(note: this classic rant is timely for a couple of reasons: first, it presages the activities of the past few years by the Outrage Brigade in gaming. I predicted it all. Second, because their latest attack has, again, been on the game "Hentacle" by James Desboroughs. After YEARS of being on DTRPG, it has now been CENSORED. We have to keep fighting against these fucking Swine and their attempt to take power over our hobby)
So first we had Swine Pseudo-artistry, the white-wolf crowd going around trying to subvert gaming (and ultimately destroy all the parts of gaming they didn't like) by claiming that RPGs have to be "works of art", sophisticated sensitive and brilliant.
When that tactic failed, eventually they moved on to the Swine Pseudo-intellectualism: seeking to subvert gaming by claiming that RPGs had to be academic exercises, based on "Theories", that rejected all the "incoherent" games that were merely about having fun, and that demanded that gaming be re-invented to suit the agendas of the self-styled intellectual elite at the Forge.
That has now fallen to pieces for the Swine as well. And I've been predicting that its only a matter of time before some creative Swine figure out some new angle that they think will win them that long-desired control, subversion, and destruction of all that's good about the gaming hobby. I think that we may be seeing some of the Swine currently trying one of these angles out, in the form of Swine Pseudo-activism.
The Swine Pseudo-artists tried to mainly focus their assaults on the aesthetics of the game, on the setting, on things like product (with metaplot, etc), and the "fashion" of the game. When that failed, the Swine Pseudo-intellectuals put their primary focus on assaulting the foundational systems of the game, not just game mechanics but also the baseline mechanical assumptions of what defines an RPG, trying to change those definitions to suit their agenda. They were repulsed.
Now, they are going to try to subvert gaming by attacking neither setting nor system nor underlying definitions, but by attacking the social structures of the hobby; by accusing the hobby of perpetuating crimes against "social justice", in other words the dominant morality as defined by a group of self-styled paragons of sensitivity in certain highly restricted bubbles of quasi-intellectual feminist-marxist liberalism; ironically, they're taking something straight out of the Pat Pulling playbook by claiming that RPGs are immoral, these people who claim to love gaming. Strange way to show it.
The case bubble they're working with is well-chosen by these Swine, starting out with one of the dubious undercurrents of the hobby and bringing up a subject no right-minded person could possibly find any question with: rape. There's no debate on any side anywhere (except maybe among absolute lunatics) that rape is a terrible thing, so it'll make a handy little word (as it has for second-wave feminists for decades now) to stretch, redefine and misuse as a bludgeon to try to push through an agenda. No one wants to be painted as being "for" rape. And the target these people have set their eyes on, or rather the patsy they're using as bait for bigger fish, is James Desborough, writer of a number of RPG products (in my opinion of questionable worth) like Nymphology, the Slayer's Guide to Female Gamers; as well as some non-rpg products like "Hentacle", the hentai tentacle-rape card game.
I want to clarify at this point that I've never bought any of those, or any of the other books in that kind of genre (the Book of Erotic Fantasy, etc). I've always found them pretty puerile and ridiculous; and I'd certainly agree that this kind of subject matter is of interest mainly to a sophomoric and infantile kind of mind. When I reviewed the "Courtesans" RPG I said as much.
But that's neither here nor there; the Swine don't give a fuck about this guy or his books except as something that gives them the chance to draw attention to a bigger cause or movement, where they can be allowed to use "outrage" over "offensive attitudes" to dictate terms to the entire hobby and control the content of games, even get to censor who is hired to work in the hobby.
They didn't want Desborough, they wanted Mongoose, and Steve Jackson Games, publishers who had sometime in the distant past hired him to write for them. They are now campaigning to essentially destroy Mongoose, to shut it down as a company, in order to make it the cautionary example to cause the rest of the gaming industry to "fear the mob". Their agenda? To get to force gaming companies to come to them to let THEM decide what can or cannot see print.
You think I'm exaggerating? Note how the recent rpg.net threads with the accusations about how Mongoose supports "rape culture" (which also resulted in a mass culling of anyone who wouldn't immediately accept that premise on rpg.net) were matched with a thread that proposed that gaming companies should be forced to introduce a "ratings system" on their games. Note also how over on the "Something Awful" forums, who have very clearly instigated the whole movement through agents starting and fomenting the simulated "outrage" on rpg.net (and taking advantage of, or rather downright manipulating, both the modclique's natural predilections for banning opposition as well as the tendency of its Tangency hivemind to get horny at the sight of anything that gives them a chance to get their Politically Correct Groovy Cards punched, its like a perfect storm), they had a thread that essentially outlines their long-term agenda for control. This thread has since been hidden away but it was called "Feminist Gaming Issues", and it went WAY beyond the initial argument made against Desborough, that portrayals of rape were not ok, into points like:
-art must be changed in RPG books to stop portraying "male fantasy" (ie. images of scantily-clad women).
