‘Controversial’ Work

Fuss continues to be made over my ‘In Defence of Rape’ blog post over on Grim’s Tales. People are willing to dredge back twelve years to find other things to object to but I remain shocked and appalled by people’s apparent inability to read. I hate explaining things, especially if humour is involved as it tends to kill the joke, but I guess I’ll have to.

NB: This is clarification, not retraction and I stand by everything previously stated.

In rough order:

Munchkin’s Guide to Powergaming

I can’t say that I remember anything particularly sexist or nasty in there. The whole book is, of course, a parody of the kind of player who will do anything to get ahead. It is, of course, not to be taken seriously and makes fun of those sorts of players under the guise of an instructional book. You can’t tell me flirtation isn’t a valid munchkin tactic, I was in the Camarilla.

Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers

I can’t believe this has to be explained to people but the target this book is aimed at is not female gamers but rather caricatures of male gamer’s attitudes towards female gamers. When it was being offered to retailers some (American of course) voiced concern that this was a book about killing women, which of course it wasn’t.

It is entirely possible to take aim a stupid stereotypes by using them and showing them up to be ridiculous. Playing with stereotypes in this manner, exaggerating them, manipulating them, using them to show up the person who holds those beliefs. That doesn’t mean the writer holds those beliefs.

Nymphology: Blue Magic

The remit was to write a comedy sex book. A ‘Carry on Wizards’ if you will. I would have much preferred to write a serious treatment of fantasy and sex as I’d like to have done a better job than  the Book of Erotic Fantasy. Wasn’t allowed though, so it was sex puns and farcical stupidity – much inspired by Discworld – along with an undercurrent of stuff that could be taken more seriously or designed to spark thought.

Much has been made of the ‘Summon Sex Partner’ spell, ignoring the fact that many mythical creatures are based around the seductive and dangerous model. Sirens, nymphs, mermaids, dryads and on the other side satyrs and incubi. That’s without even getting into erinyes or succubi. The same people who don’t bat an eyelid about summoning a creature to fight and die for them in a game are horrified by this.

I great deal of the model for Nymphology was treating magic in the same way technology in the real world and look at what we have at the interface of sex and technology. Early attempts to build gynoids, real dolls, the internet, streaming video, webcams, even robotic buttocks. To think that magic wouldn’t be used in a similar way is ludicrous.

Even before the additions that Nymphology makes there’s already charm spells, mind control spells, love potions all of which are plenty sinister and creepy already in their implications. Dressing that up with a few knob jokes might not be Chaucer but that doesn’t mean difficult things can’t be attacked with humour.

Quintessential Temptress

I do think QT came out as a confused book and that’s my fault. I was frustrated after having done Nymphology as I still wanted (and still want) to write material about sex in gaming and surrounding issues. This meant QT was half the same sort of taking the piss as in the Slayer’s Guide/Nymphology and half a much more serious section about running a game based around a brothel in the same manner as the game aids surrounding a thieve’s guild in Quintessential Rogue.

Still, I credited people with the ability to tell the difference. Probably  a mistake.

Sex, Dice & Gamer Chicks/Origins of the Specious

This is a compilation of the comedy Slayer’s Guides that myself and Jonny Nexus did with a little bit of editing/rewriting and a small amount of extra material. Treating it as a separate project is a little disingenuous.

Hentacle/Cthentacle

The entire genre of tentacle sex is so inherently and utterly ridiculous that the parody status of these games should be obvious, even without the puns and the playing up to ludicrous stereotypes of Japanese culture held in the west. For an extra layer of irony the whole tentacle sex thing came about as a reaction to censorship.

‘That’ Blog Post

If you cut away all the fluff all that blog really says is that ‘bad things can make good stories’. Hopefully nobody disagrees with that. What has concerned me, of late, as a creative is the amount of poorly informed pre-judging and moral outrage, sight unseen, should there be the slightest whiff of something controversial in any game. This blog was particularly in reaction to the out of control mob reaction to the Lara Croft trailer.

So long as you don’t think rape (or indeed any other difficult topic) should be off limits then you actually agree with the main point of the post. Quite why that’s quite such a controversial stance to take I’m not sure, I think most people didn’t read past the title or didn’t read the original post at all.

Additionally the blog post wasn’t even talking about tabletop games in the first place, which makes some people’s reactions peculiar.

