Az vs. Act Man: A Requiem for the Haters from the Geeks and the Gamers

Geek cannibalizes gamer in a world devoid of brotherhood as the networks of whisper pump us with poison. View counts tally as consumers shuffle rage baits.

The algorithm craves its blood, and we happily oblige. 

Having your guts spilled on Twitter for spectacle is just another given Sunday in our stunning and brave new world.

When did “sexist, neckbeard, bigot” become guilty until compliant? When did we become so damned excited to slit each other’s throats? 

Strange tidings have pulled us from our communities. We’re beset by torrents of subjugation as we cling to better days, memories of enemies as friends, fellow shit posters arm in arm when we partook in a better world of greater geekdom.

Zero by one, we are cast to the river in digital witch trials.

Az was no exception. He was put through the wringer harder than anyone. Even seemingly benign YouTubers like the Act Man took glee in the public flogging. No trepidation, no ounce of respect or due diligence. Blood was in the water, and the schools of meek frenzied.

Each day, we tread through the growing numbness, “When do we wake from the nightmare of Woke?”

Az Act Man

Rise up and breathe in the new day. Let ashen, bitter remnants of the woke machines melt their blots upon your tongue as the ivory towers of oppression cinder around you in this barren wasteland of once fantastical technological wizardry. 

Take in this historical moment as the winds of change hasten the flames and carry the bitter taste of our carrion call to those who sowed seeds of mutual destruction.

The days of petty slights will no longer stand; the free ride is over. The hack writers coasting on fanfic, the product managers whose days are filled firing tweets of derision and division from windowed cubicles; the endless cash injections filling potholes in talent and principle are drying, and the freezing rivers are slowing to still.

Their subversions failed. Their lies are exposed. Their fruits sour and mold in a drying desert. 

This mess must now be cleaned like the aftermaths of irresponsible children.

It’s time for us to start ACTing like adults. It’s time for men who ACT as they’re told to fight for their own thoughts and principles, time for men who ACT agreeable to algorithms and subversions to find their voice in hard-fought battles waged and lost to acquire wisdom and character. 

We can no longer abide agitators who are in accordance with the mob’s thirst for the blood of heretics when they are so easily stirred to hatred.

The time has come to stand for who we are and to know the division we stand against.

We are the employee whose career cratered for having the wrong take at the water cooler. We are the beaten-down fan who has given up on finding escapism in the twilight hours after a hard day’s work. We are the family no longer welcome at Thanksgiving dinner. We are the “vile bigot” boogeyman lurking on every social media platform that must be attacked, moderated, and banned by the endless hordes.

We are the dehumanized sacrifice, blood-let on the altar of social media so all may know the cost of refusing their ring.

We are Az.

We deal with the opportunist Act Men roaming in every corner, waiting for the slightest provocation, waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in and strike, to gleefully turn the screw, knowing they will be blessed from on high with karma for fulfilling the whims of the mad machine.

We are paraded to the chopping block as they serve us up for the bloodthirsty millions, kicked to the corner with the basket of deplorables, set aside, put upon, farmed for rage bait, the butt of every late night joke, brushed off as bigots, shamed for our bodies, our creeds, our beliefs, and removed from the absolutes of human dignity afforded all who simply bow to their authority.

We have all experienced our small islands of hate and accusations over the years. But few can imagine the psychological dehumanization thrust upon Heel vs. Babyface.

Dare to imagine being a singular focal point of hated and loathing from the most frenzied group of haters the world has ever known with the most powerful social apparatuses in human history to attack you day in and day out in a never-ending cycle of abuse. To be put upon the cross for having an honest opinion, to have fight in you to stand up to the spinning wheels churning everything you hold dear to sunder only to be served up as easy prey, a defenseless offering at the altar. To bleed into the maw of the Act Men of the world making your life a living hell who are showered in praise for their jabs, jokes, and jeers. To see the more pain they inflict the greater the clout, the greater the prize paid in likes, retweets, smarms, and smugness.

It’s easy to attack others when the mob welcomes you with open arms, promises you safe passage and sweet nothings, when the empty seats of wealth and influence left in the wake open to you. When you are handed your torch, pitchfork, and a paycheck, why shouldn’t you keep them? Why cast them into the fire? 

Be wary of the weapons you bear; tomorrow, they point against you…

But Az did not harp on his evisceration; he soldiered on with his content, head held high as he could muster with the support of the creators in this sphere who share this burden. Beset on all sides, for MONTHS, he was the object of ridicule, the icon of the edge lord. Az became the whipping boy of every high and mighty moralist in the post-modern horde of thirsty ankle-biters begging for their moment in the spotlight, eager to be the next star assassin stabbing from the shadows of a vapid life at those who dare illuminate the emptiness. 

