I used to love Kinda Funny. It was my go-to for video game impressions, podcasts and just general entertainment. I loved listening to “PS I Love You XOXO” every Tuesday and I always tuned into the Kinda Funny Gamescast whenever I could. But then I began to watch with my girlfriend and she pointed some things out. Things that as I better understand some of the major issues with sexism and racism in video games the more I want to stop supporting them and vehemently challenge them. I started to tune into Kinda Funny less and less as I began to realise one particular voice embodied the many issues: Colin Moriarty.
He Only Does What He Wants, Colin Moriarty…
Colin often reminds us of his “loathing PC culture” and how he feels all the Bernie Sanders loving, crybaby SJWs need to shut up and get over themselves. It’s a common voice anyone who’s ever advocated for diversity or change in the industry has quickly run into. He’s commented several times about how much he detests “safe spaces” and can’t understand how coddled people are becoming. He’s exactly the kind of person you would expect to have a “Join or Die” tattoo on his forearm and likes to regularly espouse his rhetoric from his digital soapbox on his many shows including his most recent one, arrogantly titled “Colin Was Right.” Colin’s anti-progressive beliefs seep into his conversations on Kinda Funny all the time, politics and beliefs I refuse to indulge and support.
By allowing voices like Colin’s to go unchallenged, it only serves to support these views- as has happened with the other Kinda Funny hosts and with the community. This is a man who writes definitively that “I generally think safe spaces, microaggressions, and trigger warnings are ultimately destructive and entirely anti-intellectual” (Source). By stating “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” are anti-intellectual he is attacking the victimised groups who these constructs serve to help and protect from further harm. The fact that Colin refuses to see that or acknowledge any perspective other than his own is terribly indicative of the industry’s refusal to acknowledge perspectives other than the dominant straight, white, male one. So I’ve stopped supporting and started challenging.
Colin is very quick to state his opinions definitively as if there’s no debate, and if you do debate him then you’re just wrong. He took to his Facebook to write an essay after the election where he stated over and over “I was dead right” like it’s scientific fact. He said “Hillary Clinton was a profoundly terrible candidate, and everyone — and that means all of us — knows it” (Source). “That means all of us” is so fucking pretentious, like “ah yes of course we all agree with me how could I be wrong?” He’s quick to block anyone he doesn’t like on Twitter, to the point where it’s a running joke on Kinda Funny shows. While that’s his right, it’s a little ironic how a man who likes to take time on his shows to pull out a massive white board and make lists of the most easily offended people is so easily offended himself that he blocks hundreds of people he doesn’t like. He creates his own “safe space” as it were, the most “anti-intellectual” of places, according to himself (Source).
He uses his digital soapbox to berate the liberal “babies” who have protested the rise of neo-nazis since Trump’s election. He took to Twitter to whine about UC Berkley’s protest of Milo Yiannopolous, saying how glad he was he got through college before the “babies completed their hostile takeover of academia” (Source). He was quick to point out he wouldn’t go to see Milo speak himself but simply doesn’t understand why the liberal snowflakes would protest a man speaking at their school who is famous for his desire to put women into internment camps and ban safe spaces and trigger warnings- something Colin himself has advocated for.
Colin’s war on “political correctness” often devolves into name calling, something he criticises the politically correct for doing to him. He said in a recent video that “People who are essentially grown up babies for trying to scrub anything ‘offensive’ from video games, not to mention society at large, deserve much of the scorn that comes their way” (Source). His despise for those seeking to alter the predominantly sexist, racist tendencies of game development and challenge the status quo only serve to prove that he himself is a part of those issues, refusing to acknowledge other perspectives only to call them “grown up babies.” He continues asking the viewer to “trust me, I was speaking out and writing about so-called political correctness and the scrubbing of games and ideas so as not to offend anyone long, long before it was popular and cool to do so” (Source). Oh don’t worry Colin, we trust your war on PC culture is a long fought one.