Ian Warner’s Work

Ian can defend himself. I said I’d help and publish anyone, he took me up on it and I consider his games to be valid. I don’t know what or how much he wants to say so he can look after himself.

Summary

Well done or not, all these items (a fraction of the total body of my work) are not taking aim where the moral mob seems to think they are. In the case of Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers the target is absolutely 180 degrees from where a minority of people seem to think it is.

I have never condoned rape.

I have never excused rape.

I am not a rape apologist.

I do, however, believe in free expression and I don’t think any topic should be off the table for stories, or games, or films, or television. That includes rape.

I also think criticism of such should not start based on rumour and hype but rather on execution. This kind of mob outrage would deny us Pulp Fiction, The Handmaid’s Tale and Heavy Rain.

20 responses to “‘Controversial’ Work

  1. The problem is mate that the only people who are going to take the time to read posts like this are the people who already agree with and support you. The idiots won’t read the content they will, as has been proved, simply parse the text for something they can quote out of context.

    For what its worth I completely agree with you. Art cannot truly be creative if topics are considered to be off limits simply because they are unpleasant. It would be like teaching history and skipping over that part where we, the Brits, used Concentration Camps in the Second Boer War because its something we should be ashamed of.

    Sweeping things under the carpet and not talking about them helps no one.

  2. Anyhow I’m not aware of any criticism of my work that hasn’t been civil and that I haven’t been able to win people over with. My strongest critic (recently banned from RPGsite) is actually quite a friendly one who I agree with on a lot of things.

  3. You wanna talk execution? I’m seeing a whole lot of words saying people who think your splatbooks full of spells for sexually abusing people are misunderstanding the secret message that sexual abuse is bad, but not very many condemming people throwing around threats.

    If you really wanted to curb the casual abuse in this hobby, the casual abuse you claim to be parodying but seem to be profiting from, you’d call for people to stop sending rape threats to people simply for disagreeing with you. But you’re just explaining how your long history of super rapey products actually proves you’re totally an understanding, moderate dude with no bizarre and creepy obsession with sexual abuse.

    Be the change you want to see, instead of just insisting that the rest of us “get” your secret message which makes all your abuse promotion A-OK.

    • I already have and have sent a message to the girl directly. Not that I think these rape threats are genuine, it’s trolls, trolling with what someone has run up the flagpole as an obvious red flag to hit her with.

      You can’t read and have no sense of humour so I’m going to take your comments with a trailer full of salt.

      None of these products are ‘rapey’, none of them excuse, condone or glorify rape. There is no ‘casual abuse’ in this hobby. There are people like yourself with the aforementioned reading comprehension and humour failures.

      Death of the Author indeed.

      • “I already have and have sent a message to the girl directly. Not that I think these rape threats are genuine, it’s trolls, trolling with what someone has run up the flagpole as an obvious red flag to hit her with.”

        Does it matter if they’re trolls?
        Does it actually matter?
        That you haven’t already put up a public facing message saying “Hey, guys, stop this” is SICKENING. It does not MATTER if they’re real threats, it does not matter if none of them intend to actually carry out the act they’re threatening. This is meant to shut down a dissenting voice, via threats and violence. This is closer to censorship than anything levied at you.

        Further, they are threats of GENDERED violence. Even if these people are doing something “trollingly”, it does not mean the person is not putting out a misogynistic message. Hiding behind the lame excuse of trolling doesn’t mean you disagree with the message you’re saying. I’d say it makes it very likely that you *do*.

        But, hey. Let’s just keep showing the world this hobby really is full of misogyny.

      • Yes it does matter that they’re trolls. So long as we equate trolling with what it uses to attack you’re missing the target and feeding the trolls. If she’d made a fuss about racism she’d be getting trolled on race, because she’s making a fuss about rape and supposed (but non-existant) sexism she’s getting shit about that. Trolls don’t care, they do what gets a rise so getting shrill about it isn’t going to help.

        I’m not doing it, I didn’t ask them to do it I have said it’s not on on social media but I’m not responsible for their actions any more than I’m responsible for the libellous nonsense she has directed at me. Concern trolls complaining about trolling is more than a little ironic.

        I’m not trolling her, I think she’s being a disingenuous, libellous prick and somewhat trolling herself, but since her attacks are apparently sincere they worry me a lot more than some mouth-breathing shut in getting off on making people upset.

