A Smaller Picture

Deep breath.

I should probably use the “blog” function of this website to actually, y’know, “blog” more. Those of you who visit know that for the past year and a half it’s been almost exclusively a catalog of where and when my various videos, articles and appearances have been posted; which I’m sure works well enough for some since that’s mainly what I’ve been doing professionally for almost a decade now and if you follow me online to hear what I have to say chances are that’s what you’ve come for. But it wasn’t supposed to be the point of having MovieBob Central be a WordPress blog-based site – at least not originally.

The fact is, the site was put together at the point when it looked like my operation was going to remain primarily independent for the foreseeable future, and I figured that a fresh start with a more manageable/maleable interface was preferable to the old Blogspot site so that I could put up at the least the semblance of an archive, a hub and a shop page. Then things shifted suddenly (or they started to) a little over two years ago – I found out, along with several other compatriots who’d been former colleagues at a (by then) all but defunct website called The Escapist that the site’s then-current owners were going under – that the skeleton crew that had been keeping it afloat was being cast off and the not terribly nice folks left in charge were scattering to the four winds. And someone floated the idea of maybe, possibly, trying to take it back.

Doing so has been a project that’s eaten up the bulk of my working life (and then some) for over a year now, leading to the regrettable “on hold” status of a few projects, the slowing of In Bob We Trust updates and the Really That Good episode focused on the original Star Wars to be very overdue (on the downside: Still not done. On the upside: Going to be “bigger” when it gets here, at this point) but it’s been overall a worthwhile endeavor for me in which a lot of work I was very proud of got done and where I felt very good (during a stretch of life where my “feeling good” moments haven’t been all that numerous or long-lasting, to be frank) about having achieved a certain measure of – for lack of a less self-righteous sounding phrase – “victory” over some very ugly forces in my past and present. I worked hard at something, I’m proud of it, and for a change hard work felt as though it yielded an actual “reward” in and of itself (not that I didn’t also get paid, of course…)

But the problem with applying dramatic metaphors like “victory” and “yielding reward” to your job is you become protective of certain things and lose perspective about other things – often both the wrong thing. And that can mean you become defensive when you should be receptive (or at least… “thoughtful?,”) or angry at the wrong times – or in the wrong direction. Case in point: A great deal of extremely forceful criticism was leveled at something that was written by the EIC of The Escapist over the past week (full disclosure: He is also, of course, my boss there but I am additionally a longtime friend of his family) some of which I initially found, from my own immediate perspective, to be either “off base,” ill-conceived or unfairly maligning of the broader site and its staff – i.e. including me – and opted to responded to often with sarcasm and/or “snark”…

…which turned out to be the wrong approach (or, rather, more wrong than it would even normally be) because the author subsequently engaged in responses of his own; including a public social media argument the tone and content of which – both in general and under the specific circumstances – were frankly appalling (the article itself has been replaced on The Escapist by an apology, the sufficiency of which I offer no opinion on but which includes some relevant details) – and which I condemn. I was angered, disappointed and frustrated by them and by the subsequent way in which the entire event continued to play out.

I should probably back up a little, for context and history…

To make a long story that most who will read this likely neatly divide between “already know” and “don’t really care”: The Escapist had been a small-ish gaming site which, a bit over a decade ago, had blown up massively on acquiring a hugely popular game-review webseries called Zero Punctuation. They began expanding to acquire more writers and video producers, and I was one of the subsequent hires as film critic, producer of The Big Picture and ultimately author of multiple weekly columns. I had good relationships with colleagues, made a lot of good friendships and connections that lasted to this day, and for a time things were good – until they weren’t.

The so-called “Gamergate” fiasco – a hate movement born specifically a weaponized stalking campaign against a specific female game developer that soon blossomed into a whole network of internet-based terrorism pretending to operate under concerns about “ethics in games journalism” that came to encompass a large collection of proto-Trump campaign alt-right “New Media” personalities – tore through the mid-2010s gaming scene like a tidal wave of sewage, and The Escapist during that time was uniquely stuck in the nexus of it as it’s founder and (now-ex) co-owner had turned out to harbor some… “unique” political viewpoints that aligned with much of the aforementioned movement; leading to employees of the site who had spoken against “GG” (or were simply on the nebulous “naughty list” of persons GG had designated as targets for one reason or another) either quitting in disgust or being gradually cycled as part of “budgets” or “restructuring” – eventually including me.

This  left me adrift and effectively unemployed with rent to pay and the copyrights, trademarks and raw content of basically everything I had made with The Escapist now owned by the succession of different companies, debtors and venture capital firms that would come to own the site and its assets in the intervening years; so I had to effectively rebuild my brand from scratch. I think I did alright – you can see the fruits of my independent-circuit run continuing still on my current YouTube channel and in the scaffolding of this website. If nothing else, I grew my brand instead of receding, didn’t have to move out of my apartment and, ultimately, “outlived” the people who more-or-less screwed me over most directly in the professional sense.

But (to fast forward back to the recent-past) when the opportunity came to potentially the vacated skeleton of The Escapist (and, specifically, my old brands and material) I very much jumped at the chance. The prospect of it didn’t (and still do not) see it as a step backward or even sideways so much as a way to reclaim something that I felt was taken from me and and to (in some small way) undo some damage that had been done, if not “in my name,” at least through the “wielding” a name that I’d helped to make worth wielding in the first place (if that makes any sense.)

To put it bluntly: Before it became a living-dead site, The Escapist had become effectively synonymous with Gamergate and the ugly, awful things it had stood for; and that meant not only were hours of video (most of it featuring my own recorded voice) and hundreds of thousands of words of my writing – most of it representing the work I’m to this day best known for and still approached about by fans, asked about at conventions and told “got me noticed” by prospective employers – were not only not under my control and ownership, they (along with my memories of the good times during which they were created) were being permanently tainted by association with what The Escapist had become. And as bad as that made me feel, the all-too-often refrain heard from fans and followers that their own memories and associations thereof were sullied by this as well made me feel worse.

