Nowhere did I say it was "unreasonable". I asked what it meant, specifically. What does it look like if you are "not allowed"? What is the fear here? There seem to be no commitment to what this is actually about.
No. Lacking an answer to what it means to be "allowed", I moved forward with an assumed one that seemed common enough in similar discussions to be a reasonable guess.
Yes. Since there is no legal impediment to publishing such, I moved along with "allowed" being about the criticism or pushback - you are "allowed" if the public doesn't give you a lot of criticism or pushback on the work.
And then, I believe my assertion holds - if you don't want pushback, it needs to be pretty darned good stuff. This should not be controversial.
Again, this is why I asked what "allow" meant. What do you expect to happen if you are "allowed" or "not allowed"? Because, this right here reads like you mean an actual legal impediment, of which there is exactly none at this time in the US, at least.
And by "you" I really mean "publishers". As far as I am aware, this is a theoretical argument for you, personally.
You realize that criticism is as much expression as artwork is, right? So, if you are allowed to publish it (for whatever meaning of the word), others should be allowed to criticize it. A position that is, in effect, "I get to talk, but if you don't like it you should not consume it and shut up," is not an option.
Please don't try to put the words "you aren't allowed to criticize it" in my mouth. You are creating a straw man and putting it in bold text. This isn't about whether people can say what they like or dislike about stuff, of course they can
What I actually
responded to was instead you saying "if you want to publish such stuff, you need to do a really good job of it, so that the value of its inclusion clearly outweighs the issues"
That is not criticism.
That's telling publishers they aren't free to publish what they want without checking in with you first. Or, at least, that's the immediate interpretation that I truly hope you don't sign off on.
In fact, I would love if you tell me that's wrong, and that you absolutely do allow people to publish (and perhaps more pertinently, allow forumists to discuss on forums) works even if they feature troublesome content without accusing the authors of sharing the views of their fictional villains or that they encourage the oppressive societies their fictional worlds might feature or that they disrespect the victims of actual history.
Which brings me back to the greater topic of:
Is fantasy a genre that many people no longer "give a pass"?
By this I mean that perhaps the
foundational property of the entire genre is the ability to discuss and explore real-life dark chapters by transporting the dilemmas into made-up worlds.
If you (the general you, not Umbran specifically) no longer think people should "get away with" people featuring made up worlds featuring the troublesome topics of the original post, then this fundamental reason for fantasy as a genre ceases to exist
. For you, at least.
Should other people (like me) still be allowed to enjoy fantasy adventures despite you (the general you) taking offense to some aspect of that adventure? (Anything from the heroes being served beer from a stereotypical buxom bar maid to the characters having a mission and that mission isn't
to free all the slaves)
What is the solution here? That you walk away from content you can't or won't enjoy, or that we tell publishers to stop publishing content because someone is (or even might be) offended? (Or worse, that we hang out the writers accusing them of taking advantage of real-world young women or that they endorse modern or historical slavery!)
And no, I won't leave that as a rhetorical question. Of course
the solution is the first one, where I simply vote with my wallet, and avoid consuming movies, roleplaying scenarios, works of art, literature, theatre and so on that make me feel bad or remind me of real societal issues.
The point here is that there is a difference between
a) companies realizing that certain things don't sell and thus publish less of that.
b) we preemptively stop companies from publishing "that"
c) we create an atmosphere where companies are too afraid of publishing controversial content, because we take the right to accuse the artists and writers of being racist or misogynist (etc) because their works feature NPCs that are racist (and so on) without them existing chiefly for the purpose of being antagonists that end up dead or in jail.
I would argue only option a) can ever lead to a society worth living in. And more to the point, a discussion forum that doesn't regress into an echo chamber.
I absolutely understand the desire to be respectful. But the discussion climate is IMO perilously close to capsizing. If we forget that in order for somebody to disrespect you, there must be intent. You can feel disrespected without the writer actively disrespecting you. (It's not a transitive property) The fact you feel shame or rage does not mean the writer has committed an offense. (I'm not a laywer, so excuse any language that you feel is legally clumsy)
Authors aren't necessarily disrespecting minorities and victims just because they feature bad situations and unpunished crimes. Most right-wing nutters sure are, but that can't mean the solution is b) or c).
I think the best way to sum this is up is by:
- Our roleplaying games should not only feature what I effectively characterize as morality tales, where modern and enlightened perspectives carry the day.
- If bad characters can't reign supreme, our fictional worlds and stories will feel deeply deeply unrealistic. For some of you that's an acceptable cost to pay, and hey, that's okay as long as you recognize the right of others to make a different evaluation.
- If adventure writers can't feature people having heinous viewpoints without getting accused of sharing those viewpoints, we lose the exact thing we're trying to uphold - our liberal values depend on not regressing into censorship and witchhunts.