Wednesday, November 9, 2016

POTUS TRUMPUS

I haven’t really thought through what I want or am going to say here, so this may seem disjointed.

Before I get to anything else, I need to get this one off my chest: Bernie supporters, just stop. Seriously, just stop it. I keep seeing Bernie fans posting stupid macros reading crap like “Do you miss me now?” and “65%”. Yes, he polled better than Trump and Clinton in the early days. And last night, the polls gave Clinton a solid shot. It’s foolish to think he would have magically done better. He did better than Trump in a couple of places that Trump won. So, of course, many are concluding that Sanders would have won those last night, while ignoring that he most likely would have lost a lot of the places Clinton did take. The simple fact is that America isn’t ready for a Sanders. He’s actually too far left (under American standards) for America right now.

Did Sanders get screwed by the DNC? Yeah, probably so. So what? Like me, he was an Independent. He only joined the Dem party in 2015. Did you think they wouldn’t work against an outsider who only joined for an opportunistic gain? If you did, you haven’t been paying attention to politics in your life, be it 18 or 80 years.

I get it, you feel burned. And as a result, some of you voted for Trump. So thanks for not giving two shits about the nation in your petty spite.

Anyway, just stop it. We’re all hosed together, so let’s work on figuring out how to blunt some of that.

So. . . President Trump.

I honestly didn’t think this would happen. Long before it became a common idea, I had put forth the idea that Trump was essentially trolling the nation and increasing his brand recognition even more and that at some point, it got away from him. What I unintentionally ignored at the beginning was the absolute field of crap he was up against on the GOP side.

I knew that I didn’t want a Ted Cruz presidency. What I didn’t realize was just how much everyone else hated Cruz. And I wonder even now if he knew how much people hated him before his run for POTUS. I didn’t know in the beginning that, for a brilliant neurosurgeon, Ben Carson was painfully stupid and full of hate. Kasich was too bland to do really get anywhere, and Rubio, well, Rubio just lacks a certain something. Spine maybe? He seems not insincere, but not devoted. As for Fiorina, does anyone even remember her making the run? There were some others, but they were non-starters.

On the other side, we basically had Clinton and Sanders.

This election belonged to the Dems for the most part. I knew Clinton would be the Dem candidate. I feared Cruz would grab the GOP nom.

The biggest thing I got wrong was thinking that the citizens of the United States had made more social progress than they had. I knew Trump’s isolationist, xenophobic rhetoric would strike chords with a chunk of the populace, but I underestimated the hate that still lives in the hearts of our citizens.  Hate of the other, hate of women, hate of change. That’s how Trump got the nom. He pandered to that hate, and he did it by escalating his words everything and then having a spokesperson go on TV and walk them back, with another spokesperson going on and saying even more extreme things. I also never thought that he would stoop to endorsing actual Nazis and white supremacists.

Again, I was wrong.

But that all together should not have carried to where we are today.

No, that took some other factors.

Apparently a lot of people, including Dems, simply don’t like Clinton and didn’t long before any of the email crap. Some of it was misogyny, yes, but not all of it. 

How much of the vote, popular and electoral, would she have taken if not for the past few months?  Good question.

Let’s see, there’s the email scandal. You know, that thing that has some calling Clinton a traitor (she’s not, look it up), and a criminal (she’s not, you can tell by the lack of crime). This was yet another attempt to make something more than it was in order to damage Clinton. But come on, she’s been in the biz how long now and not been busted? Either she’s not guilty or she’s a criminal super genius, and we could use a super genius in the Oval. And when that was starting to lose traction as a story (because, you know, she didn’t actually do anything), Comey came along with his new right-before-the-election letter and stirred it all up again. And then a less publicized letter that “Nope, sorry, still nothing there”, but that damage was done. That hurt Clinton. I do believe if Comey hadn’t done that (and there’s indications that he wasn’t supposed to have done it), her tally in the popular vote would be better. I can’t wait for us to find out if it was a load of crap based on incompetence on Comey’s part, or if he intentionally interfered with the electoral process. I actually have my doubts that we’ll ever find out. I firmly believe that Comey needs to step down.

I also believe that the F.B.I. needs a severe overhaul since it’s been well-established that a fifth column, if you will, has been actively working against Clinton based on some crap in a crap book. That’s not acceptable. Last time I checked, J. Edgar wasn’t running the F.B.I. these days.

Anyway, yeah, the resurgence of the “new” emails seemed designed to bring a fading issue right back into the minds of the voters.

Social media . . . Anti-Clinton forces masterfully used social media against her. It’s pretty well established that many people only read headlines, and that many who read more than the headline only read the first part of an article or item. And that we remember headlines, especially negative headlines, while forgetting retractions or the material below the headline. It’s an old trick. And boy howdy, did people rely on that basic bit of psychology. There were so many anti-Clinton headlines, ranging from the believable to the outrageous that even Snopes couldn’t keep up with them. But we remember negative headlines. Way to shape the voter headspace. There wasn’t nearly the volume of anti-Trump headlines, and many of those were simple reporting on actual things. But frankly, I’m pretty sure many people don’t care about facts or truth unless they align with the narrative in the person’s head.

Don’t forget the Reds. No wait, I mean the Russians. The Reds are running the country now. We all know that the neo-Soviets have been actively interfering with the election (which I personally consider to be an act of war), thought for Trump’s benefit (he does love him some Putin) or just as an anti-Clinton measure. And we’re probably going to let them get away with it. Which means it’s going to happen again.