And for what was Az owed this pleasure? For exposing the hypocrites of agenda as the no-talent, gatekeeping liars that they are, for shoving their noses into a ten-year mountain of shit where a quality game should have been. 

The truth Az annihilates them with during cold, calculated tirades cannot be abided. Contemptuous back-scratchers and grifters know they cannot survive in a world that understands base reality, which is why Az is taken out of context, demonized, and made into a pariah not worthy of having a single word heard. Az is relegated to a bigot-ridden fever dream, a nightmare creature that keeps them up at night, for when they dare peer into the uncomfortable truths he defiantly espouses, their self-serving notions of superiority melt in an instant, revealing the common nothings poisoning their souls. Heel vs. Babyface is their Voldemort, the evil one who can unravel them all and knows them better than they know themselves, a formless ghost of a whisper standing in the way of their Utopia, the icon of neckbearded sin whose very existence puts them into an existential crisis.

Their totality of insecure scorn was levied completely at Az, who dared to talk shit about an overhyped video game, the most time-honored nerd thing one can fucking do. What has the world come to where you can’t talk about a shitty, over-delayed product in peace, FFS!?

This article is not about the beef started by The Act Man; he’s but a shadow lost in a formless cloud of agitation engulfing us all, emboldened by confirmations and dissonances inflated by years of subversive engineering manifesting in aggressive moderation and number-fudging across every conceivable facet of society tarnishing our cultures, ambitions, moralities, and dying optimism.

(Some music to set the mood, if you’re so inclined.)

Az Act Man

The Act Man seeking to bury the hatchet with Az is a microcosm of the culture war at large, but it marks a watershed moment in it. As the controlling apparatuses sputter and spark and top-heavy woke corporations topple into weak foundations of venture capital, the support beams of talentless do-nothings snap, brittle as modern principalities.

Agitators and activists are tasting the bitterness they have foisted upon us, and now that the evil assurances that provided them crumbs of affirmation dissipate, we are waking from the fever dream to the truth: This moral fealty is a plague. A generation has been robbed of their birthright, their pride ripped from them, the joy of countless innocents stomped to dirt. 

Those who joined the mob were willing cudgels against those who sought to right emerging wrongs. 

We are wiping rancid sleep from our eyes, we are turning away from the nightmare, but we are also face to face in the mirror with the dark reality of what we have become. We must accept how low sisters and brothers stooped when it was socially permissible to do so. We must live on knowing how petty our anger when given the moral mandate, how evil the other is construed in our mind.

Our fear exposed our cowardice, and our hate exposed the quality of our character. Our children will not be lorded by childish bullies.

As some come to grips with difficult and hard-fought truths, others enter the beginning of many stages of denial. The Act Man and others like him will never admit to wrongdoing. They have been raised in a world where accountability and truth are mortal sins punishable by extremes. Actions have no repercussions. Slights have no accountability. The big lies must persist at all costs. No one dares admit to wrongdoing in this mad world until shown a better way; until we see truth has value and is not punishable by life-destroying judgment, we will relapse to nightmare.

Is Az now in the wrong to treat The Act Man with a MODICUM of the disrespect the world showed him? Az, the man who swooped in and dispelled dirty rumors surrounding Angry Joe, who repaid him by spitting in his face and farming clout.

Are those who gatekeep, shame, cancel, and sheepishly sat in silence as all that is good burned to keep the cowards and backstabbers warm and free from scrutiny? Must we rush to their table and break bread now that they have so graciously expressed that they are sorry for slitting our throats now that they are afraid of the onset of judgments they so freely attacked us with just yesterday? 

After suffering the slings and arrows, after being their punching bags for agonizing years… now, in the instance of the turning tides, we’re expected to smile and open our doors? 

In the land of an eye for an eye, we are all blind. But we cannot forget what has been so callously levied against us and to this world to which all our mortal coils bind.

Life is short; it’s precious, and too much of it has been bled to this bickering, to this never-ending petulance. When does the cycle end? 

Let’s be clear. The feelings of anger that have been building in us are not the same. Az had his guts spilled before us as the hordes mocked and jeered. They pointed and patted backs for the scalp they pried from his skull. 

This was the fate of all who stood for something, who sacrificed for what we know deep down is real. We put ourselves in the crossfire to provide cover for that which is ancient, precious, and fragile.

Az Act Man

“You have enemies? Good. That means you stood up for something sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill

Their meticulous and mechanical anger is NOT the same; synthetic, manufactured, impure. This anger can only propagate through armchair warriors in online discord chats where reality can be altered and manufactured. 

The contempt they have stoked towards themselves is tangible, pure. Clear as crystal, they salivated at our bloodied bodies writhing in the dirt. 

“It’s just a prank, bro, lol,” as the guillotine sounded its release. “Just a prank, bro,” as we were fired from our places of work, shamed in every commercial, every movie, every cutscene, paraded as villains and losers.

