the camel’s back” situation, and a few high-profile cases (“Jews start all the wars in the world”, the threats) in a relatively short period are likely to be more damaging than a long history of low-key shittiness (like Charlie Sheen and, to a lesser extent, Alec Baldwin).

        • @stepped_pyramids:disqus True.  In fact, I would say nothing about that phone call helped at all.

          I am mainly just responding because I thought your second sentence was really intriguing.  I’m not sure Sheen is the best example (unless you’re saying that, at a certain point, his piled up too high), but Baldwin is a great one.

          I know Sheen technically still gets work, but it is the sort of work Gibson *could* still get too, if he didn’t have pride and, more importantly, tens of millions of dollars.

        • nowimnothing says:

          @stepped_pyramids:disqus Good point. 
          I think culture can shift and it has shifted quite dramatically in the past few years against homophobia. Obviously there is still a long way to go on all fronts.

      • lokimotive says:

        I think Michael Richards is kind of an odd example. He was basically out of the public consciousness since Seinfeld ended, and his bizarre and disturbing outbursts at the comedy club were the only thing that brought him back. Obviously, he’ll get lifetime recognition for Kramer, but it’s not like he immediately crashed after the comedy club incident. People had to be reminded that he still existed in order to shun him.

    • neodocT says:

       I think the difference here is between doing something detestable and defending a destestable point of view. I’m not sure one is better than the other, exactly, but I feel it is easier to forgive the former, as it is more easily attributed to as a mistake, and a person can vow to change their actions. But it’s just not as easy to believe a person changed a point of view.

  17. Thanks a lot for this, Bob, and good to see you around here, if only for the morning.

    As I think I mentioned back in the Nerve days, my college roommates and I spent a lot of time discussing Tenapel’s work, mostly Creature Tech and Sockbaby. It was in Ratfist where both the content and the commentary started to rub me the wrong way and I lost interest. I would never condemn somebody for their personal beliefs, and there are still enough people out there who feel this way about non-heterosexual relationships to keep them from truly being fringe weirdos. I can’t chastise him, and I doubt I’d even explain the issue to my friends if they wanted to support this game, but you’re right; once you know, and you have concerns with it, how could you support his work?

    That said, this article mostly reminded me how much I like Peter David. There had been chatter and elbow-nudging for years about the possible relationship between X-Men characters Rictor and Shatterstar, and when David had a chance to write the book again, the two male superheroes entered a serious relationship, sharing a bed and going on dates and kissing on panel. Rob Liefeld, the co-creator of Shatterstar, took to the internet to cry foul, whining like an ignorant father that ‘star couldn’t be gay because Liefeld made him and Liefeld knew who ‘star truly was, deep down inside, and that he could never be gay. David’s response was basically “I’m sorry you’re ashamed of your gay son” (though he said it more eloquently than that). That was about a year after Shadow Complex, though, so maybe he felt he was ready to take on some sci-fi bigotry at the time.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I am sure Liefeld had to draw a hole ton of pouches on people with tiny feet and huge guns in order to swallow that one.
      I’ve met Rob Liefeld at a comic convention before and have to say, at least from the smallest of interactions, that his persona didn’t seem to far removed from Tenapel’s, that is thin-skinned and haughty.

      • Enkidum says:

        Always required whenever anyone brings up Liefeld, and I’m pleased to see this is still the 4th google hit for his name:

      • WarrenPeace says:

        Liefeld is actually one of the most well-adjusted guys out there; I’m amazed how much he lets the insults roll off his back, considering that he’s such a whipping boy for anyone looking to make some easy jokes about bad art. Sure, he deserves every bit of criticism he gets, but he seems to be happy to keep cranking out variations on the same pictures of x-treme, teeth-gritted, shoulder-pad-and-pouch-heavy dudes for the rest of his life, and he still has enough of a fanbase that he manages to remain successful at it, all sense of aesthetics be damned. I’ve never met him, but by all accounts I’ve heard, he’s actually super-nice and friendly. I guess he’s living the dream, and haters can suck it, no matter how justified they are.

    • Enkidum says:

      Peter David is probably the best long-running superhero comic writer, period. His Hulk and first X-Factor runs were just about the most interesting comics Marvel put out in the early 90’s, and his second X-Factor run is probably better (though he’s up against some stiff competition there). Seriously, read that stuff, y’all.

  18. ProfFarnsworth says:

    This is a great article that really brings out a lot of thought and personal introspection.  I really appreciate that about Gameological.  I hope many more of articles of this quality continue forth!

  19. Steve McCoy says:

    I did a double-take when I saw Bob Mackey’s name in the byline. Great to see him here; I hope he writes more for the site!

  20. dougtennapel says:

    Bob, this is another
    stupid article, full of phony outrage, with no new thought or journalism
    exercised on the subject. You easily could have contacted me, but I guess
    taking a 2011 quote out of context that was already taken out of context does
    the job of painting me as outrageously hateful.

    “ But the idea of donating to a person who views a significant chunk of the
    population as subhuman?”

    A lie.

    “But I’m most concerned with feeling terrible about giving money to a hateful

    These are unsubstantiated opinions stated as fact. The fact is that I’ve never
    shown any same sex marriage advocate the level of average hatred that is
    displayed by your article. I’ve never so much as winked at the idea that it’s
    hard to fund projects that hire same sex marriage advocates.

    Hatred is what you do, not what you believe. You’re a hack, and a small man.

    • nowimnothing says:

      “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” “‘elp I’m bein’ oppressed!”

      Like we have not heard that BS before.

    • Roswulf says:

       I do think- given that Bob was aware that Doug was reachable and that he’s you know, here- it might have been a good idea to reach out to Doug before publishing the story.

      I don’t however think, Doug, that you are being notably mistreated substantively by the story. Am I correct that you are advocating for gay persons and gay partnerships to be denied certain legal rights that are granted to straight persons (employment discrimination protections, the rights attendant to marriage, etc.)? Such a denial of rights treats a person as if they are subhuman. It is fair to extend your actions to a belief that they are subhuman.

      I am somewhat skeptical of the rhetoric of hatefulness. From what I’ve read from Doug, he seems full of indignation more than hate. Prejudice can originate from all sorts of emotions other than hate. Fear’s the biggy (there’s something linguistically and conceptually odd about insisting that homophobes are full of hate). Sometimes I worry that by equating bigotry with hatred, we lose some persuadables. I can understand Doug’s frustration with the transformation of his complicated (if deeply mean) views of homosexuality into unreasoning hatred. And he is by no means wrong to say that there is hatred directed towards him.

      Of course on the other hand, as he wants to deny gay people full and equal rights under the law, I don’t care THAT much about treating him fairly. I kind of hate him myself, and I certainly hate the part that he plays in making the lives of gay people less pleasant.

      • dougtennapel says:

        Thanks for your reasonable response, Roswulf.

        I’m not being notably mistreated in the story, I’m being averagely,
        intentionally mischaracterized by what some people call gaming journalists that
        are actually hard left political apologists. That said, you’re correct that I
        would deny same sex couples the same standing as married couples. But that
        doesn’t treat someone as subhuman, any more than other denials of marriage
        rights to other groupings treats them as subhuman. It’s not fair to say that denying
        polygamists equal standing as treating them subhuman. It becomes a reach where
        it sounds more like it’s really important to you to hang a label on an opponent
        than to really get at the heart of the matter. I oppose homosexuality with the
        same vigor that I oppose Mormonism, and the homosexual as well as Mormon need
        not think I see them as subhuman. The homosexual has a right to be wrong, but
        so does the Scientologist. If a Scientologist demanded I legally call them
        “Christian” I’d oppose that law too.

        “I can understand Doug’s frustration with the
        transformation of his complicated (if deeply mean) views of homosexuality into
        unreasoning hatred.”

        I don’t consider my beliefs about homosexuality to be mean. I consider it mean
        to endorse them. And any homosexual in my life will never tell you that I’m
        mean to them. I love them. The same way that I love the atheists, Mormons and
        Scientologists in my life. I’m largely only accused of hatred and bigotry by
        white, straight, leftists. This is a culture war move that only popped up
        recently. I haven’t changed my position, and my position is mirrored by every
        conservative religious person in Mormonism, Islam, Judaism as it has been
        observed for thousands of years. I’m not on the far right, and to parade me as
        some kind of new freak show is merely this week’s development in normal,
        anti-Christian slander… which has also been around since the beginning.

        You judge my belief that same sex marriage is wrong, and I judge your belief
        that it’s right. Both are full of judgment, and one of us is certainly wrong.
        There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t introspect and wonder if I’m in
        the wrong on this. It costs me and all of the innocent people around me too
        much to hold this position without considering all sides on the matter.

        “ I don’t care THAT much about treating him fairly. I kind of hate him myself,
        and I certainly hate the part that he plays in making the lives of gay people
        less pleasant.”

        Here’s where we part ways, because though I deeply oppose same sex marriage and
        the advocacy of that position by my opposition, I don’t in any way hate them.
        We ought to work hard to treat our opposition with fairness. If I believe my
        opposition is bullying and intolerant, I’m not justified in bullying them and
        being intolerant if I claim to be against bullying and intolerance. A lot of
        this debate reveals what I’ve always suspected about the left, that their
        claims of relative, subjective truth, tolerance, anti-bullying, and claims
        against hatred are only held when it’s convenient for their argument. These
        supposed principles of the left are jettisoned the moment it’s most important
        that they be held.

        • Other Chris says:

           Your goose is cooked, Doug. Welcome to the free market.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          “But that doesn’t treat someone as subhuman, any more than other denials
          of marriage rights to other groupings treats them as subhuman.”

          This is where you are, without doubt and without question, entirely and horrendously wrong, and I can only assume that you are wrong because you don’t know what you and people like you are doing to the people you judge, either because you didn’t have the chance to experience it or because you don’t care. It’s a perspective born out of ignorance and perpetuated by more, even willful ignorance. It doesn’t, as you seem to think, defend your point, it damns it further and gives the article more fuel against you. The fact that you actively want people to have less right because it doesn’t fit into your world-view remains.

          There was a time when people of different racial backgrounds were not allowed to marry either. Either you think of that as a separate case with which you disagree, in which case you are, by definition, at least a hypocrite.
          Or, arguably worse, you agree with that too, which makes you a bigot.
          The choice really is yours and yours alone, but you are not doing yourself any favors in the public discourse of your views. As someone in the public eye, that’s just something you have to contend with.

        • DrKumAndGo says:

          “[I’m being] intentionally mischaracterized by what some people call gaming journalists that are actually hard left political apologists. … A lot of this debate reveals what I’ve always suspected about the left, that their claims of relative, subjective truth, tolerance, anti-bullying, and claims against hatred are only held when it’s convenient for their argument.”

          Do conservatives have to copy and paste this sort of whiny bullshit every time they’re criticized for something they’ve said or done? Because, CHRIST, I’m fucking sick of it.

          Take some responsibility for your actions; these paranoid persecution fantasies are just juvenile.

        • Ted Kindig says:

          Doug, I think the people labeling you as hateful are offbase. It’s clear that your opinion is based on your religious faith, which is a perfectly valid foundation for personal beliefs. I’ve also noticed that those on the left are sometimes too quick to let anger and emotion drive an issue–particularly those who have fallen into a social network echo chamber–and it directly leads to people in your position feeling victimized and persecuted. That’s completely unproductive and kind of mean.
          At the same time, I too take vehement issue with your opposition to same-sex marriage; not because you’re a terrible evil hateful person, but because your position doesn’t make sense. Marriage has not been an *exclusively* religious institution for centuries, let alone a Christian one. Nobody wants to require your Christian denomination of choice to recognize same-sex marriage, we’re just want to establish equal protection under the law. Same-sex couples depend on, love and raise families with each other for all the same reasons straight couples do, and are entitled to the same *legal* recognition.

          If you truly *truly* believe that marriage is or should be an exclusively Christian or religious institution, I encourage you to legally dissolve your own marriage while maintaining it in the eyes of your church. This will lead to a world of headaches surrounding custody, partner benefits and legal rights, but at least then you can define your marriage on your own terms in accordance with your faith–and, I might add, perhaps appreciate what life is like for unmarried same-sex families. If you prefer to maintain your legal privileges in the secular eyes of the sate, I hope you’ll be decent enough to allow those same privileges to others with different beliefs.

        • rubi-kun says:

           The only way I can see opposition to civil (as opposed to religious) gay marriage as not being inherently bigoted is if you’re opposed to all civil marriage, which is a defendable if debatable position. To allow civil marriage for opposite sex couples and deny it for same sex couples on purely religious grounds would be to violate religious freedom.

        • @openid-111502:disqus I have always found that people making that “the government has no place in marriage at all” argument tend to be heterosexual libertarians.  “I don’t care about it because it doesn’t affect me, so instead of addressing the actual ethical question, I will deflect it into another anti-government rant.”
          Especially funny is when you point out that it is a contract, and ask who will enforce the contract if not the government.  Watch ’em wiggle!

        • “And any homosexual in my life will never tell you that I’m mean to them. I love them. The same way that I love the atheists, Mormons and Scientologists in my life.”

          It does seem pretty noticeable that, by default, you don’t claim to love them as much as you love other Christians.

          “But that doesn’t treat someone as subhuman”

          You either believe in equality for all humans or you don’t believe in equality for all humans.  If you want to claim that you believe in equality for all humans and then oppose individual measures of equality, you are semantically defining the person as non-human (though, I agree, not inherently “sub-“human).

        • rubi-kun says:

           @facebook-663669914:disqus There’s also the “keep the contracts, just call them all civil unions” argument.

        • @openid-111502:disqus I have to admit, I’ve never heard anybody seriously suggest that.  I would assume that is because the difference there is actively removing a right from people who have it is both difficult and counter-productive.

        • George_Liquor says:

          I’m glad to hear you spend some time each day in deep introspection on the nature of your own beliefs. Too bad you come to the wrong conclusion each time you do it.

          I’ll flat-out admit I hate Christianity. I find it to be a ridiculously irrational belief system, responsible for an immeasurable amount of human suffering in the thousand of years it has blighted the Earth. If no more churches were ever built, I would be thrilled. But here’s the rub: I would never deny you the right to believe in or express your religion, no matter how backwards I find it to be. I would never, ever support legislation that imposes arbitrary restrictions on your religious freedom, either–not simply because it’s denied in the Constitution, but because doing so would constitute state-sponsored bigotry, as does denying homosexuals the same basic human rights heterosexuals enjoy. No matter how much you may scream character assassination or smile and say “Gosh I love the gays, but–” the mere fact that you deny equal rights based on your own prejudices plants your ass squarely in bigot territory.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus makes a valid point.
          Hate is not an inhuman emotion. I’d rather say that it’s one of our prime motivations in life, at least collectively. You are allowed to hate (if you hate) whatever you like. The Yankees, that guy who makes your coffee wrong, the IRS… you go ahead. It’s when you act on that emotion that you and you alone are responsible for what happens. I don’t know if you hate LGBTQ people. Nobody can look into your head, all I have to go on are your statements. But if you are so ready to deny so many so little a thing, you better hate them, because to act this way out of any lesser emotion would probably be even more monstrous. Regardless, you have the right to think whatever you want, just as I have the right to call you on it.

          I do not, in the most friendly of terms, agree with who you appear to be nor the things you say, but I will defend tooth and nail your right to say these things (as long as you can bear the backlash) because it is the same right that allows me to respond to you. It’s one of those few things about America that are actually true and good and worth fighting for.

          The fact that you can’t seem to bring yourself to extend that same respect to millions of people serves only to paint you as a lesser man. The fact that you judge people on anything but their actions and character only underlines that.

          And, repeatedly, your umbrage at being called on your own intolerant statements, while defending your right to be intolerant towards others, makes you a certified hypocrite… and one that’s digging himself deeper with every misguided word.

        • Jonny C says:

          “I oppose homosexuality with the same vigor that I oppose Mormonism, and
          the homosexual as well as Mormon need not think I see them as subhuman.
          The homosexual has a right to be wrong, but so does the Scientologist.
          If a Scientologist demanded I legally call them “Christian” I’d oppose
          that law too.”

          Here’s the difference, Doug. You are not, to my knowledge, claiming that only Christianity should be legally recognized by the government, and that Mormonism and Scientology should not. If I announced that since Christianity is the only true religion (and the only faith even worthy of being referred to as a “religion”), then only Christian organizations should receive the corresponding legal privileges from the government (tax exemptions and so forth), how would you describe me?

          I don’t agree with your views, but I fully support your right to express them. You don’t have to agree with my gay marriage, and I’m not asking you to. I’m just asking you to allow me the right to have one.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          @openid-111502:disqus has got it right.   People can call it whatever they like, but the same civil rights should be given to everyone.

          Also, @facebook-663669914:disqus , thank you for demonstrating why people think Democrats are inflexible, self-righteous assholes.  Replacing the word “marriage” with “civil union,” a word with no religious connotations, is something we call a “compromise.”  Everyone gets the same legal benefits and protections, and the religious right has nothing to complain about, because no one is getting “married.”  It’s literally beneficial for everybody involved, and hurts no one.

          Of course, no suggestion that doesn’t come from the Democratic party could possibly have any merit, and must be just a platform for spouting ideological platitudes. 

          Seriously, y’all are as bad as the fucking Republicans.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Also, Doug, I disagree with you in pretty much every way imaginable.  I think you’re a bit of an asshole and, if you had your way, you would deny equal legal protections to several of my friends and family.

          On the other hand, if Armikrog turns out to be a good game, I won’t think twice about buying it.  Your being an asshole is your business, and has nothing to do with your merits as an artist.

          I hope Armikrog is a great, great game.  It’s always good to have another one.

        • “Also,  , thank you for demonstrating why people think Democrats are inflexible, self-righteous assholes.  Replacing the word “marriage” with “civil union,” a word with no religious connotations, is something we call a “compromise.”  Everyone gets the same legal benefits and protections, and the religious right has nothing to complain about, because no one is getting “married.”  It’s literally beneficial for everybody involved, and hurts no one, so your claim that it would involve “removing a right” is at best ignorant and at worst deliberately obtuse.”

          In turn, thank you for demonstrating that conservatives are idiots who are incapable of reading.
          I’m honestly not sure where the post you meant to be responding to is, because you are an idiot who can’t even reply to the actual posts he is writing a response to, so I’ll just re-state what I said before.

          If a politician were to propose re-defining the word marriage as a solely religious institution, and create a new term for government-recognized relationships, such as “civil unions”, that would satisfy the equality requirement in my mind.  However, since it would mean that millions of people were no longer “married” but instead “civil unionized”, I don’t think people would like it, because they would feel as if they were having their rights removed.

          PS: By the way, if one side gets exactly what they want (“gay people can’t have marriages”), that isn’t a compromise, so even if you were responding to any point that I made anywhere other than in your head, your point would still be idiotic.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus What “right” would be removed?  The fact that their contract has a different word on top of it? 

          And I guess I’m an optimist, and like to believe that my gay friends and family members care about being equality before the law than they do about a word invented to describe a man selling a female dependant to another man in return for an alliance or material goods.

          Also, don’t give me any Disqus bullshit when your post is also in response to Doug.  It just makes you look petty and, to paraphrase Dean Wormer, petty, stupid and self-righteous is no way to go through life, son.

        • zebbart says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus “The fact that you actively want people to have less right because it doesn’t fit into your world-view remains.” I think the point Doug was making is that gay marriage advocates also want to deny marriage status and rights to many relationships, and yet gay marriage advocates are not suspected to seeing people in incestuous or polyamorous or non-sexual committed relationships as less than human. Marriage is necessarily discriminatory – it is a way of discriminating between relationships and providing some recognition, some burdens, some privileges and some subsidies to a certain subset of the innumerable variations of human relationship. The question is where to draw the line and I can’t see how drawing it in one place is dehumanizing and drawing it in another place is not when both exclude many human relationships.

          • dougtennapel says:

            Thanks, Zebbart. Listening is a choice, and you’re one of the few who chose to listen. I don’t know anything about you other than that you might be a liberal but you can’t be a leftist. Heaven forbid a forum be an open minded exchange of ideas instead of a one sided political advocacy in the disguise of moral outrage, but thanks for hearing me out.

        • zebbart says:

          @tedkindig:disqus that’s a wonderful comment, but I wonder why you want to extent marriage benefits only to homosexual couples and not to all relationships that would self select that social/legal status? For example, why shouldn’t my three uncles who have lived and worked on a farm together for over 50 years and who are single get ‘married’ so as to avoid inheritance tax and receive SSI from each other as well as getting a special recognition of their commitment to each other? Or, if you do want to extend all the status and privilege of marriage to any relationship in which the participants want it, why would we call that “marriage”?

