“Resolutions”: Penny Arcade rewrites history in its latest “Dickwolves” apologia

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Penny Arcade co-creator Mike “Gabe” Krahulik has said some pretty terrible things over the past year and is vaguely alluding to them in a post called “Resolutions”. They don’t need the extra webtraffic, so here’s the gist:

As a young person I imagined myself a sort of vengeful spirit. A schoolyard Robin Hood who attacked the strong and popular on behalf of the social outcasts. I’m 36 years old now though and I realize what I am is a bully. I may have been the one who got beat up but I sent plenty of kids home in tears. I also realize that I carried those ridiculous insecurities into adulthood. I still see people who attack me as the enemy and I strike back with the same ferocity as that seventh grader I used to be. I’m ashamed of that and embarrassed. The crazy thing is I don’t even necessarily believe the stuff I say a lot of times. It would probably be more noble if I did. The truth is I just say them to be mean. I say them because I know they will hurt. It’s pretty fucked up.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching this year. I’ve tried to figure out what sort of person I am and what sort of person I want to be going forward. I know I don’t want to be this angry kid anymore. I take medicine to control my anxiety and depression but there is no pill I can take to stop being a jerk. That’s a deeper problem and it’s something I’m working on.

This kneejerk anger is something he’s written about before and as a victim and perpetrator of childhood bullying myself it’s something I can relate to. But there is a very specific reason why I think that, in this particular instance, it’s self-serving horseshit.

Penny Arcade’s biggest hornet nest in 2013 was indisputably the resurgence of the Dickwolves affair, relating to a 2011 strip which angered many rape survivors who felt it trivialised rape as a punchline and perpetuated rape culture (a play-by-play of the whole sorry saga and Penny Arcade’s escalation can be found here. TW: rape, naturally). Presumably Krahulik is at least partly alluding to this.

But his latest mea culpa draws attention exclusively to his anger management problems without ever once acknowledging that Krahulik singlehandedly re-ignited the Dickwolves controversy as an act of wilful cruelty, without provocation or prompting in the cosiest setting imaginable. Read the rest of this entry »


From the BBC: how not to eat healthily for £1 a day

Rory MacKinnon:

A thorough debunking of BBC economics reporter Brian Milligan’s idiotic, dangerous and disingenuous experiment to “prove” people in Britain can live comfortably on a food budget of £1 a day.

Originally posted on Aethelread the Unread:

The BBC have published an article by one Brian Milligan, which purports to show that it is possible to eat a healthy, varied diet for less than £1 a day. The article is – and I’m being polite here – a complete farrago of nonsense from beginning to end. Let’s start with the idea that the diet Mr Milligan lived on for five days (a whole five days, imagine!) was ‘healthy’.

We’re not going to rely on my attempts to assess the quality of his meals here. Instead we’re going to avail ourselves of the opinion of a professional dietician. I should make it plain that this isn’t the result of some great feat of research on my part. I’m simply quoting the words of the dietician Mr Milligan himself contacted, and whose views he reports in his own article. Here goes:

“Those dinners looked great,” says Alison Hornby, of…

View original 2,205 more words


Ed Balls

Ed Balls. Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Ed Balls. Read the rest of this entry »


A personal announcement on same-sex marriage

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Dear friends and readers,

Thankyou for your support and sympathy in this difficult time for Katie and I.

As you may already know, New Zealand’s parliament passed historic legislation this evening to legalise same-sex marriage; an act that cultural commentators have warned will irreparably destroy the institution of heterosexual marriage.

Katie and I have been in a loving, fulfilling relationship for seven years now – four of them as a married couple – but as of 11pm NZST we each experienced a sudden loss of interest, attraction and even basic human empathy with regard to one another.

We are therefore separating as of today, with a view to finding new partners of our own respective genders in order to comply with the spirit and letter of the law.

Since such marriages are reportedly intrinsically unsatisfying and inauthentic, my only consolation is that they are also poor environments for raising children due to their ‘party’ lifestyle and copious consumption of hard drugs.

Thankyou again for your kind words and support.

[In case it's not abundantly clear, I'm kidding. Why not go read a serious critique though, courtesy of the Queer Avengers' Beyond Marriage blog.]


SQUASH speaks out: how anti-squatting laws saw Daniel Gauntlett freeze to death

Above: Hove & Portslade MP Mike Weatherley, who told MPs the overlap between homelessness and squatting was a “myth”.

Following on from yesterday’s interview with the creator of Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?, I’ve continued to try and get a response out of Tory MP Mike Weatherley, who authored the piece of legislation that made it a crime for Daniel and others to enter an otherwise unoccupied house. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet: a brief interview

Image by Aran Chandaran used under a Creative Commons license.

Some stories enrage you because there shouldn’t have to be anything more to say; no National Debate or serious frowny faces on Question Time. The HIV-positive asylum seeker and her 10-month-old child who starved to death in a Westminster flat last March. The teenager who set himself on fire in a council office in December after they refused to find him a home.

