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Monday 5 January 2015

Know Your Swine Day; Also, Aleena Isn't Kyle Rayner's Girlfriend, She's Roy Fokker

So, Zak (or Mandy?) made this as a guide to the people who were harassing them, but it pretty much works as a perfect reference chart to all the major Swine of the RPG hobby today, where they're found and what their connections are:

You'll note they're pretty incestuous: you have a lot of the same people running Something Awful (or that is, the RPG section of SA) and  What's missing here is Evil Hat's connection to the Storygames site/movement, and the fact that a shitload of the mods and star-posters of the in-crowd at's tangency are either current or past employees of Onyx Path/White Wolf.

So literally, for the last 15 years or so, we've had the same gang of assholes, with only a few people falling away and a few others popping up, but all the same places, orgs, and big names, being responsible for all the shit and damage to the RPG hobby.

Meawhile, Tracy Hurley has been trying to post blog entries expressing her disapproval of SA's persecution of Mandy, specifically seeming to focus a lot on their language rather than their actual terrible intentions.  But whatever, as you see here, half of Hurley's friends ARE Something Awful.  Her words ring hollow and hypocritical, not just because she's now feigning concern for brutal attacks on a woman who she just a day or two ago claimed was little more than a puppet for a man (because no real woman could possibly have an opinion that differs from Hurley's, don't you know?), but because she has regularly worked with people like Ettin, Kai Tave, Tom Hatfield, etc. and isn't likely to be denouncing them any time soon.  So the whole thing is just a farce.

Oh, and I hadn't noticed that a couple of weeks before all this happened, she posted a blog entry about how the evil male patriarchy should stop trying to pit women against each other.  Again, two weeks before she attacked another woman and all but claimed (and Fred Hurley did claim) that said woman hadn't actually even written what she wrote.

What's even funnier is that only a few days before all this, she posted a blog entry trying to clarify her stance on why she thinks Aleena the Cleric is inappropriate art in an excessively sexual pose.
Note, this picture:

In it, she tries to pretend that she always knew what a tabard was, despite her original diatribe against Aleena making it very clear she had no idea, and thought that the "piece of cloth between aleena's legs" was put there to make her less masculine (rather than to make her look MORE like a Knight) and that it was meant to 'sexualize' her by drawing attention to her genital area.  Yeah, that's the level of fucked-up we're dealing with here.

In this past week's second try of explaining why Aleena is sexist and  evil, she claims that Aleena is nothing more than an example of "girlfriend in the refrigerator" syndrome, because in the classic Basic Set adventure she appears in she serves no purpose other than to die, and there's no way to save her.
It's true that there's no way to save her, but as usual Hurley is wrong about everything else.  Aleena isn't Kyle Rayner's passive love-interest brutally victimized and stuffed into a refrigerator; Aleena is Obi-Wan Kenobi.
She's not the love-interest that exists to tempt the hero into thinking he can have a normal life, only to die (and, in some cases, serve no literary purpose other than to be doomed to die) and thus make it clear that life for the hero can never be normal; she's the Mentor that pulls the hero further into adventure, teaches him how to be a hero, and then is killed by the villain so that the hero must now avenge his sensei and have the chance to become the even-greater champion he was always meant to be.  Aleena is Roy Fokker, John the Baptist, or Mister Miyagi (yeah, I know, Miyagi doesn't die, but you get the point).

This isn't about cheap pop-culture deconstruction, it's about mythology and archetype; but it's no surprise that Tracy Hurley can't get that.  If you're fetishistically obsessed with dinosaurs you'd find a reason to talk about dinosaurs at every opportunity; if you're terrified of worms then every piece of rice on the floor or speck of dust on the wall looks like a worm; and if you have been indoctrinated to assume a world where everything is just sexism (and you likely spent all your time in college studying critical theory rather than the classics), its no surprise you'll mistake a crucial part of the Hero's Journey for sexism and a radical step of a female character in a role historically played-by-males for a cheap shot at women.  And of course, people like Hurley by definition don't believe in the Hero's Journey, and hate it whenever they come across it, because it's all about the triumph of great individual rising above the world of the mundane and fulfilling their potential destiny, and rejects the collective (which is often even the villain of the story).  So it's no surprise that Hurley didn't figure out that Aleena the Cleric is radically progressive in yet another sense than just being a strong fully-dressed  fantasy heroine (head-to-fucking-toe here, but apparently even if you're covered in armor, you can have a fighting stance that's too "come hither" for Mz. Hurley) that no one in their right mind would have a problem with: in Aleena, there is also the choice to make a strong female character rather than a grizzled old man the Mentor figure for the rising Hero.

