Penny Arcade's Gabe Resolves Not To Be A Bully

Penny Arcade's Gabe Resolves Not To Be A Bully

Mike Krahulik knows we're all products of our childhood, "and what came out of mine was an unrepentant asshole."

Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik knows he's a bully, a self-described "unrepentant asshole." He's a product of his childhood, years spent being tormented and abused. He spent his early years striking back, attacking with words people who attacked him with fists but, while he imagined himself a Robin Hood, in fact he was becoming a bully. It's damaged relationships, hurt Penny Arcade, and now, he says, it has to stop.

"I know I don't want to be this angry kid anymore," says Krahulik. "I take medicine to control my anxiety and depression but there is no pill I can take to stop being a jerk."

Krahulik adopted this defense mechanism because he had to convince himself, at a very young age, that nobody else's opinion mattered. It was that, or kill himself. By the age of 12, he could enrage someone with just a few words. Then the insecure kid grew up, had a career, became someone influential and important; yet he remained the same angry, spiteful child deep inside.

Now he realizes that the kind of person he is hurts the projects he's trying to accomplish. "The person I am isn't good for [Penny Arcade] anymore and in fact who I am and the way I behave has caused real damage to it," says Krahulik. "So this person isn't good for PA but I'm not sure it's good for me either."

That's a good part of the reason why Penny Arcade has tried to distance itself from PAX and Child's Play. Both are important to Krahulik, but he recognizes that associating them with the material he's put on Penny Arcade, or anything he's said or done in the past, isn't a smart idea.

"It's been a difficult year, probably the hardest in my life and I realize I brought most of it on myself," he concludes. He knows things can't stay as they are. Krahulik resolves to separate the man from the kid he used to be.

"Might be harder than losing 10 pounds."

Source: Penny Arcade

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Besides dickwolves, what else happened at PA this year? That Ocean Marketing thing was a while ago and i thought that it was generally accepted that Gabe was in the right on that situation.

Honestly, as a public persona, he doesn't come across as an unpleasant person. I think the whole "Dickwolves" thing kept coming back because he and Tycho (Jerry) got sick of people not having a sense of humor. He's not a bully and an asshole he's just forceful and i think anyone would get pissed off with that level of oversensitivity.

Comedy and comedians have been making much more tasteless jokes for decades and they get rewarded for it. The entire thing is part of the wider trend of people picking the wrong battles.

All right. Now I think I'm gonna read his comics again after the his reaction to the dickwolves criticism and after ripping on transsexuals on twitter.

Now just all the others with the same problem need to follow.

I think this goes beyond dickwolves. He's probably referring to public comments he's made, either at PAX or in interviews, coming back to bite him in behind-closed-doors meetings with charity organizations, business partners and so forth. You might think, oh, that dickwolves thing is just a storm in a teacup.

Well, if it creates a situation where a highly lucrative business partnership falls through because the other party doesn't want to invite that drama onto their image, then that storm has broken free of the teacup and is running wild. At that point, what you or I personally feel about it is irrelevant. He is making the (mature, wise, correct) decision to recognize that in a world like ours, you need to be always mindful of that sort of thing, especially if you're the public face of a massive organization.

Scrumpmonkey:
Comedy and comedians have been making much more tasteless jokes for decades and they get rewarded for it. The entire thing is part of the wider trend of people picking the wrong battles.

Well, it's one thing to be controversial and get "rewarded" with more page views or popularity or whatever. But that might not be the best thing in the business world if he's trying to forge partnerships with companies, and them seeing his past controversies as a reason not to work with him.

Not to nitpick the news post, but (as I do exactly that) a bit of information on where he's posted these things would flow better than just slamming the link to the source at the bottom. Y'know, "in one special editorial on Penny-Arcade.com titled Resolutions, Mike Krahulik says..." and such. Feels a bit more informative than "Mike Krahulik said [quote][quote][quote][quote]".

Interesting.

I don't think Penny Arcade - The Comic would have ever become the phenomenon it is without the "unrepetent" behavior of its main characters (again, I'm speaking of the comic characters, not the human beings authoring it).