And now there’s 35-year-old homeless man Daniel Gauntlett, who died of hypothermia in Aylesford last week on the porch of an empty bungalow that he could not enter without facing arrest and a criminal record.

You can read the Kent Messenger’s original story by Chris Hunter here — but spreading equally quickly through Twitter, Facebook and the like is the savage fury of Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?, an anonymous website launched within days of the report that directly links Gauntlett’s death to the legislation authored by Tory MP Mike Weatherley and passed into law last year that criminalised any act of squatting in a residential property, derelict or not. Read the rest of this entry »


The Royal Bank of Scot-free: Retracing the Libor scam

image via Ian Fraser.

[First published in The Morning Star, 09/02/13]

RBS chief Stephen Hester wore an especially frowny face this week to admit his bank’s role in the biggest scandal since the financial crisis itself.

Years of wholesale manipulation of the Libor rate had put a gloss on an otherwise collapsing economy, lured investors into risky financial products under false pretences and had gone on to fudge the figures of trillions of pounds’ worth of consumer loans and contracts worldwide, with the resulting sleight of hand driving businesses into bankruptcy and families from their homes.

But worst of all, it made them look bad.

There is no room in RBS or in our industry for that kind of wrongdoing,” he told reporters, adding without a trace of irony that “we won’t be the only bank with these findings of course.”

Indeed they won’t: Barclays and UBS have already been stung for their own part in the affair, while more than a dozen other banks across Europe, Japan and the US are also under investigation.

So what exactly did they do? Read the rest of this entry »


Taking Flak: Labour’s toxic bid to ban anti-war protests

[DISCLAIMER: This post is personal opinion and protected free expression which in no way indicates the views of my employer. TRIGGER WARNING: Racist hate speech quoted below.]

So the latest Blue Labour scheme is apparently to make speaking ill of soldiering a hate crime.

That’s not an exaggeration of any sort, I swear. Take it from their defence shadow Jim Murphy:

“We must protect those who protect our nation.

“It is unacceptable some service people face abuse.

“This is an important part of a wider campaign to prevent discrimination against our heroes.

“They serve us, we should protect them.”

The problem with this should be obvious – obvious enough that Murphy cannot possibly see it as anything more than a calculated half-step in the dizzying tap routine of the Reactionary Radical Centre. “Let’s see, whose safety is genuinely threatened by prevailing societal attitudes? People with disabilities, people with alternative sexual and gender identities … and people who get paid to directly threaten other peoples’ safety.” Read the rest of this entry »


Algeria’s Libyan Link: how British arms sales cost British lives

Above: Labour PM Tony Blair pictured with esteemed trading partner and equally-reviled war criminal Moammar Gaddafi.

[First published in The Morning Star, 26/01/13]

When news broke late last week that three British nationals were among dozens of hostages killed in a disastrous firefight between Algerian soldiers and Islamic terrorists, David Cameron was unequivocal.

Whatever people said about the Algerian government’s pointed refusal to negotiate or their unilateral decision to attack the besieged BP-owned compound was irrelevant, the PM insisted.

“I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched a vicious and cowardly attack.”

But within days reports surfaced that the fighters had arrived fresh from the Libyan border, with uniforms, bombs, rockets and guns all bought from the former stockpiles of the deposed Gaddafi regime.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton confirmed the reports on Wednesday, telling Congress there was “no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya”.

And if that wasn’t enough, the plot’s mastermind Mokhtar Belmokhtar said as much himself in an interview with the Mauritanian news agency ANI in 2011.

“We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” he said, referring to the loose regional alliance Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

“As for our benefitting from the weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

So while Belmokhtar’s men pulled the triggers, the guns they wielded against Paul Morgan and Kenneth Whiteside and Garry Barlow and dozens of other Brits were a consequence of Britain’s own foreign policy — its complicity not only in the “liberation” of those weapons in 2011’s civil war, but the sale of them to Moammar Gaddafi’s regime to begin with. Read the rest of this entry »


Weak In Review: The Lib Dems’ Deal-breaker Is Just As You’d Expect

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg pictured with Zimbabwean PM Morgan Tsvangirai, described by US diplomats as a “weak and indecisive” figure providing political cover for a ruthless autocrat under a token power-sharing agreement.

[First published in The Morning Star, 19/01/13]

So the Lib Dems have finally drawn their line in the sand.

Not the regressive tax system they pledged to scrap, only to trade a mansion tax for a VAT hike; not the “fair chance for every child”, replaced with increasingly desperate child poverty and real-terms school funding cuts under the Pupil Premium; not the university tuition fees they vowed to wipe out, then trebled (and are now thinking of pledging to cut again). Not even hiving off the NHS and slashing its funding, generating broad revulsion and derision even in their own conference halls.

No, the Liberal Democrats’ first front-bench revolt in three years of coalition rule turned out to be a procedural bill that would diminish their own prospects for re-election — a decision that, like their leader Nick Clegg, somehow comes across as both cynicial and naively optimistic at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »


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