And this is another area where I feel like Jewish traditions have wisdom for *everyone* to draw from. You get to take a break. You get to pace yourself. You fix the world six days a week, if you can, and on the seventh, you rest and remember to notice what is good in the world.
It is so important to take that break and rest, let the world rest from your efforts, and remember that for all the harm that people are doing, the world is still as bursting with goodness as summer fruit.
(At least) one day a week, take time to remember both what we're fighting FOR rather than against, and that we lose when we despair, when we let the fact that hate exists rob us of our ability to feel joy.
I've been thinking a lot about falls from grace, embarrassment, being called out/taking criticism, and social rituals and have some thoughts that have finally coalesced.
Bear with me (or mute the thread if you don't want it clogging up your feed, because it's going to be long and we're doing detours through a bit of neuroscience, sociology, Leviticus, and Depeche Mode).
So there are two conversations that I've been hearing a lot, generally offline, in my circles. 1) why don't people just APOLOGIZE when they screw up? and 2) we've got to find healthier ways to deal with people screwing up.
Okay, so here's the other thread. I'm going to talk about a thing that's harmful, and why it's harmful, and how it can be fixed. I'm not interested in discussing the character of the people involved. You want to do that, there are plenty of those discussions going on elsewhere.
And I'm not saying those discussions are invalid. I *am* saying that they're a related but separate issue from the one I'm talking about, and I'm not interested in having this discussion get sidelined into one of them.
You're perfectly within your rights not to like those ground rules. But my thread, my space, my ground rules.
The most important thing that happened to me this week was the indignation of male colleagues at a sexist asshat shitting on the women they work with. Let me explain what they did and why it was so important.
Women who work in games get shit on all the time. We have a lot of dudes pre-assume that we're not real devs, that we don't have decision-making power, that we were "diversity hires." And most companies expect us to suck it up and not offend customers by protesting that treatment
ArenaNet posted a picture of a bunch of women* who work there for International Women's Day. A Twitter rando decided to make a crack about how it must be the cleaning staff.
So a rabbi I know came back from LA pretty jazzed about a Jewish addiction treatment facility there called Beit T'shuvah and so we talked about their approach and that got me curious about non-AA approaches to dealing with addiction which, my friends, was FASCINATING.
So, like, everything I know about AA is more or less from the West Wing. I'm fortunate in that no one in my immediate family has dealt with substance abuse issues, and as far as I know, none of my close friends are alcoholics. So, my knowledge is pop culture knowledge.
oops hang on gotta deal with cooking dinner--will be back to tell you about this rabbit hole in a few
I've gotten a few emails from writer friends who aren't in games asking about what skills game writers need that are different from what's needed for other types of writing. It's a complicated question, but the number one thing is understanding interactivity.
Been in quite a few interviews w screenwriters and novelists trying to break into game writing, and the number one thing that generally tanks their chances is that when we ask how they'd solve narrative problems specifically related to interactivity, they don't have good answers.
A lot of times, they don't have answers at all: it's clear that they're caught off-guard by the question and it's the first time they're really thinking about how they'd solve those problems.
Do we need to talk about how "civil discussion" is itself a dogwhistle?
The idea that "discussion" questioning whether people who aren't white cis men have a right to work in games without threats and harassment, that there's any QUESTION there, is legitimate is already uncivil.
The idea that we should have "civil discussion" with people advocating for the exclusion/persecution/death of others based on arbitrary characteristics like gender/race/sexual orientation/etc. is how the Overton window gets moved.
The idea that it's okay for white people to sit around over cocktails and idly debate whether people of color are fully human, or men to sip brandy and talk about whether women have souls, is itself violent.
Going to talk about one of my least favorite trends in fantasy/games: "sin" demons & absurd male gaze-iness. Going to pick on Dragon Age for a moment here, because it is one of my favorite games and this is something that pisses me off and throws me out of enjoyment of the game.
This is a rage demon from Dragon Age. It looks angry. It doesn't look like the VICTIM, or the TARGET of rage. It's not someone who's been beat up. It's not someone who annoys you into beating them up, who sparks rage. It looks like it is full of rage.
This is a desire demon. It looks like something the designers thought was desirable. It's not a leering dude, and there's no reason to assume it's *desiring* rather than *desirable.* This is a TARGET of desire.
Last night in talking about toxic communities I mentioned the Sodom and Gomorrah story and put in a side note about how if you're reading it as being about homosexuality, you're reading INTO it, and screw right-wingers who keep citing as a basis for their homophobia. Here's why:
So the problems with Sodom and Gomorrah in the actual text, in what the words on the page actually SAY, are fairly enigmatic. It just says that their sin/offense is very great. Then Abraham spends a lot of time bargaining for the cities to not be destroyed.
And then the "camera" of the narrative heads into Sodom, where the two messengers head to the gate of the city and meet Lot, who ushers them into his house. And the people of the city demand that he send them out so they can have their way with them.
There are individual democrats about whom I'm enthusiastic: @RepJayapal and @TeresaCMosqueda, for example, but by and large I view the Democratic party as a thing you stuff into seats to keep out Republicans.