          By the way, I have been seeing more and more hardline Religious Right people following your reasoning and saying let’s just get government out of marriage altogether if they’re not going to respect traditional marriage. I just think that is an interesting and surprising development on the fringes of my social circle.

        • zebbart says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus “You either believe in equality for all humans or you don’t believe in equality for all humans.” There is a difference between equality for all humans and equality for all relationships. Marriage is inherently discriminatory about relationships and necessarily creates inequality among relationships. All [adult mentally competent] individuals have equal rights as individuals with regard to marriage – anyone including a gay person has the legal right to marry a person of the opposite sex. Of course that’s less than cold comfort, that like a slap in the face of a gay couple who wants to get married, but I say it just to make the point that is it relationships and not individuals that anti-gay marriage advocates discriminate against, and it is also relationships which pro-gay marriage advocates discriminate against. So although Doug’s stance may be very harmful, it is not necessarily hateful or dehumanizing because it is not treating any humans as unequal.

      • Roswulf says:

        @dougtennapel:disqus I apoligize for the parenthetical accusation of meanness- it was a cheap shot.

        To me, there is something essentially mean about telling people that love eachother that their love cannot receive societal sanction. Telling polyamorous groupings that they cannot marry in accordance with love also strikes me as mean. Yet for extrinsic reasons I, at least for the moment, join you in that meanness (to summarize the extrinsic reasons- polygamy has traditionally been linked with the oppression of women, while gayness has not. And there are practical difficulties with expanding the legal notion of marriage beyond two parties whereas gay marriage is conceptually simple). But again, my comment was inappropriately antagonistic in the context of a comment I expected you to read. I tried to establish my liberal bona fides at the price of well, being mean to you.

        As for my statement of personal hatred, to the extent Doug that you manage to hold no personal hatred towards those that hold views that hurt others and make the world a less welcoming place, you are a better Christian than I (hate the sin, love the sinner and all that). I admire you for that, though I wish that same spirit of Christian understanding would lead you to welcoming gay people to full civic and political rights.

        Which raises the question- what civic and political rights do you think should be denied to gay people? Should it be legal to fire an employee for reasons of gayness? Should longterm gay couples be denied the inheritance, visitation, and financial and other rights that we confer upon longterm straight couples? Should a partner of 30 years get a day off from work to attend the funeral of their love? Should our law accord them the same  basic human decency in their shared times of hardship that we accord to straight couples?

        If it’s the case that the only right you don’t want conferred upon gay people is the right to legally claim the word MARRIAGE, then while I still disagree with you rather strongly (even if you are hate-free, hatred of gays is a real societal problem that leads to kids killing themselves, and those sort of semantic separative gains protect that evil), I agree that it was unfair of Bob and I to say you thought gay persons are subhuman.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      If that’s the fact you could easily have made that point in a calm and logical manner. Responding to our detractors is a privilege free speech allows you, just as it allows you your views.
      Throwing a fit however makes your point as invalid as those of the people you accuse, perhaps rightfully, of being bigoted and intolerant themselves. As a figure of some influence you have a responsibility to act accordingly and you can’t criticize people for things you yourself are guilty of.
      I don’t know if the article and its research are correct, but you have to blame yourself at the very least for inspiring it by your thoughtless, documented remarks. The world we live in now doesn’t allow you to say things without being judged for them later. Whether that’s fair or not is not really the question, but the thought behind this piece didn’t come out of thin air.
      The article will stand for a long time to come, just as your comments that inspired it and your defense against it. And I think you will wish that your reaction had been somewhat more dignified.

    • MosquitoControl says:

       Doug: Shut up. The problem with small minded people like you, and don’t mistake your other talents for you not being of a small mind, is that you absolutely equate hating someone for something they think or say with a group of people for how they were born. You whine, and yes you’re whining, that you never show “same sex advocates” the level of hate you receive. But you advocate for stripping basic human rights against a broad group of people for how they were born.

      We are all perfectly alright hating you for this. This isn’t a hate crime. This is hating one single individual for his small minded, ignorant opinion.

      On your Twitter you whine about hate mail from people that do it in the name of tolerance. Doug, again, shut up. How are you too stupid to not see the difference between tolerance for how people were born and tolerance for intolerant and ignorant opinions. It isn’t hypocritical to not tolerate your homophobia.

      Of course, you’re likely also one of those people too stupid to realize that homophobia doesn’t mean fear of gay people and that it’s impossible to be against same sex marriage and not be homophobic, as it’s a de facto homophobic view. You’re probably the idiot that goes “I’m not homophobic, I just think gay people shouldn’t marry” or “I have gay friends.”

      In other words, Dough, you’re a stupid, frightened, small minded child. I do hate you. I hate you for being an intolerant dick. You can whine about this on Twitter. You can feel like you’re being attacked. But you’re the one carrying a flag here, Doug. You’re the one telling people you should be allowed to marry someone you love and they should not. You’re the one on the offensive. And yes, we hate you for it.

      Ignorant ass.

    • Craig says:

      Instead of “I have been misquoted, here is why”, what I read here is “I have been misquoted, stop oppressing me.”  This is not the way to convince people of your side of the story, Doug.  Here’s a forum for you to explain why the notion that you’re an anti-gay bigot is wrong and misinformed.  I’m certainly willing to be convinced, and I bet everyone else is too.

    • 1derer says:

      Why is that the angry posters are always the ones who don’t know how to format a comment properly?

      • Effigy_Power says:

        In all fairness, that’s Disqus for you. It really does screw up your formatting if you cut and paste, for example.

    • It is interesting that the real point of contention here seems to be that Doug doesn’t like being accused of hating gay people.  That’s probably fair; his old Breitbart columns are hateful towards Democrats and liberals in general, but in light of those columns, it would be really hard to argue that his anti-homosexual statements are “hateful”.


      “The fact is that I’ve never shown any same sex marriage advocate the level of average hatred that is displayed by your article.”

      This is a pretty weak argument.  It is much easier for a person saying “It obviously has no direct effect on me, but I definitely think you should not be able to get married and will continually advocate for this and insult you if you disagree” to not get emotionally invested, as opposed to the person who is being treated inequally under the law and told not to worry about it.

      It doesn’t actually change the strength of either argument to point out that the side who has more to gain or lose by the argument is more emotionally invested than the side who has literally nothing to lose at all.

      You know that feeling you have, every time somebody says they’re going to boycott you, and you say “That’s not fair, I shouldn’t have to lose out on anything!”  That’s how gay people feel all the time.  I notice that you care an awful lot — getting ridiculously emotional, which I guess means that you don’t give much credence to your own argument, since it’s emotional instead of logical — when it affects you specifically, notsomuch when you are applying it to others.

      • dougtennapel says:

        @facebook-663669914:disqus but you don’t know if I feel emotionally sad about gays having their feelings hurt by my position. It’s projection on your part that I’m ice cold toward my opposition. I am personally acquainted with the emotional sadness of the people who disagree with me.

        It’s not ridiculous to get emotional at innocent people on my project getting harmed by false statements and ideas. That’s perfectly rational.

        • “you don’t know if I feel emotionally sad about gays having their feelings hurt by my position.”

          It is, however, reasonable to assume that you don’t feel sad enough to change your position, since you haven’t changed your position.  That’s my only assumption.

          ” It’s projection on your part that I’m ice cold toward my opposition.”

          I didn’t, and wouldn’t, say you are ice cold.  I did, and would, agree with your previous statement that your responses are significantly less emotional than the responses to you.  I am merely saying that that, in and of itself, doesn’t actually mean anything, because the stakes on the two sides are radically different.

          “I am personally acquainted with the emotional sadness of the people who disagree with me.”

          Now, you do have to admit that this is perhaps the most ice-cold way possible of expressing this sentiment.  [Again, I don’t actually think you’re “ice cold”, those are your words; I just found that sentence to be a bit ironic directly following the other one.]

          “It’s not ridiculous to get emotional at innocent people on my project getting harmed by false statements and ideas.”

          Thank you for agreeing with me.  So, one the one hand, we have “innocent” people getting financially harmed by certain statements.  On the other hand, we have “innocent” people getting harmed by being treated inferior by a culture.

          So, yes, when people get harmed, they tend to get more emotional.  And I have to assume that a rational person such as yourself would agree that denying basic human rights is harmful, more harmful than somebody not being able to work on a video game because it couldn’t raise a budget.

        • dougtennapel says:

          “So, yes, when people get harmed, they tend to get more emotional.  And I have to assume that a rational person such as yourself would agree that denying basic human rights is harmful, more harmful than somebody not being able to work on a video game because it couldn’t raise a budget.”
          But you’re saying that it’s good to harm innocent people on this project as an act of revenge on an unrelated topic. So you actually advocate for harming innocent people…even people who agree with you. Meanwhile, I don’t punish people on my project who disagree with me by denying them work. That’s unique to you. If I were to return in kind I wouldn’t hire pro same sex marriage advocates, which you couldn’t possibly find harmless or tolerant by any stretch of the imagination. 

          And while only the tiniest minority of people are denied same sex marriage, your whole enterprise is designed to prevent the 50% of pro marriage advocates to be punished out of work. By sheer numbers and real world application, you actively judge, oppress and hate 1,000 times more people than I ever could. If the 50% of the world that approves of same sex marriage were employable, I’d gladly hire them all.

        • rubi-kun says:

          Are you “harming” all the artists you aren’t buying stuff from? No. I don’t really see that much of a difference between a project bombing because of the free market and people consciously avoiding a project based on their convictions within said free market. As long as there aren’t calls for censorship, it’s not oppressive or hurtful to simply not buy/fund something.

        • Craig says:

          “Pro marriage advocates.”


        • “But you’re saying that it’s good to harm innocent people on this project as an act of revenge on an unrelated topic. So you actually advocate for harming innocent people…even people who agree with you.”

          Doug, this whole conversation was prompted by you getting mad that somebody misattributed statements to you.  Kindly do me the same favor you are demanding for yourself and don’t put words into my mouth.  If you want to ignore what I say and respond to what you assume I think, then I am no longer going to agree with you that it’s unfair to lump you in with the “subhuman brigade”, because your grievance will seem a whole lot more selective.

          “Meanwhile, I don’t punish people on my project who disagree with me by denying them work. That’s unique to you.”

          Not donating to a Kickstarter is not the same as denying people work.  You are not entitled to receive donations on Kickstarter.  A person in your position would mount a successful Kickstarter project via reaching out to the community of fans you have built up on-line via social networking.  So, with that in mind, I do not think that is uniquely unfair that your social networking is being used as to weigh whether or not an individual wants to donate to your Kickstarter.  Which part of that do you disagree with?

          “If I were to return in kind I wouldn’t hire pro same sex marriage advocates, which you couldn’t possibly find harmless or tolerant by any stretch of the imagination.”
          I don’t think those two are comprable because your position as management is different from my position as a customer.  However, I would certainly agree that not hiring somebody for a job because of their position on same-sex marriage is harmful.  Following up the point you seem to be responding to, I would still say that it is less harmful than actual inequality is.

          “And while only the tiniest minority of people are denied same sex marriage”
          Aw, no.  If your side gets the semantic argument that gay people have equal right to marry (according to their definition of marriage), I will point out that 100% of the country is denied same sex marriage.  However, it is a smaller factor for whom that means that they can’t marry the person whom they love.

          “your whole enterprise is designed to prevent the 50% of pro marriage advocates to be punished out of work.”

          Beyond the fact that this isn’t “my enterprise”, I really don’t follow the math here at all.  Though I have to admit I would definitely be happy if you and Orson Scott Card represented 50% of the “pro-marriage advocates” in the country.

          “By sheer numbers and real world application, you actively judge, oppress and hate 1,000 times more people than I ever could.”

          Even if all of that made perfect sense, I would still fall back on the same distinction, the one you ignored, which is that denying people basic equality is far more harmful than denying people a specific job.

        • MosquitoControl says:

           Doug, what false statements? That you don’t believe gay people should have equal rights to your own?

          Your project is being harmed by your being an asshole, not by any misstatements about you.

          I played an enormous amount of both EWJ and The Neverhood (which came free with a Gateway 2000.) Honestly, though, given your backwards logic and really poorly thought-out arguments, I’d have no issue with your new project failing miserably. Sadly, this will probably just get it more attention and more money.

        • Juan_Carlo says:

          “By sheer numbers and real world application, you actively judge, oppress and hate 1,000 times more people than I ever could.”

          So not donating to a kickstarter campaign is “oppression”?

          That’s silly.

          Tolerance is not immunity from pushback.  If you espouse “x” or “y” view, it’s not intolerant if people who disagree with that view are vocal about it, nor is it intolerant if they decide not to buy your product (especially if you are espousing your view in as crude and deliberately offensive a manner as you have done in the past).  It’s your right to say what you want, but it’s also everyone else’s right to not give you money if they think you’re acting like a dick (which is a very different thing than real discrimination or oppression).

          As I’ve said elsewhere, if a store owner is rude to you, it makes sense that you wouldn’t return to that store and no one is going to call not shopping at that store anymore “oppression” because it’s not.  When you compare gay marriage to taking a dump in a woman’s restroom, that’s the sort of shit that makes me not want to shop at your store anymore.  If that happens to harm other people working at your store who didn’t make those remarks, such is life.  The onus is on them to tell you to stop being a fucking asshole and giving your company a bad name (which doesn’t mean censoring your views, just telling you to have a bit of common sense about expressing them and maybe refrain from kicking hornets nests. Or, in the least, clarify that your views do not necessarily reflect their own).

          Of course, I realize that you’ve apologized for those comments in the past, but they very much were inflammatory and something that you completely and knowingly brought on yourself.  So while it’s great that you apologized, playing the “oppressed victim of intolerance” doesn’t really fly in this scenario.

        • MosquitoControl says:

          Doug, I said it before, I’ll say it again: shut up.

          We aren’t oppressing you. You are oppressing others. Denying people a basic human right due to how they were born is oppression. Not buying something from some raging dickhead because he chooses infantile opinions and tries to force his beliefs on others is not oppression.

          Jesus. Your arguments are so childish it’s amazing. “TOLERATE MY INTOLERANCE YOU HYPOCRITES”

        • zebbart says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus “It is, however, reasonable to assume that you don’t feel sad enough to change your position, since you haven’t changed your position.” Who changes their position because they “feel sad enough”? Again I’m surprised by the assumption that it is emotion and not reasoning that determines a person’s political or philosophical position. Is there a true and a false about this issue, or just a pleasant and unpleasant? If it’s the latter then it seems we’re doomed to see everyone as inherent good guys and bad guys who are naturally drawn to promote the pleasant and the unpleasant respectively and any conversation is pointless. But if it’s the latter then good people can have differing views and come to agreement through rational discussion.

      • reebism says:

        Speaking as someone who had no direct experience with Doug Tennapel before this, “The fact is that I’ve never shown any same sex marriage advocate the level of average hatred that is displayed by your article.” pretty much underlined what an asshole he is.

        In other words, what he’s saying is “Gay people aren’t hurt as badly by what I say as I am by what other people say, because I’m the most important person in any conversation.” Yeah, no reason to give someone like that any money whatsoever. 

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Hey, Doug.  For background, I’m a graphic adventure and animation superfan and a Missouri Synod Lutheran.

      Since this has been made 1 of the 5 public topics of conversation about you, unfortunately, I always wondered why you don’t include some sort of portrayal (constructive or deconstructive) of marriage in your work as a pubic statement?  Avoiding that, wouldn’t it also be possible to do a work about “the ideological artist” without resorting to “woe is me?”

      1 answer would be that you don’t want to spend your creative time acting in service to someone else’s ideas rather than your own.  Because you’re public about your opinions in your private time, I would suggest that’s already happening.  Doing so without knowing any one critic’s 1st premises on these matters means that you’re indebted to their idea that the only revolution worth defending these days is the sexual one.  That leads to unproductive statements like, “How can you say you treat people as human when you’re treating them as subhuman?”  It amounts to arguing, not debating or dramatizing.

      Doing an ambitious, solo(-ish, if it’s a video game) work would give you the opportunity to put your own argument’s house in order, demonstrate your good faith engagement by not taking advantage of not being in direct dialogue, and would give the sort of people who reward artists for being on “their team” the chance to vote with their wallets.

      I just always wondered that.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Well, Doug, here’s your chance to set the record straight. In what way was “The same argument I have against letting a man take a dump in the ladies room.” taken out of context? Why do you think it’s unfair that the first word to follow your name in a Google search is ‘bigot?’ 

    • Dave Dalrymple says:

      I don’t agree with everything you say, but as long as you’re willing to discuss it in a reasonable manner, I’m not going to hold it against you (or your team.) 

  21. My reaction on reading the by-line: “Wow! A Bob Mackey!”

    Loved you on 1up, Bob. Loved this one, too.

  22. Effigy_Power says:

    Well, I feel as though I should have some mindblowingly deep comment on this. He is after all taking a shot directly at me and the person I love most in life, and I was pretty engaged in the LGBT council at my University.

    That said, I don’t really think I have anything to add from a homosexual perspective. I have dealt with bigots my entire life. Some were sniping cowards who just aped what their equally bigoted parents had taught them, others hated out of some sort of sense of connection to the status quo or dogmatic authority, some truly tried to argue that I was destroying my life.
    Now, from people who were close to me, stuff like that was hurtful, sometimes devastatingly so. Coming from the bastard-child of John Kricfalusi here I can’t even begin to take it seriously. If I cared about the bigoted and hateful mush that swirls around in every cabbage out there, I’d have hung myself in my closet years ago, I am sure.
    I mean, he’s right. He does have the right to spout whatever moronic hate comes to mind for him. It’s his privilege under our Protection of Free Speech . Of course I could make a big deal about how we probably wouldn’t have this discussion in such a civilized tone if he had made remarks about how African-Americans and Latinos are destroying America, and the fact that not all -isms are apparently created equally still makes me mad, but well, I am hardly unbiased in that regard.

    All of that said, I can and will not separate art from artist. I never have. Art springs from the mind, the innermost self of a person. The soul, if you will. There can, in my mind, be no separation between what this inner being is and what is created through it. When I draw, I draw what is inside me. I draw what my mind’s eye dangles to titillatingly before me, which is why I, like almost every artist, despair when what I create with my physical form doesn’t line up with what my psyche has implied.
    To think of separating what I draw from who I am is an alien concept to me, sort of in the way that the “Dragonrend” shout in Skyrim imposes the concept of mortality to dragons. (Award for geekiest sentence ever, please). I pour everything I am and everything I feel into what I try to create, and that includes my virtues and talents, as well as my misconceptions, my fears and my pettiness.
    To think of art and artist as two different things is simply something that doesn’t compute for me. A beautiful field of flowers drawn by the great dragon of the KKK is still a work that springs from the mind of a hate-filled dirtbag… it may be odd that there is space for beauty in a mind such as that, but I vehemently deny myself to accept evil just for the sake of subjective beauty. After all, do we relieve a beautiful person of their responsibility just because they fulfill some societal standard? Working to improve ones appearance does not wipe away the terrible shit that goes on inside. That goes for any form of expression, be that poetry, skill at athleticism or a deft hand with the brush.

    I am aware that this is neither a popular nor very accepted view-point. I am also aware that it is fraught with pitfalls. I love the work of Michelangelo, but for all I know he could have been eating kittens for breakfast. Cicero wrote some amazing works, but also had a very patronizing attitude towards women. Time appears to be a factor for how forgiving I am of certain exceptions to my own rule, which makes me less than consistent, I am sure.
    Still, I refuse to accept that beautiful or talented expression redeems itself through its assumed value if the creator is a miserable bastard.
    That probably makes me at least somewhat bigoted myself, I am almost entirely sure of that. I can’t watch anything that has Mel Gibson in it for example. Or any of the increasing number of actors who are Scientologists. I am sure that a case could be made for that making me intolerant, but the difference here is that I usually keep that to myself.
    I am sure Tom Cruise will still be rich when I say that I won’t watch his stuff. But when someone like Tenapel uses his mediocre cling to internet fame in order to air his personal dirty laundry, he influences people. And those with bigger influence must be taken to account for their views.

    • I wouldn’t call your attitude “hypocritical” or “bigoted”. You’re simply being conscientious, which is an attitude that gets far too little respect these days.

      And I think that’s an excellent point at which you’ve drawn the line. When an artist or performer is using their fame to promote hatred or harmful misinformation, then the two become inseperable.

    • Angela says:

      Of course I could make a big deal about how we probably wouldn’t have this discussion in such a civilized tone if he had made remarks about how African-Americans and Latinos are destroying America
      Excellent point. And the rest of your post was spot on and perfectly stated as well.
      Indeed, people do have the right to say and think whatever they wish, no matter how repugnant the thoughts. That said, however, if you are going to make controversial statements, then you shouldn’t really be all that shocked when people get offended and call you out on some of your viewpoints.
      Personally, to anyone who STILL honestly believes to this day that homosexuality is wrong, who STILL believes gay marriage should not be legal, for whatever reason, my response is merely this: Get the fuck over it/yourselves already. I really do not get why this is still an issue that needs to be debated.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I’m latching onto your comment, Effy, since I’m coming to this conversation a day late in hopes that somebody will actually read this. Yes I just admitted you’re more popular than me, and you should absolutely be ashamed of that.

