Richard Lewis, henceforth referred to as RL, is far from being the classiest man out there and saying that he is an asshole can and is probably the truth.
On the 26th of May 2015, an Opinion Piece by fellow writer Gentlecat was released and in it, Gentlecat gave his two cents on the eSports hot topic, Richard Lewis.
For those who haven’t seen it, here is the link: Article
While he did bring out various points, in the end, I respectfully disagree and decided to give a different side.
A discussion isn’t interesting unless there’s at least two sides, a reality that I’m sure he’d agree with.
Does Work Make a Man?
If there is a place to start, I suppose the core would be a good place. Journalism is a concept that has existed for nearly as long as words can be written, albeit in different forms. However, in the world of eSports, the term “Journalism” has been twisted and turned, where at the moment, people lump Journalism together with other words like Blogs or Rumors.
Journalism is, as the American Press Institute defines, the act of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities.
Journalists are expected to divulge and reveal the truth and only the truth without bias, and although that cannot always be achieved, as long as the intent was not to explicitly create a lie, no qualms can be had.
At the same time, a person’s work cannot and should not be affected by that person. There is a distinction that has to be made between the two. An executioner who beheads those who have been judged isn’t evil for doing his job and vice-versa, Robin Hood still is but a thief.
As such, to even consider frowning down RL’s journalistic work due to him being an asshole is not a valid reason.
But the Potential!
Optimism is a beautiful thing, however not everyone is born with the same level of optimism. Gentlecat’s optimism is commendable but my levels of trust and belief wouldn’t be nearly as high. “Lots of up-and-coming journalists would love to have a chance”, “hardly be a challenge to break into this niche”, “far from irreplacable”. I believe that Gentlecat is seeing things in a much too positive light.
Let’s start with the “lots of up-and-coming journalists would love to have a chance”.
Are there chances? Or do we really need to bring down an established journalist to put up a “potential” journalist.
Journalism is a funny thing. Everyone can do it, everyone think they can do it, but not everyone will do it. Most “young and up-and-coming” individuals usually end up burning out. Think about it, the pay is so-so, the criticism can be harsh, the stories you release might not be to your taste, you are prone to censorship, etc. Many journalist have spent as much time actually remaining in the journalism sector as they’ve been looking to get into the journalism sector. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Obviously, we’ll need to look at RL. RL is old, at least when it comes to eSports, he’s been around longer than some people have even been touching a keyboard. How exactly do you replace such a person?
If we want to give everyone equal chances, then RL doesn’t need to hand people his bowl. When he started out, the eSports scene wasn’t much more than a joke. Opportunities were little, and the pay can’t even be spoken about. In comparison to today, those were… “dark times”. Yet he carried on, working up and up, climbing ladders, refusing others and finally arrived to where he is.
Then again, why should we replace him? His information is usually correct and he is thick-skinned, enough to handle the criticism that people throw at him. Something that I doubt many younger people would be able to.
While it may be true that from that pool of new blood, a few will become great, but it takes time for these things and we might just have a void to fill that was not supposed to exist to begin with.
What is RL?
RL is an asshole. But Richard is RL (real life). People in eSports want everything to come in pretty packages and fancy bows and ties. So rare do we find someone that steps out of that “comfort zone”. RL is really what life is outside of your screen. Every once in a while, you might find an Asshole but if it were real life, you wouldn’t write him off as long as he continues creating strong and passionate content.
To be honest, RL breaks news about the stuff we really care about. Some of the more important stories this year has been released by this guy, from the MYM situation, to the implosion of Elements, Forg1ven’s migration, etc.
These articles are important and pertinent, yet they most definitely stir up hatred. Organizations will be pissed, some players will be pissed, Riot will be pissed, heck even readers might get pissed.
However, what if a younger journalist would take his place?
Firstly, I highly doubt he would have the balls to place such a controversial article, in hopes to get on people’s good side.
Secondly, they might not even go to this journalism route, if a company like Riot would extend their hand and ask them to write little blog pieces, I highly doubt they would refuse.
What does this mean? In summary, I believe that a piece like the MYM situation is much more important to the LoL scene then some dumb article like “Dark Horse: Jungle Irelia”.
So… what do I ask?
In the wise words of Monte-Cristo, LCK caster, I believe that people need to “take off their rose-colored glasses” and perhaps take a long hard look at what is real and what is fake. What is true criticism and what is hypocrisy.
The biggest thing I give my respects to is RL’s willingness to operate without using an alias. If his article goes bad, you know who to turn to.
Due to the nature of the internet, people hide behind a fake name. If you criticize someone and completely breakdown what they try to argue, at most they would delete that account and remake another to continue with their business.
People are hypocrites, all of us. In our own little way, we like to elevate ourselves and belittle others. I do it, RL does it, Riot does it, and I might go as far as to say that Gentlecat and the LoL community does it.
If RL stoops to low levels to fight back criticism, wouldn’t every SoloQ player who flames at their teammates (and we’ve all done it) when blamed be in the same boat?
The two are different, you say. Of course, RL uses his real persona and the SoloQ player uses his fake name.
RL is a fundamental pillar of journalism. Not only does he give us the no-bullshit version of eSports, as closely as he can, he is also a sort of conduit for more information to come. Like I said, people are hypocrites, often times the same people who criticize RL’s works come to him to help spread the word out about a situation directly impacting them.
With all that said, I never expected this response to Gentlecat to be so long, for those who’ve read this far, pat yourself on the back.
This however is not a criticism of Gentlecat, due to my fundamental belief that everything that a person says has a degree of truth to it.
The goal of this piece wasn’t to persuade RL haters, since that would be a waste of time, nor to gain attention, since this account is at best a playground for my writing, but simply to help give a different perspective on a single issue.
Thanks for reading.