Wonderful fights between narcissism and worthlessness

Just In Case You Thought It Didn’t Matter

on April 3, 2013


From @applecidermage: “I got a weeklong probation on SA for talking about Chromie because I’m trying to overthrow Blizzard’s tyranny or something”

One of the VERY FEW remaining Something Awful threads I still read is this one: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3236098 because somehow, despite being a mock thread on SA, it sees a LOT of really great feminist discussion and breakdowns of privileged whining (and yes, just some great wtf gamer moments, like people comparing doing ten less fantasy murder digits to losing a child to a cruel unfeeling god). On a SA sub-forum that has literally banned discussion of anything feminist, it’s great, and consistently so. Every now and then someone will wander in and say “Who even gives a shit, it’s videogames.” or “Can we not have every post be about nice guys and sexists?” (I pray for that day where it’s hard to find ’em!) but on the whole? It is a readable and even thoroughly entertaining Something Awful thread!

Which is why the recent discussion of transgender and non-heteronormative character diversity in videogames in the thread had an element of heart-break (Post that starts the discussion: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3236098&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=277#post413948287). It was prompted by Apple Cider Mage mentioning (and, until near the end, that’s basically all of her input) that Blizzard had stated a male-named and female-gnome-mortal-form dragon, Chronormu / Chromie, was entirely female in body and mind. There had been that tiny spark of fan speculation (even though, as is mentioned in the thread, given Blizzard’s track record it was 99% likely to be someone applying a male mortal form to a dragon woman or the reverse) of Chromie as a subtly transgendered character, but, with the clearing up of ambiguity, that got stamped out. There were three pages of discussion following.Then Apple Cider got probated:

I love that you try to turn the wowgamers.txt thread into your personal soapbox every fucking chance you get. What do we have this time? Oh, you’re rallying the troops to stand up against the Blizzard’s tyrannical retcon of turning a gender neutral dragon into a female. Holy fucking shit alert the presses. User loses posting privileges for 1 week. Kewpuh

This is the same glorious moderator who got feminist discussion banned from the Games subforum on SA. Nothing in the thread got that heated, or that personally vicious. And that’s why the thread and discussion were GREAT! Because it would have been worth it to power through seeing someone get emotional, and then get dismissive, shittily. But something about the greatest MRA in Games moderation swooping in after the fact to shit all over someone he hates for being a F-F-F-F-FEMINIST leaves a really shit taste in my intellectual-discussion-mouth.

The discussion that followed, that lead to Apple Cider’s probation? Actually still pretty great! It ends on a REALLY fucking down note (stop before effectual’s transphobic horrifying post, it’s right above Kewpuh halting all discussion). But even Wojtek, who initially comes off as a huge privilege-hole by asking why anyone would give a fuck about Chromie (other people who aren’t you, THIS ISN’T HARD) isn’t human garbage and goes on to have good, progressive-minded points (although he’s got some horrible points too). Cabbit is an all-star and makes the thread for the three pages following the link I posted a detailed and wonderful discussion of why it’s important to have minority characters in the media and also why the arguments against are usually bullshit. Choice Cabbit quotes:

  • “Because you can count the number of decent trans characters in gaming on zero hands, so it was nice for a brief moment to think that there might be one.”

             Wojtek posted:

Maybe take fictional half gnome half dragons less seriously instead of beacons of trans representation.

  • “Because there’s exactly two settings to that switch: another straight white-skinned ‘normal’ NPC, or a shining beacon of LGBT inclusion that batters down the oppressive cis regime, and there’s absolutely no benefit to society to having otherwise regular, non-evil and/or outlandish bit characters who happen to be something other than ramrod straight and blithely Caucasian.
  • It’s not about needing representation or turning some random quest giver into a ~*role model*~. It’s about how playing video games and seeing absolutely nobody like you in a positive– or even neutral– capacity gets pretty fucked up after awhile, and makes you feel like you’re somewhere you don’t belong. It’s another thing in the pile that makes you feel like like an ‘other’. ”
  • “…why do you think being homosexual has to be any less subtle than being heterosexual? At any point in the story where orientation is relevant, just, you know, make it not straight. You’ve got a brash hero wooing ladies in a bar about his daring-do? Make ’em dudes. Or dudes and ladies. Somebody’s gotta rescue their lady love from a giant snarling monster? Hey, maybe the hero’s also a woman. I mean, in no way does any of this have to smack of stuff that needs to be kept ‘in the bedroom’. That’s just some weird thing that seems to come up when people think of anything not-heterosexual and their brain somehow goes to this place where it’s somehow more perverted than the absolute deluge of heterosexual relationships used as subplots in pretty much every form of fiction. Stuff that people just sort of gloss over because it’s so goddamn prevalent that it becomes white noise, unless it happens to stick to you that they’re all straight. You only have to exaggerate the hell out of it if you’re writing ‘a gay character’, i.e. a stereotype, instead of a character who happens to be gay. Edit: Ever see the movie ParaNorman? The absolute best example, ever, is in that movie.

