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Thread: #orcgate happened, I guess?

  1. #1

    Default #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Earlier this week twitter exploded because somebody compared the very unflattering descriptions of orcs in Dungeons & Dragons with the rhetoric used by racists in real life to dehumanize people.

    Research links:
    https://comicbook.com/gaming/news/du...s-orcs-racist/
    https://boundingintocomics.com/2020/...ic-and-racist/
    https://www.belloflostsouls.net/2020...-followed.html
    https://www.newstatesman.com/culture...nt-culture-war
    https://youtu.be/AxV8gAGmbtk
    https://youtu.be/0F1NL4vRCpw
    https://raceindnd.wordpress.com/2008...ber-18th-2008/
    https://g.co/kgs/zqXCJJ

    Would you like to comment on the controversy?

  2. #2

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Huh, seems like a side effect of social distancing/people having too much time on their hands to me. XD
    Yes, that's right! That is indeed ME on the right.


    _______________________________________________

  3. #3

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    The question is: so what if it is? We're going to ban D&D? I'm pretty much 100% against any censorship in general for entertainment products consumed by normal adults in a responsible manner. Think of the worse thing you can imagine, whatever that may be... well I'm ok with someone making a movie about that or the VR experience. Technically speaking, just by thinking about it, you already experienced it and you can do so again. As much as you want. So, what's the difference between the images that you generated in your mind and the ones that are processed from visual inputs? From a philosophical standpoint, I don't see any. So if these people want to ban certain products, they might as well interfere with our heads because otherwise it's pointless.

    I get the argument that entertainment can influence you to do "bad" actions but it's pretty much a non-problem for anyone with half a brain. Otherwise we'd have banned violent games, heavy metal, pornography, etc years ago. Not doing so would presumably lead our society to complete anarchy. So racial depiction of fantasy characters probably don't lead more to racism than violent games lead to violence. Or anyways, the contrary evidences are weak but hey, if you prove me wrong logically, I'm sorry, please ban D&D and everything else...

  4. #4

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    The question is: so what if it is? We're going to ban D&D? I'm pretty much 100% against any censorship in general for entertainment products consumed by normal adults in a responsible manner. Think of the worse thing you can imagine, whatever that may be... well I'm ok with someone making a movie about that or the VR experience. Technically speaking, just by thinking about it, you already experienced it and you can do so again. As much as you want. So, what's the difference between the images that you generated in your mind and the ones that are processed from visual inputs? From a philosophical standpoint, I don't see any. So if these people want to ban certain products, they might as well interfere with our heads because otherwise it's pointless.

    I get the argument that entertainment can influence you to do "bad" actions but it's pretty much a non-problem for anyone with half a brain. Otherwise we'd have banned violent games, heavy metal, pornography, etc years ago. Not doing so would presumably lead our society to complete anarchy. So racial depiction of fantasy characters probably don't lead more to racism than violent games lead to violence. Or anyways, the contrary evidences are weak but hey, if you prove me wrong logically, I'm sorry, please ban D&D and everything else...
    Well, violent media is apparently a risk factor for thought-crime. https://undark.org/2018/03/15/the-tr...edia-violence/

    That doesn’t really surprise me. Why else do we create propaganda? When parents use television and games to raise their children, then it’s not surprising if kids internalize the messages contained in those media.




    Our own government can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Politicians use fiction as a supporting argument to torture real people. https://www.mediamatters.org/new-ham...ort-are-wusses

    Torture is actually worthless, and we’ve known that for centuries. https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...-rsquo-t-work/



    Why should we be surprised when people claim that depicting Dothraki/orcs/whatever as genuine subhuman vermin trivializes the horrors of real racism? Why should we be surprised when we see real life white supremacists create memes that compare muslims and african-americans with Tolkien’s orcs? https://amp.knowyourmeme.com/memes/orcposting

    I think the concern here is probably less that depicting racial essentialism in a game will influence people to believe it in real life, and probably more to do with it being perceived (wrongly or rightly) as indicative that a significant number of people playing such games hold these views in real life. (Just like politicians who support torture use fiction as a citation of its efficacy.) As such, people feel the need to... do something?