      This is what I get for taking a day off of work. The greatest part? I took off work to have a day of recovery from all the Pride celebrations over the weekend in Denver. What an apt conversation to walk into.

    • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

      Eff, I fucking love you.

  23. MosquitoControl says:

     Also, “hatred is what you do, not what you believe?” Jesus. How stupid is that? It’s like something a complete moron would stitch onto a pillow.
    I can’t even fathom that kind of idiotic thought process. It could only come from a straight white male without the ability and empathy to understand what life is like for any other group.

    I can

    • Roswulf says:

      It’s also worth noting, given that Doug appears to be coming at this from an evangelical Christian position, that it runs directly counter to the gospel. The Sermon on the Mount is pretty clear “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

      The actions of the heart matter a great deal.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        No, the expression of thought through language is simply engagement with one’s fellow man and (in Christians’ case) God.  To be wrong is not to sin.  In fact, as Paul wrote of the Romans, one can operate from an incorrect mindset and still do good as (again, in the Christian view) all good acts derive from God’s will overcoming our inherent persistence to do wrong.

        I would suggest, as a couple have here, that one can find TenNapel’s whole view of the world as horrible and still think that his interactions with the world are largely noble.

        • Roswulf says:

          Ah but you are the one introducing “language” to the debate. Even if I granted that speech stands apart from sin (which I don’t, see the Ten Commandments and work from there), it does not follow that sin exists only in action rather than thought. Or to quote Romans “those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” How one lives and how one thinks are inextricable linked.

          I’ve also got no problems citing rank to Paul. Gospel quotes from Jesus given reasonable interpretation trump any convoluted letter Mister-I’m-not-the-son-of-God writes in defining Christianity.

          Mr. TenNapel may be noble in his interactions with the world, but saying hatred in belief doesn’t count is both silly and unchristian.

      • zebbart says:

        Supposing Doug earnestly believes opposing same sex marriage is the best thing for gay people too? If he is motivated by compassion and love then the “actions of his heart” are good even if his thinking is wildly, tragically misguided.

    • zebbart says:

      I find it hard to be all that incensed by which sentences a person happens to have encoded on his brain. It’s such a small part of what a person is and does. Maybe that’s because my dad was an angry anti-Catholic atheist who in later years has completely assimilated Rush Limbaugh’s anti-environmentalist/pacifist/socialist/feminist/racial justice patter to the point where he angrily denounces everything I am about on a daily basis seemingly unaware of my presence. And yet he is one of the most generous and kind people I’ve known  who always loving and supportive of me and polite and friendly to all my liberal friends. So I’ve realized all those conservative beliefs are just like an annoying song stuck on repeat on an otherwise really good computer. I just tune that shit out and write off his annual Republican vote as the one bad thing he does a year that doesn’t really affect anything anyway and see him as a good guy with a sad intellectual affliction that is a very small part of who and what he is. And so with everyone who spouts beliefs I find terrible and personally insulting but who acts like a good person otherwise.

  24. spaul579 says:

    Bob Mackey was an asshole of the highest degree as of at least 2008. This is the same man who defended making fun of a young girl with severe facial deformities.

    The girl in question was praised by her parents for being beautiful. Bob felt that this was wrong, because she was ugly, and therefore it was ok to savage her.

    I don’t agree with Doug, but fuck Bob and his fake moral outrage.

  25. Lawrence Allen says:

    Not that semantic quibbling really matters, but opposition to gay marriage is more of a conservative issue than a neoconservative one. As the term is generally used in our politics, neoconservatives are mostly interested in using interventionist foreign policy to spread democracy. They are generally either uninterested in social issues or mildly liberal on them. TenNapel’s rhetoric about besieged Western values wouldn’t sound that much out of place coming from a Neocon arguing for war with Iran, but the rhetoric combined with the focus on gay marriage suggest more a standard Christian Conservative.

  26. LostPause says:

    I’m torn here. See, Doug has a point that the article struggles a little too hard to make a villain out of him and has to do a bit too much ‘bigot shepherding’ to make him into on ‘Chick-a-Fila’ level menace.

    To be fair to the guy, not giving the guy a chance to offer a response before the article is not only bad journalism but unhelpful to the cause of getting people to understand one another. We don’t achieve any real progress with such issues by drawing lines in the sand and talking mainly to the people on our side but by keeping an open invitation to anyone who might want to broaden their perspective.

    That said, seriously Doug, you gotta take notice that your responses almost “always” suggest that your natural instinct is to address criticisms far too defensively. Most of your words seem to focus on the hatred you perceive other people to be showing you and using that to highlight their supposed hypocrisy. That has some merit but doesn’t take into account their hatred is not of you but of the general attitude and behaviour that anti-homosexual groups exhibit time and time again.

    All these attacks [and talking about how we attack] only block us from actually dealing with the real issue of marriage here.

    So, to add my two cents- I support no-one who suggests homosexual partnerships shouldn’t be allowed to have easy access to just as many rights as heterosexuals. [First things first: the issue of Polygamy can be settled later as it’s far less widespread and concrete as a concern] Homosexual unions are not like ‘a guy dumping in the women’s room’ (how is that not insulting imagery by the way?) and, actually, as a self-identified Christian I don’t feel that there is enough in Jesus Christ’s actual reported message, as opposed to the Hebrew teachings that came before [many of which Jesus didn’t support strict adherence to], and the subsequent Apostles’ ideas afterwards.

    Oh, and Earthworm Jim made for some pretty damn fun comics, cartoons and videogames.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      I’ve got to say that pointing out a critic’s hypocrisy to defend yourself is like shooting fish in a barrel and just as productive.

    • dougtennapel says:

      “Homosexual unions are not like ‘a guy dumping in the women’s room’ (how is that not insulting imagery by the way?)”
      I already publicly apologized for using the crude words “taking a dump” but people really want to hold on to that phrasing instead of looking at the allegory. That comment was only made after three days of people using every crude phrase imaginable to describe my religion, I was goaded into that response, and it’s repeated here by Bob as a stand alone event. Out of context. But everyone here recognizes that bathrooms are unique sexual institutions, and that we don’t let men use the lady’s room for good reason. I’m only saying that marriage is a similar institution, not in the crudeness of using the restroom, but in the rigid exclusivity of the sexes.

      “Oh, and Earthworm Jim made for some pretty damn fun comics, cartoons and videogames.”

      Agree 100%.

      • Craig says:

        The fact that you think that it’s the phrasing of the statement that presents the problem suggests that you have learned nothing from this.

      • Kuro says:

        Marriage existed long before Christianity. Christians have no right to hijack the word or ceremony except in specific reference to Christian houses of worship and specific Christian ceremonies. The same can be said of scientific advances, medical procedures and other issues. Religions have no right to control or subjugate society to their viewpoints. Laws need to remain rooted in logic and scientific evidence, not religious dogma. In that same respect I believe Christian owned businesses, hospitals and places of worship should operate as they see fit. Just don’t expect to continue getting tax breaks and incentives if you don’t fit the federal standards.
        It’s not religious intolerance when someone says they don’t want to follow your rules and you shouldn’t have the right to make them follow your rules. Plenty of laws would still exist if religion disappeared from the world tomorrow simply because certain crimes disrupt society and cause harm to others. Stealing, killing, scamming, ignoring traffic laws, etc. All of these things don’t need Christian influence to exist. So the idea that “if we allow civil secular marriage among gays society will destroy itself” is flawed at best. Show me scientific evidence and THEN we can debate about the issue.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          Religion’s about servitude to ideas and motivation by hope.  Whether any 1 is true or not, it amounts to share cultural assumptions and goals.

          Would that you had such simultaneous coherence and flexibility.  For real, do you want to defend the state of 2013 American marriage and how it came to be?  Please, chart how dominant cultural forces have used “logic and science” to hone it to the shitshow it is.  Is the societal destruction in its wake all part of some plan?  I think to the extent I’m able about how society should work in the future , but “DUDE, BACK OFF, WE GOT THIS” is folly costumed as expertise.  There’s no plan, just a series of causes.

        • George_Liquor says:

          @GhaleonQ:disqus Religion is about the suspension of rational thought in service of irrational belief. Whether it provides “hope” to the believer is entirely immaterial to the question of whether it’s actually true. 

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus Nah.  It’s constantly trying to reconcile the world by, as I said, admitting limitations while setting expectations.  Making Truth the truth, some would say.

          I have a lot of self-doubt about the details of my personal religion, but I’ve never once doubted that it’s a more coherent lifestyle choice than the alternatives.  Not once.  If you want irrationality, try to construct a mode for living from the feelings all over this topic.  No, don’t quote out-of-context The Big Lebowski at me.

        • George_Liquor says:

          @GhaleonQ:disqus I’ve only seen The Big Lebowski once, so we’re safe in that regard.

          Religion is a lot of things, but it’s not a search for truth. It is dogmatic, supernatural and unfalsifiable by its very definition, and only kicking & screaming is it ever forced to acknowledge reality. 

        • tedthefed says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus  You’re not helping.  Religion IS reality…. at the very least, it’s psychological, anthropological, and social reality.  If it wasn’t real, we couldn’t observe it or talk about it.  It exists.  It’s real.

          I have no patience for people who use religion in the absence of empirically based knowledge to make non-religious arguments, but let’s not act like that’s the same thing.

        • George_Liquor says:

          @tedthefed:disqus You misunderstood me. Of course religion exists; I’m not saying it doesn’t.What I’m saying is religion offers no demonstrable method of furthering our understanding of reality; that is to say how we distinguish what is real from what is not real, or what is true from what is false.

        • Merve says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus: I think you’re a little off about the purpose of religion. (To be fair, a lot of religious people are too.) Religion isn’t about “truth,” per se. It’s more of a way of providing followers with a set of guiding moral and personal philosophies. At least, that’s how I’ve always seen it. At the end of the day, do I care if a half-man/half-lion named Narasimha disembowelled the evil king Hiranyakashipu? Not really. But is there an important lesson about the dangers of hubris to be learned from that story? Most definitely.

        • George_Liquor says:

          @Merve2:disqus  A religion divorced from its supernatural foundations IS just a philosophy. By its very definition, religion requires a belief in the supernatural in order to participate. Take away whatever deeper personal meaning from the Bhagavata Purana you wish, but please don’t accuse me of misunderstanding religion while you brush aside one of its fundamental tenets. The Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and pretty much every other religious text all make similar claims that they possess knowledge passed down from a higher power. The Bible, at least, also makes it pretty clear that just adopting a Christian-like philosophy is not nearly enough to save your sorry can from damnation. Jesus’ whole Via, Veritas, Vita spiel spells that out quite plainly.

        • Merve says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus: I think you’re confusing the structure of religion with its purpose.

        • tedthefed says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus ….well dude, if you define “religion” as “everything about religion that isn’t useful to believe,” then no wonder you think religion is useless.

        • zebbart says:

          ” Laws need to remain rooted in logic and scientific evidence” It would be so great if that was the prevalent view, even just of any of the ‘sides’ of this debate. Instead the view seems to be that laws need to be rooted in the right feelings of the good guys and divorced from the wrong feelings of the bad guys. Ugh.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        “I’m only saying that marriage is a similar institution, not in the
        crudeness of using the restroom, but in the rigid exclusivity of the

        Wasn’t too long ago that bathrooms were also rigidly exclusive for individual races. Would you defend your point as vehemently if that was still the case?
        Despite the entirety of the comments made by you and everyone else, I am willing to cut you some slack and call you an unwitting bigot at worst. You are however definitely a hypocrite, because that’s the only way to answer that question and not out oneself as a racist as well as a homophobe.
        And if you say that those two cases are not related in the scale, scope or severity in which they treat people differently for who they are (you certainly avoided discussing them in prior comments here), then you have learned nothing.

      • “But everyone here recognizes that bathrooms are unique sexual institutions, and that we don’t let men use the lady’s room for good reason.”
        1) Can you explain what the “good reason” that we don’t let men use the ladies room is?  And can you explain how that “good reason”, or a comprable one, applies to marriage?

        2) When it’s really late at night and you wake up in the middle of the night, are you allowed to use the upstairs bathroom in your house, or is that the one that’s women-only so you have to go downstairs and accidentally kick the dog and trip and fall and break your drawing arm, all because (as we all know) all bathrooms are completely unique sexual institutions?  Or does she let you use the ladies’ room?

        3) To make a similar point but less jokingly… anybody who has ever been to a Broadway play and seen the intermission lights flicker would dispute even the point that you actually meant, that “*public restrooms* are unique sexual institutions”.

      • LostPause says:

        That’s good to read. Now that we can put the awful ‘taking a dump’ connotations to one side, we can all engage in the more productive discussion of “why” marriage “needs” to be such a sex-dependent union.

        A few years ago I’d probably be more inclined to agree with you more on the instinctual argument that the union between male and female should be respected with a certain kind of reverence. After all, it is fundamentally how life itself is created and as such has been the foundation of most of our ideas about family and the roles of fathers and mothers in looking after society.

        That said, while religion has certainly had its part to play in exploring and supporting these ideals, I’d argue that they are definitely not the most important part of any religious message. As has been said, the institution of family, and by extension the concepts of race and nation, has existed since before human beings had any understanding of faith and thus developed parallel rather than inside of faith.

        Furthermore, and this is most important, the most profound theme that Christianity and other religions have to offer is not the importance of lauding partnerships between men and women for the sake of stable reproduction but that of universal love and equality.

        Christians shouldn’t be letting themselves get so defensive about marriage because it isn’t fundamentally a religious institution to protect. Yes, it has fallen under their umbrella but that is largely to do with how religion expanded through history into other arenas of life rather than marital unions being one of the core practices of someone with faith. If it was, we’d wouldn’t have prevented priests from marrying for so long and would look down on bachelors and spinsters as less ‘faithful’ than their married counterparts.

        What’s more, if you truly believe that marriage is sacrosanct in the eyes of God divorce is a far, far more damaging societal practice than supporting gay partnerships. Our negative suspicions of homosexuals arise from age-old ignorant paranoia of people who behave outside the norm. It’s the same exclusionary fear that has led humanity to ostracise, subjugate and, hell, crucify those that proffered different ways of life to the status quo.


        • zebbart says:

          Do you believe that marriage should be exclusive to sexual relationships? It seems that everyone in this debate, even the ones who want to admit polyamorous families into marriage, agree that that there is something special about sexual relationships that make them eligible for marriage where non-sexual relationships (or those we widely feel should be nonsexual, like father-son) are not eligible. Why? More importantly for this discussion, why is that exclusion ok but excluding procreative sexual relationships is evil?

      • Juan_Carlo says:

        Apart from the crudeness, though, that’s just a bad analogy.  It doesn’t make any cogent point beyond just pointing out the obvious fact that, in both cases, society has traditionally accorded the sexes specific roles (and “because we’ve always done things this way” isn’t really a good argument for the rightness or wrongness of something one way or another).

        But beyond that….there are lots of reasons why people would argue for segregated bathrooms, not many of which can easily be applied to marriage.  I mean, the biggest reason would probably be related to just the fact that it would upset women for various reasons to have have men invading their personal space in that way (or vice versa).  Which doesn’t really work as an analogy for gay marriage as I guess I don’t see how two guys getting married down the road invades anyone’s privacy or affects heterosexual marriages in anyway.  If your religion says that gay marriage isn’t really marriage, that’s fine.  You can believe what you want and your church is free to not recognize those marriages if it doesn’t want to.  You really aren’t affected by it one way or another, though.  Gay people are not coming into your livingroom and “taking a dump” or affecting you and your wife’s marriage in any way.

        So, I guess I’m failing to see the point of your analogy. Gay marriage as applied to bathrooms wouldn’t be like men using the women’s restroom, it would be more like if people decided to make a third uni-sex bathroom option for anyone to use.  That way, if men and women wanted to, they could all take a dump together in these uni-sex bathrooms.  But the traditional option of segregated bathrooms (i.e. heterosexual marriage) would still be there for people who wanted to use them, so no one would ever be forced to use these new uni-sex bathrooms any more than heterosexual people would be forced to marry members of their own sex if we offered the option of gay marriage.

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

         It’s funny, because separate male and female bathrooms aren’t “unique sexual institutions.” Europe has tons of same-sex bathrooms, for one, and their doing fine; also, I don’t think there’s a man or woman alive who hasn’t used the opposite sex’s bathroom in an emergency.

        There’s also the fact that different-sex bathrooms only exist in public spaces. I doubt that the bathrooms in your house are male and female, probably because it’s your private, personal space and who cares how you do your business there.

      • One final, belated question on the wonderful bathroom analogy you apparently realize is completely indefensible and have completely backed off from (until the next time somebody criticizes you for having said it in the first place, anyway)…

        Bathrooms are unisex
        Marriages should be more like bathrooms
        Therefore, marriages should be limited to same-sex only
        Just like bathrooms

        So, my question is, that’s what you meant, right?

  27. spaul579 says:

    I love how Bob dropped a big shitbomb (a clickbait shitbomb, no less) but doesn’t have the fucking nerve to answer DTNP here or on twitter. You’re a coward, Bob.

    This is coming from a person who thinks that Doug is 100% incorrect. Your article was so shitty, so cowardly, so factually wrong that you’re swaying the “fuck Doug’s work on principle” people to “Hmmm, let me rethink my position.”

    I know the Gamerlogical Society doubled down on the AVClub’s stupidity of clickbait, but this is really fucking awful.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “fuck Doug’s work on principle”

      Bob Mackey’s article is being pretty careful, whether it’s factually right or not (and you don’t know that any more than the two people involved). He praises Doug Tenapel’s work up and down the text.
      Please learn how to read. Preferably somewhere else.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Him being passive-aggressive on Twitter doesn’t count?  Because now I’m being passive-aggressive in the comments and it still feels pretty cowardly. That must be 1 step down.  Let me try, “Jokes are a terrible foundation for a life philosophy, Bob!”

  28. Nick Arden says:

    90% of the responses on this topic are deeply juvenile.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Unlike this bastion of maturity and thoughtfulness that you graced us with.

  29. spaul579 says:

    Also, I’m a “gay gamer” and fuck you for deciding what is right or wrong for me. I don’t need your fucking support. I would donate to this kickstarter even though I think DTNP is wrong about me and a lot of other stuff. I don’t feel repressed by him. I feel repressed by pieces of shit who claim to support me but are just doing because it makes them feel better about themselves.

    And I can tell you without a doubt that the gay groups that I’ve been in are about as tolerant as oh god I can’t even finish that fucking sentence. Ask any bi dude how they are treated by most gay men. Ask trans or genderqueer people where they stand in lgbt.

    FFS, the patron saint of lgbt is a dude who doesn’t think male bisexuality exists and gets alpha-dog over his use of the word tranny.

    Maybe we can get our shit together before wagging our fingers at DTNP. I’d rather him tell me that my sexuality is wrong than have a supposedly “tolerant” gay dude tell me that my sexuality is wrong.

    Christians have frustrated me, but they’ve always treated me with respect. I cannot say the same for the negative (not all, mind you, just the majority) gay men/lesbian women and straight dude cause-whores.

    • spaul579 says:

      Also, excuse the excessive swearing. I’m quite embarrassed by that.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “Ask any bi dude how they are treated by most gay men. Ask trans or genderqueer people where they stand in lgbt.”

      Well, generalization is always a bad way to talk about in a discussion about tolerance. Unequivocally.

      “I’d rather him tell me that my sexuality is wrong than have a supposedly “tolerant” gay dude tell me that my sexuality is wrong.”

      That may be fine for you and you’re welcome to as much of that as you please, but again, using that to make a point about tolerance is a bad move. And, on a personal note, it appears very self-loathing, but again, that’s your call.

      “Christians have frustrated me, but they’ve always treated me with
      respect. I cannot say the same for the negative (not all, mind you, just
      the majority) gay men/lesbian women and straight dude cause-whores.”

      Well. Apart from the generalization… How Christians (generalization) have treated you personally is not a valid excuse for one of “them”, if you want to draw battle lines along that, denying basic rights to all LGBTQ people. My parents are Christians and amongst the few Christians who have bothered with any respect and not outright hostility and proselytizing. There are also a lot of religious LGBTQ people who have no issue with the combination of these two things, no matter how much public discussion appears to want to color it that way. This is not a “Us vs Them” issue, though you wouldn’t know from looking.

