Culture War Heating Up

I write a lot about indie publishing and entertainment from sources alternative from the mainstream for a reason.

Here are two examples why this is so important.

1) Some dude named Jeremy Hambly got sucker-punched at GenCon over YouTube videos he’s made over friggin’ Magic: The Gathering. Magic is a very nerdy card game. Hambly, it is alleged, harassed some cosplayer. From what I see, he’s made videos and comments about “fake nerd girls” sucking all the attention from thirsty geeks in order to drive Patreon donations. It’s his theory, and it got him banned from Magic events. It’s all really stupid, but of course he got called a Nazi or whatever and some jackass punched him.

Stupid though it might be, it matters for reasons we’ll get into below.

2) My very own friend, the writer Jon Del Arroz discovered several nasty personal attacks against him in a comic called Centipede from Dynamite Comics. Pretty filthy stuff, “cleverly” hidden in an alien language. You can read it here at Bounding Into Comics. It’s really mean and nasty and, of course, like, totally has nothing to do with politics, man! The publisher apologized profusely and seems to be making things right, the writer claims it was the letterer’s fault, and the letterer . . . blamed an intern.

People, this is a gaslight:

This is a poster for the movie Gaslight:

This is what “to gaslight” means:

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film. It has been used in clinical and research literature.

You can read Jon’s very gracious formal response to these uncalled for personal attacks on his website.

This is so out of hand, so egregious, and so preventable. All that had to happen was The Powers That Be enforced a single standard for all attendees, audience members, and creators, and didn’t discriminate on the basis of political affiliations.

But they don’t . . . and they do. So we get this.

I’m sorry, People need to get arrested (for assault) and lose their jobs, or at least be forced to issue a very public apology.

Calls for civility will get us nowhere. The perpetrators of this stuff need to be held to their own standard–hoisted by their own petard, if you will.

This is a petard:

This stuff, comic books and card games, might seem insignificant, but it matters because to pull out a nigh-overused axiom, politics is downstream from culture.


This stuff trickles down into the TV shows and movies you watch, the music you listen to, and the books you read. These attitudes spread far more through the use of stories than anything academics or politicians could ever dream of doing. This is why we have to keep the pressure on and keep supporting indie creators. The cultural gatekeepers are running scared, knowing that their stranglehold on entertainment is ending, and they won’t be able to push their particular hateful, fringe, kook, radical agenda anymore.

(Did I miss any adjectives? Let me know in the comments below!)

Support Jon’s crowdfunded comic book project, Flying Sparks. Support Bradford C. Walker’s Star Knight Saga. Read Brian Niemeier’s Soul Cycle. AND STOP GIVING MONEY TO PEOPLE WHO HATE YOU.


  1. Something to think about: Your two examples have something in common — they were both considered, by enough people to make a difference, harassers. Do you think that maybe that might have had something to do with the reaction to them? I’ve seen similar reactions from people (on the left and the right) to non-political harassers (or at least harassers quiet enough about their politics that no one made a big deal about them.)

    That you leap to presume it’s political, which is exactly what people like del Arroz have done (despite a list of trolls and harassing treatment that would fill up a lengthy blog post) shows more about your own biases than reality’s.


  2. What it shows is that YOU think someone being called “a harasser” during an altercation makes it A-OK for a third party to violently assault them.

    Typical of a harasser like you. See how easy that was? You’re now a harasser. Ridiculous? Sure it is, just calling someone a harasser doesn’t make it true! Nor heretic, witch, traitor, or Communist.

    So I guess that’s settled! It’s OK to beat the shit out of strangers!


    • The definition of “harassment” is purposefully kept vague and nebulous, relying not on evidence of actual harassment (whatever that means, which no one is very clear on) shown via deed and intent, but on how the alleged recipient feels in order to enforce uniformity of thought. This is, more often than not, based on political considerations.


    • It’s true that calling someone a harasser doesn’t make them one. There’s a long-documented history with del Arroz — and apparently enough reason for WotC to cut ties with this guy.

      And I didn’t say it was OK to assault them; I was pointing out that saying “conservatives are getting attacked” might be a lot less accurate than “jackasses who harass and troll other people are getting attacked” — and the latter is a lot more understandable than the former. Given the way del Arroz behaves online, I wouldn’t be surprised if people considered him a threat; he’s the kind of slimy twerp who “wants to be friends” so he can badger you some more, or claim when you’ve rejected that offer that he’s the victim.

      So, no, it’s not OK to beat the shit out of strangers. It’s also not OK to beat the shit out of trolling jackasses. But whining that “conservatives” are being persecuted when it appears to be trolls and harassers is going a step or five too far — and showing off the biases of the people doing the reporting.


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