Begin horrible rant, read at your own peril; lots of bitterness and swearing involved.

I’m putting this down, because every day this week I start out writing a long blog post about all this vile stuff going on in my head, and I have to push it aside to regain some clarity and cheerfulness. I’m starting to think it ain’t going away until I get it down and flush it, so here it is.

Please, PLEASE feel perfectly free to not read. There is bitterness, angst and whinyness. And it’s not a guild drama post, or anything. You aren’t missing anything cool by not reading.

 

The following is me being incredibly pissy. Seriously, I’m not joking.

You’ve been warned.

Okay.

One of my hot buttons was nailed this week, and every day I start out listening to current events and getting caught up with what’s going on in the world, and just thinking of the ‘hot button’ with all thats going on keeps pissing me off, and I need to blow it off in a rant and get it out of my system. A tank purge, as it were.

Here it is. One thing you will not hear me talk about on the podcast, no matter how many hits it gets, is the Racist Arena Team name controversy that has gripped WoW Insider by storm this week. What controversy? Oh, God. An article was written condemning an Arena Team name that was perceived as being blatantly and intentionally racist… and over 75% of the article commenters seem to be in favor of the racism. I’ve heard one blogger that suffered through the comments say the total is actually 99% of the commenters are in favor of the racism as being okay. Of course, I only read like 30 of the comments before I quit, so I don’t know.

But I don’t care. I don’t care about either point of view. It’s just not… gah!

I’m about as against real racism as you can get.

Not in a ‘march on congress’ way, or a ‘write an outraged letter to my Governer’ way, but in a ‘if I see it personally or hear it, I stand the fuck up and denounce it, right then and there to the person’s face’ kind of way. I have done so in the past, I will continue to do so, and I have in fact told my father off in person and in public for some of his racist bullshit. I am straight up about this shit.

Discrimination is wrong, end of story.

Hell, I feel strongly enough about this kind of thing that when I got married, I took my wife’s last name. She was well known professionally, and I wasn’t, and I saw no reason why she should have to give up her last name and build up a new reputation because we were getting married. We got married together, I don’t freaking own her.

And when I explain that to people, when the subject comes up as to why I changed MY name, like in HR or whatever during a job change, the number of people that openly feel that it’s just wrong for the man to LET the woman keep her name, amazes the hell out of me. And I’m not just talking about men here, either.

So yeah, I walk the damn walk. I stand up when I see it, and I’m not a shy person.

And I don’t play this ‘going around behind peoples’ backs’ crap about it.

You know, like going to a GM and opening a ticket, instead of a direct whisper, to tattle and get them in trouble… safely anonymous.

Or maybe just talking about the person in shocked tones later over a latte.

I let the person know, right then, that they may think it’s cute, but they are looking at or talking to someone who thinks that what they said or did was complete shit, and if they truly think that way, then I think THEY are shit.  And if they DON’T think that way, they need to stop talking like that and be themselves, and not talk racist trash cause they think it’ll make them cool or edgy or some other crap.

BUT. 

I don’t see the whole issue of a racist Arena Team name as even making my top 10 concerns of the week.

I’m sorry if this offends you, but I am far more personally concerned about the massive wildfires ripping through Florida near where my mother and brother and sister live, the ongoing tragedy of nearly 50,000 reported dead from an earthquake in Sichuan province and wondering how to send support so far away, the possible aftershock effects and what they may mean for my friends in Singapore, the discovery of a dead body here in the midwest that shows that yet ANOTHER poor innocent was snatched from the street and killed, something that seems to happen every damn day with no end in sight and what that means for the future safety of my son who is supposedly going to someday be let out of my sight to walk a sidewalk on his own, the ongoing depression over my favorite author in the whole universe having Alzheimers, American service men and women STILL at war, risking their lives and fighting and dying EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY, men and women whom I think about because, ‘been there, done that, but at least my war eventually fucking ENDED and I was able to go back home’, and above all else, the knowledge that it has been almost one year since Cassie’s father died, and her grief, her entire families’ grief, is still vivid and raw, because Ed was truly one of the nicest, sweetest men that I ever had the chance to know, and when you’ve been priviliged to have lived with a wonderful man like that your entire life, you don’t just ‘get over’ his passing in a week, a month, or a year. It always seems like it happened just yesterday, damn it. And it just doesn’t stop.

