Blogging Challenge Day 11: My Flaws (or: Gauze)

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I think you’ll understand after reading today’s blog entry why I’ve been avoiding this subject. Well, no more avoiding things. On with Day 11 of the Blogging Challenge – today’s topic: My Flaws.
Writing about your own foibles can be tough, but I don’t want to shy away from the topic. I could write about something in-game such as how I keyboard turn (gasp), or I could pretend I’m in a horrible job interview and say my biggest flaws are “working too hard and being too much of a perfectionist.” But those seem like copouts to me. So I’m going to write about two closely related flaws. Warning: this is going to get personal.
Flaw 1: I procrastinate. I’m not talking about small things here, like waiting too long to take out the trash (although, I occasionally do that too – the recycling does need to go out). No, I’m specifically talking about waiting on larger things. I want to travel and explore places I’ve never been. I want to go back to places I haven’t been in years and rediscover the past through my older eyes. I want to see shows – concerts, the symphony, spoken word, Cirque du Soleil – anything and everything. I want to go to fantastic restaurants and run down the tasting menu, taking my time with each plate. I want to see friends and rebuild relationships and spend time with people. I want to write. Some in public, like in this blog, but mostly in private – just for me and maybe a few others I trust. I want to express myself through words and record the stories and thoughts I’ve had floating around for years but never “found the time” to work on. But right now, I’m doing none of those things (well, okay, I’m writing – it’s a start).
Why haven’t I done these things? To be fair to myself, I’ve done some of the above. But for every opportunity I’ve taken, three others have passed by. Excuses abound – it’s so easy to not make time to do things. I’ll wait until I have more vacation time. Ticket prices will come down soon. No good seats are available. I can go see that band next year. And the big reason: it’s easier not to. It’s easier to sit down on the couch, get on my laptop, log on to WoW, and watch TV. I feel as if I’ve been living a life wrapped up in gauze, not feeling anything beyond hoping Omar gets away and Dexter takes care of the season’s big bad. I don’t want to be wrapped up any longer. I want out. And with this new year starting, I will stop giving power over to everything else and letting life pass by. I don’t expect to have full control over where my life goes. As John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” But, at least I’ll start to act on those wishes and dreams I’ve always had.
Flaw 2: I wear my heart on my sleeve. I learned a few years ago that I have very little control over my body language and other non-verbal cues, so it’s easy to know how I’m feeling, even if you don’t know me that well. And I feel deeply. When something affects me, it can take over my thoughts, whether positive or negative. I’m not a man who can shut off his emotions and refuse to feel. I envy the people who have the ability to deal with personal trauma and through will power don’t let it affect them. That’s certainly not me. After a period of introspection lately, I realize what I’ve done instead (see Flaw 1) is put myself in a situation where I don’t have to feel. I live in gauze because it’s easier. If I don’t give anything the chance to reach me, I never have to worry about the lows. I’m never disappointed, because I never look forward to anything.


But – and this is the crux – I also never experience the highs. And as of now, I’m done avoiding. In 2012, I’m going to travel – Las Vegas, New York, Europe (Greece sounds perfect). I’m going to go to shows. And I’m going to go to amazing restaurants. No more excuses; no more waiting. I’m going to let myself experience highs, and yes, I’ll experience lows as well. But at least I’ll be living. It’s been too long.

All in Good Fun?

Although I attended Blizzcon in 2011, I did not attend the closing ceremony. Frankly, I’m glad I didn’t, since the Corpsegrinder video would have bothered me. For those of you who haven’t read about that controversy, go check out some links. I’ll wait for you.

Welcome back! When discussion of the content of the closing ceremony picked up steam, I didn’t have much to say that wasn’t said better by many others.  Two things stood out to me, though.

First, I read a few tweets regarding the ceremony asking why there was such an uproar over someone trash-talking the Alliance. I was a bit thrown by that take on the events. When I saw them, I did my best to explain the issue wasn’t Alliance bashing, the problem was Blizzard’s tacit endorsement of Corpsegrinder’s homophobic, pejorative language. My responses fell on deaf ears, as the conversation continued about how people are too sensitive and that the game is set up to be faction vs. faction.

Second, in the initial “apology” post by the band, these two sentences particularly bothered me: “The Corpsegrinder bit was never intended to be taken seriously. We are sorry that we offended anyone; everything at our shows is just meant in fun.” The implication here is that if you are offended by the things they said, you are at fault for taking it too seriously.

Those events transpired a month and a half ago, and I wouldn’t be bringing them up again, if it weren’t for a similar situation that took place yesterday. A fairly well-known blogger and podcaster whom I’ve followed fairly closely (but will no longer) tweeted about recruiting a work friend of his to play World of Warcraft. He recounted the story of his friend choosing to roll Horde after asking, “Why are Alliance so gay looking?” That in itself is cringe-worthy, using “gay” as a negative adjective, but it didn’t stop there. Further references (not quotes of his friend this time) followed: “dancing nancies” and “prancing… fairies” were two of the “milder” ones. There were several that went much further, but I do not feel comfortable quoting those on my blog.

Okay, fine. This guy’s a homophobic tool. But why write about one person’s tweets? Well, the answer to that comes in the tweets after. Here are two examples:

“I guess I’m held to a higher standard than others, even when it’s common knowledge I hate an Alliance (sic) all the time.”

“People just get butthurt instead of going with the fun of talking trash.”

See a connection here? Similar verbiage, both in the original messages (video/tweets), and the attempted justification that followed. In both cases, Alliance-bashing is thrown out as a straw man, when that wasn’t the issue. In both cases, the excuse “it’s all in good fun!” is put out there. Finally, both use the same technique to deflect blame on the offended rather than accept wrongdoing themselves.

To be very clear here: the issue lies in the homophobia and slurs. This isn’t good fun, it’s divisive speech, and the intent does not matter. The blame lies squarely on the offender, not the offended. Also, don’t get this confused with a free speech issue. Corpsegrinder and the blogger can say whatever they like. But we can judge them for doing so, and we can judge Blizzard for giving the former a platform. Say whatever you want. But realize if you say bigoted things, people will call you a bigot.

I am not suggesting I think Blizzard is responsible for this individual’s bigotry. I’d bet he had his beliefs set well before he started playing. What I am saying is that Blizzard sets a tone of what is acceptable in the game and in the larger community. When Blizzard tolerates these views, gives them a platform, and is slow to react when their player base expresses legitimate issues, they are perpetuating those views. Blizzard needs to implement and adhere to a zero tolerance policy, or we can expect similar things to happen. You know, all in good fun.