The Angry Video Game Nerd, The New Ghostbusters, and Why I’ve Lost All Respect For Devin Faraci
Comment sections are a cesspool.
While occasionally they contain well thought out, cogent, and sometimes even profound insights, more often than not the comments section serves as a place for Internet trolls to snipe from the safety of their Mom’s basements. For those reasons it’s why I rarely offer my thoughts in comment sections. Getting drawn into flame wars while maybe fun at the time, are ultimately a waste of time. There’s a reason multiple people have called Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump a comment section come to life.
Recently James Rolfe (AKA the Angry Video Game Nerd) who runs the website cinemassacre.com put up the following video. I encourage you to watch it before continuing with this article:
Ah the new Ghostbusters you rear your head again to wreak havoc on the Internet.
I at one point thought the idea of a third Ghostbusters film was a terrible idea:
However, it was never because of the potential all female cast (something that was in the early stages when I wrote the article in July of 2014) and while I’m still leery of the upcoming movie, I’ve come around a little on the idea. Each cast member is funny in their own right (especially Kate McKinnon) and I believe the film will at the very least be mildly entertaining.
Rolfe provides several reasons why he won’t watch the new Ghostbusters. He holds the original (as I do) in high regard and overall thinks a new Ghostbusters in any form is unnecessary. If anything he marries himself too much to nostalgia. Nostalgia’s great but when you’re always worshiping at the altar of nostalgia you prevent yourself from going outside to acquire new life experiences. While I respect his opinion, I disagree with his decision to not see the film. As a film critic myself I believe it’s important to judge a movie on its own merits. Boycotting the movie accomplishes nothing, just as Chris Rock boycotting the last Academy Awards show would have accomplished nothing. Now granted I’m not going to go out of my way to watch Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six but neither will I flat-out refuse to see it.
Although I didn’t agree with all of Rolfe’s contentions, I never once felt this was a sexist video or that he was in any way a woman-hater. However, I knew what was coming, an angry, vitriolic, and reactionary backlash that would paint the Angry Video Game Nerd (terrible moniker in my opinion) as a rampant sexist rating somewhere between Genghis Khan and Donald Trump.
I wasn’t disappointed:
Uproxx writer Keith Phipps wrote, “[Rolfe] took what he seemed to believe was some kind of principled stand against the film by refusing to see or review it, a declaration delivered with the squinty, clenched-jaw righteousness of a protester standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square while offering a series of increasingly fragile justifications: that it shouldn’t be called Ghostbusters because this might confuse children; that it wasn’t the movie he wanted…Rolfe became the public face of Ghostbusters resistance. He has plenty of unsavory allies. It’s quite possible that Rolfe’s objections have nothing to do with Ghostbusters being remade with female leads, but there’s no denying the unvarnished misogyny of others.”
There are other responses, some of which are worse than Keith Phipps, some a little more tempered. Some even resorted to trashing his Star Trek V: The Final Frontier display. Even though it’s not a good movie, the presence of this piece of memorabilia has zero relevance to the topic at hand. It’s a backhanded attempt to say, “Hey this guy liked Star Trek V, his opinion doesn’t count!” If the AVGN had done this video in a cubicle with nothing on the walls people would have said, “Do you even nerd bro?”I am at a complete loss as to how an intelligent, rational person could watch this video and come away thinking that Rolfe is a misogynist. Is it because he stated the fact that it’s an all female cast? Or that many people are referring to it as such? That’s kind of stretch considering he’s pointing out the obvious. What, he’s supposed to just ignore that the four leads in the movie are women? That somehow stating what everyone can visibly see is inherently sexist? That’s insane.
But even more insane? What happened to me next.