This explains a lot about Hurley, and about why she ultimately can never understand D&D.  She doesn't get the Hero's Journey, she'd despise it even if she did, she was 'educated' and ideologically indoctrinated in schools of thought that desperately seek to abolish it from our cultural consciousness; and D&D (and ultimately, all real Roleplaying Games) are ALL ABOUT the Hero's Journey.  These are the people who think they should get to be the shepherds and gatekeepers of this hobby, and decide for everyone else what the hobby should get to include and exclude, what should be blacklisted from, which authors should never work again; and they don't comprehend and actively despise the very premise under which RPGs operate.

That's why the enemies' list above is important.  Look at it. Recognize those names. Understand when those people talk about RPGs, they are talking with utter contempt for everything that has made RPGs good.  Not sexism, but Myth, Archetype and Heroes. That's what they can never get, and would seek to destroy.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Volcano + Gawith's Balkan Flake


  1. I've seen no evidence that Fred Hicks is harassing Mandy or Zak unless "harassing" is now defined more broadly as "disagreeing with".

    1. As far as I've been able to tell Fred got lumped in when he joined the initial outrage over the FailForward article and when he was presented with evidence that it was filled with lies and half truths he shut down the conversation. He's still pretty timid about getting involved in conversations online from what I've observed.

    2. I guess I am a bit confused because the FailForward post claims Hicks was defending Zak (and therefore hurt someone else) not the other way around. Now the other side (Zak and Mandy) are claiming Hicks harassed them.

      So, it seems Fred is being dragged into this this unwittingly and I find it very disingenuous that Mandy and Zak are claiming harassment on his part.

      And it seems especially being disingenuous because Fred is notoriously feminist and tries to educate people about white privilege and issues of multiculturalism... and yet their "info graphic" groups him with comments from Something Awful.

      They are drawing a guilt by association line, when Hicks is not at all associated with anyone who might truly be harassing Mandy and Zak.

      You can't play the victim card and then turn around and publicly libel someone who isn't associated with attacks against you as if they were.

    3. Well, FailForward is filled with errors and since so much was deleted during all that kerfuffle I can only go with my memory. BUT I seem to remember that Hicks started out going after Zak by supporting claims that he was anti-trans and backed off when it looked like those claims were false (which they are from all the evidence I've seen) without every saying "I was wrong" or anything similar. His earlier transgression wasn't actually related to Zak and the claims against him and was an honest mistake if I remember correctly.

    4. I'm pretty sure Hicks was directly involved; you can ask Zak about that and I'm sure he'll send you reams of evidence against him as is Zak's style.
      Evil Hat was also one of the main architects of blacklisting Desborough's game from OBS, and he's an all around shit-head.

      And he, and Hurley, whatever their bleating, have regularly teamed up with people who have said and done abominable things on Something Awful, including promoting the false "rape threats" that Ettin set up about James Desborough even after it was proven a fabrication.

    5. I mean shit, just look at how many of the people who have been on alleged pseudo-activist crusades against people for being racist/sexist/homophobes/transphobes/etc trying to argue their victims should be driven out of the hobby are active at SOMETHING AWFUL, which is full to the gills with racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. And look at how many of those who aren't on SA but are pseudo-activists have had the hypocrisy to try to make up lies about me while supporting and co-operating with the SA-people like Ettin, who have actively participated in a site full to the gills with the very things Hurley or Hicks pretend to be disgusted at.

      Yet they excuse and include those people, while they attack me. That pretty much proves they don't give an actual fuck about social justice and this is all about gaming ideology, and that to them you can be a racist or sexist monster, as long as you're on their team about hating certain kinds of RPGs.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. I hate that you can't edit these comments.

      Pundit -- Before you accuse someone of using false rape threats, you'd better have some serious evidence to support that statement. You are lumping in Hicks with people who may be truly nasty... and I KNOW Hicks was not involved in promoting rape threat commentary or language to that effect.

