Thursday, April 26, 2012

open letter to matthew inman

hey, were either of you following the short-lived flap over at the oatmeal last week? i can't really say i was, because by the time i read about it in the mary sue, it was already over.

short version: matthew inman (whose comic i follow regularly) drew a comic that was representative of his personal experience in the gaming world but pretty far off of the experience of many women in the gaming world.

some people wrote in to criticize him for it.

and instead of digging in his heels, he said pretty much the equivalent of "wow. i'm sorry. i meant to express something about my experience and hadn't even considered how different other people's experiences are and i certainly didn't mean to belittle anybody and for good measure here's a check made out to an appropriate organization", which is a refreshing and lovely response to criticism, especially in today's media climate.

and i wanted to write and tell him what i thought about it, but i don't see a contact link and didn't feel like adding to the drowning sea of likes and reblogs in his comments, so i am writing it here.

dear mr. inman,

i saw the controversy over your girl gamers comic before i saw the comic because the comic itself was buried in my rss feed and by the time i saw it, i already knew how the story had come out and therefore had preconceived notions about it.

i follow your comic regularly and i know enough to know that while sometimes i find your work to be a perfect fit with my own perceptions, sometimes we are worlds apart. that's ok; i am as bored with people with whom i agree all of the time as i am with people with whom i agree none of the time.

had i seen your comic, i would not have liked it. i would have thought "wow. that certainly is a different view of gaming than i experience" and i probably would have just chalked it up to one of the differences between us.

but a number of people did write in to speak with you about it, and instead of painting yourself into the corner, you were gracious and flexible and you sounded like you had maybe taken the time to rub two brain cells together and try to look at the issue from someone else's viewpoint.

and without being asked or told, you went ahead and wrote out a check for what looks to me like quite a lot of money, just to make your point.

if you ask me (and i know you didn't), your response was sufficient at the moment you acknowledged you understood why some people were upset. you went from being mensch to hero when you backed up your words with action, and i hope people remember this when it comes time to think about where they might do their webcomic-related shopping.

so thanks.

love, flask

1 comment:

Zhoen said...

I am also fond of The Oatmeal, in part because he often goes too far and irritates me as often as making me laugh. Because I figure he's an asshole, but underneath that, a decent and funny guy. I know guys like him, and I count them among my oldest friends. Sounds like how he responded is much like my old friends would.

I missed this comic, and the flap, thank you for this.


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