D&D General On Early D&D and Problematic Faves: How to Grapple with the Sins of the Past


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I think that this lies at the heart of why the conversations can be so fraught. The (very long) essay I wrote identifies the issues, but at the core the problem with the discussions is that many people want the line that they have to be the line that everyone has.

Which ... doesn't work. As I wrote, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and we are all hypocrites about something. But discussing the issues is the best way to identify how we should approach it. As Socrates said, I drank what?

Um, I mean, The unexamined life is not worth living.

Generally, I think that it's helpful to think of some of these things in the following way:

1. Is this an artist, or an art issue? In other words, is the problem just with the artist, or is that problem reflected in the art? To use your examples, The Usual Suspects has Kevin Spacey in it, but the actual work doesn't reflect what is problematic about him. On the other hand, some of Woody Allen's movies do reflect some of the issues that make him kind of a creeper.

2. Does your patronage matter? This is the JK Rowling conundrum. Buying D&D books doesn't support sexism (as far as I know!). But JK Rowling still profits from the Potterverse, and money that goes to that goes to specific anti-inclusive causes.

3. Is this a current issue? I believe in fearlessly looking at history, but the past is different. That doesn't excuse actions, but I also think it's easier to separate the art and the artist when there has been the passage of time. We can talk about the issues of the artist, but properly contextualize them. For example, the re-examination of Gauguin (vis-a-vis Tahiti) is overdue, but while it isn't fun, it helps put his later art in a better perspective.


But yes, the line is different for everyone. To give you an example, I was at a Madonna concert (her most recent tour) and she had a sequence that had her "dancing" with Michael Jackson as a tribute with Billie Jean playing. The crowd roared. But I have to admit, my initial reaction was ... ick. I was able to enjoy it, but it was a visceral feeling at first.

I think that issue (the line issue) is why the discussions can be so contentious. When someone says, "This is my line. Therefore, you have to have the same line," that's going to raise hackles. On the other hand, when someone says, "How dare you criticize this person who made something I like! I just want to like something without ever thinking about bad stuff!!!!" .... well, that's not a great attitude either.

Oh, that Austrian artist? That's not a line. When I say it's different for everyone, well, if you don't have that line, I don't want to know you.

Some good points here. What can be frustrating is that you have people who want to in good faith examine where the line is. You also have people who don't want there to be any examination, who earnestly believe the very act of examination is in fact an endorsement of one side or another. What bothers me most is insincerity. The venn diagram of those who don't want any acknowledgement of the history of bigotry in TTRPGs and those who grouse about the presentation of diversity in TTRPGs is a very circular oval at best. People always say they are anti-censorship, but really, its more about what is being censored.
 

For one, never watched Usual Suspects nor House of Cards, never appealed to me really, so I guess I can't really say either way. In fact, I don't think I have actually watched anything with him in it. So yes, in that case I can separate the actor from the movies, because if I were to watch it, not really knowing him through his movies, it wouldn't really impact me. I read far more as a child and teen (even now really) than I did watch movies. That and I was outside a lot but that's a whole different topic.

As for Woody Allen, yeah I can watch them. I know he's a weird and sketchy person (I'm trying to avoid the profanity filter as I had other choice words for his behavior), but that's him and not the art. Sure, it puts a whole new perspective on the move Manhatten, but not enough to make me drop it completely. In honesty, I think I watched that movie twice in my whole life, and one of the times was for a school thing...I can't remember what for, but I remember sitting in class watching it and pausing it here and there to talk about stuff with the teacher. You can enjoy things without the person that made them, you can enjoy pieces of art, books, items, music, all without having any affiliation with the artist. I don't worship these people, nor do I give a single flying pig about what nonsense they have decided to ruin their career with. They want to do their nonsense, let them; not my bigtop, not my circus. None of that takes away from the piece itself for me.