      And if the majority of said LGBTQ people have treated you poorly, that’s certainly not a good thing and one to allow you a certain bitterness, but also just as generalized.
      I have always gotten along pretty well with most of the LGBTQ people I have let into my life, though there certainly were outliers. The point is that I don’t choose the people I interact with by what their sexuality is. Bastards are everywhere.

      I hope you understand that everyone’s experience is different and therefore reactions to something like what is being discussed here is a personal thing that really doesn’t improve through reckless generalization. I can guarantee you that if we met and I would treat you less than courteously, it wouldn’t be because of who you go to bed with or choose to spend you life with. And I can vouch for my friends, LGBTQ or not, to do the same, or they wouldn’t be my friends.
      I understand that constant or repeated negative interaction can lead to bitterness, but that should never be tied to anything other than the individual character of the person you engage with.

      • spaul579 says:

         I wish I could argue otherwise, but you are 100% right. It is really hard for me to disabuse myself from my own negative judgements. I’ve yet to have a good experience within lgbt communities, but I’ve had good (along with bad) ones inside of Christian communities. While I’m not young in age, I’m young in being ok with who I am as a person, and young in reaching out to (hopefully) supportive communities.

        I still dislike the author from past experiences with him, I still disagree with the outright shunning of what I perceive as bigotry, but I am embarrassed about flying off of the handle.

        Thank you for taking the time to respond with intelligence and kindness. I certainly did not deserve it today.

        • Halloween_Jack says:

           I’ve yet to have a good experience within lgbt communities

          I’m genuinely sad to read that, and hope that that changes for you. 

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Admitting that takes a lot more character than your initial post implied. And at the very least you now had one good experience with someone from the LGBTQ community.

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      Dan Savage is an asshole.  I don’t know if he’s the patron saint of lgbt, but go look at his last book review here and you’ll see that lots of people (including gay people) dislike him.

      But, wow, this is all generalizations and strawmen….so not much to say in response. 

      • spaul579 says:

         JC, if I could take back what I said today, I would. Like I said below to EP, I still have a negative view of Mackey, and I still would argue against the outright shunning of DTnP.

        That said, yes, I foolishly flew off the handle because of my few (but powerfully negative) experiences within the community that I thought would accept me.

    • tedthefed says:

      “I’d rather him tell me that my sexuality is wrong than have a supposedly “tolerant” gay dude tell me that my sexuality is wrong.”

      This is fascinating.  Same intolerance, judged more harshly because of the person having it.  But it’s the SAME THING.  The only reason you prefer it is because you have different standards for the two groups.
      But that’s inane!  Why on earth would you prefer the people whose deepest values are against you to the people who mostly agree with you but let you down sometimes?  That makes the opposite of sense.Here’s a weird crazy fact: Sometimes people are assholes.    If you attribute their assholeness to their group, that’s your problem.  

      • spaul579 says:

        I know. I’m embarrassed by what I posted here. I was lashing out based on past negative experiences. I was foolish, ridiculous, irrational, and just plain dense.

  30. knitpad says:

    Boycotts guy who tweets bad stuff about gays
    Drives car fueled by gay-murdering Middle Eastern countries

    • MosquitoControl says:

       knitpad, I fail to see how these compare.
      I can actively choose to avoid this game. My life can go on just fine without it.

      I cannot actively avoid driving a car fueled by Middle Eastern countries. I’d have to:
      a) find a job in a major city where I can get all of my major needs fulfilled via walking. This is both expensive and difficult to do
      b) get an electric car and make sure I stay within the mile range each day. This, too, is expensive and difficult

      Given that I can’t pick where my fuel comes from, I don’t really have many options.
      But I have plenty of options regarding who I buy my games from.

      So… your point is not very well thought out.

      • knitpad says:

        So your counter-argument is: “too hard”? 

        That also doesn’t seem vey well though out. 

        How much do you really care about gay rights if you shrug off people brutally dying, but rally around people being offended by 140 characters or less? 

    • Craig says:

      Makes brutally terrible analogy.

      That’s it.  That’s pretty much the whole thing.

    • Along with MC, you’re presenting a false equivalency. Conservatives do this a lot. “Oh, I see you’re for [insert liberal idea], but what about [insert completely unrelated liberal idea].”

      Gas and gay marriage has nothing to do with each other, beyond the fact they’re issues that worth discussing. Sure, it be nice not to be so gas-dependent, but out entire social and economic structure is build around the retrieval and use of gas. You can avoid a video game and donating to it and still be able to exist comfortably.

      Gas usage can be regulated and incrementally worked with and around – solar power, drive less, etc. Gay marriage opposition is just straight-up bigotry.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        Reframe it as “our entire social and economic structure is built around the creation, enforcement, and sustainability of families,” and you’ll begin to unpack the other side.  You can argue down to the disagreement behind that assertion, but it’s not “straight up” anything.

        • Rob Newcombe says:

          Implicit in that assertion is the notion that same-sex partnerships are not families, and that recognition of them as such would somehow devalue the relationships of heterosexual people. For my money, and a lot of other people’s, that in itself is bigoted. 

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @facebook-1047162874:disqus If only something could be all things to all people.  It’s no more exclusionary than the societal pressures that used to prevent no-fault divorce.  The defintion changed, behavior changed, and usefulness of the institution declined.  Changing institutions without planning how to retain their effectiveness does devalue them.  Rights-based arguments aren’t backed with anything practical these days (not publicly backed, anyway).  Institutions > feelings.  People who think that aren’t “straight-up bigots.”

        • Colliewest says:

          Denying access to institutions based on sexual orientation is bigotry. It’s not about feelings it’s about Civil Rights.

        • tedthefed says:

          Uh, okay, Rob replied with the main takedown of your point: constructing a worldview wherein gay people can’t have real families is bigoted in and of itself.  But then there’s this: Even if we grant that it’s familes vs. gays, then there’s still three different ways to do it.  You can super-value families, or you can super-devalue gays, or both.  You’re implying it’s this pure, innocent true valuing of families, and I kinda don’t buy that for a lot of people.

          Finally, you’re really, really not giving people enough credit for being disgusted by buttsex and violation of gender norms and then coming up with reasonable post-hoc explanations for why they feel that way.

          • GhaleonQ says:

            As you acknowledge, it would be nice if everyone could have everything they wanted.  (Well, I wouldn’t like it on principle, but I would find it a good political compromise.  Pro-life people have been dominant since Casey, but I wouldn’t ever want abortion to be banned in 2013 U.S.A.; I’d prefer a highly-pro-life compromise as a useful solution.)

            Is there a situation that you could apply to the United States where people implicitly value marriage while constantly altering its definition to make it hyper-permeable (lots of people can do it and it’s easy to leave/many different marriage arrangements and no-fault divorce)?  I’d even accept the argument that CERTAIN countries can do it for a CERTAIN amount of time.  It’s already happening and working in a reasonable way.

            I don’t think the demographics, geographic concentration, or median responsibility of American people can do both.  We seem to be an indulgent people.  So, in that circumstance, I would rather have hard walls and exclusionary policy over warm invitation and the continued decline of the importance and meaning of the marriage unit.  I care less about responsible gay adults having their picture-perfect marriage and family than I do about irresponsible straight adults becoming tenacious and selfless because they think marriage has a specific history and import.

            SO: that’s not bigoted.  It’s a policy choice.  The false intentions of others are irrelevant unless they affect what I think will be the positive outcome of my preferred solution.  (And, obviously, I don’t care if you think my personal, not policy, opinions about same-sex relationships and marriage are bigoted, as I think enough about ethics that I’m satisfied with my answer and my friendships and work relationships with gay people aren’t predicated on us agreeing about this 1 thing.)

          • tedthefed says:

            That is a whole lot of words for the tired old slippery-slope argument based on absolutely no evidence.

            And yeah, I know the word is loaded but I also think you know what I mean: I would indeed consider it bigoted to devalue the gays specifically.  You seem to be okay with “something must be sacrificed” that you don’t really appear to be thinking about WHO you’re choosing to sacrifice.  Throwing the already weaker minority under the bus is not always the resolutely mature and reasonable choice, and you seem to be making the case it is.

            I also point out that you’re pulling a bit of a TenNapel, here: There’s this weird black or white thing where either there are no restrictions (“Everyone can have everything they want!”) or the current restrictions stand with absolutely no change.  

            Also, let’s keep implicit attitudes in mind here, to the extent that we can.  You seem a level-headed person, of course, and I don’t know that this is true, but the assumptions here…. particularly that gays getting married would somehow hurt straight people’s abilities to be “tenacious and selfless”… that I find myself trying to come up with an explanation for such an incomprehensible belief.  I’m sure it makes more sense to you, but how do you emotionally react to this possibility: You dislike gays for some reason (implicit feelings of disgust, associating them with dissolving social order, perceiving them as members of an alien outgroup) and then post-hoc came up with a reasonable reason why they shouldn’t get married?  
            If the reference is clear to you, you seem to be saying that if that guy fucks that dead chicken before he eats it, then society will dissolve, and your reasoning doesn’t make sense to someone on the outside.

        • Rob Newcombe says:

          Just so we’re clear: in your view, homosexual relationships are not families.  Yes or no. 

        • GhaleonQ says:

          Putting aside the Christian theological aspect (where, also, premarital sex makes “1 flesh” and where there’s such a thing as illegitimate divorce), yeah, definitely.  In secular society, is marriage a necessary precondition for having a family?  Nope.  Marriage is a powerful pre-state institution that’s wielded as a policy tool of the state, and, thus, can be defined to maximize the usefulness to the state.

          For me, it’s like immigration policy.  Obviously, people everywhere are equally good (and bad) and valuable as people.  If immigration was about assessing their value or “rights,” we would be even more “generous” than we once were.  However, setting immigration policy that’s shifted to include immigrants from certain countries, with certain skills, or to certain family members of those we want is not bigoted or classist or small-minded, just an assertion of what we need or want our population to be.

          In America, at least, where stigma has waned, marriage has gotten alternatively less important a milestone (for the lower class and people who are otherwise “traditionalists”) or a capstone (for the upper class and people who are othewise “progressives”), and divorce has gotten more straightforward, marriage has weakened as a civil institution and a state tool.  If you’d argue that’s not the case, that it doesn’t matter, or that this is a case of rights and that those trump the above, that’s fine.  It doesn’t make the opposite bigoted.  Many of those people just don’t accept your terms.

          SO, @bobservo:twitter ‘s piece was atrocious because it included a bunch of unchallenged assumptions that, obviously, led to a single conclusion.  “If we all agree that traditionalist marriage people are bigots and if it’s super-easy to be a douche, we should be douches about this!”  Yeah, duh.  It’s always easier to be a douche.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          And yes, @facebook-1047162874:disqus , I AM up late procrastinating from work I don’t want to do!

        • GhaleonQ says:


          Sorry for the delay.  Well, I hope the fact that you’ve regressed at times to debater’s points and formal logic means I’ve dissuaded you a bit from using “bigot.”  Call me “apocalyptic-minded!”  It’s much closer!

          In any case, 1st, the burden of proof is not on me.  It’s on you.  2nd, this is public policy, so while it would nice to have pilots that are slowly grown over time in diverse areas to gauge positive and negative outcomes, that’s not a thing here.  In fact, there are no comparable situations internationally, either from a geographic, social demographic, or historical standpoint.  That’s the curse of American particularity.  3rd, to tie it to your concluding paragraph, can you think of possible negative consequences to this change?  I’m not even talking about guaranteed religious freedom changes, either by stigma or judiciary, or the actual slippery slope argument of polygamy.  Do you think there could be negative consequences in childrearing, education, marriage law, social demographics, anything?  I’m not thinking of certain things and trying to lead you to them.  I genuinely wonder if proponents say, “Rights, rights!” and then forget that political philosophy doesn’t solve implementation problems.  Moreover, what compromise would keep you and I from being black-and-white with it?

          I TOTALLY understand what you mean in the last paragraph (I’m in love with the analogy), and I’m sorry that I’m either not being clear or you’re not being empathetic.  (It’s probably the 1st.)  I’m really not offended by your legitimate question, and will answer it with slightly embarrassing honesty.  I’ve obviously digested it now and connect it more to a topic of the mind rather than the body, but in the same way that a little kid would think it’s weird (not gross, just, what, silly?) for a boy to kiss a girl, I found women kissing women (note that) and men kissing men weird when I was 12 and saw homosexuality as something more than an abstract thing.  However, it doesn’t affect me in the real world in a particular way.  Nearly all of my conservative friends are more career acquaintances or long-term friends from school.  So, since I’m basically with liberal hipsters all day, I’m always either the emotional rock who has it all together or the angelic target of fun teasing.  I’m way too self-conscious and a black comedy fan to be an actual prude, but my straight friends and gay friends have the same amount of fun with my discomfort by getting really raunchy sometimes.

          To clarify briefly, since we’ve both spend too much time here and it’s not really on-topic (which is art and artist, not same-sex marriage’s legitimacy), I want marriage to be strong.  (Marriage, birth/abortion, and education form the core of my social conservatism.)  All people, especially Americans, have subtle, shifting views on marriage not necessarily spoken but certainly acted upon.  (Ref.: Pew and other surveys, and then the decline in what you and I likely both view as “responsible” marriage behavior.)  This means that national tone is just as important as national law, and they are related.  A shift in 1 can precede OR proceed from a shift in the other.  Making marriage solely about “love between 2 adults” may (MAY) have been beneficial in the past, but has long since become harmful to what people expect from marriage and how they prepare for it.  (There are arguments about economic, state, and social upheaval to be made, certainly, but I connect the 55-year shift in social opinion about what marriage is to the shift in how it is practiced.)  Any further shift is bad for an already disastrous institution.  Same-sex marriage is the worst of both worlds.  The rights argument is, nearly in sum, about validating “love between 2 adults,” which gives implicit and strong (“BIGOT, BIGOT!”) support to that view.  Worse, it codifies it in law, likely irrevocably.  It closes off an entire path to resurrecting the institution, because it’s always a counterargument to reversing the definition of marriage.  Now, not only is marriage made worse, the only remaining solutions are solutions I (and others) hate for OTHER political reasons.  Social support from centralized government (see that Reihan Salam National Review post) is the only way to patch up problems stemming from sometimes good, sometimes bad social changes that occurred in the last 60 years.

          That’ll probably be my last post, so thanks, genuinely, for writing.

      • tedthefed says:

        @GhaleonQ:disqus I understand not writing more, and I extend thanks right back at you for your openness and thoughtfulness.  I hope you READ, even if you don’t want to take the time to reply.

        I have to admit, the more you say, it is hard for me not to be shoving you into a certain mold of person that I’ve met: A non-liberal who spends a lot of time WITH liberals, and so defines themselves, in part, by being the political outsider.  Specifically: By being the NON-BLEEDING HEART.  Your logic makes so much sense to you that it becomes very easy to caricature the other side (despite your obviously level-headed personality) as people who blindly and emotionally carry the banner of RIGHTS!!! over a cliff.  Not only is it not true (lots of research on this), it’s essentially exactly the same as the “BIGOT!” accusation that you dislike, and it’s just as useful.

        I think our disagreement starts with you assuming the burden of proof is on me.  I disagree, because I am operating under the value of “Things should be fair if possible,” and I cannot believe you don’t have that value, too.  So, coming from there, it’s up to YOUR side to explain why fairness either doesn’t apply or isn’t worth it.

        To answer your question: No, I honestly, absolutely cannot see any negative social consequences to legalizing gay marriage, beyond the acrimony of the losing side toward gays (which may not be negligible).  I can see certain outcomes: More out gay people! More kids thinking that being gay is ok!  More social stigma toward openly disliking homosexuality!  More kids attempting gay relationships or sex even if they turn out to be straight later!  But none of those are bad, and they only are bad if you think being gay is bad in the first place.  
        There are HUGE assumptions or heuristics you’re using each step of the way to go from Gay Marriage -> Straight individuals devalue marriage -> TOTAL ANOMIE, and none of it makes sense as you’ve presented it.  And actually, it kind of seems circular: “Marriage breaking down is bad because look at all the people devaluing marriage!”

        As for your “It’s too risky!!” argument, I notice you frantically moving the goalposts (“Sure, other countries have legalized gay marriage and it worked out but uh that doesn’t count because Americans are just different somehow!”), and anyway, your argument is frankly just creepy.  It implies that NO social change is good, because any given social change COULD spell the end of society as we know it.  It’s like you’re trying to be completely utilitarian, but applying cold logic to a situation where TERROR AND DEATH is the only possible result of one of the two outcomes.  It’s impossible to be reasonable under those constrictions.

        There’s also another thing.  This analogy is overused and isn’t perfect, but I think the key kernel still applies. Not-illegal mixed-race marriage potentially could have caused people to devalue the institution.  “Ah, well, everyone’s racist (especially the poor, who need marriage most!) and so this is going to just drive everyone away from the institution!!”  
        But that’s HORRIBLE, because A: It’s letting the racists win, and sometimes you have to take a moral stand (especially when the opposing reasons are so alarmist), and B: It’s incredibly condescending and insulting to the so-called vulnerable populations that supposedly depend on social institutions like marriage.  People are adaptive.  They get used to shit really quickly.  Give ’em credit.

        Here’s the last thing: The whole idea of prejudice and bigotry is wider than you seem to think.  You apparently think there’s no difference between “That’s a bigoted belief,” and “YOU ARE A BIGOT AND THEREFORE USELESS.”  Once again, I kind of think that’s all a very strategic way of thinking that happens to make you and yours utterly reasonable while the liberals surrounding you are barreling here and there from indignation and passion.  
        I think you have bigoted beliefs (and I think you’re driven here by emotion way more than you admit), and I think having a justification for bigotry doesn’t make it not bigotry.  Fairness value.
        But, that isn’t a shut-up technique, and it isn’t blind righteous fury.  Give US the credit for having thought about things, too.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @tedthefed:disqus  Read and pondered!  2 things before I hit the sack and the road.

          1. I try to mold myself into a mediator or ambassador more than a rebel or back-of-the-classroom snark specialist.  That’s 1 reason why I talk (as if it were no big deal) about stuff where I’m the minority, whether it’s marriage or fighting games.

          2. Gosh, we are on opposite sides of a canyon, aren’t we?  I really don’t see concessions that we could give each other.  Ah, well, I don’t think common ground is the only good result of an argument, so thanks again to you and everyone else.

  31. Moribund Cadaver says:

    In a way, we are each a nation of one. We are our own presidents, our own diplomats, military complex, and trade ecosystem. Because of this we have some degree of responsibility for how others perceive and react to us – some extreme individualists seem to assert that we cannot be responsible for the attitudes of anyone else, and ergo, should have zero concern for what anyone else thinks. Maybe. But in the area of diplomacy especially, we do have a choice in how we frame ourselves to the world.

    The problem that people with bigoted beliefs have, is that very often the source of their prejudice and fears is so powerful they no longer have any perspective. (Which could be seen as part and parcel of being a true bigot – the inability to see things from another point of view.) Thus, a bigot tends to advertise themselves well in advance and many of them then act upset when they experience some negative reactions. In my experience a big part of bigotry is believing that you are the one being victimized even as you advocate oppressing others. Unfortunately a bigot lives in a problematic reality – the mere existence of people they don’t like counts as an attack on themselves. There’s a kind of entitlement as well – the bigot becomes upset when those they hate are given equal rights, as the bigot sees this as rights being taken away from *them*. (Generally, their “right” to feel that they are superior to the person they dislike.)

    How all this interacts with creators and their creations is complex, as I tend to see there being two kinds of bigots: a person who has at some point in their life had an unfortunate social framework thrust upon them, twisting their perceptions. And another kind of person, who has a pre-existing set of problems waiting for a rack upon which to be hung. I the case of homophobes, there are plenty of each: some people who are already, for example, sexually insecure and having trouble with gender, who one day begin to think the real problem is those evil people trying to mess with sexuality and gender. That is why I feel terrible, one says to one’s self – it’s all -their- fault! Without those people and their kind, I would feel better about the world.

    This kind of bigot tends to become hardcore, and rather obsessed. It can be difficult to redeem them because it’s not about the object of their bigotry but their own problems. And I have generally seen that these sorts of folks definitely cannot help but allow their feelings to be realized in their creative works, for their prejudice is based on deep attributes of their personality.

    The other kind though, are people who are essentially duped into believing that a particular group is simply evil, and are up to no good. This type of person might be very naive, but they are not necessarily someone who is greatly screwed up on the inside. They are the dupes of a culture of propaganda and prejudice. It is not uncommon to see them experience a sudden and complete awakening when confronted with the contradictions in the manipulative beliefs that have been thrust upon them. I tend to think these are the creators that suddenly “go crazy” later in life. Falling prey to fear or insecurity, and looking for something to blame. You tend to find their works are often quite absent of whatever nuttiness they may have bought into – as long as a subject which relates to their “issues is not involved.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      The great thing about false consciousness accusations is that they could be applied to literally any situation where majority rule is absolute.  Telling yourselves stories about the other is how anti-marriage equality/pro-traditional marriage advocates got in trouble in the 1st place!

