We defended Colleen Lachowicz (D-Maine) in 2012 for her hobby of playing WOW as an Orc when the Republicans and other nits were getting on her case, but we turn around and then pull that shit on someone else? Wait. Whut? Get all up in arms for a fellow Dem, but a GOP is a fine target... Why? Because they're unpopular? So high-school.
I get rather angry in places in this, mostly because I just get sick and fucking tired of seeing gamers being mocked for liking something other than going to bars, movies, monster-truck events or other mundane activities. Is it any wonder so many of us keep our hobby in the shadows? No one likes being laughed at for something truly creative and so fucking harmless. It's not actually an unusual pastime at ALL--I'll get into that below.
More rantery after the cheese-doodle...
We laughed at Star Trek fans, now they're making movies you pay millions to go see. We'd laugh at science-fiction nerds because they were more interested in science and the world of the mind than in sports and other "socially approved" activity. Now, we beg to have their novels made into television-series or films. We laughed at the computer-science geeks, and now we pay them billions a year to create games for us to play.
This is no different.
I refuse to think all members of a particular group are good or bad, because that's flatly impossible. This thing is long, sorry, but I hope folks are patient enough to read the whole thing before commenting, because I've been trying to shorten it and I've been failing horribly. I do break things up with some cute pictures, though. No, there are no LOLcats...
A Republican/Libertarian by the name of Justice Walker shot down Prop 8 with panache and a great amount of intelligence, telling the bigots that attempting to force a court to make rulings because of religion-based "squick-factor" was not up to the voters because it was unconstitutional. I know that we Progressives had so misread him that we prevented his first appointment to the District Court for Northern California. We can be wrong.
The GOP wasn't always the backwards-thinking, Buy-bull thumping, anti-equality bunch they've morphed into these days. Because, LINCOLN! We see and hear the mouthpieces paid for by Big Money who are the real threat, forgetting that's not all there is to the GOP and dismiss the quieter individuals who haven't gotten into power because they refused to play the Theocratic-Feudalists' game they wanted them to play and are doomed to be bench-warmers for their adherence to good behaviour.
I'm a transplanted, part-Native American French-Canadian (the proper name is Metis, and it's much easier to say). Yep, I'm not only one a' them furriners, but I'm a brown furriner. BOO! Actually, I'm more of a warm golden beige, what with the watering-down of my ancestry and all. LOL I don't have my citizenship, yet, so I can't vote. I asked my husband how it worked here: you can vote for the candidate you think can do the job, but in the nomination portion of the voting (where a party is choosing their front-runner for President), you must register as a Democratic voter, GOP, Green, etc. I'm not in any Party, nor do I wish to be.
He made a suggestion for voting reform: give voters the option to vote from a pool of candidates from a variety of Parties. The hypothesis being that if a voter was shown they could say "I'd be happy with the Democrat or the Green candidate"--effectively casting an equal vote for both people--that we might see a difference in how the ballots fall out. We too often hear about how we're forced to exclude the real alternatives because we know that if we voted for them like we wanted, the Dems lose a vote and GOP wins... again. We end up having to divide our votes based upon who we don't want to win instead of going with our true choice--my example of the environmentalist over the planet-raper. A reform like that could make a difference, if it gets us a person in office who might actually serve our interests over the 1%ers.
It's called Approval Voting (the following bit is his addition to this diary--thanks, hon!):
http://en.wikipedia.org/... "There's no need for run-off elections unless there's a tie, just like in our current system. Otherwise, the guy with the highest number of approval votes wins, and seeing who came in 2nd and 3rd can be fodder for groups to say "Hey Mr. Democrat, you may have won this time but the Green guy had only 10% fewer votes so you'd better not ignore green issues".See? I knew there was a reason I married him other than for his sexy geekiness (he's building an accessory for his car right now that'll help him keep track of mileage so he can tweak the car's performance. The device uses drivers a buddy of mine wrote). LOL Such an awesome brain that sees the stuff I miss.