There was even good discussion and fair points being raised about the change being the right one!

See, this?

penguinmambo posted:

“Protip: How people react to fan-ideas or canon of a character is way more interesting sometimes than the importance of said characters. Frankly whether you care about the trans angle or not, if you’re turning into a humanoid from that I’m pretty sure you can look like whatever you want; it should not be a big deal even from a lore perspective. But that wouldn’t be done because we know wowplayers would find it hilarious and point it out at every opportunity with terrible terrible dragqueen jokes. Hell, even vanilla shit like the Jaina & Thrall friendship with Blizz’s playful ambigousity is something the sperging playerbase couldn’t handle without a lot cringe-inducing tactless humor.“

That’s actually a GREAT point in opposition to including a transgender character. If I’m reading it right, namely, that the inclusion of a transgender character with this worse-than-the-bronze-age-at-acceptance playerbase would mean open transphobia in chat channels where there was none before. We can go off that and discuss that harm versus the need for ways to reduce transphobia and ignorance of transgender people, and how and if a transgender character could help.


iostream.h posted:

Up until all this I’d have shrugged and nodded anytime someone mentioned trans/bi/whatever characters in a damn videogame.

AFTER all this I would prefer Blizzard and any other devs to just say ‘Absofuckinglutely not, it’s not worth the fucking headache to deal with you people’ and keep my magical pixel fairies as simple as possible.

I mean, godDAMN read the last couple of pages and put it into some context.

Then there was this, in response to Cabbit asking how it would sound if instead of “trans/bi/whatever (ugh)” it had been racial skin tones:

iostream.h posted:

             Cabbit posted:

How about this context– would you say this in public?

If people were arguing about the hue of a questgivers skin and trying to determine the devs intent as to their ethnicity absolutely.
I’m likely not as socially progressive as I should be but I’m pretty ok with where I’m at, but seriously, this shit is tiring. Call me a piece of conservative shit or whatever, call me a sexist (is that even right, considering the context?) but I give an entirely different level of giveadamn to a video game than I do to real life.

Seriously, this is all in respect to a dragon who’s transformed to a goblin who may or may not be trans-gendered.

Apple Cider posted:

I was just pointing out (calmly, I might add)

It just seems to some people are actually taking offense at this, and it confuses the hell out of me and I wish it would just go away so I can read more funny complaining instead of this.

Yeah, that’s god-awful disagreement that checks off enough boxes on the “I”m privilege” argument checklist to get a score of “Well if you don’t care, shouldn’t no one ever?”

“I’m likely not as socially progressive as I should be but I’m pretty ok with where I’m at…” WELL THAT’S JUST FUCKING GREAT, THANKS! I love how privilege 101 that statement is. “Um, guys? I don’t care about this, and I just want to read about silly wow players being overemotional about Thrall? Guys? I’m the most privileged one here? Why aren’t why doing everything I want to the exclusion and invisibility of minority groups? Um, why are we discussin’ BIBEOGAMS like media representations of people and facets of them have actual influence on how people are perceived and can lead to stereotyping OR understanding? Um um um”

The reason I continue to follow this thread is it is one of the only public spaces of communication besides Twitter and specific blog comment sections (read: not Kotaku) where there is actual good, idea-generating and thought-provoking discussion of videogames, the lessons they teach subtly and overtly, and the cancerous culture that’s clinging to them trying to keep healthy cells out, and all with a minimum of demeaning, threatening, or discriminatory shouting matches. All on a site that gets that wrong all the fucking time, usually about shit that in no way deserves that level of investment. The Kewpuh probation is a reminder of how weird it is that this thread exists where it does. And if I didn’t have such faith in the posters creating the discussion, I’d likely be worried about its future.


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