So, when it became a reality that myself and small group of others were invited by the new corporate entity that acquired the remains of The Escapist to relaunch a refreshed version of it featuring revivals of my “classic” (phrase used rhetorically, I assure you) productions; I had to say yes. And overall I’m glad I did. I’ve been happy to be doing these shows again, I like the people I work with on them; and more to the point I’ve felt like – from my perspective – real progress was being made toward erasing the taint that the Gamergate association had left on the site and the broader conversation and thus helping to re-establish a platform from which myself and others could put good, positive things out into the world.

And then this latest business (see above) happened…

Those who follow me on Twitter are likely aware of, at least tangentially, of what I mean by “continued to play out.” Yes, I was angry that my colleague had behaved in a horrible way – mainly because it was simply wrong and, secondarily (though, as I’ll explain in a moment, not as secondarily as it ought have been) because I was in real-time having to deal with “spillover” from it and the conflation of my earlier “defense” of the offending column with said horrid actions of its author. (With the context/history now establish, I can explain – briefly – that the now-removed column was essentially an op-ed about how Gamergate was evil, hateful and not at all what it’s vile adherents claimed it was about and that one of the negative effects of it was that “real conversations” about journalism ethics were now unable to be had without it’s specter looming over things, a sentiment which I initially found agreeable but others felt was either too close to endorsing the “spirit of GG” and/or did not sufficiently address the importance of whom it had targeted or why – criticisms I originally felt perplexed by but am now more able to see the merits of.)

More broadly, in the moment I felt personally hurt and infuriated by the insinuation (not even – outright statement-as-fact, really) by other friends, associates, colleagues and “known persons” of my professional space (such as it is) that this was “proof” that The Escapist was “still bad,” that the site ought to be scuttled and scrapped and (by inevitable implication) its staff with it. And while obviously, there’s knee-jerk “Hey, that includes me y’know!” reaction to hearing anything like that, I felt a much deeper, more painful, more seething, bitter pit-of-the-soul resentfulness because of how much work I’d personally poured specifically into making the site NOT the very things it was now being described as.

In effect, I was feeling as though (justified) outrage at one person and the “reminder” it was serving of other bad persons prior bad actions was not only fixed to (maybe?) burn down something I was a part of over something I hadn’t done, but that I was effectively being told (through lack of anything being said about it at all) that all the work I’d done and all I’d given of myself hadn’t count for anything – that I didn’t count for anything. That I didn’t matter.

That’s never a good feeling, and it’s not as though I’ve had the kind of recent run of luck that would leave one in space to absorb additional feelings of that nature very well… and I didn’t. I was furious, sad, emotionally raw and (more than anything else) unnerved by a feeling of abandonment and isolation; since in this particular instance most of the people I could normally talk to about these exact feelings were the ones drawing up battle-lines on one side or the other of this as it was playing out. On the one hand, I’m annoyed with myself that I failed to simply pull away and not fall behind on work. On the other hand, I didn’t crack open the whiskey (or have even a drop of alcohol, the whole time) and just start self-righteously ranting – I’m proud of that.

What I’m not proud of, and the reason for this (now long-winded) post, is that I stayed stuck in that deep, painful, seething, bitter, pit-of-the-soul resentful mode of anger and self-pity entirely too much longer than I had any business doing. As was eventually pointed out to me by a dear friend (a better friend than I tend to deserve, honestly, precisely because they will tell me things I often don’t want to hear but need to – like this) it’s one thing to feel bad for oneself, alone, unacknowledged (in one’s suffering or otherwise) but it’s another to dwell on it to the detriment of being able to sympathize with what others are telling you (or trying to.)

That’s not necessarily something I was wholly ignorant of, which is one of the things that makes these kinds of things painful on such a cyclically painful level: The general awareness (as I said: didn’t even have a beer) of my conscience shouting in my ear the whole time: “Hey! Some of the people who are angry about this are angry because they’ve experienced much worse than you likely ever will and you have no business feeling this bad for yourself!” …and yet being at the same time being in too much of a sad sack headspace to actually listen, rally and get over myself about it. So instead I just sat there, slowly picking through deadlined work and absorbing unfolding rage on social media while feeling bad for myself, being angry at myself for feeling bad for myself and then feeling worse about that. And so on and so on.

This is something I struggle with, a lot, and I often “lose.”

I’m in therapy. I have been for awhile now, regularly since I lost my father last year, and intermittently before that. It helps. I recommend it. I should’ve been doing it for awhile before I started (more advice I can thank my smart friend for) We “work on” a lot of things, but the number one thing I find myself trying (often failing) to get a handle on is a deeply painful sense of emptiness and emotional need. I’m told that recognizing and acknowledging it is healthy – I feel like it’d be healthier to one day “recognize” that it’s not there.

I feel alone a lot. Not “impostor” alone or “monophobic” alone or evenly necessarily “lonely” (though I do feel that more and more as the years pass – it used to be less pronounced, but I grew up in a busy house and now… it’s just me, more and more.) But isolated, misunderstood, suspicious that I’m (more) disliked than I’m told I am and – always – on the precipice of losing whatever stability, friends, colleagues, advancement, growth, status, etc I’ve managed to achieve for myself. Because I make a fresh mistake. Because I say the wrong thing. Because some old mistake or something I didn’t even know was a mistake (but probably should have) comes back to wallop me out of nowhere. Or through no fault of my own at all… through random chance, a change in the cosmic weather or just shitty luck. I don’t believe in fate, but sometimes I worry that it believes in me.

