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I recently wrote a counter-piece to an article on INN regarding renting. The short version is that the article’s author wrote some blatantly false things about renting, and I corrected/pointed these lies out. I’m not exaggerating when I say “lies” either. They ranged from claiming certain entities were renters when they are very clearly not, to arguing that landlords often go around shooting their clients. I pointed out that overall the article was nothing more than a hit piece based on lies but also signaled a shift in Goon narrative regarding renting. Renting was once considered evil by them. Then it was good for some time while they had their own renters, and now that they lack them, it seems to be back to being evil.

My article was rather standard, and uncontroversial… dare I even say somewhat boring for me to write compared to some of my other pieces. It was mostly composed of general and obvious statements that nevertheless needed to be made to correct the misinformation INN put out. No, S0thern C0mfort are not a renting corp. No, landlords don’t frequently just up and shoot at their clients. Very standard things that if the INN author had taken 5 minutes to do some research, he would have known and I wouldn’t have any material for my critique piece. Despite that, there was a surprisingly strong and comical backlash from some of the Goonswarm members complete with Reddit posts and voting CTAs.

Somehow just stating that Goon’s public narrative surrounding renting has changed, or that landlords don’t regularly shoot up their clients is somehow “going full tinfoil autism.” Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining that I’ve made someone on the internet upset. I’m quite bellicose when it comes to it in fact. I enjoy provoking those that would uphold a particular narrative. I like challenging conventionality and chip away at the foundations of the ivory towers. I have a complete disregard for the “established hierarchy” that allows some to presume they are entitled to some kind of ass kissing because they or their friends fly a big space ship in a big alliance. I’m polite to respectful people, but to the entitled types with an inflated sense of self-importance my attitude has always been and always will be “fuck you and your friends, and by the way, since you’re going to whine, I’m going to keep pushing your buttons.”

As I am writing this, another Reddit thread has popped up regarding EN24’s supposed unfair bias.

The op refers to my aforementioned article, and a battle report written by our Editor in Chief, Salivan. Salivan focuses exclusively on battle reports and actually dislikes opinion pieces. But even writing a battle report where Goons lose ships is now considered “Grr Goon” despite Goon’s own media site, INN, covering a similar story when FCON lost some of their Rorquals. This is the kind of cringe-inducing doublethink someone like me can’t help but critique and write about. Salivan did have a line taking a small jab about “the supposed giant of the south.” But I’ve seen him make similar low-key jabs against other entities too.

Misplaced Outrage

It’s just funny that my previous articles where I directly call INN out, mock their propagandist slant, criticize Sion for using the memory of the slain Vile Rat to attack Endie, that didn’t get as much of a reaction. But holy hell, shut it down, shut it down, shut it all down if I make a post about the renters. This also spawned a back and forth in the article’s comments’ section featuring GSF’s Arrendis. I guess he’s some kind of diplomat or director or something in GSF. He can also be seen in the Crossing Zebra’s comments section crying and whining with fellow Goon white knight and professional victim, schwaboy.

Here you can see both of them on a crusade to gallantly defend the majestic Imperium name. In typical fashion, anything that does not cast GSF or the Imperium in a positive light, is automatically “Grr Goon.” I have this very same accusation thrown at me regularly as some kind of argument. Or they argue that the way that I write is grammatically incorrect. When pressed a bit further on this, the grammar argument falls back to “you missed a comma.” You realize this is a video game blog about space pixels and nerd drama and not a literature thesis right? But of course, these complaints are made as a stand in for an actual argument. Even just me replying to a statement is somehow a “win” in their mind. Or the tired old stale “show us on the doll where Goons touched you” gets wheeled out. Rarely if ever do they actually discuss the actual topic of the article. And because they usually attack in groups of their friends, they reinforce their perceived sense of legitimacy despite actually being painfully unintelligent. Often they rely on the “Grr Goon” excuse. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, Tarek Raimo, the CZ article writer, explains it very well.