    • zebbart says:

      I think your observations are right in some cases, but I hope you’re not implying that all adherents to certain viewpoints are necessarily bigots whose reasons for holding those views are entirely psychological and not rational. Psychologizing one’s opponents away is a failure to communicate and a terrible way of debating. But yeah, true plain bigotry does seem to come in the two flavors you describe and have those consequences. 

  32. Casey O'Hara says:

    Considering that modern Video Games have pretty much been built on the pillars of violence and misogyny, is it possible that TenNapel’s biggest mistakes (other than broadcasting his personal politics) were making a whimsical adventure game, and trying to do so independently?

    Were his pending project just another FPS, with a generic protagonist slaughtering faceless brown people, could we even have a discussion of personal politics with a straight face? And while folks might not support an independent project of someone whose politics they personally disagree with, make that developer a part of a bigger team/project, and the political concerns seem to fade to the wayside pretty quickly, if they even come up in the first place.

    None of which is meant as any kind of judgment on TenNapel or his beliefs, one way or the other, just that I find the discussion interesting, and wonder if it changes at all, when looked at from outside the vacuum of only TenNapel’s work. 

    Take Far Cry 3 for instance, which is a game that I recently enjoyed the hell out of, but I don’t have to go digging into the developers’ personal files to go hunting for its ugly politics of racism, misogyny or homophobia…it’s pretty much on display, and put in my hands, from the get go (notwithstanding ham-handed claims of satire). I’d go so far as to say politically/morally corrupt games are the norm rather than the exception, and more often than not, you have to put your personal politics/beliefs to the side when you enjoy video games. If the product itself were already accepted as morally shady, would the developer’s personal politics matter?

    Are TenNapel’s “real-world” personal opinion/politics, which apparently don’t extend into his games, more dangerous than a product that directly and excessively promotes bad politics/morals, but sets them in a fantasy world? Clearly, in this case, if you’re gay and can’t marry, that’s a pretty easy question to answer, but it intrigues me in a more general sense.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “Were his pending project just another FPS, with a generic protagonist
      slaughtering faceless brown people, could we even have a discussion of
      personal politics with a straight face?”

      You are certainly not incorrect. It’s a sad state of our society that -isms are weighed against their marketability. That explains why it’s suddenly a lot easier for LGBTQ people to find some backing in issues concerning gay marriage and so on, because the consensus is swinging away from the most overt hatred.
      However, at least here at the Gameological Society, we have had discussions such as the one you question. Racism, misogyny, gratuitous violence, sexual exploitation, homophobia… all of these matters reflect badly on the people who choose to capitalize on them and I think that this is something the majority of GS-readers agrees on. Tenapel made utterings outside his chosen medium and chose to forego the regrettable filter that “Generic Brown People Shooter #5” gives its faceless and shameless developers.
      I don’t know if that makes him more upfront about it or whether it condemns him even further, that’s not for me to say.
      But I will go on record that I personally hold any and every game-developer who stoops low to appeal to the lowest common denominator to the same standards with the only, but very powerful weapon I have: Not rewarding them for it financially.
      Doug Tenapel had the great misfortune of being called on his opinions, which singles him out. That doesn’t excuse what he has stated. Much more, it should be a rallying cry to hold those who further bigotry, be it for money or out of misplaced moral authority, accountable. Maybe if a few game developers would have to go through the admittedly pretty uncomfortable thing Doug Tenapel had to go through today, they might rethink their actions. At the very least, they’d be given a taste of what the opposing side actually has to offer in terms of arguments… something our increasingly socially insulated society often does not afford people.

  33. Ryan Smith says:

    I guess I am just wary of throwing stones at someone and defining someone based on the worst thing they’ve ever said or done or believed in, especially if this thing doesn’t define their art or product.

    Sometimes it just feels like liberal people can take up these causes because, as someone said before, it makes them feel better, not because it’s substantially creating positive change. I just want to make sure we’re applying philosophical rigor to the kind of decisions we make about making political statements with our wallet, which is the reason I brought up the Papa John’s and Bank of America examples. Are we choosing to boycott Chik-Fil-A and TenNapel because they’re the worst offenders of human misery or because it’s the general consensus among progressives to do and it’s convenient to do without chicken sandwiches and Earthworm Jim?

    Part of this is personal for me because even though I am very progressive now, I grew up in a very religious/conservative home and I myself held these views until my early 20’s. (I even voted for Bush in 2000, sorry to say). I’m glad there’s no YouTube video of me making an anti-gay speech in my Sociology class my senior year of high school. If so, how many people would refuse to read my stories about video games or sports because of that? Would that incident come to define me? I would hope not, but if it happened in 2013 instead of 1995, I’m not so sure.

    • George_Liquor says:

      I’ll just go ahead and assume you’re not implying that, since it’s physically impossible to apply the same level of philosophical rigor to every interaction we make, that it shouldn’t be applied to any of them. Of course making a moral judgement makes a person feel better. When you make a moral judgment, you’re choosing to act in a manner that you feel benefits society the most; I should hope you’d derive at least some measure of happiness from it when you do. 

      Regarding Chik-Fil-A and TenNapel, I don’t think they’re the “worst offenders of human misery” at all. I happen to feel very passionately about this particular topic, and I found their stance on it to be quite objectionable, so I chose not to support them. I didn’t wait for a general Liberal consensus to form around these two, either. 

      I don’t know Doug TenNapel personally. I’ve never met him. All I can possibly know about him is comes from what he chooses to display to the public. And so far, I don’t like what I see.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t bank at Bank Of America, and I don’t buy Papa John’s pizzas.

    • tedthefed says:

      “Sometimes it just feels like liberal people can take up these causes because, as someone said before, it makes them feel better, not because it’s substantially creating positive change.”

      I think this is a meaningless distinction, because the only way an individual really knows that they’re helping is because they feel the emotion they have when they do it.  It’s weird to focus on a few false positives when this feeling-good-because-I-stood-up-and-did-something pattern is going to way overall INCREASE social change, not decrease it.

      The other thing is, I know a LOT of people who justify the fact that they don’t care about shit by saying, “Eh, whatever, it’s not like it’ll actually make any difference out there in the world.”  It’s like the Facebook red equal sign thing.  “Uh, thanks for pointing out that I’m not saving the entire world.  Now will you shut up and leave me alone with my positive and open symbol of support for people who are suffering?”

    • zebbart says:

      It’s certainly worth noting that conservatives do the exact same kinds of things, but your point is valid.

  34. dougtennapel says:

    Given my own presence on the project is so troubling to some, if I resigned from the project today, how many backers would donate and at what level? If my absence caused the project to be fully funded, I would resign immediately no problem.

    • Smilner says:

       That’s the conundrum presented in the article, Doug.  That would not make the project any more appealing, because the draw for it is your artistic vision.  I’m not going to cast judgments one way or the other, because I did not hear the initial comments nor their context, but the root of this piece was about separating the art from the artist.  If you left the project, then the project would not be your art.  Catch 22, man.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      From my limited knowledge of budgeting in the animation and video game industries, your budget appears reasonable.  However, objectively, it’s a lot of dollars.  I suspect recouping whatever amount is lost by rescinded donations and new pledges, even if that were to come about, would still not matter as much as a fresh wave of proper social media attention post-E3 lull.  It it was a 75,000-dollar project, winning hearts and minds would matter.

      Get to the real work, Doug!  This is not a waste of everyone’s time, here, but it is a waste of yours.

      • dougtennapel says:

        The budget is big to backers, but it’s the minimum we could get away with to hire the kind of team we want and to maintain the high quality. It’s what it needs to be, and we always knew it was up to the donors to decide if it would exist or not.

        And the loss of donations is negligible. We see them tick down by $20 and they send a nasty comment along to Pencil Test who have nothing to do with my positions. But for every person who defunds, two more show up. I assume it’s in thanks to this article, but today is our largest funding day since the initial burst at the start. I assume a whole lot of people don’t like being called haters for mere dissent.

        I still don’t dismiss ANY donation, as I want everyone to play and enjoy this game. But if getting a donation requires me changing my values, I don’t think anyone’s values would be respectable if that’s why they changed. I don’t consider my time here a waste, as a participant of this culture it’s my place to give a defense, and to listen to as many voices as I can in my mass media audience.

    • Kuro says:

      I know plenty of people who would donate if you weren’t involved but at the same time it’s your involvement that grabbed their attention in the first place. They just couldn’t get past your point of view, they despise what you stand for and defend. So your departure wouldn’t make much of a difference since it’s your work they love. 

      You come off really abrasive and every time you open your mouth you seem to ignore legitimate arguments/debate, perpetuate negativity and condone ignorance. Then you keep claiming there is some evil culture war against an organization that continues to ignore historical facts, scientific facts and basic logic to abuse, harass and imprison people. Explain how a loving straight husband and wife having oral sex is worthy of a prison sentence.

      You ignored my comment earlier and you will probably dodge this question again but here we go:

      Many cultures that existed before Christianity and had ZERO contact with Christianity have marriage ceremonies. Why does Christianity get to own the word, definition and ceremony then tell others they aren’t allowed to have it? Does being the dominant majority in the country really give us the right to force non-believers to follow our religious scripture in all cases?

    • tedthefed says:

      I personally would be hesitant to donate under those conditions, because I worry you (and others) would interpret it as evidence that queers and their defenders are closed-minded, vindictive, and angry.  It seems likely that validating that hypothesis is a major, major goal on your part.  while I believe you’re not trolling (meaning: I believe that your comments are made in good faith), I also don’t believe it’s a happy little coincidence that you get to be surrounded by information that validates the belief that Christians, and you personally, are victimized.

      I also do think it’s a huge problem that on the internet people can anonymously talk shit.  I seriously sympathize with you, if you’ve gotten violent or angry comments, especially if you didn’t expect it.  But, I don’t think you’re aware of the extent to which your expectations are coloring things.  It’s an enormous self-fulfilling prophecy to say such things and then to point to people’s reactions as evidence for how liberals and non-christians and gays (or whatever) are.  It’s also exaggerating the relative daily criticism that LGBT people and anti-LGBT people receive re: queerness.  
      Finally, there’s this weird sense that “intolerance” is somehow worse if it’s a liberal doing it.  “Whoa, how ironic that people IN FAVOR of being open-minded are engaging in CLOSED-MINDED behavior!!”  Well, it’s kind of ironic, but it also doesn’t mean anything about whether the criticism is valid or not.  

      Long story short: If a crazy person sends you a violent, unhinged message because you criticized homosexuality, it’s mostly because the writer is violent and unhinged, not because the writer supports the gays.  Attributing that sort of thing to a political or demographic group isn’t justified, except as self-esteem bolstering.

      ….also, seriously, you’re the guy that came up with the third level of Earthworm Jim 2?  Where Jim is suddenly and inexplicably dressed up as this female character?  Because that’s queer as all hell.

      • dougtennapel says:

        tedthefed, the tolerance and outrage only going one way has always been a favorite watering hole of the left. There’s really nothing new here. 
        “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.” – Herbert Marcus

        • LostPause says:

          Seriously, Doug, I’m not talking for your irrationally aggressive critics here, but the more reasonable ones can only shake their head at your repeated disengagement using a “look how the other side always resorts to self-righteous hypocrisy” defense. It sidesteps real, honest discussion with those who possess respectful differing points of view. Plus, actually it only serves to give more ammunition to those who claim that religious people take cover from proper debate, hiding behind their holy books.

          The fact remains that there is a stronger impetus on those seeking to exclude gay marriage than those wishing to include homosexual partnerships. Their stance has far more tangible and widespread effect given that it withholds legitimacy from relationships that to all intents and purposes [apart from that of reproduction] have shown themselves equal in strength and permanence to heterosexual couplings.

          This is why you will be asked, with good reason, time and time again to qualify ‘why’ you believe what you believe about homosexuals. Often the question will be asked in an overly hostile manner and you’re going to continue to find rational people struggling to support you as long as you pull away from addressing the rationale behind your beliefs sufficiently.

        • tedthefed says:

          But…. that doesn’t address what I said at all.  The fact that there are human beings in the world who think they’re morally secure when they argue with you does not contradict the possibility that you are drawing biased conclusions from your interactions with them.  In fact, your response kind of reads as a blank, unthinking defense about doing so.

          …EVERYONE pays more attention to information that confirms their beliefs than to information that goes against their beliefs.  Do you seriously think that this is something unique to liberals just because it’s liberals that you’re arguing with all the time?

          It might seem worse when liberals do it because A: You disagree with them already, and B: It feels like they’re being hypocritical.  But that isn’t the magic bullet you seem to think it is, because it says nothing about the criticism itself.  I don’t believe this, but it’s entirely possible for liberals to be self-righteously hypocritical AND for your comments and beliefs to be damaging. 
          In other words: If your feelings are hurt by people calling you an asshole and telling you that you’re wrong about homosexuality, then that is an argument that it’s bad to call other people assholes.  However, you seem to believe, incorrectly, that it’s an argument against thinking you’re wrong about homosexuality and that it’s important.

        • Juan_Carlo says:

          Seriously, dude, you need to get off the cross already.

          Yes, there have been some people who reacted harshly here, but there’s been a large number who have very reasonably and respectfully engaged with your arguments, which kind of invalidates your martyr act and makes it seem more like you are using the claims of victim hood as a screen/excuse to not have to defend your views.

          Sure, some liberals are assholes.  But merely pointing that out does nothing to validate your arguments about gay marriage one way or another.  

          But honestly, if you are really worried about your game not being funded, just post a link to this article on WND or write a Redstate diary with a link in it talking about how you’re being victimized by the awful liberals and watch your game get instantly funded.  They eat that shit up over there.  And if the chik-fil-a crowd will pay 5 dollars for a sandwhich to make a political point they’ll certainly give you 5 dollars for your game.  

          Going political will turn half the people off, but it will also make half the people notice and be more apt to support you. And there are SO MANY retro, adventure game, kickstarters these days that all this negative publicity can only help your campaign as it sets you apart.

          Of course, the problem is that would very much politicize your game in a way that I’m not sure Pencil Test Studios would like.  Maybe they wouldn’t mind, though, I don’t know.  They certainly don’t seem to have a problem with stuff you’ve said in the past, judging from the fact they haven’t commented on it.

        • zebbart says:

          You have a fair complaint about your views being grossly exaggerated and misrepresented here and elsewhere (though as @tedthefed:disqus says it’d be more productive for you to address the meat of their objections than their rhetorical flaws), but you really are off track in claiming “the Left” and “liberals” having a problem with fair and honest criticism, hypocrisy, and censorship. The Right and conservatives can be just as bad, and many on both sides (as shown in these comments) are very fair and reasonable. When you talk about ‘the Left’ and ‘liberals’ in those dismissive terms you just make yourself sound like a dittohead partisan, not a rational adult with independent, carefully thought out positions. Your problem is with a lot of hotheads, idiots, and immature people piling on, not with a certain political side being unilaterally filled with bad guys. The best response to that piling on is to ignore trolls and respond to the best of your opposition with respect and forthrightness.

        • dougtennapel says:

          But zebbart, I’m not saying that man’s nature isn’t reflected in the right as much as the left, I’m only saying that it is unique in the way it shows up in each.

          And you didn’t answer my question, are you a man of the left? Because I would love to be wrong and hear that you are in fact a hardened leftist. I’m not here to try to sound petty or amazingly brilliant. I’m here for information. I want to know why nobody else is working as hard as you to listen to me. I have my suspicion that it’s because they are on the left. You might think I’m wrong, but I’m not asking what you think about my suspicion. I just want you to tell me if you are a leftist or not. I would find it VERY interesting if you were.

        • zebbart says:

          Doug I’m probably more left than right, but not entirely one or the other. I’d call my self a radical Catholic in the Dorothy Day sense, with sympathies for Marxist and post-modern critiques but finding ultimate truth in the social teaching of the 20th century popes. I get my news from liberal and leftist sources but I am critical of them. Issue by issue, I’m pro-life, anti-capitalist, pacifist, anti-imperialist, environmentalist, pro-union, and though I consider gay marriage a minor issue with a foregone conclusion and several legitimate positions available, I lean slightly toward supporting traditional marriage. Abolishing civil marriage in favor of indiscriminate state support of familial organization as advocated by the radical queers in Beyond Marriage or simply abolishing marriage and allowing free interpersonal contracts as supported by hard libertarians also seem reasonable to me. I come from a right wing background (having regrettably followed Limbaugh as a teen and turned my dad on to him) but reading the Gospels propelled me into peace and justice activism in college which has led me to mostly ally with leftists, my critique of social liberalism not withstanding. For the purposes of this discussion though maybe the most important allegiance I have is to a Jonn Stewart-esque distaste for bullying, intentional misreading, hyperbole, and lumping one’s conversation partner (opponent if you must) into rhetorical categories like “homophobe” or “leftists.”

      • zebbart says:

        @dougtennapel:disqus I’m probably more left than right, but not entirely one or the other. I’d call my self a radical Catholic in the Dorothy Day sense, with sympathies for Marxist and post-modern critiques but finding ultimate truth in the social teaching of the 20th century popes. I get my news from liberal and leftist sources but I am critical of them. Issue by issue, I’m pro-life, anti-capitalist, pacifist, anti-imperialist, environmentalist, pro-union, and though I consider gay marriage a minor issue with a foregone conclusion and several legitimate positions available, I lean slightly toward supporting traditional marriage. Abolishing civil marriage in favor of indiscriminate state support of familial organization as advocated by the radical queers in Beyond Marriage or simply abolishing marriage and allowing free interpersonal contracts as supported by hard libertarians also seem reasonable to me. I come from a right wing background (having regrettably followed Limbaugh as a teen and turned my dad on to him) but reading the Gospels propelled me into peace and justice activism in college which has led me to mostly ally with leftists, my critique of social liberalism not withstanding. For the purposes of this discussion though maybe the most important allegiance I have is to a Jonn Stewart-esque distaste for bullying, intentional misreading, hyperbole, and lumping one’s conversation partner (opponent if you must) into rhetorical categories like “homophobe” or “leftists.”

  35. Single_Panel_Comic says:

    I’ve met TenNapel, and he is an intolerable tool

  36. tedthefed says:

    I actually ran a study along these lines in my second year of grad school.  I might as well tell you guys about it, since the results weren’t significant and it’ll never get published.
    But, I had people read a story, and in one condition I told them that the author had bad values… I think I said she was really selfish and unpitying.  
    The results: No one gave a fuck.  People rated the author badly, but they weren’t less drawn into the story, and they were just as persuaded by the themes of the story (which unfortunately were unrelated to the values I’d warned them about earlier).

    So, people can separate art from artist, but they (maybe!) get persuaded by the art anyway.

  37. Singe says:

    There’s a difference between “demonizing” and “not giving them your money.”

  38. TheGameroomBlitz says:

    You started a fight with TenNapel?! Oh god, now he’ll NEVER shut up.

    This article strikes me as a little preachy, and as someone else mentioned, will probably draw in viewers like flies to honey. Personally, I don’t really care one way or the other about Doug’s latest project. He’s entitled to start a fundraiser for Amikrog, but I’m not especially motivated to donate to it, regardless of his political views. Hell, I haven’t even finished Skullmonkeys yet!

    By the way, I don’t think it’s fair to compare TenNapel being a loudmouth to  the Vizzini-looking CEO of Chik Fil-A making donations to anti-gay causes. It’s one thing to have unpleasant sociopolitical views (which don’t seem to influence TenNapel’s artwork at all) and quite another to spend millions to push a misguided agenda.

  39. spankminister says:

    “If any good can be spun from this, it’s that fans have yet another opportunity to “vote with their wallets,” as they are wont to do.”
    As Peter David’s comment read, “What is your endgame?” Say the proposed boycott is entirely successful, and TenNapel and people like him who believe it is okay to make casually homophobic statements are utterly unable to make a living and are destitute, barely able to make ends meet. Then are they going to suddenly change their minds and see the light of tolerance, now that they have been utterly financially coerced into doing so? Is that really progress? I consider myself fairly liberal, but I see my priorities as 1) getting people the rights they deserve and 2) changing minds and attitudes to support tolerance, and doing those in whatever order works best. I don’t believe punishing people for wrong thinking is conducive to that, or constructive.

    “Writer Peter David, who penned Shadow Complex’s script, seemed to ignore the historical importance of boycotts”

    The word boycott gets tossed around on the internet these days. If you are attempting to compare a disorganized and irrelevant campaign against a game which had a fairly tenuous connection to Orson Scott Card to the Montgomery bus boycotts, it is perhaps not Peter David who lacks perspective.

    • robthom says:

       “make casually homophobic statements”

      What do you mean “homophobic”?