Unfortunately, in today's world of unlimited campaign contributions and more accurate polling, changing the voting method probably won't solve the problem. As soon as the rich guy sees he might statistically lose, he pumps in just enough extra cash to bring his numbers up a little beyond the winning threshold. I'm pretty sure that's why we see so many more very close races and need to recount more often than in the past. To fix that, we need fixed accounts for campaigning only using public money with all parties given the same amount. And we also need some system of enforcing honesty. IE: a list of campaign promises that can't be gone back on without automatic impeachment. Democratic voting should be based on who supports the policy ideas people like the most, not on who has the most money or is the most charismatic liar."
Now, back to your regularly-scheduled rant:
I also like part of the old Athenian Democratic model that used another check on poor administrators: every year, the people were asked who they thought was doing a bad job, the winner (the loser, really) was banished from the city for ten years. They called it ostracism and that's where we get the word. While we can't exile a politician (that would be nice, wouldn't it?), we can fire them and make them pay back the funds given as part of their campaign. I say pay it all back, especially if it came from public coffers. We can get refunds for a bad product, why not "return" a bad leader? They like being treated as commodities, don't they? They certainly sell themselves to the highest-bidding 1%ers!
Our voter base has too many "low-information" citizens that cast votes based on who they recognize, and who they recognize is based upon whose ads they've seen and the content of those ads that impressed them or tugged at heart-strings. It's what they're calculated to do, of course. For a "popularity contest", it's certainly rigged to whomever has the most filthy lucre--meaning, the 1%ers win... again, no matter who actually gets in office.
I understand the problem of getting one's message out to as wide a range of people as possible is nearly impossible without money. But, we have things like the Internet, now, one BIG reason why Net Neutrality is so important and why we have to fight as hard as we can to prevent the 1%ers gaining complete control over it. It's also another reason for killing that bit of Supreme Court money-pandering (I'd make that a crime along the lines of money-laundering) that now allows unlimited campaign contributions. In that recent case, we are royally fucked without even a kiss or a dinner-date.
OLIGARCHY. DO NOT WANT.
Jacob Rush has shown some regrettable taste in viewpoints (repeal Obamacare? No gay marriage? No birth-control? Really?), fine, but his actions in a game shouldn't even be considered relevant to the question: is he worth voting for?
I've played in many LARPs, and for me, the game wasn't about showcasing my "inner-monster", although that could be fun. The game-world was based on the premise that supernatural creatures were real: werewolves, vampires, faery-folk, Mages and so on. Nothing weird there; it's just part of the "back-story" for the setting, just like we have cheesy Space-opera settings for Star Wars and the Riddick movies, hospital settings for House M.D, shambling zombies in a post-apocalyptic world for Walking Dead. There were two main sects in vampire society; the Camarilla and the Sabbat. The Cam were the usual protagonists and practiced something called the Masquerade (hiding from humans), and the Sabbat didn't care about keeping to the shadows. They were predators and had no qualms about showing it.
There was an important concept in the game called the Beast--the vampiric element of their personality and it could take over in a process known as "frenzy". To frenzy was a Bad Thing (TM). A Kindred who frenzied too often was considered a liability and put down like a rabid dog, so the kind of behaviour Rush's character Chazz was apparently showing could've gotten him killed in the Camarilla, and quickly. Even vampires have standards!
The flak the game images are attracting is even sillier. Have any of these fuckwits never seen promo-photos for movies? Some of them are just as scary-looking, but we don't castigate the creators for the themes in the images! These were pics showcasing the scenes, costumes, props and make-up efforts of the players, and frankly, a lot of it is so well done, they should be in movies.
"Oooh, but there's a succubus! Bring on the Spanish Inquisition!" I rather liked the artistry of the "Angel Blood" pic--it was rather pretty--the game is about "personal horror", after all. The images with the Sabbat ritual and the consecration of "archbishop" Kettering are all in-game things, not real-life things. Playing out a ritual in a game is no weirder than actors performing a ritual in a movie. Yeah, I dare you to storm onto the stage of Hamlet and tell the "witches" cackling over their cauldron are being evil for realz. Go on, I'll wait and even attend to witness your trial and possible incarceration in a psychiatric institution.
ALL of the reports I've so far seen are like this: ridiculously biased, smarmy and just plain fucking asshat wrong.
