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Coyote Walks

New Article up at Cardboard Republic

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1 hour ago, cielago said:

here's a hot tip: a thing you like can be problematic, and that doesn't mean you have to stop liking it. it also doesn't mean the people who have a problem with it are any of the absurd things being said in this thread. i don't get why gamers react so virulently to this kind of stuff. 

Most here believe it is not problematic. That you believe it's a foregone conclusion shows exactly why gamers react virulently.

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24 minutes ago, player2636234 said:

Most here believe it is not problematic.

Yar, and some of us think that people using the word 'problematic' un-ironically are on about the same level as flat earthers.

Edited by InquisitorM

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28 minutes ago, player2636234 said:

Most here believe it is not problematic. That you believe it's a foregone conclusion shows exactly why gamers react virulently.

my point here was that you don't have to treat someone who doesn't like something you like as if they are trying to burn your house down. they may love it as much as you do. having problems with a thing doesn't precluding loving it. i love l5r, but i don't think its perfect. the impulse in this community, like so many other parts of gaming, to treat anyone who tries to point out its flaws or dare suggest that theres problems with it as if they are villains is toxic. 

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Okay so- this issue is very clearly devisive, and I'm not going to try and jump in on either side, because I think people have good points on both. 

 

...But can an we all go ahead right now and agree not to call Asian people Orientals? Cause regardless of whether or not L5R is cultural appropriation, that is racist/colonialist. 

 

At least in the States. Everybody else, sorry if this is less true for you guys.  Still, refering to an entire group of people with a word that is loaded with connotations of "foreign" and "mysterious" kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I just think it might be helpful to leave the adjective Oriental to describing objects like rugs (or old DnD supplements.)

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13 minutes ago, cielago said:

my point here was that you don't have to treat someone who doesn't like something you like as if they are trying to burn your house down. they may love it as much as you do. having problems with a thing doesn't precluding loving it. i love l5r, but i don't think its perfect. the impulse in this community, like so many other parts of gaming, to treat anyone who tries to point out its flaws or dare suggest that theres problems with it as if they are villains is toxic. 

The same is true of precisely what you're doing right here sir. Only the thing that we're pointing out isn't perfect is the views some people here share and insist are inviolable high ground.

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9 minutes ago, Haimei said:

...But can an we all go ahead right now and agree not to call Asian people Orientals? Cause regardless of whether or not L5R is cultural appropriation, that is racist/colonialist. 

 

At least in the States. Everybody else, sorry if this is less true for you guys.  Still, refering to an entire group of people with a word that is loaded with connotations of "foreign" and "mysterious" kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I just think it might be helpful to leave the adjective Oriental to describing objects like rugs (or old DnD supplements.)

It doesn't necessarily have the same connotations in the UK, at least, which is why you might see it crop up during our hours. 'The Orient' as a physical location still works alongside it's other uses.

Of course, this being the internet age, things are getting murkier as American language standards start to take over. But there you go.

Edited by __underscore__

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27 minutes ago, cielago said:

my point here was that you don't have to treat someone who doesn't like something you like as if they are trying to burn your house down. they may love it as much as you do. having problems with a thing doesn't precluding loving it. i love l5r, but i don't think its perfect. the impulse in this community, like so many other parts of gaming, to treat anyone who tries to point out its flaws or dare suggest that theres problems with it as if they are villains is toxic. 

Could you perhaps give an example of anyone in this thread fitting that description, or are you describing a mythical "unreasonable other" that represents maybe 1% of gamers?

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This article is a prime example one of the major failings of humanity today. People are so **** sensitive about the stupidest things. So what if someone or something is using 'your' culture. Guess what it isn't 'yours' to begin with. You belong to it, not the other way around. And... you can choose to change that! Hooray for higher brain function.

At worst people are offended. So what? What does being offended even do to you? Nothing unless you are a namby-pamby wuss with no real value to offer your community anyhow. To these whining, waste of oxygen, sjw's I would say (appropriating something from Lee Armey), Grow a spine you jackwagon.

The reality is simple. It's a game using a fantasy world. Don't like it? Don't play it. But shut up and take your offended self off to your safe space and leave reasonable people with common sense alone.

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There's a good half dozen+ posters in here who fit the petulant gamer stereotype, it's just amusing that the most egregious one turned up when they did.

