lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

The continuing awfulness of Penny Arcade

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If you ask me, Penny Arcade is a brand in trouble. Financially, they’re doing well. Their three conferences draw huge crowds annually (although people are saying that’s not necessarily a positive thing), but critically, they’re facing a massive backlash for their handling of the whole “dickwolves” issue (which is far too long and complicated to get into here - read Rachel Edidin’s article on Wired if you want to be depressed).

So given that they’re already turning a lot of people against them, why did they think it would make sense to advertise a job like this?

It goes to show the importance of context. If Penny Arcade was a struggling startup, the ad would make a certain amount of sense. Almost every startup has had someone working a job like that (although maybe they’d be slightly ashamed and wouldn’t describe the role in such a humblebrag). And no-one would think twice about it. Except Penny Arcade aren’t a struggling startup. They’re a multi-million dollar corporation with fingers in lots of different pies. Besides the successful conferences I’ve already mentioned, they’ve got advertising, videogames, a ‘tv’ show, books, merch. They’re not struggling for cash. And yet, they’re looking for a lynchpin of their entire infrastructure and they’re looking to pay them peanuts.

Of course, the response from the internet has been predictably savage.

And know what I think is the worst part? They saw absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I get this feeling we’ll get a lot of interest for this job… (AN IT HIRE!) http://t.co/SiCjPTAQRJ

– Robert Khoo (@rkhoo) November 26, 2013

I realise this whole thing is of little relevance to anyone who reads this blog, but I just want to add my voice to say please, don’t anyone take this job. Even as a worst-case, there are thousands of other start-ups out there who have this exact same role with the exact same shitty remuneration, but at least you would go home knowing you weren’t being exploited by a misogynistic, tone-deaf conglomerate.