August 6, 2012
Gadje, listen to me. That means you are an outsider, and you are still an outsider, but not as much of one as you might have believed.
Yes, we are German, we are Swedish, we are Finnish, we are Irish, we are Scottish, we’re probably also Dutch and French. It’s hard to say with families like ours. But there is one thing we are that is different from what we thought we were – we’re Rromani. We’re of the traveling people, outcasts from India who were mistaken for Egyptians. Our family, though, is so divorced from this history that no one knows. You only figure out through circumstantial evidence and a penchant for curiosity in following last names. It’s hard, though, to find out when we became Gadje. It’s hard, though, to find out where our name comes from or how we got it.
It’s hard because of the shame and the fear wrapped up in being Rromani and how it’s penetrated the world around us. One thing is certain, though, we are not a gypsy. That is their insulting term for us, and we don’t use it. We’re rrom. We’re better than that.
August 2, 2012
You follow a philosophy of some kind, all of the readers of this blog, and hopefully you follow it well. When you encounter problems with your philosophy and your internal sense of morality, you seek ways to modify one or the other until there is harmony again. Hopefully, when you do this you modify your philosophy more than your internal morality. There is a problem, though, that I have seen in the world around me. There are people out there that follow absolutist philosophies who then modify the philosophy in a way counter to the absolutist claims in order to make it jive with their internal morality. Then there are people who rightly stick by the absolutist stance of their philosophy and, instead, modify their morality despite evidence toward them being wrong about said modification.
These two things, they’re seriously frustrating for me. I hate dealing with Bad Actors, people who think and argue in Bad Faith, and the immoral bigots that are a product of such people.
June 14, 2012
Humanity was born out of the blood, the mud, and the beer of nature. As it were. We are creatures of the environment we find ourselves in and much of our presumptions about the world, much of nature, is formed of emergent systems. The fact that we’re social animals is an emergent system. However, we’ve risen above our natural organization, our natural programming, and we’ve moved past living purely on instinct and survival. Our primate ancestors figured out tools and society, and our ancestors laid down the foundations of our world. They did this using one very powerful technology that we, the progressive people of the world, need to take back and make our own. It’s a technology that’s been instrumental in all of us becoming part of the progressive, radical, and liberal movements that we come from.
That technology is the power of the story. That technology is narrative.
Tagged: ableism, classism, contemporary fiction, equality, ethics, fantasy, feminism, narrative, narratives, racism, science fiction, sexism, social awareness, social justice, social justice theory, social theory, speculative fiction, steampunk, storytelling, writing
May 22, 2012
Another rant incoming, so strap in, keep your pants on, and get ready to find out what else you’re doing wrong and why I’m disappointed in you.
But it’s okay, I love you anyway and I forgive you. I’m just so…proud of you. And everything you’ve done already. I just need you to do one more thing for me.
You need to get out there, get together with all of the other people I love, and be an activist.
May 18, 2012
How do you plan to make the world a better place?
What’s this then? Where’s all the short story writing you’re used to? All the passable fiction that you kind of enjoy and don’t tell anyone about? Where’s the comforting sense of a budding artist, someone who won’t make it probably but you root for him anyway? What happened to the bright eyed optimist who keeps posting things that you worry about?
Well, I took off my optimist hat and today I’m picking up my social justice sword.
February 25, 2012
I’m curious how many people out there that run into this blog are RPG players. Not console or computer RPGs (which I enjoy, mind you, and I’d love to discuss them with anyone at some point) but I’m talking about table top RPGs. Dungeons and Dragons, Tunnels and Trolls, Vampire the Masquerade (or any of the Creature the Verb White Wolf games, the two Mage games being my favorites), Burning Wheel, Legend of the Five Rings, Cyberpunk/2020, Shadowrun, Rifts/Palladium etc…any of these things.
I’m asking because I’m considering doing an OGL product, a rulebook, that jokes about one of the earliest problematic and racist books from D&D history. Just about everyone I know that has played since at least AD&D remembers just how, well, racist Oriental Adventures felt. It’s a classic example of exoticism and racial worship at the most common target for these things – Asia.
I, too, will admit I once idolized Japanese culture. No longer, though I do have a deep love for it in general from that period in my life.
As a bit of a backhanded homage to that, and a way of having fun with D&D, the d20 system, and privilege in general, I want to write an RPG manual for adventures in the savage and inesecapable West called “Occidental Adventures.” It’d include all the rules for playing as well as notes where it’s different from its (nonexistent) parent system. I’m considering naming the parent system after two things that are alliterative and part of classic fantasy and mythical discussions of somewhere in Asia. I’m not sure where yet, but it’d have to be deserving of being the “Imperial power” in this little cultural in-joke.
I’m sure this is offensive to someone and, if so, I’m sorry. But I’d love to write a description of the exotic and noble Knight.
So, let’s chat about it.