Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Making a Mockery

What's the difference between mockery, 'bashing', hate speech, teasing, bullying, etc? How is it that mocking something is ok, but bashing something isn't? Isn't 'bashing' just another form of mockery?

Sybilla Says:
I think it's a question of degree. Teasing is meant to either annoy or playfully mock the recipient. It can be either playful or mean, and sometimes gets taken to extremes, at which point it's no longer teasing, but abuse. Bashing, however, is aggressive and threatening, the verbal equivalent of getting severely beat up. In the middle is mocking, which, to me, is like heavy-handed teasing with malicious intent. Bullying is a means of intimidation and usually carries a threat or undercurrent of violence.

Wikipedia offers an in-depth look into bashing and its implications.

While writing this damn long comment, I consulted a dictionary, and this is what it told me:

Tease: "1. To annoy or pester; vex. 2. To make fun of; mock playfully."

Bash: "To engage in harsh, accusatory, threatening criticism." Also "to beat or assault severely."

Mock: "To treat with ridicule or contempt; deride."

Bully: "To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner."

So yes, I think it's a matter of degree and intent. The difference between teasing and bashing is much like the difference between laughing at someone for the way she's dressed and punching her in the mouth because of it.

It seems that the question becomes, when a person or group is engaged in an activity that mocks or saterises another person or group-what is their intent and motivation, and will it be hurtful and truly harmful for the people being mocked, were they to experience it?

I think that the lions share of responsibility for determining if something is harmful is first, the recipient or subject of the mockery, followed by society as a whole. First for the subject, to stand up and say what's being done is hurtful, and should not be accepted, then for society to agree, and take steps to eliminate the mocking.

For example, take blackfaced performance. Up until the mid 20th century, blackface was considered and acceptable way to portray African-Americans. No one though twice about if it was offensive or harmful. Even some African-American performers wore blackface when portraying black characters. It took years before that form of mocking the apperance and stereyotyped personality of 'coons' was deemed unacceptable.

Obviously, offending someone with mockery or sature is unavoidable, because of the nature of satire, but when does mockery cross the line, and how do we determine that? Just saying "X deserves to be mocked" is unacceptable, because it runs perilously close to telling someone to just get a sense of humor, or you're 'just joking'.

Tell that to the Jews trying to eliminate the mockery of the 'moneylender', or the Pagans and the warty witch at Halloween, or the Christians trying to get out from under the shadow of Phelps and Robertson, and so on and so forth...
Speculative Preenactment. Like the SCA or Civil War players, only for the future. Not like a LARP, with stats and storyline and such.

This came out of a bit of discussion of Uru as an Alternate Reality Game, rather than a MMORPG. Blade actually participated in Majestic for a while, and I would count The Stone as a puzzle based ARG, because of its offline comunity aspects.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Quote of the Day

From the VAXJedi:
Everytime a bunch of people take a stand against intolerance of various forms, and call people on intolerance, I hear someone say something like 'aren't you being intolerant of intolerant people?'. When I hear that, I just want to be intolerant of their right to breathe by wrapping my hands around their neck. It annoys me because it's just semantic gymnastics that simply isn't as clever as the person thinks it is.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Beginnings, for all of us.

Can you do it? Can you walk through this door Cyan has given us, with open heart, open hand, and open mind? Can you start with a blank page, and begin anew?

Who gives a flying squee if such and such a group has a 'hood already? Who cares if so and so has made an avatar? Sure, we can go back to our own little corners and kvetch to ourselves, but are we humble enough to take what Cyan is offering, and make a fresh start of it? Can we let the wounds heal, or will we keep opening them? Can we put away the blame and judgement and rebuild, or, like the D'ni, will our pride keep us down?

What 'they' and 'them' are doing is unimportant. What matters is you. Me. Are we ready for d'mala, and D'mala? I sure the hell am ready to try.

*holds out hand*

Who's coming?


How is D'mala that different from UU and the shards we already have?

Several big reasons, most of which can be found on the new UU FAQ:

17) Who are the people in Until Uru who are asking questions and doing surveys?
Employees of Cyan and our licensees will be periodically asking questions and collecting information. Thanks for your input.

19) Does this mean URU Live is coming back?
No, this is just a small step.

20) Will fan Ages be supported?
It is Cyan's goal to allow our fans to begin to write their own Ages. We hope to provide the tools and process in the future. But for now they are not supported.

Contrast this to the original UU FAQ, which made it very clear that we were never to expect new content, that Cyan wan't involved in UU at all, and UU was just something they were allowing.

Now, we have an offical "cannon" shard, where we can anticipate seeing DRC people, there's the potential of Cyan-created storyline, and officially sacntioned content. It fills in the gaps that UU had. And, there was a whole lot of "yet"s in Rand's letter.

I think many of the problems that plagued the community were a symptom of bored people trying to fill the no content void. With the potential of a changing story and enviroment, I think much of that will be eliminated.

And the until in UU is much more than just symbolic, now...

21) Will Until Uru be shut down if Uru Live comes back?
The name "Until Uru" says it all.

Uru: Ages Beyond Myst can be found very cheaply on Amazon. Uru: Complete Chronicles works too, and can be had just as cheaply. Working on getting the tutorial information for the needed dual install.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Quote of the Week

"There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers or principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of the flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril, we can never surrender. The future is all around us waiting in moments of transition to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of the future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Well, that explains it!

Conversation with a seeekrit Cyantist:
Eleri: Where in the Cyan contract does it say "employees must enjoy the fine art of making the fans sweat." *chuckle*
Unnamed Cyantist: umm in the last paragraph .. Near the line that says we must make comments that seem vague
Eleri: is there a special training for that?
UC: more like watching others..
Eleri: "Enigmatics the RAWA Way", sorta like a spendy weekend seminar
UC: or Enigmatic for Dummies - a cheap book you can buy at Borders
Eleri: heehee

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lonely in a crowd

On a good day we can attempt a family outing…on a bad day we stay home and fight over the last two Excedrin at the bottom of the bottle.

That's a quote from another SMS family, but it could just as easily be us. Trying to explain the ups and downs of SMS to 'normal' people often ends up like trying to describe blue to a blind man. Especially when it comes to behavior. Poeople have a hard time beliving that a child can be 'hard wired' to hurt themselves, or that they might really not understand cause and effect. I'm ready to print out little cards that say "No, my child isn't an undiciplined brat, she has a super-rare genetic mutation. Thank you for your compassion." Handing that to someone after they've made a snarky comment may be mean, but it makes me feel better when they eat crow.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


RSJM talks alot about how (if I interpret his words correctly) the core of true Christianity is trying to follow Jesus' exmaple of living a life of Love. And while he and I disagree on just what areas of loving one another are OK, the basic message is one I think would make the world a much nicer place if more of us loved. Not just romantic love, or sexual love, or parental/child love, but the idea that everything we do should come from a place of true loving compassion for each other and the space around us. When you talk to someone, when you interact with them, how are you giving them love in that moment? How are you letting your loving self show? Are your actions coming from a point of true compassion and caring, or some other emotion? How would those words and actions, if they were directed at you, impact you?