And that feeling of (from my angry, confused and panicked perspective of that moment) seeing so many people I liked, knew and respected either eager or nonchalant to see something I worked incredibly hard to help build torn down (and me, in part, with it); combined with the initial disappointment at seeing someone else I respected conduct themselves in such a way as to spur this on (regardless of intent or “factors”) …the swirl of negative energy around that left me feeling more truly alone and isolated in a “you can’t rely on anyone, no one is coming to help you, in the end you’ll only really have you” way than I’ve felt in a long, long time – which I KNOW is a stupid, self-centered, juvenile emotional response to such a situation… but there it was, all the same, hanging out in my head for much longer than it had any business doing. And I’m so disappointed in myself for letting it do so.

I recognize (this part I didn’t “need” therapy for) that this is part of why I am like I am and why I do what I do: Why I’m an artist, entertainer, creator, whatever (whether I’m any good at it is up to you – see what I did there? The passive-aggressive subtle-yet-unsubtle-and-now-reverse-masked-with-self-aware-irony plea for attention? That’s neediness) is in part to help draw in the attention and acknowledgment that helps fill up that aching empty space of “alone.” I’m told (hell, I think pretty much everyone who’s seen one post-1960s standup comedy special knows this, right?) that this is what “creative types” feel in general – it’s neither rare nor special. That’s not why I work on it.

I work on it because it worries me, sometimes. Other times, it frightens me.

I’ve known people (and seen more extreme examples in the general culture) for whom the same “need to feel more loved, acknowledged or at least not ignored” feeling that gnaws at me becomes all consuming and – if it doesn’t destroy them (bad enough in its own right…) it becomes an agent of active harm to those around them: The toxic narcissist. The person who’s need just can’t be filled up and becomes more like this yawning awful black hole that just consumes everything (and everyone) around it just trying to fill itself up and feel “not empty.” Your Charles Foster Kanes, your Howard Hughes, your… well, your “guys who would compare themselves to Charles Foster Kane and Howard Hughes,” come to think of it (that’s probably a bad sign.)

I don’t want to be like that. I hate people like that. They’re a blight on the world. And if there’s a reason above all others why I’m “working on myself” despite my life and psyche being (considering the state of the world otherwise) really not all that “bad” it’s that when I find myself failing as an ally (or as a friend or even as a person, but in the current context “ally” is the most relevant term) by making myself the center of something where I shouldn’t be – like, say, letting bitterness and anger at my sincere hard work trying to wash the GG/alt-right smear off The Escapist and my contributions thereto apparently be utterly unappreciated overwhelm and take precedence over the more important issue of people’s legitimate criticisms of other things surrounding the site in the moment (and the question, evidently far less “settled” for some than it had been for me, of whether it was even possible or worthwhile to wash said smear in the first place – though I continue to hope that it is) – my fear is that those are the stumbles that too many of which can lead to becoming exactly what I don’t want to become.

Which is why I’m now feeling… deflated and awful. Still angry about what initially happened, still residually hurt at the notion that I could work so hard to “fix” something and have it (and, through transitive property, me) “not matter” and viscerally mad at myself for the self-centeredness of feeling the second one so much more strongly for so sustained a moment than the (much more important) first one. I feel let down, but I also know for a fact that by stewing in my own personal resentment and hurt feelings I let other people down – even if they didn’t know it. I’m supposed to be better than that. I work hard at being better than that, and I expect “better than that” from others; which means I have to expect it from myself.

So what do you do about? You keep working at it.

It’s been basically two days, if that, of this playing out. I don’t know what the future is, for me or anyone else (i.e. I know exactly as much about “the future of The Escapist” going forward as is written in the apology post – so exactly as much as anyone else: not very much) I have new reviews up today on both The Escapist and Geek.com, and I expect to have a new Big Picture episode up on Monday. For now, I continue to believe that inner reform and making something good and forward-looking from my space within the site (with the aid of what I must stress is a crew of extremely good, talented, right-minded people) is a worthwhile and possible goal.

If you saw me Tweeting about wallowing in my own self-pity and thought “Why is he stuck in his own head about this?” Because I have work yet to do, but that’s no excuse – if it disappointed you, know that it disappointed me, too, and that I’m sorry. I want to do better. If you’re thinking of responding to this with some version of “You’re being too hard on yourself, it’s okay to have felt slighted in that respect!” – I ask that you please don’t. I appreciate sentiment and/or the general concept of positive-reinforcement; but it’s not necessary nor particularly helpful in this case. I’m comfortable to what minor degree I felt “right,” and I need to own and grow from the larger degree to which I was either wrong or “handled it wrong.”

I’m going to keep creating, keep trying to (as best I’m able) use what I create to uplift the good, speak for what’s right, help those who need help, push ideas that need pushing, expose what needs exposing and (since, after all, 90% of what I do is adjacent to one form of entertainment or another) bring joy into the world. I’ll work to do it better, and while it’s somewhat difficult to not center oneself a bit working so often in the medium of first-person narrated video; “being better” about exactly that is why I try to elevate perspectives, ideas and issues that aren’t necessarily “about me” or primarily adjacent to my life-experience in more and more of my work. I will try to do better. I will probably fail several more times. But I will continue to try.

To those who support me, I thank you. From the bottom of my heart. To those who might wish to support but, for now, want to see me actually do better, I will work to win your trust – or to win it back. And especially to those who’ve ever told me to get the hell over myself – thank you most of all.

— Bob.

74 thoughts on “A Smaller Picture

  1. Bill says:

    Bob,
    If this is of any help – you do good work, and I look forward to all of your videos (even the gaming ones even though I’m not much of a gamer). You have a sharp wit and legitimately bring joy to your viewers and readers. I’m glad you have help and hope 2019 is fruitful and joyful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeffery Deneumoustier says:

      Hey Bob,

      I know it doesn’t mean much from an internet stranger, but I honestly think that the work you do is important. Russ’ article was pretty terrible, but I don’t really know him or his work.

      What I do know is your work.