      • Since you seem to think anything I don’t speak out against I must therefore support, here’s a quick list of things I don’t endorse. I reserve the right to amend this list as other things come to mind.
        * Smoking
        * Binge Drinking
        * Genocide
        * Racism
        * Sexism
        * Non-consensual genital torture
        * Justin Bieber
        * Anti-Semitism
        * Rape
        * Murder
        * The dyeing of hamsters bright purple and then firing them out of air cannons.

      • All of your products are rapey because they consist almost entirely of tools for introducing rape into games.

        Now hurry up and condemn the people sending hate messages to your ideological opponents, instead of just the people who don’t get your awesome joke, “Here is a spell for raping angels with.”

        Why is she your ideological opponent, anyway? She’s trying to challenge people’s views on casual misogyny. If your works were really parodies intended to educate, you’d have put one figurative hand on her shoulder and said, “Our methods may differ but our noble goals are the same and I call this woman my sister,” but instead you talk about how she doesn’t get the inherent comedy in a good rape joke.

      • I think, perhaps, it’s you that’s obsessed with rape.

        She’s a censor and a liar who is both illiterate and willing to try and start an internet hate campaign on the basis of her lack of understanding.

        Censors aren’t my friends.

      • Like, I mean, do you really not get that you’re defending misogyny right now.

        Do you really not get that your response to this being ‘lol Internet’ is you being alright with the status quo that women are less than men. This is the status quo.

        Do you really not get that these trolls are trying to defend their privilege?

        I mean, show me some examples of trolls making fun of someone for being white. Show me some examples of trolls defending a woman. If this ISN’T about misogyny, you can do that, right?

      • I am certain that you think I’m defending misogyny. I am also becoming certain that you’re immune to reason and fact.

        So long as you continue to think trolls mean what they’re saying you’ll never address the actual issue. I get that it’s much easier to point and scream ‘Sexism!’ like some pod person than to actually think about it.

        These trolls are going for a reaction and you’re giving them one.

        You’re a troll, you’re ‘defending’ a woman. So that was easy.

        You’re still not getting it, they go for whatever gets a reaction. How many people get a bug up their arse about being white? Mind you I bet there’s some ‘cracker’ and ‘whitey’ stuff out there somewhere.

    • The sad thing is when you release a parody product some of the people who buy it love it for the wrong reason. Jewish Socialist actor Warren Mitchell played obnoxious racist Alf Garnett for over 50 years in what was clearly a parody program and yet if you see a video of him up on YouTube it’s usually been uploaded by a neo-nazi or an “I’m not racist but”

      This is not a reason not to go there though. By mocking something you disempower it which is what Grim has always been about.

      • He’s not mocking and disempowering rapists. He’s mocking and disempowering women.

      • Good example. It’s known as ‘meta-bigotry’ and has many examples (especially in comedy). Jimmy Carr writes about the dangers of it in ‘The Naked Jape’, highlighting the fact that audience feedback is an imprecise measurement tool, as some people will laugh at the layers of irony and appreciate the intent, while others will simply laugh at the bigotry. In this case, it appears that too many people are confusing the intention with a desire to see these acts performed. It’s like assuming that Quentin Tarantino wants to torture and kill policemen because he included that scene in ‘Reservoir Dogs’, or that JK Rowling condones bestial rape because she has Dolores Umbridge dragged away by centaurs. It’s a dead-end argument. You’ll never convince those with a trollish bent that there is a difference between writing about something and wishing to see that act performed (or even perform it yourself).

        They all seem to ignore the fact that EVERY RPG EVER WRITTEN includes rules for murder, violence, theft and so on, but that doesn’t mean that the authors of them condone these acts.

  4. Shakespeare used rape. Byron used rape. That’s good enough for me.

    As for the self-righteous, knee-jerk reactions from the Internet moron squad, anything you do or say will provoke a negative reaction from somebody, who will then cast around for ‘evidence’ to support their argument. I understand the impulse to defend yourself and your work, but I am dubious as to how much you will achieve.

    Still, keep fighting the good fight, mate!

  5. “The dyeing of hamsters bright purple and then firing them out of air cannons”

    Awww, now Hammy is all disappointed. His little whiskers are wobbling. I think there may be tears in a minute.

    Still, it’s a *lovely* shade.

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