    As someone who adores the zerg, I find the concept of conveniently evil races... lazy? I mean, at least with Gradius’ zerg headcanon you have the cerebrates debating philosophy and thinking of themselves as glorious heroes ushering their victims to joyous perfection. Orcs are basically automatons incapable of introspection and programmed to act in stereotypical evil fashion.



    Oh, and this is probably icing on the orc cake... remember that Thermian argument video I linked? Remember when the guy invented “Women Getting Ripped Apart by Orcs” as a pure thought experiment?

    Firstly, one of the criticisms I’ve seen for the thermian argument video amounts to “his example is clearly porn, and porn is immune to criticism.” Entirely aside from the whole “is porn immune to criticism?” point, the critic is making the mistake of ignoring the intent behind depictions and applying Death of the Author to such a broad degree that it becomes “turning a poem normally thought about letting go of the fear of death and embracing life, to fearing living and embracing death”-style of Derrida’s Deconstructionism. (E.g. under his logic, a satire of fascist propaganda like the Starship Troopers movie is literally fascist propaganda.) https://divinedivisions.wordpress.co...hypotheticals/
    https://forums.spacebattles.com/thre.../post-59544801

    Secondly, somebody actually made it for real. It’s a manga/anime called Goblin Slayer. It’s misogynistic torture porn, but it has legions of fans claiming that it totally isn’t. Just like how Terra Formars totally isn’t a real life example of Lord of the Swastika by German immigrant Adolf Hitler and Shield Hero totally isn’t 50 Shades of Grey for incels.
    https://thekenpire.com/2015/03/17/te...-of-hilarious/
    https://medium.com/mos-home-for-trea...2-ea2de1ef11a7
    https://forums.sufficientvelocity.co...-things.54475/



    Yes, you could certainly deride #orcgate as an example of first world problems. It is! But it is a valid critique of our attitudes toward writing fiction and we might benefit from introspection. This is literary analysis 101 territory here. Clearly, our educational systems have failed.

    If I wrote a novels about heroes heroically exterminating orcs and dothraki and ishbalans because they’re subhuman within the context of the story, then what exactly distinguishes my novel from AU!Hitler’s Lord of the Swastika and its depiction of blonde-haired blue-eyed heroes heroically exterminating post-apocalyptic radiation mutants?



    Just because D&D is fiction doesn’t mean it can’t accidentally resemble a racist tract. https://www.raphkoster.com/2008/11/2...-racist-tract/
    https://amp.reddit.com/r/mattcolvill...e_problematic/

    Gary Gygax, creator of D&D, outright stated John Chivington was an example of a lawful good paladin. (John Chivington advocated genocide of native americans and engaged in war crimes against women and children.) https://mobile.twitter.com/freyjaerl...44774723571712



    Indeed, some would argue that violence is the entire point!
    http://johntynes.com/revland2000/rl_powerkill.html
    http://www.costik.com/Violence%20RPG1.pdf
    http://www.greyhawkgrognard.com/2018...-fascists-now/

    Here’s an actual quote:
    You don’t play an RPG so your character can fill out tax forms, order soy lattes, and stand on line for toilet paper. You play an RPG so your character can kill his enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.


    • Are orcs racist? No!
    • Does D&D resemble a racist tract under some circumstances? Hell yeah.
    • Does that make us racist for playing? No!
    • Is complaining about fictional depictions of genocide a first world problem? Yes!



    The controversy is overblown, sure. But this is one of those issues where both sides have points, even if those points are buried under twitter outrage.
    Last edited by Mislagnissa; 04-29-2020 at 12:50 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Isn't that just what people said about Tolkien's orcs? Whatever. No reason to care.
    "Seeing Fenix once more perplexes me. I feel sadness, when I should feel joy."
    - Artanis.

  6. #6

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Well, violent media is apparently a risk factor for thought-crime.
    I think the concern here is probably less that depicting racial essentialism in a game will influence people to believe it in real life, and probably more to do with it being perceived (wrongly or rightly) as indicative that a significant number of people playing such games hold these views in real life. (Just like politicians who support torture use fiction as a citation of its efficacy.) As such, people feel the need to... do something?
    I'll say that's the problem right there. Thought crimes shouldn't be a thing. The only things that matters are actions that happen in the physical world. We are defined by what others see, not what we think. If someone is a complete racist inside but doesn't make any negative action in real life, it doesn't matter. Or anyways, I don't see why it should. Entertainment is, in a way, an extension of our thoughts because its sole point is to stimulate emotions. If they don't lead to actions, what's the problem?

