December 11th, 2008

First off, let me say: I love Penny Arcade. Like every gamer in the known universe, I’ve been reading Gabe and Tycho for years. I saw them speak a bunch of times at this year’s PAX and friends of mine who know them better than I swear they’re lovely people. I wear my fruit fucker t-shirt with pride. Now that that’s out of the way, what the heck is up with this?:

Titled “Twisted Cultural Wreckage,” this strip from two weeks back is about the fan reactions on YouTube to the Guitar Hero: World Tour commercial of Corbin Bleu (does that not sound like “cordon bleu” to anyone else?). In the ad, Bleu — who won a place in my heart by being part of High School Musical, and yes it is strange that I like those movies — prances around his living room in his undies playing the DS game, much like other celebs before him. What’s so horrible about that that it makes you want to vomit, Penny Arcade?

Granted, the strip doesn’t refer specifically to the Corbin Bleu ad. Maybe they’re grossed out by those commercials in general. Still, since it’s Bleu the YouTube community has responded to so strongly, it’s hard to not read Penny Arcade’s comment as homophobic. Here we’ve got a cute guy strutting around his house in a semi-girly fashion. No, it’s not the most macho thing we’ve ever seen, and thank frickin’ God for that. Then again, it could be Penny Arcade was just exaggerating to point out the absurdity of the situation… Thoughts?

Tags: homophobia

22 Responses to “Is Penny Arcade homophobic?”

  1. Chris Furniss Says:

    Considering Penny Arcade just did a contest where people bake cookies that look like cocks (dickerdoodles!) I’d say they are quite comfortable with their sexuality.

  2. Jinny Says:

    I really think PA is exaggerating the reaction because it is an absurd commercial. Also, PA uses their comic strip to provide social commentary on the gaming industry which includes the community’s response to events and occurrences. I am not homophobic, but that commercial (and others for GH) made me throw up in my mouth a little. Also, High School Musical really makes me want to throw up. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea.

  3. Punning Pundit Says:

    I do see where you’re coming from, but having seen the ads (from your links), I must say they’re pretty horrid. The ads seem to be trying too hard. The Tom Cruise thing they’ve got going on… I mean, I get the joke. It just isn’t funny. And goes on about 30 seconds too long…

  4. Gus Mastrapa Says:

    Just so we’re on the same page: we’re all aware that they’re equating the Guitar Hero: World Tour commercials with 2 Girls One Cup, right? I’d say that’s the proper reaction to anything crafted by Brett Ratner.

  5. Dave Says:

    I think you’re beyond reaching. When I read the comic, I assumed it was about the absurdity of playing Guitar Hero on a DS. Taking two seconds to read the newspost for the day pretty much confirms that assumption.

  6. Kathleen Says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s a 2 Girls 1 Cup reference, and isn’t meant to be homophobic. Gabe is coded pretty heavily as being bisexual, if not outright gay — several comics reference him being sexually attracted to Spider-man and Patrick Swayze, and neither Gabe nor Tycho seem to think anything is wrong with this. Plenty of one-off characters are also implied to be in same-sex relationships, and again, the comic never passes judgment on this. I’m normally on high alert for anything that hints of homophobia and get angry accordingly, but this doesn’t strike me as homophobic at all.

  7. That Fuzzy Bastard Says:

    Yeah, I agree with the above—judging from the newspost, they’re reacting to the corporate lameness of the spot, both in its Corbin Bleu and its Heidi Klum versions.

  8. Steven Says:

    The comic seems to be referring to the commercial’s ill grasp of popular culture. I don’t think they’re disgusted by the image of a cute pants-less man, I think they’re disgusted by the pure unhidden market-thought behind the commercial, the same kind of thing that makes you throw up in your mouth whenever you see a commercial for Barbie: Fairytopia.

  9. Danielle Says:

    I also thought it was a comment on how AWFUL those commercials were, and yes, I got a 2 girls 1 cup reference from it too.

  10. Chris Says:

    Wow, talk about cluelessness…I think that the comic speaks to my own “ill grasp of popular culture.” I had no idea what on Earth they were talking about and clicked away from the site within seconds of the page loading. *sigh* I must work on my cool factor.

  11. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Two girls one cup reference = understood :). More soon…

  12. Thefremen Says:

    It’s a really REALLY horrible commercial.

    “This pain is only a fraction of what you will feel while watching the commercials meant to spur a purchase. It may be best to stick to the reflected, abstract torment of the reaction videos.”

    Also, he’s not a ‘cute guy’ at all. He’s some dude from some movie. Nobody gave a shit about the dude from Harry Potter until he was the dude from Twilight, but to people like Tycho and Gabe (and quite frankly myself and many other gamers) this cordon blue dude is just a dude, the Twilight dude is just a dude (from a very bad adaptation of an OK novel) and so on.

    If it isn’t immediately apparent that this is comedy through exaggeration than you must have never ever read a Penny Arcade comic before: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/11/17/ http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/26/ there’s others of course.

    As far as being homophobic it took me all of five minutes to find this gem: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/11/19/

    Also, as has been mentioned: Dickerdoodles.

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