Seriously, with so much true pain and violence and suffering I think about…

Someone trying to be witty and shocking by naming their Arena Team ‘Rosa Parks stole my seat’ doesn’t exactly flip my skirt up. At all. It’s not a blip on my personal radar.

It’s just… a bullshit topic to get worked up about. And I don’t give a shit if 65 Arena Teams share that name. That doesn’t tell me there are that many KKK racist motherfuc^*s willing to spew hate playing WoW, that just tells me there are that many ignorant kids that saw some meme on an edgy TV show somewhere that they are imitating cause they think it’s cool.

And people who get totally worked up about it just… good lord. If that is honestly the worst thing going on in your life right now, if no one you know is suffering worse than that, if your moral outrage over an Arena Team name is seriously leading the race on important topics in your heart, then I am glad you have no real pain in your life to deal with. Now get over it. You said your piece, let it go. It’s just not worth my concern.

If that makes me a racist, I don’t give a shit. In the space in my mind reserved for things that I worry about, there is only so much capacity. And there are way too many things that I feel outrank that crap right now. Things that have not gotten so much as a mention on WoW Insider, not a thought, not a passing shot.

Like… off the top of my head…

I’m sure that out of the entire area of China that has suffered so much tragedy so suddenly, so brutally… there had to have been some serious WoW gamers. Maybe they’re not on the servers I play on, but they are still part of our community.

How’s about a moment to find out how to donate money or support in the form of blankets or other goods to whichever relief services are trying to get through to help them? The WoW community is worldwide, part of the magic of playing an MMORPG like WoW is that we are taking part in a world with no true geographical divides. If you want to, you can find a way to play on any server you want. It busts the walls down, damn it.

Another thing I think of often…

How are American service people that play WoW dealing with their time overseas in a war zone? We know that some of them have occasional access to computers for emailing and video conferencing with their families. Do some active duty American warriors get the chance to play WoW with their sons or daughters or wives or husbands? When they are gone from their families and friends for years at a time, do some of them stay in touch and share experiences through a multiplayer game?

Is it possible for people to donate games or participate in some other way to help our warriors in all branches of the service have games to play during their downtime?

That would be something I’d like to know more about. Call me crazy.

One thing I will be thankful for. Godwin’s Law, as far as I know, wasn’t invoked on that Rosa Parks article, so the comments didn’t go STRAIGHT to hell. But to see that many people, butthurt both FOR and AGAINST the damn thing going at it just makes my jaw ache.

Okay, rant time is over. I’ve finally dug out the bitterness that has been festering in my gut all week, and I can go about the rest of my week in peace.

For those of you that read that, I really apologise for throwing so much depressing crap out there. But I really do feel a lot better for getting it down so I can move past it.

23 Responses to “A massive amount of bitterness”
  1. Dechion says:

    I have known of a few folks able to stay in touch while they are over there. I am not sure exactly how, and don’t ask. Like you, I am home now.

    Well said.

  2. Anna says:

    I know several folks over there that still manage to play some, depending on their situation, and others that only have online access once a week or so.

    I don’t think your bitterness is ill-timed or ill-directed at all, and your commitment to your priorities is commendable. We live in a world where it’s very easy to get tied up into tiny little things and forget about the stuff that really actually matters. It’s not “depressing crap” when you take the stand of – Hey this sucks, let’s try to do something to help.

    And maybe seeing this will jump start some aid relief from the wow-blog-corner of the internet. I know I clicked a link :)

    As usual, Bear, well done and well said.

