“Freedom of Speech Doesn’t Mean Freedom from Consequences” or “When Does Discrimination Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real?”

We live in strange times, my friends. Some people have dubbed this the “worst of all timelines,” and while that has yet to be proven (unless you’re a time traveler, I don’t know how it would be proven), it’s true that shit keeps piling on shit and it’s exhausting. However, this is the world we live in. One of these more recent offenses has brought people from all walks of internet life into a debate on free speech and if “political correctness” has gone too far. Spoilers: it hasn’t.

For those who don’t follow YouTube news or have managed to avoid all mentions of the popular YouTube gamer PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg), ripples went through the internet earlier this week when Kjellberg was dropped from his contract with Disney’s Maker Studios and subsequently had the second season of his YouTube Red series, Scare PewDiePie, cancelled by YouTube itself. Kjellberg, who has more than 50 million subscribers on YouTube, was dropped/cancelled due to comments on several on his past videos, most notably two that were released earlier this year. On January 11th, he released a video where he ventured onto the freelance site Fiverr trying to see just how ridiculous his requests could get before people would refuse doing them. This unfortunately ended in a group of Indian men dancing around with a sign that read “Death to all Jews”; later, the Indian men explained they had no idea what the sign even meant. Later on January 22nd, Kjellberg released a similar video in which he had someone dressed as Jesus say “Hitler did nothing wrong.”

The comedy scene on YouTube, perhaps especially the gaming comedy scene, is no stranger to attempts at humor in this vein, and presumably Disney wasn’t ignorant to this when they hopped into the YouTube game, but these two offenses were the final straw when it came to Kjellberg. It’s really no surprise that other YouTubers began to jump to Kjellberg’s defense, claiming YouTube could do the same thing to them if they “spoke out of line”—having a smaller audience could mean financial death to some channels should this happen—and working themselves up about free speech being “under attack” by the mysterious, oversensitive “SJWs”. But honestly, the real worry here is: why do y’all wanna be racist/anti-Semitic/whatever so badly? Kjellberg being dropped was a necessary response, and an incredibly important one at that.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: LGBT Webcomics

We’ve finally entered the new year! Congrats to all of you for making it this far, and thank you for your continued support of our blog, whether it be by leaving comments or simply lurking. I don’t know about you, but one of the New Year’s traditions that I find particularly hard to keep up with is resolution-making. It’s great in theory, and gets me pumped for about the first three days of January, but then whatever resolution I made ends up getting pushed to the wayside. So this year, I just decided to not make any. However, I did make the promise to myself that I would try to consume much more diverse media this year. If you, too, have always found yourself wanting to support more diverse creators and diverse casts, but likewise found yourself having no idea where to start, today’s web crush may be just what you’re looking for!

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Queerly Represent Me

Video games are great. Over the years the medium has flourished into a bountiful crop of entertainment; if you’re looking for a specific story or method of gameplay, it’s sure to be out there somewhere. As the game catalog continues to expand, however, sometimes it gets a little difficult, or appears incredibly daunting, to find that specific something you’re looking for. This is especially true when searching for queer representation through the swathes of games that would just rather not explore this aspect of their audience. Today’s web crush hopes to make this search a little easier on those wanting a little more LGBTQ+ representation in their gaming experience.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Kitty Horrorshow

Though I tend to stay away from actually playing them, I have a soft spot in my heart for horror games. Whereas controlling the games myself makes me too anxious to enjoy the experience, watching at the digital side of various Let’s Players allows me the freedom to appreciate these games at my own pace. During one such viewing, I felt like I was doing more than sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for an inevitable screamer—I became enthralled by the game’s atmosphere. The game was ANATOMY, and by the end of the unsettling romp I knew that I had to look up the game’s creator, Kitty Horrorshow. What I found did not leave me disappointed.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: A Tale of Two Rulers

Ladies in video games have come a long way from Pauline getting manhandled by Donkey Kong in his self-titled arcade game. Yet, still, the trope of the damseled woman is one of the staples of video games, and her love at the end of a heroic rescue is the ultimate reward for the hero du jour. One of the series that suffers a lot from this is the Zelda franchise. It’s true that Link and Zelda don’t always have an implied romantic relationship, or that Zelda just sits there waiting for Link to come and beat Ganon in any of his incarnations. However, the minds behind Zelda seem adamant against creating a game that gives Zelda a more active role—or even makes her the protagonist—and thus she inevitably becomes a victim in each and every game.

As the wielder of the Triforce of Wisdom, Zelda is intelligent and cunning, so it really is a shame that players only get to see the tip of what this really entails, even though they do get to see how Link’s Courage and Ganon’s Power work. Today’s webcomic Web Crush finally gives Zelda the spotlight she deserves, and in, perhaps, one of the most unlikely of ways.

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Internet Branding with a Nerdy Slant

Living in the internet age is pretty weird. We’ve gone through a paradigm shift from being afraid to meet people from online in real life to having the possibility of meeting many friends and significant others in and outside of cyberspace. It’s been quite the change. With this openness, increasing ubiquity of access, and wider spread of ideas, the internet has sort of developed its own culture. This has happened to the degree that even specific social networks and sites have their own flavor or subculture; people have a mindset about Reddit, Tumblr, etc., and those sites tend to have self-identified traits. Perhaps more than traits, each of these subcultures perpetuate their own style of memes, and each amplifies their frequency of use to a different degree. Even though they existed long before the internet, memes have seemed to really pick up a lot more steam in the past few years. One area really affected by the memetic culture of the internet is advertising. In particular, social media profiles for products have adapted more humorous approaches to gathering support and fan attention. Nerdy properties were quick to jump on the meme bandwagon, and less geeky products were equally as quick to add memes and other genre references to their plans. I want to talk about both a bit more, since not only do they both show the proliferation of nerd sensibilities to the greater public consciousness, but this usage also shows how companies are making an effort to cater to what people want a bit more.

SonicSonPug

(via—Sonic the Hedgehog Facebook Page)

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Lady of the Shard

I can’t say that Twitter is exactly my favorite social media platform, but what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in making it easier for me to keep up to date with the artists and content creators I follow than I ever could on Tumblr. Thanks to this, I was able to quickly discover and devour Lady of the Shard, a new one-shot by artist Gigi D.G.. At this point, I’m definitely fashionably late making this post; however, if you’re a fan of cute comics about lesbians, aliens, and hope, sit a spell and listen to me for just a bit longer about Lady of the Shard.

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