Wikileaks/fugitive and alleged rapist Julian Assange. At some point in the past, Wikileaks released some documents that uncovered some uncool shit on the part of the U.S. government. As a result, the name “Wikileaks” gained some measure of credibility. Assange and other anti-Clinton forces have traded on that credibility during this election. Because Assange has some sort of beef with Clinton. They did so be releasing quite a large number of emails, including those that indicated the DNC worked to undermine Sanders (see above). But frankly, so far, there hasn’t really been anything terribly shocking or evil in those emails.

But there didn’t have to be anything actually there. Why? Because we remember negative headlines. Suddenly, Wikileaks was breaking all kinds of news and most of it was crap. But by combining negative headlines with the word “Wikileaks”, that gave those headlines even more traction in the minds of readers. Readers who didn’t read a single leaked email, let alone the what, 50k or so? Was Assange doing this on behalf of the neo-Soviets? I have no idea. Maybe, but maybe he just wanted to screw Clinton over since, as I said, he seems to have a personal problem with her.

Let us not forget the role the 24-hour scramble-for-ratings media has played in all of this. You know, the liberal Mainstream Media that the right likes to whine about? The same LMSM that has spent a year propping Trump up while scrambling to make every single bit of information about Clinton seem like a HUGE scandal. If you think I’m kidding, go back and look. The media has effectively ignored or only glossed over most negative stories that have come out about Trump except for the Pussy Grabbing, while pounding on Clinton like she was a stubborn nail. How often did they talk about the multiple rape allegations (including a mildly retracted one by an ex-wife)? How often did they talk about Clinton’s health, on the other hand?

No, as I’ve indicated for a while, the Fourth Estate has long been a semi-abandoned crack house. It needs to be burned down and rebuilt.

And with all of that, as of this writing, the popular vote stands at

Clinton: 59,796,311
Trump: 59,589,821

What happened the last time the Reds lost the popular vote but won the electoral college? Anyone? Bueller?

Right, a depressed economy, a destroyed surplus, a greater degradation of Constitutional rights. Oh, let’s not forget the more than a decade of fucking war most of which served no actual legitimate purpose.

The biggest problem that I see, among all these things, is a perpetual problem. Look at those voter results. Go ahead, take a look, I’ll wait.

59,796,311
+
59,589,821
=
119,386,132

There’s still about one-half of the country’s potential voters who Are. Not. Voting. I have to say, I’m actually moving towards the idea of voting, at least in POTUS elections, being mandatory.

I know that today, it seems like hate has won a big victory. And it has won a victory of some sort, but it’s not as big as it seems. The people against Clinton threw pretty much everything at her and she still took half the popular vote.

Assuming Trump follows through on his campaign rhetoric (and honestly, who knows if he will?), with Congress being tipped to the Reds, the next 4-8 years are probably going to be rough. I think we’re going to see a fair chunk of our progress rolled back.

But she still took half. That means of the people who cared enough to vote, an awful lot of them are still trying, and still want a better nation.

We lost this battle. Let’s not give up and lose the war.

Stay safe, and help keep others safe.

Peace.




Thursday, June 23, 2016

Person of Interest

"You are being watched.”

I don't recall how I got started on PoI. Most likely, we were looking for something new to watch, someone mentioned it, and I figured might as well give it a shot. Hell, we watch Blue Bloods and it's not all that good. And this looked like it was in the same niche as The Equalizer and Burn Notice, using modern surveillance fears as the launching point. Right from the start, I enjoyed the fight choreography. It was stellar, especially for a CBS show and their older demographic. And it was decent. As with many shows, the weekly victim/criminal of the week was nothing exceptional. But the characters held my attention and the seasonal arc was okay.

Little did I know at that point that what I was watching was the beginning of one of the more intelligently conceived and executed television shows on the air. Because who would’ve thought that this simple pseudo-extra-legal vigilante program on a channel that mostly caters to an older demographic would go on to address the creation of artificial life and the responsibilities that come with it? I certainly never expected it to actually address the core gimmick, The Machine, the surveillance state that we find growing more pervasive every day. I sure didn’t expect the show to be one in which we find the heroes and everyone else living in a modern techno-dystopia. I never expected the show to actually address the sacrifice of freedom for security. I didn’t expect the heroes to be soldiers in a war between two human-made gods. A war between machines for the very essence of humanity.

No, all I expected was a pretty basic helping people in need program, with typical TV resolutions and clich├ęs. But they gave me genuine, flawed, no, broken characters. Characters that you would expect to be fixed eventually. And while they changed, shifted, and got better, I think it’s fair to say that at the end, those remaining were still broken. But they were better people than they had been.

I didn’t expect much from this show. I did not expect thoughtfulness, care, depth, and brilliance. But that’s what they gave us. Thank you for that.

If you haven't watched Person of Interest, do yourself a favor and give it a shot. 

“The government has a secret system, a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people. The Government considers these people ‘irrelevant’. We don't. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number's up... we'll find you."


Friday, June 10, 2016

6-10-16 Game Forum Answer Bag

PC Red Flags (OP by candidgamera)
What player character traits immediately set your GM's mind on high alert?
I've got two that popped into my head while I was pondering the subject.

1.) Pacifism in a game that includes combat. And I don't mean technical pacifism where they only fight to knock someone out, or pacifism in a game that runs 90% on social interactions ... I mean a Dungeons and Dragons, or Star Wars typical adventure campaign wherein a character will not swing or fire a weapon at enemies even if he or his party members are in danger. Had this one crop up twice (though both times, the character ended up breaking the pacifist vow when the player got pissed off about something, so it was poor roleplaying on a couple of levels).

