Getting to Know Yooou

Getting to know a new computer program, when you’re not a magical tech baby, is no fun. I’ve been meaning to get into learning Blender (a 3d art program) since late last year, let a bunch of life stuff give me permission to put it off, and now I’m finally getting back to it. Getting used to the interface – for me – is like walking through a waterfall made of karo syrup.

Hey, I didn’t own a computer until I was, like, 27. In college I learned 3d Studio Max and some bare minimum of Maya, but haven’t had to use either of those in ten years. Plus I don’t have much of an attention span for tutorials. Though if you’re like me, I’ve found it helpful to turn on some music with the volume low enough to make out the tutorial presenter’s voice. Education!

Now. The title of the post refers to a song from The King and I, which is about a lady who meets the king of Siam, so here’s a Cramps song that mentions the King of Siam, plus general sleaziness. Sleaze on!

Pay Attention to the Ex-Muslim

In the atheist community, we’ve got an islamophobia problem. This is an especially bad problem for us to have, because we’re the anti-theist Jiminy Cricket for the world. We’re supposed to be the ones who point out how religion contributes to the moral evils of the world as they transpire, and our islamophobia (and often attendant racism) completely undercuts any moral authority we have in criticizing that religion.

This is where diversity saves our bacon. You know who is an atheist with moral authority on the issue of islam? Heina Dadabhoy! You want to say something about rampant homophobia in the muslim community contributing to the actions of horrible outliers like the Orlando shooter, but fear being regarded as just another shitty white person in the shitty white people media hurricane? Link to the thoughtful, progressive, formerly devout muslim, and totally atheist Heina Dadabhoy.

I don’t know if Heina would approve of this approach, but it’s a safe thing to do. I like to play it safe.

Medicine for Islamophobia

I’m getting better about not immediately sliding creepy and rightward in the wake of terrorist acts committed by muslims (in this case, apparently, not even a very devout one). But it’s still good to be reminded of why islamophobia is real and bad (even while islam is as metaphysically wrong and ethically retrograde as any abrahamic faith), and to see who we’re shitting on if we cave into it. I’m not sure about the proper attribution of these images but if someone wants to track that down, they can start where I found them. Here you go, below the fold, LGBTQIA muslims:
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Sex Positivity: Still Necessary

Some people in the lefty / progressive / social justicey sphere of loosely affiliated movements online have disagreements on important issues. That’s fair. The DiscourseTM is meant to help us all improve our ethics, work toward a better world. You don’t have discourse without coming from at least slightly different positions. However, there are some positions people take that are so wrong they tempt me to throw my hands up and give that conversation a pass.
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Pitfalls of RP: Limitations of Medium

When playing an RPG with a GM and your fellow humans, it’s important to keep your imagination engaged – to almost overcompensate for the limitations of the medium. Just consider those limitations and the effect they can have. You can’t see the world and the things in it. Even if you have some kind of visual depiction, it doesn’t include a visceral sense of potential dangers. You seldom have a visual representation of other characters. Especially if your RP is internet based, you miss out on their expression and emphasis in speech.

When interacting with NPCs, you always have an inherent knowledge in the back of your head that they are less central to the narrative – less important – than PCs. Additionally, you may have notions about the players that are not meant to be true of their characters. And you may have knowledge of circumstances in the game that your character should not possess, and (intentionally or not) use that knowledge in game. All of these things can lead you to run your character as if they have an impairment or several that you as the player might not: deficits or difficulties with situational awareness, risk assessment, self-awareness, social propriety, speech comprehension, empathy, imagining characters to have thoughts or qualities they do not have, and so on.
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Pitfalls of RP: Inappropriate Sexy

When the hell did so much online RP become erotic roleplay (ERP)? When I started running games in a public forum, when I opened up a campaign to include people I’d never met, I began to encounter a style of play I had never seen before. Players contriving reasons to have their characters be naked, or falling all over each other dramatically. Literally rolling around on the ground screaming about their feelings while other PCs or NPCs were standing around with question marks over their heads. Breathing into other people’s faces with “kiss me you fool” and the like.
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Pitfalls of RP: Bad Representation

Sometimes people are offensive because they are made out of garbage. Sometimes, it’s because they are operating from a position of ignorance – and possibly amenable to education and improvement. If you want to play characters who are different from yourself without perpetuating bad ideas, let’s talk about it. I love it when character groups are more diverse than the players themselves, as long as it’s done right!
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Pitfalls of RP: Personality Conflict

RPGs are an unfortunately social pastime. I say unfortunately because a statistically significant number of humans have social difficulties which make them extremely incompatible with the significant number of humans who are made out of elbows. It would be a lot easier if you could get the same experience out of a cluster of artificial intelligences, but there is a reason person-to-person play persists as a hobby in an age of video games – the technology ain’t there yet.

Often this is just a matter of people having incompatible personalities. As in the example at the top, an introvert and an extrovert could be quite bad with each other. Political differences can spill into a game, with predictable results. Someone could have a punchy sense of humor while another is sensitive to insult.
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