Be Awesome Human Beings

Rough Week

This morning as I was getting ready I was happy and in a pretty good mood.  All the while I went through my normal morning routine I thought to myself “well at least it is Friday”.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks…  it is not in fact Friday.  I have no clue why I got it into my head that it was Friday, especially considering it is a short week for us here in the United States.  In just two days the week has seemed like a lifetime, and I am really hoping that today is far more manageable.  For starters my anxiety has been through the roof as there are a number of changes going on in my work environment, that while they have not actually directly effected me…  have a high potential for doing so.  So my brain has gone haywire with playing these catastrophic what if scenarios, always managing to pain the worst possible picture.

Tuesday morning my wife’s vehicle had a flat tire, so I sent her on to work in my vehicle and took it around the corner to our tire place.  This caused me to get a late start on the day and throw everything off kilter.  Yesterday on the drive into work in my vehicle something felt off, like my wife had adjusted my seat in a strange way or something.  I fiddled with the controls trying to get it back in order, only to find after getting to work that my seat was quite literally broken.  After six years of wear and tear a piece on the side had broken causing the entire seat to somewhat veer downhill to the left.  To make matters worse I got distracted yesterday morning while writing my blog post and I never actually published it.  While I ran home at lunch to correct this, it set the entire day off once again.

Be Awesome Human Beings

So it really doesn’t help things that parts of the internet that I care about are in a war right now.  I’ve tried my damnedest to remain blissfully ignorant about what is going on, because quite frankly I try really hard to limit the amount of negativity in my life.  That said I have checked the hashtag a few times and what I have seen is nothing that I want to be associated with.  These folks are not just being poor gamers…  they are being horrible human beings.  I won’t even get into the rant I probably have spun up in me about the practice of attaching “Gate” to something to make it seem like a grand conspiracy.  There is no controversy here, no conspiracy… just a bunch of folks being “shitbag douchehead to people” to quote a friend of mine when I asked for an explanation of part of the present climate.

I don’t consider myself a Social Justice Warrior, or a crusader of any sort.  I don’t brandish about the title of ally or feminist, even though I tend to align pretty heavily to both of those causes.  I like to think of myself as moderate, even though I skew fairly heavily to the left side of the equation.  What I do however try and do is be a good human being, and part of that is respecting others and treating them like I would want to be treated in return.  “Be Awesome To Each Other” is a pretty damned good mantra to live by if I do say so myself.  When I meet someone new, I try really hard to view them as a potential best friend, and not as some stranger to fear and distrust.  At almost 40 years I am confident enough in myself to be willing to accept in the thoughts of others without the need to push them out.  I seek out diverse thoughts, because they will do one of two things.  They will either reaffirm my own beliefs, or cause those beliefs to evolve and become more rich.  I am not interested in living in an echo chamber, and so long as people are respectful to each other they have a seat at my internet table.

Life is Nuanced

The biggest problem I see coming along with all of us is this artificial binary mentality that folks seem to impose on the world.  Things are rarely ever one of two things with no middle ground between them.  I do not divide people into social avengers and knuckle draggers, because we are not cartoon characters with one single overriding trait that defines everything about us.  Reducing people to these red versus blue sketches also reduces their humanity in the process.  As a result just because someone supports this one thing, doesn’t mean they immediately support everything attached to that one thing.  For example I personally have chosen not to be religious, but that does not mean that I hate everyone who has deep religious views and traditions.  It doesn’t even mean that I view religion as a horrible thing that we should all rebel against, I just made a personal choice that it wasn’t for me.  Dealing in absolutes causes you to miss all of the wonderful subtle shades in between.

Additionally I feel like it is important to be nice to the folks in your life that you don’t have to.  You obviously have to be nice to the people who hold sway over you, and you also likely have to be nice over the people you want to influence.  However as we go about each day we pass by so many other people that we have no involvement in at all.  I find myself judging people the most in the way they treat these people, the ones they don’t have to be nice to in the least.  It could be as simple as smiling and saying “Hi” as you pass someone in the street that you don’t know, or offering to open a door for someone who is heavily burdened.  I’ve had so many good things happen to me over the years mixed in with the frustrations, that I try my best to pay this kindness forward.  The problem is I feel like this overriding sense of debt to the world around us is lacking.  If you felt like it was your responsibility to help other human beings…  you’d find it impossible to act the way folks treating each other in relation to this whole issue.  Ultimately this is not a male versus female issue, or a gamer issue…  this is a human issue.  When you diminish any part of that humanity regardless of influence… you end up diminishing all of it in the process.