Ne1butme:
Besides dickwolves, what else happened at PA this year? That Ocean Marketing thing was a while ago and i thought that it was generally accepted that Gabe was in the right on that situation.

There was another big overblown controversy where he had a twitter argument with people about transgenderism. Mike clearly took it too far, which I think is the issue he's trying to work out. It's alright for him to have a few controversial opinions, but he can't just openly argue with the Internet as a whole, because no one wins... least of all him, his website, or his honest good intentions.

Mike and Jerry for a while there were still acting like they're small time and not looked at under a microscope. I think both, especially Mike, are starting to understand that what they created is now too big for them to have the same brutal honesty they had before. I think the separation between the comic and the new works they do like PAX and Child's Play is a good thing, but both Mike and Jerry will have to be careful about their activities in the future if they still want to be the faces of their entire body of work.

Yea every bully I've ever known has stopped their bullying a day later and given 20 grand to charity in a desperate attempt to apologize.

If "stop being a bully" means change yourself to get better deals for your projects, then that's a horrible reason.
While I don't doubt that it will be beneficiary for Childs Play and so on, you should be the person that you are, even if part of that is being a jerk. As long as you recognize it and take the reigns, you're fine.

I don't like what I'm hearing.

Smilomaniac:
If "stop being a bully" means change yourself to get better deals for your projects, then that's a horrible reason.
While I don't doubt that it will be beneficiary for Childs Play and so on, you should be the person that you are, even if part of that is being a jerk. As long as you recognize it and take the reigns, you're fine.

I don't like what I'm hearing.

Wanting to become a better person is not something to be scorned. I admire him for coming out and admitting that some of his past behaviour was inappropriate and he wants to do better. That takes balls to admit not only to your critics, but also to yourself.

Penny Arcade has been entertaining me for years, I have faith that Gabe will conquer his demons.

AldUK:

Wanting to become a better person is not something to be scorned. I admire him for coming out and admitting that some of his past behaviour was inappropriate and he wants to do better. That takes balls to admit not only to your critics, but also to yourself.

Penny Arcade has been entertaining me for years, I have faith that Gabe will conquer his demons.

The goal of bettering yourself should be the pinnacle of humanity. Except, this isn't necessarily for his benefit, as much as for the benefit of his company.
Look, I don't doubt his intentions and I agree with you that it takes some courage to publicly announce it and even more so to admit it to yourself.

I see a man who's doubting himself and questioning his being, more than admitting to questionable behaviour.

Well, hopefully this means I can start enjoying Penny Arcade again...

Being a nerd is a lousy excuse for being a jerk.

Actually it's the best excuse. If you never grew up in the 80s/90s then you simply do not understand how ostracized us "non-jocks" were so it's no surprise that the outstanding members of that generation have anger issues. He's made the first step toward bettering himself by admitting he has a problem and recognizing from where that problem stems.

Remus:
Actually it's the best excuse. If you never grew up in the 80s/90s then you simply do not understand how ostracized us "non-jocks" were so it's no surprise that the outstanding members of that generation have anger issues.

Nonsense. Lots of people had it bad in the 80s/90s. Some of us from the 70s/80s had it worse. It is still no reason to be a jerk. Treating people poorly is a choice. Blaming this on being picked on as a kid or being a "non-jock" is a cop out.

PS - Jocks get picked on too. Childhood is like that for everyone.

Did he do something terrible again recently or is he being sincere. Usually people make these apologies after doing something terrible and people lap it up thinking they have changed but if he hasn't done anything awful in a few months then I am a little less disappointed that this is a story on any website besides his own.

I know it could be comforting for others but the article here really makes it seem like hes trying to get sympathy with his apology which some how seems to work on some part of the population. If you are apologizing for being a bully, apologize and then do something about it, when you say you want to be a better person then explain all the reasons why society made you a bad person you really aren't apologizing, you are giving an excuse so people automatically think you are humble and should be given a second chance when you are really just manipulating people, which I think is what got him in trouble, if he was the guy who did the Dickwolves thing.

If you want to apologize, say you're sorry. Later on, after you prove you are sorry, then you can maybe elaborate on why you did the things you did but to apologize AND excuse your actions in the same moment is really sleazy and shows that you are reading from prepared statements and not being honest.