      When you left The Escapist, I removed it from my bookmarks, started following this site, and never looked back. When you returned to The Escapist, I immediately knew it must have changed for the better, and likely dramatically so. I’ve seen the good work that you’ve been doing on the site, and while Russ’ comments were fairly alarming, it’s impossible (and frankly, dishonest) to discount all the good you’ve done on the site in the last few months. Knowing that you’re sticking around and fighting the good fight is comfort enough for me.

      Like I said, I can’t imagine that a random comment on a blog post will really be of much comfort, but I sincerely wish you all the best Bob. There’s so much vitriol and hate on the internet, and you’re definitely a light in that darkness. (I mean, there was the Batman V. Superman ‘Really That Bad’, but if anything deserved a good beating in this world, it was that movie.)

      Warm thoughts,

      Jeff D.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rob doyle says:

    “I feel alone a lot. Not “impostor” alone or “monophobic” alone or evenly necessarily “lonely” (though I do feel that more and more as the years pass – it used to be less pronounced, but I grew up in a busy house and now… it’s just me, more and more.) But isolated, misunderstood, suspicious that I’m (more) disliked than I’m told I am and – always – on the precipice of losing whatever stability, friends, colleagues, advancement, growth, status, etc I’ve managed to achieve for myself. Because I make a fresh mistake. Because I say the wrong thing. Because some old mistake or something I didn’t even know was a mistake (but probably should have) comes back to wallop me out of nowhere. Or through no fault of my own at all… through random chance, a change in the cosmic weather or just shitty luck. I don’t believe in fate, but sometimes I worry that it believes in me.”

    Yo dude, legit I have been a fan of you since… Game Overthinker episode 7 back in like 2006 and holy fuck I have never felt like I got a grasp on your real personality until just now. You’re me! I’ve always felt that way, shit I feel it now even after serving in the Navy and getting over my initial horrific social awkwardness and finding a group of friends to really connect with. Maybe this is the curse of the “Irish guy from major east coast metropolises” that is something we all share? I dunno, I hope you feel better though, and know that you got another dude in NYC that is feeling that same emotion your feeling and maybe it’s a more universal trait than it feels like.

    Cheers,

    Rob Doyle

    Like

    • VikingMN says:

      If it makes both of you Bobs feel better, it’s not an issue unique to either of you. I get that the all time thanks to social and generalized anxiety, along with the generally neurotic mindset that usually suffers from those issues.

      In fact it’s a blessing to hear you guys voice those insecurities. That the general feeling of happiness can be so easily kicked under with a sense that nothing is secure and that no feedback is entirely on point.

      On the bright side you’re not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jesse Sinclair says:

        I genuinely hope you get help. I don’t know what has gone so wrong in your life to cause you to spend such an exhorbitent amount of time sh!tposting on a deeply personal blogpost. Whatever it is, Caryn, I’m sorry for it.

        Take care of yourself. You clearly are in need of mental health help, and if therapy isn’t an option I hope you at least have a friend or two you can confide in. Be strong and you’ll get through this, whatever it is.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Spidey says:

    Bob, long time listener, first time caller.

    Your works speaks for itself.

    Always intelligent, ethical, and empathetic. You’re always changing and improving, sure. And mistakes happen. But no matter what happens with your publishers or on twitter, no one who actually reads and listens to your output would think otherwise.

    Thanks for writing about the personal stuff, too. I hope it helped to get some of it off your chest. I’m having my own very first therapy intake next week. I’m shitting bricks about it–sorry, shitting rocks–and honestly it was a little reassuring to hear that someone I respect has found the experience helpful.

    All best Bob, keep doing you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caryn Cosmo says:

      I hate MovieBob. By the way, anyone want a boat for cheap? Send me an e-mail. I only accept payment in Amazon gift cards, though.

      Like

    • rob doyle says:

      I used to post shit like that. I also used to point a revolver at my head every other night while three bottles of vodka under the influence. Hope you feel better someday m8

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Present Perfect says:

    The description of what you’ve been feeling was awfully familiar. I get the same way, when the possibility ever thinks of rearing its ugly head someone might not like me, and suddenly it seems like my worth as a human being, to say nothing of what little self-worth I already possess, evaporates.

    You say all creative types go through this? Ugh. UGH. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. What a bunch of useless emotions, god. Good luck to you.

    Like

    • Caryn Cosmo says:

      Kill yourself. By the way, want a boat for cheap? Just send me $1500 in eBay gift cards! (Just take photos of the redemption codes and send them to my e-mail.)

      Like

      • Matt Bankey says:

        Hey Bob, are you going to do anything about this Caryn Cosmo person? Or can you do anything about them? They seem to have a lot of time on their hands… not to mention a boat, which for some reason, they think they can sell people while simultaneously insulting them. Not a born salesman, to say the least.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lewis Wood says:

    Bob,
    I’ve been a fan and consumer of your content since 2010. I was tipped off to “The Escapist” by a school friend who wanted me to see “Zero Punctuation,” but “Escape to the Movies” and “The Big Picture” were what kept me coming back, and why i followed you on to “In Bob We Trust” and your reviews for Geek.com after your departure.

    Your content has elevated my own understanding and takeaways from film, tv, games, and pop culture in general in a profound sense. You’ve literally changed the way i enjoy what enjoy for the better, and provided me tremendous insight as to why. I love what you do, so i want to say thank you for doing it, and i hope that the future brings you less obstacles and tribulation.

    Like

  6. Internet_Wonderer says:

    Hey Bob,

    It’s me. Guy on the internet who grew jaded by games and geek culture and loves you for being the adult in the room when others would rather do hot takes.

    Your thoughts, feelings, and efforts to address hard subjects in a raw and real way are something I’ve always appreciated.

