Mob RulePosted: June 20, 2012
I was reading J.R. IV’s post, “In Case Anyone is Unclear,” over on his blog this morning. I wanted to comment there, but comments are disabled, so I’ll do it here.
On the subject of ‘shit about to hit the fan’ over the easily offended sensibilities of others, Raggi writes, “The presentation of something in a fictional space, no matter how it is presented, is not an endorsement of that thing in real life. Enjoying something in fiction (or enjoying fiction that contains something) does not mean that a person would enjoy that same thing in real life.”
I don’t know what ‘shit storms’ James is talking about (perhaps something on Google+ ?*), but I believe that reading (or writing) a book like Lolita does not make you a pedophile any more than singing the words of ‘The National Anthem’ makes you a patriot.
Singing the national anthem might make other people THINK you must be a patriot, but people can (and do) say “I love my job/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/god/etc.” all the time without meaning it, so I don’t know why words alone fool anyone. But public displays of ‘piety’ or ‘patriotism’ or ‘right thinking’ seem very important to people with self-promoting agendas… a fact I try to keep in mind whenever another lynch mob gathers to ‘punish’ someone for writing a book, drawing a picture or singing a song that others might find offensive. Behind every ‘obscenity’ trial one can eventually find a politician, district attorney, sheriff or public figure wannabe pandering to his/her base by throwing them the red meat of a crusade against perverts or the gays or the communists or whatever. Behind every moral crusade one can probably find someone’s social ambition to be ‘king of the hill**” as well as a mob of followers who just enjoy reinforcing the peck order. Fuck them all for intellectual and imaginative cowardice.
I probably shouldn’t be surprised that so many people who describe themselves as ‘gamers’ or ‘fantasy fans’ or claim to be interested in ‘games of the imagination’ have such a problem keeping fantasy and reality straight — look at the Carcosa flap and similar — but the more cynical part of my mind wonders if many of these folks just have an agenda of some sort or want to amuse themselves by stirring up shit and enjoying the hot flush of outrage that “someone else would write/draw/sing/etc. something like that!” You would think after Paula Pulling and Bothered About D&D, the people who actually play (or played) D&D and knew how full of shit her claims were would be a little more wary of the ‘moral crusade.’ But riding the high horse in the moral crusade of the moment (or being a part of the angry mob) is too much fun for most people to give up, so I don’t expect the situation to change.
*I have a google+ account but haven’t taken the time to figure out how or why to use it.
**In the case of The OSR (or whatever it is being called today), the “hill” these people want to be king of is a particularly obscure bit of real estate, but sometimes the smaller the spoils, the more bitterly they fight for it. Go figure.