When Character Assassination Fails – The Colin Moriarty Story

 2016 taught me much about the way others perceive viewpoints. Some become offended when another challenges what they hold dear, others ignore, a few dissect their own viewpoints. This is the story of how one man stands for freedom of speech and the ramifications of mainstream media in and outside the gaming space.

 Colin Moriarty

Credit: clsmoriarty Instagram
Colin Moriarty jump-started his career by getting hired at IGN (the biggest gaming website out there) after an internship. After nearly eight years he moved on to be one of the co-founders of Kinda Funny, a YouTube channel about four best friends creating videos to make people laugh and dive deep into random topics each week. They also created a YouTube gaming channel for lets plays and discussions. The new company found huge success in their own corner of YouTube through the use of Patreon and for the stark differences between the personalities of the group. Colin is known for his love of old school RPGs like Final Fantasy VI and Wild Arms and his undying love for platformers like Castlevania Symphony of the Night and Mega Man 3—he’s got some good taste. He also gave up going to grad school for American History to work for IGN, but his love for all things history and politics have always been below the surface or displayed on his arms by his tattoos. Things were looking fantastic for his career, until the Tweet.

 The Tweet

Credit: notaxation Twitter
As the tweet above states, on the “A Day Without A Woman” protest, Colin Moriarty sent out this tweet and was lambasted for it from people of all walks of life, including some of his previous co-workers. Kinda Funny is known to joke on their show, a lot more vicious jokes, but this one caught the attention of Twitter and grew into something greater and created more mean-spirited responses and demonized threats on his character. Jokes are jokes, they fall flat or they don’t, but the outcry of offended people from it didn’t match with what he did. A response to the tweet from Colin during a live conversation over on the Rubin Report:
In response to the tweet one of his co-founders of Kinda Funny, Greg Miller tweeted out his stance on Colin’s tweet and the company’s. Summarizing the tweet, he didn’t agree with Colin’s joke and thought it wasn’t OK (again they’ve said worse on videos/podcasts even if he states context matters) and they weren’t striving to build that community. The following Monday, Colin resigns from Kinda Funny.
There is a mix of right and wrong with this situation. But my firm belief is that Colin stuck to his guns on this one, didn’t take down the tweet, didn’t and won’t apologize for the joke because it’s his right to do so. The response didn’t fit the context of the tweet and trusted news outlets jumped on the bandwagon to hurt Colin while he was down after leaving the company. A reputable company, the International Business Times, put this as the headline after Colin’s resignation:
Credit: IBTimes Twitter
I hope one word jumps out at you: Racist. Since when are women another race? This kind of jump to get the first headline spiraled out of control, Polygon (another gaming site) had their own headlines with mixed facts. And this is what Colin decided to stand against. Dave Rubin, another YouTube host, helped him get in contact with the news outlet and he fought back to correct the headlines, which were eventually updated, but the damage had been done.
Or had it?

 After the ‘Fall’

Credit: notaxation Twitter
With apparently everyone in an outcry over being offended, Colin decided it was time to switch gears. On the Rubin Report, he talked against character assassinations and how the internet community likes to kick you when you’re down. He would not give the media an inch and stood by what he believed in and told his supporters that you’d hear from him soon.
March 20th, 2017, he started Colin’s Last Stand – a fan-funded YouTube channel, with the help of Patreon, to dive into his passion for politics and history. As it stands now, with just a little over a day of launching, he’s got over 5,000 patrons supporting his cause, which will net him over $35,000 dollars a month. Looks like he’ll get the last laugh when it comes to freedom of speech and not backing down in the face of an age where the media is trying to do their best to spin their own tales without thinking about the repercussions of the individuals they target.
Colin also mentioned, on the Rubin Report, about individuals privately reaching out to him, but publicly wouldn’t for either fear of ridicule or they felt that a private message to reach out to him was the best way to say they’re with him. We live in a time where opinions matter, but where people are afraid to take sides for fear of the ramifications. I chose to stand with Colin on this issue. If you’re offended by his joke, you’ve got a long road ahead of you.
I’d rather live in a world where I’m not afraid to tell a joke or say my opinion than living in a world where I’m walking on egg shells for eternity—I stand with Colin.
The tweet looks to be the best thing that’s happened to Colin Moriarty. He’ll be out there, sticking to his word on what he thinks is right. We won’t be seeing the last of him. Remember to stick to what you think is right and take a breath before you lash out at someone with a differing opinion. The gaming industry is plagued with a loud vocal minority, don’t give into the temptation and stand your ground. Just do it with an open-mind.
Credit: clsmoriarty Instagram
Keep being you, Colin Moriarty.

