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M.A.R. Barker, author of Tekumel, also author of Neo-Nazi book?

Retreater

Legend
My dad kicked me out of the house because I didn't support his favored political candidate. I slept in my car until I could find an apartment.
My mom still doesn't talk to me because I don't follow her politics. She will likely die before we have any reconciliation. And keep in mind that I don't even bring up politics with her - she just knows that I don't vote for who she wants me to vote for.
The point of all this is that some people are willing to do terrible things to their family and friends to show loyalty for celebrities and political figures who don't know that they exist.
Those of you getting heated about this, I hope you realize that MAR Barker wouldn't give a second's thought to any of us on this board - even if he was still alive. So insulting people that you actually have real contact with on a daily basis (if you're on these boards as often as I am) in an effort to save the reputation of a celebrity is self defeating. Barker won't care, but the person you are arguing with will care.
 

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Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
My dad kicked me out of the house because I didn't support his favored political candidate. I slept in my car until I could find an apartment.
My mom still doesn't talk to me because I don't follow her politics. She will likely die before we have any reconciliation. And keep in mind that I don't even bring up politics with her - she just knows that I don't vote for who she wants me to vote for.
The point of all this is that some people are willing to do terrible things to their family and friends to show loyalty for celebrities and political figures who don't know that they exist.
Those of you getting heated about this, I hope you realize that MAR Barker wouldn't give a second's thought to any of us on this board - even if he was still alive. So insulting people that you actually have real contact with on a daily basis (if you're on these boards as often as I am) in an effort to save the reputation of a celebrity is self defeating. Barker won't care, but the person you are arguing with will care.

Good point. Wow, that's scary, man. Glad you found your way!

I was just reading a NYT article where a woman asks if she can disinherit their daughters because they voted for Trump...

 

Just a point of correction (I presume it's OK to respond to a mod note if I'm not responding to the moderation part?): the Silver Legion wasn't a neo-Nazi group. They were a Nazi sympathizer group contemporaneous with Nazism itself. They officially disbanded after the USA entered WWII, though I'm sure most of their members didn't change their views overnight, if ever.

I'm not defending Barker here, whom—unless the revelations presented in this thread prove to be total fabrications (which won't happen, as the Tekumel foundation itself has confirmed the facts)—I feel comfortable classifying as a bigot. And I'm usually very reluctant to say such things if I think there's any room for a charitable interpretation of the facts. I don't think such room exists here.

I will say that to me the most astonishing revelation in this entire thread is the one about the academic article from the venerable and well-regarded journal The Muslim World. I've been reading widely in scholarly publications for decades now, and I have literally never encountered a footnote like that one, where a researcher discovers a heretofore unknown and important fact about their research topic and then chooses 1) not to reveal what they have found, yet 2) instead to include a note stating that they have discovered something important but refusing to reveal precisely what it is and encouraging other scholars to figure it out for themselves.

Literary figure whose father was an anti-Semite turns out to also have been an anti-Semite? Dog bites man. Small foundation dedicated to that fellow's legacy sweeps scandal under rug for years, and that man's fandom takes more than a few days to fully digest the revelations? More dogs biting more men. But an academic researcher refuses to publicize their most important discovery and instead poses as some sort of public academic Deep Throat croaking "Follow the bigotry"? Now that's news.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Good point. Wow, that's scary, man. Glad you found your way!

I was just reading a NYT article where a woman asks if she can disinherit their daughters because they voted for Trump...
As extreme as it sometimes sounds, disinheriting people or ostracizing them/wrecking a relationship - there are some political issues that may cross very important lines and beliefs you hold. I would hope it's not something as mundane as the level of governmental spending where there can usually be a broad area of compromise. But how do you compromise on getting gender affirming therapy for your trans kids being investigated by the state as abuse? How do you compromise on inciting an attack on the Capitol? How do you compromise on teaching the legacy of racism being banned from the schools? How do you live with someone who wants your kids to be made miserable and subject to discrimination?
 


MGibster

Legend
Gah this sucks. I feel terribly for Pauli.
Yeah, we don't always talk about it, but these revelations can hurt quite a few people. I immediately thought of Marion Zimmer Bradley who served as a mentor for many young women interested in writing science fiction/fantasy. When Bradley's children stepped forward with allegations of abuse it must have been devastating for those who admired Bradley, were inspired by her, and especially for those whom she had mentored. I've never played Tekumel, and even without this revelation it's unlikely I ever would have. But it's pretty clear that it had an influence on players and game creators back in the 70s and I imagine many of them are feeling hurt, confused, sad, and maybe even a little angry about this.
 


Antisemitism was back then (and for some, is now) unfortunately very much baked into many people's worldviews, even outside of full-on Nazism. M.A.R. Barker was born about only 5-10 years before my dad and uncle. And they've told me stories about hearing "You can't be Jewish, you're too nice" and even being asked if someone could feel their head to check for horns, because this person honestly believed that we had horns.

Mod Note:

Here’s the deal: at least one other poster has already pointed out, M.A.R. Barker’s father was a member of the Silver Legion of America. Here’s a note about the SLoA:



It is a FAR smaller leap to think his father (a member of a US-based neo-Nazi group) taught him his bigotry than relying on stereotypes impugning Islam in general. Occam’s Razor and all that.

But you went there, sooooo…
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Gah this sucks. I feel terribly for Pauli.

A good reminder that while for me, the discussion over Barker's sins is somewhat academic . . . I wasn't a Tekumel fan nor likely to become one anyway . . . but for others, this hits hard.

I can respect those who are able to separate the art from the author and continue to enjoy the world of Tekumel, but like Pauli Kidd, I have trouble doing so, for the reasons she mentions. Although, its less a conscious decision to deplatform a problematic artist for me, and more that I just can't enjoy the art anymore without thinking about how terrible the artist is.

I'm at this point with Dave Chappelle. I've enjoyed his comedy for years, I find him an amazingly talented and insightful comic, I recognize his importance both in comedy and as a black voice . . . . but his recent doubling down on his anti-trans humor has soured me, and I can no longer watch his comedy, his classic sketch comedy show (Chappelle's Show), his older specials, and his newer ones on Netflix. I'm not interested in "canceling" Dave Chappelle, I just can't enjoy his work anymore.

Before the news broke about Barker, I was mildly curious about Tekumel considering its status in the early days of our hobby. I was considering picking up digital copies of Barker's novels (the Tekumel novels, not Serpent's Wake) and game books. Now . . . my interest has dried up completely. Barker can be consigned to the dustbin of tabletop history for all I care.

But for others, this hits hard. For those of you who have been long-time Tekumel fans, you have my support as you grapple with how to deal with this news.
 


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