Friday, 29 August 2014

Looking Back & General Chit Chat

Greetings friends!

I don't know about you, but to me it feels like a very long time since I've written a general chatting post, something without a real agenda or plan behind it.

So as it's Friday, my train is cancelled and I am dreaming tired, how about I do that now?

So, to begin with if you don't know the latest episode of Hobby Sofa is up (Episode 07). The episode itself is 2.5 hours of chatting around the tabletop hobby with me, Andrey & Bill. This one is different to before as Andrey decided to lubricate his tongue with wine both before and during the recording and there were a few things said that were really pushing our anything goes rules.

When/if you listen some of you may be put off by some of the things said, not only by 'Drunk Andrey', but I think all of us use this podcast as a form of cathartic release, but as I have always said about my views of creative product, it is up to the creator to decide what they put out into the world, if you the consumer's don't like it, then I would say vote with your wallet, or in this case; your bandwidth and don't download any more episodes.

I said before that under no circumstances would I allow the views of anyone on the cast to be smothered by 'PC Thinking' or censorship, and even if I don't agree with them, these people - my friends, have the right to express them.
- Obviously there are caveats but I don't think I need to go into that.

As an aside, I also put at the very beginning a 30 minute reading of my short story "Another Day in the Block". I'm sure you are all sick of my stories and that one in particular, but if you are at all interested I would greatly appreciate the listen.
- I've always been very anxious over my creative writing, in short I always think that most others are better at it than me and so I don't like promoting it, which is why when I do it on my blog I tend to just post it quietly and never really shout about it. To date the only real feedback I've ever received about it in the 2.75 years of running this blog is that one person enjoys reading them and another thinks that all my characters read as English. More feedback on these stories would be appreciated, but for obvious reasons I would prefer it to be positive and if negative that you just remain quiet. This isn't an attempt to skewing the vote or garner attention, I just know that people are a lot quicker to focus on the negative, and I'm anxious enough about my stories as it is. I love writing them and I hope that comes across, I just don't know if others enjoy reading them even 1/10th of how much I enjoy writing them.

Anyway, I was talking about censorship and people's rights to talk about stuff, this leads on nicely to my next point - even of there was that bit just now in between.

So I've been asked recently why I am against the modern neo feminist movement. This was asked in response to my post where I called out that Quinn woman for being a con-person and of course the many things I have said before about my views on the objectifying of women in games be it tabletop or video.

If possible I'd like to answer that right now.

I'm not sure that there is a need in this world, at the very least in the modern western world, for the modern neo feminist movement.

I'll just let that sit there for a moment.

To me it's the same as trade unions. 100+ years ago there were no laws about employment, employers could treat their workers like shit and there was nothing they could do about it. Now thanks to things like trade unions, that is no longer the case. We have laws in place that forbid slavery and at least in the UK where I am fortunate enough to live, we have minimal hourly pay. So now these unions involve themselves in petty disputes, things like "my employer wants to change my contract, but I don't want them to, even though it says in my current contracts small print (as they all do) that the employer retains the rights to change the terms of this contract at any time. The way I see it, things have gotten so good in my country at least that we have the fortune of having the choice of continuing work at our current employer or leaving and finding work elsewhere.

The same applies to the modern neo feminist movement.

I mean seriously, if the biggest concern you have is that women (note it is always women, but more on that in a moment) are portrayed as sex objects or dribble material in a form of media such as film, TV or games, then really let's be honest, we're looking at a pretty sweet life!

We're not here talking about two people being paid differently for doing the same job for the same amount of time here, we are talking about a form of media that in some developing countries is unheard of and THAT is what you are complaining about!?

I mentioned before that it is female centric and I'll state again that I have a problem with that.

Harassment, abuse, bullying, these are all real things and they are not exclusive to women, to racial minorities or even half-dragon LARPers, almost everyone goes through abuse and that is in no way acceptable and efforts should be made to stamp it out all together, however the moment one person says that their abuse is worse than anyone else's because of their 'X' factor then they are wrong.

Of course they see it as worse, because it applies to them, and a lot of them such as members of the modern neo feminist movement will see things like male-rights campaigners as an insult to their own pain, especially as to them the ones inflicting their pain are almost exclusively male, but to argue that your abuse is worse than anyone else's? How egocentric can you get?

Don't think for a moment that I have been excluded from abuse as I haven't, no one has.
- a little secret here, you want to freak someone out? When you first meet them and you are learning about who they are, tell them that you know what their childhood was like, that they were bullied and they spent most of their time in high school feeling miserable. 9 times out of 10 they will be shocked and ask if your psychic or something. Why? Because EVERYONE gets abused in one way or another, there is always a bigger boy or girl who makes your life miserable for reasons you can not understand. In no way is it acceptable, but it literally happens to (almost) everyone.

The thing is, I understand where a lot of these people come from. If you are reading this post then you are already better off than hundreds, thousands, fuck! Even millions of other people because you have the joys of computers and internet where as others out there don't even have the certainty that they will have a meal later.

It is not uncommon for people who are in these situations to develop what is commonly called 'Privileged Guilt'. We saw it back in the 60s with the Vietnam war. Hundreds of young adults were drafted into the US military for a war that they didn't really understand, but they didn't have much choice. Others were more privileged, they had the wealth to go to university and so spared the horrors of war. While other young adults the same as them were putting their lives on the line and they were in school safe and so they developed feelings they couldn't deal with - privileged guilt. So how did they respond? They attacked the war with protests and when those soldiers returned, they attacked them too. It had next to nothing to do with the cause itself and almost everything to do with them feeling guilty for being spared the horrors of war because they were fortunate enough to be born into a wealthy family.

It's no different here, people who see that things are wrong, but they themselves are fortunate enough to be safe from it and so they lash out where they can. They can't touch world hunger, or genital manipulation or any of the millions of atrocities that happen on the other side of the world, so they lash out where they can, in this case "men portray women in sexist ways in videogames!".

Please don't think that I am coming from a place of safety, throwing stones into a still pool of water waiting for the guppies to bite - or something. I've had my own share of negative experiences, in a previous job for example I was exposed to the objectification and sexist portrayal of men by a large group of women, this took the form of a naked male model calendar that the rest of my team (made up entirely of women) thought was wonderful and displayed it proudly on the communal desk. When I asked them to remove it because I did not feel it was suitable for a work based environment they refused. I asked again informing that I was not comfortable working in that environment and that if they refused I would need to speak with HR. Again they refused so I spoke to HR, again a team in my building comprised entirely of women who reacted by laughing at me saying I was being childish and to 'man up'. I knew I should have taken it further, that even though it was over something small and petty, the principle was still very important, but I didn't, instead I left the place of employment and got a better job elsewhere.

To some this personal account will be seen as silly, babyish and in no way comparable to the constant abuse and degradation that women receive in the workplace. What I will say is that abuse, harassment and discrimination is terrible in all forms, however my experience (and in no way was this the only experience I have had) could have turned me into a male rights activist, saying that I was fighting for male rights and would ignore all others.

It didn't.

Instead I still know what is acceptable and what is not and that only by trying to remove all abuse no matter who it stems from or who it is aimed at, can we possibly try and reach anything like the objective of equality.


Ok that turned a little too focused than I intended :s

On that note; stay safe and I'll see you Fringeside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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