But sure, I'm the one with the unquestioning opinions. I'll just wait to be told yet again how there's absolutely, definitely no such thing as cultural appropriation or whatever. I don't know where this 'only one side thinks they're right' rhetoric has come from, but it's bafflingly stupid either way.

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Most conversations I have seen about appropriation involve the party being appropriated from being an oppressed group. Like a white American wearing a native headdress for Halloween, or a 'sexy' geisha outfit. These practices either blaspheme/disrespect or perpetuate ignorance. Native headdresses are important to the peoples they come from, and are generally worn by those who have earned them. Taking that and having joe shmoe from the people that violently oppressed your people only a few generations ago is wildly upsetting. Obviously. Geisha are not prostitutes and have a rather specific culture, but US occupying forces(sensing a theme?) were solicited by prostitutes imitating geisha and the the confusing of the two became commonplace in American cultural understanding.

Something to keep in mind about cultural appropriation is that it is largely and American discussion. This means that the people talking about it speak from a US perspective, so immigrants and their decedents who speak out against it will have a different perspective than the people growing up in the culture they are defending. It is also made murky by the fact that oftentimes elements of a culture are specifically exported to make money and promote tourism. Most things in Japanese culture that show up in American culture are things Japan is proud of, or were cultivated to promote tourism. This does not apply to places that have not done this. African American culture isn't specifically exporting its slang to wider American culture, it is being adopted via normal osmosis, sometimes insultingly sometimes not.

Basically what I'm trying to say is this: Not all cultural sharing is appropriation; but when it is, it is due to the perceived harm that it does to the originating culture or perceptions of that culture. The conversation is largely held in America, which shapes its nature and subject; so using the same language with regard to Europe and Asia is not likely going to be a good idea.

Also, stop being rude yo.

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6 hours ago, RandomJC said:

:ph34r: I picked the easy one.

But my joking tone aside, I find it kind of silly the way some people get offended on other's people's behalf. If someone is offended by something I do, I'll apologize, and try not offend that person. I just don't believe in in being offended by something that other people may find offensive.

I think this is the issue I'm most concerned with in these two articles.  Neither of them claimed to be offended by anything themselves, but spoke about how it could be offensive to some people.  I don't really care if they keep or get rid of the Banzai shout, but I would mind if it was done without any reasonable evidence of causing animosity.  I don't really mind changing my behavior to not offend the people around me, I do this all the time as a salesman adjusting to the mannerisms of whoever I am consulting, but I do mind changing my behavior out of fear of something that may not exist.

1 hour ago, __underscore__ said:

There's a good half dozen+ posters in here who fit the petulant gamer stereotype, it's just amusing that the most egregious one turned up when they did.

But sure, I'm the one with the unquestioning opinions. I'll just wait to be told yet again how there's absolutely, definitely no such thing as cultural appropriation or whatever. I don't know where this 'only one side thinks they're right' rhetoric has come from, but it's bafflingly stupid either way.

Like what RandomJC said above my main opinion on L5R and cultural appropriation is that I have seen no evidence that anyone from Japan rightly cares, or that they could show any consistency of opinion against culture swapping.  Anime has been a major export, along with martial arts through history to today!  I would find it very odd if Japan didn't want us imagining games full of heroic, and villainous samurai.  Considering the epic works of Kurosawa are the basis for modern Samurai fantasy, while themselves being a Japan-ization of Western gun slingers...  there really isn't much room to squabble here.

I don't think anyone in this thread is voicing their opinion from anything but their best understanding, and intentions.  I don't mind being called a petulant gamer, or being told that I am responding to this because I feel attacked by it - what I do mind is someone directly criticizing me, and then deflecting my retort by pointing to a picture of a wounded ally cat as if they are the ones I'm fighting with.  I am not arguing with victims of Japanese invasion, or Japanese people who find this disrespectful.  I am returning points to internet jockeys who are trying to market their blog through fabricated controversy.  I am not stealing anything from Japanese people, as culture is one of their chief exports.  L5R is no more cultural appropriation than non-Japanese anime.

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3 hours ago, codegnave said:

 

Something to keep in mind about cultural appropriation is that it is largely and American discussion.