2.) Serious mental illnesses, particularly in systems that have no way to model them. I seriously knew a dude in a D&D 4E game who decided his character was Claustrophobic and addicted to drugs. Nevermind that it's called DUNGEONS and Dragons. Nevermind that, as of the start of the game, our characters had been slaves for months, with no access to drugs. He was still going to be addicted, damn it, and he was still going to curl up into a ball in any underground space when he failed one of his self-imposed will saves.

Eh, a pacifist character can work in just about any game, including the kind of pacifist that will not attack under any circumstances. And such a character breaking and attacking isn’t necessarily poor roleplaying. In fact, depending on the circumstances, it could be great roleplaying.  As for #2, that can also work in a lot of games. It’s all dependent on the player and the GM.

By Godfatherbrak:
I had a new player tell me, "my character is an orphan loner."
Me: "No he's not."

Then you maybe shouldn’t try to GM.

By Blackwingedheaven
Kender. Always kender.

Kender aren’t a problem. Shitty players allowed to play Kender are a problem. I’ve never had any problems running or playing one.

By LeighTheDwarf
I've never been a GM before,

Shut the fuck up then.

By EvilSchemer
I had a player one time make a character who was severely allergic to air. In concept, it was kind of neat. He had to wear an oxygen mask to breathe. In play, he got really pissy whenever it became an actual liability.

That’s actually pretty decent. Hell, it’s a requirement for a couple of species in Battlelords. But yeah, the player shouldn’t get pissy when it’s an actual hindrance.

By jerandall
Player: 'My character has [socially unacceptable beliefs such as virulent racism or sexism] but it fits his culture because [he's an Orc / Klingon / whatever].'
Me (GM): 'Nope.'

Then perhaps you should not be a GM also. Because that’s pretty easy to work with and can generate some tremendous roleplaying.

By thorya
For me it's "I'm going to multi-class."
For new players that means I want to do all the roles and I will be upset when I do none of them well. For experienced players it usually means, I found a loophole I am going to exploit.

Then you’ve got shitty players and should find a new group.

By Devil’s Avocado
Amnesia. It almost always means "I want the GM to write my background for me but will complain if there's anything I don't like in it".

If they complain, tell them to shut the fuck up. Taking amnesia is shorthand for “Gamemaster, do whatever the fuck you want to do with my background and origin!”

By BASHMAN
Yeah the pacifism one on Dungeons & Dragons is a real irritant. So you get a share of our XP and treasure... but refuse to do anything at all to help earn it? (this was AD&D when most XP was from killing monsters or the amount of treasure you collected from killing said monsters).

If you think that the only way the character can help is by taking up arms against an enemy, then you’re a fucking moron. That’s a problem with you, not the other character or the game.

By sulldawga
The player who wants to play the same character concept, regardless of the rules or setting.

Especially when you're running a gritty realistic sandbox D&D game and the guy still wants to play his female 12 year old mage. So she's smart enough to cast spells before puberty but dumb enough to think dungeon delving with a bunch of inexperienced murderhobo-wannabes is a promising career path?

You should get a better grasp on the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom.

Most of the remainder of the thread is bickering about the “red flags” already discussed. Essentially, it’s a thread by people who should either not run games, or should find new players.

GMing advice--reconciling players who have different political opinions? (OP by MistahJ)
I need advice about something very specific that's happened with a gaming group of mine.

Okay, so normally politics don't come up with my gaming groups. Ever. And normally I have a rule that says "leave that at the door, this is about elfgames, please." Usually there are no problems.

But I've run into one problem with one particular group lately. I tend to try to be inclusive with my content if people request stuff they want. One player has requested something--it's nothing major--it's just that one of my players (we'll call him Z) wanted his barbarian hero to save a Prince rather than a Princess, with a romantic plot there. Not a big deal to me, and my group never spends any significant screentime on romances anyway. I thought it was a very minor thing. It's arguably the tiniest piece of LGBT content I could include. It would just be for this part of the plot; Z said he doesn't want to make it a huge focus or anything.

One of my players (we'll call him R) is very upset. R doesn't like this being included. He's ridiculously upset and says that if I allow this as a GM, I am violating my rule about leaving politics at the door. I was floored. R and I have never argued over anything; he's typically been one of my most exemplary players (always on time, never misses a session, pays for snacks if I'm hosting, has often helped new people to the group adjust or learn). But Z is also just as exemplary a player.

“R, shut the fuck up and play the game. Bitch about it if, at some point, your character is required to engage in homosexual sex. Until then, hush. If it’s so bothersome to you that you can’t play, we’ll enjoy having you back for the next game, gimme a call.”

Bam! Problem solved.

By Godfatherbrak
He would never call saving a Princess and having a romantic subplot political. His prejudices are making something political that is supposed to be romantic.

Yeah, pretty much.

By damiller
I'll probably regret this but...

Then maybe you should rethink how you’re going to say it . . .

I don't think R is out of order for letting you know that a topic in the game is making him uncomfortable. I don't care what the topic is. If it were about rape or racism no one would be upset at R, in fact he might be applauded. The fact that R seems to have views that are not currently acceptable is besides the point.

Awesome. You just compared a same-sex romantic sub-plot with rape and racism. No wonder you knew you might regret your post. You were aware beforehand that you were going to be a dumb fuck.

I am not a therapist, I am not gaming to change or challenge anyone's views. And presumably no one is there for the that reason.

No, you’re not a therapist. You’re also not a thinker, from the sound of it.

For me in this game as a GM if Z wanted to save the prince great, but there would be no mention at all of any romance. I'd say, great you saved him, fade out, next player.

Because you suck.

By the OP
Very hard to try to find balance with this. I feel like he's entitled to his beliefs and opinions--it's just a matter of what degree do I feel comfortable letting those beliefs influence my group's game.