  3. Dammerung says:

    BBB,

    For those who wish to support the Chinese relief efforts:
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=760

    For those who wish to assist the 22,000+ dead in Myanmar(Burma):
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=754

    And another link for the Armed Forces:
    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=531

    All of these are from the same site I realize but it looked like the most legit site of the ones I found.

    As for your post. I 100% agree.

  4. Sorosst says:

    Heya B,

    I don’t often reply to your posts, but I’m replying to this one.

    My wife’s brother was in Baghdad for about 15 months last year. He just got back at the end of December. During that time, he leveled his hunter to 70 (he had to roll a new character when he got over there – a hunter was the only type that could survive his 3000+ ping). He wasn’t kicking down doors or pulling triggers, but he was still in freakin’ BAGHDAD so it wasn’t exactly a picnic. I know WoW helped him out a lot because his wife, my wife (his sister) and a bunch of other people he knows in ‘real life’ made it a point to be online and do quests or whatever with him while he was away. (He also got to video chat with his wife and their infant daughter, when he wasn’t grinding mats or doing quests.) So I just wanted to say thanks for linking to a charity which helps out out guys (and gals!) over there with something that can be really meaningful.

  5. Doodle says:

    THIS is why I am a proud Sidhe Devil, John. THIS RIGHT HERE. Yes, it can be considered racism… but like you said… there’s a hell of a lot more going on in this world than worrying about Arena Team names. Does the name offend me? No. Do I think it’ can be hurtful? Yes. Do I think it’s stupid? HELL YES.

    That said, I absolutely report every racist comment I see on the official forums. I report every sexist character name, or guild name. I have an ‘open ticket’ about 25% of the time I am on-line… because I think that stupid leads to stupid and for every “Rosa Parks Stole My Seat” you’ll get a “Die Darky Die” because people like to ‘escalate’ their dumbassery. I do, however, whisper the people I’m reporting, and tell them I’m reporting them and why. 99% of the time, I’ll get a smart-assed comment back, but every once in a while I get a “Thanks, I thought it was funny, but now it’s kinda embarassing.” or “I didn’t realize it was offensive.”

    I also think these comment areas and discussion lists and forums can feed crazy people… which is why I stay away from most of them. :)

  6. Denahi says:

    Not sure what else to say, but wow. No need to say sorry for this. B^3, thank you.

  7. Pochani says:

    It’s so true though, that so many people dont seem to have more important things to get worked up over than a stupidly named Arena Team… like… really. Quite frankly, the whole racisim thing is getting well over played in a lot of places for very few good reasons, but that’s besides the point.

    We have someone in our guild that’s currently fighting in the war right now as well and he manages to find the time to get on once an a while and sometimes even raid. It’s always a relief to see him log on.

    I’ve said it myself many, many times: “If that is honestly the worst thing going on in your life right now, if no one you know is suffering worse than that, if your moral outrage over is seriously leading the race on important topics in your heart, then I am glad you have no real pain in your life to deal with.”

    Seriously… people need to pick the fights worth fighting, go get a hobby or a job or something. There’s certainly much more disturbing things going on than a poorly and maybe slightly offensive arena team in a damn game.

    Way to hit it home BBB.

  8. bigbearbutt says:

    Sorosst, that’s simply awesome. That cheers me up, right there, just knowing that, for some folks over there, there CAN be a chance at some downtime and shared experiences and even gaming with family, which, I’ll be blunt, I KNOW is a big deal when you are far, far from home. That cheers me up no end. Thanks for sharing that.

    Doodle, see, that’s the right way to go about it.
    If you are offended, if you want to make sure that the crap you see does not go unchallenged, then YES, open a ticket, follow the process… but ALSO let the damn person KNOW that you at least are unimpressed, that you think what you saw is inappropriate and racist/sexist/speciest (for the Nelf hunter haters out there), and maybe, just on the outside, the person will themselves have the chance to realize they weren’t as cute as they thought. He may honestly not realize that what he thought was witty, snarky or edgy is just stupid and wrong and full of fail.

