James Rolfe crucified for shunning ‘Ghostbusters’
By Adam Tatelman, Arts Editor
James Rolfe, better known as the Angry Video Game Nerd (or the Nerd) for his profanity-laden Internet comedy series of the same name, recently published a short video explaining that, despite his fanbase’s anticipation, he would not be reviewing the Ghostbusters reboot. Predictably, every Tumblr blogger and hack Internet journalist with an ideological axe to grind raced to sling the first fecal accusations of sexism and hate, utterly misinterpreting the content of his video in the process.
In the dreaded video, Rolfe very calmly expresses that he feels the new film is a rather transparent cash grab attempting to bank on the Ghostbusters name without paying adequate homage to the fans or the original actors.
Rolfe’s refusal to watch the film is because of his personal bias towards the original, which he freely admits. That’s a fair sentiment. I avoided the 2014 Robocop remake for precisely that reason. The only difference is, nobody accused me of cyborg-phobia.
So why did this video turn the entire Internet into a king-sized salt lick? Because there is no safe stance to take on the new Ghostbusters apart from saying nothing at all. Even deciding not to watch it because the trailer was awful is likely to attract groundless abuse. Rolfe knew this, and did the most mature thing possible—admitted his own bias and bowed out. That’s a mark of integrity, not hatred, which makes it even more disappointing to see him so callously misrepresented.
Character defamation isn’t a practice I’m surprised to see from so-called news outlets like Pedestrian, Indiewire, and Daily Dot, but the uniform nature of their complaints is curious. Despite his level-headed presentation, each article made sure to characterize Rolfe’s opinion as a childish tantrum, calling him a “whiny man-baby” complaining of a defiled childhood—a description of the Nerd persona rather than the man who plays him, and utterly misrepresentative of his video’s content.
Even Rolfe’s lack of comment on the casting controversy has been treated as a calculated move to avoid being called out on his obvious raging sexism. Because sexists always clam up when given opportunities to be sexist. Duh.
The simplicity of Rolfe’s points belies his detractors’ intellectual dishonesty. In the video, Rolfe compares the new Ghostbusters to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, citing the latter film’s use of fan favourite characters, Han Solo and Chewbacca, to help warm old fans up to the new lead characters.
“A little fanservice goes a long way,” Rolfe said, suggesting that Ghostbusters would do well to also feature the original cast in their iconic roles.
In his article for Pedestrian, Miles Klee incredulously presents this point as Rolfe being upset that Han Solo and Chewbacca won’t be in Ghostbusters. Truly, Klee has championed the cause of shitty film remakes for all time to come. Bravo.
Not one to pass up an opportunity for a good reaming, Dane Cook of all people decided to give his two cents on the matter, thus exhausting his current net worth. His now-historic tweet read: “James Rolfe apparently hates that Ghostbusters is being updated with hilarious women.”
If passing on a movie after seeing a shitty trailer is the mark of sexism, that’s an impressively low bar to set, and honestly expecting people to perform such a ridiculous limbo act is laughable. Rolfe is one of the pioneers of new media; his show helped legitimize the Internet as an outlet for criticism and entertainment. Without the Nerd, none of the critics currently shitting on him would have a job, so let’s find something better to discuss.