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Joys of political correctness

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  • Joys of political correctness

    Today I stumbled upon these two pearls:

    https://www.polygon.com/2020/6/23/21...urse-of-strahd
    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-to...cosmic-objects

    and I was reminded of my all-time favorite pearl:

    https://www.indymedia.nl/node/22259
    "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
    "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

  • #2
    Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
    Today I stumbled upon these two pearls:

    https://www.polygon.com/2020/6/23/21...urse-of-strahd
    ...
    Yes, it is rather nice to see the current heirs of the D&D throne doing what Runequest has done since about 1979 (i.e. pretty much all races as playable, very little black and white good vs. evil in the worldbuilding) as well as a bit of metafictional analysis much like MM did in Epic Pooh, Starship Troopers and Wizardry and Wild Romance (i.e. innately evil orcs).

    Too bad they focus solely on the racial tropes. It was MM's pointing out how the orcs were thinly veiled "working class agitators" that really resonated with me when I first read his critique.

    Comment


    • #3
      Making it more playable and realistic is of course fine, but making it more politically correct? I don't know, sounds too over the top.
      The Hobbits were based upon the country people of England, so it did resonate with me because I come from a small town in the countryside of Sao Paulo and lived in many of them most of my life.
      I am not sure about the orcs being an example of the working-class, they were more like the piano carriers from the evil side or the beings that represent the worst in us all.
      "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
      "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

      Comment


      • #4
        I’ll write something about the other two links at some point...

        I seem to remember that Gygax liked the essentialism of nonhuman races because their two dimensional flatness made humans more interesting, and he saw them as central to the game. Even understanding that, it made for some role-playing dead ends.

        Of course, those tropes are mostly based Tolkien's
        interpretation of mythology, which is almost
        always pretty two dimensional. Like anything that depends on essentialism, such tropes can’t be a vehicle for classism or even racism (and I think Tolkien has some of that), to say they are fundamentally racist or classist in the game is an interesting question, but it is
        one I can appreciate at my age, not in my classic years of playing. It would have gone over my head to think I was perpetuating any stereotypes.

        Comment


        • #5
          And any reference to Epic Pooh is awesome. Of course.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
            I was reminded of my all-time favorite pearl:

            https://www.indymedia.nl/node/22259
            I really shouldn't touch this topic with a long pike so instead i'll enlist some other animated fictional characters to solve the mystery...

            Link unleashed : https://youtu.be/00eduB4ar88

            Mwana wa simba ni simba

            The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kymba334 View Post

              I really shouldn't touch this topic with a long pike so instead i'll enlist some other animated fictional characters to solve the mystery...

              Link unleashed : https://youtu.be/00eduB4ar88
              LOL bro.
              "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
              "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Doc View Post
                I’ll write something about the other two links at some point...

                I seem to remember that Gygax liked the essentialism of nonhuman races because their two dimensional flatness made humans more interesting, and he saw them as central to the game. Even understanding that, it made for some role-playing dead ends.

                Of course, those tropes are mostly based Tolkien's
                interpretation of mythology, which is almost
                always pretty two dimensional. Like anything that depends on essentialism, such tropes can’t be a vehicle for classism or even racism (and I think Tolkien has some of that), to say they are fundamentally racist or classist in the game is an interesting question, but it is
                one I can appreciate at my age, not in my classic years of playing. It would have gone over my head to think I was perpetuating any stereotypes.
                Tolkien did not identify himself with the aristocracy, he thought of himself more of a countryman, with a simple life and simple tastes for food and things. Except that he was a scholar and authority and taught at Oxford. I would not say he was a racist, however.
                "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

                Comment


                • #9
                  By the way, I have played AD&D a long time ago. But I also played gurps and we had this group of nerds playing gurps fantasy in college and one day I just got fed up with them. 3 or 4 of them chose to play evil characters and one was a necromancer. They decided out of nothing to rape and kill a woman and laughed about it. So it was the end of my RPG playing.
                  I was also completely annoyed by the fact they used RPG as a form of escapism and not as entertainment.

                  And they did read books and comics but to get ideas for games.
                  "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                  "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                    Making it more playable and realistic is of course fine, but making it more politically correct? I don't know, sounds too over the top.
                    What you deem over the top political correctness I call catching up with how things have been evolving in the fantasy roleplaying world for about the last 40 years.

                    Warhammer's been going beyond simplistically evil orcs for decades. See the recent movie for further details. Runequest's orc equivalent is a troll and Runequest's Trollpak, which went into great depth on troll history and the troll point of view, came out in the very early 1980s. Dungeon's and Dragons has had Drizzt, the one good drow, since 1990. I'm sure there are more examples.

                    About the only new practice is getting a Romani consultant to help avoid one dimensional stereotypes when writing about Romani fantasy world analogs. Doesn't sound over the top to me. And I say that as somebody whose been robbed by a group of, well... Romani, or even Rom, was not what I was taught to call them.

