Apologies and Housekeeping

First, I wish to apologize.

In my post FAGS, I wrote a paragraph which was both erroneous and damaging to my point:

I do not absolve Infinity Ward or Activision of any culpability in this. Whether or not the developers or marketing team, or a combination of the two, is fully part of this is not the point to me. The point to me is FAGS. If that word were a certain word starting with N (used against African Americans), another starting with S (people of Latin American descent), or perhaps C (generally used against Asians, specifically the Chinese), we’d be having a different discussion (and the use of the words pussies made me realize that I was going to possibly use a C word used against females, that is, unfortunately, likely considering their use of the word pussies). The use of FAGS is rather popular on Xbox Live, however. We come to accept it as just something that boys do while mocking them.

Avalon’s Willow appropriately called me out on this, and it does engage in unacceptable behavior. Specifically, in oppression Olympics. Considering the racism still present in videogames and media the world over, the paragraph makes certain assumptions which I cannot back, nor which have any validity.

My original intent and feelings about the issue remain. The use of fags in the video was a gross misstep, but that particular paragraph did nothing but dilute my point with insipid rhetoric.

I reiterate, I apologize and hope to not step into the same blindness again.

Second, I have started writing for The Border House, a collective of diverse personalities, sexualities, sexes, genders, races, et cetera to:

celebrate diversity in gaming from a wide variety of cultural angles. We aim to be a friendly space for women, feminists, people of color, gay, lesbian, transgender individuals, those with disabilities, and any other marginalized group and their allies to read news and opinion on and discuss video games, MMORPGs, virtual worlds, and social media. Our goal is to provide up to date relevant news and opinion journalism without cultural bias and using a feminist lens.

Regardless of my own involvement, I believe many people who read this blog would also appreciate such a space.

Of late I have fallen off my post weekly horse, but hope to crawl back on. I imagine a portion of my posts from here forward will also be discussing my own writing and further pressing points. I like to view blogs as a place to put forth words that can be discussed and turn into a conversation.

About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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3 Responses to Apologies and Housekeeping

  1. Chris Lepine says:

    Although I appreciate the point that claiming moral indignation over another “oppressed” group does not lead anywhere useful, I don’t agree that the statement was insipid or purely rhetorical. You may not want me on your side for this, but it seems important to say.

    To me, you laid out a bit of the racial terrain that characterizes modern social life in the USA/Canada. “Fag” is a part of the common parlance up north here, in a way that the “N-word” or the “C-words” etc are not. The fact that I can’t say “nigger” publicly (my apologies to my friends, this has a point) expresses the reality that I’m morally culpable for that word in a way that I am NOT culpable for saying ‘fag’. I have never met someone who has said “the f-word” to mean gay.

    People can play with the discursive rhetoric of inclusivity and openness as much as they want, but there are REAL and consistent social practices that make “some animals more equal than others”. I took your post to heart because it’s an ingrained practice among gamers, EVEN those who politically and morally claim to be liberalist and socially inclusive. It’s hurtful beyond my understanding of it, and I appreciate that you shared your experiences candidly and honestly.

    Given what I have read of your work over the last year or two, there isn’t a second that I believe that you were disingenuously playing the “oppression olympics” game. There are many ways of interpreting someone’s writing, and I’ll take the one that recognizes your lived situation and intentions (as you have communicated them) over the one that treats your words like some objective discursive fact.

    Maybe an apology was forthcoming to someone from those racial groups who felt personally offended by it, but in my experience (AS a member of a visible minority who others seem to feel is oppressed) it was spoken honestly and truthfully.

  2. Denis Farr says:

    Chris, in theory, I’d agree with you, but we do not live theory. Fag is much more used in online gaming speech, though I have also heard racial slurs used over headsets and through speakers, much to my chagrin.

    However, this was an overstep by Infinity Ward, which was admitted. While it is possibly more likely that it would have been caught in the case of a racial slur, I cannot be certain of that, and we are again dealing with theory, not fact. They admitted not paying enough attention and thinking things through, which is where their privilege comes in and they might not automatically flag something as offensive. It is in such a case that my paragraph showed my own privilege.

    Therefore, the paragraph was inelegant, if you would prefer another term. There were much better ways of saying what I wanted without bringing other slurs into the equation, and I chose the incorrect way of doing such. Just as easily, I could have enumerated the instances in which I’ve heard the term fag used in games and how the intent has never been positive, further bolstering my own personal experiences with such. Doing such would not have made anyone (who is likely to be a repeat reader of this blog) feel uncomfortable with the point, and as I stated, just further cemented my own point.

  3. Chris Lepine says:

    Yup, there are always better ways about going about making a point on a sensitive issue. I’d just prefer that people don’t presume my offense on the basis of my belonging to a certain racial/social group. I can’t speak for anyone else, nor should they presume they can speak for me out of “care” for or “sensitivity” to my racial category. :)

    Besides, I’m much more offended that your obsession with Just Another BioWare RPG (JABWRPG) has prevented you from playing Mirror’s Edge. :D

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