      You can call him a liar if you like, or say that he said some incorrect shit, but saying that he was involved with rape threat allegations is some total, serious bull.

    8. Marty, I'm curious why you say "Fred is notoriously feminist and tries to educate people about white privilege and issues of multiculturalism" as though that disqualified him from being one of the trolls here. That also describes Hurley, Hatfield, Wundergeek and all the Something Awful people listed above (also Erlington and Maartila, who I'm surprised aren't in the diagram as they've been two of the worst - I probably misspelled both names but people familiar with these events will know exactly who I mean).

      They ALL pull this shit under cover of feminism, even as their side builds up a more and more extensive track record of blatant misogyny almost by the day. That's, like, their standard operating procedure. As I (and Zak) have said elsewhere, it's not really about politics, it's really about middle-school style bullying, but they've all learned to *word* their bullying in terms borrowed from the social justice movement even as their every action displays nothing but contempt for actual, like, JUSTICE. That's precisely the thing that offends me the most about them.

    9. Because there is nuance. It's not all black and white, but the statements on this blog are an example of the removal of nuance and over-exaggeration of who said what to whom.

      For instance, let's say, for the sake of argument that a metaphorical "Bob" fellow made some comments on social media because of a mistake in believing one person or another.

      "Bob" then removes his comments and pulls away from the controversy because he realizes he is mistaken.

      The some other people who saw Bob's comment start shouting from the roof tops -- "Look at what an asshole Bob is. He said this on social media and I'm harassed by his statements."

      Except that Bob isn't actually harassing anyone. He may have made a stupid comment, or believed the wrong person, be has removed those statements and he's not actively targeting anyone with threats or other statements of a harassing nature.

      But because some people don't like Bob, they insist on putting Bob in with a group of people who may actually be really nasty jerks. And then they keep trying to put Bob's name in the spotlight saying that he's involved in some really nasty things.

      See what has happened? Bob never actually harassed. Maybe Bob said something stupid, or didn't check all the facts and made an honest mistake.

      But now Bob is being harassed. Yes, he is not being harassed because he is being accused of doing a whole bunch of things he wasn't involved in and his harassers are not just saying things on social media. They are posting blogs. They are making public accusations. They are making info graphics like they're USA Today.

      That's harassment. The "victims" are doing the exact thing that they are accusing... but doing it worse and more heatedly.

    10. ... *now* being harassed.... replace "not".

    11. Hicks explicitly wants people like himself, Ettin, Hurley, etc. to be the gatekeepers of the hobby. Whether or not he did something to Zak (and I know Zak is meticulous enough about his own personal conflicts to have reasons to include him on his image) that's enough for me to know he's one of the people who are dangerous to this hobby. If it was up to him, a gang of complete assholes would get to decide what everyone else in the hobby is allowed to read, buy, sell, play or say.

    12. My problem with your hypothetical Bob (and my problem, or one of my problems, with some of the ACTUAL people involved here as well) lies precisely in removing his comments and expecting that to fix everything.

      If he's said something he later learned is false, the thing to do is own it and post a correction and, depending what exactly it was, possibly apologize for it. (Like, if it was about some mathematical concept, he probably doesn't owe anyone an apology, but if it was that someone had made transphobic statements, then he damn well does.)

      Likewise, if Bob's friend Tammy and her husband coincidentally also named Bob tweet something and a day later realize that by doing so they did a thing they claim to be against, they shouldn't just erase it and pretend it didn't happen, they should OWN IT AND APOLOGIZE.

      Anything else is dishonest, is hard to take seriously as an attempt to fix any problems that were caused, and runs the risk of effectively being gaslighting even if that wasn't the intent. Changing one's mind is a perfectly valid and honorable thing, but hiding the evidence that you ever thought anything different and being all "we have always been at war with Eurasia" is not.

    13. That's fine. You can believe Bob should apologize... but you should not post

      "Bob is harassing me." constantly and all over the place when it's not true.

      Zak probably owes people a few hundred apologies because of how much of a jerk he is to people all over the internet all of the time every day. I think the balance is tipped in his favor a bit.

      You can't have it both ways.

    14. OMG, Pundit. Give it a rest.

      The whole gatekeeper line is baloney. He's just a guy trying to make a living by writing and playing games. And guess what? He plays D&D too. Not just FATE. He plays a whole assortment of stuff.