                    Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                    I am not sure about the orcs being an example of the working-class, they were more like the piano carriers from the evil side or the beings that represent the worst in us all.
                    It was MM who pointed it out. I'm inclined to trust the opinion of somebody rather close to Tolkien's milieu, who met the man, more than that of somebody separated by an ocean, from a significantly different culture, and likely born around the time Tolkien died.

                    At any rate, carrying pianos for a living sounds like a working class occupation to me. Also, if I remember right, all the passages of orc dialog have them all sounding distinctly lower class.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doc View Post
                      I’ll write something about the other two links at some point...

                      I seem to remember that Gygax liked the essentialism of nonhuman races because their two dimensional flatness made humans more interesting, and he saw them as central to the game. Even understanding that, it made for some role-playing dead ends.
                      Yeah, I seem to remember that was only in reference to the playable races. During the dawn time, I think that was elves, dwarves and halflings (hobbits, along with ents, were excised from the canon early on due to rumblings from the Tolkien estate).

                      What has changed more recently is that pretty much all intelligent humanoids are treated as playable. Understandably, people who want to play some of these exotic player character types don't want to be forced to play them evil.

                      Last week, while playing D'n'D with my 10 year old daughter and some of her pals, one of them asked if he could roll up a goblin character.

                      Far as I'm concerned, the only behaviour approaching over the top PCness in Dungeons and Dragons is that I've heard most people want their player characters (AKA PCs) to be non-humans (because they get all sorts of powers like seeing in the dark and such).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Heresiologist
                        It was MM who pointed it out. I'm inclined to trust the opinion of somebody rather close to Tolkien's milieu, who met the man, more than that of somebody separated by an ocean, from a significantly different culture, and likely born around the time Tolkien died.

                        At any rate, carrying pianos for a living sounds like a working class occupation to me. Also, if I remember right, all the passages of orc dialog have them all sounding distinctly lower class.
                        I was born 5 months before Tolkien's passing, on April 6th, although as you said in a "significantly different culture" but still, I am not quite sure of what you meant by "my culture", however, if I ever sound as if I wanted to annoy you I am not really trying to drive you mad at all and I don't want us to go back in bad terms. Fixing terminology will hardly end up with racism, but that is just my opinion. I really did not want to upset you.

                        My opinion's on Tolkien are based on the fact I am a big fan and I read a lot about him and his culture, British, which I largely admire. And based on the book below. Yes, that is a pic of me I just took it.

                        IMG_20200807_162729.jpg
                        "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                        "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                          I was born 5 months before Tolkien's passing, on April 6th, although as you said in a "significantly different culture" but still, I am not quite sure of what you meant by "my culture", however, if I ever sound as if I wanted to annoy you I am not really trying to drive you mad at all and I don't want us to go back in bad terms. Fixing terminology will hardly end up with racism, but that is just my opinion. I really did not want to upset you.

                          My opinion's on Tolkien are based on the fact I am a big fan and I read a lot about him and his culture, British, which I largely admire. And based on the book below. Yes, that is a pic of me I just took it.
                          I'm not upset. Must be my Ellisonian rhetoric.

                          Now, to further clarify what I was trying to get across: for myself, when it comes to deciding whether or not Tolkien's orcs can be seen, at least in some respects, as representative of the working class, I give more weight to the opinions of the person who has direct lived experience with the English class system. What's more, direct lived experience with the class system Tolkien lived in.

                          Regarding your culture, it is different. Significantly so, I think. That's all.

                          The same goes for myself and I live in British Columbia and one of my grandmother's was very English having gotten it from her supercalifragilistically English father (originally from some Hobbitonesque village in the Lake District, if I remember right) who, from what I've been told, was a quintessential English gentleman whose word was his bond and who felt it was his gentleman's duty to volunteer for every mission that came up during his time in the trenches in WW1--an experience, incidentally, that gave him nightmares for the rest of his life and which, in some expression of English stiff upper lippedness, only ever led to him pacing about the garden in the dark, vigorously puffing his pipe.

                          Nice pic, BTW. But the past is still a different country.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                            Today I stumbled upon these two pearls:

                            https://www.polygon.com/2020/6/23/21...urse-of-strahd
                            In rebuttal to the above (or, at least, some more food-for-thought on the topic): https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...s-arent-racist


                            "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                            --Thomas a Kempis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The board ate my more detailed response.

                              re:Tolkien and classism- From what I understand, Tolkien’s romantic notions of rural life were rooted, at least in part, in his disdain for industrial life, which was exacerbated by his war experiences. It’s difficult to separate industrial life of the time for a growing industrial working class.

                              I will also admit that it is easy to project classism on an Oxford Don, who was t ready to give up all of that privilege for a simpler life.

                              Of course, I don’t really feel all that strongly about it. Haha I read Tolkien and it felt too much like a history class, so most of my Tolkien knowledge comes from being pretty blasé about him, and remaining a little surprised at how rigid his framing of fantasy endures.

                              Comment

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