“Grr Goons is a meme used as a smokescreen by a group of people who mistake criticism for persecution. The purpose is to discredit all forms of disapproval indiscriminately. Whether The Mittani actually cares for “his people” or whether he wants to leverage them for personal gain, the effect remains the same. He and others in his cadre of leaders create a simple demarcation line between themselves and everyone else. By doing so, they apply their own logic of “us vs. them” and expect that everyone else does the same because that is the way they view their gaming environment. I even suspect that their tunnel-vision is so strong that they are to some degree incapable of understanding that there are people who do not think like this. Based on that view it is only natural that they would assume everyone who is critical of them must immediately be hostile and negatively biased.”

In short, accusations of “Grr Goon” are the idiot’s way of getting out of having an actual argument. “Oh well, I don’t need to engage with this person who disagrees with me. Obviously, they disagree with me because they have some unnatural hatred for us because we’re just so amazing. Ha ha! Ecks Dee guys! XD XD XD Look how Grr Goon they are ha ha!”

Right.

A History of Tensions

Perhaps it would be important to go back to the start of this rivalry. I’ve been writing at EN24 longer than anyone except for the site’s owner, Riverini. I started back in 2011, and I just wanted to blog about my hobby because I enjoyed it. I was not a very public person at the time, but I did notice that a bunch of our comments in the discussion section were full of Goons posting rather personal insults toward the site’s owner. That hostility eventually developed toward anyone who wrote for the site regardless of the topic. I started writing more political/opinion oriented pieces often as critiques toward the major alliances of Eve ranging from NCdot to PL, to of course Goons. During these early years I was mostly active in Bombers Bar, a non-politically aligned public NPSI community. Yet it was almost exclusively Goons that would rally in my comments section incessantly whining like an indignant triggered tumblrina about how unfair the world was because someone wrote something other than constant praise for their alliance and leader. The alliance that supposedly laughed at anyone who took Eve too seriously was taking things more seriously than anyone else.

In fact, they took it so seriously they launched their own website on August 14th of 2012, TheMittanidotcom. Its stated purpose in part was to act as a counter to this very site and as some claimed to be “The EN24 killer.” For a time their content was pretty good with a mix of writers from various alliances putting out decent content. I noted that due to TMC’s ties to GSF, it could never truly be a free standing media site like EN24 or CZ. By its very nature, it would always be linked to GSF. At the time I was widely mocked for this, especially by many in TMC’s management team. They would frequent EN24’s comments section, shit the discussion up while bragging about how they were getting paid “real money” for the work they were doing. Due to TMC’s business deals and advertising “articles” for other games, TMC was not just seen as an “Eve hobby site” but for some a jumping platform into “real video game journalism.” That didn’t impress me. I thought the non-Eve content diluted their quality. I was just a dude that made long posts about my hobby…not some self-important idiot with the dream of being a real “video game journalist.”

Hendrick Talladar comes to mind as someone who drank deep from the Kool-Aid fountain. At the time he vehemently defended TMC against my “crazy claims” that the site is tied to GSF and reminded everyone about his path to video game journalism stardom that TMC would provide. A funny thing happened, and I was proven right when later on he and many of his peers were Soviet-style purged, as he explains in the CZ article comments section I linked. According to him, people were even kicked just for appearing on non-Goon related podcasts. That kind of Scientology-esque cultish adherence to ideology most definitely deserves criticism and the fact that those who perpetrate that kind of thing squeal and whine so loudly, only motivates others to address it even more.

Perhaps the peak expression of their victim complex was best exemplified in Sion Kumitomo’s rant against the Reddit Eve community. Sion, the GSF/Imperium diplomat, lambasted the enemies of GSF, real or imagined, for the widespread mocking of the alliance’s failed attempt at kickstarting a book. Many perceived the attempt to simply ego stroke, and the $150,000 price tag with vague explanations on where the money would go to be questionable, to say the least. The petulant tantrum from GSF that followed helped galvanize much of the Eve community against them. The perception was “wow what a bunch of whiny assholes, let’s go blow up their shit” and played a large role in the Imperium losing their northern holdings. It’s really no different than when you blow someone’s spaceship up. Usually, you get a “gf” in local and move on. But if they are particularly whiny, you might be inclined to mine some more salt from them. Well, Goonswarm is the biggest damn salt vein in Eve.

