Fantasy and RPG’s Who’s Killing Who

In his blog, Mark Chadbourn asked the question, Are RPGs Killing Fantasy? In response, Jonathan McCalmont reversed the question and asked Is Fantasy killing the RPG? Lets take these one at a time.
Are RPGs Killing Fantasy? Chadbourn’s argument is that the ubiquity of Fantasy RPGs are robbing the magic from the Fantasy Genre:

This huge industry has turned all the tropes of fantasy into crashing cliches. Elves, dwarves, and dragons are as familiar as your next-door neighbour. We all know how magic works, as clearly as the laws of physics – it’s defined in a thousand rule books (Mark Chadbourn).

Now, I have to agree with Chadbourn on a certain level, but I always blamed publishers for making all fantasy into a version of Tolkien, but he is right.

I have always been a fan of Fantasy, but lately, I have been having a hard time finding anything written before 1950 that I want to read. It is frightening how mass marketing can turn a brilliant idea into a cliche practically over night. As a writer, it is even harder. I am trying to outline a fantasy story now, and nearly every idea that I come up with feels like something I have seen a thousand time.

Why does it feel so cliched? Because I am a fan of RPGs, and I not only seen it, but have experienced it through some form of game play. Is this the fault of the RPGs, or me for playing them. Again, I have to blame the publishers.

Business is not in it for originality, but seeks out anything it can create with a cookie cutter model. O, fantasy, slap a dragon and an elf in it, and there you go. A dragon and a spell does not a fantasy make.

Ok, lets look at the McCalmont’s question for a moment: Is Fantasy killing the RPG?

As a reader I think he’s [Chadbourn] hopelessly optimistic and, as a gamer, I think that he has the problem backwards, I think that the values and tropes of fantasy have come to infect the RPG so thoroughly that it is robbing it of its ability to innovate and progress as a medium (Jonathan McCalmont).

McCalmont argues that the Epic Fantasy market is not saturated, but is just hostile to innovation. Furthermore, he complains that Fantasy has infected all roleplaying including what he calls SF which I assume means Science Fiction not Speculative Fiction.

I have to disagree with McCalmont’s argument. Fantasy is not the contagion, it has been reduced to a simple marketing ploy. It has a wizard, and, well, you like fantasy, so buy it! The problem is that people fall for it, and spend their money on it.

The marketing departments that now run the world have reduced all genre’s into nothing more that a set of trite cliches.

  • Science Fiction, add a space ship your done.
  • Fantasy, add the word magic.
  • Western, put a guy on a horse.
  • Romance, make sure it is a love triangle with a good guy and a bad guy.

Any story that does not fit into the cliche is seen as unmarketable. The problem is not with the familiarity with the elements of fantasy as Chadbourn says, and it is not a dislike of innovation by fantasy fans as McCalmont argues. The real problem is that publishers/producers want to know what stories yours is like, and if you cannot name one, then the story is generally not produced/published. At the very least, the innovative tale will not be well marketed.

Fantasy fans are so hungry for innovative fiction, they seek out foreign authors and reprints as far back as they can find them. The trouble is with the mainstream publishers/producers who prefer to go with safe ideas than risk failure through innovation. The problem is compounded by the mainstream audience that buys into it.

There will always be innovation on the fringes, but the mainstream will never care about it. We should not delude ourselves and think that any original idea will break through into the mainstream before it has created an underground splash and inspired enough copycats to make the mainstream publisher/producers feel safe with it.

Innovative fantasy is always there for anyone who sets out to find it, but be warned, the journey is perilous, wrought with pitfalls and false leads, but in the end, it is worth the effort.

(from my Amazon Connect blog)

A Comment on Roseanne’s Words

Let the controversy begin, here is what Roseanne Barr said:

“They don’t care about minimum wage. They don’t care about any other group other than their own selves — because, you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing, and sometimes I wonder. I’ve never heard any of them say anything except for, ‘Accept me ’cause I’m gay (What you said: Was Roseanne right? — Queer Lesbian Gay Opinion — Gay.com).”

ok, Let me start with the obvious rebuttal:

  1. The Rachel Maddow Show: I wish Rachel actual talked more about Queer issues, but she is focused on so many liberal causes that she rarely talks about our community.
  2. The Michael Signorile Show: Everything, every cause, smart and to the point.

Nuff said…

Well, not really. To be honest, I have to kinda agree with Roseanne. While most of the individuals in the community are interested in multiple issues, our advocacy organizations are not very good at expressing our interests.

