Ruining Roleplaying

Sadly, human brokenness is much more apparent than it used to be, because now people are rewarded for confusing reality and imagination. Now people think nothing of claiming idiotic and insensible things like they actually are mermaids or witches. I’ve known people who were Wiccans and thought that they had spell books, and I’ve also had a passing knowledge of a woman who believed she was a witch.

This confusion of identity and role-playing infuriates me on so many levels. One, it takes what is great about LARP, RP, MMORPG, and that world, and makes it look childish and silly. You see, even the most lax DM had rules. Even the most forgiving online game allows you to die (or start over with a penalty). These people separate RP from rules and so they flounce about like the mentally ill. Thanks for nothing! Because you don’t understand the difference between fantasy and reality, don’t drag the rest of us down your drowning well! Fantasy is enjoyable because it is fantasy and it is safe; it is safe because it is bounded by rules, to some degree or another.

Two, it takes what is noble about role-playing and the aspirations to heroism, self-sacrifice, courage, and so on, and it overdramatizes them to the point of farce. No, your penny-ante problems with school are not the same thing as cutting the head off a dragon. Please grow up and stop making the whole world about you and your smelly little life! I can understand people being self-deprecatingly funny in this way, but I mean those who are serious, because they have so little concept of anyone but themselves. To these stupid prattlers, a hangnail is Hiroshima.

Three, it’s not real or even honest. These people will eventually grow up or move on to fantasizing about whatever is new today. They are trendoids or shallow souls who will find solace in whatever the excreta goddess of culture defecates out next. They didn’t really mean it. They may have emoted for a while, but it all is something that they used and now they’re using something else. Trendoids are like locusts, who devour everything in their path and only leave feces behind.

Stop trifling with great things that you neither understand nor appreciate.

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Actors are Whores

Hello, I am an actor. I wear clothes I did not buy, have other people arrange my appearance, and have another set of people tell me what I must say. I have trained myself to lie for a long time, so one set of words to say are as good as any others. In fact, by this time in my life, I’m pretty good at being convincing. Give me any words and I will say them like I mean them. Any words at all will do, as long as you’re paying.

And the money is great, but it’s really not everything. I need everyone to believe just what I believe. And what I believe is the same thing all my friends believe, because we get to do all the fun things in life. Yes, we work hard at being believable liars, but after that, we can party all night and sleep with whomever we want, act however we want, and even do things other people can’t do. People even follow us around and want to be like us. Why shouldn’t they? Our lives are so much better than theirs. We’re gods and they believe in us.

We are a better class of people than they are, even if we’re not really all that happy. I’m on my third marriage and I have two kids I hardly ever see, but there’s a new script I’m working on that will make everything all right.

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Farewell, Meetup

Recently, Meetup thought it was important to take a political stance and start #Resist groups all over the United States. Their blog post is here. Tellingly, it allows no comments. So a company that wants to encourage community divides community by taking a divisive political stance, funds groups to resist (what?) but doesn’t allow anyone in the community to comment.

Typical.

In response to their antics, I deleted my account.

Not because I think that Trump is benign. He is not. Not because I agree with government via fiat. I do not. It is because Meetup does not understand that Trump’s immigration ban applied to the very same countries that Obama’s did and used identical language. Did they say anything when Obama did the same thing? Not that I can recall.

Meetup is a company run by hypocritical opportunists and I have no desire to be part of their temper tantrums.

Finally, an executive order temporarily putting immigration on hold from known terror states is reasonable. It is not something that should inspire blowing your goodwill and founding left-wing agitation groups across an entire nation. The reaction is way out of proportion to the cause. Will this end well for Meetup? I doubt it will, but those who won’t learn from the mistakes of others will have to learn it personally and painfully.

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Radios Out of Coconuts

I salute the DIY spirit. In fact, I think it’s one of the things that is quintessentially American, from the start-ups to cowboy engineering to indie record labels. However, there’s a difference between DIY and using the wrong tool for the task when better tools are available to you at no cost. I see this repeatedly in my working experience.

For instance, why would you use Powerpoint when you had InDesign on your desktop? I hear excuses all the time – it’s the tool I know! It’s faster! It’s easier! Yet all of these phrases are just rationales people give for not learning a new tool and for remaining comfortable with what they know.

Likewise, you can use Word to do layout. I have when I had no other tools. However, that doesn’t change the fact that layout is not what Word was designed to do, and it does it extremely poorly. Yes, yes, I know that your grandmother uses Word to print out her recipies with backgrounds, but that is not what I mean by layout.

The funny thing is that while people generate excuses for using the wrong tool, they will also spend their time complaining about it. It is one of my flaws, that I have very little patience for that. JUST LEARN THE RIGHT TOOL ALREADY! I really empathize with the geek/hacker shirts like this one from ThinkGeek right about then.

There’s something perverse in people. Rather than admit that tools are designed for different functions, they refuse to believe anyone that tells them that. To which, I have to shrug and walk away. If you don’t understand the reason for a tool’s existence, then you’re broadcasting your ignorance of what you’re doing, point blank. So they continue to shout their ignorance and then they curse the tool they’re using, instead. *bangs head* *bangs head* *bangs head*

Yes, while it is kind of amazing that you can create animations in Powerpoint, doing that is like making a radio out of coconuts, a la the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. It’s like the geeks that spend all their time maintaining their jerry-rigged best-of-breed homegrown server, but no time actually USING it. It’s like people that create anything Rube Goldberg. Congratulations. I am impressed that you’ve done something, but I’m also stunned that you’ve spent so much time barking up the wrong tree.

