Oriental Adventures, was it really that racist?

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I think that SOMETIMES that might point to specifics that they're just wrong about, like Comeliness (and look, I misremembered it being in D&DG, does that make everything I have to say in this thread invalid?).

You were thinking of the '83 World of Greyhawk deities.

Because, in the end, it's all about Greyhawk. Or pizza.

mmmmmm..... Greyhawk Pizza.
 

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I apologize if I offended anyone in this thread. It was not my intent..

I know the some Asian-American writers (and one in particular with the RPG community) currently. One has been rather interested in the debate.

Would you guys like me to encourage him to make an account and put him on so you can ask someone who is part of the Asian community his thoughts? (rather than me trying to relate them via him talking over my shoulder)?

I'm not sure if I could convince him however. He has been more than happy to read and comment, but he does not feel safe in creating an account here currently (and normally, most of his writing he does not reveal his ancestry either, he says it is a good way to ensure no one reads your stuff for some items).

Much of what I said in this thread was regurgitating what he was stating to me. It probably would be better if HE were the one saying it, but as I said, he does not feel confident he would be free to speak his mind (and I HAVE admittedly toned down some of his comments he said to me) on the matter without persecution.

It was NOT meant to be offensive to people though, and I apologize if it was.
Just a suggestion - perhaps have him write an essay on the topic and post it for him. Let him see read the comments and tone and then decide if he wants to make an account to reply to anything there?
 

GreyLord

Legend
Just a suggestion - perhaps have him write an essay on the topic and post it for him. Let him see read the comments and tone and then decide if he wants to make an account to reply to anything there?

I've already done something similar in this thread. I don't think it was all that well received.

Edit: IT WAS cut and toned down by myself though. There were some things that could have been construed as rather personal items that I felt would be inappropriate to be posted here. There were some rather strong feelings pertaining to some items on the internet being posted as representative to Asians which...in his view...have actually harmed Asian artists working in the field currently and thus are actively harming Asian artists and writers. I cut MOST of that out and edited it in several other areas. Thus, a lot of it was reworded by me to be less aggressive than it originally was.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I've already done something similar in this thread. I don't think it was all that well received.
I think laying out an essay is substantially different than what was done here. I’d also recommend it being a thread opener as opposed to content in the middle of an already contentious thread. But just a suggestion.
 

There's a phrase for this- it's called the "chilling effect." If you know that speech is likely to get censored, you are less likely to speak. In addition, because most censorship is imprecise, the chilling effect necessarily goes beyond what would actually be suppressed.
But that phrase also implies that it is universally bad that people think before they speak and self-censor, which I don't think is actually true, as a rule. Indeed as a person with ADHD who finds it hard to do those things (self-censor etc.), one thing I value about forums is that it gives me more of an opportunity to do so.

Calmer heads prevailing is often a good thing, in my experience, at least on a smaller scale. I mean, there's a reason the UK has restrictions on what politicians can say to each other in the House of Parliament, for example. Yeah, they lead to some awkward situations (you can't call a demonstrated liar, a liar, for example), but they also prevent the kind more abusive discourse we see in a lot of countries. At the same time they're free from libel laws and the like so can say things individuals might not.

I think part of the issue is that the West has come out of this period where censorship was a big issue (particularly earlier in the Cold War and before WW2), and people, especially those who are closer to that time, are kind of jumping at shadows about it because the fear remains it could be again.
 

GreyLord

Legend
I think laying out an essay is substantially different than what was done here. I’d also recommend it being a thread opener as opposed to content in the middle of an already contentious thread. But just a suggestion.

I DID have another friend (Chinese lady) I thought about asking her to do that. She would be an interesting one to talk to with it. She isn't really into RPGs though, so her responses to things might be a little...interesting (she probably has no interest in the RPG items and would consider them not enough to worry about for example). She is far more involved in the larger issue affecting the community though. I'm not sure if this would be the site for her, but she probably would be far more interesting to talk to on the overall topic though.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
There's a phrase for this- it's called the "chilling effect."

Uh....yeah. Thanks.

If you know that speech is likely to get censored, you are less likely to speak. In addition, because most censorship is imprecise, the chilling effect necessarily goes beyond what would actually be suppressed.

Words can have many connotations depending on use. Discriminating is usually bad, but a discriminating palate is usually a good thing.

Moderation is a form of censorship as you point out. Whether it's "good," or "bad," can depend on the circumstance.

Self-censorship can be terrible- for example, the chilling effect that we see with a lot of Hollywood productions vis-a-vis China.

Of course, many of us have long experiences (both within the hobby, and in general) with people that demand private entities not allow "bad content." The definition of that "bad content" has changed over time, but the impulse behind it hasn't.

