So 40K Radio is no more.
Things have unravelled over the past few weeks in a rather public manner. One of the hosts Spencer lost a child, then there was the return of Ja Ja, then a dispute between Spencer and co-hosts Scott and Chipley and the finally Spencer received threats and an insult about his being responsible for his wife's miscarriage - supposeldy the death of the child was karma for the return of Ja Ja.
To be frank the Ja Ja affair was one of the stoopidest affairs I can think of in recent times - and not just in the world of internut podcasting.
During a marathon fund raising show Ja Ja uttered the 'N' word. This resulted in shrill cries of racism. Now in truth I was as shocked as anyone else to hear this incident, but I can't go along with the notion that mere use of the word automatically makes some one a racist. But apparently if you say 'nigger' then you should be banned from all podcasts now and forever.
Though quite how this justifies the attack on an unborn child - or makes Spencer, his wife and that child a racist - I am not sure.
It is odd that somehow the santimonious types who make these decisions on behalf of the rest of us feel able to justify themselves.
Speaking of which fingers are now being pointed at Dice Like Thunder, or someone connected with Dice Like Thunder as the source of the abusive email.
The theory runs that the author of the email is a certain Stephen Hope/Stephen H, who has recently sponsored episodes of DLT. This has prompted DLT to issue a statement - and in some ways a rather odd statement, since it makes all the right noises of shock and apology, but also has a crass undertone of 'get over it' there are more important things than a miscarriage - toy soldiers. In effect 'so you lost your baby, pull your cardigan over you knees and get on with it.'
Even more bizarre is this part of the statement:
"To the rumor mill: You have our official response. Your services are no longer required. We will delete posts about this topic from our forums that involve any name calling or attacks on anyone who might be involved."
Sure they don't want their forums filled with squabblers on this matter - indeed they have already shut down threads discussing the matter - but it is odd to say on the one hand that they are not involved and sympathetic, and on the other to say that are seeking to protect the sender of the viole email.
The problem for DLT, and particularly Fantsay Flight Games employee Miggidy Mack, is that they have form in this area.
During Mack's brief period in California he hosted a version of the show co-hosted by Ian. Who in response to a DLT listener having twins started cracking jokes about dead babies. Now fair enough the Chicago end of the operation were rightly outraged at this event, but Mack dismissed it as yet another example of Ian's 'humour'. But then Mack was always at pains to say what a good guy Ian is and how funny he is etc - though listeners to DLT might have differing opinions.
Supposedly DLT are having an investigation as to whether they are in anyway connected to this email.
The problem here is that tall poppy syndrome appears to have been at work.
40k Radio was perhaps the biggest of the podcasts, and certainly had it's detractors. DLT has placed themselves in the unfortunate position of becoming somewhat of a mouthpiece for this criticism - going so far as to highlight a couple of blogs in a recent episode that had been attacking 40k Radio - one of which Blood of Kittens was a principle cheer leader and inciter of the 'anti-racists' - and must take some responsibility for this email - if for no other reason than it's editorial appeared to believe that JaJa's use of the 'n' word gave people carte blanche to say what they like.
Now fair enough we are talking about a very small world, and thus you might argue that DLT are right to report the 'news'.
But I can't help wondering why they felt the need to ever comment on any other podcast. There is plenty enough to talk about in the hobby without rubbishing the opposition.
Having said all of this, it may well be that 40K Radio was finished anyway - and it may well be that the email is not genuine and an excuse - but the fact remains that this whole affair has left a sour taste in the mouth and has been a salutory lesson to others who might think of setting up a podcast.
The irony is that the emailer claimed to be contacting the shows sponsors to get them to pull the plug.
Because I can't help thinking that one of the mistakes 40k Radio made was to lead the way with sponsorship. It seems that every podcast has gone down this route now. Of course I understand that podcasting is not a cheap hobby - at least in the set up stage - but I can't help feeling that this commercialism becomes an end in itself, with people forgetting the reason they started podcasting in the first place, with the combined problem of forgetting what it was about their show that people like.
Which perhaps explains why my favourite podcast is the Waarghcast.