In the political time-warp that is 2017, Colin Moriarty’s ‘Day Without A Woman’ gag seems like an eon ago, when in reality it was only in March. On that day Moriarty made a joke, offended a bunch of people on the Internet, was called sexist, and (somehow) racist, and promptly exited his company Kinda Funny, and started his own thing via the power of Patreon: Colin’s Last Stand.
Writing about the subject in March, I stated: (Moriarty) asked his audience, and the world, to put their money where his mouth was. They did. He’s going to make 40,000 dollars a month…He’ll never have to worry about what you think about him again.
By relying on a fan-base that completely supported his message, Moriarty was allowed to deliver content to people who wanted to hear voice, unfiltered.
Now, Moriarity is something of a pariah in the gaming and political sphere – perhaps rightly – for that aforementioned ‘Day Without A Woman’ joke, and incorrectly-perceived-as-trans-phobic comments, and fiscally conservative values. Yet if you actually listen, Moriarty’s opinions are well thought out and backed up with data and are often insightful – he supports trans rights, gay marriage, and many ‘social’ issues. If you have 3 hours, listen to him on the above Joe Rogan Podcast. Is this really the kind of guy people should avoid? The kind of guy that makes you guilty by association? The kind of guy you pull your money over? The ‘enemy’?
If you’re an Easy Allies Patron, it’s possible that answer is ‘Yes’. Easy Allies Editor-in-Chief (and ‘voice’), Brandon Jones, was recently invited on Colin Moriarty’s ‘Fireside Chats’ show, and a section of the Allies’ fan base was not happy.
For the uninformed, “The Easy Allies” debuted following the collapse of arguably the most underrated gaming ‘channel’ in modern history, Game Trailers. Game Trailers and Easy Allies both feature(d) expertly written, edited, and narrated reviews and retrospectives of games couched in a cool, professional vibe, mixing profound silliness with insightful commentary and discussion – and a deliberate focus on Love & Respect for everyone.
Like Moriarty, the Allies are almost entirely supported by Patreon. But judging by the reaction, if Mr. Jones goes on Mr. Moriarty’s show, it could hit the Easy Allies in the wallet. The question is, should it? Patrons are obviously allowed to pull their money for any reason they see fit; A bad review, heck, a bad haircut, could cause someone to unsubscribe. But in the theoretical sense, do you support a creator on Patreon for them to make the content *you* want, or for them to make the content *they* want – are you supporting their creative freedom, or are they indentured to you?
More importantly, is interacting with a controversial media personality *really* something worthy of outrage? In the grand scheme of things, Moriarty’s jokes are no worse than anything you’d hear on Family Guy, Blackish, Girls, John Oliver, The Daily Show, in Grand Theft Auto, or from any number of comedians. The ‘Day Without A Woman’ gag was deliberately satirical and in terrible taste, but a sexist joke does not a sexist make.
But in an Internet culture where outrage is often the primary form of solidarity and galvanization for a given community, communicating the paramount importance of actively listening and engaging with people you disagree with -or outright hate- is like holding back the ocean tide with a screen door. Nearly impossible and you’ll drown if you try too hard.
So, people ostrich, sticking their heads in the sand to avoid controversy, outrage, and negative labels that might follow you around like a felony conviction. Isn’t it possible for someone like Moriarty to make a totally offensive joke and hold some uncouth thoughts but *also* be someone with worthwhile insights into gaming, politics, and particularly journalism? I’d say yes.
Sadly, some Patreons have said no, pulling their support. For his part, Brandon Jones has been respectful, calm, and open-hearted regarding this entire thing.
Moriarty? A bit more defensive:
The unfortunate reality here is the people most likely to be offended here are *also* those least likely to be informed – and more likely to pull their support and scream bigotry with all the might 240 characters provides them. Having watched over a dozen “Colin’s Last Stand” episodes, Moriarty has voiced well-sourced opinions and thoughts that could be considered ‘conservative’ but not necessarily trans-phobic, racist, or sexist – A man you can have a debate with, not a man to ignore.
Having listened to hundreds of hours of Easy Allies content, it’s immensely distressing that such a warm-hearted and well-intentioned group of guys can have such a cold-hearted element of their fan base. Doesn’t human nature demand seeking out opinions and thoughts and ideas that diverge from, or outright challenge your own – to either validate your opinions or gain a new perspective?
Is the best way to change the mind of an ‘enemy’ to shout them into submission? Has that *ever* worked? Isn’t the real and truly human answer an open mind and open heart to just about everyone, to see their point of view, and to counter it with good arguments and rational thoughts?
The alternative is a mutated form of self-segregated nationalism, where you pick your side and steadfastly refuse any cross-pollination – lumping those who do seek to reach across the proverbial isle in with the person you can’t stand.
Regarding all of this, I find myself sad and lost. Outrage is the new black. The new hip thing. Protests. Boycotts. Threats. Not conversation. Not understanding. It’s as if the all-in-fun console wars have changed into this weird form of tribalism, where the community makes demands as the all-powerful consumer. Demanding changes be made to Battlefront II and The Mass Effect 3 ending, and now threatening The Easy Allies over a guest appearance.
And while it’s possible I’m making a mountain of a molehill, and do believe people can do whatever they want with their money, the fundamental question is important as we enter this age of directly fan-supported media: do you support creators to give them freedom, or to behold them to you? The idea, I thought, was to allow the creators we like most to follow their muse, to write, create, engage, and try new and different things. Now, because of this controversy, it’s entirely possible The Easy Allies will be risk-adverse and avoid trying something new, or taking chances and risks – for fear of alienating their ‘supporters’, endeavoring to give people only what they ask for, and nothing more.
What sucks worse is if I’m Brandon Jones, I’m screwed either way. Either I’ll be perceived as kowtowing to a vocal minority expressing aggressive rage, and now must deliberately avoid a peer in my field despite our friendly association, or I’m potentially forever associated with a ‘sexist’, ‘racist’, ‘homophobic’, conservative jerk in Colin Moriarty.
I don’t envy him…Okay I do envy him because with that voice I’d make a killing in the custom voicemail message business.
My point is this: We can all be nicer to each other. Everyone is human. With flaws and faults, unpopular opinions, and occasionally wrong beliefs. Seeking to demonize those we disagree with only grants them power beyond their ability. Demons are indestructible beasts. Humans are weak, malleable, and capable of being broken and changed. If I truly and ruefully hated Colin Moriarty, I’d want Brandon Jones, Anita Sarkeesian, and just about anyone else to speak with him – as the more he talked the more he’d expose his horribleness, and perhaps change his ways right?
I leave you with this video from current Easy Ally Kyle Bosman, a gentleman of profound silliness, warmth, weird voices, and most importantly, balance. Somehow, amid the backdrop that was the categorically awful ‘Gamer Gate’ scandal, at a time and in a world where everything is about picking sides, he managed to find a sensible middle ground. If this ‘controversy’ regarding Colin Moriarty, Brandon Jones, and Patreon has taught us anything, it’s that we could all be a little more Bosman: