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IMO: Acts of Supreme Cowardice

Todd Wohling / January 19, 2015 at 9:00 AM / Archive, Old

Updated Editor’s Note 11/7/2017 – In an effort to further commit to our editorial vision of quality content about nothing but games or the industry, we are leaving this note here to let you know that this article does not meet the standards of that vision as it exists today. This article may be poorly written, or it may be well-written but with charged political content, which we have stepped away from. It’s not the ideas we have a problem with, as we do not discourage any viewpoint, we are just moving away from this sort of content. This article no longer represents TechRaptor’s editorial vision today and into the future. You can read more about why we are doing this here.


Forget the Twitter timeline of @srhbutts.  Forget the inane ramblings of a mediocre ex-punter.  Forget the elitist academic think tank that whined about Peer Review and stated overtly they wanted to undermine the will of the consumer and the creative process.  Forget the shrieking of “Hate Group” in bass for 10 minutes on MSBNC.  Forget every moronic article written for Jezebel, The Mary Sue, Polygon, Kotaku, Ars Technica, Badass Digest, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian that spelled the demise of the consumer in the gaming industry.

Forget all those acts of cowardice, because there are new acts of Supreme Cowardice that deserve to be highlighted with Archimedes’ Death Ray—acts that sit at right and left hand of the Coward’s Throne of August 28’s 2 Minutes Hate at the summit of Coward’s Peak.

Charity Streams Gone Wild

[Disclaimer: TB and I were colleagues from 10/2006 through 2/2010.  I emailed him to get some details about his charity work for the purposes of this section.]

A group of people decided to do a charity stream on New Year’s Eve.  Nice thought, if you aren’t planning to participate in your Day Job-given right to get pickled at the location of your choice and ring in the New Year with loved ones (regardless of how temporary that love might be).  The ad gives the list of games and asks for people to signal boost the charity stream.  So someone did—Total Biscuit to be precise.

Apparently, a legitimately popular personality in video games with a metric f-tonne of followers doing his infinitesimally small part for a charity stream is a big deal to some people.  Enough for someone named Durp to post a sniveling missive about how TB “ruined” their charity stream.  Let’s dig in.

Those of you that know TB know that he regularly does events for charity: he’s supported Charity:Water to the tune of 80k; he’s been involved with Yogscast Christmas charity drives; he’s promoted Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ), The Fine Young Capitalists, and Desert Bus for Hope. His stature as an ally for folks doing charity cannot be challenged, except for one small thing—his politics are all wrong.  He’s pro-consumer, pro-free-market, pro-creative-process, and anti-corruption.  In short, his followers might support GamerGate.

Apparently, a person with an actual audience and a track record of supporting charity is scary to some people.  This was the response from Durp after the initial retweet from TB:

Cowardice-1

It gets worse, to the point where Durp claims to be “legitimately pissed” TB had done exactly what the original tweet for the charity stream said to do.  Why? Because TB’s audience might be pro-consumer and anti-corruption.    Max Tolvo goes so far to say that if TB’s audience actually shows up, he might not, because he’s too “drained” to handle that possibility.

It strains credibility to be honest, for several reasons.  First, this stream is happening on New Year’s Eve.  I’m part of TB’s audience, and I can assure you I had infinitely many more interesting things to do that night than watch a charity stream.  It’s not a stretch to say similar would be true for most of the rest of TB’s audience.

Second, the list of games for the charity stream isn’t very good.  There’s little long term staying power with that games list, so most people who do show up are only going to do so for at most the hour or two their favorite game on the list is being played.

Finally, there’s no evidence anyone from TB’s audience was going to show up, and if someone from TB’s audience showed up, there’s even less evidence that any of the people who did show up would have stuck around for the whole thing, made their presence in the stream known, or harassed anyone.  The Storify is an exercise in fear mongering and character assassination; however, it isn’t the “what” that makes this particular act one of Supreme Cowardice, but the “why”.  Examine this quote from the Storify, which was edited in after the fact:

As well during the stream we might have talked about representation in games, our experiences, and any number of other things that could set people like that off and get them hurling horrible things at us.

At last we come to the actual goal of this charity stream.  This stream was an avenue for a bunch of cowards to talk trash about gamers in a public place, and when it became known they might be held accountable for their character assassinations, baseless assertions, biased anecdotes, and mockery of consumers, they whined and sniveled about the stream being ruined.  Charity wasn’t even in their thought process.

People with any level of character whatsoever would have welcomed anyone with disposable income into the stream, especially members of a pro-consumer commentator’s audience, since that audience is more likely to have day jobs than Patreons and can afford to support the charity.

It should not be a surprise in the wake of backlash against the fear mongers sniveling their stream had been ruined, the title of the Storify was changed and a couple of lengthy paragraphs were added to try and explain the situation by stating they just wanted a public place to talk trash without challenge (i.e. “safe spaces”) or their moderators weren’t competent or ambitious enough to handle the hundreds of people that TB’s retweet was going to send to the stream or whatever.

Bottom line is Durp, Max Tolvo, and pals were not only cowards, but when they put out evidence of their cowardice for all to see, they didn’t even have conviction enough to stand behind the original posting; they had to try and water it down to cover their own asses, as if trying to cowardsplain away the original post was going to save them from being held accountable for their actions.

Outside the Lines

ESPN is hardly a stranger to e-sports.  I’d go so far as to say they made the first attempt at turning professional gaming into sport when they broadcast Magic: The Gathering tournaments in the middle 1990’s, as well as being at the right place at the right time when Chris Moneymaker bluffed Sam Farha out of major pot heads up at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003.  It isn’t much of a history, to be honest.  The production value of the Magic tournaments wasn’t the best, and physical card games aren’t terribly telegenic.  Poker, on the other hand, exploded post-2003 WSOP.  11 years later, ESPN is sill covering WSOP, and several channels have had poker programs in that time.

The Outside the Lines show on 1/4/2015 featured segments about e-sports and GamerGate.  Those 2 topics have virtually nothing in common with each other.  Considering how superficial and pedestrian the e-sports segment was, it seems like the GamerGate was jammed into the end of the show to make a political statement.  The big take away from my perspective was the take on harassment by Raynne Moore, who said she wouldn’t leave gaming because a 13 year old had access to a keyboard.

I could point out all the factual inaccuracies in the OTL piece on GamerGate; however, being inaccurate about GamerGate, its origins, and the harassment narrative is run-of-the-mill cowardice that put ESPN in line with The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, The Huffington Post, and The Guardian.

The act of Supreme Cowardice on the part of OTL and ESPN comes in the panel discussion after the pre-produced segment on GamerGate.  Chris Sullentrop is the guest.  Chris ends up doing some massive flailing trying to link a question about sports games to online conduct in multi-player Call of Duty.  None of Chris Sullentrops’ nigh incoherent answers to the questions raised are the problem.  Chris Sullentrop being on the show at all is very much a problem.

You see, Chris Sullentrop hangs with, or is a financial supporter of, many of the propagandists responsible for crafting the false narrative against consumers in the gaming industry.  There is a photograph of Sullentrop hanging with Chris “I don’t know science, but I totally know fashion” Plante; there is a twitter exchange between Totilo, Sullentrop, and the Supreme Pontiff of the Orthodoxy, Leigh Alexander on stylistic choices for a random article; there are tweets about bigots and not-game developers attempting to “reclaim” gamer for themselves; [Authors Note: One must have the moniker first, before one can reclaim it.] and Sullentrop financially supports Jenn “I waited 18 years to tell people I was victimized by Mario 64” Frank.  Oh, and he wrote about her too without disclosure.

So, Sullentrop is incapable of giving an honest answer when it comes to GamerGate.  He certainly didn’t in the interview.  The questions are who was responsible for putting him on the show in the first place, and how could they not know Sullentrop was incapable of giving earnest answers to any questions regarding GamerGate.  I submitted a question to the ESPN Ombudsman about the segment, but have not received a response at the time of publication.

The funny thing about trying to write a commentary like this is one cannot dawdle.  If one does, then something else gets added to the pile, like Nate Grayson ducking Milo’s request for an interview for the GamerGate book, bragging about the request among the ethics deficient, and getting wtfbbqpwned by Milo and internet for leaving a rogue “And n” at the bottom of his response.  #AndN became a thing on twitter, and many kek’s were had at the expense of Grayson has profound lack of courage.

By now, it’s not a surprise that acts of such profound cowardice are happening regularly.  The SocJus mafia is so desperate for a win there’s no level they won’t stoop to.


Todd Wohling

A long time ago on an Intellivision far, far away my gaming journey started with Lock n' Chase, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons The Cloudy Mountain, and Night Stalker. I earned both a BS-Physics and a BS-Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Today I spend most of my time on PC. I left a career of 14 years in aerospace in Colorado, so I could immigrate to Norway.



  • ftidus12

    Brilliant work, Todd!

  • Zanard Bell

    “Mediocre ex-punter.”

    Hah, the guy who couldn’t hack it as a guy who kicks balls around is now hanging around the internet having his balls kicked. Totally Kluweless.

  • Cy

    Seriously how much of a classless piece of crap do you have to be to whine about a charity stream getting the “wrong” kind of attention? Then again, it seems that almost everyone on the anti side have some kind of mental and/or social problems so it really should stop being a surprise when one of them does something like this.

    Great piece, by the way. Almost makes me wish I watched ESPN so I could add them to the list of networks I’ll never watch again for the way they handle “reporting” about GG.