Unintended Post

Many times when I sit down to write in the morning I don’t have any form of an agenda.  Today was more or less one of those days, but the issues surrounding our community have been weighing heavily on my mind.  So I started typing and all of this came out as a result.  I don’t intend to be a crusader or any cause other than that of basic human decency.  So please as you go about your day today…  be awesome to each other.  It sounds silly, but it is a pretty simple tenet.  Try your best today to go out of your way and be nice to someone you don’t have to.  Open a door for someone, let someone into traffic in front of you, or hell even tip a bit more than usual to that beleaguered wait staff at lunch.  Just try and do something today to make the world a nicer place to live in, instead of making someone else’s day worse.

21 thoughts on “Be Awesome Human Beings

  1. We are all in favour of more diverse games. We are all for equality, and we as gamers are really not discriminating against anybody. That was not even part of the debate, until the game journalists started spouting their nonsense about the rampant sexism and misogyny inn games in these past couple of days. There never was any kind of entitlement from the gamers, that the games are domain of only “white cis males age 18-24”. We always took in everyone, no matter who or what they are or were.

    If the games media was just championing the cause of equality, then there would not be so much outrage. Outrage is because of all the nepotism, and unscrupulous behaviour of those that call themselves game journalists, yet fail to adhere to any journalistic standards in regards to honest reporting, and integrity. This is what the outrage, #gamergate, and #notyourshield are all about. It is about gamers having enough of the rotten, corrupt individuals selling them, their audience, to the highest bidders.
    Outrage is because instead of answering honestly to the accusations, admitting their fault, and asking for forgiveness, the journalists decided to decry gamers, to pronounce us as dead and gone, as fossils.

    I applaud your effort in trying to create safe and friendly environments for players to enjoy the games they play together. It is an admirable one.

    Yet I do not care how hard others have it, or how little they get payed. Their meagre wage is no excuse for poor morality. They do not get payed to compromise. They get payed to do their job fair and square. Just like anyone else. You do not get to play favourites at work, just because the client is your friend. You treat him the same as any other customer.
    And if somehow their outlet supports clientelism, nepotism, and general lack of morals, then we really do have a serious problem at our hands. A problem that needs to be dealt with, not waved away by saying “it’s understandable, they’re underpaid”.

    • You are very passionate about this topic, unfortunately I am not quite as passionate. The topic I am passionate about however is the original one I wrote about. I am passionate about human beings treating each other better. I have personally not experienced the things you are talking about in regards to gamersgate. When I have looked at the hashtag I have seen a lot of the same “women are taking our video games” rhetoric I have seen lately. Admittedly I have not been monitoring the tag closely, in fact it has yet to really show up in my twitter feed at all. I had to go out of my way to find it, and what I saw I was frustrated by. I am frustrated by what essentially amounts to geek on geek hatred. That is the issue I tried to talk about this morning and have tried to talk about many times. The other issues you are talking about seem to be getting lost in the wave of noise surrounding it.

      In the sake of my own personal happiness however I think for the time being I am going to go eat some pizza and play some games.

  2. @Belghast
    I love your comparison with the Fugitive. If I recall correctly, by the end of the film Harrison Ford clears his name and proves his innocence, and while Tommy Lee Jones proclaims once more that he doesn’t care, he removes the handcuffs from Ford’s wrists all the same.
    Instead of proclaiming the high ground for yourself, accept that you play in the same puddle of mud with the rest of us. No matter how much you try or want, distancing yourself from the matter that concerns you as a gamer will accomplish nothing.

    In the same breath, nothing will be accomplished if you decide for yourself that things are bad right now because we are not nice to each other. Excellence is a nice thought, but it accomplishes nothing, because the argument is not if we are being nice to each other. The argument was never if we can be nice to each other in the first place. And now, you are covering your ears, and making all the noise you can while screaming “I don’t hear you, I don’t care!”

    You, as one of the more prominent members of our blogging community should be up in arms over something like this. Yet you refuse to pick sides. I could respect that. But then you refuse to even listen to the both sides. Saying that it does not really matter what there is to say, because people are not nice.

    Only one thing to say about that, Plato’s words, not mine, interpret as you like: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

    • I guess I am not sure what I am supposed to be up in arms about? I see the changes in the games industry as generally being positive and far more inclusive of folks other than “18-24 white males”. The games industry will never stop making games for that demographic, but I would love to see them produce things that are less cringe worthy. Every time I encounter something extremely sexist or borderline racist in a video game… I feel sad inside that I am supporting an industry that hasn’t quite grown up yet. That said you can still love a thing but be critical of it. I love Saints Row IV for example, but nothing I enjoy doing in that game is really supported by some of the sexist narratives.