    If I wrote a novels about heroes heroically exterminating orcs and dothraki and ishbalans because they’re subhuman within the context of the story, then what exactly distinguishes my novel from AU!Hitler’s Lord of the Swastika and its depiction of blonde-haired blue-eyed heroes heroically exterminating post-apocalyptic radiation mutants?
    The difference is the same thing that differentiate a big mac from a big king xl: flavour. If that's what some people like, good for them I guess. It doesn't matter unless it causes them to go out marching in the street.

    Why else do we create propaganda? When parents use television and games to raise their children, then it’s not surprising if kids internalize the messages contained in those media.

    Our own government can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Politicians use fiction as a supporting argument to torture real people.
    That's a different argument though. There's a difference between adults and minors obviously and there's a difference between someone enjoying something controversial at his leisure vs a government employing subtle brainwashing tactics or spinning stories.

    Honestly, this whole culture of overreaction is fairly annoying. Yes, people get off on murder, hatred, rape, whatever else. There are hidden psychopaths everywhere too. Part of it is in our very nature. I've seen "innocent" kids become mass murderer while playing GTA. Deal with it I guess? Might as well be mad at gravity.

  7. #7

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandwich_bird View Post
    I'll say that's the problem right there. Thought crimes shouldn't be a thing. The only things that matters are actions that happen in the physical world. We are defined by what others see, not what we think. If someone is a complete racist inside but doesn't make any negative action in real life, it doesn't matter. Or anyways, I don't see why it should. Entertainment is, in a way, an extension of our thoughts because its sole point is to stimulate emotions. If they don't lead to actions, what's the problem?



    The difference is the same thing that differentiate a big mac from a big king xl: flavour. If that's what some people like, good for them I guess. It doesn't matter unless it causes them to go out marching in the street.



    That's a different argument though. There's a difference between adults and minors obviously and there's a difference between someone enjoying something controversial at his leisure vs a government employing subtle brainwashing tactics or spinning stories.

    Honestly, this whole culture of overreaction is fairly annoying. Yes, people get off on murder, hatred, rape, whatever else. There are hidden psychopaths everywhere too. Part of it is in our very nature. I've seen "innocent" kids become mass murderer while playing GTA. Deal with it I guess? Might as well be mad at gravity.
    Thatís exactly what Iíve been telling people, but to no avail. I think there are pretty clear parallels between the way D&D is often played with pretty blatant crime fantasy and ethnic cleansing. However, people keep telling me ďno, youíre the real racist!Ē simply for pointing this out.

    Iím not saying we should censor D&D or whatever. But I think itís disingenuous to claim that any depiction of ethnic cleansing is not a depiction of ethnic cleansing just because itís aimed at a fictional race like dothraki or ishbalans. Otherwise orcposting wouldnít be racist trolling.

    Thank you for being so understanding. You are an island of sanity in a sea of madness.

  8. #8
    The_Blade's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    LoL Mislag did you just copy/paste another forum or tweets?

    Anyways, this topic and its inception are stupid. Twitter is probably the most toxic social media cespool of extremist idiots with armchair debates. If you are not using it for fun or marketing there's probably a problem with your social media habits.

    Most of these discussions are often only relevant when the loudest voices in either community persist. The debate is polarized and there is never an intention to reach common ground. Arguing for the sake of arguing or destruction.

    Now, elaborating on #orcgate. I don't think it's impact is even remotely relevant towards the mainstream population to deserve discussion. If I like to play D&D with an aggressive character that could even be considered the antagonist and I am going to exterminate all of the kobolds, I at least need to have the cognitive acknowledgement that my idea of genocide makes me the villain (at least towards the Kobold). Not passing through this line of thought basically means I was already an incel or racist before I was even influenced by the game. Likewise, at the other side of the expectrum, regardless of the argument being used, one must ask itself the question, "Who's life am I improving... by reducing racism... by advocating for a good-washed fiction... in D&D?" The answer will most likely be no one. No one cares about fringe fiction that can be regarded as racist by a group of 3 people, seriously. You will lose hours of useful time trying to maw the lawn with a nail clipper. Moreover, to my eyes, a person who sees/reads a creature-like race and instantly thinks of a minority in it's figurative definition rather than as a "symbol of" is as racist as the person who actively hates said minority.