Birth.movies.death is a site I frequent daily. Their movie scoops usually come before other prominent film sites. They also tend to have well written and insightful articles covering a variety of topics. I was expecting founder and editor Devin Faraci to write a response to Rolfe’s video and he did. Again I suggest you read the article before proceeding as it bears on the rest of this post: SoftSexism
Look, I get that there are plenty of sexist jackwagon nerds out there who are hating on the new Ghostbusters simply because it’s a female cast. That’s misogyny. That’s sexism. Men’s Rights Activists and their ilk are mad that after so many years girls are playing in their sandbox and somehow an all female cast of Ghostbusters bruises their Neanderthal ego. Gamergate and other debacles are just a natural result of their riot and clamor.
The new Ghostbusters film has become a lighting rod for this kind of controversy. Unfortunately, whenever anyone now aims criticism at this movie, as Rolfe did, they are branded a sexist. Again this is ludicrous to the point of absurdity. Much to the frustration of the AVGN’s detractors his video wasn’t a rage filled, woman hating, vitriol fest. Consequently Faraci had to get creative and dig deep calling Rolfe’s actions “soft sexism.”
I’d had enough of this garbage at this point and I decided to comment thus:
You lost me at Ghostbusters 2 is a terrible movie but in any case:”The subtext here is very simple: you’re making a new version of this thing that I love and you are not making it for me. And that pisses him off.” Really Devin? So he’s expressing the EXACT same feelings you expressed regarding Batman V Superman? It’s not the version of Superman you wanted. So you’re entitled to that but because this is an all female Ghostbusters this guy is a sexist??? What the actual fuck? You’re also saying this guy is too stupid to know he’s a sexist. Pretty insulting if you ask me. I’m seriously getting tired of anytime anyone criticizes this movie they are defacto sexist. I have ZERO issues with this being an all female cast. I have a problem that this is marketed poorly, the editing is terrible, the CGI looks God awful, and that they are calling this a “reboot” instead of a remake. No. It’s a total remake. We have the library scene, the mayor scene, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, three white scientists and the working class black woman. I fail to see how people can be so willfully myopic about this stuff. And this guy is supposed to be a sexist asshole because he doesn’t want to see the movie? If this was Paul Blart Mall Cop 3 or P.S I Love You Part II no one would be giving this guy so much shit. Ripping on his nerd collectibles serves no purpose either and is completely irrelevant. For someone who claims to be so open-minded you’re pretty judgmental when it comes to the nerd stuff people care about. Having said all this I wholeheartedly agree with that last paragraph though.*
Overly passionate? Yeah maybe but I love cinema. Can’t help myself sometimes. There’s a reason I highlighted and underlined that one part in my comment. It’s a mistake I made that turned out to have quite a reaction. But more on that shortly.
The subsequent replies to my comment were varied. One person called me “stupid” for arguing semantics. Fine, whatever. Hurling insults and pejoratives at people is the last refuge of someone who doesn’t have anything insightful to say anyway. It’s the online equivalent of this:
I made a further comment about Mad Max: Fury Road regarding the time frame it was supposed to be set. Originally George Miller said it was between the The Road Warrior and Thunderdome, but someone rightly pointed out that Max’s Interceptor car was still around in Fury Road so that couldn’t be case. Miller later said the film was a kind of re-entering of the world, much like the Bond franchise. I owned up to that and admitted I was wrong. One person even called me a “fake geekboy” but he was just kidding around and I could see that. At this point I decided to just leave it be. The back and forth was getting tedious and I remembered the cesspool nature of the comments section. I thought it was over.
I was wrong.
In my comment I’d made a mistake. What I meant to say was that the first Ghostbusters trailer was edited poorly and gave mixed messages. This is something that many people agree on and there are ample examples of this online. My comment gave the impression that the movie was poorly edited, impossible to know since no one has seen it yet. Before I could correct my mistake though, this happened:
The editing looks horrible? You’re judging the editing of a movie from the trailer? Jesus Christ. Banned.
Top of Form
I was referring to the first trailer which was horribly edited.