Of course R is entitled to his beliefs, even if they’re stupid. R is not entitled to screw over the game because of them, and his or her misguided notions of what is political. As was said above, if it were male/female, R wouldn’t have a problem. That makes this R’s burden to carry, not yours, not the other players. This would be different if R’s objection were to any romantic sub-plot, but that’s not the case according to what you’ve said thus far.

By Michael Brazier
Let me take a different angle on this: have you considered the political effects within your game's setting of a homosexual Prince?

Let’s not, since that’s not important to the topic at hand.

By baakyocalder
Me, I'd be more willing to side with R since the 'saved the royal, get a romantic relationship' meme is stale.

Then I’m comfortable determining that you’re
A. An asshole
or
B. Don’t actually understand what’s being discussed and should shut the fuck up and pay attention.

By RavenMM
Maybe it's a non-american thing, but I can't understand this divide between non-political and political some people express here.

Some are arguing that having homosexual relationships are not political because they exist in real life (which of course they do). Well, COmmunism, Liberalism, Mocharchism, Sexism and a whole other bunch of different -isms also exist in our world - yet they seemed to be banned by the gms "no politics" rule.
I say you should have a talk with your players what they think your no-politics rule mean and then decide a common interpretation, so that nobody is blindsided by a topic they thought would not come up in play.

That is not a “non-american thing”, it’s you being stupid. A homosexual relationship isn’t anywhere near the same as Communism, Liberalism, and what not.

No, this is a "you’re stupid" thing.

By the OP
Okay, so I met R and Z for breakfast to talk; R specifically asked for Z in his message.
It was a weird talk.
R let me ask him questions, and it turns out that yes, there was something going on in his life that makes him not want to see a gay couple in a RP.

R's brother came out as gay less than a month ago, and there was a really bad break with the family. R's brother left and refuses to speak to R's family any more. Religion was the big starting point of how it all blew up for R's family, too. R is still feeling hurt. He also said he's been clinging pretty hard to his religion because he picked the rest of his family and religion over his brother, which has him a lot more 'militant' than he really is. He conceded he was venting too many RL frustrations into the group.

Man, that’s rough for R’s brother. R can go fuck right off though.

Z surprised me by being really sensitive about this; I thought Z wasn't going to compromise at all (and I didn't necessarily see a need for Z himself to compromise--plus, Z had been super angry during the initial disagreement when his character romance was first broached), but Z thought about it and asked R there was anything that might make this a more tolerable subject for him. R explained he was frustrated because LGBT content is being allowed, but my "no politics" rule has kind of barred some of his favorite topics from the group, so that was another reason he was getting frustrated. Z apparently knows some of R's favorite tabletop games, and asked R if the compromise could be that Z's character can have the barbarian/Prince relationship, but...the group would play Dark Ages: Inquisitor after this campaign, which Z knows R really likes.

R was surprised at the suggested compromise and asked if Z would even be comfortable playing that game because of the blatant Christianity themes and had assumed Z wouldn't play it. Z pointed out that there was room for nuance in that sort of game, and so long as R didn't demand he play a "perfect Catholic," they could probably enjoy the game and all its political nuance. He also said it was a game where it would be fun to have characters have religious and philosophical disagreement and that Dark Ages: Inquisitor's appeal for Z was precisely in that sort of thing. R and Z both agreed playing that particular tabletop might be cathartic for them both, and they both conceded that they might fight IC, but they'll stop fighting OOC. They'll let the dice decide what happens if they disagree and asked if I'd allow PvP. It'll be our "heavy game" after this light-hearted hack n' slash elfgame.


It’s nice that you all worked things out, but you’ll notice R is still being an ignorant douche, so you’ll want to keep an eye on that.

Splitting the party? (By Seiberwing)
There's a single person in a few groups I've run with who always plays the mysterious rogue-type character (which is fine), and in the games I've been in with her always seems to find a reason to be away from the rest of the party for long spans of time (less fine). I'm told she does it a lot.

In one of the two games I've been in with her she spent most of it somewhere else. I've also been in games where the party seemed to split apart often and for long periods, meaning that there were long spans where the rest of us just went out to 7-11 or lounged on the couch doing nothing. I don't entirely understand the appeal of breaking up when it means folks have to wait for the spotlight to get back to them, but no one else seems to have a problem with it. Possibly it's IC, but it's not bringing the fun. The one time we made it work out was when the GM swapped back and forth between us, giving a few minutes to each group (for those in combat, a full round before moving to the ones fleeing the area for a few minutes), which made it less excruciatingly dull for me.

What are your experiences with this issue?

What issue? Splitting the party? That’s not an issue. It’s something that happens. You go back and forth if each group is engaged in something, or, if they are not, you tell the players with the unengaged characters “Hey, run and get me a soda pop please and thanks”.

That was what tended to happen with the mysterious rogue person, which they seemed to be totally okay with. Which confused me, as mentioned. Why would you not want to be doing more actual playing?

Doesn’t matter, because it’s not your concern, and your understanding isn’t required.

So, a PC dies… (By Caplin)
I was playing Horror on the Orient Express, and sacrificed myself to blow up a bunch of cultists. This effectively ended my participation in the session for the evening, though I wondered if I might end up playing an NPC at some point.

Has anybody come up with innovative approaches to solving the PC death problem?

Well, first you would have to define the problem. I don’t see one in your post. Your character died. In a CoC game. It happens. You move one.

Oh, you mean what will you do while the rest of them forget to mourn? Right. You start pondering your next character and how to integrate them into the game. The GM might give you an NPC to run for the rest of the session. It really depends on what’s going on in the game at the time.

