And yet, I can't help but feel that this has farther reaching ramifications than simply people being ubersensitive and admins being trigger-happy... But first, let me recount the events as I perceive them.
I made a post about writing a modern fantasy book about Israel. Soon after, I was attacked by some people who went straight to the jugular, ignoring the thread subject all together. Then I was banned, after asking them to produce some proof of these accusations.
My initial impression was that I was banned for being accused of "racism," also known as being Israeli. As many of you know well, if one, for example, mentions a suicide bombing in New York, or a rocket attack in Sderot, one is a racist. This is quite odd since the mujahadeen themselves take pride in their attacks, but such are the ways of the world.
However, being an ironically open-minded person, I have decided to ask the honorable admins what exactly I was banned for.
After about a week, RPG.net had finally deigned to tell me why I was banned. It was not for racism, but sexism. What a talented man I must be to excel in both crafts! It seems I had told a bad joke on buzz (remember it?) about two years ago. It was off-forum, off-topic, and privately made, but nevertheless got me banned as a "bad match" for the forums. I had deleted said joke, along with my buzz account, almost two years ago, because it really was a bad joke and because, frankly, buzz sucks. However, someone had made a screenshot of this joke (they must have really loved it) and felt important to warn their fellow humans of my evil. Here’s a screenshot I took five minutes ago of the blog that kept my lovely joke alive all these years...
That "someone" later raped a person (literally, not ironically) which is also bad, but apparently not as bad as my joke. The admins had decided that my joke was so bad, that I mustn't be allowed to ever joke again, not on their shift! Since they could not send me to a tolerance camp, they did the next best thing and banned me. The person accused of rape, however, was allowed the benefit of the doubt, possibly because they didn't joke about it. Speaking of jokes, here are some funny jokes from one of my attackers’ Facebook:
Now, in all fairness, it was a very bad joke. But my buzz had some other, even more offensive jokes-- You know what? fuck it. I'm just gonna do it. Here is the worst post on my buzz, kindly preserved for our benefit by Kynn. Revel in its ugliness:
|Sexism AND Racism AND... foodism?|
Okay. I am (or rather, was) horrible. I should be spanked.
But seriously? Are RPG.net and their ilk are THAT afraid of potentially subversive ideas that they would ban a person because he might say something they wouldn't like? Is this not the very definition of Thought Police? Even in Soviet Russia there was more freedom of speech than that! And I should know; I was born there. How do these people even watch TV, where shows such as South Park, Family Guy or Drawn Together occasionally make light of very serious issues ending in ‘ism’? I bet even the Simpsons sometimes give them the creeps!
The political implication of a group of people systematically weeding out everyone who doesn't suit their ideals and ideas, insuring their increasingly hateful opinions are never criticized, is alarming. Their self-righteous fanaticism, lacking in humor, lacking in irony, lacking in any kind of feedback, grows into monstrous proportions. Good ideas become horrifying; dreams of equality are perverted into crusades for new kinds of oppression. Watching these people and their echo chambers, the roots of monsters such as Pol Pot, Stalin or Khomeini become clear. I am sure most of them (the gamers, not the dictators) have, or at least used to have, good intentions. But you know what kinds of roads are paved with good intentions, do you not?
Returning to the subject of gamers and gaming, we mustn't let bigots of any kind take over the hobby and turn it into a political radicals' playground. The game should be inclusive for all, regardless of beliefs or political affiliation. The game should let people escape their dreary reality and explore whatever fantasy or dream they want. It should not shackle people to endless political debates and it should not become a re-education tool or a vehicle for a political platform imposed by a loud (and often truly sexist and racist) minority on a silent majority.
I mean, lighten up people! It’s only a game! ;)