In the beginning I didn’t think much about the stuff I saw online. “Hey look” I would think to myself “the funny man inside the computer box machine said ‘fuck’!” and many laughs would be had. It was a simpler time when I would have been amused by something like Forget About It.
Even when my brain began telling me something was wrong, that the jokes had grown stale and the personalities had grown nasty, I managed to block it out. After all, Linkara just told me that this Frank Miller comic sucked and that Frank Miller has lost his damned mind! “Such quality content, I could not find this anywhere else on the Internet!” I’d lie to myself as I fell asleep to the sounds of “Break Me” by the Irresponsibles.
So here I was, it was late 2010 and I was jammed so far up the anus of Web 2.0 after kissing so much Internet celebrity ass that I barely had time to shout memes at my friends from across the quad. I would constantly gush about how these YouTube celebrities and the folks at That Guy with the Glasses were on the cutting edge of new media and really shaking things up. I wouldn’t dare think to criticize them; the TGTWG guys were changing the way we thought of and received entertainment. Who cares if the method was demonstrably flawed in ways that could be easily remedied?! Alas, such bliss could not last forever though, I think too much and even if it takes a while for me to feel and act on those thoughts, it’ll still happen. I was dropped suddenly into the boiling waters of enlightenment by Angry Joe.
This video is such a fiercely stupid blow to the head for most people that I’m not even sure if it’s been fully dissected in any significant manner, but like any scabrous wound fester much is laid bare for the world to see once you start to pick at it.
Here we’ve got Joe trying to spin a personal shortcoming as bad PR for the VGAs and judging by the comments, succeeding to some degree, in part due to the insular fanboy circle jerk that TGWTG has built up around itself by tyrannically pruning dissenters from their great fandom tree and in part due to the general ill will that the internet harbors toward the VGAs. Prior to this Joe had spoken out several times against the VGAs and on December 3, 2010 Joe had announced to his audience that he had been in talks to do an interview with the executive producer of the VGAs, Geoff Keighley (pronounced here “GEE-OFF KAY-LEE”, GAMING JOURNALISM folks!) and asked his fans, the “Angry Joe Army”, to submit questions for him to ask Geoff during the interview.
Now one would think that Angry Joe, with all of his hardcore gamer posturing about how poorly the VGAs represent his demographic to the general public, would be able to come up with a handful of questions to ask Geoff on his own, but whatever. Maybe he’s going with the user submitted questions because he wants to be a representative of his base to Geoff, the man in charge of the VGAs, I suppose those are noble intentions, even if my cynical side tells me it smacks of laziness. Joe’s real failing here is not that he went with user submitted question but that he put virtually no research into his questions. Many of Joe’s concerns had been already been addressed (the removal of the corporate sponsorship on the best independent game category) were wrongheaded (arguing for an MMO category despite not being able to name enough MMOs worthy of praise to fill the category out) or were addressed with easily found information that was available publically (who nominates the games). It was clear that the extent of Joe’s research involved having watched the VGA’s in the years prior and having his near-illiterate fans submit ill-informed knee-jerk questions for him to ask.
I love how Joe seems to be pissed that Geoff came prepared for him. This isn’t Geoff’s first rodeo, he’s been knocked around and humiliated by journalists in the past when he went on Fox News to defend Mass Effect back in 2008. Of course he came prepared, Joe is coming on to his turf, asking him to defend the show that he’s put a lot of time and money into producing, Joe arranged the interview in advance and I’m taking it that he familiarized himself with Joe’s work (he seems to know that Joe would “post a video about it” and that he’s going to “rip the VGAs this year”, which implies that he knows who Joe is and how he operates, but this is pure inference) He came prepared in exactly the same way Joe didn’t and as a prize Geoff got to walk all over him and make him look like a fool. Of course Geoff is going to treat Joe like shit, it was his big night and Joe was wasting his fucking time with his stupid bullshit. The interview went south because Joe dropped the ball; childishly losing his temper towards the end and constantly hounding Geoff about the same stupid bullshit in the press room afterwards only served to solidify this.
The first time I watched this video I was stunned, it’s still hard for me to watch because it’s so damn embarrassing for the guy that I’d feel sorry for him if he wasn’t being such an astonishing jackass. Joe displays a spectacular amount of near sighted arrogance; he just can’t seem to realize he dropped the ball aside from not going in there at his angriest. He props himself up like some everyman hero who got dicked around by the man, but in reality Joe was just a chump incapable of seeing when he had bitten off more than he could chew. The fact that Joe later goes on to comment that he felt like the interview was “like two juggernauts going at it” only goes to show that the interview was just another attempt to stroke his ego, that he can’t possibly accept failure, and that the video was put together so that Joe could get congratulatory dick sucking from his fan base for another job poorly done.
Before I start wrapping this up, yes, I know Joe asks his fans to tell him what they thought, but have you seen his reactions to Imagesfromapoet’s video? All of the early comments were deleted when she initially closed the comments section but have been archived here. In them you’ll see Joe illustrate exactly how much he appreciates a negative opinion of his work by twisting what she said and putting words in her mouth, which only further soured the experience of watching the original video. (It must be added that the current comments section on the video is golden too with fans of Joe claiming he is misunderstood because of the “mudslinging” coming from Imagesfromapoet and others of like mind.)
So I was at a crossroads, having had a nice long look at Emperor Joe’s naked ass I realized exactly what his clothes were made of and just how many of these other Internet celebrities had been following the same fashion trends. I was forced to realize exactly how small these people really were and how their near sighted egotism, self-congratulatory circle jerks, and Internet celebrity posturing could only be detrimental to the progress of new media, which I personally find to be an interesting innovation with a lot of potential. I had decided that it was time to think critically about this stuff and begin challenging the norm. We live in such an A-for-effort society, no one seems to want ask “how could this be better” but only say “That was good enough, job well done”. I wasn’t going to stand for it anymore; bad content is bad content and the only way to fix it is to have its faults identified.
I don’t aim to please anyone with this site. If you enjoy what you read here and agree with me that’s great but I’m not writing with intentions of preaching to the choir, I want to spark discussion and debate on the quality of this stuff, I want to piss people off and hopefully get them thinking a little more critically about the stupid bullshit they take in on the Internet the same way Angry Joe did to me.
1.) Yes, I know this video happened a long time ago, the point of the article isn’t to make a statement on Joe’s character in the here and now (I’ve not watched an Angry Joe video in ages), but rather to explain how and why this single instance of Joe’s behavior influenced me in the creation of this site. Besides, people are still arguing about this in the comments sections of roughly 20 different YouTube videos, so it’s still open for discussion here as far as I’m concerned .
2.) A bit of trivia, the site name “Man-Child Messiah” was a reference to Joe that came from a conversation about this video I had with a friend shortly before launching the site. We were originally going to be called “The Kitchen Heat” in reference to the old adage “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”, but I think Man-Child Messiah fits the tone of the site better.
3.) My next article will be a lot shorter and not focused on TGWTG.