The rest of this is mostly some not great ideas and the on-going “Well I don’t allow death in my game unless the player wants it” which is stupid, since the OP said they sacrificed themselves, which means they wanted it, so shut the fuck up.

[DnD5e] My best player is a Gamergater....what do? (By TheDiceMustRoll)
So then he asked me to add him on facebook, and his profile picture is Vivian James. His wall is filled to the brim with tons of links from KotakuinAction, most of which is having a tantrum over a woman saying...something or a person getting screamed at(BTFO, apparantly) by random nobodies on twitter.

I broached the topic with him and he got pretty defensive. I didn't want to start a fight in front of everyone but he talked about it a bit and he does unfortunately live in a fantasy world where 'SJWS' are trying to ruin just about everything good in the world. He even opened the player's handbook and pointed at the little blurb about gender stuff on the character creation front page and cited it as an example of "SJW Cancer".

So I'm at something of an impasse here. He's actually until recently come off as a really cool dude, and like, my other players are good at playing their classes, but they dont know the setting like he does and they probably wont enjoy playing without him due to him sort of uh, elevating the style of game.

So should I kick him out and go back to just running more traditional quests? It's guaranteed to be less fulfilling for me. But....he's from fucking gamergate........

What do?

This is pretty simple:
Are you comfortable with this person playing so long as they keep their vile beliefs and views out of the gaming space?
If Yes, then continue to play until they actively make the space unpleasant or toxic
If No, then you tell them thanks, but their presence is no longer required.

By JetstreamGW
Just in case it isn't: Y'all have been playing together for how long? It didn't come up before, just don't discuss that sort of thing. Who cares about someone's political views, if you don't discuss politics?

Indeed. I mean, who cares if JoeBob is a Klansman if we don’t talk about race? Because some people need to be excluded. Period. Some views are so vile that simple ongoing association effectively validates them. If you don’t hold that position, fine, but don’t act like it’s some fucking mysterious thing you don’t understand.

By neowolf
It's all down to what you can tolerate. If your personal ethics makes associating with him intolerable, well then, that's it. You've answered your question. If not, then the suggestions as to how to just avoid the topic like it's the plague are your best approach. If he's perfectly agreeable in every other way, and you're comfortable doing so, compartmentalize him to just a gaming friend and leave it at that.

As a side note, if this is a make it or break it issue for you, while it's certainly sad, it's not something you can help. It's nothing for you to feel guilty over.

Well, darn, I should have just waited and quoted this person for truth.

By ClassDunce (a known asswipe)
Oh yeah. It sounds like he's a total piece of shit. He showed up to the game actively helped everyone enjoy it more and kept any and all personal toxic opinions to himself. Until he was asked. What a piece of shit.

By Blackwingedheaven in response to ClassDunce
Strangely enough, a person can be a lot of fun to hang out with and still hold beliefs that make him a total piece of shit. The two things aren't mutually exclusive. If you find out someone is a member of a hate group, it's important to evaluate how much you value "having a good time" versus "not dealing with people who are in a hate group."

There’s not anything I can add to that.

By Sunsword
I would unfollow him on Facebook. But if it doesn't come up in your games, and he isn't a distracting player, your essentially booting him because you disagree on an issue.

No, the person would be getting the boot for being a misogynistic shit stain who endorses swatting, doxxing, and rape and death threats. Because vidya games!!!

Don’t be a fucking moron.

By Moonmover
I don't see what his political* affiliations have to do with your D&D game. If everyone at the table is having a good time and he isn't offending any of you, then why are YOU the one bringing politics into this?

You clearly lack an understanding of what Gamergate is. It’s not “political affiliations”, it’s a mother fucking hate group.

By conduit (member for 2 months with 22 posts at the time of this posting)
Let him stay. If for no other reason, being in an RPG group is an exercise in empathy. Players, and their characters, have to try to see things from the other point of view, and learn to think critically about motivations. It could be good for him.

I've been gaming with many of the same people for a decade. I've seen people change for the better, over time. I'm not saying that a game group is a panacea for every ill, but I really think that positive interactions with good people in a creative environment fosters mental health.

For all anyone knows, this could just be an embarrassing phase. Maybe he doubled down because he got called out and became over-defensive. Maybe he's in a bad place right now, and is grasping at straws for some kind of thing to hold on to. If there's a chance this dude is redeemable, you oughta try.

Fuck you. It’s not the OP’s job to try and make the gater a better person, and especially not during their happy fun hobby time.

By Black Vulmea (often wrong on things)
Shunning doesn't redeem pariahs; it breeds them.

That’s true! IF YOU IGNORE HISTORY AND THE WAY PEOPLE WORK.

By TheMouse
I think that the nicest I'd have been able to pull off in response to the, "SJW cancer," comment would have been, "And I'm the Social Justice gods damned Game Master, and if any more of that bullshit sticks its nose so much as a quarter inch into my game in the future, you're out."

I'm plenty willing to give people some slack when it comes to accidentally saying something offensive or not having thought through a particular perspective. But GG is a hate group. They make bomb threats and shit. The degree to which I'm willing to extend slack toward such individuals if very, very limited. And I value all of the trans, gay, female, etc gamers who might potentially join a gaming group too much to give a GGer any leeway.

Fucking right.

By Gilda (3 months as a poster at this time)
It's up to you if you're willing to play with someone of a different tribe than yourself.
I'll just say that as a Christian, I don't kick people out of groups I'm in for Christian-bashing on Facebook.

Christian-bashing isn’t really the same as belonging to a hate group that has literally attempted to use terror as a weapon. As in, the fucking definition of terrorist.

Lot of hate group apologists in this thread.

