Right off I need to throw up a bit of a disclaimer: I know that I'm wrong. No matter what I type by the simple fact that I am even thinking of engaging in this topic of conversation means I will be painted by a wide brush from those with an axe to grind. Against me, against the internet, against whoever will bother to listen......
.....I will try not to pre-emptively defend myself while freely admitting I am on the defensive. Why? Because I've already been painted with that brush by someone who does not know my personal history, a personal history that they would probably find shocking and closer to their professed ideology than to their professed assumptions of mine.
While not a rule per se, I really do try to treat people not just fairly, but the same? I'm sure I fail at times and I have my biases, last time I checked (to the best of my ability) I am only human. Again, not being defensive, or even offensive, I'm sure I've done shit that would be seen in a negative fashion by those wishing to attribute malice to said shit.
OK, done with that bit.
This last few days/weeks there has been a LOT of drama over unkind remarks said by TSR. I'm not gonna touch that drama because of the aforementioned brush and honestly because I am not informed enough of all the goings on, and I'm not self-important enough to think my opinion on that matters. What I have seen though, is a lot of name-calling, armchair white-knighting, and general asshattery on the periphery of our community. A whole different level of bullshit involving that same brush being applied to other people....
....good people, but also human people.
I know, I know, just because I say that someone is a "good person" it doesn't mean that you would agree, and that's OK. I'm not trying to stand up for any specific person but for a group of people.....gamers in general. You know....us.
The thing is a lot of us, I'd argue most of us really, are not normal. I'm going to paint us with an even wider, but different (I hope) brush: we're largely dorks, geek, nerds. Yes, some of us are LGBTQ. Some of us are on the Autism spectrum. Some of us are people of color. Some of us are just assholes.
There will ALWAYS be factors that divide us. It's in our nature. The real problem, as I see it, is that in recent years we, as in people in general, allowed ourselves to be defined more by our differences than by our similarities. We've adopted this mentality that we're all special and everybody not in our self-defined division.... well, they're not. Since they aren't in our group we generally don't give a fuck about them or their feelings. Yes, fuck their feelings is the general statement, and that....THAT is the paint slathered on by the wide brushes.
You know what? Dice don't care if you're an Autistic Black Gay Jew who happens to be a wheelchair-bound asshole. Dice don't care if you're the Nicest, Straightest Mid-West White Boy, but you also know what? You have more than dice sitting with you at the table. You have PEOPLE at the table. PEOPLE have feelings, biases, make mistakes, etc.
Now I don't realistically expect people to fundamentally change who they are. I don't believe people can easily make large scale course corrections, BUT we can make make small changes. I'm willing to be most of us have seen these changes in others at our gaming table. Hell, maybe you've been lucky to see them in yourself.
Don't believe me? Take a second to think about all the gaming groups you've been in, or even all the gaming groups you've come across. Have you NEVER come across a socially awkward, unconfident, or just plain weird kid at the game table? Have you NEVER seen how acceptance of said gamer by the gaming group has had a positive effect on well, probably everyone?
I can say I have.
What I'm trying, and probably failing, to say is that gaming, in general, is a social event that is INCLUSIVE and has a POSITIVE effect on all involved, and we've largely been working against the better nature of our shred hobby, I'm trying to advocate for all of us to step back get the fuck out of our own way and to stop painting others (or "others") with that damned brush. The thing is, when painting with that brush it's hard to not get some of that paint on ourselves by accident.
I don't expect the conservative among us to go out of their way to find some liberal gamers for their table, or vice versa. I do expect that if you try to see others in our hobby as a gamer first and everything else third. Why third? Well I'm a realist and second thing you should see is the game system. That's a fair division of players. Not the my-system-is-better-than-yours kind of way, but playing at the same table necessary way.
I've typed most of this out a few times (which is why I might not come across as smoothly as I'd like) and I keep coming back to my belief that a lot of our problems in out community are not only self-inflicted, but treatable by simply doing the one thing that actually unites us: gaming.
You know that stupid shit you said that I don't like? Well stop the table chatter and pick up the fucking dice instead. Oh I'm being an asshole (?), maybe I should be rolling 3d6 seven times. We're not going to fundamentally change who we are or come together for world peace, but maybe...just maybe you'll stop talking about stupid shit that pisses other people off and maybe I'll be less of an asshole.
In any course, please try to be kind to each other, acknowledge your own faults, and put down the fucking brush and pick up some dice, ........but what the fuck do I know....I'm wrong, remember.