We all have hypocritical moments in our lives. What infuriates me, however, is when a large section of the public creates a virtual lynch mob over one incident due to the target being a well-known celebrity yet those same people let another similar incident slide because the target is lesser known.
Two days ago on the CNN Geek Out Blog, Joe Peacock wrote an opinion piece called “Booth babes need not apply.” The piece mainly focused on the rise of booth babes at events like the San Diego Comic Con, and how these women were using their attractiveness to gain attention for themselves or for a product rather than actually being a regular con goer that wants to be at the event for their love of geekdom.
Although the premise of the article has been echoed by many gaming journalists who have expressed their displeasure for the presence of booth babes at E3, Peacock decided to take a few shots at certain women in the article for being, what he eloquently calls, “model-cum-geeks.” The targets of that lovely phrase were Olivia Munn and the Frag Dolls.
Olivia Munn has done her fair share of proving her geekiness throughout her career, so defending her 'geek cred' is like saying Shaquille O’ Neal is not a basketball player just because he’s retired. It’s been proven, it’s been documented, and we can move on. She’s a popular target for those that want to take down popular geek chicks down a notch, and I’m sure she gets to hear it daily.
To me, calling out the Frag Dolls is such an inane tactic that it boggles my mind. Those unfamiliar with the Frag Dolls can check out my interview with Brooke "Brookelyn" Hattabaugh. To put it bluntly, they’re some of the best female gamers around. They are not just a group of women that play games for the fun of it, they’re passionate about gaming, and they can kick your ass at most games. Not only are they gaming it up on the consoles, but some of them read comics, play collectible card games, and participate in many other geeky activities.
So let’s get down to the hypocrisy: In the blog post, Peacock cites the situation that occurred at the beginning of the month with former Destructoid.com writer, Ryan Perez. Perez lit up the Internet when he tweeted to Felicia Day on why he sees her around so much and isn’t she just a glorified booth babe.
Being the "Geek Princess" that she is, the scores of geeks around the internet came to Day’s defense, including the "King Geek" himself, Wil Wheaton. Not only were people calling for an apology from Perez for his statements, but also Perez’s job at Destructoid, which he did lose soon after.
Peacock points this out in his piece:
You've no doubt heard about a young journalist named Ryan Perez who did something stupid. Really, really stupid. He "called out" Felicia Day on Twitter, asking if she really contributes anything to geek culture other than being a celebrity.
He then goes on to explain why Day would get called out like this:
It's because she's a girl, and some men are disgusting. Plain and simple.
Felicia Day is not a poacher. She's a celebrity, sure. She's a pretty girl, absolutely. The fact that she chooses geeky avenues to focus those interests? That makes her a geek. The fact that she spent her own money to make a successful independent video feature centered around World of Warcraft puts her into ubergeek territory. Not only does she put her money where her interests are, she creates things that further the community.
He then makes a final point about Perez:
Ryan Perez is a shoddy journalist and failed to do any research.
The irony of that last remark is simply fantastic when you read how he refers to the Frag Dolls:
But then, you have these models-cum-geeks like Olivia Munn and practically every FragDoll. These chicks? Not geeks. I think that their rise is due to the fact that corporations are figuring out that geeks have money, and they want it. But they can't abide putting a typically geeky face on camera, so they hire models to act quirky and sell this marketable geekdom.
In his own article, he has done the greatest journalistic faux pas by completely contradicting himself. Last night, Peacock went on a stream with Kelly “Mrs. Violence” Kelly and Nicole "LethalxPrincess" regarding his article. During the stream and in his response article that he posted today, he stated that the reason for his inclusion of the Frag Dolls, even though he says he’s known about them since 2005, was that he felt that being good at games was not “geeky.” Apparently being the geek elitist that he is, merely playing games is not enough to be a geek since everyone does it. However, he has apologized and is sure to have now realized the error of his ways.
The hypocrisy, however, is not limited to Joe Peacock with his personal "rules of geekiness." The hypocrisy comes from the gamers that agreed with his article completely. In his response from today, he writes that the bulk of emails he received were positive. He then received positive tweets from other self-professed geeks that rallied around his willingness to bash the “booth babes.” But the tweet that I found to be the most revolting of the bunch of from Cliff Blizenzski of Epic Games:
You can do a Google search right now for “frag dolls gears of war” several videos and blogs with the Frag Dolls discussing Gears of War. For him to be more than willing to throw a group of fans under the bus as he did, is shameful.
Let’s also not forget some of the other hypocrites out there who have yet to slam Peacock like they did Ryan Perez, despite them both doing the exact same thing. Wil Wheaton has only made one tweet about this situation:
In comparison, he made several tweets towards Perez including this one pointing out on why Destructoid would hire such a writer:
Or how about TheMarySue.com, "The Guide to Girl Geek Culture," who posted up an article right after the Felicia Day situation broke, but have yet to post anything regarding Peacock's article. The outcry over Peacock’s article pales in comparison to the wave of anger that flooded the Internet over what Perez did to Felicia Day.
Could it be that all that solidarity amongst female geeks, and geeks in general, after the Felicia Day incident went out the window because Peacock was criticizing groups and not an individual? Could it the ends justify the means in this situation since the booth babes have become such a scourge in geekdom that they need to be criticized by any means necessary? Was it worth throwing some geeky women under the bus to make a point? Or is it ok to defend Felicia Day because she's the "Geek Princess," and not the Frag Dolls who aren't as well known among the many geek circles? I don’t know, but it all sounds a little bit hypocritical to me.