Queer issues are gender issues. People have issues with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered community because we challenge the cultures basic concept what it means to me a male or a female. So we should be involved in the feminist movement.

Employment is a major issue. As someone who has in the past been fired for simply being gay, I am a big advocate for employment reforms. But we should not be focused on equal employment for our people alone, we should work with other minority groups to make all our jobs safe, equal, and capable of supporting a family.

School bullying is a horrid really for our community and others and should be a major focus of our community.

Other issues that we need to focus on are the war, infrastructure, and government reform. How often have you heard these issues mentions by the predominate voices of our community?

I know that our community has many of its own challenges, especially from a growing religio-fascist movement that wants to use us as a scapegoat for all of the ills their policies are bringing upon our people, but we need allies, and we need to be more than we are.

Marriage under Fire: The Ban, The Evangelist, and the Fraud

C.E. Dorsett
As I read the news this morning, I thought to myself: I hope and pray that someday soon, I will have no stories of hate, bigotry, or discrimination to blog about. I get worried sometimes that I sound like a broken record, because the same divisive tactics are being used over and again from state to state, and internationally. If you ignore the problem, it only grows. So here we go again:


The Ban:

Wisconsin has become the seventh state to place a constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of same-sex couples on the 2006 ballot.

Passed by the state Assembly by 62-31 on Tuesday night, the amendment takes the familiar route of defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but goes on to outlaw recognition of “any legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals (Gay.com).”

Don’t you just love how it is no longer acceptable among fear- and hate-mongers to just be against same-gender marriage, they have to ban the segregated versions of it too. What do these people have against the family?


The Evangelist:

A longtime Presbyterian minister and avowed “lesbian evangelist” faces a church trial Thursday over allegations that she violated church mandates by marrying two lesbian couples (Gay.com).

Now, they are attacking ritual marriage too? Well, guess this destroys their argument that people can at least have the rite even if they don’t have the rights. I hope she is not removed from office. She is doing God’s work.


The Fraud:

The Massachusetts attorney general’s office is launching a criminal investigation into whether signatures on an anti-same-sex marriage petition were forged, the Associated Press reported (Gay.com).

They attack the institution of marriage and the clergy who support it, and they will even commit fraud to undo equal rights in Mass. It makes you feel sorry for these people in a way doesn’t it. They are so lost in their own prejudice that they would break the law to see it forced on others. It’s sad, and a little scary.


A Note:A certain bow-tied idiot on MSNBC has blogged about how Gay marriage will legalize Polygamy…Why it would not legalize Polyandry as well, I do not know, but he has his knickers in a twist about this. This apples and oranges thing is wearing thin. Plural marriage has a negative emotional and economic impact on those involved. It is a separate issue. [Ugh] If Rachel Maddow were not on his show, I wouldn’t even know it was on.

Christians and Lawmakers Against Adoption

C.E. Dorsett
Hate is the Republican Party’s plan for reelection of this year… a fear of families:

At least 16 states are considering whether gay men and lesbians are fit to be parents, USA Today reported Tuesday (Gay.com).

I am literally shaking as I write this. Gay Adoption is really a threat to this country? Children having loving families is a bad thing? The very thought does violence to the national soul. Do we really believe that Gay adoption will destroy the country?

Steps to pass laws or secure November ballot initiatives are underway in at least 16 states, adoption, gay rights and conservative groups say. Some — such as Ohio, Georgia and Kentucky — approved constitutional amendments in 2004 banning gay marriage (USA Today).

The Ohio adoption ban has already been defeated, but I have no idea for how long. A wild card in this whole debate is that the Missouri Policy against Gay Adoption was recently ruled without merit. And who could forget Janet Parshall comparing gay adoption to child abuse on Larry King Live.

There are about 520,000 children in foster care, according to the North American Council on Adoptable Children in St. Paul. Of those, 120,000 are available for adoption, but only 50,000 find permanent homes each year (USA Today).

The need for adoptive families in this country is great, and to bar an entire segment of the population from adopting for no reason is unconscionable. Find out if your state is planning to hurt our children by depriving them of parents, and study up on the facts from the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse on the subject (fact sheet here). We have to defend our children from this religious zealots who want to deprive those in need of a good home the family they so richly deserve.