Colin vs. Progress
In another piece on political correctness, Colin writes “should we succumb to the plight of political correctness and let it ruin the creativity of our industry like it’s corrupted so many other artistic avenues?“ (Source). “Succumb to the plight of political correctness” is the most melodramatic response to people advocating for more diversity and less sexism and racism in games that I’ve ever encountered. He uses “succumb” as if the idea of more representation and more diversity is a disease and he’s barely holding on to the same Whitey McStubbly protagonists he so desperately loves.
He talks often about how he doesn’t like the trend in games towards more diverse casts of characters. He states often that “I’m not about diversity for diversity’s sake, I don’t think that’s a positive thing” (Source). He was quick to come to the defense of Naughty Dog over the choice to cast a white voice actress as a black character, something that is known in the voice acting community as digital blackface. In Colin Moriarty’s meritocracy, we shouldn’t “pander” to minorities or segregated members of our society. Colin constantly refuses to acknowledge that the industry isn’t fair to begin with, and things like digital blackface only serve to reinforce systemic disadvantages and oppression people of colour face.
Colin also came out and teased Colin Kaepernick, an African American SanFrancisco 49ers players, who was protesting the systemic issues of police violence against black Americans in the United States. Colin Kaepernick decided to protest by kneeling during the national anthem, an action that generated a massive discussion in the US around police violence. But Colin Moriarty showed his disdain for Mr. Kaepernick’s action by likening him to a rebelling, immature child living with his mom. Moriarty, a man who constantly talks about his American pride and love of American history, completely dismissed Mr. Kaepernick’s act of civilian protest and the way it could enact change in his country.
Mr. Moriarty was also quick to fight against those who took issue with Horizon Zero Dawn‘s cultural appropriation of indigenous peoples. The game uses colonial terms like “Brave” and “Savage” to describe the other characters in the world and features dozens of white characters sporting dreadlocks and tribal markings. While his co-host Greg was reading a critique from Native writer Dia Lacina Colin was sarcastic and mocking, saying, “Oh sorry I was falling asleep there.” Pretending to fall asleep because a Native woman is pointing out her issues with the appropriation of her culture is the epitome of privilege and only further illustrates the man’s complete disregard for victimised groups.
“It’s absurd, it’s just more identity politics at play, everyone has a fucking axe to grind- oh sorry, is that offensive to blacksmiths?” – Colin (Source)
He goes so far as to actually pull up Lacina’s article during the show and read it out, mocking it repeatedly. “This cultural appropriation nonsense, this idea that a white person can’t dress up as an Indian on Halloween… you guys are making an issue over nothing, there is nothing here. I do not give a fuck if I’m a white male, there is nothing here that anybody should get offended about” (Source). While being quick to pull up a Native woman’s critique of a video game appropriating Native culture, it seems Colin couldn’t be bothered to do any research into the implications of cultural appropriation in the historical context of the complete genocide of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. Lacina said it best, “nearly every aspect of Horizon’s world building has been critically praised using terms that explicitly and historically have applied to indigenous peoples often to disparage our ways of life and oppress us, all while ignoring that unique and refreshing world building has been lifted almost entirely from our cultures” (Source).
It’s important to note here that you absolutely can be critical about aspects of a piece of media while loving other aspects, it’s not an on/off switch of enjoyment. Colin is absolutely correct in asserting that Horizon Zero Dawn is a marvellous example of diverse characters, a strong well-designed female lead and a great exploration of gender politics. But as Lacina points out, it also appropriates and employs racist language in a game about Native-inspired tribal culture, and it’s important to be critical of those flaws. But rather than acknowledge a Native woman’s issues with the abuse of her own culture, Colin can’t be bothered and this racist attitude needs to be challenged.
