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Barthes is wrong; Allen, Cosby, and Smith

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  • #31
    Originally posted by nofather View Post
    Incidentally, comparing him to Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Lovecraft or Lewis Carrol? Really?
    It was a statement to make a rhetorical point - it doesn't matter how good the artifact is if the artist is a shitbag.

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    • #32
      I'll chime in to affirm that death of the author is an interpretive perspective about how the meaning of a work isn't dependant on the author's intention, not so much that a reader's view of an author's personality doesn't colour their interpretation of a work, and certainly not that you are obliged to disregard it when making purchases. One can absolutely boycott an author and still employ an analytical approach based on the death of the author.


      Dex Davican wrote: I can say without exaggeration or dishonesty that I am the most creative man ever to have lived

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      • #33
        Just a few thoughts

        There are tons of "Thing Producer"s out there. (TP)

        If we stop supporting TP 100 and buy from TP 90, are we really hurting ourselves?

        If I'm TP 90, and not quite as good as TP 100, well, I'm still gonna do my best, but if people don't give a crap about what a bad person TP 100 is, what's the point of me trying to be a good person? I might as well just kick all the puppies I want cause it really doesn't matter.

        Tho actually, I think character matters.

        I don't think I'll buy any more of TP 100's stuff, prolly won't watch it either cause for me, on a personal level, it loses a lot of it's appeal. If I already own some of TP 100's stuff. Well, honestly, I may or may not get rid of it, but if I do keep it, I may not bring myself to use it, dunno

        Admittedly, I think my reaction is gonna vary based on what TP 100 did and how much I like TP 100's product, but you can be sure I'll have a lower opinion of TP 100 himself. Not that that may mean a lot, but I still think character matters

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        • #34
          Originally posted by macd21 View Post
          Nobody should buy his work. Nobody should sell his work. Nobody should collaborate with him on future projects. And those that do will be judged appropriately. That isn’t banning his work. It isn’t censorship.
          The equivalent terms in current English are"bigotry" or "fanaticism".
          Can you say "kill them all, for the Lord will recognize his own" for me? :3

          At the same time, the man was horrifically racist to the point that there are places in some of his stories where his disgusting opinions leaked out onto the page and as a result,
          The first thing they taught me in high school history classes was that you can't judge the past with the eyes of the modern world - ethnocentrism works even when we look to different times, not simply to different modern-day cultures. We all know nowadays that there are no scientific bases advocating for white supremacy, yet the situation was quite different a hundred years ago. Physiognomy and phrenology were really popular up to the beginning of the 20th century and we had several scientists (Gall, Lombroso, Hollander) publishing books on how black people were inherenlty more aggressive and bestial.
          And these doctors published those papers in good faith, looking for experimental data that were actually there- they simply misinterpreted their meaning (i.e.,of course black people have a predisposition to crime if you make them grow up with no rights in poverty).

          These pseudosciences were picked up by several literary artists of the period, like Dickens or Wilde, which talked about them in their books and made their characters use them to profile their villains. In the 19th century was even common for employers to ask their prospected employees for a character reference from a phrenologist that certified their predisposition to honesty.
          So, I can't really criticize Lovecraft for believing in white supremacy when half of the scientific world published papers in its favour and I believe it's insane to hold such a thing against him now, judging him from our 21th century perspective. Our grandfathers (literally them) were racists, the heroes of WW1 were horribly misogynists and the more we go back in time the worse it gets.

          The problem is that we still have white supremacists and pseudoscientists even with every data pointing us to the opposite direction, not that a hundred years ago it was a believable position for a rational man.
          Last edited by Maris Streck; 02-14-2019, 03:26 AM.

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          • #35
            Refusing to financially support abusers is not bigotry or fanaticism, nor is judging people by the company they keep. Perhaps the word you were looking for is 'discrimination'.

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            • #36
              Lovecraft did a lot more than “believe in scientific racism” (which by the way, is still racism, and it is naieve to assume that the scientists who propped those ideas up were acting in good faith. Those scientists were not innocently misinterpreting data, they were doing bad science - starting from an assumption that supported their preexisting worldviews and looking for evidence to support those biased assumptions). He expressed some truly racist views that had next to nothing to do with the (racist) scientific thinking of the time. It’s also trying to give him his cake and feed it to him too to say that he was just going along with the science of his time, considering the fact that THE central theme uniting his horror stories was the idea that it was hubris to think science gives us any true understanding of the universe.

              Should we take the historical context in which a work was created into account? Absolutely! It’s very important when talking about, for example, Loveraft’s racism to note that he wasn’t some isolated crackpot, a lot of people at the time thought exactly the way he did, including the scientific community. It’s also worth noting that the scientific community was (and still largely is) dominated by affluent white men, most of them on the older side. It’s also important not to assume that because affluent white men were generally in agreement about certain things that “everyone thought that way.” It is important to note that there were different social norms at the time, and equally important not to note who did and did not have a say in what was socially acceptable.
              Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-14-2019, 03:59 AM.


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              • #37
                Originally posted by loomer View Post
                Refusing to financially support abusers is not bigotry or fanaticism, nor is judging people by the company they keep. Perhaps the word you were looking for is 'discrimination'.
                OK, but what is the end goal here? To mildly inconvenience the abusers by reducing their profit margin? To reform them? To shut them out of human society forever? To kill them in a deniable fashion by distributing responsibility among a large number of people?


