Saturday, October 29, 2011

Avoidance Therapy.

Yesterday I went home sick with a bad tummy ache, the kind where the flu may be trying to crash the party. It was a very distracting feeling, and though I could have muddled through just fine, didn't want to risk it, or get anyone else sick.

I'm not feeling too good about a few things right now. Nothing major, just little problems behaving like  uninvited house guests who pee in the pool. If I had a pool, that is. 

Considering my lackluster performance on Thursday night's raid I may be causing my own proverbial waves. I had switched from Confirmed to Tentative earlier in the day, because of changes and curve balls in real life. I ended up being able to go, but I am slightly ashamed to admit my head wasn't completely in the game. However, I did succeed in managing to wipe the raid once - I moved right when my GM wanted me to go left, even though he said right: but that is exactly his previous point. Paraphrasing, his desire is that I need to know the fights well enough to think for myself and react accordingly. I don't know what it is, but somehow my mistakes feel bigger than other's. But that's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Beavis and Butthead in a reflective moment...

This recent opinion piece came out from one of my favorite blogs, WoW-related and otherwise, posted by Shimm from Planet of Hats. This quote resonated deeply for a few reasons:

There was an interesting interview titled “The Hero Factory” on Eurogamer last week with Chris Metzen, otherwise known as the voice of countless Blizzard characters and the grand Loremaster of Blizzard’s fantasy worlds.  It was illuminating stuff.  Chief among its observations is that Metzen’s heroes are unambiguous, uncomplicated, chiselled ‘ideals’ embodied in the form of strong white men, exercising their virtuous power through application of force.  What especially sprang out at me was this quote of his: “as a dumbass kid from California, I certainly am not cosmopolitan enough to know what all these paradigms are.”  Paradigms, eh!
Because of my background, my context, as I’ve grown up I’ve had to confront and struggle with all sorts of issues relating to stuff like race, gender, social class, wealth, ability, sexuality and so on.  And because of my field of study, I’ve had the opportunity to explore many such issues in some depth.  Not everyone has these kinds of experiences, and not everyone who is offered the opportunities they represent acts on those opportunities.  Maybe guys like Chris Metzen have never had to encounter or wrestle with these sorts of issues in a personal context.  Maybe they have, and the childishly* simple representations of games like Warcraft are their way of dealing with them.  There’s a certain appeal, in a confusingly complicated world, in creating an uncomplicated fantasy in which to escape.

Dumbass, indeed. Girl, please. Don't play ignorant with that hefty cajones-sized ego we all know you have, Mr. Metzen. With all due respect, the time for polarization and polemics of divisiveness is past and should be long buried. This struggle to maintain shaky footholds and filling up the moats around ivory towers in a wired world is a hill I don't think any of us want to die on. Of course there is an appeal to create uncomplicated fantasy worlds--many of us do want simple recreation time without being constantly reminded of the negativity in the world. (But, and this is a big counter point: that level of avoidance and apathy is dangerous--we should never be totally comfortable...)

So here is my question/dilemma:

Can I support playing WoW if I know that its creators are, intentionally or not, causing rifts, cliques, and rewards to the Beavis-es and Buttheads of the real world? (And when I say "reward," the constant "For the Horde!" that comes from Metzen's pie hole, or having Corpseginder twist and shout hate ditties, supports and gives a winking nod to, what's the word, oh yeah: sh*t.

There is no story without a conflict. Life just becomes a big sloppy mess of flavorless blancmange. I guess the answer is, I'll go into my real life trying to fight the good fight, to be inclusive, welcoming, and kind to all. In the virtual world, I shall endeavor to do the same. 

And get out of the pool and not expect someone else to check the chlorine levels. 

Luperci throws her troubles away on the fire...

That's better.

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