But from what I've seen and read, Mike and Jerry aren't particularly nice people, and Mr. Khoo strikes me as exactly the sort of cutthroat corporate operator that I dislike intensely almost by reflex. The very sense of humour that appeals to the audience of PA is what turns me completely off almost instantly, and Khoo's clear and unambiguous manipulation of that image and his ruthless pursuit of profit and data to get more profit makes me very put-off from anything having to do with him.
I am sure that, on a personal basis, each of the individuals I've mentioned are fine, upstanding, and pleasant people who are warm, caring, and careful of feelings of their friends and family. But their public faces make me not want to be friends with them. The people at PA Industries are very carefully picked, vetted, and integrated into the "inner circle" and at that point I am sure it's great to be part of the "in crowd", because ultimately that's what every Geek in their secret heart of hearts wants: to be part of a group that excludes everyone else. I'm half-convinced that's why Tabletop RPGs are so popular. But that means that anyone who isn't part of the inner group is treated with a certain amount of distain or standoffishness. And part of that is probably due to the fact that they are very publicly successful (I won't presume to call them rich, since I don't know anything about anyone's personal finances).
This is a direct contrast to my favourite artists, the ones I follow near-religiously, the ones I want to support and nurture and pay to make more things I will like. Erika Moen's "sweet but not shy" personality could in fact be as much of a construct as Jerry and Mike's "brash and unabashed" personas, but I like Erika's persona, so I support it. So, too, the adorability (shut up, is too a word) of Angela and Aubrey Webber of the Doubleclicks could be a put-on, but having met (and bought things from) the two, they strike me as genuinely excited to be doing amazing things, and I want to share, at least a little, in that excitement. Or Wil Wheaton, who's very likability is what makes me want to see more of him. And Paul and Storm's deliberately self-focused humour is a direct contract to the more-popular Jonathan Coulton's somewhat dismissive show personality. Of course, the Caribbean Cruise is named after Jonathan Coulton, so see what that gets you.
I am sure that the focused, corporatized drive for marketing muscle is why Penny Arcade has two conventions every year that sell out in seconds, while Wil Wheaton vs. Paul and Storm have trouble selling out a 300-seat show when they go on tour. But I'd rather see Double-Dubs once every couple of years, with his sweet and self-deprecating humour and his genuine love of the experience, than go to both of the PAXs for free every year. The intimacy of love is preferable to me to the anonymity of popularity. It's why I'm so uncomfortable with being part of the "Geek Community". I want to share things, and I like artists who share things, too much to exclude by default.
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