      Am I supposed to be up in arms about the games media championing the cause of equality? Some of the gamersgate sound and fury seems to be over supposed relationships between the game companies and games media. I guess I have a different perspective considering I know a lot of people in both industries, and know just how little they make. I’ve been approached about writing for a living before, and there was no way in hell I could take that much of a pay cut, in spite of loving what I would be doing. Similarly game developers work in a fickle industry, where their next paycheck more or less comes on the whim of gamers… who tend to get bored with a product moments after it is released. Once again I would love to work in the games industry, but there is no way in hell I could take the pay cut and deal with the inherent instability of games development.

      So I wouldn’t say I have not picked a side, but I would say that I don’t want to add more fuel to the fire and more negativity to the issues that surround it. I try my damnedest to stay a positive voice and a relatively moderate and measured one. I believe a more inclusive gaming community is a better one, and I have spent large amounts of my time trying to create safe and friendly environments for players to enjoy the games they play together. I don’t see the “truth” that you mentioned before is all. I know what these companies look like from the inside out, and I don’t see that they are rife with corruption. I see people trying to do something that they love and getting paid peanuts for the privilege of having to deal with people questioning their motives. If anyone is getting rich during some great conspiracy, it certainly isn’t the kinds of people that this movement seems to be picking on.

  3. Wylde Stallions FTW (hope I spelled the name right)

    Great post. The meta situation right now is that you almost can’t talk about these issues without someone finding controversy. I’m seeing people on twitter critical of your use of “Social Justice Warrior” for example.

    When bad things happen to people, the only real good that can come out of it is that other people can learn from the event. I tried to talk about that, and was immediately called out as a victim blamer. Now I just share links that say basically what I would have said because then the author gets blamed but I’m still spreading the same information.

    It’s been a great week for single player games, played in a darkened living room with only my dog for company. I hope things get better soon but sadly I don’t think they will. 🙁

  4. The people trying to spin this crude on gaming sites and reddit are being bad humans. There is a psychological dynamic at work here that explains their hatred and fear mongering. Its called In-group favoritism, also known as in-group, out-group bias. This dynamic boils down to the idea that the group which one party has been part of changes because of the influx of new members. New members change group dynamics by nature of integration into the group. Some members of the group will be pushed out of the group because they no longer fit the accepted group norms. Or to sum it up. Sexist and Mysoginistic gamers no longer fit into the gamer archtype because well we as gamers are refusing to put up with it. So now these types of gamers are outliers to the group. Because they find themselves on the outside looking in they lash out, and behave even more deplorable than their normal behavior. To me though they are simply acting like the asshats that they truly are.

  5. I think you are oversimplifying. The problem is not in that how certain individuals behave, that is by default fallacy of composition. Yes,such behaviour should not be tolerated, but that is only a side issue that certain groups want to divert our attention to. The truth is, people were assholes on the internet ever since they could be. That does not mean all people are assholes.

    There are numerous discussions, all valid on their own merits, that certain people like to lump all in the same basket in order to avoid these discussions. If you check out the #notyourshield, you will see the truth of it. The primary discussion that these certain groups avoid like devil does holy water, is the question of integrity of game journalists.

    I find that question to have nothing to do with sexism or misogyny, yet those two terms are thrown most often at those questioning the integrity of certain gaming sites as of recent. Another thing that does not help the matter, is the fact that those same gaming sites attack the gamers, by decrying them all on the basis of few, comparing them to the terrorists and the like.

    As Christina H. Sommers said on twitter recently: “Most gamers are not political. They have no desire to hurt anyone.They just love their games. So don’t confuse them with vicious trolls.”

    • I don’t feel like I am oversimplifying anything. People are being assholes, and they should stop being assholes. It doesn’t matter that assholes have always existed on the internet, it doesn’t matter if everyone is doing it. Folks need to stop being assholes to one another full stop. My post is really independent of this issue, it was just inspired by it. If more people were awesome to each other, the world would be a significantly better place to live in. I kinda feel like Tommy Lee Jones in the Fugitive, as Harrison Fords character carefully explains why he is innocent. Then Tommy Lee Jones simply says “I Don’t Care”. I don’t care if there are people who believe they have a well formed opinion on this, they are getting drowned out by the ocean of asshole surrounding them. Once again… people should stop being assholes to each other. If are “gamers”, we should spend more time embracing the things we do love about games… and less time arguing about the things we don’t.

      As Pete and Rowan said… Be Excellent to Each Other. If everyone does that, the rest will sort itself out.

  6. Thank you for this – I agree completely. There’s a long-standing tradition of narrowing worldviews to false dichotomies, and I hate it. Life and people are never so simple. I’m glad you touched on that here.

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