I hope I never live a gaymer lifestyle

| Monday, October 15, 2012
This post is long. It might offend you.  It is only tangentially related to gaming.

The other night when I couldn't fall asleep I did what anyone else would do, ruminated about the philosophical points in District 9. You might remember the main character, initially a socially inept and completely unsympathetic man who was more than willing to trick the aliens into moving into worse conditions. Then he turned into one and had a slightly different perspective on the matters of oppression and dissection of living, sentient beings.

I doubt I'm going to turn into an alien. Or a gay person. My guess is that I'm going to be more or less the same person for a while; maybe with a different haircut or slightly changed political views, but essentially a middle class white male. I might not change much, but society might, or almost certainly will.

My hope is to live in a society, not where I am always the winner (though that would be nice, for me), but a society in which losers are not utterly crushed. I don't imagine being a white male is going to be a liability any time soon, whether ten or a thousand years from now, but if it does, I hope it is a very small one. Maybe I'm pessimistic to think that it is human nature that some groups will be better off than others and more acceptable to society than others, but I'm also an optimist, that I think we can have this up and down in society but that down doesn't have to be all the way down.

I never want who or what I am to be a reason to deny to me basic rights, justice, and livelihood. That is, unless who or what I am is somehow innately harmful to other people, such as if I were infected with radioactive bird flu. But, beside that obviously absurdly extreme example, I think major powers shouldn't mess with people's personal lives [too much, because sometimes personal lives overlap and then it's not so personal anymore].

Speaking of gay people, I have a confesion to make: I find it slightly amusing that Rachel Maddow, who for context is an openly lesbian liberal on MSNBC, is really pushing the birth control and abortion battles as new stories. I'm not suggesting that they aren't news stories, but is birth control really such a big deal for a lesbian?

Of course. Well maybe not birth control literally, but symbolically, very. Birth control isn't just for heterosexual whores (or even just bisexual whores). Am I offensively stating the obvious? Probably. Sadly, that is a view that some people don't seem to share. We had multiple presidential candidates who are against birth control. I suspect that two of them see it as politically advantageous. But Rick Santorum, he's the real deal. He's not a smooth-talking, slickly-presented politician who says whatever you want to hear. He's an honest man of consistent values and he's a terrifying person because of it.

Birth control is a health issue. It's also a women's rights issue. It's about the ability of women to regulate what happens to their bodies, even after that oh so shameful act of... you know.

My aunt and godmother is one of those wonderful Irish women who is like a pillar of awesome, acting as an example to all of good behavior: respectful but not timid, hard-working without being taken advantage of, and when she was younger she could beat quite a lot of men at arm-wrestling. Maybe she still can, but we're all afraid to challenge her. My point is that she was the sort of person you want around kids, someone who radiates Good Values. Then one day she went and got pregnant, by her husband, to whom she had been married for well over nine months (I don't know the particular years), and when the school she taught at found out, she was immediately escorted out. This was not paternity leave. This was horrified "what would the children think?" get out RIGHT NOW. Apparently pregnant women are traumatizing or might give fourth-grade children the wrong ideas.  This was the sort of stupidity that is on the downturn, or was.

I obviously don't have the full perspective on this. I cannot exactly comprehend the idea that sex could result in my having to carry a child, birth the child, and raise the child, possibly on my own. And you know what? I think that's great (for me). I'm glad that I cannot fully imagine that, because I will never have to deal with that. And I think it's a pretty important part of equality that slightly over 50% of the world share that as well (the not being enslaved part, not the lack of imagination).

The previously-mentioned lesbian cares about birth control because it is a matter of women's health and rights. She might be once-removed from birth control as a need, but she's directly in the crosshairs of attacks on women's rights. Me, I'm once-removed from women's rights. But I'm directly in the crosshairs of attacks on human rights and I don't want to become the oppressed group.

Maybe I am already.  You might have noticed up in Maine that a candidate for state senate is being attacked for playing WoW.  Somehow this hobby is not merely a hobby, but a lifestyle.  It reminds me of the less-often heard notion of the "gay lifestyle", that gay people were somehow not merely people who had sex with the same sex, but who lived a different life entirely.  It conjures up notions of them being foreign, of living like Frenchmen or Pakistanis, rather than people who live some variant of an American lifestyle with a particular private aspect of it being different.  If this attack succeeds, gaming may go the same way.  Or given the stigma that I thought was on the downturn, merely return to where it was.  Gaming would be a "lifestyle choice" rather than a hobby.  Of course for some people it is a lifestyle, but it is wrong to generalize a population based on a few outliers; it often pushes people toward those extremes.


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this article. I think people often ignore the HUMAN part of Human Rights. Unfortunately we live in a world where it's considered natural and necessary to have winners and losers, predator and prey. Kinda sick all told. I hope the Maddows and Kleps of the world can help turn this around before my children take the reigns. I really fear the idea that they could inherit an even worse world than we already have.

Klepsacovic said...

As easy as it is to feel pessimistic, over the long term the trend has been forward. We've managed to replace the kings. We're slowly moving toward replacing the people who think they're kings.

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