Posted by : David Guyll March 20, 2015

A while back someone made a post on Google+, asking why the rakshasa in Dungeons & Dragons has a tiger head. Though his family had come from India, he had not, and he even admitted to not having a meaningful education of Hindu mythology.

I explained to him that not sticking to mythology is a Dungeons & Dragons thing (citing the kobold, ghoul, and medusa), and that if he didn't like it he could change it or create his own.

Among the responses of blathering white people eager to also be offended on his behalf, he told me that since I'm from the "colonizer world" I could never understand what it feels like to have my culture appropriated.

My response was that, again, Dungeons & Dragons gets a lot of mythology wrong, and if he's that butthurt over a shapechanging monster having a tiger face for a default, he should consider growing up and stop finding trivial things to pretend to get pissy over.

Predictably he uncircled and blocked me. I guess when you're of Indian descent and know little to nothing about a bit of your culture's mythology, making a minor cosmetic change is a really big deal?

Is tiger face is the new black face?
To me (and most others, I'm sure), changing the appearance of a creature is one of the easiest things to do in a make-believe game that never made claims of accuracy (when mythology even has one detailed interpretation), but that's probably just my straight male white privilege talking.

I'm not a fan of Numenera. I backed it back at whatever level got you a leather book when the Kickstarter happened, but when I got the book I was disappointed in how lackluster the setting was. We still tried playing several games, but the mechanics were likewise lacking so it never got any traction, which is why I didn't bother backing The Strange.

I don't own The Strange and doubt I'll ever buy it (because I just don't like the system); this blog post isn't about defending it or Monte Cook Games, but pointing out the behaviors of social justice whiners.

Someone named MorningStar Angeline started a petition on Change.org, demanding the "immediate removal of Thunder Plains and all related content from all Monte Cook Games publications current and future, and request an immediate public apology for harm done, regardless of supposed intent from the creators and companies responsible for publishing of this content." As of this writing is has yet to make the measly 500 signatures MorningStar asked for.

To put things into context (because context and evidence is anathema to any social justice whiner's narrative), a recursion is a "unique but limited world" created by "the creative resonance of pure imagination". They are not necessarily historically accurate, and the petition even mentions that MorningStar was told that the intent was to show that collective imagination and stereotypes are wrong. Finally, the Thunder Plains recursion eats up maybe two and a half pages in total, and there's only single half-page piece of art.

This is how, apparently, Monte Cook Games is going to, as MorningStar accuses, perpetuate "blatantly racist stereotypical trope after trope, belittling real living human being, demeaning our existence, dehumanizing us, and forcibly placing us in the category of make-believe past and purposefully reinforcing the very same imagery that contributes to the continued genocide and colonization that plagues us today."

Despite the petition barely topping 400 signatures and, according to Monte Cook Games, "the majority of people that we heard from, privately and publicly, Native and non-Native, said that we really didn't need to do anything",

In light of other companies pandering to the manufactured outrage of social justice whiners looking for something, anything to get pissed about, I would have liked to have commended Monte Cook Games for standing their ground and not caving to the bitching of the few, but in the end they did: the pdf and future books will be updated to feature new text.

The majority of people that didn't care (which, again, included Native Americans) will continue to not care and/or wonder what the hell the fuss was about, and the social justice whiners get their way (which they'll promptly forget about in their never-ending crusade to be angry). Besides setting a precedence for other companies that will invariably be targeted for not adhering to arbitrary, hypocritical standards, it's a win-win, right?

Well, no.

Just scroll down to the comments and you'll see a stream of social justice whiners (including the usual suspects) spewing their vitriolic, manufactured outrage at Monte Cook Games for not doing...whatever the hell it is they wanted them to do. Not that Monte Cook Games could have done right by them: the anger of an armchair slacktavist, no matter how pitiful, is still insatiable after all.


Oh no, please, have mercy: don't tell everyone not to purchase from Monte Cook Games again. I mean it's been a Best Platinum Seller for probably months at this point, but I'm sure this time you'll make a dent.

Honestly Monte Cook Games shouldn't have done anything. Not just because the majority of people didn't have an issue with it, or that the people whining about it almost certainly weren't going to buy their stuff anyway, but because they were going to get shit on no matter what, since when it comes to social justice whiners you have to predict exactly what they want you to do, and do it exactly (and even then they'll still prolly bitch about something).

Otherwise you get a bunch of white people screaming at you on behalf of whoever it is they claim to be representing.

Despite, again, the majority of people they claim to be representing not having a problem with it.

{ 4 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Well I was going to buy a copy of it to support them, but not that I see that they caved they can go fuck themselves.

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  2. @Chris: Yeah, it would have been great to see a bigger publisher stand their ground and stick by their work. Especially since, you know, so many of the indie crowd subscribe to professional victimization/manufactured outrage/armchair activism. :-/

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  3. When did having an imagination become a bad thing? I was under the impression that most fantasy/sci-fi tends to skew things so as to not cause these kinds of reactions...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Danthulhu: When third-wave feminism and/or "social justice" became a thing. You're allowed to imagine things, just make sure you imagine the "right" things.

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