    And n

  • Darren Jette

    “By now, it’s not a surprise that acts of such profound cowardice are
    happening regularly. The SocJus mafia is so desperate for a win there’s
    no level they won’t stoop to.”

    I noticed an increase in these sort of shenanigans as well and it’s sad.
    Heck, I’d probably feel sorry for them if their behaviour wasn’t so
    pathological.

  • Cerxi

    I lost it at “cowardsplain”. I also liked “that audience is more likely to have day jobs than Patreons”, doubly so for the irony that your job (Well, TechRaptor isn’t your only job, but let me have the laugh!) HAS a Patreon!

  • Todd Wohling

    Correction:
    TechRaptor is not my job; my job currently is Aerospace Engineering. To date, I have received 0 dollars for writing for TR (I do this for fun), and there’s a significant difference between the Patreons of organizations producing content daily and the Patreons of deadbeats who produce next to nothing.
    TW

  • Cerxi

    Oh, trust me, it wasn’t a jab at you guys, it was just a funny juxtaposition reading that line and then immediately noticing the Patreon link at the top of the page. TechRaptor is the only gaming news site I visit daily anymore

  • Todd Wohling

    Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I totally read that differently than you wrote it.
    >.<
    TW

  • whenuthinkaboutit

    Hmm appropriating a subculture while bullying, smearing and ostracizing it’s native participants.

    That’s not very diverse.

  • biztron

    Cowardice is a common theme with them. Still waiting on Anita to debate an actual academic.

  • masterninja

    Allowing yourself to be open to criticism without screaming harassment would be the first step to courage for many of these people…

  • Todd Wohling

    They’re scared to death of actual academics. Read Katherine Cross’s “Safegaurding Research” for the full monty.

  • Patreon definitely isn’t an evil concept.

    How it’s abused often is.

  • tainsilverwolf

    As I recall TB was actually an OFFICIAL PARTNER with the charity. So it’s not even like he randomly chose to support them. He did what he was supposed to and a bunch of whiny bastards threw a massive bitch-fit and cost disabled gamers with their personal politics. Thank god they backed out of GG help before this. It’s obvious they have no business running any charity.

  • Salt Miner

    Boggles my mind on how many media outlets choose to “Listen and Believe” rather than “Trust, but Verify.” What bullshit!

  • the red army

    I like your disqus avatar… Great burger joint.

  • Todd Wohling

    Agreed.
    KGB at Harrah’s in Vegas (where I took the pic) is one of the few places I make the time to go to every time I’m in town.

  • ScewMadd

    If I was doing something like that, and one or more of Josh, Kuchera, the LWs, hell, even m00t retweeted, I’d still do it. After all, it’s supposed to be for charity, not self-gratification.

  • Javier Vega

    Let me point out SAdurp he made a total ass out of himself for those who don’t know I am going to call him out that he is a noob at Streaming here is why.

    Example You could of ban,Ignore,timeout people in chat on Twitch here some links.
    http://help.twitch.tv/customer/portal/articles/659084-chat-toolbox

    Its the same Same with Hitbox.

    http://help.hitbox.tv/customer/portal/articles/1324746-chat#chatfunct

    They had options to control their stream with 6 mods as Maxwelltolve posted in the story .SAwhinny baby cry to his friends blame TB for re-tweeting his stream for supporting the charity that he help sponsor.In actuality SAdurp ruin the charity with Drama.

  • Cy

    Exactly. If Hitler came back from the dead and supported my charity stream I’d still do it because it’s. Fucking. Charity.

    Plus the publicity would be off the charts, lol.

  • Nick

    I like how at the very top of the ‘proof’ that they give for TB being a complete ass to them, they call him a Racial Slur. So basically, he had every right to be mad at them to begin with?

  • dsadsada

    I’m unfamiliar with them but charity streams make money based on the viewers, right? A large number of viewers can really only be seen as a good thing. Worse comes to worse, mute the chat box. People interested in such minor charity work will stick around while people interested in being asses would leave for being unable to be asses.

    I feel like I’m better at this whole charity streaming thing than Derp is. Apt name too.

  • Jonas

    >Finally, there’s no evidence anyone from TB’s audience was going to show up

    I’d disagree. If TB signal boosts something, folks are going to show up. Too many people listen when he speaks to be able to reasonably expect anything different.

    Agree with everything else though.

  • Mark Samenfink

    Narcissists suck at charity? Generally incapable of empathy, misrepresenting their own self-serving behavior to the point of self-deception to protect the ridiculous godlike image they have of themselves in their head? A Big Fish that they’ve deceived themselves into thinking of as a Primarch of a Chaos Legion legitimately wants to assist a charitable cause and they instantly assume, based on this false model, that he and his followers are now going to victimize them publicly, they of course nurse arousal as they think of how many people will see them be the martyr they believe themselves to be?

    Couldn’t have birdied Occam’s Razor more perfectly with a sequence of events if you tried.