      Did he say he was scared of homosexuals?

      Am I kim kardashian phobic?
      Or do I just not like kim kardashian?

      • tedthefed says:

        Ah yes, feigned ignorance about a vocabulary word.  The great Aristotelian debate technique.

  40. Ambient Malice says:

    Here’s the rub. You either want more inclusion and diversity in games development, or you don’t. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The fact of the matter is that Doug TenNapel’s views might offend your special special snowflake political sensibilities, but that doesn’t make him bigoted. Being opposed to same sex marriage is a valid political view. Being opposed to homosexuality is a valid religious view. Neither of these views are actually any of your business.

    The biggest problem is the strange, unclear mentality behind “exposing” his views to the world. What are you trying to achieve? Not to play a Godwin’s, but how is this realistically any different to Nazi demands that nobody buy anything from Jews – because of their “negative” influence on society?

    Let’s be honest – Doug TenNapel and Jon Heder and Michael J. Nelson and Rob Paulsen are all well-off, respected, reasonably famous people. So if Armikrog fails, it’s not too much skin off their noses. They’ll just pick up the ball and go home to plan their next move. Rob Paulsen has worked with TenNapel before – he’ll work with him again. Jon Heder will go off, do some more movies, then give a percentage of his money to the Mormon church, who will funnel it into perfectly valid political causes such as banning same sex marriage. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

    At no point has TenNapel said that criticism of his ideas is intolerance. That’s how YOU think, not him. He sees criticism of his ideas as fully valid.

    In Doug’s own words:

    “It’s not hateful or intolerant to vote that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Tolerant isn’t a position, it’s how you treat people who hold positions you hate.

    It also isn’t tolerant to believe that all ideas have equal merit.
    This is an irrational position I’m embarrassed to even bring up. But
    there are those who have claimed that if I judge a position as bad that
    I’m being intolerant. Can we agree that eating cute kittens alive for
    the fun of it doesn’t have as much merit as cuddling them? But to say
    that all ideas have equal merit is self-refuting because I could propose
    this idea “all ideas have unequal merit” and you couldn’t judge the
    statement as false if the first idea were true.

    I hope some of you disagree with this post. Because this will be a
    perfect opportunity to practice true tolerance. The act of treating a
    political opponent with dignity and value used to be considered a high
    art form in debate. You can tell a lot about a person who treats someone
    with dignity and value whom they deeply disagree with.

    We can’t practice tolerance with people we agree with so you get no
    credit exercising your mustard-seed amount of tolerance on your own
    camp. In fact, the more we disagree with each other the more tolerance
    must be exercised.–Christian—Intolerant

    No matter how much wishful thinking you practice, opposing same sex marriage is not intolerance. Tolerance and acceptance are two entirely different things. However, trying to smear someone simply because they disagree with your view of how the world should be is intolerance no matter how much you mince it.

    • senorhuxtable says:

      I think it’s worth noting how you discuss true tolerance, and yet your post sounds so aggressive and hostile. Also I think part of the argument is that opposing same sex marriage is intolerant (but that’s neither here nor there).

      Anyway, Doug has spent the last month going around the internet where his name is mentioned and getting into arguments with anyone who talks to him. Everything else aside, it’s a very childish way to act.

      • Ambient Malice says:

        I didn’t say anything hostile. That’s the real problem here – the perception that any criticism or disagreement equals hostility.

        Way I see it, Doug TenNapel tries his best to engage with his fanbase and people who aren’t his fans. There’s nothing new about him dropping into conversations about himself – he’s been doing it for years. Maybe he should do it less, but the fact is, the internet is largely an open forum. It’s not different to Brenda Romero popping up out of nowhere when someone says something incorrect about Daikatana.

        Here’s the core disagreement:

        Side A says any opposition to same sex marriage is intolerance.
        Side B says that no, it isn’t intolerance.

        Therefore, both sides have an obligation to tolerate the other, but they also have the right to stick to their guns.

        • George_Liquor says:

          “Being opposed to same sex marriage is a valid political view. Being opposed to homosexuality is a valid religious view. Neither of these views are actually any of your business.”

          So you’re defending a man who wants to impose his own moral judgments upon an entire demographic he has no business sticking his nose in by saying its none of our business to object? I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around the hypocrisy of that statement. 

        • Ambient Malice says:

          George_Liquor:”So you’re defending a man who wants to impose his own moral judgments
          upon an entire demographic he has no business sticking his nose in by
          saying its none of our business to object?”

          How exactly is Dough TenNapel “imposing” his moral judgements upon an entire demographic? He has done nothing more than respond to other people asking him questions, and other people accusing him of things.

          If anything, the imposing here is done by people implying that there is some obligation to harm TenNapel and his friends financially and career-wise for what is nothing more than Orwellian thought crime.

        • senorhuxtable says:

          Well you keep talking down to the reader, and if you can’t see how that might be seen as hostile, well shit son.

          Anyway, it sounds like you had a good chat with him and there’s nothing wrong wanting to defend someone you like, but shit man, you’re twenty-two, you’re still young, there’s way better things to do than argue about an old animator that some people don’t like

        • robthom says:

          “So you’re defending a man who wants to impose his own moral judgments
          upon an entire demographic he has no business sticking his nose in”

          Of course not.

          I would never defend a optional subculture imposing their “moral” (or lack thereof) judgements onto the pre-existing traditions of a majority demographic that they have no business sticking their nose in.

          Gays are free to marry themselves among themselves nude at the disco,
          but not to demand that everyone else change the definition of marriage to cater to their need for attention.

          And thats the only thing it is.

          They were even offered equal legal rights as a civil union,
          but that wasn’t good enough and they changed their argument to wanting the exact same marriage as everyone else.

          Despite not having the exact same marriage as everyone else.

          They dont want their marriage “seperate but equal”,
          but they want a lifestyle thats separate but equal.

          Because its just about attention.

          Not rights.

        • George_Liquor says:

          It’s been spelled out plenty of times above, but I guess I’ll go over it again. He doesn’t like the idea of homosexuals earning the right to marry. He supports legislation that would deny them their right to marry. He is very vocal both here and in his Twitter feeds about his desire to prevent homosexuals from gaining the right to marry. Frankly, there’s not much more he could do, short of running for office, to ensure this never comes to pass. 

          This biggest misunderstanding I take away from this whole mess is how he (and you) interpret an attack on his position as an attack on him. Blanket tolerance is admirable when applied to a person, but not to an ideal. 

          I’ll tolerate the fact that we have to share a planet. I’ll tolerate and respect TenNapel’s right to express his opinions however he sees fit. But I will NOT tolerate the opinions themselves. I find them to be close-minded and bigoted, and I have absolutely no compunctions against pointing that out.

          One more thing: I don’t wish ill upon TenNapel, and I don’t feel the need to “punish” him. I’m not going to engage in a letter-writing campaign to see him forever black-listed from game design. (And by the way, I don’t see anyone else here expressing that desire either.) I just choose not to support his project because, in this case, I cannot sufficiently justify divorcing the artist from his art. If Armikrog succeeds without my support, then hey, more power to him.

        • robthom says:

           “…well shit son.

          … but shit man,”

          Your language seems very hostile.

          I dont think that the true tolerant should tolerate your false tolerance.

        •  Just so you know, for future reference when dealing with human beings, saying that you can’t tell the difference between them and Nazis is pretty much always going to be interpreted as hostile.

        • Sam Hb says:

          “I would never defend a optional subculture imposing their “moral” (or lack thereof) judgements onto the pre-existing traditions of a majority demographic that they have no business sticking their nose in.”

          Just like the “optional subculture” of blacks demanding freedom and equality against the pre-existing traditions of a majority demographic (whites).

      • Ambient Malice says:

        In fact, I first encountered Doug TenNapel online when I was discussing Earthworm Jim 3D with a friend on twitter. I praised TenNapel, since I felt the game was decent. TenNapel came along and explained how he didn’t feel EJ3D was a good game. It had been made by a team who had no interest in consulting him, the creator of Earthworm Jim, and so he felt the humour and gameplay had been ruined.

        I found nothing about the man to indicate he was in any way bigoted. There is nothing inherently bigoted about holding a political view. Tolkien wanted to remove democracy and prevent industrialisation. He despised democracy, actually. Lord of the Rings is thinly disguised pro-monarchist propaganda. But Tolkien was not bigoted. Just because someone’s agenda or beliefs conflict with your way of life does not make them bigoted.

        •  “Just because someone’s agenda or beliefs conflict with your way of life does not make them bigoted.”

          Can I ask you seriously, what do you think bigotry is?  I see a whole lot of paragraphs ranting on and on about what isn’t bigotry, and this one here which actually contains a sort of poetic and nice abstract definition of bigotry right in it, but you say that isn’t bigotry, so I’m really curious what you think is.

        • tedthefed says:

          @facebook-663669914:disqus Like most people, his definition of bigotry is probably “whatever I personally can’t imagine myself doing.”

      • robthom says:

         “I think it’s worth noting how you discuss true tolerance, and yet your post sounds so aggressive and hostile.”

        Apparently your perceived tone can not be tolerated by the TRUE tolerant.

    • robthom says:

      I wasn’t sure where you where going with that at first,
      but it turns out that I agree.

      All these new normal progressives are always talking about “for everybody” and “equality” and “tolerance”,
      but only as long as its by their rules.

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      “Being opposed to same sex marriage is a valid political view. Being opposed to homosexuality is a valid religious view. Neither of these views are actually any of your business.”

      I agree it’s none of our business.  But we weren’t the one’s who brought it up.  Doug brought this on himself by going to a gay video gaming website and deliberately angering people with inflamatory and insensitive comments.  Yeah, he since apologized, which is nice, but he should also understand that acting like an asshole will have consequences when you are a public figure, especially when you are acting like an asshole in the context of a controversial political topic like homosexuality that people feel strongly about…it’s not something people will forget easily.  So he’s not entirely innocent here.  He brought much of this on himself.

      Also, merely having an opinion does not mean that you are innoculated from criticism or public push back, nor is that push back necessarily “intolerant.”  If someone really was offended by Doug’s comments about taking a dump in a woman’s rest room or the open sore crack, I don’t think it’s “intolerance” if they decide not to buy his game based on that….any more than it would be “intolerance” if you decided to not frequent a store who had rude employees. Doug doesn’t have any innate right to have people contribute to his kick starter campaign.  If he offends someone, for whatever reason, it’s fair game for them, as customers, to not give him their money.

      I mean, to reference your link, I’d never give my money because I despise their mode of inflamatory discourse….does that mean I’m being “intolerant”?

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      “No matter how much wishful thinking you practice, opposing same sex marriage is not intolerance.”

      The problem with this issue is that people are talking about entirely different things to the point that often times both sides cannot and will not even agree on what “homosexuality” is….so it’s often hard to label one side or the other as being intolerant in an easy fashion.  

      If you are a Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sinful choice that people are making, within the context of your own brain, opposing homosexuality would not be intolerance.  I genuinely do think that most Christians who oppose the issue are only doing so because they think they are doing the right thing.  Many even probably genuinely care about gay people—it’s just that their form of “caring” involves trying to turn them from their sinful lifestyles so they don’t burn in hell for all eternity and trying to keep society from “endorsing their sin” via the legalization of same sex marriage.  MAny will try to use secular arguments at times, but they mostly stem from these basic religious convictions.

      From the perspective of most pro-gay marriage individuals, though, homosexuality is not something that’s chosen.  And from this perspective, I think opposition to gay marriage very much is intolerance as it’s going out of one’s way to deny the rights and benefits of marriage to couples who need those rights just because those individuals happened, by a fluke of biology, to be born gay.  In this case, I don’t think opposition to gay marriage is much different than opposition to interracial marriage—both are intolerance.

      So do I think Christians who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds are intolerant?  From a secular perspective, yes, but I acknowledge that they might not be acting out of intolerant or hateful intentions so it’s way more complicated than just saying “yes.”  

      But, honestly, I try not to use words like “intolerance” or “hate” or “bigot” when engaging on this issue just because they are not only unnecessarily inflammatory, but I also don’t think they apply to most Christians (most of whom I don’t think are hateful, or bigoted, or intolerant when it comes to this issue).  Honestly, it’s pointless to argue the issue on theological grounds, so I think it’s much better to approach the topic in terms of what is best for the secular good.

      And I actually think most gay rights liberals do the same…or most gay rights liberals I know, anyway.  I live in Minnesota which just defeated an anti-gay marriage amendment in Novemeber and the campaign run by the pro-gay marriage side was the model, I think, of how to engage and talk with people about this issue without inflaming or resorting to name calling or demonizing.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I’d like to add to that very good point that whether homosexuality was a choice or not doesn’t really matter anyways. Being religious is a choice and we cut that a lot of slack.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      “Not to play a Godwin’s, but how is this realistically any different to
      Nazi demands that nobody buy anything from Jews – because of their
      “negative” influence on society?”

      Are you entirely insane?

  41. Ambient Malice says:

    It wasn’t too long ago that America saw witch hunts against anyone who held communist or socialist views. These people were seen as a harmful influence, their work was corrupt, they had to be kept from working unless they recanted, and anyone who agreed with them was obviously a bad person. Today, a socialist like Orson Scott Card can be a best-selling science fiction author.

    How is blacklisting, attacking, and attempting to ruin the career of someone who opposes same sex marriage is any different to doing the same to someone who is an “enemy of freedom”, such as a communist?

    Because I don’t think there is any difference. And I think people, Americans especially, are quick to forget the lessons of the past.

    • I would say that a pretty major difference is that the government is not going after people for their views on same-sex marriage, instead individuals are voluntarily choosing whether or not to financially support people who espouse their views in especially hostile ways.

      I’m also not sure what the alternative is; are you suggesting that people be mandated to fund art under all circumstances?  That seems a lot less free to me.

    • tedthefed says:

      You know what, you’re full of shit about this definition of tolerance you’ve got going on, there.  Because from what I can tell it’s, “Tolerant people are the ones who don’t get all mad and disagree with me and the people I like (because obviously our beliefs are always valid)!”

      But TenNapel is full of shit about his gender essentialism and his gay marriage thing.  You’re full of shit every time you try to use a simile.  It isn’t intolerant to say so.  You seem to have this weird belief that talking shit is always okay, but REACTING to that shit is Intolerant (especially when it’s a leftist doing it).  But that’s full of shit, too.

      You seem super-threatened that a person could receive SOCIAL FALLOUT from having said things that go against people’s deep values!!  But you know what I think tolerance is?  I think tolerance is when you think about what you say before you say it.  It’s when you realize that you could be wrong about stuff.  It’s pre-emptive.  

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      There’s a huge difference, actually.  The Hollywood blacklist was a systematic, government backed (at least implicitly), means of ensuring that studios would not hire communist sympathizers.  No one here is suggesting that the video game industry put Doug’s name on a list and prevent everyone from hiring him.  And, honestly, the video game industry isn’t as uniform as the film industry was in the 1950s, so even if someone wanted to do that, it would never work.

      This is just people exercising their right as customers to buy or not buy a guy’s product.  Honestly, I suspect that just as many if nor more people are more attracted to Doug’s games because of his views as there are people turned off by them. Companies like chik-fil-a prove that controversial political positions like this can actually be an insensitive for customer loyalty.  I’d actually bet that this controversy will help the game more than it will hurt it as ultimately the number one obstacle in kickstarter is getting noticed in the first place.

      Doug doesn’t have any inherent right to have people buy his game merely because he expressed a opinion.  I mean, are we obligated to give money to every single kickstarter campaign whose originators express a political opinion on the internet?  That’s silly.

      • “Companies like chik-fil-a prove that controversial political positions like this can actually be an insensitive for customer loyalty.”

        That’s actually not correct.  Chik-Fil-A proved that there could be a short-term boost, but in the long-term, they have lost money on this and backed way off.  There was no demonstration of any brand loyalty, just an immediate knee-jerk reaction against the boycott.

    • Marquis Moon says:

      Fuckin’ analogies, how do they work?

  42. TheRGBColor says:

     I’ve been a long-time reader of Gameological.  Not just the articles, but also the comments, which I find to be mostly good-natured and interesting.  This is the first comment I’ve posted, and the first time I’ve felt stirred to write a comment.

    I don’t want to join in on the debate about TenNapel’s views.  Instead I want to ponder whether we can (or should) separate the art from the artist, and how that relates to something like Kickstarter.  It’s one thing to suggest that Mr. TenNapel should not produce art of any kind.  It’s another entirely to tell TenNapel (or only the readers of this site) that you will refuse to support his art with your money.  The former would be oppression and authoritarian.  The latter is just the choice everybody gets to make.  One comment from TenNapel (can’t get enough of typing that name, lemme tell ya) implied that refusing to donate was a punishment to those who worked on the project and did not share his views.  You put yourself out in front of the game and the Kickstarter, presumably trading on your reputation both professional and personal.  Unfortunately, that means you have to deal with the negative aspects of that reputation and not just the positive.

    Sure, I liked Earthworm Jim.  I practically wore out my SNES on that game (fuck you, Peter Puppy).  I also think gay and lesbian partners ought to be able to marry, to enjoy the same legal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.  To what extent do I have to serve my feelings on the latter?  How far should I go?  To me, the idea on both sides seems strange.  

    The suggestion that Mackey makes is that I’m expected to be a constant force of advocacy; my wallet and my interest in entertainment should drive me to at all times proselytize to anyone who would listen.  The reason this bothers me is simple – this is the exact same viewpoint that many conservatives hold, and one of the things most often complained about by those on the left.  I despise being told what to believe, preached at instead of spoken with, and the idea that I should preach with my wallet to a video game designer strikes me as the very worst sort of hypocrisy.

    The suggestion that TenNapel makes – that those who chose not to donate to his Kickstarter campaign because of his views on this subject are punishing the other artists working on the project – seems equally unjustifiable to me.  Certainly those artists aren’t chained to their desks, held at gunpoint by a drug-addled TenNapel, his wild shock of cult-leader hair flying about his face while he rants on this and that.  Those artists also have decisions to make, and they can decide how they like, just as the prospective Kickstarter supporter can decide how they like.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that progress is coming.  There’s no doubt in my mind that TenNapel and men like him will occupy the same place in history reserved for those that argue against the protection of civil rights (whatever their reasons).  Those things are unfolding now, and while I think that gay and lesbian members of our society have waited far too long for those things to unfold, I also really like playing fucking video games.

    I think I can keep those two things separate without being a terrible person.  Also, Doug, if you’re still reading these comments, I won’t be donating to your Kickstarter.  This is because I am not a big fan of adventure games and I don’t game on PC.

    • robthom says:

       “The suggestion that TenNapel makes – that those who chose not to donate
      to his Kickstarter campaign because of his views on this subject are
      punishing the other artists working on the project”

      He shouldn’t have said that.

      If he cares about their job security,
      dont hang their job security on your personal politics.

      But he has a right to his opinion and politics as much as anybody as long as he’s not calling for physical violence on someone.

      He probably shouldn’t have attached the project to his personal views though unless his employees also share and approved of him doing that.

      Because the consumer also has a right to vote with their wallet.

      • TheRGBColor says:

         In fairness to him and his employees / partners, I doubt any of them sat down in a brainstorming session and debated whether or not his personal views would be an issue for the project as a whole.  Maybe they should have?  I don’t know.  I can imagine part of the reason TenNapel comes across as hostile and defensive in some of his replies here and elsewhere is that he was genuinely surprised by that development.

        •  Mr. TenNapel makes references to how this has been following him around for years, so I would assume that he would’ve mentioned it to his partners before they based their marketing approach around him.  It just seems like fair notice.

        • Juan_Carlo says:

           Companies deal with prominent employees saying dumb shit on the internet all the time.  If Doug is really worried about Pencil Sketch Games experiencing blow back, he shouldn’t use them as cover for his political views in a cheap attempt to make himself out to be a persecuted victim, instead he should just advise them to do what every single company in the history of man has done in situations like this and release a statement saying something like, “While we fully support Doug’s right to believe and say what he wants, Dougs views do not necessarily reflect the views of Pencil Sketch Games as a company.”

          Problem solved.

        • dougtennapel says:

          I actually have this exact conversation on almost all of my projects when considered for a job. I say, “You realize that working with me is going to attract a lot of negative attention from the left. And they won’t just try to harm me, they’ll try to harm you.”

          Mike and Ed said they still wanted to work with me. I asked if we should take my name off the project (like that would help) and we concluded that in the end, my name would bring more people in than it would repel. 

          And it’s yet another meme developed that I even come across as hostile and defensive. I’ve been in internet debates for 15 years and I’ve never been accused of being petty, irrational etc. That’s a new one that will be perpetuated endlessly by my opponents and none of the people who are center or on the right. I just think the way people act, and their entire perception of a debate, including me being homophobic is rooted more in their presuppositions about the world and less about what I actually do, believe or say.