By Jigawatts
Being unable to game or be friends with someone who has differing political viewpoints is myopic and small minded. Dont be that guy. If he is respecting everyone while at the table, thats all that matters. And sounds like he is an awesome roleplayer anyway.

Lot of GamerGate apologists in this thread also. Interesting how many people keep trying to classify this as a political difference. Doing so either requires no knowledge of GamerGate, in which case, they need to shut the fuck up, or a deliberate attempt to excise from discussion the truth of GG.

Disclaimer: I think Gamergate is stupid, I think complaining about boob armor/sexy attire is stupid, I think complaining over the new Ghostbusters movie is stupid, I think complaining about Black Widows characterization/role is stupid. The rage/trigger/pile-on culture that has risen in the last decade is ridiculous and silly. People take entertainment far too seriously.

Awwwww, someone thinks they’re edgy and cool and above the concerns of the too-sensitive internet people. In other words, Jigawatts is a fuckhead. Oh look, they’re not done:

I'll be honest, I dont know much about Gamergate, I thought it was more of a conservative/liberal standoff type thing. I remember the original accusation levied was that some girl had slept with a journalist in order to get a good review on her game, with the opposing side saying that had not taken place. I had also heard there were some extremists, some on the one side who were threatening violence and rape, but I also remember hearing a story on the other side threatening violence in that they were going to find someone and literally castrate them. Seems like both sides have some issues. Honestly I tend not to waste personal time or brain space on these things.

So Jigawatts decided, with no actual knowledge of the subject, to come in and tell everyone that they’re wrong, myopic, and small-minded. Man, living in righteous ignorance must be fucking nice. Also with a nice helping of “BOTH SIDES!!!!!”


I will say this akajdrakeh, my personal policy is to treat everyone I meet with respect, and to continue doing so until their actions dictate otherwise. Using politcal stances as an example, I have friends that are both super liberal and super conservative, their political viewpoints have zero impact on my ability to call them a friend. My initial response to this thread was based on the information the OP shared in his first post, and what I saw described was a person whos actions hadnt dictated anything to constitute his removal. If this person has personally threatened people (or taken other such deplorable actions) then that would indeed change things, but everyone should be judged solely based on their personal actions.

This is bullshit. Which Jigawatts would know if they weren’t such a stupid mother fucker.  Fucker’s trying to vaguely walk back their position. But only vaguely, enough to hope they don’t get jumped on anymore. Fucking chickenshit.

From shosai (joined same month as this post, 3 posts at this time)
I think you need to first determine if he actually harbors the toxic views that we're projecting onto him. Since he's open about his opinions, instead of speculating about how he feels about women and minorities in games, maybe just ask him? From his play sessions, it sounds like he's gotten along with female players fine, but you know him better than we do. Has he ever encouraged or aided in threats against other people? What about his facebook posts? If he just dislikes Anita Sarkeesian or twitter e-celebs its one thing, but if he's ever actually hurt people then he needs to go.

Read the thread. Including the VERY FIRST POST that establishes that the person in question does harbor these views. Fuckwit.

From Nahash (3 posts in 4 years)
I feel that this is very much a case of missing the nuance in the potential views of someone else, and believing that they are extreme in some fashion that they may not be. Not everything is black and white, not everything needs to be full of hate and opposition. People can hold moderate or even contradictory viewpoints. People who believe in different things can still be friends. That's my feeling.

Yeah, OP! How can you miss the nuance in supporting the terrorization of people because of them being women who dare to have opinions on things?!?!?!?

The rest of the person’s post is more apologist, tone-policing, tolerate intolerance bullshit.

And hey look! Coincidentally, with all these new and/or low-count posters showing up to defend the continued presence of the GG in the game, we find that this thread is linked to in one the main places on the internet where GGs like to socialize with each other. I am shocked and amazed at this development.

I hate half races (By Death; join May2016, first post) (note the the OP on the thread is also all in bold text)
I just want to say, half races are lame. How do you cross an elf that lives thousands of years with a human that lives 100 years? Or an orc with a human. Just because its DnD and there is magic dosent mean that science still doesn't exist. Genes and stuff. Different races have completely different genes & different creators.
Its kind of like mating a male lion with a female tiger, you have offspring, but it can't reproduce.

I just think the world should know how much I hate this half race bologna . I flip threw DnD Players guide, Human, Dwarf, half elf, half orc, half halphling, half gnome, gnome, Dragonborne. wtf.

o by the way hi I'm Death

That’s nice, now go fuck off and try to come up with an original thought, or at least a more original argument for your position. Also, you’re not Death, you’re a fucking sockpuppet, and I’ll put money on that.

Huh. 173 posts in the thread, and we have yet to hear back from the OP . . .

It's 2016. Can we please get rid of the girl gamer/PC stereotype? (By Lemue, one month on the forums)
When I started gaming and DMing, back in 1979 girl gamers were a rarity. I've absolutely no clue why, unless it may have been in that timey old time, boy gamers might have felt nervous inviting us girls into the game.

There isn't much more creepy than guys thinking that because you're a girl gamer you are a) single (often not true) b) looking for a date (often not true). No. We are girl gamers looking for a good game.

And then even creepier is guys who want to play girls who want to be ninja strippers. Ugh. But even that I can deal with if they focus on RP.

Meanwhile 30+ years have passed, and many of us have taught our DAUGHTERS to play these games.

Maybe a little respect, decency and less of the "I want to play uncle creepy" madness


Yeah, you know some people are working on that, but they’re outnumbered by the assholes. And here is the very first response:

By RogerBW (5 years on, all of 42 posts)
I've not witnessed the problems you describe. I think the male gamers I know have tended if anything to be slightly over-deferential to female gamers, on the basis that they probably have more social opportunities than we do and we'd like them to come back.

