Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 11:23 on 06-12-2013, Adrienne
What's an FSTDT? I mean, i'm looking at it, but i don't know anything about what it's for and i have never heard of it before. (And it doesn't seem to have an About page; i looked.)
permalink
at 11:25 on 04-12-2013, Arthur B
Pretty much. FSTDT seem to have noticed Wright due to this latest series and have been showcasing some of his greatest hits, like the time when he said that no real man would actually want his wife to have shred of independence.
permalink
at 03:08 on 04-12-2013, Adrienne
Arthur B: Nope, can't make heads or tails of it. Or any of the previous parts, for that matter. Seems to be lots and lots of paragraphs of pining for the good old days when men were men and women were women and everyone was a capitalist like God intended.
permalink
at 18:30 on 02-12-2013, Robinson L
Thanks for the boost, Michal. I'm a little bummed, because this is the first year since I started doing NaNo when I did not finish my novel within the month of November (I'm still in the midst of the climax). On the other hand, it's also the first year since I started doing NaNo that I broke 50,000 words more than two hours before the 1 December deadline (I probably passed it somewhere on the 29th, but didn't validate until the morning of the 30th).
permalink
at 07:10 on 02-12-2013, Orion
Arthur,

Perhaps schaemenfreude?
permalink
at 04:04 on 01-12-2013, Michal
Seeing as it's the end of the month, congrats to everyone who was doing NaNoWriMo and finished. And if you're doing it and haven't finished yet, well, get typing?
permalink
at 16:26 on 30-11-2013, Arthur B
Oh no! What's it about?

Here, I'll DoNotLink it and you can try to figure it out for yourself. It's yet more barmy notions about the crypto-Marxists littered with blather and ignorance. (At one point he uses the amazingly inaccurate term "speciation into sexes"; men evolved on Mars, women evolved on Venus?).

That said, he's a bit more direct about his overall agenda in the first post of his in the comments (towards the top of the comments, replying to "Stephen J", where he basically says that adventure stories are boys' stuff and love stories are girls' stuff and that's how it's to be forever and you can't put female protagonists in adventure stories without either neutering the protagonist or turning it into a love story.
permalink
at 07:26 on 30-11-2013, Adrienne
Oh no! What's it about? Also, I would like to commend unto FerretBrain the service DoNotLink, for linking to odious sites without giving them googlejuice or a link back here. (It's a redirect, so it hides the referer; and it sets rel="nofollow", meaning it doesn't improve pagerank.)
permalink
at 05:53 on 30-11-2013, Michal
Ye gods, there's a Part 5!
permalink
at 15:34 on 29-11-2013, Adrienne
Though for Wright his main problem seems to be their rebellion against King and Pope, those two bastions of anti-authoritarianism.


Yes, this was the association I was making. I do understand that Cromwell was terrible in his own way, but to call him "totalitarian" in contrast to the existing authorities of the day is a giant WTF.
permalink
at 10:38 on 29-11-2013, Arthur B
...I haven't read the new Wr*ght piece yet, but I'm a bit confused by anyone who can manage to conflate "Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans" with "the spirit of totalitarianism". WTF?

To be fair, if you were Irish Cromwell's rule was not a happy time. And the Puritans are popularly associated with banning plays, Christmas, dancing and anything else which might be fun.

Though for Wright his main problem seems to be their rebellion against King and Pope, those two bastions of anti-authoritarianism.
permalink
at 05:53 on 29-11-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Michal:

Even the notion of medieval Europe as a Catholic wonderland is laughable...

In this popular picture, Europe isn't really Europe as such, it is something that begins as the Western Roman Empire and then gradually expands along with catholicism, except at that time in the beginning, where most people forget that many of those Germanic tribes were christians already, even if arian. I guess, if were being charitable that the catholic church was just a very bountiful thing when it comes to written sources, so that might be a reason for people not knowing much of pagan Europe. The mental image of medieval Europe seems to be stuck somewhere in the high middle ages and the hundred years war in any case.

My objection is to Politically Correct piety. My objection is to the Thought Police.

My objection is to the spirit of totalitarianism.

