A lot's happened over the past number of days, and I'll get into what I feel about it shortly — but, for the moment, I'll stick to the plain, simple truth of the thing: Colin Moriarty has left Kinda Funny, and that's incredibly sad.
IN THE BEGINNING
I first discovered Greg Miller in late 2013. Shortly thereafter, I found my way to his YouTube channel, and a show called A Conversation with Colin. And that was that. I've written about this before — when the guys broke away from IGN to take Kinda Funny to the next level — but that post seems thoroughly inadequate now.
In its thorough inadequacy, I wrote that Colin and Greg inspired me to get more involved in the world of games, but, really, there's more to it than that: they inspired me to try to be more open, to try to work harder, think smarter before forming definitive opinions.
The inspiration came from both, but, from here on out, I'm only going to talk about Colin.
Odd it may seem to say of a man who lives over five-thousand miles away, who I haven't met — and likely never will — but, when I first encountered him, I felt like I'd found a kindred spirit in Colin Moriarty. Though interested enough to pay attention when things are going on, I've never been particularly politically-minded, so that’s not really going to come into play here; I agree with Colin on some things, disagree on others. As a person, though, I agree with him 100%. Fundamentally, I believe Colin to be a decent man.
There are many reasons why I consider this to be the case. I got a few sentences into listing them here, in fact, before realising that I don’t need to. Colin's out there: people can, will, and should make up their own minds.
All I need to say is that Colin made — and continues to make — me feel better about who I am, more comfortable expressing opinions different than from those of the majority. He makes me feel, as unlikely as it might, at times, seem, that there are sane people out there amongst the increasingly intolerable madness of this world.
His openness about his depressive nature, about his struggles with anxiety, and the resulting need to take a step back from things that might, to some, seem perfectly manageable (make note of that one: to take a step back, not demand that these things don’t happen), make me feel like less of a complete failure on a daily basis — his success in spite of them, less inclined to throw in the towel when my own issues get the better of me.
In some ways, I feel like I haven’t said enough about the effect Colin has had on me. In some ways, it feels like I should go on for several more paragraphs, a dissertation, and perhaps a novella — but, really, I’ve said what I wanted to say. To belabour my points any further would be needlessly repetitious, would feel forced, and would, ultimately, take away from the simple truth of them.
So, instead, I’ll move on to the unpleasant business of the past few days, and my feelings how it’s been dealt with.
March 8, 2017 was International Women’s Day. Naturally, many folks took the opportunity to make jokes, Colin amongst them.
Ah. Peace and quiet.#ADayWithoutAWoman
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) 8 March 2017
I saw multiple people, across various social networks, make the same joke — or variations of it — innumerable times before Colin posted his Tweet. It’s not original, it’s not highbrow, and it’s worthy of little more than an smile, a shake of the head — perhaps, at the extreme end of things, a brief snort of laughter, too. It should have been seen, scrolled past, and forgotten, but, today’s society being what it is, it wasn’t.
There were many reactions to the Tweet, ranging from positive, to indifferent, to — you guessed it! — negative.
As you might also have guessed, it’s the latter that really got to me, not because people disagreed with the joke, but because of the backhanded, bitchy, passive-aggressive nature of how that disagreement was expressed, much of it coming from men and women who continually preach inclusivity and diversity — as long your brand of both lines up with theirs, of course!
But I’m not here to talk about those people. As much as their reactions bothered me at the time, they will, ultimately, fade away — a few weeks from now, they’ll be largely forgotten. What I won’t forget, however, is the reaction from Kinda Funny itself.
Not long after Colin’s Tweet — and amid the veritable shitstorm raging around it — Greg released a statement on behalf of Kinda Funny.
— Greg Miller (@GameOverGreggy) 9 March 2017
Frankly, I was incredibly disappointed by this.