      He's not "dangerous to the hobby". Your personal over-zealous beef with story games is not relevant to the harassment discussion.

    15. He's referring at least partially to the recent removal, at least partly at Evil Hat's behest, of Desborough's latest product from Drive Thru et al. And I happen to agree that that's a dangerous precedent and that the Pundit's description of it, while overwrought as usual, is at least defensible.

    16. I don't know of anyone who questions that Zak can be abrasive, but I don't see where he's guilty of anything worse than that. I've seen some discussions where I wasn't thrilled with Zak's conduct, but never - not once - a case where I thought he behaved significantly worse than the people he was arguing against.

      He has not, for example, accused anyone of making transphobic or misogynistic statements without pretty solid proof that they have in fact done so. He hasn't accused anyone of making threats against him or anyone else without a screenshot or other solid evidence of them doing so. On the rare occasions when something he's accused people of is disproven, he admits it rather than moving the goalposts. When he sees someone being falsely accused, he defends them even if it's someone he doesn't particularly like; he does not jump on the bandwagon, ESPECIALLY when he knows or has reason to think the accusations have already been disproven.

      All the people mentioned in that diagram, including your man Fred Hicks, have done at least one of these things.

    17. The diagram did exactly what you were just saying.

      His first version said "these people are harassing Mandy" or words to that effect. Only when I pointed out that it was disingenuous did he change the verbiage on the graphic.

      And he didn't retract the original statement or apologize for falsely accusing. So, basically he did the exact same thing as Fred, apparently.

      But the graphic still has the problem that it makes it appear that racist comments and other nasty things being said are associated with all of the people on the graphic, not just a few at the top.

      It's misrepresentation of the facts.

    18. I don't think the graphic suggests that Ettin, much less Tracy Hurley or Fred Hicks, have themselves said racist or homophobic things on Something Awful (though for all I know they might have; unlike them, I do not meticulously go back and read everything they posted for the last ten years in the hope of finding some tiny reference in all that to 'take me down'; whereas Ettin at least DEFINITELY did that to me).

      But what it is saying is that everyone with an arrow connected to SA are VERY active people on a board that is regularly filled to the brim with hundreds of posts a day of things that, had I said even ONE of those tings ever, they would all be demanding that I be thrown out of the industry forever for it. But they not only look the other way when it comes to their own people, but some of them (like Ettin) make use of people who are very blatantly racist and homophobic in their language on SA to go on social justice flaming-attacks against people who have done no such thing. And people like Hicks and Hurley KNOW THIS, and yet continue to support all their Something Awful "allies" while trying to blacklist the guy who put the first trangendered hero on the cover of an RPG; all because the guys who say "ni**ered" on Something Awful still have the right ideology about RPGs, while I am an old-school gamer and opposed to storygaming. So they twist around their fucked-up minds until they can feel like I'm the "problem" in the industry while Ettin, who lies, cheats, and encourages homophobes and sexists on a regular basis to go harass others, is a hero to "the cause".

      So seriously, Marty, FUCK FRED HICKS. Hicks is a piece of shit, because he's a pseudo-intellectual fucktard out to destroy me and rule over my hobby, and willing to ally with the scum of the earth to do it. You can bet I for my part will not stop making a point of letting everyone know it.

    19. One correction to that - GeekyLyndsay (who I wasn't previously familiar with, and at least at a quick glance seems less bad than most of the rest BTW) says she hasn't been active at SA in years and is only still a member at all for some discount or other. So it's not accurate to say everyone in the SA section is "VERY active" on that board. (She may not be the only exception, I haven't checked them all, I only know this because of following a link elsewhere to a specific Twitter conversation.)

      I agree with most of the rest of what the Pundit says here, in particular that I don't read the diagram as implying that anyone other than "Max Realtalk" has said anything that openly racist. (And frankly, I suspect MR is just a non-aligned troll, no more a friend of Hurley et al than of Zak.)

    20. "... out to destroy me and rule over my hobby".

      Baloney. He might think you're a dick, but to say he's "out to destroy you" is some serious, paranoid BS.

    21. They were behind trying to get me and Zak blacklisted.

  2. Fred Hicks supported the accusations of sexism in the article.

    He is a liar.