Oh and saying that it was either be a bully or kill yourself is really a grasp at sympathy. You aren't unique for thinking about killing yourself at a point in your life and mentioning that is the easiest way to get automatic sympathy because most people have been trained to automatically sympathize with someone who mentions suicide. Its like when politicians say that they want to stop crime because "Think of the Children!", its a buzz word that automatically makes people think twice about criticizing you and really ties the entire lack of heart behind the 'apology.' Make a change for the better, then if anyone cares, you can share your unique tale of how you were once a teenager and life is hard, until you make a change you sound like someone asking for sympathy on their facebook page.

Still not sure who this guy is though..

Ne1butme:
Besides dickwolves, what else happened at PA this year? That Ocean Marketing thing was a while ago and i thought that it was generally accepted that Gabe was in the right on that situation.

Kotaku disagrees: http://kotaku.com/5872042/a-beatdown-where-no-one-threw-the-first-punch

Anytime anyone says they like Kotaku, just pull that up. They also called Rainfall a bunch of "whiny crybabies" in one article.

OT: I hope this dosen't affect PA in any way. Funny shit when they're being satirical of games.

HBaskerville:

Remus:
Actually it's the best excuse. If you never grew up in the 80s/90s then you simply do not understand how ostracized us "non-jocks" were so it's no surprise that the outstanding members of that generation have anger issues.

Nonsense. Lots of people had it bad in the 80s/90s. Some of us from the 70s/80s had it worse. It is still no reason to be a jerk. Treating people poorly is a choice. Blaming this on being picked on as a kid or being a "non-jock" is a cop out.

PS - Jocks get picked on too. Childhood is like that for everyone.

Point me to one jock, ONE that had it so bad they thought about eating a bullet and I'll show you a liar. But I digress, that's a can of worms to be left to open on another day.

There are times when people take each other entirely too seriously. If any other person was to say "My new year's resolution is to be less of an asshole", you'd pat them on the shoulder and say "Good on you". But because it is an internet personality, far removed from actual celebrity yet somehow suffering the same drawbacks, people feel some personal attachment toward this person that could be a bit unreasonable. I view webcomics the same way I view gas stations - they provide a service that helps me get on with my day. That is all. I don't know the creators/employees personally, I don't stop to converse every time I visit, I get what I need from them, whether it's fuel for my car or a good chuckle, then move on. A lot of the spite that can come through in the comics is often the writers saying things that I myself wish I had my own public soapbox to say. So he says he resolves to be a nicer person this year, as to not adversely affect the charities that he runs. This is admirable and I hope he succeeds. A billion dickwolves would not change that.

AT God:
Did he do something terrible again recently or is he being sincere. Usually people make these apologies after doing something terrible and people lap it up thinking they have changed but if he hasn't done anything awful in a few months then I am a little less disappointed that this is a story on any website besides his own.

For once, it seems to have been unprompted. There's not been any recent furore or crisis that's in the background of this apology, and he's not apologising for any specific incident, but for a general attitude of nasty comments and deliberately hurtful behaviour.

Key quotes:

Mike Krahulik:
I'm 36 years old now though and I realize what I am is a bully . . . I've learned a ridiculous amount this year. About myself and about other people. It's been a difficult year, probably the hardest in my life and I realize I brought most of it on myself. That's a sobering realization. I also realize that I've made it harder for the people I care about, my friends and my family. I can't be this guy anymore. I have every intention of taking the things I've learned this year to heart and changing. I've said I'm sorry for the things I've said but I've never apologized for who I am.

AT God:
I know it could be comforting for others but the article here really makes it seem like hes trying to get sympathy with his apology which some how seems to work on some part of the population. If you are apologizing for being a bully, apologize and then do something about it, when you say you want to be a better person then explain all the reasons why society made you a bad person you really aren't apologizing, you are giving an excuse so people automatically think you are humble and should be given a second chance when you are really just manipulating people, which I think is what got him in trouble, if he was the guy who did the Dickwolves thing.