          I’ve yet to hear an opponent say that a normal evangelical who takes an orthodox view on the scripture that homosexuality is wrong is standing on principle and not hate, superstition, a lack or reason, or some other dismissal. When people call me a homophobe, I hear them actually say, “You’re an orthodox Christian.” When the left says they can’t stomach art made by a homophobe, they mean a traditional Christian. It’s not much more complicated than that.

        • TheRGBColor says:

          Doug, I’m not the only one who thinks you sometimes come across as hostile and defensive.  I also don’t think every word you’ve ever written on the internet is hostile and defensive.  Maybe the fact that we disagree on the issue that sparked all of this is why it seems to me you’re defensive at times – don’t honestly know, but it bears consideration.

          I’m more interested in the fact that you actually had conversations about this very issue prior to kicking things off.  My roommate is a Christian, and I am an atheist.  It bothers me to consider a world where people would want to scold my roommate into silence and unemployment for what she believes.

          I don’t buy into the idea that people on the left can’t stomach art made by Christians, either. There are a great many artists throughout history that were successful and Christian at the same time.  There might be some people out there who just hate Christians but I cannot make myself believe that they’re the majority or even THAT vocal.  Just as I cannot make myself believe that the world is full of Christians who HATE gay or lesbian people.  It seems sometimes that by dismissing some critics of yours as haters of Christianity, you are doing the same thing they sometimes do to you – that is, dismissing you out of hand without the slightest bit of respect.

        • Juan_Carlo says:

          “I’ve yet to hear an opponent say that a normal evangelical who takes an orthodox view on the scripture that homosexuality is wrong is standing on principle and not hate, superstition, a lack or reason, or some other dismissal.”

          Doug, I basically said this EXACT thing in a comment up thread yesterday.  And I’m not only a liberal, but gay as well….so we’re not all as bad as you seem to believe.  I grew up in a Christian home and most of my family opposes homosexuality on religious grounds.  Heck, I did at one point as well… I totally understand that mindset and the idea that most evangelicals don’t oppose this issue out of hate, but rather because they sincerely believe it’s what’s right.

          The stereotype of awful liberals who are persecuting you just doesn’t jibe with reality. There have been tons of people offering you respectful replies in this thread that you’ve completely ignored. I seriously get the impression that you aren’t even listening to the opposition that people are voicing to your ideas before you make yourself out to be a victim, though.  “I’m a victim for my beliefs!” seems to be your default response to everything…to the point that people can’t even really have any sort of discussion with you, so I seriously wonder why you go to all the trouble of raising this issue in comment threads under your real name.  If you don’t want to actually engage with people or discuss anything, why bother bringing the attention on yourself? 

          You’re really coming off like a kid who keeps kicking hornets nests just so he can enjoy having a good cry when he gets stung.

    • tedthefed says:

      “The reason this bothers me is simple – this is the exact same viewpoint that many conservatives hold, and one of the things most often complained about by those on the left.  I despise being told what to believe, preached at instead of spoken with, and the idea that I should preach with my wallet to a video game designer strikes me as the very worst sort of hypocrisy.”

      I think this is really interesting.  Why on earth do you feel that way?  Because I don’t see many people saying it.
      I see people saying, “He’s an asshole.”  I see people saying, “I’d never pay him money knowing what he believes.”  I see people saying, “I can’t  understand someone believing in gay marriage and giving him money.”  No one’s telling anyone what to believe, except a couple of trolls defending TenNapel (he himself isn’t even really doing it).

      A couple of things.  First, it’s not a sacrifice for a lot of people to do this.  I don’t play video games that are sexist, because they bother me to the point that they’re not fun.  Chik-fil-A sandwiches taste worse, because of my associations now.  This isn’t some grand statement I’m making; it’s just buying what I like.  I am confused by this apparent assumption that it is this big thing.

      Second, and this really confuses me: Why do so many people give liberals this grand schoolmarm power?  (I know the answer; it’s cognitive dissonance, but bear with me.)  It seems like so many non-liberals think it’s this HUUUUUGE deal to have someone think they did something prejudiced.  People are so incredibly paranoid about it, they hear “Whoa, I’m not going to give that guy money” and add in this weird implicit assumed message “AND IF YOU GIVE HIM MONEY YOU ARE A BIGOT”
      But listen: I’m a feminist, and I’ve been called sexist by other feminists once or twice.  But I thought about my behavior and if they had a point, I changed my behavior, and if they didn’t, I was like, “Well, sorry, but I disagree, so let’s just try to get along.”  
      I’m just saying, I hear a LOT more people complaining about being preached at than there are people actually preaching.

      • TheRGBColor says:

        The section you quoted refers more to the article than any of the comments, and that’s an important distinction.  I’m not attempting to defend or criticize TenNapel’s worldview.  I’m only commenting on the fact that this article states quite clearly that we should decided whether or not to support this game based solely on the beliefs of one of its creators.  The article treats it like a “big thing”, and I’m responding to that view.

        People with a more liberal bent always insist that conservatives are forcing their views on others, or at least making the attempt.  This article insists that we do the same, specifically with this game and more broadly with this idea:

        “I don’t think it’s especially heroic to deny your own pleasure for the
        sake of doing the right thing. If anything, it should be expected of us.”

        I think that’s a fine sentiment – but when you’re talking about something that has no material effect on the civil rights of anyone in this country, it starts to sound like more liberal-minded people should adopt the same attitude as their conservative counterparts.  That is, that we should use every chance we get to try and force our views on people who don’t agree with us.  This, to me, is the sort of thinking that leads to proposed amendments in state constitutions forbidding same-sex marriage.  That sort of attitude doesn’t foster the type of thinking that you describe here:

        “I thought about my behavior and if they had a point, I changed my
        behavior, and if they didn’t, I was like, “Well, sorry, but I disagree,
        so let’s just try to get along.” That was it.”

        I completely agree with this philosophy.  And that philosophy is the opposite of what the original article is describing.

        • tedthefed says:

          “People with a more liberal bent always insist that conservatives are forcing their views on others, or at least making the attempt.”

          See, why do you think THAT?  It’s not true, on its own OR compared to how often conservatives complain about liberals doing the same thing.  (Meanwhile, both sides are also complaining about how the other side mischaracterizes them.)  
          It’s also not in the original article, which from my take is about the author, and many, many potential players, sussing out the thorny situation of how to handle despised values belonging to a talented artist.

          Point is, you’re seeing much more tsk-tsking than there actually is, and this is common when it comes to discussions about prejudice.  
           This is often a case of people being threatened by the previously voiceless suddenly being able to complain about their feelings when previously there had been no social fallout for expressing bigotry against them. (This is more extreme people I think.)  But it’s also a case of people having different standards for the left and the right.  

          I also reiterate: Where’s the threat?  If you read this article and thought the writer was trying to make you feel like a bigot if you don’t have a problem with TenNapel, then…. and this sounds more harsh than I mean it…. that’s your problem.  Liberals are not going around trying to make everyone feel racist and homophobic; that’s a defense mechanism to stave off the cognitive dissonance people get when they DO worry they might be bigoted.

          Finally, just saying: It is really, really easy to say “Eh, there’s no material benefit to anyone” as an excuse to never perform any social good ever.  As inane as it sounds: More good is better than less good.  

        • TheRGBColor says:

           tedthefed, it honestly seems like you’re replying to a post I didn’t write.  I thought about throwing my pinko commie credentials on the table.  I thought about saying a lot of things, honestly, and not all of them were polite.  Instead I’ll just say this:

          Well, sorry, but I disagree, so let’s just try to get along.

        • “I’m only commenting on the fact that this article states quite clearly that we should decided whether or not to support this game based solely on the beliefs of one of its creators.  ”

          Can you point to that quote?  I’m not only not seeing it, but seeing quite a few examples of the opposite point being made by the author.

        • TheRGBColor says:

           Sean Richardson, let me first say that I hate Disqus already and I hope you see this!  Now, you wanted something from the article that gave me this impression.  These were the ones that stood out to me:

          “I don’t think it’s especially heroic to deny your own pleasure for the sake of doing the right thing. If anything, it should be expected of us.”
          “Now that you know, don’t eat that fucking sandwich anymore!”
          “No, supporting Armikrog won’t actively stop gay marriages in progress, but it is giving TenNapel a pass on the severity of his statements.”

          I’m not saying that these quotes are bulletproof, and I understand you probably drew a different conclusion.  I’d be interested to see some of the quotes or passages from the article that you think support the opposite idea.  If I’m wrong, I don’t have a problem admitting it.

        • tedthefed says:

          @TheRGBColor:disqus OH.  I think maybe I see where you’re getting hung up.  The article presupposes that the reader agrees with the author’s view about gay marriage, because he’s trying to make a larger point about art and artists.  You can replace it with any given value a person might have encountering any given artist with the opposite value.
          I still think it’s meaningful that you perceived such derision, but I think you were also not noticing an assumption made on the author’s part.

  43. robthom says:

    ” Demonizing those who hold anti-gay views isn’t hard, especially when their statements are ugly and stomach-churning.”

    Neither would it be hard to demonize anti-air views,
    especially when they’re ugly and stomach-churning.


    I suspect its just as easy to disregard a well reasoned and explained view that you dont agree with.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      By comparing homosexuality and murder, you’ve invalidated everything you’ve posted here anyways, so why bother further?

  44. KevinDeus says:


    I think you are taking “social justice” concept a bit too far in this situation. Taken to its logical conclusion, then Doug TenNapel really shouldn’t make any money until he changes his views?  I wouldn’t exactly call that a freedom of expression.I would totally see your point if The Neverhood or Armikrog reflected these beliefs..  I see no gay references in The Neverhood, and don’t expect to see any in this gameBut.. is a man really that one dimensional?  I mean.. How many people in our lives reflect a mix of both appropriate and inappropriate?  

    Here.  I’ll name one.  George Lucas.  Both a visionary.. and “The Asshat that made Greedo shoot first.”Mozart was known for his scatological humor and his vulgarity, yet his music is a totally different side of him. The comparison here is only topical, but I think you get the point. ;)If you are truly looking for some real “social justice”, then why not reward positive behavior when it is appropriate? Painting with such broad strokes only serves to polarize others.  (and it makes for great press.. Lots of readers..)A good idea is a good idea.. regardless of who it comes from. I see no reason why any man cannot make excellent art that would serve only to give us all something in common.  

    •  “Taken to its logical conclusion, then Doug TenNapel really shouldn’t
      make any money until he changes his views?  I wouldn’t exactly call that
      a freedom of expression.”

      I agree with you that this is a tricky concept.  If the gay marriage debate had existed at this level in the early ’90’s, I surely wouldn’t have known his views.  At that time, the sort of support he was soliciting was more indirect; buy the game he was already paid to make.  He wasn’t a big presence in the marketing.  It was a different time, sales-wise.

      Nowadays, there is an alternative with Kickstarter, and Kickstarter is based on a much more direct solicitation.  As it has gotten more and more high-end, the general beneficiaries seem to be people who have cultivated big on-line fan presence, usually through their social networking.

      Now, I doubt that anybody complains when people who like what they say on social networking do give them money.  So I think it is natural and fair for people who don’t like what they say to not give them money, if that’s what they want.  You can’t fully control the social networking side, that’s why a lot of creators try to avoid it entirely.  What could be more fair than that?

      I think people are creating a bit of a straw man with the whole “Doug TenNapel is going to go broke and be drummed out of the business” thing.  It’s a pretty big world, and I think the number of people who are both willing to boycott on any given principle and in a financial position where the boycott is actually meaningful is a pretty small percentage of the people out there.  It’s still a significant number of people, but that’s just because of the total world population.  So it’s fine to talk about as a thought experiment, “Oh my god, how would you feel ethically if this project literally got zero dollars?”, but realistically, right now, it is on point to make its goal [based on the standard that the last few days always see a final flurry of activity].  If it doesn’t make it, will the exact difference be the number of people who were actively boycotting it?  That seems unlikely… but suppose it’s true?  Does it really follow, then, that he is suddenly unemployable?  Or does it mean that the next time, he imagines a game which only requires $800,000 to make instead of 9?

      • KevinDeus says:

        I think we all know that he won’t be unemployable.  Even the little bit of clay animation he did would serve as a good resume for his next job.  That, and his cat cartoon, which personally, I find pretty boring and run of the mill. 

        The Neverhood & Earthworm Jim was not just TenNapel.  It was an entire team that came up with a good idea that he was a part of. and now these are the same guys putting this together. (Note Pencil Test Studios front and center on most things Armikrog.) I have both of Terry Taylor’s Neverhood CDs because the music is so awesome.  Frankly, the music is a driving force for my pledge.

        I understand how this TenNapel’s views can take the steam out of some people’s appreciation for the work… especially in the more personal space of Kickstarter, but I can’t help thinking that the internet needs to pull out to a larger view about *how things work* in the world.  I would bet if you did research on every author you read, and every TV show you watch, etc.  that you’d be quite unhappily illuminated and might have to rethink some positions.

        People aren’t that one-dimensional. We are a bunch of people on a journey, trying to figure things out. Really though, we are all a mess of contradiction… How do we live with ourselves?  ;)

        • “but I can’t help thinking that the internet needs to pull out to a larger view about *how things work* in the world.”

          I think that it’s unrealistic to expect all artists to get exactly the same treatment.  To say that boycotting a Kickstarter project means that you have to actually step back and realize that you should be boycotting Apple comes off like basic “concern trolling”.

      • dougtennapel says:

        The boycott for financial reasons is meaningless. For every person with one set of values who boycotts, there’s another who funds the game as a buycott. Chick Fil A never got so much business as when people thought they were being unfairly attacked.
        The bigger question is “Can art exist if an evangelical is on the project?” That’s where the chilling effect of this phony outrage is weaponized against freedom of religion. The goal of name calling and demonization is a cultural chilling effect. It doesn’t work on me, but it definitely works on other innocent parties on a project. OSC didn’t quit Superman, his artist did, and the anti-creation goal of the left is accomplished.But the “I don’t owe this project a donation” defense is laughable. When it came to hiring animators, nearly all of whom are pro same sex marriage, if I selected them based on their views on same sex marriage instead of talent, none of my opposition would buy the excuse “They aren’t entitled to my donation.” They would abandon their claimed reason in seconds.

        • Doug – I’m not really sure why you are bothering to respond if you are going to repeat the same things over and over instead of replying to any of the people who respectfully responded to those points.

          “That’s where the chilling effect of this phony outrage is weaponized against freedom of religion.”

          Wow, let me ask, is this still you just saying facts with no emotion?  Because accusing the outraged people of faking it, that’s aggressive, and generally untrue.  I would say that the person starting conversations and then backing off when challenged, only to repeat the same points elsewhere in the same page, to be acting way more like a phony.

          “Freedom of religion” has a specific meaning, as defined by the Constitution, which does not in any way apply to this situation.  Try again.

          “OSC didn’t quit Superman, his artist did, and the anti-creation goal of the left is accomplished.”

          If you’re going to Straw Man, I will simply point out that you are now arguing, as a conservative, that OSC’s artist should be forced to draw Superman stories written by OSC no matter what.

          Otherwise, you are arguing against free-market capitalism.  Good luck with that, it’s always worked out really well for people challenging that framework.

          “But the “I don’t owe this project a donation” defense is laughable. ”

          Okay, please explain why it is laughable and why, by extension, everybody does owe your project a donation.

          Or, just say something that has nothing to do with that point:

          “if I selected them based on their views on same sex marriage instead of talent, none of my opposition would buy the excuse “They aren’t entitled to my donation.””

          That is true, because as has been pointed out to you by multiple people, repeatedly, hiring somebody to perform a job is not the same as donating money to them, and your actions as management for a company hiring people are held to a different standard than the actions of consumers purchasing products or donating money to help products get made.

          “The goal of name calling and demonization is a cultural chilling effect.”

          That’s just silly. The goal is equality. Surely you would agree that inequality has a cultural chilling effect — oh, wait, you would only agree with that if the inequality is being applied to you. I forgot.

        • Juan_Carlo says:

          Yes, liberals can enjoy art made by religious people.  And they do.

          I mean, since he’s working on your project, a good case in point is Mike Nelson.  His Christianity and right wing politics are no secret as he’s talked about them in interviews in the past.  Yet liberals LOVE MST3K and Rifftrax and they love Mike Nelson.

          So what’s the difference between Mike Nelson and you?

          Well, as far as I know, Mike Nelson has never gone to a gay video game website and made crude, inflammatory, anti-gay comments under his real name.  Again, I know you apologized for that, but you totally brought this on yourself when you did that.  There would have been no content for this article otherwise.  You aren’t as entirely innocent in this whole scenario as you repeatedly insist on making yourself out to be.

  45. KevinDeus says:

    I think you are taking “social justice” concept a bit too far in this situation. Taken to its logical conclusion, then Doug TenNapel really shouldn’t make any money until he changes his views?  I wouldn’t exactly call that a freedom of expression.I would totally see your point if The Neverhood or Armikrog reflected these beliefs..  I see no gay references in The Neverhood, and don’t expect to see any in this gameBut.. is a man really that one dimensional?  I mean.. How many people in our lives reflect a mix of both appropriate and inappropriate?  
    Here.  I’ll name one.  George Lucas.  Both a visionary.. and “The Asshat That Made Greedo Shoot First.”  Mozart was known for his scatological humor and his vulgarity, yet his music is a totally different side of him. The comparison here is only topical, but I think you get the point. ;)If you are truly looking for some real “social justice”, then why not reward positive behavior when it is appropriate? Painting with such broad strokes only serves to polarize others.  (and it makes for great press.. Lots of readers..)A good idea is a good idea.. regardless of who it comes from. I see no reason why any man cannot make excellent art that would serve only to give us all something in common.

  46. Missy Limina says:

    Oh, sweet jesus.  Well, I dont think of this as giving money to him. I think of it as funding an art project that will be for everyone. He might hate queers, but he cant keep queers from enjoying his games. As true as it is that his gay bashing is lame, his games are fucking amazing. Much like the above mentioned chicken sandwiches. However, I did stop eating chick fil a. Mostly because other sufficient chicken sandwiches exist on the market which will satiate me just as well when I am in the mood for crappy food. However, NOBODY makes fucking adventure games out of clay but him. Nobody. As much as he sucks, I say he can do what he wants as long as this game gets made. It’s not like this game is going to make him millions (like chicken sandwiches do the owners of chick fil a) with which to fund his more sinister agendas. Nobody buys adventure games, remember?

  47. huge_jacked_man says:

    Well as long as the Earthworm Jim/Klaymen hybrid protagonist doesn’t carry a “God Hates Fags” sign at any point in the game it’s probably safe to say TenNapel’s noxious opinions won’t make it into the game. So the game will have to be judged on its own merits.

    By purchasing it however you are giving money to TenNapel. I don’t want to give any money to that guy personally, even if the game is good. So what I’m going to do is pirate it. This way I can enjoy and review the game on its own without giving any money to Mr TenNapel.

    Now Doug, if you read this (and you are reading this let’s be honest, you read everything written about you on the internet) you are probably already crying at your “freedom of speech” being under attack because people “don’t like” your opinions. That’s because you don’t actually know what “freedom of speech” means. You are free to be a bigot and your game is free on the Pirate Bay.

    • dougtennapel says:

      The game is going to be DRM free so we want to go out and be played by as many people as possible. The question is will the game exist or not? And I know that misinformation can get around the world before truth can get its pants on, but I don’t get a dime of your money no matter if you support the game or not. So you can fund the game and I still won’t get a dime of your money. All of the money goes to Pencil Test and is used 100% to pay puppet animators, set designers and programmers. I don’t want a dime of your money. I want to give you a game.

  48. Greg Zinn says:

    If Armikrog fails and Doug TenNapel has to take a job flipping burgers, should we boycott the McDonalds he works at?

  49. Derek_Noakes says:

    I find this whole debate fascinating, and have been following it ever since the story broke yesterday. 

    Up to that point, I had no idea that one of my favorite games of all time was going to (maybe) be receiving a “sequel” of sorts. The Neverhood holds a very special place in my heart, and has for many years. 

    I’m also very firmly planted in the “pro gay marriage” side of the debate. I don’t strongly identify one way or another politically, and I’m not religious. 

    But I find it easy to separate art from artist in this situation, particularly for the Kickstarter campaign. As far as we know, Doug’s personal beliefs regarding gay marriage will not be reflected in the game. They certainly were not in The Neverhood. In funding the Kickstarter, you are not giving Doug money that can be used to support anti-gay marriage campaigns, as you would be if you bought a sandwich from Chik-Fil-A. 

    It’s actually those who buy the game if/when it’s funded and released that will be allowing Doug to make a profit that he can use as he sees fit. Or if you’d rather, you could donate $400 to the Kickstarter, and create your own backstory for a character. Perhaps a gay character portrayed in a positive manner? 