I mean, it's pretty easy to see this repeated over time-
Which means censorship doesn’t really have a negative meaning, either. So if 7-11 decides they don’t like the optics of selling bad content and so they stop selling it, they are censoring themselves, but that’s not a bad thing. -The American Family Association.

We are all the heroes of our own stories. No one in the history of ever has thought, "I'm suppressing the good content!" And yet ... you either support the principles or you don't. I don't know that I'm right, but I know that I invoked this principle to defend things I believed in greatly, so I'm loathe to give it up.

The magnitude of the chilling effect is going to be proportional to the nature of the censorship.

Sure, if I think I'll be cut out of the Chinese market, or even get arrested if I ever go to China, I'm going to be extremely careful about what I produce, and probably avoid some truths that should be said.

But if Morrus merely deleted my more egregious posts...which would be censorship, but without penalties...there would be a lot more of them. If he just flagged them as offensive (a kind of censorship) but left them up, there would be even more of them. (That might even be an incentive to push the envelope.)

I'm not sure I buy that a fear that a publisher might stop selling your work after 35+ years, as attitudes change, when the work in question is a supplement to a game that will probably itself be replaced by a new edition multiple times before then, produces much of a chilling effect. And, if it does, the behavior it chills might just carelessness with cultural sensitivities, which would be a good thing.

I made a snarky comment upthread about parade-of-horribles, but it does apply in this case. One can't prove there wouldn't be a negative chilling effect in this (or any) particular case, of course, which gives it the illusion of a powerful argument.

But just as many posters seem to feel that using the language of imperialism to describe orcs couldn't possible have any negative consequences in the real world, I just can't imagine that a publisher deciding to stop publishing 37 year old niche content is going to have any kind chilling effect on creativity.
 

Has anyone else noticed that orcs and drow are believed to be too similar to depictions of one particular race/culture and OA is criticized for not being similar enough of certain races/cultures.

Anyways back to your regularly scheduled programming. Beep. beep. boop. bop.
Are you implying there can only be one form of racist or culturally inappropriate materials or activities? These are two completely different issues, even if they are related in the sense that they both fall within the greater realm of racist depictions, etc. (there are a few different labels that could be applied). So, I submit that your observation is essentially meaningless.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Are you implying there can only be one form of racist or culturally inappropriate materials or activities?
Nope.

These are two completely different issues, even if they are related in the sense that they both fall within the greater realm of racist depictions, etc. (there are a few different labels that could be applied). So, I submit that your observation is essentially meaningless.
IMO. Not all observations must say something profound.
 

Just curious - Can a person legally transfer the rights of their pdf to another person or to a library to lend out? I don’t know the actually answer but it seems pertinent.

if a company sets themselves up as the only way possible to procure a work and then chooses to stop selling a digital copy, and none of those digital copies which were sold can be transferred individual to individual - then IMO that’s not ethical (regardless of whether you call it censorship). I don’t care whether they continue to sell it or whether the simply update their terms to allow the already sold work to be transferred between individuals (if it isn’t legally possible already).
You're into a very complex set of topics related to IP laws. IANAL, so I cannot really give you a legally useful opinion. OTOH I have some experience as a creator of certain kinds of works... When you sell a physical item there is, in the US, a doctrine, the 'Doctrine of First Sale' which states that the original creator gives up their rights with respect to THAT INSTANCE of what was sold. Thus if you bought a copy of OA from TSR in 1986, you own it. You can sell it, lend it, destroy it, give it away, show it to people, whatever you want, as long as you don't reproduce it. However, it is less clear with digital material. First Sale DOES still apply, but it is a whole lot less clear what constitutes an 'original' when dealing with digital material! Libraries HAVE successfully argued that they can lend material, and they do it all the time.

There is also the question of 'Fair Use', a copyright is not an absolute right. The public has certain rights WRT a work, including the right to reproduce parts of it for educational purposes, criticism, etc. within certain limits (basically as long as it doesn't degrade the value to the rights holder, or deprive them of the benefits of their rights, but this is a super complex area of law that is virtually decided on a case-by-case basis).

So, WotC, as the copyright holder of the work, OA in this case, can stop selling it. They can't do much else. MAYBE they could come after you for 'selling your copy of the PDF' online, but they would probably have to prove there are effectively multiple copies in existence as a result. Libraries can probably lend it out too, that's pretty established.

A FURTHER complexity is that not everything that people got in their hands was 'free and clear'. Especially in modern times businesses have taken to 'licensing things out'. That is they claim they didn't really sell it to you, that they "still own it." This has sometimes worked, and sometimes courts have basically said "If it quacks like a duck, its a duck!" There can also be NDAs and various contractual arrangements that could limit what can be done with media, though they are not generally very applicable to something that is being sold to the public.
 

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