As for Austrian Artist Turned Poitician, you're right, a lot of people won't separate the "art from the artist" as it were, I certainly won't (personal family stuff). Though, you will have people point to numbers and stats during his political run and before he "put his art on display" as it were, that the numbers show that he was doing good for his country. Even if that were the case, and lets assume they are right; that's a small fraction of good he did against a whole torrent of bad. Though, couldn't this be part of the topic of accepting all sides from things from the past? How do I put this...If we are willing to accept that people did a few garbage things while on the whole being a overall okay person, and that we to reflect on that and try not to repeat it; should we not then accept that an overall garbage scum person did a few good things, even by accident, and that we reflect on that and try to figure out how to do those good things without the garbage parts? For the record, I'm in no way trying to make this Austrian Artist Turn Politician into anything sympathetic or whatever, I'll be the first to fight anyone trying to make it a legit thing. I'm merely using it as an example to try and get my point across here. I don't know if it's coming across properly...I'm sorry if it's not. Overall what I'm trying to say is, we need to acknowledge all sides of a person's history, as well as history as a whole, learn from it, and hope to never repeat the bad, and build on the good.

You're right those, everyone's limits are their own and if someone chooses to not buy something, participate in something, or use something because of a person associated with it and their flaws, that's perfectly alright for them, there ar epeopel that are goign to do it in celebration of those flaws which...well it's weird, but that's there perogative I guess, and there are those that are in between that will make their own choices. Everyone needs to respect those choices and let people be.
Jasus.
 




I'm...not understanding. I'm sorry, do you want to explain it to me, please?
"As for Austrian Artist Turned Poitician, you're right, a lot of people won't separate the "art from the artist" as it were, I certainly won't (personal family stuff). Though, you will have people point to numbers and stats during his political run and before he "put his art on display" as it were, that the numbers show that he was doing good for his country. Even if that were the case, and lets assume they are right; that's a small fraction of good he did against a whole torrent of bad. Though, couldn't this be part of the topic of accepting all sides from things from the past? How do I put this...If we are willing to accept that people did a few garbage things while on the whole being a overall okay person, and that we to reflect on that and try not to repeat it; should we not then accept that an overall garbage scum person did a few good things, even by accident, and that we reflect on that and try to figure out how to do those good things without the garbage parts? For the record, I'm in no way trying to make this Austrian Artist Turn Politician into anything sympathetic or whatever, I'll be the first to fight anyone trying to make it a legit thing. I'm merely using it as an example to try and get my point across here. I don't know if it's coming across properly...I'm sorry if it's not. Overall what I'm trying to say is, we need to acknowledge all sides of a person's history, as well as history as a whole, learn from it, and hope to never repeat the bad, and build on the good."

This bit.
 


"As for Austrian Artist Turned Poitician, you're right, a lot of people won't separate the "art from the artist" as it were, I certainly won't (personal family stuff). Though, you will have people point to numbers and stats during his political run and before he "put his art on display" as it were, that the numbers show that he was doing good for his country. Even if that were the case, and lets assume they are right; that's a small fraction of good he did against a whole torrent of bad. Though, couldn't this be part of the topic of accepting all sides from things from the past? How do I put this...If we are willing to accept that people did a few garbage things while on the whole being a overall okay person, and that we to reflect on that and try not to repeat it; should we not then accept that an overall garbage scum person did a few good things, even by accident, and that we reflect on that and try to figure out how to do those good things without the garbage parts? For the record, I'm in no way trying to make this Austrian Artist Turn Politician into anything sympathetic or whatever, I'll be the first to fight anyone trying to make it a legit thing. I'm merely using it as an example to try and get my point across here. I don't know if it's coming across properly...I'm sorry if it's not. Overall what I'm trying to say is, we need to acknowledge all sides of a person's history, as well as history as a whole, learn from it, and hope to never repeat the bad, and build on the good."

This bit.
Okay, could have been explained better, that's my fault. What's wrong with people learning from history, be that what was bad and what was good? Again, I will accept it was not explained in the best way, and I was trying to pose the idea of if we are leaning to not repeat bad things from the flaws of an otherwise okay person; why not learn about the good things (again the hypothetical of IF the people defending Austrian Artist are right) from an otherwise awful person (even if those good things came as purely by accident). It was purely a theory related to what was being talked about here. Is that what the issue is? if not, is it just the discussion of it? I'm still not clear about what is wrong, as I wasn't the first to bring up the person. Again, I will admit it was poorly worded and thought out, but the main point was that, if we are reflecting on not repeating bad qualities from one person, why not try for the reverse? In the end I did agree that everyone is entitled to their choice, there's nothing wrong with that bit.
 


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