There's certainly arguments that can be made about irrational or sexist portrayals of women in RPG art, but they're advocating a forced control over what should be permitted to be published.
-That, and I quote: "your bog-standard D&D session is a facet of rape culture" where "a bunch of men (and perhaps one or two sexualized women) descend into dark depths to penetrate the underprivileged, poor denizens there with their phallic objects, and use their mysterious, privilege-generated powers to oppress and kill anyone who isn't like them."
They didn't make their opening salvo with this, obviously, because pretty much any regular gamer would find this argument beyond absurd. They'd find it ludicrous, and send these assholes packing. But that's why they're starting from something that's tricky to argue against, and moving toward this kind of bullshit, with which they hope to end up smothering the hobby with once they've gained enough influence to not be stopped.
They go on in that thread to talk about the problem of "violence" and how all violence (including any and all combat in RPGs) is a product of "rape culture", and also secret racism as mentioned above. Their solution? Again, I quote: "make games that are about pure collaborative storytelling, or just existing, in a strange way".
Funny, how by what surely must be sheer coincidence, their proposed end result is exactly the same kind of games that the last batch of Swine wanted!
They go as far as to argue that people who play regular RPGs probably need therapy after each session to help them "understand" how the violence they're "perpetuating" in the game is "completely unacceptable", and that the playing of these sorts of RPGs "glorifies criminal behavior" until they stop participating in these RPGs. They presented a way of trying to hide said therapy as part of the gaming session.
They will expand from "rape is bad", which is an obvious no-brainer that they'll nevertheless attempt to twist into things that have fuck all to do with that initial statement, into overall assaults on RPGs in general using things like "social justice" and "minority issues", simultaneously viciously attacking RPGs while making a total MOCKERY of those real issues, in the same way the pseudo-artist Swines made a mockery of art, and the pseudo-intellectual Swine made a mockery of intellectual pursuits.
They'll be quite willing to drag the credibility of very real, real world issues like rape, sexism, racism, and homophobia through the absolute muck in order to engage in their pogroms against the hobby that has twice-before rejected their attempts to take it over.
So what do we do?
There are some who think that negotiating with them will make them stop. It won't, that will only be what encourages them. Others have argued that they have to be reasoned with, argued with in good faith for the "good of the hobby".
But that's just it, you can't argue in good faith with a group that has NO good faith. This is the typical naive error that the Gramscian socialist-types love to see people fall for. If the Swine are not arguing in good faith, but rather want to use the debate as a platform by which to hammer through their agenda for change (whose fairy-tale wishlist includes, as mentioned above, veto power over who gets hired, what gets published, what kind of art an RPG book is allowed to have, a near-total removal of combat from RPGs, control over all art, and mandated officially sanctioned control and quotas over portrayal of women and minorities (including fictional minorities) in all RPG products) then rational debate gets you NOWHERE. On the contrary, it becomes their weapon, to get what they want.
You can see it perfectly in the history of the Forge and their tactics, and remember these are some of the same Swine, just trying a different tactic now (as I said, before it was pseudo-intellectualism, now its pseudo-activism); they ran all over everyone who tried to engage in "rational debate" with them because they understood how to CONTROL LANGUAGE, by allowing THEM to define what a roleplaying game was, by allowing them to decide that the debate would be couched within GNS theory, by letting them manipulate all the preconditions of the debate, they were pissing their pants with glee at all the idiots who thought that trying to reason with them would work. Since, again, their motive was not "Come, let us reason together", it was to destroy the hobby as we know it and replace it with something completely different that they could be in charge of.
The way I beat the Forge was by playing their own game, better than they did. And that's how you'll beat these guys. You don't reason with them, you beat them by taking all their extremist techniques and turning it back on them; by controlling the language and refusing to give up that ground to the other side, refusing to let them claim the moral high ground while they simultaneously try to redefine the meaning of things like "rape" or "racism" into non-existence just to serve their own nefarious motives, and by making sure you reveal any and all said underlying motives the other side holds. By undermining their facade of both respectability and their (false) moral high ground at every opportunity.
That's how they'll be stopped.
(Originally posted June 26, 2012)