    Throwing in my love and support for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caryn Cosmo says:

      Hey Internet_Wonderer,

      Kill youself. By the way, got $1500 in Amazon/eBay/whatever gift cards? ‘Cause I’ll exchange ’em for my ex-husband’s boat!

      Like

  7. Colin Murrant says:

    You have been and continue to be one of my favorite media analysit/commenter/essayists. I imagine given your employment history, the bizarre political/cultural developments of the last few years have taken a personal toll. Please keep your own health and happiness a top priority.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caryn Cosmo says:

      Movie Bob doesn’t need well wishes. He just to needs to kill himself! By the way, interested in a nice boat for cheap? E-mail me!

      Like

  8. Rubi says:

    I like your work. I like what you’re trying to do with The Escapist. I won’t lie, though, knowing the site still hosts GG-era doxxing shit makes me a lot less supportive of the site despite the quality of the current content. Will still watch your Geek.com and personal YouTube videos and hopefully the mess at The Escapist gets seriously cleaned up.

    Like

    • Caryn Cosmo says:

      I hope you kill yourself, unless you plan on taking my ex-husband’s boat off my hands! Shoot me an e-mail! (You can pay me in gift cards, but you have to photograph and send the numbers to me. eBay/Amazon/whatever will handle the transaction.)

      Like

  9. metalzones says:

    Honestly I actually like being by myself, that’s mostly due to my autism, it just feels very relaxing to be in a room all by my lonesome with nobody interrupting and I find crowded environments quite stressful.

    It depresses me to see the left devour each other like this, you don’t see the right doing that nearly as much, for as awful as they are, they are pretty damn good at organizing and uniting against us.

    This post honestly sounds a lot like what TotalBiscuit was going through after he got diagnosed with terminal cancer and was stunned to see people he once respected harassing him and praying for his death on twitter(while he was at a doctor’s appointment no less) and his crime? retweeting a charity stream.

    I have mixed feelings about you Bob, sometimes you say profound things, sometimes you make me scratch my head and facepalm(some of the company you keep i’m not fond of, I don’t believe a fake progressive like Noah Berlatsky is deserving of a weekly column at The Escapist, not after the vile crap he said about TB, also can’t stand Arthur Chu for similar reasons).

    I do hope you get better for your own sake and everyone else’s.

    Like

  10. Nicodemus says:

    I’m just gonna say this, even though I’m probably screaming into the wind. Your feelings are valid. You are NOT wrong and NOT selfish to feel how you feel. Never let anyone belittle your pain. Because it matters. YOU matter. No matter what anybody else who’s suffered “worse” tells you you’re allowed to feel. Anybody tells you otherwise? Fuck ’em. No matter who they are.

    Like

  11. Tom Rose says:

    Bob,

    I always look forward to your work. I am sorry you feel so alone. I wish there was some way for me to help you with that. I’d be your friend in a heartbeat because I can tell you’re such a smart and caring man. And, I always come to hear what you have to say about movies. I’d love to watch a movie with you some day. Take care of yourself. It’ll get better. I promise.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. frankiesmileshow says:

    To me, the “narrative” in my mind about the whole Escapist situation hasnt been “This is that shitty gamergate site”, but rather, “this is a site that was taken over”. Considering that the escapist was probably much more famous before the reactionary takeover than during, I feel its likely that this is what most people think of it?

    But yeah, I can empathize with feeling like a lot of your work was “taken away” from you and then tainted by association, and how that might make you lash out protectively later when something goes awry in the attempt to reclaim that work. I hope you can all learn from this, and how to deal with subject matter like this better.

    Like

  13. GG Crono (@gg_crono) says:

    None of us is perfect. We’re all fundamentally people, and people are complicated.

    But, as a long time fan, let me say that I always have, and continue to do so, think of you as one of the good guys. In a world where the hateful are louder than ever, you continue to speak up about things that matter, even as it continues to draw you an undo amount of ire, and I’ll always respect you for that.

    Like

    • Caryn Cosmo says:

      Honey, Movie Bob doesn’t deserve respect. You know who else doesn’t deserve respect? My good-for-nothing ex-husband, who I recently divorced. I’m selling his boat for cheap. Interested? Shoot me an e-mail: caryncosmo@yahoo.com

      Like

  14. LeosKlein says:

    Bob,

    I’m really glad you wrote this. I find myself doing the same thing way more often than I should. It reminds me that I’m not actually “alone” as it were. It’s so easy to forget that bit of perspective when you’re stuck in the spiral.

    Like

  15. Caryn Cosmo says:

    Movie Bob, you deserve to be killed. I hope someone breaks into your home and kills you. By the way, interested in a boat? Shoot me an e-mail: caryncosmo@yahoo.com

    I only accept payment in gift cards. If you pay me in Amazon gift cards, Amazon will handle the rest of the transaction. Just photograph the redemption codes and e-mail them to me at my e-mail above.

    P.S. Kill yourself.

    Like

  16. bgatten says:

    Hey Bob,

    Years ago, I read The Escapist daily. There were lots of creators there I enjoyed immensely, and you were one of the best. When the Gamergate wave arrived, I was disappointed to see the site taken over by crazies and good people like you pushed out, but I kept it in my bookmarks and revisited every now and then just to see if somehow things would go back to something like normal there. I followed your work elsewhere, but when Pitts revived the site and brought you back, it seemed like a silly dream come true to have a site I loved so much back in the day rehabilitated somewhat.

    I don’t know what unforgivable comments Pitts made on Twitter or wherever, but I hope this storm blows over as well. You have done stellar work for years, and that deserves recognition on its own merits. Regardless of whether or not you overindulged in self pity, I hope you understand that people care about you and your creative output.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Noodle says:

    Hoping things get better for you, Bob.