More and more, I see the disservice we're doing to a guy who, in all rational likelihood, innocently played a game with a couple of creepy characters. Vampires are creepy. It's why we love them. So he played one, or several, big whoop. Micheal C. Hall played a serial-killer in one of the most popular TV-series of all time, yet no one is trying to have him jailed because he might really be a murderer! In neither case should we be basing our opinions of a person on the roles they played! Although, the long, pointy fingernails one can see in Rush's law-firm pic are interesting. My husband has claws just like that and they give THE best head-scritches. He can improve my mood just by scratching my back. Purrrrrrr... ;-)
Storytelling is as old as Humanity, so is dressing up in costumes to act them out. They can be guides to morality, humour, satire, a celebration of someone's achievements, they create social connections and culture and LARPers, cosplayers, gamers, etc, create and tell them to entertain each other. A good story needs conflict; a battle against an invading army, survival against a natural disaster, an exciting hunt, alien invasion (see invading army), or a study on what is evil. WTF do you think that collection of the demented rantings of schizophrenic sheep-herders mixed with tribal stories, the Buy-bull, really is?
We NEED antagonists. If we excised all the horrible things a character might do during a story, it would be a very dull one! Yet, we've ritualized story-play so much that we want to limit it to only specific people ("professionals") and situations (film, plays, team mascots and sports-players) and socially shun the rest like the fucktastically-stupid, narrow-minded apes we are, all while calling anyone who still insists upon doing the activity "freaks" or, to use an older and ruder term, "savages". After all, only grass-skirt-wearing aboriginals still dance around their fires in animal costumes these days. We're so much more civilized than than that guy over there in the home-made fursuit entertaining the kids for free! /snark Wrong. He's doing it for fun, not to serve the "Mouse" (Disney) and not because he's a weirdo, either. We have forgotten how much of our "troupe" (group) behaviour dates from our early primate days on the Savannah: we kick out the stranger. Or kill them. Then we rationalize it.
This isn't about morality or even about hypocrisy. It's about riding people for the wrong things based upon extremely poor logic.
I'm a writer (I'm not going to win any Pulitzers. I'd rather win a Hugo or an Aurora, anyway), and some of my characters are honourless, violent and vicious people. Others are heroes (and anti-heroes) with less than attractive personality-traits. Does this make me a creep because I created a character that liked to rape his daughter? What about Stephen King or Dean Koontz? Or, George R. R. Martin, whose books are crazy popular right now and have become a well-known television series? So many of his characters are reprehensible to each other, but do we call Martin a "freak" or think he bears a sublimated hatred and disrespect towards women for the female characters that are so often abused in his novels?
Yeah, let's go with "he's evil for being a twink in a game", instead of attacking his stated views, which are pretty fucking bigoted and stupid. The images of him on his campaign pages are fluff, where he mentions taking pix of himself with his hand on the Bible, showing him with his kid and so on, sanitized fluff such as ALL politicians make, Dem or GOP, Green or Libertarian. It's part of that "game". How is he in any way a hypocrite for trying to make nice with his potential constituents? Rush is trying to show common ground with them. He wants them to vote for him! Oh, the humanity! It's called "Impression Management" by sociologists. We call it "Public Relations". It's a pose, like any other.
The "damning evidence" of his character, Chazz Darling:
At first I thought you were just stupid and I wanted to stick my dick in your mouth to shut you up while I snorted a line off my new machete that was blessed by Rui (sic) but then I remembered that you were typing so my dick would really have to be in your hands to keep you from typing but since you are walking in Omaha that’s not really realistic right now.Okay, definition time. "Torpor": the coma-like state of a vampire who is too low on blood to function (hasn't fed enough or has had to heal a lot of wounds, which uses blood) or has been so deeply injured, that s/he falls into this state. So, Chazz sounds like a complete asshole since he sounds so over-the-top mean, despite his pretty clothes. So what? Hell, I'd mug him for that jacket (it's awesome)! He's being an ass to another character and giving her "advice". He's making Sabbat-sounding references; Cam don't usually talk like this in my experience.
I’m sorry, I tried.
Rae tells me that you are a Maiden, and it’s your job to be kind of stupid and that I’m not supposed to have intercourse with Maidens.
You shouldn’t believe everything that people tell you or you’re going to end up naked and sore, tied to the floor of a van marked “Free Candy.”
And stop letting people torpor (sic) you.