“And I really feel like with this kind of thing we do speak, not only for the majority, not only for white people or ‘so-called’ privileged people, but really for people of all ilks, for people of all colours and creeds, everyone is tired of it.” – Colin (Source)
Colin was also quick to come to PewDiePie’s defense after Pewds was dropped by Disney and Google for his history of antisemitic content. Colin applauded those defending PewDiePie from those “in the bleachers, with nothing to lose whatsoever- largely hiding behind anonymous handles, living obviously miserable lives as you declare yourself the morality police” (Source). He was so proud of those defending PewDiePie’s abrasive and derogatory videos and so disappointed with those taking issue with Pewds dressing up as a Nazi and wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. He said that it’s time for “the goosestepping morality police to grow the fuck up… their only focus is keeping their heads as far up their own asses as possible” (Source). Well, Colin, those of us who challenge PewDiePie’s attacks on history’s most targeted minorities will only get louder until people like Pewd’s understand how saying “Death to all Jews,” with or without context, only fans the flame of alt right hate spreading through online discourse. An alt-right discourse you are now a player in, whether you meant to be or not and it’s time you took responsibility for that.
Colin vs. Women
Aside from issues of race, Colin has often joked about their female viewership or lack thereof. There are hundreds if not thousands of female Kinda Funny fans but the Kinda Funny store had no female clothes for over a year, and when they did finally put some up Colin was quick to state that “if these women’s shirts don’t sell, never again are we going to put women’s shirts up on the store” (Source: see 02:29:45 mark). While it’s said jokingly I truly believe that Colin hates being inconvenienced by the minority of his audience that is female.
Most recently Colin took to Twitter to make a sexist joke on International Women’s Day, a day meant to challenge systemic sexism and celebrate women’s many accomplishments and contributions to the world. He felt it was a day to finally be free of the noisy, irritating women in his life.
He responded to criticisms from his colleagues and fans with his patented indifference, and even his co-hosts Tim Gettys and Greg Miller said they were disappointed with him. But he remains steadfast in his fight against progress, and against women. A war on women is being fought every day, and those leading the charge rally around popular entertainers like Colin Moriarty.
“To me, it’s personal freedom, responsibility, the right to succeed, and the right to fail. And the right to express yourself freely, without having to worry about being called a bigot or being called a sexist, as I was for making a silly joke.” – Colin in an interview with Glenn Beck
Aside from his being sexist towards his fans, Colin’s sexist attitudes flow into his work. Ask any female developer who’s tried to pry their way into the toxic boy’s club that is the video game industry, or ask a female video game fan who is constantly alienated and pushed out of the testosterone fueled male power fantasies that dominate video games. They will all tell you there’s a sexism problem in the industry, a refusal to budge from the male dominated state in which it currently exists. That’s why many were troubled when Borderlands 2 developer John Hemingway dubbed the simplified skill tree of the Mechromancer “girlfriend mode.”
Many were upset at this remark as it was another instance in a trend towards discrediting and downplaying female players ability to play and be good at video games. Hemingway said “I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree. This is, I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone, but they suck at first-person shooters. Can we make a skill tree that actually allows them to understand the game and to play the game?” (Source). This hypothetical player, your girlfriend, sucks at first-person shooters because she’s a girl. Colin was quick to jump on the outraged fans who were once again being discriminated against based on their sex. Colin wrote “Mr. Hemingway didn’t actually say anything offensive. People wanting to be offended are simply looking for anything to jump on, consequences for anyone and anything be damned” (Source). He completely ignores the complaints that people are making and never even bothers to actually talk to those most affected by Hemingway’s statement. He instead quotes another straight white male writer, Jason Schreier, from Kotaku and uses his work to explain how if people keep getting offended by developer’s comments then developers will stop sharing information, and what a tragedy.
These are things that cannot be overlooked.
So what now?
The more I see Colin’s toxic views and whiny, privileged attitudes the more distance I put between myself and Kinda Funny. I used to love their work and I especially love Greg Miller, Colin’s co-host. I’ve been listening to Greg’s work for almost a decade since he started at IGN. I will always have a soft spot for Greg, but he does nearly every video and livestream with Colin it’s hard not to wonder why Greg doesn’t challenge any of Colin’s disturbing statements or views. He instead goes along implicitly with everything Colin says, nodding his head in agreement. Silence is a luxury and I want to stop silently supporting these issues, instead actively and loudly challenging them.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to know what you think about the article, Kinda Funny and Colin or anything else you want to say in the comments. Have a great day 🙂