A while ago I made a conscious choice not to address games that have yet to be released, though I never formally codified such a rule. That lacking of a formal code is what brings me here today after Infinity Ward’s latest video for Modern Warfare 2 (about which I was slightly interested after leaked footage of the terrorist mission). After a night of sleeping on the matter and reading other persons’ opinions, I wanted to record my own for both my own sake and an explanation why such a seemingly innocuous video makes me hurl angry expletives at my monitor. Mostly, I realize this is preaching to the choir, but I’ve really had enough of such a flippant attitude from the gaming community in which I’ve been involved since I was four years old.
[At this point I would ask you to stop and read my apology here. This paragraph was initially much more damaging to the overall point of what I was trying to say, and I wish to both learn from and show others what to avoid in such discussions.]
FAG is a word I’ve had to live with since middle school, when I did not display the proper masculine characteristics that were expected of me in the middle of Tennessee. Hurled at my back, it made me stay in the closet three years longer than I would have otherwise.
FAG is a term that was screamed at my back angrily as I walked down the halls of a high school in Tennessee or down the streets in any city I have lived thereafter, deciding that yes, I was genderqueer, and I was going to dress the way I felt.
FAG was written in permanent marker on my dorm room door at Wabash College when I went to visit a friend at Oberlin one weekend.
FAG came through my dorm room telephone around 2 AM nightly for a whole week and intermittently through the next four years at Wabash. This would be accompanied with harassment about seeing me at a gay club in Indianapolis, then insinuating sex acts and being very crude with me.
FAG is the sound of three men yelling from a car and deciding to jump out, punch me to the sidewalk, and kick me, leaving scars on my knee that still persist, and that comes up every time I wear something that shows them to the general public.
The point? The point is that the word incites equal parts anger and pain in me. The word used casually when not referring to a bundle of sticks (or a cigarette on certain islands) is not excusable in any form, by whoever might wish to use it, less so a rather large videogame company.
There is no attitude today different than any other that regards an insensitive demeanor in males. It has always been the excuse of persons that others, the victims of such language or their friends, are taking things too seriously. That the company using it is not the problem, the problem lies in general society; I have friends who are ‘insert word’ and they are not offended by it; ‘insert word’ is used by the community itself, so I should be able to use it!
The problem, of course, is based in a general cultural milieu, but that does not mean we can and should not call out a large company when it uses such language. It sets an example and a precedent to continue such usage.
Edit: The video has been pulled, and I have had a pleasant exchanging of words and an apology from Robert Bowling.