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Monday, 28 July 2014

UnCracked Monday: The Truly Toxic People of This Hobby

Today, something that's pretty well a Must-Read in terms of the recent and ongoing conflict this month around the fact that the Outrage Brigade has tried to slur, slander, and generally lie their way into trying to convince Wizards of the Coast to denounce two people who helped in some small part to make the (very successful) 5th edition of D&D what it is: myself, and Zak S.

You've heard plenty from me if you're one of my readers, and Zak has had plenty to say as well, but this is a detailed story from Mandy Morbid, Zak's partner and of the "porn stars" of Zak S' "D&D with Porn Stars".  It's entitled "More Reasons People Found to Hate Me", and it points out how the Outrage Brigade, far from trying to destroy Zak's out of concern about 'misogyny', have really been in an offensive campaign against him for years now specifically BECAUSE his old-school campaign has an all-girl group, some of whom have disabilities, some of whom are of color, not all of whom are straight.  Yeah, Zak sure sounds like a discriminatory asshole, doesn't he?

(Image: Zak engaging in his exclusionary campaign of patriarchal oppression of women and minorities)

But why would they be opposed to this? Simple: it ruins their narrative. People like Mandy ruin their constructed story that they want to use to be able to get to be the gatekeepers, to get to be in control.  They don't actually care about women, or about race, or about ableism, or about homophobia, so much as THEY (and note; a very significant number of 'they' are white straight male nerds) care about getting to be the ones who decide what should or should not happen in the hobby, allegedly for the 'sake' of these minority groups.  Their power-grab depends on a scenario where the hobby as it exists has no good place for these demographics.  Where the luminaries of the hobby as it exists (that is, people who argue against their ideas about how gaming "should be" for everyone) are obviously prejudiced monsters who engage in terrible discrimination against others, and not just big meanies who call them out on their total bullshit.

See, I'm not trying to take the moral high ground. I know this is a fight for and about the hobby; and unlike the other side, I don't try to pretend it isn't. I don't pretend that I care about things I don't, I just tell the truth.  But the other side?  The other side is pathologically incapable of doing so, because they desperately want to pretend they're above it all even as they fling their feces and try to destroy the lives of their opponents.

And you know the result of that? The justification that they've invented for themselves, their projected image as "social justice warriors" lets them rationalize crossing lines I would NEVER cross. I would never say "go kill this guy". I'd never knowingly LIE and say "this guy threatened to rape people", get caught in said lie, and then say "Ok, he didn't but we should all keep pretending he did anyways!".  I wouldn't say "this guy is homophobic", and then when he says he isn't and expresses his absolute support for inclusive language in the new D&D rules delete his comment, ban him from the conversation, and try to keep up what is then a proven lie because I just don't like him.

I might be an asshole, sure. But the other guys, over in the "Outrage Brigade"? Those guys are the FUCKING MONSTERS. Because they think that they're inherently superior to everyone else,  think they know what's "best" for everyone, and since they think that truth is relative to your personal feels, it means they feel justified in doing ANYTHING at all if it means their side will win.

Including a ruthless campaign of insults and harassment against women who actually game in the hobby; the exact demographic they claim to care so much about.

So yeah, go read Mandy's story, it tells you all about how she came into the hobby, how "D&D With Pornstars" happened, how the exact same people attacking me and Zak now were the ones who called her "Brain Damaged" (that sure seems to be a favorite insult among the Swine, huh? I'm supposed to be 'toxic' for using the word 'swine', but they throw around "literally brain damaged" at specific individuals and D&D gamers as a whole, like it was candy!), the ones who called her and her friends "hookers" and said she should stop "making noise", people saying she should be forced to stop participating in the web series about women gaming she chose to be involved in because she clearly doesn't know what's in her own best interest (even claiming she has "stockholm syndrome") and is being 'harmful to women', who have tried to silence her because she's inconvenient to their attacks on Zak, and generally want her to shut up and disappear because they 'care so much about women gamers'.

Go read it, and see just who the really truly Toxic element of this hobby really are.  A hint: they're not the people who helped make the brand spanking new edition of D&D awesome.


Currently Smoking: Moretti Rhodesian + Gawith's Squadron Leader


  1. I read it. Those women are easy targets for lots of groups. Zak S. I suppose is too. Not going to be easy to reason with the attackers. Many people can just read the title of the blog and feel free to disregard or attack them. Those people are missing out.

  2. This post, while fair in the context that it has chosen, and largely accurate in its accusations, yet contains several gaping holes in the behaviour of both Zak and the other participants in I Hit It With My Axe.

    As one of the most 'toxic' people in the hobby, by reputation and action, I am well aware of the vitriol that public opinion can pour out upon an individual that has an opinion and shares it confrontationally. I can say candidly that I have been called "Brain Damaged" also, in spite of my not being so. Being the internet, words are chosen to hurt and not for their accuracy.

    I have read many conversations taking place between Zak and other persons. It is clear from those conversations that Zak is capable of pouring out vitriol himself; that he is able to be dismissive, to warp the opinions of others for his own gain, to run the dialogue on his railroad and to betray contempt for his reader. I don't say this as someone who doesn't do the same, but as someone who is a spade and knows what one looks like. Zak is a very clever fellow. He uses a lot of that cleverness to wage war.

    As regards the girls, I have nothing whatsoever to say about their involvement in the game as women or any other politicized entity. At the same time it is quite clear from episodes of I Hit It With My Axe that there are issues with clarity, comprehension, sound, presentation and staging design that do not lend a critique of the program, Zak's ability to DM or the participants ability to play as what I would term "quality." In fact, in precisely the same way I would condemn the film "Sharknado," IHIWMA is unmitigated shit. That has nothing to do with anyone being of any particular gender or race. It has everything to do with the CONTENT.

    People are fairly dumb about how to express the manner in which they hate something, and very often they choose words that are politically bad choices. I feel a lot of the anger here results from an inability of the critics to choose words that correctly identify the problem. I hope I have gone some distance to explaining that problem - but I do not have high hopes about that.

    1. I'd never watched IHIWMA until today... but I went over and watched it for a bit and found it quite entertaining, for a live-play video. Why do call it 'unmitigated shit'?
      The women are clever and funny... funnier than the guys I play with. Their game looks hectic and fun and they don't seem to obsess about the numbers and rules minutae. Are you complaining about its quality as a show? Certainly it's no worse than the actual play vids on YouTube. It seems quite sufficient, technically, for what it is... a home movie of friends playing games.
      Not that it's my favorite (old) new show... but it's always interesting, to me, to get a glimpse into how other people play.