You’re doing it to yourselves

When you purge anyone that doesn’t strictly adhere to your ideology from within, and then demonize everyone outside of your organization, your imagined persecution becomes a reality as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think many would agree that most Goons are no different than any other Eve player. However, due to some terrible PR choices, Goon leadership gives off the impression that at least their public faces are a bunch of thin-skinned self-obsessed narcissists that throw their toys out of the crib any time someone says anything generally critical. This in turn motivates and invites, even more, criticism due to how poorly they dealt with it initially.

TMC has since been rebranded as “Imperium News Network.” According to Mittens, one of the major reasons was “We tried to be Space CNN and be scrupulously neutral to the point of writing bloodless, uninteresting battle reports because we thought that was ‘fair.’” So get this…the problem wasn’t that TMC was too much of a GSF propaganda mouth piece…the problem was it was too scrupulous and neutral. Since then the entire apparatus has continued in its purity spiral model as they desperately attempt to find enemies to rally against. Content varies from the usual advert-written-as-an-article pieces for other games to some decent pieces by writers such as Dirk MacGirk and Jack Mellish. But there’s also a trend in articles that are of the speculative rumor-mongering style only designed to put out false information about the Imperium’s enemies. Those are usually the ones I pick out to critique.

Ironically there has also been an increase of INN staff/affiliates attempting to reach out. TMC never had a bridge to burn with EN24 from the start, but they also shot themselves in the foot in regards to any of the other main Eve media sites such as Crossing Zebras. Sadly these attempts to reach out are of the “I think you should apologize to us and we can be friends” style rather than a genuine attempt at finding some middle ground. Even though it was the TMC/INN side that initiated the hostile environment, somehow it’s EN24 and CZ that need to be understanding and stop being so “Grr Goon.” GSF’s Asher had quite the hissy fit that I recently linked an archived version of the article regarding renting that I critiqued. I did this so they couldn’t quickly edit out the obvious falsities that the author had written. The complaint was that I was doing this so their site wouldn’t get “hits.” There’s a particular fixation with that for TMC/INN. According to former member and current contributor at CZ “ohtakashawa,” writers were/are encouraged to get the story out as fast as possible even if the content is non-existent, and then write another piece later on to “double dip.” Hey, that’s fine, you can do that all you want. Your site, your responsibility to get hits. However, Asher, since when is it my responsibility to go out of my way to ensure a site that’s been hostile toward us since day 1 does well? If the current INN staff has any interest in building healthy relationships with the other Eve media sites, they’re going to have to figure out how to undo a lot of poison and toxicity that they injected in the first place. But currently all of that is a lot more problem than it is ours.

Tell Me How You Really Feel

Am I anti-Goon? To be “anti” means I have a distinct issue with that particular group. It’s not so much the group itself I have a problem with. I’m highly critical of narcissistic manchildren with dictator complexes and the choir of sycophants chanting about their supposed persecution. For some reason there just seems to be a higher abundance among one particular entity more so than others. I’ve also criticized Vince Draken of NCdot for opening up a secondary front during the 2012 Dotbros war. I’ve had heated exchanges of insults with PL’s Grath Telkin and frequently commented in the past that I thought PL was particularly risk adverse. I mercilessly ridiculed Darkness’s leader, Sort Dragon, for his leadership style. I’m highly critical of most of the notable people in this game, not with malice, but the same indifference a viewer might criticize a chess player’s move. Most of these people fire back at me, and that’s that. However, it’s almost always some Goon that loses his damn mind and bites the bait harder than anyone else. As someone that enjoys provoking, why wouldn’t I continue fishing in the same place? Does this make me “Anti-Goon?” Who the hell cares? What differences would it make? If that label helps you sleep at night, okay. And? What now? I still have a dry humor and enjoy satire, and I’m going to continue using both to critique the same people all the same.

I’ve had fun writing this. The past few days have been really enjoyable. I’ve been accused by Mittens that I like to hide behind EN24, which if you know anything about me you know I don’t shy away from arguments and conflict. Debate, discussion, discourse, it tires some, but I find it energizing. I enjoy it so much I decided to put up my own discord channel “Tell me how you really feel.” As long as you don’t post anything illegal or spam the channel, just about any topic is up for discussion, and I really can’t think of anything you can do to get me to ban anyone within those parameters.