Oh yeah, I wanted to make note of one more thing. A “Guild Recruitment” channel was added to the city channels this week (or was it last week?) because of a controversy that rose up when someone advertised a gay-friendly guild in general city chat. If I were a better reporter, I would look it up and tell you what the name of the server was and who these people were and supply links to the forums where all this took place, but I do everything by half-measures. Anyway, this someone got “reported” for saying “gay.” The person advertising the guild explained that she was not using “gay” as a derogatory term, but the GM told her she was not allowed to advertise “gay-friendly” guilds anyway. This sparked a debate on the forums: “why is Blizzard anti-gay or at least suppressing discussion and acceptance when ostensibly they have a no-hate policy in their TOS” vs “I hate gays” vs “I don’t want to hear about RL issues in this game.” I did not thoroughly read the discussions as boards in general make me sick, but I saw things like “I don’t want my children to be exposed to immorality in general chat” and “I’m going to advertise a hetero-friendly guild” and “We don’t want you to talk about your sexual orientation on general chat becuase it is an issue that is divisive and hurtful to the community.” So, the end result was a new guild-recruitment channel. Nobody uses it and I still see large paragraphs like “Divine Knights of Shadow Fury Warriors of Light Deathbringers Savage is recruiting for endgame and accepting all level 55+. We are a PVP guild and will do MC + ZG soon. If you are fun and want a home to bs and pass the time, Divine Knights of Shadow Fury Warrios of Light Deathbringers Savage is for you. Selfish people need not apply” all over general chat, so that I end up not being able to read the extremely important “Selling enchants 7 sta shield 5g 15 agi weapon 104g or FREE WITH MATS icy fiery demonslaying +dmg to weapon” messages. Or the “Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked x so hard that y and z happened on the other end of the world” messages. Or the “Stop talking about Chuck Norris, he isn’t funny anymore” messages. Except they don’t actually say that, they say “GTFO hes no funy nemore.” I hate people. As for what I think, all people have a natural inclination to group together based on common interests. It may be locational–the Australians/New Zealanders/etc banded together to complain that they had no servers in their time zone and were forced to scatter on servers where nobody was awake during their peak hours until Blizzard opened up three new servers flagged as “oceania-preferred;” and, while not actually physically located anywhere nearer to Oceania than the rest of the North American servers, at least these servers’ internal clocks were set in their time zone. Or it may be language-based–the large raiding guild “Paradise of Nameless” on Dragonmaw is, I hear, all Chinese-speakers. I bet there have been attempts to make all-girl guilds out there, though I haven’t met any first-hand. So in a world that is so homophobic, where everything bad is “gay” and everyone stupid is a “fag” and where when people object to usage of such words they say “What if I’m from Europe huh? I just called you a cigarette. Or a bundle of sticks. Why is that so offensive to you? Besides, it’s an accepted part of vocabulary and slang, it does not actually offend gays. And if YOU aren’t gay, who are YOU to say that gays would be offended? You wouldn’t know and if you are objecting to it, you’re being bigoted yourself by assuming they would be offended by it,” why wouldn’t you want to find a haven from it all? I hate people.
Edit 1:41am feb 19: The above paragraph consists of paraphrases retrieved from my memory (and it turns out that my memory was wrong on several minor counts). If you want the actual story, links follow. Here is the first of a series of three articles on the subject, and some other stuff. Here is a brief article on it from bbc news. Another series. As for the original posts on the world of warcraft forums, they go away after a while so there’s no point in looking for them. The end.
The rampant homophobia I see everywere these days is seriously pissing me off. But I keep reacting in cowardly ways to all of it.
Yeah, OK, idiot 14-year-olds are over-represented on WoW, but “gay” gets thrown about as a negative epithet more than probably any other single term out there. And I want to call people on it EVERY time, but I tend to chicken out because I feel like calling attention to it isn’t likely to help matters.
And at work it’s just as bad. In Production, where I work, there is only one vaguely tolerant coworker, and he still routinely makes homophobic remarks and laughs at the idiotic anti-gay prank phone calls they sometimes force me to listen to on internet radio (there is nothing quite so much like hell as assembling Squeezeboxes accompanied by endless recordings of morons making prank phone calls). He also had nothing good to say about Brokeback Mountain, despite not having seen the movie (of course, I haven’t either, but MY excuse is that Westerns are boring). My Muslim coworkers are flat-out gay bashers, and cultural relativity be damned, it really isn’t acceptable in any way. It doesn’t help that the only openly gay coworker is the Marketing guy who is unfortunately pretty much an asshole. OK, so only a few of the people in the company have college degrees, but surely a college education is hardly a prerequisite for a basic respect of other people. But I feel like trying to stand up against all of this homophobic bullshit would just make things awkward.
Not that a college degree even makes that much of a difference; most of the people in the Last Laugh are just-out-of-college kids and most of them still think two guys kissing is automatically funny and weird. I suggested it in all seriousness as the ending for an ending-less serious sort of scene that someone had wrote, and everyone assumed I was trying to make a joke. They claim to be open and accepting and all that (most of them went to UCSC/Berkeley and almost all live in SF or the East Bay, so they could hardly do otherwise), but the common assumption seems to be that physical expressions of homosexuality can only be comic and not serious. I tried to press the issue a bit, but it didn’t really go anywhere…they just assumed I was making one of my peculiar fusses about nothing again, as I am wont to do when I haven’t had enough sleep, which these days is pretty much always.
I also witnessed a really ugly display of homophobia on Caltrain a couple of weeks ago. I got on the train at Millbrae, and boarding at the same time were four college-age women, two of whom were holding hands. The hand-holding couple sat in seats immediately behind a totally normal-looking middle aged guy, who looked like he was on his way home from work. After a couple of stations, he suddenly (I don’t know if anything was said that might have triggered his response, but I certainly didn’t notice anything, and I wasn’t sitting that far away) started spewing abuse at the couple behind him, calling them “dykes” and so on. One of the two women put him in his place, coming back at him so hard and so persistently that he eventually took her advice and left the carriage. She apologised to everyone around her for her forceful language, and we proceeded quietly to the next station. This took place on the Peninsula, supposedly a bastion of political progressiveness and tolerance and so on, and it shocked me. I mean, sure I know that people in this area are really quite as capable as anyone else of being homophobic, but I would think they would at least feel cultural pressure to keep their ignorant opinions to themeselves. For someone not obviously insane to feel that it was OK to launch an unwarranted verbal attack on someone just because they were openly gay took me completely off-guard.
Again, I wanted to show support or confront the dickhead myself, but opted for silent seething instead. Which just goes to show what a weenie I am at heart…though again, maybe it was wiser to stay out of a situation that the woman was handling quite adroitly on her own.
Still, the next time some punk on WoW says something is “gay” in a derogatory way, I am totally calling the little fucker on it.