    Now, fiction is how we teach each other about good and bad. If your parents are shit people, you will probably also be a shit person. Fiction needs to show the good and the bad in order to best translate the morality of life to children. Once these kids grow up, there's little you can do to change their morality spectrum. This is why kids also need to be heavily moderated on what content they can read; and what they should wait for when they are older, as their brain is still developing. That's what has been extensively proven to be true about media violence. Probably the greatest example of this has to be Todd Phillips "Joker". The movie is about a derailed person and it's plot is antagonistic. The average viewer did not want the Joker (character) to succeed or to go beyond the point of no return. There's this gut dread one feels naturally when the narrative is so tense around the villain. Gone Girl, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Raw (french movie), 1984, se7en, Uncut Gems, and Burried are all great stories that focus around this feeling, but what makes Joker extraordinary is that it centers around a mentally ill "incel". So, naturally people with such an impaired judgement and/or morality hail this character as their messiah.

    Joker nor any other form of fiction ever created a social outcast, they were already "that way" at the point in time when said fiction was released. The story just switched the attention to them. The real Joker outcasts will show up once the very young children that watched the film grow up around other poor decisions and parenting.

  9. #9

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    LoL Mislag did you just copy/paste another forum or tweets?

    Anyways, this topic and its inception are stupid. Twitter is probably the most toxic social media cespool of extremist idiots with armchair debates. If you are not using it for fun or marketing there's probably a problem with your social media habits.

    Most of these discussions are often only relevant when the loudest voices in either community persist. The debate is polarized and there is never an intention to reach common ground. Arguing for the sake of arguing or destruction.

    Now, elaborating on #orcgate. I don't think it's impact is even remotely relevant towards the mainstream population to deserve discussion. If I like to play D&D with an aggressive character that could even be considered the antagonist and I am going to exterminate all of the kobolds, I at least need to have the cognitive acknowledgement that my idea of genocide makes me the villain (at least towards the Kobold). Not passing through this line of thought basically means I was already an incel or racist before I was even influenced by the game. Likewise, at the other side of the expectrum, regardless of the argument being used, one must ask itself the question, "Who's life am I improving... by reducing racism... by advocating for a good-washed fiction... in D&D?" The answer will most likely be no one. No one cares about fringe fiction that can be regarded as racist by a group of 3 people, seriously. You will lose hours of useful time trying to maw the lawn with a nail clipper. Moreover, to my eyes, a person who sees/reads a creature-like race and instantly thinks of a minority in it's figurative definition rather than as a "symbol of" is as racist as the person who actively hates said minority.

    Now, fiction is how we teach each other about good and bad. If your parents are shit people, you will probably also be a shit person. Fiction needs to show the good and the bad in order to best translate the morality of life to children. Once these kids grow up, there's little you can do to change their morality spectrum. This is why kids also need to be heavily moderated on what content they can read; and what they should wait for when they are older, as their brain is still developing. That's what has been extensively proven to be true about media violence. Probably the greatest example of this has to be Todd Phillips "Joker". The movie is about a derailed person and it's plot is antagonistic. The average viewer did not want the Joker (character) to succeed or to go beyond the point of no return. There's this gut dread one feels naturally when the narrative is so tense around the villain. Gone Girl, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Raw (french movie), 1984, se7en, Uncut Gems, and Burried are all great stories that focus around this feeling, but what makes Joker extraordinary is that it centers around a mentally ill "incel". So, naturally people with such an impaired judgement and/or morality hail this character as their messiah.

    Joker nor any other form of fiction ever created a social outcast, they were already "that way" at the point in time when said fiction was released. The story just switched the attention to them. The real Joker outcasts will show up once the very young children that watched the film grow up around other poor decisions and parenting.
    I didnít copy anything, just used a ton of references.

    Anyway, somebody made a short video the summarize what the most important point is: https://youtu.be/cFQnMtFruJY

  10. #10

    Default Re: #orcgate happened, I guess?

    New update:

    The official D&D blog made a post about this: https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/fea...ersity-and-dnd

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