“Just stop being a bigot, bro, lol.”

It’s not funny, it’s not cute, it’s not ambivalent, and we’re tired of pretending like it ever fucking was.

Did they believe these underhanded charades entitled them to this world, to our futures, to manhandle the emergence of the singularity? Do they not see the destruction and animosity that has festered under their reign?

And now that the pressure is dropping and the wind turns in their face, the Act Man extends the olive branch. 

These jackasses NEVER pay the debt of their transgressions.

Have the Act Men and Angry Joes no concept of what they have done over the past eight damn years? The innocence lost to their self-aggrandized moralism? The purely positive world of gaming devoid of identity and agenda gone so that children will never know it existed?

This has been a bloody culture war. We’ve lost jobs, dignity, fandoms, friends, and family. We’ve fallen into terrible dependencies and relapsed trying to cope in this world of judgment, shame, and anger. 

The machine doesn’t want you to know the damage they have caused, and they dare not contemplate it themselves. Their belief in their own righteousness is paramount to grifts ongoing. These provocateurs will forever block the guilt in their bubbles of piety to remain steadfast in their underhanded tactics.

We must be better than this; we must aspire to be fair. Let’s look at one another as unique beings with our own stories, histories, and madness that shaped us out of our control.

We are all victims of outrageous circumstance. 

We do not choose the area of our birth, the culture of friends and family, the social norms in our corner of the world, the inspirational figures around us, and role models who show us the paths we can take. 

The Act Man hails from the Pacific Northwest. Living here will have a tremendous effect on how one perceives right and wrong, about what’s normal, what songs and dances get you ahead in life, how to maintain friendships, or make for small talk at the local tofu bar. 

Being a YouTuber can further push you towards cultural nihilism, guided by algorithms devised by deep-pocketed tech influencers steering the ship of digital culture.

At the end of the day, rage bait doesn’t endure. It’s a never-ending grind for drama, to farm anger to occupy the masses every single day.

You can’t be too picky when it comes to serving up pounds of flesh; any roadkill will do. Whatever rant or rave you have today will be forgotten tomorrow. Most YouTubers are disposable creators of nothing who do not seek to leave any lasting mark on this world; rocking the boat is dangerous. Most are in it for the love of creation, for the $$$, and for the lulz. They are a product of madness, producing further products of madness.

But if you look to Az, if you look to Jeremy, if you look to many of those in the Geeks + Gamers sphere, while they certainly play to the tunes of grift and serve up fresh pounds of flesh, you will see something a bit different from the pack who are so milquetoast, who are so soft around the edges. 

These guys stood for something when it wasn’t comfortable to do so. These guys are the geeks and gamers who seek more than hollow affirmations of YouTube stardom. These guys rage against the machine.

Here at Geeks + Gamers are risk-takers who won’t simply choke down the slop pumped down others’ throats, Rebels striking from the hidden base putting the Empire on blast. “Fuck you; I won’t do what you tell me.”

Being nerds true to ourselves is the new punk rock.

This solitary act of defiance that is staying true to our nerdom has put us on more shit lists and given us more resistance than the soft-handed agitators would ever care to know. 

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Meanwhile, the heads of activists balloon; they grow slow and entrenched. They rely on whisper networks and back scratches to cement their positions of power over hard work and competency. Through these years, they have turned to waste.

We must fill this void of wasted years, this hole where there should be memories of good times and epic stories of sci-fi, fantasy, e-sports, gaming, and all things shiny, human, and bright, not these gaudy Trojan horses constructed by saboteurs who saw only enemies when they looked down upon us.

(Hit it, Johnny, one more time.)

Az Act Man

Let’s take a moment to remember the better days, forged by a higher caliber of creator, when this space was filled with greater meaning and higher ethics now driven from the incestuous town square. 

Let’s appreciate the principled and even-keeled creators of yesteryear, who were grateful to be in service of the fans, who had a fire under their asses to work hard and push the envelope to show they had the right stuff.

Let’s give memory to once playful celebrations of gaming like Attack of the Show!, or to the late and great TotalBiscuit, one of the original culture warriors against this madness and a founding member of GamerGate, taken from us too early. 

Mr. Biscuit shitposted valiantly against the smarm-f*ck hordes seeking to uproot this industry, shepherding gaming and geekdom to richer fields of green, safeguarding it with an insurmountable wall of hard work, conviction, and raw talent that these activists could not surmount until his dying breath.

You can feel the absence of culture warriors like TotalBiscuit today. The character attacks this man and his family endured at the hands of entitled jackasses would make your blood boil. 

Our shitfest will never end as we fight over the toys, but that’s part of the fun! There will always be some jerk decrying “us and them” trying to gain an unfair leg up to war against. 