Of course, nobody bothers to ask such wunderkin, “How GOOD is what you’ve actually created at what it’s supposed to be?” The Professor’s radio worked – that was the amazing part, not that it advanced the field of electronics, not that it led to breakthroughs in how we think of electricity. Likewise, the geeks. They’ve created something functional but of little value except to be able to brag that they did it. In the past, people called this “learning”, and that’s a waypoint, not a destination. Too many people, I think, are satisfied with simply learning how to force one thing into doing something it does not well, which is a huge waste of resources, effort, time, and frankly intellect. It is a category mistake. It is, barking up the wrong tree.

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Now I Am Free

This weekend, I left the Republican party.

I have been in the party since the days of Reagan and I have seen it make good decisions and bad decisions, but I have never seen the level of political skulduggery exhibited in the presidential primary and general election of 2016. I saw a candidate who became president hurl vile epithets at a man twice as suited for the office. I have seen the RNC members cut the microphones to the convention representatives to deny them a voice. I have seen the FL GOP throw away proportional representation for winner-take-all. I have seen conscience mocked and fealty demanded. I have seen racism winked at and anti-semitism flirted with.

Thus, after much prayer and consideration, I submitted my change of party affiliation to the Florida Secretary of State.

This leaves me politically independent or homeless, depending on how you see it.

I was looking forward to the Federalist party being registered here; now I am not so sure. In any case, I am no longer associated with the filth that is Trump nor his insane cult members.

Now I am free.

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The Freedom of Commerce

Commerce is a fantastic window into the sphere of freedom itself. Take the example of the knitter from TN. She has the right, as does everyone who engages in commerce, to sell to whomever she wishes. Inseparable from this is the right to refuse service to anyone she wishes. Such is the working-out of the fundamental right of association, spoken of in the first amendment to the Constitution.

The Federalist party has it wrong. Neither the federal government nor the state has any justification for demanding that private businesses and private organizations hire or serve anyone. However, the government must be fair and equal to all citizens, for it represents the citizens. Private businesses and organizations do not. There is no representation in the voluntary association of individuals in a business, a church, a charity, a sports team, or any other non-governmental entity. To claim that a voluntary association must serve as a representative organ is to impale freedom.

Yet that is exactly what non-discrimination laws for private entities do, and they inevitably lock their hands around the throat of the free exercise of religion itself. Such laws are crutches for the insecure. “If we don’t have anti-discrimination laws for gays, then what will happen?” The answer is people will still make their economic choices, just like they do today. If you do not like the stance of a company or its practices, shop elsewhere. If you don’t find a company that serves your needs, start your own or partner with others to do so. Thus, the law is unneeded, but fundamentally, NO-ONE HAS ANY MORAL OBLIGATION TO SERVE YOU. To use government to force people to cater to you is immoral.

The freedoms of commerce are just as crucial as the freedom to create what I wish, the freedom to live where I wish, and the freedom to move about as I wish.

How did we get to this awful place where some freedoms are prized more than others? To this low point where people think that you can pick and choose and nothing ill will result? Some of it is ignorance – too many people are not engaged in business, so why would they care what businesses do? Too many people are not spiritual in any way, so why would they care what happens to those who believe differently than they do? The sliding scales of economic oppression and religious oppression are lost upon such minds. If they will regulate your neighbor, they will regulate you. If they will forbid his public practice of faith, they will forbid yours. The more the government regulates, the more it controls, and the less freedom we all have.

At the base of it all is that people think that they can live by giving away moral agency. However, nothing is more bound up with us as spiritual and fleshly beings than this, and it cannot ever be assigned to someone else. You can create something you think gives it away, but moral agency is non-transferrable. It always remains yours. Like you cannot outsource charity to someone else, neither can you outsource responsibility. No law will make you righteous. No government edict will end bigotry. You and I individually must choose to be fair-minded. You and I individually must practice righteousness.

The answer is not more laws for other people. The answer is more character for individuals.

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Conversations with Wounded People

When you have conversations with people, particularly about contentious topics, I’ve noticed something. If someone is wounded or hurting, then the conversation really doesn’t work. You can end up in screaming matches. They can sulk and play the martyr. Thus it’s very important to find out early on if you are dealing with a wounded person. Here are three tell-tale signs:

1. Emotional reasoning. That is, logic that takes emotion as its base. These are always relativistic arguments. Here the truth of the matter changes, can never be determined with certainty, or the individual can never be appeased, because he or she has elevated emotion to a point that he/she feels is all-important. Such thinking leads to revenge and not to justice – revenge, because the person so aggrieved can only be made happy after they have dominated their enemy, like Achilles dragging Hector’s body around the campsite three times. This is primal and juvenile.

2. Borrowing hate or history from other people – having a group identity, not an individual identity. There are fewer weaker claims than saying that “my people” or “we” have been oppressed for centuries, and fewer things are more risible. That is because the individual has not existed for centuries, however, it is clear that the group identity from which the individual derives his purpose and sense of self is being borrowed from others, and usually it is from others long dead, in different times, and in different cultures. This is a fake and constructed identity based on imagining what others in other times have felt.

3. The individual tries to assign blame to you for things other people have done to him or her. This goes hand-in-hand with a sense of group identity. Because you are of that other tribe or group which is responsible for the suffering of the individual, then you have no right to speak. You are guilty, goes the logic, even though you have done nothing. Guilt shuts down conviction and courage, so if the individual can make you feel guilty, he or she has silenced you.

Engaging in discussion with wounded people is useful only to the degree that you can show them their true need, which is to be healed. No logic will work. All you can do is get them to understand that they are speaking out of brokenness and that until they are healed, they will continue to seek false cures which involve forcing others to make them feel better by one way or another. Conversely, real healing always begins with individual action, which is an acknowledgement of need and then seeking God to heal them.

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