    I think this article raises a lot of good questions and debate. I’ve thought about it a lot, and frankly I don’t see anything wrong with supporting gay rights and also supporting this game. We are not electing Doug TenNapel for political office by funding his Kickstarter game.

  50. Mike Arsenault says:

    @Doug: We’ve had legalized country-wide gay marriage in Canada since 2006. Guess what didn’t happen after legalization? EVERYTHING RELIGIOUS PEOPLE SAID WOULD HAPPEN. Our economy is better, we aren’t spying on our citizens, and we still get voted as one of the best places on Earth to live. Our divorce stats are down too!! The fundamental problem here is that most religious people think being gay is a choice people make. To admit that people are born that way is to admit that their religion is deeply flawed on that front.

    GAY PEOPLE DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE GAY. If you’d just take the time to get to know a few gay people who aren’t feeling like complete crap about themselves due to being part of a church that openly hates them, you’d see this.

    As it stands, I can’t support your project.

    • tedthefed says:

      Well.  I mean, gay people choose to be gay in the sense that they choose to have gay sex, which is how conservatives define gayness (except when they don’t).  “Anti-gay therapy” pretty much tells you that you’re going to want gay sex your whole life, and being “cured” means you always choose not to actually do it.
      I think that’s actually an important, subtle thing that colors this debate: Though they think they’re talking about the same thing, conservatives are having a dirtier conversation than liberals are.  Conservatives are talking very directly about buttsex, and liberals are talking about feelings and tendencies.

      • zebbart says:

        Hmmm, I would have said he opposite. I’ve always seen liberals saying that being gay without gay sex is not being gay at all, that the two are inseparable and any opposition to certain acts is opposition to whole people. What do you mean?

    • Angela says:

      Thank you. My state made gay marriage legal in 2009 and same thing can be said about us.

      I just do not understand what is so difficult about this. A gay couple is in love and they want to get married and be happy together. I fail to see anything in that simple idea that is worth being bothered or upset over.

    • Sam Hb says:

      But conservative Christians generally don’t believe gays are born that way. They think it’s something that can be prayed away or “cured” with conversion therapy. Doug would probably send his children to an “ex-gay” camp if they came out of were perceived as LGBT.

      • dougtennapel says:

        And if your kids became conservative evangelicals I wonder what kind of re-education camp you’d send them to. Or would you love them for who they are?

        • Mike Arsenault says:

          False equivalency. Being gay isn’t a choice. Believing in God (more often than not) is a choice. Unless you are indoctrinating your children from a young age, then it’s really not a choice for the children at all.

          Do you honestly think if people are just choosing to be gay that there would be ANY gay people killing themselves from being bullied about it? If it was just a choice, just something people did on a whim, then they could choose not to be gay and conform to what people like you consider normal.

          Again, gay marriage completely legal across Canada since 2006, absolutely no restrictions to freedom of religion or any God-delivered punishments for being sinful heathens.

          7. Years.

          Lower divorce rates, more people getting married. That’s what gay marriage brought to Canada.

          Maybe take a look around at the rest of the world, think about things a bit. There are countries that have had legalized gay marriage and protections for gay rights longer than Canada. And down to a country, they are all objectively better places to live than the USA. 

        • Persia says:

          @mike_arsenault:disqus  In addition, I’d like to just take a moment, on behalf of all my devout Christian friends who are not bigots, to express my irritation at TenNapel’s continued blurring of ‘anti-gay’/Christian/conservative/evangelical? Those are three separate categories and plenty of people don’t fall into all of them. Not even close.

        • Trevor Gale says:

          Doug, I’ve been reading your comments on this article, and all I can really say is…

          …You make me feel bad for liking the things you make.

    • Ambient Malice says:

       As it stands, there is insufficent evidence that people are “born gay”. People simply choose to believe this because it suits them.

      • Mike Arsenault says:

        “insufficient evidence”? Have you ever talked to a single gay person in your entire life? Could YOU actually choose to be gay? Like one day, could you just wake up and go “Hmm, I think today I will be deeply attracted to men”?

        On that matter, please tell me the age where you chose to be straight. What’s that? You didn’t choose? You just knew? The exact same experience for gay people. Why do you guys find this so threatening or wrong? Could the proliferation of people being born gay be mother nature’s response to over-population? And before you break out the old canard about “Well there are no homosexual animals or examples of homosexuality in nature”, think again: (research done as early as 1999, yet somehow its impossible to think that gay people can naturally be gay) 

    • dougtennapel says:

      Mike, I know there’s this accepted tradition of what you think about religious people, but I’ve never held any of the views that you say I hold. Other religious people may have said it, but I’ve never said that all kinds of bad things would happen if same sex marriage is made legal in the USA. I’ve never even implied that divorce rates would go up (as if they can get any higher), or that gays aren’t necessarily “born that way”. 

      As an artist who has worked in nearly every medium I’ve been surrounded by scores of gays, some of whom are close friends and I have the usual family members. I’ll defend the church all day that we don’t hate gays. 

      I don’t mind if you don’t support my project, but I just wish you didn’t support it for an actual reason I believe instead of for what I don’t. 

      • tedthefed says:

        Doug, a serious question: Do you just ignore all the people who don’t have a problem with evangelicals EXCEPT for the gay thing (and certain other political topics, like evolution in school, etc.)?  Because there are plenty.  I know it’s super convenient to focus on the people who dislike religion entirely, and to confirmation-bias them into being more common than they are, but how do you cognitively deal with the rest?
        Do you just not believe them?  Do you seriously think that no one could have a problem with certain beliefs that evangelicals might have without having a problem with religion itself?

        • dougtennapel says:

          Thanks for the response, ttf.”Doug, a serious question: Do you just ignore all the people who don’t have a problem with evangelicals EXCEPT for the gay thing (and certain other political topics, like evolution in school, etc.)?  Because there are plenty.  I know it’s super convenient to focus on the people who dislike religion entirely, and to confirmation-bias them into being more common than they are, but how do you cognitively deal with the rest?Do you just not believe them?  Do you seriously think that no one could have a problem with certain beliefs that evangelicals might have without having a problem with religion itself?”

          I guess I just see them all as one in the same. And it’s never that people just have one problem with me on one front. The same sex marriage topic is just one topic that has culturally worked a group of people into vitriolic froth in the last two years. Nearly every one here voted for Obama… a boycott-worthy bigot who said, “As a Christian I believe marriage is between a man an a woman.” But these same people (all of whom are coincidentally on the left because I’ve never been called a homophobe by a GOP gay) would be far more horrified at other things I believe… like that abortion is murder, evolution is a half-baked overrated theory, or that environmentalism as it stands is a fraud, or the exclusivity of Christ (you can only avoid hell by accepting the Biblical Christ). I mean, I can’t think of a more offensive belief than that last one. It may be dismissed because religion is dismissed as a fairy tale, while same sex marriage is about having a public government institution recognize it or not, but it’s still going to be yet another stupid, primitive belief to my opponent. (and yes this string of beliefs will be copied and pasted as exhibit A… but only by the political left, mind you. And that’s only because they really are more evolved have progressed beyond the unwashed masses, or because they love to cut, paste and demonize with phony outrage as a strange little faith system of their own).

          So part of my boldness on the same sex marriage issue is exactly because normal, culturally acceptable gay behavior is forbidden by my religion (or at least a conservative view of my religion, there are lots of liberal Christians who support gay marriage). When you say that my belief system and God are false for forbidding gay behavior, then you are just as likely to believe for the same reasons that Christ being a historical event is false, or that the Bible was divinely handed down, or that Jesus walked on water. 
          But these differences between us have ALWAYS been there. Gays have always coupled up thinking the Bible was wrong. Christians, Jews, Muslims and Mormons have always forbidden gay coupling. So what has changed in the last two years? The tactics of the political left. Again, if some conservative evangelical Romney voter wants to stand up right now and prove me wrong, let’s have it. But I’ve never once ever come across it. This has always been politics masquerading as morality, and I feel no obligation to bow down to someone else’s politics merely because I’m called a name or lose work.
           More great stuff here:

        • Juan_Carlo says:


          Cultural acceptance of same sex marriage has changed dramatically in the last 3 years.  In 2008 gays voted for Obama because he was the best they could do.  They are practical, after all, and no way in hell McCain would be better for gay rights than the generic democrat.  In 2012 gays voted for Obama because he was the first president to ever support gay marriage.  And post Obama, they will never have to vote for a “lesser of two” evils again as it will be politically untenable for another democratic president to ever be against gay marriage (and, quite frankly, by 2020 it will be politically untenable for a GOP president to be against gay marriage if you go by the demographic trends and rate at which people are changing their minds on this issue).

          I even think most Christians will ultimately come to accept it—at least on a secular level.  In 20 years gay marriage will be like porn or no fault divorce.  Something that Christians might see personally as a sin, yet at the same time its legality will be seen as just an inevitable consequence of living in a secular society (e.g. political opposition to it will basically be non-existent).

          As for why the belief that all non-Christians go to hell isn’t more offensive to people, it’s mainly because Christians aren’t trying to pass secular laws which dictate that people have to be Christian.  I.E., as far as that belief is concerned, they aren’t trying to enshrine it into law.

          However, they are trying to enshrine religious proclamations against homosexuality into law (just look at all the state amendments which were passed since 2004 against gay marriage, for example—most of which were pushed by the Catholic and Mormon churches and evangelical affiliated political groups like the AFA, etc, etc).  Christians can believe what they want, and it doesn’t affect me or anyone else one iota.  It’s only when they try to enshrine their beliefs into state amendments that it becomes a problem.

          But, again, I would like to see you acknowledge, just once in this conversation, that you might have brought this all on yourself through your own un-Christ-like behavior.  

  51. Ambient Malice says:

    I had a ponder. If we accept the Wikipedia definition of Bigotry, I don’t see how TenNapel could be considered a bigot.

    “[a bigot is] someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats other people with
    hatred, contempt, and intolerance on the basis of a person’s ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.”

    To this end, Doug actually hits the nail on the head in a round-about way with his “tolerance is for people” thing. You can be intolerant of other people’s ideas. This is either a good or a bad thing. But when you treat anothe person with hatred, contempt, or intolerance based on a characteristic, you stray into bigotry.

    To my knowledge, Doug TenNapel hasn’t treated any person with hate, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of their sexual behavior. He hasn’t done so based on the fact they voted for the other guy. He hasn’t done so because they follow a religion he disagrees with.

    Some people think that opposing same sex marriage is a gross abuse of human rights. I respectfully disagree. And so does Doug TenNapel. It’s nothing more than a dispute over the nature of a social institution. It’s no different to conflict between capitalism and socialism. I’d like to think two people can hold mutually conflicting ideas about how the world should be, and still be friends, and still exist side by side. When I think long and hard about this, it’s not bigoted to stick to one’s guns that capitalismsocialism is inherently evildestructive etc. It only becomes bigotry when you start to mistreat the person who disagrees with you.

    And in the context of Doug TenNapel and his game, it’s not bigoted to disagree with his views. It’s not bigoted to choose not to support Pencil Test Studios. However, it is bigoted to hate him, and treat him as a human being with contempt and intolerance because of his beliefs.

    • Jonny C says:

       It’s one thing to dispute the nature of a social institution, but it’s quite another to believe that that institution should be applied differently to different people depending on their biological traits. You don’t have to hate women or believe that women are subhuman to deny them access to the right to vote, but I don’t think anyone would describe that behavior as tolerant.

    • tedthefed says:

      pssssst dude quoting a dictionary definition never makes you look good.  also quoting wikipedia really very much never makes you look good. also anyway since when is a viewpoint a characteristic?

      Substantively, here’s your problem: You are very much focused on bigotry from the bigot’s point of view.  What I mean is: You really desperately want a definition of “bigotry” where the accused party can point to specific, observable behaviors they did and have like a case about why they weren’t REALLY a bigot.  And you want some rigid rule system where unless there’s Hate In Your Heart, then it just doesn’t count nuh uh!  But who GIVES a fuck, other than some jerk who’s trying to remove his cognitive dissonance over the fact that people keep calling him prejudiced?  Just because TenNapel feels bad when someone calls him out for his prejudice doesn’t make him the important person, here.

      Here’s a little fact about liberals, and you’ll have years of confirmatory bias to refute this, but it’s true: We actually don’t give a shit about who’s a bigot and who’s not.  We care about the TARGETS of the bigotry, and we won’t cry a million rivers about someone who feels bad about being called out for being racist or homophobic or whatever, but there is no innate reward to going around accusing people of prejudice.  That stuff is depressing as shit.  

      Here’s the point in a sentence: You care about bigots; liberals care about bigotRY.  You can scream into the wind all you want about how certain words don’t apply to you.  And look, I know!  You FEEEEEL discriminated against, and you FEEEEEL like you’re not bigoted.  But dude, here’s what you seem to have not figured out: EVERYONE feels that way.  You’re not special in thinking your side is the reasonable people.

      But here’s a little experiment: Take an anti-gay-marriage person and a pro-gay-marriage person (matched on agreeableness) and put them in a room alone with a flaming queen.  See which one’s nicer.  See which one sits closer to the person and smiles more.  See which one tries to leave quicker.
      No Hate In Heart, but this shit affects real people.  I’m sorry that it feels unfair that the prejudiced person isn’t being given the chance to consciously make choices that they’re being judged for.  But yes, it’s okay to judge someone for shit they believe that affects real people.  It just shows you care more about those real people than the ones hurting them.

      • Ambient Malice says:

        “But here’s a little experiment: Take an anti-gay-marriage person and a
        pro-gay-marriage person (matched on agreeableness) and put them in a
        room alone with a flaming queen.  See which one’s nicer.  See which one
        sits closer to the person and smiles more.  See which one tries to leave

        If the “flaming queen” is opposed to same sex marriage, who wants to bet the same sex marriage advocate will leave quicker?

        But this is rather petty. See, in my experience, it’s the people who consider themselves more “progressive” who are more likely to shun people who disagree with them. Why would the anti-same sex marriage person want to leave? After all, they don’t hate homosexuals. For all you know, they’re homosexual themselves.

        • tedthefed says:

          The anti gay marriage person would want to leave because ANTI-GAY BIAS IS STRONGLY ASSOCIATED WITH BEING AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE, and anti-gay bias is also associated with discomfort being around a gay person.  I literally can’t believe you don’t know this is true, so I can only assume you’re being intentionally obtuse.
          Also: I kind of love that I said that thing about confirmatory bias, and then you literally started a sentence saying exactly the thing I’d predicted with “In my experience…”   You have the self-awareness of a welding robot, but somehow know FOR SURE that you and yours aren’t bigoted.  

        • Persia says:

          Anyone who watched RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 knows you’re wrong about the same-sex marriage advocate, btw.

  52. Ambient Malice says:

     This is deeply hypocritical. You say you care about the victims of bigotry, yet you have no problems with people being bigoted towards someone for having beliefs which differ from yours.

    Let’s make no mistake. The only victim of bigotry here is Doug TenNapel.

    • Colliewest says:

      Nobody is trying to impinge of TenNapel’s Civil Rights. They are disagreeing with his views and therefore choosing not to support him financially. No bigotry.

      TenNapel is arguing on the side of maintaining the suppression of a group’s Civil Rights. Bigotry.

      • Ambient Malice says:

        Being on the “right” side or the “wrong” side has nothing to do with being a bigot. People who have a problem with smoking can be insufferable bigots. Are they on the right side or the wrong side? The founding fathers of America were bigots who didn’t care that many Americans wanted to remain loyal to the British Empire.

        • Colliewest says:

          You’re arguing a different point than me. I didn’t say anything about a right and wrong side.

          Denying people rights based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation is bigotry.

          Deciding not to buy something because you don’t agree with them is not the same thing. 

    • Fixda Fernback says:

      I’ll repeat what I’ve said elsewhere: we have no responsibility of tolerance to intolerance. Standing up against bigotry, speaking out against ignorance, is NOT the same as bigotry itself. This is a false equivalence, and one that is often used by someone who has no intent on debating something based on merit. 

      • Ambient Malice says:

         You’re falsely equating standing up against bigotry and speaking out against intolerance with “acting like a bigot towards someone for daring to hold a viewpoint who opposes mine.”

        Doug isn’t saying you can’t criticise his ideas. How many times must he emphasize that he’s fine with people criticising his ideas?

        The problem is when people mistreat a PERSON because of the ideas THAT PERSON holds. That is bigotry, pure and simple. Your worldview doesn’t give you a magical cloak which makes you immune to being a bigot.

        • Jonny C says:

          Can you see how willfully speaking out against certain types of couples being able to benefit from a social institution simply because they’re the wrong combination of genders is, in fact, mistreating a person (or rather, an entire demographic of people)?

      • JordeeVee says:

        What are your thoughts on game consoles using materials acquired through slavery?

      • dougtennapel says:

        This is just more of the Dictatorship of Relativism. To construct your personal morality (that the sexes are interchangeable in all institutions), then project it onto everyone else. To claim your own faith system is the only true one, and you can’t actually construct an opposition against my faith without being an intolerant person. Somehow, magically, you can avoid being hateful and ignorant when you reject the values that sexes are significant, but I can’t avoid being hateful and ignorant when I reject your belief that the sexes are interchangeable. I smell a relativist rat. The oldest self-refuting trick in the book.

        • Bogleech says:

          Doug, life really shouldn’t even be this complicated.

          If something doesn’t tangibly hurt anyone, then it shouldn’t be considered immoral. Plain and simple.

          Homosexuality between consenting adults harms nobody. Therefore, there is no reason for it to be considered immoral, and no religious nonsense gets to redefine that just because it happens to be old and popular.

  53. JordeeVee says:

    Great article, Bob.

    What are your thoughts on this chicken sandwich?

  54. registradus says:

    Is it possible to get a sequel to The Neverhood and support gay rights? what about if I donate to both?

  55. Ris Ran says:

    I’m a big fan of Doug TenNapel but this article doesn’t really surprise me. I remember being disappointed when years ago I joined Doug’s message board and read some of his xenophobic posts. I forgot what exactly was said but I remember disagreeing about something and him insulting me in response. Kind of a hostile guy.

    That being said, I think his games, esp the Neverhood, are great, so I would love to see ArmiKrog get funded, and would love to play it. 

    Hopefully this will give Doug a chance to step back and re-examine himself and the way he treats other people and cultures, and see that this is not the way. Maybe he’ll even find it in his heart to right his wrongs by apologizing.

  56. Noncompus says:

    This is just sad, but another fine indication that if you’re conservative you will be blacklisted, lambasted, and your projects ‘tolerantly’ boycotted.
    After all, he’s a dirty, stinkin gay-hater! I bet he and his evil stupid friends will use their ill gotten gains for any number of wicked deeds.
    I say this in the most tolerant fashion of course.

  57. Tsartomat Placeholder says:

    pfff every creative person hate something rightfully or not. that’s what differs creative people from ultratolerate boring usual people. they’ve got passion, they’ve got fuel, they’ve got opinions and emotions which they want to share. if you want game made by committee you’ll got your made by committee sterile boring bullsiht with pushed in characters only because they black or woman or gay, even if game about world of hatred and racism and they just not belong in it. there is a lot of unimaginative boring design-by-committee retarded games, in fact they just flooded the market in past 5 years, so there is almost no good games.

    all creators are not all around living saints, so either you play retarded broken games done by wannabe-good people, or you play imaginative games done by individuals who you might not like

  58. Dead.Juice says:

    I like the gaygamer article, where Doug says is response to the question “What is your argument againts two men that love each other being married?”:
    -DTN: The same argument I have against letting a man take a dump in the ladies room. And office appropriate for one sex isn’t automatically appropriate for another, no matter how much a man loves taking a dump in the ladies room.-
    I love the thought of fucking with Doug by putting a Ladies sign on all bathroom doors, so that he’d never be able to use them and shits himself.

  59. Hop Salot says:

    Doug said himself in an interview that he’s not taking pay on this… he’s being taken on in the capacity of an unpaid contractor.
    I’m not trying to give anyone a free pass to buy the game, but that’s what has been said… I, on the other hand, found out about this after having already paid for the game…
    I kind of wish I never knew who made the game in the first place.

  60. roteeneggcreations says:

    kind of leaves a bitter taste in your mouth thinking that very same person who inspired you, you grew up trying to be like would of likely disowned you send to a straight camp, or not recognize your relationship with someone as legitimate simply because the person may be the same gender. Oh and against woman rights as well lets not forget about that. Thanks.

  61. Max Headroom says:

    “…if anything, he’s a talented guy who got exposed to some particularly toxic ideas that stuck in his brain.”

    Christ; that’s one of the single most patronizing, fucking things I’ve read, all day.