Oh yes, "cultural appropriation". A modem phenomenon that is possible "Only in America". And is only problematic now after generations of living in the security and excesses that could have only been possible by the imperialist, colonial, and expansionist practices of the "Manifest Destiny"/"America First" mentality of the American middle class.

Yea, I get it. I would question anything remotely resembling any of America's biggest sins of the past.

But I'm not American, which gives me a different perspective, and I think I can say that I think people may be over reacting sometimes.

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5 hours ago, shosuko said:

what I do mind is someone directly criticizing me, and then deflecting my retort by pointing to a picture of a wounded ally cat as if they are the ones I'm fighting with. 

fwiw I don't consider you to be one of the posters in here being needlessly obnoxious about the topic. Although I have to giggle at the 'fabricated controversy' nonsense, it has to be said.

Either way, there's a difference between actually engaging in the argument as you're doing (for the most part) and just making fun of the entire reason that people have those concerns.

What's particularly amusing, as someone who had those concerns, is that the article actually did a lot to address a number of them. Sure, it's a bit of a lightning rod for the bedwetters on the **** end of the current 'culture wars' nonsense, but it's actually a very effective, positive arguement for those on the fence about it. Treating it as some kind of cheap knock on the game does it a much bigger disservice.

Edited by __underscore__

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I fully accept I'm part of the problem, because instead of having nuanced conversation about serious issues, I prefer to be sarcastic and snarky. In my defense, any time i try to have that nuanced conversation, it becomes quickly apparent that the other party doesn't want one and only wants to play the superhero game Strawman. 

Like I said before, it's trading one arrogant racist behavior for another arrogant border-line racist behavior. I won't speak on behalf of what other cultures find appropriate, inappropriate, or even outright offensive because I have no right to. I can only speak to what I find offensive, because I don't really feel like falling into the same trap, just from the left side.

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5 hours ago, __underscore__ said:

Either way, there's a difference between actually engaging in the argument as you're doing (for the most part) and just making fun of the entire reason that people have those concerns.

As, seeing your post following mine, I'm probably for you one those "just making fun of the entire reason that people have those concerns", I'll just correct something. I'm not making fun of anything, I'm just showing that a lot of those people that protest over "cultural appropriation" are not coherent in their behaviour, since they will still do it themselves, with Christmas, Halloween or those kind of celebrations used as obvious examples. The tone was snarky indeed because I'm tired of people giving morale lessons to other when they don't even apply those to themselves. Obviously, there are a few exceptions that behave coherently with their (supposed or real?) morale positions but I'd bet they are a very small minority.

On top of that, all (well, most since there are still some isolated tribes here and there) current cultures are results of the absorption of other cultures elements. Since the discussion have focused a lot on Japan, do you have any idea of how many gods of the japanese pantheon come from China for example? Or how much the japanese language have been influenced by other cultures? That Go and Shogi that are usually associated with Japan don't find their origin there? I could give dozens of those kind of examples. And there, I take the japanese as an example, but it's the same everywhere. There aren't any "pure culture" because that concept makes no sense.

 

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6 minutes ago, KerenRhys said:

As, seeing your post following mine, I'm probably for you one those "just making fun of the entire reason that people have those concerns", I'll just correct something. I'm not making fun of anything, I'm just showing that a lot of those people that protest over "cultural appropriation" are not coherent in their behaviour, since they will still do it themselves, with Christmas, Halloween or those kind of celebrations used as obvious examples. The tone was snarky indeed because I'm tired of people giving morale lessons to other when they don't even apply those to themselves. Obviously, there are a few exceptions that behave coherently with their (supposed or real?) morale positions but I'd bet they are a very small minority.

On top of that, all (well, most since there are still some isolated tribes here and there) current cultures are results of the absorption of other cultures elements. Since the discussion have focused a lot on Japan, do you have any idea of how many gods of the japanese pantheon come from China for example? Or how much the japanese language have been influenced by other cultures? That Go and Shogi that are usually associated with Japan don't find their origin there? I could give dozens of those kind of examples. And there, I take the japanese as an example, but it's the same everywhere. There aren't any "pure culture" because that concept makes no sense.

 

I was actually referring to the guy who came after you. But sure, I didn't take your argument in good faith either. If you're talking about the spread of Christmas then (imo) you're conflating cultural imperialism with cultural appropriation - similar issues but one is 'giving' the other is 'taking'. And that's ignoring the fact that you seem to be treating it as something that has to be purely good or purely bad when it's something that's much greyer than that.