Where's the rape-fantasy as relates to his real life and interests? And why should any rape-fantasy be a problem anyway? Committed couples who in no way abuse each other play out rape fantasies all the time as part of a kinky night in the bedroom. I've even done it, and I've been raped. A LOT. He makes a drug-reference; my word, he must be an addict! Fuck that. It is expressly stated in the game rules: NO INTOXICANTS. Ever. Rush capitalizes the word "maiden", making it sound like a kind of title and not a reference to her age, virginity, or girlish fragility. People have accused him of "getting joy" from writing the above silliness. How do they know? Rush might think Chazz is as sick a fuck as we do. He's writing from his character's perspective and thought-process, not his own. He's playing a fucking role.
A quick note on that; some might say that because Chazz was his character, that his thought-process and viewpoints are also Rush's. Nope. Actors take on roles written by others all the time. So do LARPers. Also, Vampire: The Masquerade has a set of traits a player must choose that are based on adjectives, descriptives of personalities, mind-sets, fears and so on. There is even a list of negative traits one can take to be given points to buy other, more positive stats like strength or charisma in order to build a more rounded character. So Chazz was created with some very negative stats. This is not the same as Rush having the same traits.
Rush's silly bit of writing-fail isn't a fucking rape-fantasy, it's the way that character talks and thinks and was probably referring to events in the game we know nothing about. The diary I link to, and the other "news" stories I'd read upon following some links around, spends far too much time castigating a man for his HOBBIES and the vile things he'd said or done while in-character. We shouldn't be pissing on him for some stupid antagonist he'd played in a game.
Guess I'm evil, too. Would it help anything that the character I created who raped his kid was based on my own father? Authors do that: "write what you know". They also murder characters, abuse them, have them commit atrocities and be victims of same. Rape is an ugly, ugly thing in the real world, and I know, personally and intimately, what it is. I was raped the first time when I was six years old. I hate rape-culture. So much of what we do thoughtlessly denigrates women and puts them into the category of object, property, scapegoat, arm-candy without a brain...
What does it say about me that I would go on to write an entire novel about a rapist and his effect upon his family? The story was cathartic as well as just a good story? Or am I somehow so fucked up it's difficult to categorize? I think any sensible person would go with the first, wouldn't they? My rapist-character never becomes squeaky clean by the end, but he gets onto a very long road to becoming a better human being, something my father never did in real life, even though I'd given him plenty of opportunities to do so (he's currently on trial for his crimes).
I'm a gamer; have been since I was fourteen. I'm a science-fiction fan and have been going to conventions for almost as long. My first Con, I dressed as an Elfquest elf, doing fan-based cosplay almost before it was given a name! I love cosplay. I'm also a Furry and make the complicated costumes called fursuits for myself and others for a bit of extra money. I write, paint, and sculpt. I'm just a creative person who likes to play fun things like LARP. I'm as far from evil as one could get and still be human... just like nearly every other gamer, LARPer, Furry and cosplayer that I personally know. Really, it can be a great escape from things like being raped every weekend or beaten up every day at school. Or, just a fun thing to do on the weekends or after school, even if you weren't being abused. But, I learned things, too: how to more effectively socialize, something I had huge trouble with. I had no friends in school. Absolutely none until I was nearly sixteen. The problem wasn't that my peers were jerks (though many of them were), but that I couldn't remember who the people who had been nice to me were.
Lovely thing, Prosopagnosia, it prevents a person from recognizing faces. Some call it being "face-blind", much like being colour-blind. One is just incapable of reading faces, so people like me instead learn a person based on other cues: their voices (I'm great at recognizing those. Go figure), their gait, posture, clothes and hairstyle, even their scent. I've got it so bad that I've had trouble recognizing my own brothers and my mother and have to keep pictures of them around so I can remember who they are! I had no idea that this wasn't "normal" until ten or twelve years ago or why people thought I was a "snob", "aloof", or ignoring them until decades later when I learned the meaning of that new and fascinating word. I was afraid of fucking up who was who--who liked me, who liked beating me up--and embarrassing myself yet again, so I avoided everyone and rarely spoke to anyone, even though I wanted to. It's been a source of incredible embarrassment and abuse from folks, all because they didn't want to take the time to find out why I didn't say hi to them in the school hallway.