The thing is, that's actually (in a way) what he did in the past. As an example, when he was called out on some extremely transphobic comments, he responded by apologising, posting a discussion he had with a trans woman, and donating money to charity. It was read (with some justification, to my mind) as calculated and fake. Issue an apology. Demonstrate "No, really, I have trans friends!" and then pay off your penance.

This time, he's done two things very differently. He's not apologised for an action, he's apologising for being a bully. It feels like he's actually addressing the underlying problem with everything else. Secondly, he's done it unprompted. There's no crisis here. Nothing he's desperately needing to tamp down. It seems to be motivated entirely by genuine regret.

Well, that and possibly food poisoning. He did say he had some bad Olive Garden right before.

BlindChance:

Key quotes:

Mike Krahulik:
I'm 36 years old now though and I realize what I am is a bully . . . I've learned a ridiculous amount this year. About myself and about other people. It's been a difficult year, probably the hardest in my life and I realize I brought most of it on myself. That's a sobering realization. I also realize that I've made it harder for the people I care about, my friends and my family. I can't be this guy anymore. I have every intention of taking the things I've learned this year to heart and changing. I've said I'm sorry for the things I've said but I've never apologized for who I am.

This bit right here is what I think is the most important part, especially for those saying that his reasons are just to make PA more lucrative. Wanting to change in order to make things better for one's family and friends is a very good reason.

Remus:

Point me to one jock, ONE that had it so bad they thought about eating a bullet and I'll show you a liar.

That closet-gay jock from Glee.

But I digress, that's a can of worms to be left to open on another day.

You can't digress now, it's already open.

Houseman:

Remus:

Point me to one jock, ONE that had it so bad they thought about eating a bullet and I'll show you a liar.

That closet-gay jock from Glee.

But I digress, that's a can of worms to be left to open on another day.

You can't digress now, it's already open.

Wow you really are itching for an argument aren't you? Respond to the other 90% of my post then get back to me.

I wonder how self-righteous some of you feel, considering the posts. Everyone has issues, and self-reflection isn't easy or always honest. I read his post as a coming to terms with how toxic his personality has become due to allowing the past to affect the present and future, which is something I have a LOT of experience in dealing with. And admitting the mistakes is only a first step in a long road of personal improvement where there will be missteps and mistakes.
Any of you who are so perfect please by all means continue with your narcissism and ego. Moreover you can be as high and mighty as you like but just like the rest of the world you're guilty of something whether you want to admit it or not. At least he had the courage to take it out to the public and also to not say "But I do charity" and tout PAX as bandaids for his actions of the past. And if any of you owned and operated a public business, it would behoove you to clean the skeletons out of your closet if you want any kind of success.
Be critical all you like, you're human and just as fallible as Gabe/Mike is. Doesn't mean you have to like him, but give the guy credit for being open about his views and the whys because not every choice we make in life is right and admitting those ways were wrong doesn't necessitate an apology.
Personal note, some of the dumbass things I've done in the past I tried to apologize for who I was and the people involved didn't accept my apology but rather told me straight up that owning up to what I did and striving to be better as a person was all the apology they needed. Can't change whats happened with "I'm sorry" but you can change who you are and are going to be.

That explains why Extra Credits cut ties with Penny Arcade and went to YouTube. -_- But that's just a estimation on my part.

Any chance Escapist can patch things over with Extra Credits in order to get them back or is that one bridge that is burnt beyond repair?

Admitting you had a damaged childhood won't simply earn you forgiveness for your incredibly stupid choice of words and potentially transphobic views, Michael Krahulik.

You have a borderline-Sisyphean task ahead of you, and you damn well better not lose sight of it. Or do lose it, and prove my suspicions right that you're making this admission as some kind of straw-grasping attempt at PR repair.

You know, I had a damaged childhood myself, Michael, and I learned to realize very fucking quickly how stupid my poorer choices of words were.

EDIT: Actually, on second thought, forget it, I don't buy this "admission" for a second. I just remembered Mike's horrible history with people, and he's done this long enough for me to say, "This is him grasping straws for PR". So no, Michael, I don't accept your admission, and I never will. Others might, but I'd rather plaster it on the face of a hammer before throwing it back at you.

 

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