No quarter was afforded Mr. Bane. Even during his agonizing battle with cancer leading to his untimely death, he was assailed with character assassinations and cancellations from ruthless cowards hiding behind an ideology beyond reproach to which they owe everything and sacrifice nothing. We will not forget the underhanded vileness that continues to spew to this very day.

In this eternal blood sport, we’ve forgotten how great gaming can be. We’ve forgotten how fun and earnest gaming journalism can be, how wondrous and uniting being a geek or gamer can be when we are at our best and bringing the best out of one another, when we farm greatness, not steal skeletons from each others’ closets.

There was a time before the cold algorithms demanded blood. We will never know that fulfilling world again until we uproot the outrageous divisions and derisions and create a space free from the darkness.

It’s regrettable, but we once lived in a world where people had to hide their true selves away, they had to closet themselves from the world for fear of being othered, for fear of losing their jobs, for fear of mass ridicule from the judgmental masses. 

Men like The Act Man and Angry Joe are closeted neckbeards, YouTube stars terrified of their secrets getting out, wanting to affiliate with other neckbeards, secretly longing to be with them. But, ultimately, they cannot be themselves because of the stigmas. Dorky gamers who can’t stand the subversive elements ruining their favorite games to satiate the activists who bullied their way into Fort Kickass are now throwing their weight around, demanding allegiance to allow safe passage through their mob.

When you’re a nerdy outcast, which many gamers and developers are, the chip on your shoulder grows with your bitterness towards a judgmental world. It’s easy to want to lash out at the normies who made your life a living hell for all those awkward years, who forced you into a cave where you learned to make games, draw, write, or code. 

The problem is that when these angry geeks and gamers grow up and find their way into money and start playing their financial and social games to consolidate power and Astroturf clout, they become the very bully they resented. 

Worse still, they wear a mantle of altruism, claiming to fight for the greater good. But underneath is that innocent nerd who was hurt by a cruel world and seeks attention and acceptance wherever they can find it and now seeks to spread the misery they once knew.

There is nothing worse in this world than a bully who thinks they are righting wrongs as they strike down the helpless.

Rich and powerful geeks will take acceptance and fall into whatever social circles will have them, even if that means wheeling and dealing with activists, even if it means siding with those who seek only to exploit them and their capital for personal gain. They find themselves in circles of phonies, of mind-altering chemicals that build up their egos, of swanky parties and decadent nothings. And over time, those with the keys to the kingdom become insane, driven mad by post-modern decadence, their billions financing legions of delusional phonies.

It’s a sad state of affairs. It’s not hate and revenge alone that have plunged this world into darkness, but loneliness and awkwardness among those with the keys to the kingdom who once just wanted to belong as the geeks they were.

The story of us geeks and gamers is the never-ending story of revenge against ourselves.

The outcasts, in seeking to create a world in which others of their kind were accepted, have inadvertently created a throng of new outcasts, of new outsiders shunned for being who they are. They have created the next generation of those slighted and suppressed, with chips on their shoulders, feelings of spite, and a lust for revenge. They have become the very bullies who pick on nerds, who cut deep into fandoms and make them feel unwanted and drive them into hiding.

The modern activists sought to go down as the greatest altruists in history but instead have become some of the most bloodthirsty and petulant bullies that have ever existed, destroying art and prosperity in the process. 

Can we come together and strive for a more perfect geekdom? Let’s aspire to walk in the footsteps of greater generations who did not fight these unnecessary wars.

Walt fought those who sought to divide and destroy and safeguarded Disney until the bitter end. Star Wars was maintained for many decades before it ultimately fell to the hordes, despite Lucas’s best efforts. (Shout out to GEOOOOOOOOORGE!)

Now is the time for us to take up the fight, to battle for the space marines, the orcs, the elves, and the dwarfs who, for so many generations, fought the encroaching darkness, who entertain young minds and teach us to be conscientious and purposeful men and women as we grow into adulthood with purposeful stories, and bring us solace that there are heroes out there when the world becomes hard to bear. 

We must advocate for these fantastical heroes of the past who have had their agency stolen, wrested from their loving creators to be paraded around as skin suits by those with no honor as they mock those who meant no harm.

And we must also advocate for one another because no one is coming to save us.

You look out into this sea of abandoned fans, of lost souls who rely on these stories to remind them that things are going to be OK, that there’s something in this world that’s made for them, and that they have a place at the table where they belong. We must rekindle the shining light on the hill to which we aspire. We must bring respect back to those crescendos of art, music, and inspirational writings that stir us in our hearts and remind us that this mortal coil has meaning, that someone out there has our back, someone’s writing love letters to the fans they’ve never even met that they want you to enjoy. We’re going to bring the best out of one another, and in this blink of existence, we’re gonna kick some fuckin’ ass… together, as geeks and gamers.

Comments (1)

March 11, 2024 at 12:16 am

Outstanding read. Up there with Spider Jerusalem. I always read the front page

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