Just like we aren't bothering to take the time to learn something about the real person Rush is. Instead, we base our opinions on some truly biased news-stories, stupid-as-fuck gossip, silly photos and weak-minded scare-mongering from a bunch of fucking idiots who don't understand what gaming or LARP is, instead equating it to being a cult or weird or freaky or...
Before someone gets all up in my grill over seemingly making false comparisons between racism, homophobia, etc, with the stupid sneering we keep pulling on the creatives in our midst, let me clarify: bigotry is defined as an unreasonably-fierce dislike of activities, things or people--it does not matter what we are disliking--it's unreasonable. And calling gamers "freaks", "weirdos", "losers who can't get a girl" and so on is a form of bigotry and is a reflection of an unpleasant aspect of human nature: we exclude the stranger. Gamers, Furries and LARPers are apparently the new strangers to many of us without ever realizing that we're mocking people we may love and respect.
Those idiotic waves of bead-clutching (as one commenter so aptly put it) have come and gone over my nearly four decades of gaming where the overly-religious, easily-frightened by the innocuous, people with too low a fund of brain that listen to fuckwits like Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, Ray Comfort or Tex Marrs, or are well-meaning, if clueless (Tipper Gore, I'm pointing at you), rail about the "evils" of D&D, heavy metal music, video games, occult symbolism and later, Vampire: The Masquerade, claiming it will lead you to Satan-worship, becoming a rapist, a child-molester, a killer... Yes, out of the tens of thousands of players, one or two already unhinged people killed someone and the media pundits tried to link the game to their reasons for committing atrocities. The game did not make them that way, their own individual illnesses did. The games merely provided a prop to wrap their crimes around. Those scares passed, and I'm sure this one will, too, but it fucking pisses me off when I see people claiming to be tolerant progressives mocking someone as a "freak" for playing a game in (shocked breath) costume, no less. Get the coat with the extra-extra long sleeves before he games again!
False causality is a terrible place to start in any sort of reasoning.
We watch people in uniforms--costumes--running around playing what was originally a kid's game... for money. I guess professional sports are more "legitimate" since they're paid for and sponsored by corporations? Is that how we judge legitimacy now? Whether or not you're paid? By whether or not the media makes fun of it? How open-minded and progressive of you. Gaming is a lucrative business to the tune of billions a year. Tournaments can be a decent income for someone who wins often enough, and it takes as much effort and sweat as a so-called "legitimate" job, and the learning-curve is steep for some games. The gaming-world is happily making a living for a lot of us who make costumes, props, or who write the code to the role-playing games you play on your PC. So yes, you dear freaks are in the same fraternity as we LARPERs: you're gamers. :-)
Creativity comes in all forms and fun is more than sitting in front of the TV with a beer being spoon-fed your entertainment filtered liberally through corporate commercials created by those corporations that are buying your politicians, screwing up your lives, poisoning your family, your neighbours, and your planet. Fun can be had in non-competitive ways--gaming--in person: you know, social contact, something too many suggest we gamers lack? People make their living creating those games to entertain YOU, and you have the gall to call them " childish freaks" for the type of gaming they do, simply because you either don't enjoy those kinds of games (so you're obviously qualified to pass judgment on what is "cool", "sane" or "normal" to do) or just don't understand them.
Please forgive the invasion of the Italics. Those darned things sneak in whenever they can and fucking breed...
Seems to me that we gamers and LARPers get more social time with real people than a lot of "normal" folks sitting in front of their TV's, PC's or yakking on their phones do. We have fun being active instead of passive consumers, using our brains for something other than stuffing between our ears by collaborating in a story with a bunch of friends an evening or two a month. Thinking outside the box, finding unusual or creative solutions to problems, math, sewing-skills (for some, like me) art and writing all come into play in the gaming world. I think that's something people like Rush can bring to the GOP, who so direly need it. He just needs to get with the program and stop being a bigoted, exclusionary asshat.
People's attacks on Rush's hobby are a fuck-witted ad hominem, when you should be going after Rush's shitty beliefs and prevent him from becoming an administrator if he really is so terrible. Go after his stated views, what he does in the real world, not his hobby. People grow; at least, we hope they do, and he's young enough that some of his sillier ideas about policy will undergo some evolution, though, being a devout Fundie, he might not believe in evolution. ;-)