It somehow seems so weak and pitiful for someone to so glibly throw words like thought police and totalitarianism(or the spirit of) around without being even remotely or symbolically in a position to claim anything like it. Or is he prosecuted by someone or are there governmental agencies seeking to shut him down and throw him to a gulag? I might have gone on about this before, but how exactly does he think that free speech works? Isn't a public discussion and judgment of said speech exactly how this sort of thing is supposed to work? If someone goes about denigrating large parts of the populace, it is very petty to starts shouting thought police when people disagree with him, however vocal they might be about it. Seems like he is very interested in totalitarianism, he just wants to be the one defining what is true and what is not. To be a bit unkind about it, but really? He has no real understanding of what totalitarianism even means. It has nothing to do with people disagreeing with a bigot on a public forum.

Not that that quotation with its ill-thought out and vacuous gushings on art and political correctness is exactly inspired in its other elements.
permalink
at 04:54 on 29-11-2013, Adrienne
...I haven't read the new Wr*ght piece yet, but I'm a bit confused by anyone who can manage to conflate "Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans" with "the spirit of totalitarianism". WTF?
permalink
at 00:34 on 29-11-2013, Michal
Is there a term from finding it amusing when people make themselves look like utter cartoons and don't realise how ridiculous they're being?

Voxificity? Then again, Vox passed from being cartoonishly monstrous to just being deeply unpleasant when he voiced his approval of the Taliban shooting Malala Yousafzai in the head (ditto when he commented about how women couldn't possibly beat up men because he beat up a woman once, then described the incident in excruciating detail that bore the tell-tale markers of a domestic abuse situation). JWC just comes across as a foolish little man.

We still have this strangely static view of the Middle Ages inherited from the Enlightenment that doesn't take into account the vast range of cultures and cultural interactions in Europe over the course of nearly a millennium, which (obviously) included shifting concepts of gender roles. Even the notion of medieval Europe as a Catholic wonderland is laughable...e.g. the Grand Duchy of Lithuania did not convert to Christianity until 1386.
permalink
at 23:22 on 28-11-2013, Melanie
If someone is going to idealise the Middle Ages, could they at least start by trying to understand them on their own terms? Rather than just making things up and projecting their own social views backwards?


I think at this point it's pretty clear that this is never, ever, ever going to happen.

...I'm just saying, once you start idealizing some past period of time (especially one that you, personally, were not alive for) at all, you've already started down the Rabbit Hole of Historical Inaccuracy.
permalink
at 20:56 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
So, part 4 of JCW's epic article on Strong Female Characters (which barely talks about such things because it spends most of its time going down utterly bizarre tangents) is out and wow, it's really out there. You've got John defining political correctness as part of an antihuman, anti-Christian heresy incorporating Islamist terrorists, the Soviet bloc, the Nazis, all the way back to the heresy's inception with Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans. You've got him affirming his opposition to the Strong Female Characters in SF despite the fact that he goes out of his way to say he doesn't object to more or less every specific example he raises. But I think the part which caused me the most schadenfreude* was this:

So what is my objection?

My objection is to falseness, insincerity, propaganda, bad drama, bad art, and treason against the muses. My objection is to using art for propaganda purposes. My objection is to Politically Correct piety. My objection is to the Thought Police.

My objection is to the spirit of totalitarianism.


Yes, it all comes back (yet again) to him being sad that people yelled at him for being a raging homophobe back in 2009, and how he'd really like to have the right to say any objectionable shit he likes and never, ever get called on it.

*Not quite schadenfreude because Wright isn't actually enduring any suffering or pain for my amusement. Is there a term from finding it amusing when people make themselves look like utter cartoons and don't realise how ridiculous they're being?
permalink
at 18:49 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
It is done. Though any DM will seem anticlimactic after this weird little dance...
permalink
at 18:02 on 28-11-2013, Adrienne
@Arthur B -- also, in re: Twitter, I cannot in fact direct message you because while I follow you, you do not follow me. I'm @adrienneleigh if you would care to do that, at least long enough for me to send you a DM?
permalink
at 15:08 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
I liked his Grognardia stuff too; like I said, he kept his politics and religion out of it mostly and some of the stuff he dug up was interesting.