× We are unable to post your comment because you have been blocked by Birth.Movies.Death.. Find out more.I was dumbfounded. The editor of Birth.Movies.Death had just banned me not for verbal abuse, racist comments, death threats, or personal attacks, but for making a mistake regarding editing. FUCKING EDITING. And friends and neighbors it wasn’t just from the thread but from the site ENTIRELY. (I know because I tried to comment on another thread and was blocked.) Keep in mind that someone else in this same thread referred to Devin as a “fruit” and I didn’t see them get banned. I couldn’t believe that someone as seemingly professional as Devin Faraci would be so thin-skinned and so butt-hurt by my comments that he’d ban me. I’ve disagreed with Devin in the past:
I don’t know if Devin even read that article or cares. It’s just opinion anyway about a movie I didn’t particularly like. And I find it hard to believe that this would be a contributing factor in banning me from the site. I’m not that egotistical. But I don’t discount the possibility either.
At this point I began to lose respect for Devin Faraci. Not because he banned me from the site for a ludicrous reason but because he refused to accept valid criticism. Banning me from the site for an accidental comment about editing was just a thinly veiled excuse for something else: he didn’t like what I had to say and took it as a personal affront. So I went back and re-read his article. Then I re-read it again. And I realized something. Devin’s remarks were very, VERY absolutist and dismissive. Take another look.
Regarding AVGN’s reasons for not seeing the movie:
“Sure, but I didn’t say they were good points. He’s angry that this isn’t the movie he was fanficcing over the years…The subtext here is very simple: you’re making a new version of this thing that I love and you are not making it for me. And that pisses him off. “
This makes quite the assumption about Rolfe and at no time did I see him seething with anger in the video. Additionally, Devin has been quite vocal that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t have the nostalgic Superman he wanted. Consequently his comments regarding the AVGN are disingenuous at best, hypocritical at worst.
Regarding Ghostbusters 2:
“It’s a cheap reset of the original concept that delivers exceptionally diminished returns and features the leads more or less sleepwalking through the whole picture. I don’t care that you saw this movie when you were 6 so it holds some meaning to you – it’s a bad movie. Make your peace with this, as it’s pretty much as close to an objective fact as you can get (source: I was 15 when this movie came out, the exact right age to see it for the first time, and I walked out of the theater hoping there would be no future Ghostbuster movies).”
Now this is hilarious. Not only is it absolutist and dismissive of anyone who has a different viewpoint on Ghostbusters 2, but this is coming from a guy who won’t give movies he reviews a score because it’s a subjective medium. (For the record that’s a concept I kind of like.) Yet he’s telling people who like the film to “make peace” with it and it’s “close to an objective fact.”
Regarding the “real” reason Rolfe and others don’t like the idea of the remake:
“I don’t think “Angry Video Game Nerd” knows that he’s having a sexist reaction to Ghostbusters. I think a lot of guys online DO know that (or that they don’t believe sexism exists, which is even worse), but I don’t think “Angry Video Game Nerd” is sitting around stewing over women in Ghostbusters.
And that’s why his attitude is maybe the most dangerous. It speaks to the way sexism (and racism and plenty of other isms) kind of lives quietly inside of us, and the way it can impact our beliefs and actions without us even once considering it. But it is truly the only answer for why the Ghostbusters reboot is THIS infuriating to this many men. They may not be consciously aware of it, but their innate sexism is giving a boost to their already-existing dislike of reboots and their disinterest in this new movie.”
But right after that:
“Disliking the new Ghostbusters doesn’t make you sexist. But if you’re raging about it – if you’re angry enough to call a boycott, to make a video drawing a line in the sand – maybe you should consider where all of this anger is coming from.”