Ohio lawmakers introduce gay adoption ban

C.E. Dorsett
Like a dagger through my heart into the very marrow of my soul, I read the news this morning and the the blade appeared to my eye:

Emboldened by the passage of Ohio’s broad anti-gay constitutional amendment in 2004, conservatives now seek to limit parenting rights for LGBT people in the state.

Ten members of the Ohio General Assembly this week introduced HB515, the so-called “Adoptive and Foster Children’s Protection Act,” which would legally prevent foster-care and adoptive children from being placed in the home of a gay, bisexual or transgender person (Gay.com).

I don’t really know what to say. Can we get a ban on Evangelicals from having children? Every person I have ever known who converted to this hate-filled and dangerous incarnation of Darbian Christianity has become a danger to themselves and others. The solipsism of Evangelical Christianity is stunning at times. There is no evidence the GLBT parents are any different from non-GLBT parents… except they are usually older, more financially well off, and are incapable of accidentally having a child.

We have to stop this irrational hate of GLBT people, and move forward.

Two Top Democrats lack Spine

C.E. Dorsett
Question: Why aren’t the democrats in power? Why can’t they mount a viable opposition to the most dangerous presidency that has ever assaulted the civil liberties and Constitution itself?

Two key Democrats yesterday called the NSA domestic surveillance program necessary for fighting terrorism but questioned whether President Bush had the legal authority to order it done without getting congressional approval.

Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) said Republicans are trying to create a political issue over Democrats’ concern on the constitutional questions raised by the spying program (Washington Post).

Answer: Because they are too busy selling out the democracy they are suppose to be protecting. I am sick and tired of these people pretending to support the people and then slap us down so they can fit easily in the President’s pants.

If it weren’t for Howard Dean and the few voices of sanity in the Democratic Party, I would have left the greatest weak willed party in history. Stand up, people! Stand for you beliefs, the Constitution, and the Country, or get off the stage! Triangulation is the tool of the devil, and must be rejected as useless.

Toll-booth operators for the Internet?

[sigh]

In a public hearing Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee took another step toward determining if Congress needs to pass a law to maintain what is known as “Net neutrality” — the idea that owners of phone and cable networks cannot discriminate against particular Web sites. Some lawmakers are pushing for a bill while others are wary of government intervention absent a clear problem (Market Watch).

The nightmare begins:

In recent months, however, CEOs of several large phone companies, including AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp., have suggested that popular Web sites such as Google and Yahoo ought to pay fees in exchange for making sure their customers get reliable access to their pages (Market Watch).

Personally, this sounds like extortion. “If yous wants that people should sees your site, yous should pay for insurance.” The first corporate mafia style protection money scam? This is the worse thing to happen to the internet since China… If this practice is allowed, what’s next? Can they charge you more to call people you call more often to insure a quality connection? What happens if they try to charge a smaller site like this one? I couldn’t afford to pay they networks for access.

Contact your senators and congressional representative and ask them to stop this outrageous practice.

Hate Crime Follow Up: Mass Teen dead in Ark.

GASSVILLE, Ark. — The teenager suspected of a hatchet-and-gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar and in the killing of two people in Arkansas, including a policeman, died Sunday of wounds suffered in a gun battle with officers, authorities said (Gay.com).

I will not post the murderer’s name. I think that gives him a hint of glory he doesn’t deserve. He maybe dead, but the threat continues, not only from him, but from those who are seeking to misuse this horror for their own aims.

A teenager accused of going on a rampage at a gay bar with a hatchet and a gun sometimes glorified Nazism and had a swastika tattoo but never previously expressed any prejudice toward gays, friends say (Gay.com).

The play is to blame Insane Clown Posse, and to a lesser extent Nazism for this kids actions. Music does not cause this! I agree that we shouldn’t support hate filled music, because hate is contagious no matter its form, but Insane Clown Posse is a shock rock band. I am not sure they advocate hate. Nazism will become an excuse to ignore the hate in the culture.

We need to look for answers to end hate, not a scapegoat to blame.

Hate Crime: Teen shoots Mass. gay bar patrons

The effect of hate and bigotry on our society:

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A teenager armed with a hatchet and handgun opened fire inside a gay bar early Thursday, wounding at least three people in what police are investigating as a hate crime (Gay.com).

When you live in a culture that supports racism and homophobia, people will die. Those Fundis and Nazis (not hyperbole, the boy considered himself a NAZI and posted to NAZI sites) that who preach hate need to be held accountable when their hate manifests in blood and pain.