    There are tons of young kids out there that are ignorant of the history of struggle against hate, but watch South Park. They just don’t have a clue about the context of what they’re watching.

    Hell yeah, fight the hate… but have a sense of perspective.

  9. bigbearbutt says:

    You know, there is a reason this came up today. I did a check on the highest trafficked WoW Insider articles to prepare the current heavy hitters topic list for Saturday’s podcast. I know it’ll change by Saturday, but I wanted to make sure I was well versed in the top stories.

    There are a ton of great article subjects there. Patch 2.4.2 news, of course, Arena Season 4 Brutal Gladiator gear, Is it fair for Arthas to be 10 mannable (which ties in to Matticus’ “What is Epic” articles)…

    All good subjects. Good articles. Good comments. No, my shifting perspectives was nowhere near the top, not even close.

    At the time I checked, Racist Arena Names was number 5 for the week.

    Just, hell no.

    Thankfully, Mike Schramm’s directions to me made it clear that I was not bound to have to discuss all the top subjects. I can use my discretion in what I think is appropriate material to talk about on the podcast.

    And I’m going to restrict myself to positive WoW Insider news. Well, and maybe some guild drama if any good stuff comes out.

  10. Mitch says:

    Is it the worst thing going on the world? No.

    Is it a horrible menace that is happening in WoW? Yes.

    What you’re talking about and what is being talked about are in different spheres. You’re talking about something that is more macro and has to do with real life. What everyone else is talking about applies to WoW, not to war or natural disasters.

    I don’t see the big fuss about all this. Why are you mad that people are discussing things about WoW on a WoW website?

    I didn’t read any comments on the article because I figured there would be too much crap to read, so I don’t know how far off the arguments got, but I just don’t understand . . .

  11. Pidge says:

    When my wife and I got married, she kept her maiden name. Worked fine except for when we had to come up with a listing for the telephone book. They only allowed one listing, so we finally decided to list both our last names with a hyphen (ie, Smith-Jones). Now it’s easy to tell the telemarketers — “is Mr. Smith-Jones in?”

    Another couple we know decided to both change their last names to something new. Worked for them.

    I figure it really doesn’t matter. How you treat each other is what makes or breaks marriages, not your choice of last names.

    As to your larger point, I agree there are definitely larger issues to expend your energy on that arena team names. If you really care about racism there are a lot of things you can do that will have a more immediate and significant impact. If you care about humanity, just look at the front page or the community section of any paper and you’ll find all sorts of things you could be doing to make a difference.

    Still, I think it IS ok to call out racism where you see it. Do you need to boycott WoW or start a petitiond drive? Probably not. But sometimes people do offensive things just because they want to be funny or edgy or cool. And sometimes they need to hear, “hey, I see this or heard that, and, you know, that’s not really funny or edgy or cool.”

    (One of the things I’ve always liked about my guild is that they have a policy about no abusive or offensive language in guild chat. You’d think people would hate that restriction on their “free expression,” but it’s really never been an issue. People are pretty quick to call others when offensive stuff slips in now and then, and all it usually takes is a low key comment to get people civil again. People still have strong opinions and sometimes strong disagreements, but I think everyone works together better because we’re not constantly slipping into the mindless shorthand of racist, sexist remarks and swear words.)

  12. Rampel says:

    I am not a politically correct person. Not by a long shot!

    I don’t believe that just because someone is offended by something that it gives them the right to impose their beliefs or feelings on anyone else.

    That said; there is a fine line that we all walk in the balance between freedom and oppression. I try measure my feelings/reactions towards others based upon what I think is decent of a human being. Then there are other times where my feelings/reactions are so over-the-top that I can barely stand it. Grey area FTW!

    I am constantly amazed by the types of “issues” people choose to focus much of their attention on. No, actually, I’m more befuddled.

    While I can understand and even empathize with most people’s feelings on many “issues”. Sometimes, I just don’t see their “issue” as being more important or having more weight than a plethora of other “issues” we are challenged with in this world. But, that is life, I suppose.