                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by semicasual View Post

                  OK, but what is the end goal here? To mildly inconvenience the abusers by reducing their profit margin? To reform them? To shut them out of human society forever? To kill them in a deniable fashion by distributing responsibility among a large number of people?
                  To exert pressure on those who engage in unacceptable conduct (e.g, domestic abuse or serial harassment) in order to change the society we live in using the most effective fulcrum available in a capitalist society, which is money. Boycotts aren't exactly a new idea, my friend - they're a well founded, exhaustively practiced piece of praxis. It is, quite literally, putting your money where your mouth is.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by semicasual View Post

                    OK, but what is the end goal here? To mildly inconvenience the abusers by reducing their profit margin? To reform them? To shut them out of human society forever? To kill them in a deniable fashion by distributing responsibility among a large number of people?
                    For one thing, denying them the prestige and support that they use as a shield and as leverage to abuse others.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by loomer View Post
                      To exert pressure on those who engage in unacceptable conduct (e.g, domestic abuse or serial harassment) in order to change the society we live in using the most effective fulcrum available in a capitalist society, which is money. Boycotts aren't exactly a new idea, my friend - they're a well founded, exhaustively practiced piece of praxis. It is, quite literally, putting your money where your mouth is.
                      The efficacy of boycotts depends on the target and how they are funded. A person is not necessarily a company, nor necessarily tied to a company in such a way that boycotting the company has a meaningful impact on the person.

                      What I'm getting at is - a blanket refusal to buy any work connected to an abuser, without any further consideration for the context of the work, is an indiscriminate strategy.

                      Besides that - you didn't really answer my question. What exactly is the change you're trying to create in society? Be as specific as possible.

                      Originally posted by macd21 View Post
                      For one thing, denying them the prestige and support that they use as a shield and as leverage to abuse others.
                      That goes back to what I suggested before about staging protests. Boycotting can be a useful component of a protest, but just silently refusing to buy things has much less punch. It's the combination of refusing to buy things, AND the publicly announced conditional reason for not buying things, that motivates for-profit companies to fire people and change HR policy.


                      On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                      Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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                      • #41
                        I'm pretty sure that people have been pretty clear about what they want. My read of the situation is that most people want two things when they talk about deplatforming and not supporting abusers, in general: 1.) that they never find work again, and 2.) if they might find work, that companies know they risk not making money off that product.

                        Like... It shouldn't be controversial to say "no abusers or enablers of abuse in our space".

                        To the point about protests/boycotts not necessarily being effective, that's likely not true in the tabletop industry. The profit margins on RPG products is stupid low. Very few people in TTRPGs are making bank on their products, so a protest can reach critical mass much more easily because many companies feel every lost sale.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                          The efficacy of boycotts depends on the target and how they are funded. A person is not necessarily a company, nor necessarily tied to a company in such a way that boycotting the company has a meaningful impact on the person.

                          What I'm getting at is - a blanket refusal to buy any work connected to an abuser, without any further consideration for the context of the work, is an indiscriminate strategy.

                          Besides that - you didn't really answer my question. What exactly is the change you're trying to create in society? Be as specific as possible.

                          That goes back to what I suggested before about staging protests. Boycotting can be a useful component of a protest, but just silently refusing to buy things has much less punch. It's the combination of refusing to buy things, AND the publicly announced conditional reason for not buying things, that motivates for-profit companies to fire people and change HR policy.
                          As Saedar said, that’s not really true in the RPG industry, especially on the scale Zak S usually operates at. His career in the RPG industry is probably dead.

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                          • #43
                            Well, his career in the RPG industry is now pretty well tied to LotFP; which doesn't have the best history with all this stuff.

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                            • #44
                              Yes, Raggi and LotFP is probably the only ally or friend Smith has left. So they are his only option, aside from self publishing.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                                The efficacy of boycotts depends on the target and how they are funded. A person is not necessarily a company, nor necessarily tied to a company in such a way that boycotting the company has a meaningful impact on the person.

                                What I'm getting at is - a blanket refusal to buy any work connected to an abuser, without any further consideration for the context of the work, is an indiscriminate strategy.

                                Besides that - you didn't really answer my question. What exactly is the change you're trying to create in society? Be as specific as possible.

                                That goes back to what I suggested before about staging protests. Boycotting can be a useful component of a protest, but just silently refusing to buy things has much less punch. It's the combination of refusing to buy things, AND the publicly announced conditional reason for not buying things, that motivates for-profit companies to fire people and change HR policy.
                                You're correct that the efficacy of boycotts depends on the target and how they're funded, and that protests are also important. Good thing both are going on! Good thing tabletop gaming is a small enough industry that a few hundred lost sales are visible and a few thousand undeniably significant, especially in conjunction with extremely vocal protests. What we want is very clear: A tabletop community that does not shelter or abide abusers and serial harassers, and which does not employ those who victimize vulnerable people. There is no room for arguing this has not been argued ad nauseaum. Further, our boycott is anything but indiscriminate. It is both carefully considered and based on a concrete difference between companies and products that put money into the hands of abusers and those that don't. You suggest we aren't considering the 'context', but I submit the following: The context of these works is not great art, it's fuckin' elfgames for nerds of which a great many of high quality are available. We have weighed the value of the works against the value of our dollar and against the moral value (or lack of) involved in handing that dollar to abusers and those who support them and found that the scales are tipped against buying the works anyway. That is the context. It is not one we are ignoring - it is one we are actively involved in considering, shaping, and interpreting.

                                I'm going to be blunt. Quit the mealy mouthed, hand-wringing bullshit about 'oh but what're you trying to achieve and think of the context!!' and come out and say what you really want to say. You don't think people should avoid buying products that put money directly into the hands of an abuser and those who enable him. At least be a big enough woman, man, enby or other to own your statements rather than trying to present it as anything else. I have no patience left for this whinging nonsense.

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