Garwulf's Corner

Garwulf's Corner
Garwulf's Emails from the Edge Part IV

Robert B. Marks | 16 Mar 2016 16:00
Garwulf's Corner - RSS 2.0

"One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."

- Doctor Who, William Hartnell

It is Garwulf #29, and that means it's time for a brand new "Emails from the Edge," with even more lampshading of the fact that no actual emails are involved. However, it's also the last regular Garwulf's Corner that will be appearing here on the pages of The Escapist...which means that there is some housekeeping to do.


Garwulf's Corner over the last year has been one of those projects where every minute was a joy (even the ones where I had to sift through the many layers of the Puppy Wars, or read up on outrage culture). And, now that we come to the end of this chapter of the column's life, there are some people to recognize and thank.

First, the editor-in-chief, Josh Vanderwall. Not only did he acquire the column, he trusted me to take it wherever I felt it needed to go, and ran interference for me when it became necessary - and that's what a good editor does. Let me put it this way: I never received instructions from higher up telling me what to write, or demanding that I follow a particular editorial policy. Everything you read was all me.

Next, there are the section editors I worked with on Garwulf's Corner: John Keefer, Jonathan Bolding, and Ron Whitaker. Jonathan Bolding in particular helped out with what proved to be the most difficult installment of the lot: the first column on the Hugo Awards. The initial drafts had to undergo update after update in a constantly changing situation, and a week before the installment went up, it was a mess. If it hadn't been for Jonathan's editorial passes and comments, it would not have come out even close to decent.

And last, but not least, there's you. Yes, you - my readers. You see, the thing about this column is that it is the first voice in the discussion, and the victory condition has always been an active back and forth in the forums, with people throwing ideas around and coming up with new ones. And you have never disappointed - even if it only lasted a year here, you proved that we really can have a true marketplace of ideas, if only we will take the time to reach for it. So, without further ado, it's time to finish up with your words.

Garwulf #22, "Just What Is The Genre Killer?" generated one of the smaller discussions over the history of the column. Albino boo disagreed with my assessment, suggesting that instead we were seeing the games industry in its mature form:

Gaming has the benefit of falling real terms prices and increasing consumers. Hardware and software price point have stayed the same while inflation has cut the real terms cost, meaning there are more people that can afford to buy
hardware and games now than 25 years ago. If you go back to the games crash of the 80s sales where limited to western
Europe, North America and Japan. Due to the political and economic changes since then there are literally 100s of
millions more people that can afford to game.[...]Some franchise might go into abeyance for a while, but like movies, someone will do a reboot or sequel sooner or later.

Imperioratorex Caprae suggested that while the games industry may have reached maturity, a crash is still likely coming:

More likely the industry will change sooner than later, and these larger than life type publishers may just start to fail, or at least severely cut back their sizes. Like the recording industry, independent folks are becoming more and more able to produce their own works and get them out with relatively tiny budgets (Five Nights at Freddies for example). Its not walled off by huge budgets any longer, you don't need the machine to drive your budget (crowdfunding)... Publishers aren't going to go away, neither is the AAA market but the shift from dominance is coming and I'm sure more than a few large scale pubs are not going to make it intact.

Garwulf #23, "Recollections of Doom," went up a week early due to an interesting quirk of fate, and generated a interesting discussion and a lot of nostalgic reminiscing across Facebook and the forums. First-time poster Kevin Theiss disagreed with my feelings about the new Doom, writing on Facebook that:

I was an attendee at QuakeCon 2015, and I got to try out the multiplayer alpha of the Doom reboot. I didn't know what to expect going in, since the I knew that the reboot had gone through a troubling development cycle prior to this. It was better than I could have imagined. I mean, I can see your point that it probably won't change the industry like the original did, but in an era where the FPS genre has become dominated by Call of Duty-style military shooters, this was an extreme breath of fresh air. It erased all my doubts, and went from "wait and see how it turns out" to "I need this game NOW!"

Imperioratorex Caprae recalled that:

DOOM was a virus. At least in the eyes of my middle school. It kept "infecting" the school computers somehow despite all attempts at wiping the drives (a time consuming task in that day). It was in no way shape or form due to my "teaching" kids how to install DOOM... nope, no way.

Garwulf #24, "A Few Words About 'Checking Privilege'" managed to start one of the best discussions I've ever seen on the topic. On Facebook, Michael R. Navas wrote:

Merely framing human rights as some baseline it in practice isn't doesn't invalidate the truth that out in the real world, having those rights respected is something you are lucky, or privileged, to have. It is a factually reasonable position.

That you see some political good to be had from framing it differently is something else than this being a problematic position on its own.

Using men's privilege as an example, Gethsemani pointed out that privilege still needs to be discussed for change to happen:

The problem is that many women's issues are dictated by male privilege. Things like the glass ceiling, the wage gap, sexual harassment and many other things are contingent on men having the privilege to discriminate against women or
just act like total dicks against women. That's why male privilege has to be discussed, because until it is address
women can not be equal to men. [...]It will suck for some men, those that don't want to see all their (hidden) benefits go, but you need to break
some eggs to make an omelette, especially if that omelette is equality.

But the last word should really go to Callate, who pointed out that:

Hatred comes very naturally to us. All of us. To be an "enlightened" human being in a diverse setting is a
balancing act, a constant re-assertion that the ways others are different is acceptable.

But we trip. And some of us, rather than admitting that we indulge in that hatred, choose instead to re-define it, to attempt to claim that our hatred is something else, something righteous- resistance to the status quo, backlash to an oppressor, rebellion against a tyrannical regime. "Afflicting the comfortable". "Punching up."

...Which is still punching. Hatred is hatred. And if you broaden things enough - and unless you watch carefully, you will - you will target someone unfairly. It says something to me that I see a lot of discussions that want to "move the goalposts" as far as what and who is acceptable now... but no one wants to remove the posts entirely. We want to reserve the right to hate those guys who really, really deserve it, to continue to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

Comments on