I couldn’t get Greg's words from the previous day’s PS I Love You XOXO out of my head. Speaking after a discussion on some ridiculous backlash to Horizon Zero Dawn’s use of the term ‘brave’, he said:
"… this goes back to what we talk about for our own content… knowing what you're driving at and where you're going, and believing in what you've made, right? Yeah, we make a lot of different shows here, and some of them might push you away or alienate you, whether its my opinion, or your opinion, or whoever's opinion. And, it's one of those… we get that, we respect that we've alienated you, but that's not going to change, because if we sat here and we were like, 'Okay, fine. Colin, don't say that anymore, and I won’t talk shit about PC gaming anymore…' eventually, we're just going to sit here and read pieces of paper that have no opinion on them, and nobody's going to watch, and everybody's going to bounce."
Given his response to what happened, I can’t help but find an element of hypocrisy here. Colin made what was plainly — and, really, it’s excruciatingly clear — a joke. On behalf of Kinda Funny, Greg encouraged him to think about the consequences his words might have, espoused the opinion that — though a joke — Colin’s Tweet wasn’t okay.
In fairness, Greg was talking about the guys' conduct on their actual shows, but the fact remains that Kinda Funny is a personality-driven enterprise: Colin’s Tweet alienated people, Greg encouraged him to change.
What I find especially frustrating here is that, in the very next sentence, he references the many jokes — about hypothetical abortions, about Kevin’s German grandfather — made on various Kinda Funny shows, opining that, with context, they're fine, that Twitter’s lack of verbal context was key to the problem here.
The ‘problem’ lies with those who applied their own context to Colin’s Tweet — who chose to be offended by it — not with Colin himself.
Greg closed his statement with the following.
"When we broke away to do Kinda Funny, we wanted to build a community that celebrates the good and strives to be better than the 'Internet commenter.' We didn't accomplish that today, and we'll do better tomorrow."
I completely agree with those closing words, but for very different reasons.
Those I’ve written here have been deeply unpleasant to write, but I stand by what I said above: Colin gave me more confidence to speak out when I might otherwise have held my tongue, and I’m doing that now. It makes me feel like a complete phallus, but it is what it is. There's no malice here, just disappointment.
I loved Kinda Funny, but, as of yesterday… frankly, I'm not sure anymore. Colin’s presence encouraged debate, discussion; there’s been much made of the fact that certain sections of the media have become 'echo chambers' — until now, Kinda Funny has been a refuge from that madness. I sincerely hope it will continue to be, but yesterday represented a step in the wrong direction.
THE OTHER SIDE
Of course, there is another side to all this, and just as it would've been disingenuous of me to pretend that I was fine with Greg’s response, so too would it be for me to ignore this: Colin did not leave Kinda Funny solely over that joke.
I certainly believe it to have been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, pushing him out the door far quicker than he might’ve otherwise gone, but this split has been coming for a while. Though Colin himself has previously stated that he’d never leave, it’s clear to longtime fans that it was coming.
His steady withdrawal from Colin & Greg Live, leading to its eventual rebranding as The Kinda Funny Morning Show, his increasing focus on his own project, Colin was Right, long stretches of silence on those shows on which he did appear… all of these, are, in hindsight, signs of what was to come.
Frankly, the biggest sign came from Colin himself, in the wake of the aforementioned shitstorm, when he Tweeted out an image of the Moultrie Flag, a symbol of both liberty and separation.
— Colin Moriarty (@notaxation) 9 March 2017
As disappointing as it is, though, Colin’s departure might, ultimately, prove to have been for the best.
Though many — myself included — have talked about this as an incredible tragedy, Colin isn't dead. We might hear from him a little less for awhile, but he’s not going anywhere, and, set free, he can do pretty much whatever he likes.
I can’t wait to see what that is.
Though the cynic in me can't help but wonder if it everything is quite as it seems, Colin’s brief on-screen departure on The Morning Show, and the subsequent conversation around it, reminded me why I loved Kinda Funny; it’s why much of the above was so tough to write, because though we all have our own opinions on what happened — and what will follow — everyone's suffering in the wake of this mess.
On August 16, 2012, Greg Miller introduced us to his roommate. He says crazy stuff sometimes. It’s been a pleasure to listen — and, I hope, will be again.