That said, I wasn't too keen on the trajectory the blog took in its later phases, where he'd write exhaustive summaries of the contents of long-forgotten magazines and didn't really offer much in the way of insightful commentary, or where he'd post one week "Recently I've been thinking about getting a copy of [oldgame], but alas, it's so expensive and rare" and then the next week post "A kind Grognardia reader was nice enough to send me a copy of [oldgame], so here's what I think about it..."
permalink
at 14:11 on 28-11-2013, Daniel F
Janne:
And while he is wrong on historical points, he would still be wrong even if it could be shown that no woman ever participated in armed conflict before WWI, since arguing that something should be or not be because of historical existence is wrong in any case.


Of course. Textbook is-ought problem, really.

Sorry, I have a habit of jumping on stereotypes about medieval history.

Arthur:
Unfortunately, he's now mostly known for seriously dropping the ball on a Kickstarter


I actually wasn't aware of that, or for that matter of his religion. I guess I'm just a very superficial reader. I remembered enjoying skimming Grognardia, though. As someone who came into D&D in 3.5 and 4th (Baldur's Gate doesn't count as experiencing AD&D!), I'm always curious to read about people's experiences of the old school game.

*sigh* You guys will tell me if any of you have any skeletons in the closet that should make me swear off Ferretbrain, right?
permalink
at 12:09 on 28-11-2013, Adrienne
Ah! I am familiar with Grognardia, vaguely (largely as a place to avoid, but familiar nonetheless.) Didn't know the guy's name.
permalink
at 11:13 on 28-11-2013, Arthur B
I may be showing a deplorable ignorance, but who is Mr. Maliszewski?


James Maliszewski was, until the tail end of last year, the guy responsible for Grognardia, a blog focused mainly on what became known as the "Old School Renaissance" in tabletop RPGs (mostly people rediscovering older versions of Dungeons & Dragons and promoting styles of play supported by those games which had become unfashionable in more recent games).

Unfortunately, he's now mostly known for seriously dropping the ball on a Kickstarter - a nasty emergency came up in his personal life, which I can sympathise with, and he ended up failing to communicate with his business partners on the venture for several months, which I am less able to sympathise with because they were sort of left high and dry with tens of thousands of customers' dollars resting in James' account and lacking the legal licensing necessary to complete the product without James. Eventually he signed over the rights to them so they could finish the product and he's re-emerged recently on Black Gate, though the words "I apologise to my Kickstarter backers for failing to deliver the product I promised" have never quite escaped his lips.

I raised an eyebrow at his involvement mainly because he's very religious and very political about it, though unlike Jaycee Dub he has the good taste not to loudly broadcast those opinions in every little thing he does. But he does seem to be part, alike with JCW, of this odd cluster of very culturally conservative guys who are worried about the notion that some modern fantasy fans might not particularly enjoy or care about old school pulp fantasy.
permalink
at 09:53 on 28-11-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Daniel F:

And while he is wrong on historical points, he would still be wrong even if it could be shown that no woman ever participated in armed conflict before WWI, since arguing that something should be or not be because of historical existence is wrong in any case. Explosives were a ridiculous idea at some point and a flying thing, besides the obvious culprits, was either a demon or a monster. Not to mention that whole thing called clinical medicine. And should we just reinstitute slavery and oligarchies everywhere(officially) simply because they have always been? While a hierarchical society with a severely limited education system would probably spare the world from the writings of Mr. Wright, it's probably a lesser price to pay in that sense.

Curiously, many people, at least the people of the ancient world actually believed in some cases in the existence of many fantastical beasts like the hippogriff. A giraffe was thought by some to be a mix of a camel and a leopard, for example. Pliny the Elder and Herodotus are wonderful as a source for that sort of stuff. And for sure, the amazons were believed to be real in some sense. So he is actually wrong in that way as well, since while the Greeks might have thought that warrior women were barbaric, they would not have believed them to be fantastical. Funnily enough Wright seems to think that barbaric in the Howardian sense is somehow a real concept, when the original Greek meaning was just an expression for foreign and included the amazonians in question. Its always funny to see someone so arrogantly use the term "every previous generation" and assume that they somehow would even know every possible opinion that that could include.
permalink
at 09:16 on 28-11-2013, Adrienne
@Arthur B -- I may be showing a deplorable ignorance, but who is Mr. Maliszewski?

@Michal -- and well you should treasure such a thing! (You're a fantastic writer, by the way. I haven't kept up with your blog lately, the post was a nice reminder that I probably should.)
permalink