Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Of Oceans and Arcades: a punishment gone too far

This Paul Christoforo/Avenger controller/Penny Arcade/Ocean Marketing business has really left a sour taste in my mouth. Paul Christoforo definitely should not have been the asshole that he was, but this is all too much. He definitely deserved to be fired. Nobody should ever act that way in a professional capacity, especially when that capacity is public relations. It doesn't matter what your excuse is or how much you apologize, his responses to Dave's concerns were inexcusable.

But Mike Krahulik did the wrong thing. He could have gotten Paul fired and banned from PAX all without turning him over to the internet. 'Gabe' holds the key to the cage for a beast which he is not powerful enough to control. He unleashed that monster upon Paul without regard for the consequences and delighted in its wrath. He knows full and well that when the internet--and especially the gaming-oriented internet--gets its sight on a target, they don't focus on it alone. From Paul's pleas to Mike:

"I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet."

"If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do." -Paul Christofolo

A man prostrate before his torturer, given no mercy.

Nemesis may be for retribution,
 but she's ultimately about balance
When the dickwolf controversy was going full tilt, Mike called for a truce because his family had been threatened. He had finally reached his limit. And yet, here we are, somebody else's family is harassed and Mike cares not. It took a day after publicly posting the emails containing those pleas before Mike asked people to leave the family alone. He also doubted their existence in the same sentence. When someone claims that their family is being attacked, you probably shouldn't doubt them. I think there are other situations where you shouldn't doubt someone unless you have very good reason too.

Surprisingly, all this comes from one of the founders of the Child's Play charity, which provides games for children who are in the hospital. You'd think he'd show more concern for the son of the man he attacked, especially considering that he too is a father. It becomes less surprising when you consider that Child's Play wasn't born out of an inherent need to do good, it was born out of a desire to prove that gamers weren't all bad people. I guess he kinda destroyed that idea, huh.

On bullies
"I have a real problem with bullies."

"Someday every bully meets and even bigger bully and maybe that’s me in this case."
-Mike Krahulik

There's a disturbing inconsistency there in that he has no problem with his actions.

Maybe that first statement lies at the core of this. Maybe when Mike sicced the internet upon Paul, he wasn't just attacking a bully. Maybe he was attacking all bullies. Years of pent up rage over being teased as a child and teen let out. Perhaps Mike should consider something when he does this. I know his son is growing up in a time that is more kind to those who'd rather spend their time inside than his father did, but all children are teased. What kind of example does he want to set for his son? Does he want a son who, when teased, responds by beating the teaser over the head with a chair?

The punishment did not fit the crime, and his actions caused innocent people to be dragged into all of this. The worst part, I don't think he gives a shit. If you're wondering which side I'm on, it's neither, they both acted out of line.

Playing with fire
"I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames." -Mike Krahulik

But Mike did not make Penny Arcade alone, and the damage he does to it does not only affect him. Fire is dangerous and difficult to control, that's a lesson we've all learned from Avatar: The Last Airbender. What if he did something that did actually ruin Penny Arcade? How many jobs would be lost? How many children would have unemployed parents? How many people have already suffered from the flames he unleashed. One wife and one son so far. How many more?

Reading everything he wrote yesterday and what appeared in the comic today, I lost any respect I had for him. The principal of my high school during my freshman year, Monsignor George Tribou, was often attributed as saying "The measure of a man is how well he controls the animal within." It is here that I think Mike Krahulik truly failed.

-Henry out