    Also somebody please report “Caryn Cosmo,” they’re posting nothing but spam and harassment. Nobody wants your stupid boat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Griffin says:

      Caryn, I’ve spoken to a lot of people about your boat and…well…there’s no easy way to say this…
      It’s shit.
      I mean, look, there are a lot of boats out there, but this is the worst one. This is a bad fucking boat. The whole world looks down on you for even being near your boat. The bloody Titanic, from its watery grave at the bottom of the Atlantic, smiles when it thinks about your boat, because for all the people who died when it sank, that will never come close to the travesty that is your boat. And the worst part?
      Your boat’s not even one-tenth as shit as you are, you awful ableist scumbag.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Iron Barricuda says:

    Bob, I just want to tell you how proud of you I am for taking this seriously and working on it. I too have dealt with persistent, cyclical internal obstacles for much of my life, though mine weren’t the same as yours, and I know what it’s like to face exactly the same battle day after day and lose most of the time.

    I also know that it’s possible to change this pattern, because I’ve done it. It took me about 20 years. Half of that was the time it took me to realize that there were toxic assumptions I had made about life as a kid, and never really questioned, that were driving me into this cycle. The other 10 years were how long it took me to build a healthy, functional paradigm to replace the one I gave up. I was in therapy for the entire 20 years.

    I’m telling you this because, in my worst moments during those 20 years, if someone had told me that I really could become someone who I could be unreservedly proud of being, I might not have been able to believe them. I want you to hear from someone who’s been through it that just because you can’t solve a problem right away doesn’t mean you can’t solve it.

    Straight talk, no bullshit: You’re perceptive enough to make the most insightful reviews I’ve ever seen, and you’re brave enough to write this post. I think you’ve got what it takes. And as we both know, we literally have nothing better to do.

    P.S. Yeah, I see your cries for help here. I needed help too. It didn’t even help right away. But I still made it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Carolyn Merklein says:

    Hi

    I’m a gender ambiguous, Gen-Z progressive, who knows about GamerGate in the same way I know about War on Terror – I was around when the major inciting events happened, technically, but I don’t remember it at all, and my opinions come from think pieces rather than actual experience with the issues. That’s your context for me.

    I suppose I’m one of the demographics you’d most like to know that you’re relevant to, y’know aside from homicidal boat saleswomen. Both in the business sense, and in a personal ‘what is my legacy’ sense. And, I’d like you to know to that you are. You’ve taught me so much about the history of the media world I hope to inherit, about how to observe at media critically, and how to be conscious of my own context and those of others.

    I am of the opinion that you have your head up your ass a lot of the time, but I also just as often see you as exemplar of how to be self-conscious and examine the, well, big picture of things. Trying to do more of that with my self-perception abilities, rather than the assgazing self-aggrandizement-self-loathing rapid oscillation that I fall into shamefully easily, has been one of the driving axis of my personal maturation.

    So, I guess, in short, I think you have substantively – if as part of the blizzard of such influences – made me, at least, a better person than I would be otherwise.

    Thanks for that 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Jesse Sinclair says:

    This is why you are worth reading and watching.

    Don’t get me wrong, your reviews appealed to me first because they are both funny and informative, but I’ve stuck around so long because you have a willingness to share strong opinions and then later change them. You show an enviable awareness of your own faults and thought processes and biases that allows you to change over time, correct mistakes, and most importantly SHARE that process with us.

    It is an extremely admirable quality, and one that makes me value your opinion on subjects even when I disagree with them (though admittedly I don’t often disagree with them).

    You should be proud of the quality and integrity of your work, and equally as proud of your quality and integrity as a person. We all make mistakes. We all can lash out in anger when feeling threatened. It takes real strength of character to not only own up to this mistakes, but to do so in such a public manner.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. S_S says:

    Hey Bob,

    We don’t always see eye to eye, but your content is special. You explore media important to you personally, but through a lense of social context. You introduce so many to issues, perspectives, and metatexts they wouldn’t encounter otherwise. It’s unselfish and rad. Good luck, and keep working – on your work and yourself.

    By the way, does anyone know where I can get a boat? Thing is, I only have about $1500 to my name and it’s all in Amazon and/or eBay gift cards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • S_S says:

      Cool, it’s a plan. Quick question though, will you send the boat before I die or will I get it posthumously? Just need to know whether or not to update my will real fast.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Jim Java (@JimJava) says:

    Apparently, the Escapist still has GamerGate-era dox info listed, at least according to Zoe Quinn. If that’s true, I think she has every right to be mad about that. Although, to be fair, I’m not sure whether it would have been kept up out of genuine malice, or simply incompetence. Considering the Escapist took fucking months to add “next” and “previous” buttons to Critical Mix, I can’t rule out the former. But the point is, I understand if she’s mad about that.

    But not the article. The article was fine. It wasn’t even *about* GamerGate, it just referenced it on the way to making the more substantive points. And what I especially take umbrage with is this notion that the Escapist should have basically asked for Zoe’s permission before running it, like she’s the officially appointed Arbiter of Mentioning GamerGate in Internet Articles.

    In my eyes, she was kind of an asshole for that. Now granted, Russ was kind of an asshole back, and as I’ve noted, she may have had prior cause to be mad at him, rather muddying the waters…

    But Bob- whatever the case- you aren’t at fault here. And the people saying the Escapist should never have been revived at all are massive fucking idiots. Don’t even try to hear them out, you’ll just lose brain cells.

    Liked by 2 people

    • aquarionics says:

      The old forums are still online, and aren’t purged of all the shit. That’s the stuff Escapist is still hosting, and they need to cut ties.

      If Pitts wanted to discuss ethics, he shouldn’t have mentioned Gamergate. The combination is an electrified rail and any real discussion on the subject needs to happen without it as a context. I think he realises that now.