    1. The way I see it, perhaps he made a mistake in assuming that another person was being truthful and when the mistake was pointed out to him, he pulled his comments.

      But, there is HUGE a difference between harassment and name calling.

      For instance, just this week you insulted me several times on your blog. Does that mean you harassed me? It seems by your standard, yes.

    2. Zak is of course more than capable of speaking for himself but there's an observation I'd like to make here.

      While *I* don't think what you describe rises to the level of harassment, several of the people who are named in the diagram - as well as the two Nordic guys I mention above - *DO* appear to think that. Or at least, some of their accusations against Zak and others make no sense any other way. Tracy, for example, seems to think it's "harassment" every time Zak so much as mentions her name, and Martiila has repeatedly posted a screenshot of Zak encouraging people in his G+ circles to join one of the discussions of the Hatfield article which he calls "photographic proof that Zak harasses people".

      So while these people may not be guilty of harassment by MY standards, they sure as hell are guilty of it by THEIR OWN STATED STANDARDS. I don't see how they can have it both ways here.

    3. The problem is, by lumping them all together, one is extending accusations about the actions a very few to a much larger group of people.

      It is dishonest. It's libelous. It's playing the victim while being the harasser.

    4. "The way I see it, perhaps he made a mistake in assuming that another person was being truthful and when the mistake was pointed out to him, he pulled his comments."

      He has to publicly apologize for spreading the false article and also _remove the posts where he links to it_

      I committed no libel at all.

      Namecalling alone isn't harassment--the article Fred shared had false accusations (including criminal ones), Fred shared it, left it up, never made a public apology or admitted that was wrong.

    5. Linking to an article is not harassment.

      In that link you posted:
      "But that doesn't excuse my mistake at all. Being unaware that I was making the mistake doesn't lessen its magnitude either.

      I've said it before (despite this article claiming to the contrary), and I'll say it again (even if it's thrown back at me as it has been previously): I am very, very sorry that sharing that article caused pain. That wasn't my intention at all, but my intention carries no real value here compared to the pain of those targeted by any hate I ended up supporting as a side-effect."

    6. "I've spent the past week sick to my stomach over this, and again, I am very sorry to have started it — or at the least, supported it — in the first place."

      You apparently failed to read again.

    7. "Linking to an article is not harassment."

      It absolutely 100% is harassment, since the article contains false claims and his link contains no statement pointing that out.

      He is contributing to more people reading false claims. That is, objectively, evil.

      And the stuff he's "sick to his stomach" about isn't the problem he actually created.

      You are 100% wrong.

    8. I honestly have never quite been able to figure out WHAT Fred takes himself to be apologizing for in that message, but one thing he does NOT seem to be doing there is acknowledging that the claims in the FF article are false and hurtful; certainly there's no straightforward and forthright statement to that effect. It's not clear to me that he's taking back his endorsement of the article, and if he is it's for the wrong reasons.

  3. Here's an updated version:

    to cover that

    1. Sorry, I'm trying to see how that one is different from the one in the article?

    2. Ok, now that I see the difference, I've changed the image.

    3. Apart from a (very welcome) increase in the image size, the only difference I notice is a "clarification" that actually only confuses me more in the Onyx Path area. It makes it sound like Zak's argument against the people he lists is nothing more than guilt-by-association with the unnamed other writer he mentions - I *KNOW* that's not Zak's actual reasoning, but that's what the new version makes it sound like.

    4. Oh well.
      Anyway, Fred did re-share the FailForward article:

    5. He was giving context for an apology for which you think you've been owed.

      Honestly,you owe a brick-ton of apologies to hundreds of people over the internet... so... hypocrite much?

    6. He didn't apologize to me.

      And, of course, if I owe anyone an apology, you should provide a link to back that up, not be all vague.

  4. I noticed that Ryan Macklin (of Paizo) is listed there, but I'm not sure why. Can someone expound on that?

    1. he reshared Tom Hatfield's article--like everybody else named there.

  5. On an amusing related now, (moderated by Ettin among others) has just lifted their 'topic ban' on me and Zak explicitly to be able to lie about us being "gamergaters" and attack Zak's graphic.

  6. This stuff is just hilarious. A tiny community within a tiny community (RPGers) even knows who any of these folks are. Much less cares. Yet they act like it's the apocalypse.