Writing Groups – Don’t Be Mr/Mrs. Rudeness

 

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One of the most beneficial acts you can do as a writer is letting more than one set of eyes peek at your work. It’s nerve-wracking and scary to have your work out there for others to scrutinize and judge…even if that’s what us writer’s want in the long run. Other people see things that you gloss over because you live and breathe your story and it’s difficult to step back and see it from a new perspective. Writing groups, with more reasons than merely to give feedback, are essential to taking the next step forward in your writing career. Problem is, just like you have to scrape the sludge from your writing, you have to dig a little bit to find a good group.

The focus of this piece will be how to identify a toxic group with two easy observations.

I could write a plethora of entries on writing groups and their positivity, but time is of the essence. Wisely using the time we’re given is crucial and therefore you will want to know right away if a group isn’t worth your time.

First red flag: Lack of continued participation

Everyone gets busy. As one who’s writing novels, working a part time job, keeping my wife happy, in a writing group, and diving into far too many hobbies, I understand we fill the time with more obligations and work.  So if your group doesn’t meet at least once a month, it’s going to fail. It’s kind of how the world works, people like consistency. Especially if you’re looking for feedback on your novel and you can only get through a chapter a month—sorry friend, that’s gonna be a long road. It’s hard to stay motivated for a group that cancels every other month or keeps putting things off.

On a participant by participant level, if an individual is constantly not reading your work, it might be time to move on. Sometimes my writing group has eight submissions a week, that’s a lot of reading in one week! It’s understandable if a person doesn’t get to all of them or misses one every so often (are group meets every week and that’s not possible for everyone—keep that in mind. I don’t go every week either). What’s a problem is when an individual continues to have this behavior. It sets a tone for the group, that it isn’t a priority. You don’t want to be in a group where the priority isn’t helping one another or brushing it off to the last minute.

Red flag number 2: The attack vs the Critique

As a writer, you have to develop a thick skin. I know putting your work out there is hard, what’s even harder is taking criticism. Hearing someone tear your work apart, even in a constructive way, is like needles to the chest.

 

So as you scream inside: “How can you not see this! You said what about my favorite character?! Do you know how hard I worked on this gahhh!” Remember, these people are helping you.

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If your group is cordial, it will be advice you need to hear. What you don’t need to hear is the attacker rather than the critique…er?

This is the person who tells you how wrong your story is because they’ve read a dozen (insert genre type) and never seen it done this way. Or in this (insert genre type) you always focus on (this generic advice) over (insert snooty comparison). You can call these types of individuals “I know it all because I’m writing this genre and have experience.” Comparatively, the beauty of writing groups is you have people in your genre (and outside) that come with knowledge of what they’ve read and that can be an asset. But the “I know it all because I’m writing this genre and have experience” hinder others thinking their way is the only way and trying to shove that mantra down your throat is annoying and time-consuming.

The major red flag is when the individual attacks the writer, not the writing. Once in our group, a submission had a reference to a bird. They named the bird, it was a morning in the scene, I don’t remember it verbatim, but I remember his response. Instead of giving some advice, said individual opened with, “clearly you don’t know about this “type of bird,” they don’t chirp in the morning they do blah blah blah. You haven’t done your research this is all wrong.”

Sure, maybe this writer had the wrong information on the way the fucking bird chirps, but that shouldn’t goad someone into attacking the person as a writer. I mean I invented a word once (or thought I did) and a fellow group member pointed out it was a type of fish. Didn’t demean me, he made me aware. There is a chasm between awareness and rudeness.

Don’t be Mr/Mrs. Rudeness. And if that is your actual last name…your ancestors suck.

If you witness either of these two red flags, you might be in the wrong group. What helps with these types of writers is having group moderators to keep things moving forward swiftly and safely. They tend to deter the group from falling by the wayside and reminding others of the rules on critiques. Get good moderators or become one yourself.

I’ll keep you updated on writing groups, but with these two observations under your belt, you’ll be ready to see if the group is worth your time.

Until next time,

Write on.