      Like

  23. jesseblackrock says:

    Hey, Bob. I was one of those people that came to the Escapist when they acquired Zero Punctuation, which is where I first found your work. I left when you left, and I’ve followed your work ever since. I know lots of people who love and respect your videos, but for me personally you’ve always let enough of your personality shine through your work that it’s hard not to think of you like a friend, silly as it is to say a complete stranger could be a friend. And I hate to see anyone, let alone a friend, feeling lonely or in pain. I don’t believe in fate either, and I have every confidence in you. You’re on the side of the angels, and the fact that you can admit when you make a mistake is proof of that. Just know that when you’re lonely, someone out here loves you.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Cheesy Peas. says:

    A conversation about “Ethics” does need to happen, but unfortunately it has forever been scuppered by the spectre of “Gamergate.” You simply can’t mention one without the other being dredged up, and all those who survived that horrible harrassment campaign having to relive it again. It’s a big pile of shit.

    I was a “Gamergater.”

    I genuinely thought it was about games reviewers all being a mass of self-interested buddies all looking out for their mates. I never EVER sent a tweet to any journalist (male or female) and certainly didn’t harass anyone. I joined the “Gamergate” forums and read with barely contained excitement each and every “exposed!” writer that had undeclared connections – even tangentally – to a games developer. I cried “Corruption!” “Nepotism!”

    Then I slowly noticed something.

    It WASN’T about ethics. Most comments were angry, yes. But the anger was almost always directed at a certain “type” of person. A certain gender of person. Every ethics discussion quickly degenerated into a “5 guys burger and fries!” fest. A small step back and I could see the frankly HORRIFIC levels of outright sexism that was being spouted, but that was being shielded by people like me. People who tolerated that sexism because we thought it was the “fringe” of our movement, not the movement itself. It was about “Ethics.”

    Then people like Milo started getting involved. We were being pushed, shaped and MOULDED. Weaponised for their own political ends. It’s easy to see in retrospect how we were being groomed for a Trump-type campaign. Lots of angry little boys all ready to scream about how the “SJWs” and “feminists!”were destroying the West, and only the brave “Alt-Right” could save us.

    I am truly and utterly disgusted about what happened in my name. No I didn’t tweet or harass, but I routinely ignored those that did, because I thought it benefitted my ethics “Purge” of the industry. Little did I realise that I was a nothing but a useful idiot.

    They were using ME as their shield, even as I cheered the #NotYourShield hashtag. They were using my minority status as a way to obfuscate Gamergate’s real intentions. Targetted and prolonged harrassment and ridicule, leading to political disenfranchisement. Followed by absorbtion into the Alt Right.

    Look at the forums today that housed the bulk of the “Gamergate” shitstorm. They’re all pretty much Far Right cesspools that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with videogame ethics. They’re outright /pol/ levels of white nationalism. They don’t even have to pretend any more.

    YES, we need a proper conversation about “Ethics in Games Journalism.” We really do. The Driv3r fiasco, Gerstmann being fired, Rab Florence being silenced… All these things DID happen.

    But not if it raises the spectre of Gamergate again.

    Useful idiots like me will always be around to provide ample smokescreen for some truly horrible shit to happen again.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. William LJ Galaini says:

    I am glad that this particular battle in the ‘culture war’ landed in a time when we have Moviebob on the front lines. I mean that.

    Permit yourself your juvenile despair and vulnerability. From this post, it is clear that you recover quickly and learn constructively. You are human and that is a solidly good thing.

    You’ve made enemies of the right people (ie the psycho selling a boat in comments) so judge yourself on not only the friends you make the enemies you’ve wrought.

    Like

  26. Dr Kavorkian says:

    Hi Caryn!

    Why did you ever break up with your ex?
    You seem like such a kind and friendly person.
    I think I know you, do you work at a suicide help line?
    Now that you are single, maybe we should go out some time?

    Like

  27. franksands says:

    Bob, I am proud to support you on patreon and love your work. I watched all of your game overthinker series, which shows the live you pour into your work. The Big Picture is one of my favorite series from the first episode.
    You’re not alone!

    Like

  28. franksands says:

    Bob, I am proud to support you on patreon and love your work. I watched all of your game overthinker series, which shows the love you pour into your work. The Big Picture is one of my favorite series from the first episode.
    You’re not alone!

    Like

  29. metermaid50 says:

    I am not a gamer. I have no interest in that. I love movies. I love what you say/write about movies. I’ve seen your “Really That Bad” videos about BvS:DofJL 3 times, and I’ve only seen the movie once (that was enough). So I just went to Patreon to become a supporter. Keep doing the work you do.

    Like

  30. Jade says:

    Thank you for being honest about this… I think, a lot of the time, people are afraid to admit they’ve fucked up or done something dumb and self-centered and apologize for it. It means a lot to see an adult in a public space do that, because it’s something everybody will do at some point in time. And that’s a really valuable thing to see.
    so independent of any of the (very entertaining and good) work you do or anything else: this was a genuinely useful thing to have written. Thank you

    Like

    • rebamacncheese says:

      dude, I’m not here to kinkshame, but there’s a time and a place for your humiliation fat fetish. Read the room, get people’s consent before you start a scene, just some advice.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pat Hulse says:

      Who’s the bigger loser? A person who says all of these things, or a person who obsessively catalogues all of these things because they’re actually that bothered by any of it?

      Like

  31. Denali Shapland says:

    Letting your past mistakes fuel your efforts towards making yourself a better person is, in my view, one of the best and most mature things anyone can do. Keep at it, man.

    For what it’s worth, watching your videos makes me feel less lonely, just knowing someone else is out there who’s just as analytical as I am. If you stopped doing what you do, I’d miss you. That probably doesn’t do a lot to make you feel less lonely but I know what feeling lonely is like so I gotta say something.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Nova Valentin says:

    To be honest, I first found Bob through one of the Internet-ancient GameOverthinker’s before the Escapist hired him. (Episode 2.) Inasmuch as a content creator can be separated from the space where the content is published, any feelings I have about the Escapist itself don’t really follow through to Bob’s work. (My feelings about the inciting article and subsequent behavior are not relevant here.)