Oh. Well, fuck, go home, everyone! Roger hasn’t seen it, so it’s not a problem or a thing that happens.

Stupid mother fucker, that’s what RogerBW is.

By IanTheMoxious
I've only witnessed poor treatment of female gamers at one shop that is now closed. My personal group is usually 50 to 75% female. As somebody said above, I generally see female players treated with more respect than males.

Seriously, go home everyone. Ian agrees with Roger that there is no poor treatment of women in gaming, because the behavior at the one place (because Ian, though they don’t mention it, has been at every gaming table during every game ever), so clearly this is not an actual problem.

By Churchill
Not this thread again...

Someone call the cops! Someone’s got a gun to Churchill’s head and is making them read a thread that they don’t want to read about a subject they don’t want to read about!!

By DavetheLost
I guess I have been lucky.

Yes, you have, by being a male and therefore not really subject to the sexism that the OP is talking about, you stupid fuck.

Then the thread devolves into an argument about what does and doesn’t qualify as roleplaying, with a dose of VictorVonDoom talking about how the subject clearly isn’t a problem since he’s never seen it in his vast expanse of gaming experience. A position that he ends up tripling down on.

By DeathbyDoughnut
. . . I do find it unfair that threads like this pop up again, and again and again all over the internet, preaching about breaking stereotypes against women while simultaneously reinforcing stereotypes against men.

Right on! How dare the people subjected to this behavior in far, far greater numbers and an even greater percentage or players not talk about the menz with equal time?

By Michael K (one year, 73 posts)
I feel uncomfortable continuing this discussion because I feel that I cannot say where the boundaries of in-thread behavior exist. As a final word, I would not deny the experiences of female posters.

Except that you’ve been doing that. That’s why you feel you can’t continue within the rules the mod just reminded everyone about.

By Got no guts (one month, 83 posts)
With the fear I will suddenly for some reason be cut off by red text for some reason:

If you think that’s going to happen, that means you know you’re about to post some bullshit and are grabbing at pre-victim status.

As a just post adolescent guy I guess I can answer to that question on behalf of some of them;
A) No, we/they don't believe that you are single. or B) looking for a date.
BUT
It does mean that (In the opinion of an awkward gamer) You are pretty smart. And probably nerdy. And that you have atleast something in common with the really socialy awkward adolescent gamer. And whats the harm in asking if you are single, right?

Because they’re there to play a fucking game and not get hit on by dipshits like you?

By Nibbler
I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but I think the social awkwardness in RPGs comes from both sides.

If a girl shows up to a con, just like if a guy does, a good chance exists that she's gonna be socially awkward and not have a good understanding of social cues.

In fact, anecdotally, when I think back on this MOST of the girls at cons are pretty weird... along, of course, with most of the guys.

So this creates a ton of misfired social situations on either side.

I think, really, both parties in these situations are often 'Strangers in a Strange Land'... guys, sitting at a con table with the rare girl (in my neck of the woods, it's still roughly 3/1 ratio, and back in the 80s it was more 10/1)... and girls, sitting at a con table with a bunch of guys.

We're all pretty nerdy folks.

No, we’re not all pretty fucking nerdy, dipshit. And hey, anecdotally, you can’t speak to MOST of the girls at cons because you haven’t interacted with anything approaching a significant percentage of them.

Then there’s a significant derail about sea-lioning and the comic it comes from (look it up).  Also, by the time VictorVonDoom picks up the thread ban, you get the impression that he’s a GG apologist and sexism denier, but is relatively good about staying just inside the rules.

Well, that's all for now. Maybe next time there will be better questions and fewer shit stains. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Castle: Thanks

I gave Castle a shot purely on the casting of Nathan Fillion, the ever-lovable Mal Reynolds. And I enjoyed it, even though it was another murder mystery of the week. But it truly locked me down with season 2, episode 6, "Vampire Weekend". Why? Because of this exchange between Castle and his daughter:

Alexis Castle: What exactly are you supposed to be?
Richard Castle: Space cowboy.
Alexis Castle: Ok, A: there are no cows in space. B: didn't you wear that like five years ago?
Richard Castle: So?
Alexis Castle: So, don't you think you should move on?
Richard Castle: I like it.

Everyone involved in making the show was well-aware that a chunk of their viewers came from Firefly, and they weren't afraid to play on that a bit. But Castle stood on its own. It gave us a typical precocious child, but she wasn't immediately hated, and grew into her part fairly well. And it gave us underling cops who didn't actually need the star to do every little thing for them. Ryan and Esposito were tremendously competent. And funny. The actors Huertas and Dever have some of the best on-screen chemistry I've ever seen. So much that I would happily watch a spinoff starring them.

Sure, the murder mysteries of the week weren't terribly interesting (you often knew who was guilty by looking at the guest starring credits for names you recognized), and frankly, their long arcs weren't very compelling either. But I kept coming back because all of the actors did a hell of a job at keeping me interested in them.

Did they stumble along the way? Sure. What show hasn’t? And yes, the quality dropped off in season 8 (the LokSat arc was mind-numbingly dull and required prodigious use of the idiot ball), especially in casting the charisma sink of a performer, Toks Olagundoye (two expressions: confused and constipated), but the primaries were still fun to watch.

Apparently, it’s cancelled now, I imagine largely due to the loss of Stana Katic. And I’m okay with that. Ultimately, they gave us 8 years of some pretty fun television. Everyone involved should be proud of the work they did.

Thanks, people.