But, if you're actually talking to me about my concerns with the setting as opposed to this imagined idea of a SJW or whatever - I don't actually find the cultural appropriation in L5R offensive. I just find it kinda trite and off-putting on the surface and am curious to see whether it has legs to get over that.

At first I assumed it was a historical-fiction game (as a reference to the Five Dynasties era in China or something), then I realised that it was some kind of fantasy 'oriental-land' setting that uses a lot of direct Japanese references and language. That seemed pretty cheap in terms of world building to me and hearing about this chanting nonsense as well just made the leap to cringey. So yeah, if you're tired of imagining people getting outraged and offended over this I think you'll be pleased to hear that that isn't necessarily the case: we may just think it's kinda crap.

It could be worse though, there's people in the X-Wing forums who like the prequels. Now that IS something to get angry about...

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21 hours ago, selderane said:

Appropriation

3:to take or make use of without authority or right 

That would be the definition that is relevant to Cultural Appropriation.

L5R was created by a bunch of white guys who created a world that is a hodgepodge of east Asian-ness.  That is cultural appropriation.  By definition.  Arguing that it isn't (or, in your case that cultural appropriation can't possibly exist in any context... somehow...)  is just plain incorrect.

The relevant questions are: is it cultural misappropriation?  Is it insensitive?  It is offensive?  Is it a problem?

I would argue that the answer to those questions is a resounding no.  The OP article, for those that have actually bothered to read it, also answers that question with a no as well, admittedly with a few caveats that I am not certain I agree with.

The brand manager of the entire game for AEG for many years was a man named Raymond Lau, who is Asian. I can name at least four actual real-life Asian Americans that played the CCG at a competitive level.  I played with some of them for years, and played the CCG myself for at least 18 of the 20 years of its existence.    (Note: I am super white, I am including this time scale so you don't think that I played very briefly and just missed the non-existent complaints)

Until this month, the only "cultural sensitivity" complaint I had ever heard, from anyone, was that some of the people depicted in the art didn't look very Asian.  That's it.  I had never heard anyone complain about cultural insensitivity until this month, and all of the complaints are coming from white people being offended on behalf of of the Asian community, with no hint whatsoever that they want or need the defending.

So, yes, it's cultural appropriation.  But I need someone to show me evidence that it is a problem.

Edited by Yogo Gohei

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37 minutes ago, Yogo Gohei said:

That would be the definition that is relevant to Cultural Appropriation.

L5R was created by a bunch of white guys who created a world that is a hodgepodge of east Asian-ness.  That is cultural appropriation.  By definition.  Arguing that it isn't (or, in your case that cultural appropriation can't possibly exist in any context... somehow...)  is just plain incorrect.

  No. It isn't.

  Sorry, but even using that definition (which I agree is the correct one) the standard is use 'without authority or right.' And you're just assuming that the designers did not have one or both of those.

  So, who grants authority to use elements of a foreign culture? Well, there actually isn't anyone. Any member of the culture? By that standard, AEG and FFG are easily in the clear. The members of the culture of the time being used? Sorry, they're all dead. The current government? I don't believe they have any such procedure set up, and would probably laugh if you tried to get permission (or, depending on the bureau and person, would charge a fee and grant it pointlessly.) But try to answer if you take this seriously, how do you gain such an authority?

  Alternatively, they are using elements of the culture without the right to do so. Once again, how do you gain such a right? Modern governments grant copyrights for (theoretically) limited times, but the elements of the story AEG and FFG are using are long past even those times. We also protect elements or information that the owner makes serious attempts to keep secret / personal. Once again, there's no such element involved in these stories. So, my claim here is that all the elements FFG is using are ones that are public domain, and they have the appropriate rights. I'd be interested in hearing any coherent and consistent definition of rights that works otherwise.

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41 minutes ago, Yogo Gohei said:

Until this month

I think that's a nice post on the subject, but on this point: keep in mind that this game isn't even out yet, GenCon (which FFG seemed to throw everything at from a PR pov) was less than a month ago and this might as well be an entirely new IP to a lot of people. There shouldn't be any surprise that there's suddenly a lot more eyes on the setting all of a sudden.

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