  13. Jason says:

    I’ll echo the others with another ‘Well said’. There certainly are a ton more things going on the world worth getting underwear in a wad over, and this is nowhere near the top of that list.

    I myself was truly blessed to be deployed to a location where I was able to spend quite a bit of time talking with loved ones once a week or so. My heart goes out to those who weren’t as lucky as I was, and things like that should be rating a bit higher on the priority list. All that energy spent, nay wasted getting in a huff over some moron with a mental age of roughly 12 trolling the internet could be spent organizing donation drives to benefit almost anything, and it would be time and effort well spent.

    On a closing note Bear, and I doubt this will change your perspective much, but don’t feel the need to apologize for ranting. It’s your world, and we’re just here visiting. Besides, speaking for myself, your rants are second only to storytime because they’re always spot on.

    Cheers mate, keep on truckin.

  14. Urth says:

    Lol. Ok. I guess you’re allowed to get worked into a tizzy if you’re being asked to discuss ad nauseum the top articles on WoWInsider. I sifted your post here (as one sometimes needs to ;-) ) and thought jeez John no need to justify your interests versus one article on WoWInsider. Like, set the potato down already. It may be hot, but its still just a potato.

    And while I don’t want to see you stressing out about what you’d say in response to the Rosa Parks issue… I REALLY don’t want Schramm tackling it. Talk about bulls and china shops.

    In any case, I weighed in on that debacle in support of Amanda Dean. She writes provocative, intelligent and informative articles and people pick her apart for writing spelling errors, much less polarizing opinions. I like her, and agree with her.

  15. Raij says:

    It can’t be making you racist, because it’s simply not your opinion. At most, you could be accused of closing your eyes to it.
    Such lengthy discussion threads are almost never worth their disk space, while there is such a simple solution to it: report them, put them on ignore and forget about it.
    On the other hand, there are soo many discussion threads with a significance level below any measurability threshold. Pages of flames about class changes that MIGHT GET into the next patch? Like there was nothing more important than the Hunter/Druid-Balance in Arena? Such are things I don’t get at all.
    Believe it or not, I feel like you do now – about 90% of the time.

    Take care and get nice moments to counterbalance those existential moods.

  16. Lady Jess says:

    When my hubby was over there, we hadn’t discovered WoW yet, but we did get to spend very valuable time together via yahoo messenger and web cams. It was awesome SEEING he was ok, and for him getting to see “home” every day. It’s very common for them to have internet i their quarters these days, which I think is just wonderful. Kept my sanity for those 16 months.

  17. Raynmaker, Alevas (Uther) says:

    BBB,

    All of your comments were on the money, but one really struck with me… and it’s not even that big of a deal to most people. I just started ready Pratchett about a year ago, and I’ve burned through about half of the Disworld books. It’s so sad and I hope he puts out a ton of new work before he’s unable to write anymore.
    Thanks for the link for Match It – I hadn’t heard about it yet.

    Good luck on Saturday!

  18. Mikefurion says:

    BBB,

    Just want to start off by saying that I have nothing but the up most respect for the Marines. My dad was (and always will be) a Marine. That should tell you everything you need to know.

    Anyway, as for myself, I am in the United States Air Force and am currently finishing a tour at Balad AB, Iraq. My daily routine goes something like this: Work a 12-14 hour day, when I’m released call my wife, go to the gym, and end the day with browsing for WoW info on the web at our bases media center. More specifically, I typically end the day browsing for Druid Tank/Dps info. So while I hardly ever comment, I’ve been following your work on Shifting Perspectives and Big Bear Butt for awhile now. So much so, that I’ve pain stakingly wrote your guides on Tank Gear , Rawr, and Raid Consumable out by hand since I don’t have access to a printer. Just so I can have it ready to use as soon as I return home. The good news is that I am returning home soon.

