First, a bit of housekeeping: bolstered by the amount of engagement this page has been receiving, I’m going to continue these late night (for me), off-the-cuff, occasionally ranty posts. Thank you all for the views, likes, shares, and comments.
The temptation to go radio silent for a bit is strong, but I’m resisting it. I’m feeling a bit rough, thanks to seasonal affective disorder and arthritis, so I’m slipping on a couple of deadlines. Nothing is late, but it’s going to barely be on time. This is why I pad my schedule with some extra time. What I wanted to complete today isn’t actually due for two more weeks.
What I’ve learned, though, is that blogging is “me” time. It’s necessary self-care. I connect with the world, even when very few people read a post and no one comments on it. This might be akin to leaning out the window and screaming, but at least I’m part-way out of the house.
Blogging also helps me to organize my thoughts in ways that journaling doesn’t. If I can explain things in a way that makes sense to you, then it makes better sense to me. In a journal, no one else is going to see it. I don’t take the same care in documenting things unless I feel I’ll need an accurate accounting of events later.
Why Is This So Hard to Grasp?
Today’s topic is why people are so blind to basic compassion and humanity. I can’t answer that question. I don’t know why people are casually cruel to one another. There’s no satisfactory answer for why people can’t see that the things they say and do are tone deaf, callous, and hurtful. Without going into great gory detail, I can cite three things from today, in my own industry.
Caveat: In sticking with this site’s theme of simplify, create, thrive I have to touch on my sincerely held beliefs that all people are worth of dignity and respect. I know that I’ve written a lot about the roleplaying games industry over the past few days. This is not an RPG blog and it’s not going to be one. These just happen to be the examples that intersect with my life. To me, this post is really about exercising Right Speech.
Right Speech versus Free Speech
That other American game designer expat in Finland, whom I do not know, have not met, and don’t have any dealings with, caused a stir when he posted a picture of himself with Jordan Peterson. This has led to at least one game designer to say “nope, not working with him any more“. Which led the other expat to sort of recant, and state that what Peterson stands for to him isn’t necessarily what he stands for to other people. Which is progress. That didn’t stop another corner of the internet from becoming outraged, of course. They want their right to their opinion and their freedom of speech, which was never actually jeopardized; they don’t want to acknowledge other people have the same rights. Then they feign ignorance about why people find Peterson offensive.
Next, we have the creator of the OSR logo saying that he doesn’t want people who publish what amounts to hate speech to use his logo. He lays out his case for how he can do this, even though the logo was released under a Creative Commons license. A lot of folks have praised him for doing this, because the OSR movement has gained a reputation for regressive views and edgelord behavior. Of course, those people immediately leapt into bad faith arguments. They’ll continue to do what they want because, of course, but at least the world can now see that not every member of the OSR community is a bigot of some sort.
Finally, White Wolf. Things have gotten so bad that their parent company is stepping in and taking editorial control. In developing the new edition of its game and subsequent sourcebooks, they looked toward real-world horrors and tried to layer vampires over that. The way they did it, however, is a bit ham-fisted. This is not the point in history to weave white supremacist dogwhistles into your text, or suggest that neo-Nazis could make good player characters. How can people not see that including the anti-gay purges in Chechnya as a cover operation for vampires is — at best — in bad taste? One sect of vampires views suicide is weakness rather than a serious mental health issue. That’s neither kind, nor helpful, to the ongoing struggle to de-stigmatize depression.
Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should
“And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.” So says the Pali Canon, the oldest Buddhist writings. Just because you can say or do something doesn’t mean that you should. That something is legal doesn’t make it moral or ethical. I don’t get why some people can’t grasp that.