I can’t…I just…WHAT??? Devin just spent most of the article telling his audience that if they are angry about the Ghostbusters remake that they ARE sexist. Again he’s contradicting himself. Well Devin, glad you’re here to tell us all that the ONLY answer to people’s vehement negative reaction to the Ghostbusters remake is because we’re too stupid to know we’re being sexist. Do I deny the premise that there’s casual racism and sexism and homophobia in people and that it’s insidious, subtle, and dangerous? Absolutely not. But in this instance I think Devin is really reaching here. The implication here seems to be that Devin sets himself apart from these other men as a paragon of male feminism. Arrogant much? I’m of the belief, and always have been, that no matter how good you may be, that deep down everyone has a little bit of prejudice in them. I consider myself open-minded but I’m not delusional enough to think I have no prejudices. The key is to recognize and fight against them.I won’t even go into the whole transgender bathroom argument Devin makes. Somehow he made the leap from AVGN’s remarks on the new Ghostbusters to a bunch of ignorant Southern lawmakers who still think it’s 1960. Take from Devin’s comparison what you will.
The irony here is that Devin Faraci spends a majority of this article lambasting people who are raging about Ghostbusters, yet when I present some criticism about his article and make a mistake regarding editing, he bans me from the site. Perhaps Mr. Faraci should question why HE’S so mad about my take that he’d ban me over something as innocuous as a comment on editing. Faraci is so angry that someone would have the audacity to offer a counter argument, that he’d rather ban someone on a thin pretext rather than listen. If that’s the case than dear old Devin’s ego** is so big the Ecto Containment Unit couldn’t store it.
So yes at this point I’d lost some respect for Devin. A little not a lot. People get passionate about things they love. Sometimes they overreact. I get it. I’ve done it myself. What Devin did was irritating but forgivable.
Until I found out a little bit more about Mr. Devin Faraci, such as:
-He called critic Leonard Maltin a “twatmuffin”
-He went after Wizardchan on Suicide Prevention Day and encouraged people to kill themselves (something I find personally offensive because I’ve suffered from depression for almost twenty years–and I RARELY get offended by anything).
-Tried to tell Ethan Ralph of theralphretort.com on Twitter that he was “fat-shaming” when Ralph posted a pic of noted feminist Andrea Dworkin. Faraci had no idea who she was (which was the point of Ralph’s post-he was testing Faraci’s knowledge of feminist public figures) demonstrating his ignorance as a feminist.
-Said he had more respect for ISIS than anti-Zoe Quinn people (If you don’t know who Zoe Quinn is and her relation to GamerGate you have access to Google. Use it.)
And maybe the most reprehensible of all:
-Posted a distasteful promo thing on his generally “SJW”-leaning website of a girl being fucked in a wound in her skull and cum dropping out her mouth then called the feminist commenters who said it was in poor taste “pearl clutchers.”
At that point my respect for Devin Faraci went the way of Blockbuster Video. Faraci may be an exceptional writer and a masterful cinephile, but he’s a horrible excuse for a human being. Mind you I’ll continue to read his work just like I continue to read Orson Scott Card’s work even though he’s a raging ignorant homophobe. I can separate the art from the artist. I’m not so petty that I would let something like this stop me from reading insightful cinematic commentary.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Darth why are you letting this bother you? Who cares what he thinks?” Fair enough and in most cases I would agree with you and just let the whole thing go. But all I kept thinking about were the wise words of Jeffery Lebowski, “This aggression will not stand man.” In a world where the amount of mental midgets seems to grow exponentially, I was just tired of letting another self-righteous, elitist, Keyboard Cowboy not be called out on his bullshit.
Now Devin Faraci may read this, he may not. It may start a Twitter war, it may not. This article will undoubtedly nuke any chances of me ever writing for Birth.Movies.Death, something at one time I thought would be an honor. However, since it’s being run by a hypocritical, pandering, gasbag who’d rather ban people for minor “offenses” than listen to rational discourse then I’m better off writing my movie reviews and geek commentary on public bathroom stalls.
But then again what the Hell do I know? I’m probably just a sexist.
*I’m hoping the new Ghostbusters IS important for young women and that it has as much impact on them as the original did when I was young.
**If you doubt the size’s of Devin’s ego checkout the tag that goes with his picture at the end of this posts:
You can follow me on Twitter at @DarthGandalf1