    My wife and I just started playing WoW before I deployed and I currently have a lvl 50 NE Druid ( http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Alleria&n=Mikefurion ) patiently waiting for me at the inn in Darnassus. My guild is currently farming Karazhan. With the help of your guides it is my hope to reach 70 and join them in a reasonable time frame once I return home.

    So BBB, form one service member to another, I just want to thank you for the hard work you put into your guides. They’ve given me something to look forward to at the end of the day and something else to look forward to once I return home. In short, its been kinda a morale boost for me.

    -Mikefurion
    332 EMXS
    VIPER PHASE
    BALAD AB, IRAQ

  19. Game Dame says:

    BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO!!!!!! Wow, I’ve never agreed with someone 100% across the board on a post, but you managed it BBB. It’s like you can read my mind. I am the same way as you are about calling people on their bullshit, getting their priorities straight, and just flipping using their brains more. On a personal note, it is with a sore heart that I share your pain about Terry Pratchett. He’s been my favorite author for 20 years now. In addition to congratulating you on agreeing with me (ha!), I want to sincerely thank you from my deep heart for posting all those useful links. Let us also not forget about the cyclone victims (maybe I missed that reference) in Myanmar. Looking forward to seeing you over on Sidhe Devils again soon. –Natalie / Abuto

  20. Know what you mean… Way too many ‘politically correct police’ out there getting butthurt over really minor things…

    Anyway, don’t worry about your friends in Singapore. Our little island is a tad bit far from China to have to worry about aftershocks. There is a reasonably sized expatriate Singapore community there, but at latest report, all of them seems to have escaped being hurt.

    However, I do second your call for help in terms of donation, etc to the humanitarian disasters in China and Myanmar.

    Cheers

  21. Merlot says:

    You’re absolutely right to put this particular issue into perspective – I agree there are more important things in the world to worry about. But I don’t see what’s wrong with standing up to predjudice, ignorance and malice, even if it is only in an insignificant little game. I don’t think that diminishes the more significant issues.

  22. Dr. Woo says:

    B3, I’d say you’re damn close to being right on. The whole racism thing in WoW has gotten worse over the years, but it still has a long way to go before it gets as bad as, say, web forums/discussion boards on the Interwebs. A lot of it has sneaked into the game in the form of guild/arena names like “Naga Stole My Bike” or “Nagas in the Slave Pens.” But honestly, “Rosa Parks Stole My Seat”? That doesn’t even have anything to do with the game. It’s not even clever. But what else are the WoW Insider folks gonna talk about? It’s kind of an issue, like I said, that racially-charged statements are slowly (I emphasize slowly) making their way into the game, but the article seemed to be unreasonably tirade-ish, which is where I agree with you…with everything going on right now – disasters taking innocent lives; men and women who signed up to defend the country dying for, at best, questionable reasons; an economy teetering on the edge of depression; personal rights and civil liberties violations running rampant – a few kids trying to ruffle some feathers seems rather trite by comparison.

    All I have to say is thank goodness there are private organizations out there devoted solely to relief efforts, counseling, and distributing necessary goods and services to those put in harm’s way in any form. Donate as much as you can afford to these charities; even if some of the money goes towards overhead costs, it keeps them around, and you never know when you might be thankful for their selfless efforts in helping the common man.

  23. Carnavorr says:

    Honestly — I got really upset reading the article… not because I believe any of it was racist, but to see so many people getting their panties in a wad over it.

    There’s quite a number of us younger people who grew up in places where racism was considered a thing of the past. So seeing a name like “Rosa Parks Stole My Seat”, I find it hilarious in a poking-fun-at-ourselves kinda way.

    I think people have gotten so paranoid about not being racist, that they end up making trivial things out to be seem racist.

    It’s just sad to see so many PC people with no sense of humor.

    As for the fellas down range… I’m an Active Duty USAF member, serving in Germany at the moment. A lot of buddies down range seem to have pretty consistent access to the net (MySpace, etc.). I’m fairly certain they can’t do any gaming though, due to pretty strict gov’t network regulations. Last time I was down there in ’03 it was a lot more difficult than it is now.

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