Thursday, January 6, 2011

Answering the gamer apologists

(What follows is a reprint of a previous writing of mine that appeared in The Gorean Voice, which I co-created and served as editor for a few years or on my previous blog - The Bear Bitch Project. The webzine is long defunct, and the archives of the site are sadly incomplete, but it pleases me to present my thoughts then, to my audience here. As always, if you have a question or comment, use the e-mail link in my profile down there somewhere.)

Preface-2011: I've done the Gorean discussion board thing for a very long time - used them, read them, ran them.One thing I should know by now is that there is a cost for being out in public as a Gorean man. I've spent far too many years defending this lifestyle on and offline, and now like to think of myself as being in semi-retirement.

Still, it is fun to re-read some of these pieces, knowing that I'll never get back to that dark and wonderful place, again. ;0)


Are you saying that you are opposed to people using the fictional Gor as a backdrop for a role-playing game?

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

If I understand you correctly, you have used the same fiction as the basis for a deviant lifestyle of some kind.

Actually, no, you are wrong on two points.

First, We have not used the *fiction* as a basis for our lifestyle, but the underlying *philosophy* contained within that fiction. That is a very important difference, if you take into account giant talking spiders and ten-foot tall praying mantises are hard to come by in this society. ;0)

Second, we are not a deviant lifestyle, at least not in the common perjorative use of the term. If you were trying to offend, simply save us all the time, it's boring, and it's been tried by better than you. ;0) If you were trying to offend, then I suggest that this place then is not for you. If you were not, then your choice of words is unfortunate, and you will have a rough time here regaining credibility. I urge you, if you are sincere, to choose your words more carefully in the future.

What does one have to do with the other?

The crux of the matter is simple: Very few people in this world know what the Gorean lifestyle is - indeed, the fact that we take the philosophy contained in a series of SF books and apply it to our lives means that we have a hard time convincing people of our validity in the first place. 

With so many more gamers than actual Goreans in the online medium, the chance is huge that the general public will meet a poser; a gamer claiming to be Gorean (even in a game) before he or she ever meets a responsible, intelligent adult who lives this philosophy in thier lives. The very fact that people who know nothing about the lifestyle find practically nothing online but Gorgames and gamers; people playing characters, "asssassinating" one another, switching from slave to free to slave as the whim strikes them, referring to themselves as "muns" - only gives one impression: That all this GOR stuff is a weak D&D ripoff. Simply; D&D with tits and ass. Kids playing games - pretending to be what no one can be, like an elf or a Hobbit.

And that general impression has become widespread online and off over the last few years - this was not the case three and four years ago - but it has happened despite the efforts of myself and many others. 

I said many times in public, over three years ago, that eventually the gamers and posers would swallow us up, and it would be us, those who live this, who would then be looked upon as the odd ones. ;0)

And that has certainly come to pass. ;0)

I don't see how any discerning adult could confuse the two, at least not for very long.

The important point here is that we are *NOT* well known at all as a lifestyle, and truly the lifestylers are in such small numbers compared to the gamers and posers as to make our impact insignifigant compared to thiers. Thus, through popular perception, things GOREAN are seen as nothing but games, pretend, and anything or anyone claiming to find some validity in the philosophy expressed in the source text is painted with the same disregard the gamers earn.

And simply, it is not our fault. How many times have I had people wander into the S&S on and plop down and ask me for the rules of the game, how to collar a slave in the game, etc? More than I can count, and this with the topic reading GOREAN LIFESTYLE DISCUSSION, plain as day.

It's kind of like someone saying that they are a real-life "Wizard" or "Sorcerer", and are offended by people who play D&D like games, because it mocks the "Wizard" lifetyle.

Yes, exactly! ;0)

It is exactly like that, and I know several people who do practice the craft, that feel exactly that way. And why not? Is it not so? How about if we play "Inquisition" with the tenets and practices of the Roman Catholic Faith? Or we could play "World Zionist Conspiracy" while calling ourselves Jews... Think they might object? ;0)

The difference is we are not talking about religion here. Paganism in general and Wicca and it's associated offshoots in particular are well-known enough in modern society that no one will ever think that they are simply someone's idea of a sex game. The Gorean lifestyle is not, and sadly when people see others playing it as a game, they draw the conclusion that that is exactly what it is.

And why not? Not many people play "inquisition", do they? ;0)

In the end, isn't it only the opinions of other "Wizards" that would matter to a "Wizard" anyway?

Absolutely not. We do not live in a world of only Goreans - if we did, it would be a moot point. We are the first generation to live our lives as Goreans. What we do, as Gorean men and women in this society, is try to live our lives as responsible, intelligent and worthy members of our modern society - while remaining true to what we believe as a philosophy. If we succeed, we will be seen by others as worthy of respect, and some of the difficulty we have in living this way, might be eased.

If not, however, if we are all seen as simply gamers and posers, people who are so shallow that they must *pretend* to be something that they could manifest in thier lives by a single act of courage and commitment, then we will simply fade away.

Who cares what society thinks? We do. We'd better, we have to live in it.

Surely you must know that to the vast majority of the population, being a real "Gorean" and holding the views that that implies would be considered just as disreputable, and probably more so, than being someone who just "plays" a Gorean.

Typical smokescreen.

What you are really saying there is this: 'Your lifestyle is already considered "disreputable" by some, so why can't I and my friends play and make it *just that much more so*?'

What I have found in most of these cases is simply that gamers and posers - in their heart of hearts - cannot accept the fact that people *can* live as Gorean men and women in this society, mostly due to the fact that *they* cannot. I have yet to see one Gorean man who has to go and pretend to be a character in order to portray what he actually is in his life. ;0)

Bad reputation depends on whom you talk to - I have numerous friends and aquaintances who know *EXACTLY* what I am, and *EXACTLY* what that entails (hell, I live with two women, one of whom refers to me as "master") and from whom I have earned regard and respect. No doubt some will certainly be opposed to what we are, and we are prepared to deal with that. What is so hard to understand is why a group of people who - for no other reason than *playing a game* - must make it so much *harder* for us to live our lives. 

Think about it. If I played Skeeball, and that in some way made your life harder to live, every day, would you ask me to stop? Should I? If the situation were reversed, and I asked you to stop, would you?

If you accept that, and I can hardly see how you could do otherwise, unless you are deluded, I can't really see how you could argue that these people who play Gor games are a threat to your reputation at all. 

I do accept it, and I just explained to you for the second time, how they do. That the games harm our reputation, at a time when we are literally fighting to be seen as sane, rational and responsible adults, is the simple truth.

One of us is deluded and I don't think it is me. ;0)