The web is abuzz about the douchebaggery that happened this week between Oceans Marketing and Penny Arcade.  I first read about it at GUComics.  Here are a few links to the story.  You should read it before going on with this entry.  Just open these in another tab, and then come back.  I’ll wait.

Just Wow.
Examiner Article (best one, as it keeps running updates)

Before I go into my opinion on this event, let me tell you about today’s image.  Today’s image is an animated representation of Jason “Mayhem” Miller, one of my favorite MMA fighters today.  He hosted a show a while back called Bully Beatdown.  While I think most of the episodes were scripted, I really liked the premise of the show: let bullies see that there is always a bigger bully out there, and that they should stop bullying people.

I decided to post about this incident because this is a really personal issue for me.  I hate bullies.  I’ll type it again to make it clear: I HATE bullies.  I generally go out of my way to be a nice guy to everyone, but one of my failings might be the glee that I get out of seeing a bully getting a taste of his own medicine.  It’s a failing that I don’t mind having, and I don’t seek to change.

There’s are a few lessons here for everyone:

First, regardless of how tough you think you are, there is always a bigger bully.  Always.  The bigger bully might not be someone who can dominate you physically; it might be someone that can end your career, or just embarrass you publicly.

Second, there’s a good chance that you, the bully, will never see them coming.  While it’s hard to believe that this guy (who claimed to be a game industry insider) didn’t know who Mike Kruhulik was – the best part was when Christoforo threatened a smear campaign against Penny Arcade, and wrote the true statement “you have no clue who I am” – I suppose it made it that much better of a bully beatdown.

Often, when a bully beatdown occurs, one reaches a point where he feels sorry for the bully.  It’s the time to say “he’s had enough.”  I don’t see that time coming for Mr. Christoforo, largely because he hasn’t learned anything from the experience.  When interviewed about it, he admitted that he would have acted differently had he known. “He has a lot of connections, ones I want too.”  For him, it’s all about what he can get out of a relationship, and not what he can provide to the relationship.

Escapist provided the best translation for this: “I’m nice to people as long as they’re important.”

Paul Christoforo has what Matt Thornton would call a “beggar’s humility.”

The beggar will bow down and scrape the floor for any man he deems to be greater than him; but at the same time he will demand that any man he deems to be lesser, bow down and scrape the floor for him. The warrior bows down before no man, and allows no man to bow down before him.

The important lesson here is this: be nice to people, regardless of who they are or what they can do for you.  You should do this because (1) you don’t know who they are or what they can do for or to you, and (2) it’s just the right thing to do.