    It’s ultimately up to Bob and the people writing his paychecks what projects he pursues. I don’t always agree with his opinions or the conclusions he draws in his thinkpieces, but there’s enough to his work and the research he does to at least pay attention to what he has to bring to the discussion. Even if it is occasionally about forgotten ’80s cartoons.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. aquarionics says:

    Okay, so.

    Part Zero.

    I doubt you’re going to read this comment queue anytime soon. Sorry it’s a trashfire. This became a lot as I was typing it.

    Part one:

    The Escapist v1.5 (I miss the original PDF concept) was part of GamerGate. It was a hub, a nexus point, and tinder for the flame. The stain on the site’s reputation isn’t your fault, nor is it Yatzee’s and it isn’t entirely Russ Pitt’s either. But, to the people most affected – Zoe Quinn within them – you can no more rehabilitate the site than you can make Kevin Spacey a leading man for a whacky kids movie, or let Louis C.K. near a mic right now. Especially if you do it by taking over the existing site and keeping all the old content. At the very least it needs a clean break, though I’m sure that was debated as part of the revamp, and I get 2020 hindsight for another ten months or so. Russ may need to lie low for a while, and lead from the back.

    Part two:

    The fun thing about diabetes is the bit where you know what will kill you. The long search for your final cause of death – assuming you don’t get hit by a bullet, plane, train, car or toilet – is pencilled in. That on top of losing close family (for which: commiserations) and the endless torrent of mindless insults you get on a normal day is a lot for anyone, especially someone with issues around your own work and other people letting you down. I dunno if your therapy paperwork looks anything like mine, but I’ve been given a list of things I said in sessions that always indicate “This is about to become a spiral downwards” and “I am not appreciated” (and it’s sister “My work/effort is not appreciated”) are right up there. And in competition with the great injustices of the world and even our local social circles that seems trivial and needy, but the recognition that this is a pattern and that it _is_ that trigger, and that’s why your brains are where they are now, is a step towards recognising where those patterns are and giving your mental lemmings an umbrella before they hit the deck, to shuffle metaphors.

    Part three:

    You’re doing good, and you’re doing it well. Keep with the words, both going out and coming in, and remember that you thrived (eventually) without The Escapist, and you can do it again if you have to. Your brand is stronger than you might think.

    Part four:

    I do not need a second hand boat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • coolmoedee345 says:

      “Part one:”

      Nonsense. The analogy doesn’t even work. Kevin Spacey DID bad things. The Escapist was a place where some bad people hung out for a while. You don’t burn Atlanta to the ground just because some very bad people did lynchings there in the not nearly long enough ago. People who can’t separate a place and an intent have a very real problem that they need to do something about. They shouldn’t be coddled. Having bad stuff happen to you is not an excuse for you to exercise bad faith in your future dealings. Medgar Evers – of all things – is inextricably tied up with my father’s death in my teenage years, but it doesn’t make it okay for me to try and have the section thrown out of American History 102. It’s not unreasonable to expect people to handle their own baggage.

      “Part two”

      …..Aaaaaaactually, diabetes won’t necessarily be the proximal cause of death. It’s possible that I could pop my clogs over insulin shock, but it’s more likely that I’ll die of heart disease, since I’ve been doing this for almost twenty years now and it hasn’t killed me yet. It tried, but it didn’t get there. Now it gets to race my liver to see which of the two can beat me out, since that useless sack of bastard has apparently decided that I really ought to have gravy for blood and has dedicated itself to the furtherance of that pursuit.

      Seriously, though – take it from a guy with hereditary hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia, a busted thyroid, Type 1 diabetes, dissosciative identity disorder, and god only knows whatever shoe is next to drop – you can survive this shit, Bob. I’m told that you can even enjoy it, though I’ve probably got a couple more years of therapy before I can confirm that hypothesis.

      Like

  34. Masodiktiasma says:

    Thank you for this sincere post, Bob. It was helpful for me to read your perspective on these mental issues, and how to move forward and be a good/better person.

    Like

  35. Galanodel says:

    Hey Bob!

    Pretty much everyone has has already said everything worth saying, but i’d like to add one more sentiment that isn’t represented enough in this; You are not your work, you are not the Escapist, and you for sure aren’t anything else but yourself. No one should self-define their internal sense of personhood by their jobs, it isn’t healthy.

    Regardless of what you do, when you do it, where you do it, or how you do it, people like me will continue to follow your content. I’ve personally watched you since discovering you on the Escapist, jumped ship when you went solo, and continue to enjoy it wherever it goes. Do what makes you happy, and people like me will do what we can to make sure that you can make a living doing it.

    Like

  36. Ryan Ruopp says:

    Bob –

    I’m a 40 year-old teacher and generalized geek, and I’ve been watching your stuff for maybe 10 years now. I find the Gamer Gate stuff baffling, in all honesty; I don’t really understand any video game made for a console later than a Game Cube, and really the idea that there’s any kind of debate to be had about whether or not it’s ok to make rape/death threats over game reviews just seems insane to me. On the other hand, I’ve been consistently pleased by your work, and by your development; you’re intellectually invested, informed, you share opinions confidently but you admit your biases, and you make me think about popular art and culture in ways that are fun but that also help me to be a little more thoughtful. The only reason I even go to the Escapist at all is because you’re back there. And Bob, more than once I’ve had your stuff up in a browser window and had some random person see it and go “you watch MovieBob?” – so clearly, I’m not the only one who feels like this. I don’t know who it is who expects you to always have the right opinion immediately about everything, but that’s crazy. I’m not saying don’t self correct, but do trust yourself and your own process. You’ve more than earned the right to respect yourself.

    Like

  37. Patricia Lambert says:

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    Like

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