In the Shitter

Golly, I know it’s probably slipped under your highly tuned radar, but lately, people sure do give a shit about who is taking shits and where they’re doing it.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the sudden surge in attempts by lawmakers to stop trans men and women from using the bathrooms appropriate to their actual gender, forcing them into bathrooms based on the genitalia they were born with.

This has been an issue for a while now, but seems to have really hit the public’s collective, myopic eye with North Carolina’s House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which also stomped all over local ordinances (so much for small government). But people have been pushing these bills in some states since at least 2015.

It was inevitable that once the issue jabbed in the public eye, we’d see bigots, hate-mongers, and the purely ignorant from all walks of life throwing their two cents like rice at a wedding. and I mean from every walk of life, from the lowliest peasant like me, to politicians and actors.

Some of what we’re seeing is pure hatred, often Biblically-inspired (because God hates a lot of people apparently, which makes one wonder why it made them). Common with this type is the idea that transgender is bullshit because “God doesn’t make mistakes”. Which, frankly, hurts my brain a little when I see it. Because if you ask them “What about kids born with pretty severe birth defects?”, they’re still all “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Everything that happens is God’s plan, except for the stuff they don’t understand or agree with (if a kid is born with no legs, that’s God’s plan, but if you’re gay, you hate God or some such BS).

A lot of it is pure ignorance along the lines of “Why are they letting men use the women’s bathrooms?”  Some of this I at least understand. It’s a confusing subject that many people have never, ever thought about. Much of the ignorance is because many people, when they hear “transgender”, think “cross-dresser” or “transvestite”. You, brilliant reader, and I know these are not the same things, but I don’t think the average man or woman on the street is aware of that.

When you try to explain it to them, you can occasionally see that, yes, they do see the difference. But many don’t, can’t, or won’t. Some people can’t conceptualize the idea that there could be a physical, demonstrable difference between the gender the brain says it is and the sexual organs the body was born with. It’s like trying to conceptualize a hundred million billion trillion, it just isn’t going to happen with some people. The best you can do with them is try to get them, not to understand fully, but to accept that it is, despite their lack of understanding, and that these are still just people trying to piss like everyone else.

The most common argument (that I see anyway) against trans men and women using the appropriate bathroom seems to be some variation of “Well now men are going to dress like women and assault women in children in the public bathrooms!!” The problem with this is that, wait for it, people were assaulting kids and women in bathrooms, dressed as women and not, for a long god damned time before anyone gave any thought to trans bathroom use.

It’s a bullshit argument used by the ignorant (see above) and the deceitful trying to provoke the ignorant. And the people that use this argument get really mad when you point out that statistically, they are a far greater threat to people in bathrooms than any trans man or woman. And it blows their minds when you point out that it’s entirely possible they, their sisters, moms, wives, and daughters have quite possibly already used the bathroom with a trans woman, and hey, they weren’t beaten, kidnapped, raped, or killed. Let alone that when it comes to bathroom assaults, trans men and women are victims, not perpetrators. Sometimes, you can get through to these people, but not often.

Something here that I find very telling is that the conversation is almost always about what will happen to people in the women’s bathroom. It’s further evidence to support the idea that men and women, as a group, think men are fucking animals just waiting for the opportunity to savage any vulnerable prey if out of sight of polite society.

Touching on that is that more than one prominent male has said (paraphrasing) that if they had been able to say “I feel like a girl today” they totes would have gone into the girl’s locker rooms and showers lol. So basically, we’ve got people like Mike Fucking Huckabee and Louis Waste of DNA Gohmert admitting that they would be sexual predators if they had the opportunity.  And that’s a part of the problem. A lot of the male resistance to this comes from the fact that a lot of men would be sexual predators if they thought they could get away with it. So maybe there is something to the idea that men are fucking wolves in sheep’s clothing. An awful lot of guys sure seem to think they are.

But I digress.

One reason we’re seeing this is because it’s far less socially acceptable to hate and discriminate against people based on their skin color.  Due to some hard fought recent battles, it’s far less socially acceptable to discriminate against gay people. But we’re people, and importantly, we’re in an election cycle, so we have to be able to discriminate against someone. Especially if you’re a politician on the right (fear- and hate-mongering is a common right-wing tool). Yeah, you can use unauthorized immigrants and Muslims, but doing that still gets a lot of pushback. So you can stir up hate for them, but only to a point, because, oh, right, they still vote in sizable numbers.

But trans men and women? Eh, no one care about them, so we can discriminate, slander and libel them all we want. Hell, tv shows and movies still make “tranny” jokes with almost no repercussions, right?

But the truth is that a major push for these and other hateful, discriminatory laws is coming from a single source: Mathew Staver and his Liberty Counsel legal organization. Note that the Liberty Counsel is a hate group according to the SPLC.

The Liberty Counsel has done everything from waging a legal war on abortion to endorsing the criminalization of homosexual sodomy to supporting that stupid clerk in Kentucky who wouldn’t issue marriage licenses to gay couples because God.

And if you look, you’ll find it’s the Liberty Counsel who is drafting a lot of the out-of-the-blue anti-trans bathroom laws. Because the Liberty Counsel is only about the liberty of Christians to hold power and screw over anyone they hate or disagree with.

And people are easily manipulated and directed.

So if you’re trying to explain to someone why these anti-trans laws are discriminatory bullshit, feel free to mention that they come from a hate group that’s still pissy about SCOTUS and marriage equality.

If you’re all up in arms about men dressed as women in the women’s bathrooms, take a moment to reflect that not only are you being an ignorant bigot, you’re also being used as a blunt object by a hate group that doesn’t give one single shit about you, regardless of which bathroom that shit is taken in.

Fight the power however you can, brothers and sisters.

Peace.