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PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby j_dean80 » Thursday December 14th, 2017 12:58am

Anderas wrote:I think it's really offending if you are hermaphrodite and not allowed to use both woman'sand man's toilets. :) And they are a biological reality. OK that question will certainly be used by homosexuals, too, but why not.
The third gender question is used about everywhere currently. I like it. It hurts nobody, it is a simple gesture. Those kind of things become quite important if you are in a minority and have to fight certain remarks on a continuous basis. Being a German in France can bring some of that, too.

But that's hugely different from trying to tell somebody how he should write a fantasy story. Fantasy is just that, fantasy. Should we have separated places in the bus for orcs and skeletons? Yes I bet we should. Orks are wearing skeletons as jewellery, especially GW orcs. Now that's offending. Poor skeletons!


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Big Bene » Thursday December 14th, 2017 1:21am

And what about poor medieval Europe?
Faerun, Middle Earth, The Old World (of Warhammer), the Hyborean kingdoms etc. pp. are such a distorted representation of the real world culture they are based on. Mixing myths with history with pure fiction, and late antique with middle ages with renaissance (and even modern era, whenever pirates become popular again).

A work of literature (a book, a film, a game, an opera or whatever) has a country of origin. It is part of and rooted in the culture of this country, and this is a good thing. It is written / made by and for people of this culture. Take a work of "realistic" fiction. When written in Europe, the story normally has an European cultural background. But sometimes, it is set in another part of the world, orpart of the story lead the protagonists abroad, or persons or motives from other cultures are included. This is never "neutral" or "objective" but will tell the reader something, it is a narrative tool (even if in a "realistic" work the author will see to get his facts right). And this works, it hits a chord in the readers (or moviegoers, or players), because they have a set of stereotypes ready that their culture provides about the other culture in question.
These stereotypes are partly true, partly not, partly positive, partly negative, but they are never "objective", or supposed to be based on pure facts,or otherwise they wouldn't work as stereotypes. The romanticized Native Americans of the early German westerns are just as historically inaccurate as the savages of the early US westerns. But at the end of the day, both were able to provide great stories and an exciting cinematic experience, something a historical accurate documentation about tribe X can not, and should not, do in this way (not saying a good documentation cannot be intriguing, but it's something completely different from storytelling),

Now, let's take a work of "realistic" fiction, from, say, China. It will be set in Chinese culture. When Europeans get a role, or part of the story is set in Europe, this will trigger Chinese stereotypes about Europe, even if all the facts are right. And this is not by accident, it is because the author wants to play with these stereotypes. He uses them as a narrative tool to tell the reders something he wants. Are Europeans upset by this? Normally not, and they shouldn't.

Now to fantasy. When I create a work of fantasy, I can take the hard route and make it up from the scratch, with no reference to real world history or myths (Thomas Ziegler's Sardor novels come to my mind, although he still borrowed heavily from earlier science fiction books - still love him, the density of his style is hardly reached by anyone, R.I.P), but there is the distnct genre of fantasy literature, as established by Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien and Michael Moorcock. The esxtensive makeup of a background world, which is based on medieval European history and mythology, is part of the genre type of this literature. So, this is what we normally have in mind when speaking of a "fantasy world".

So for us, as mostly western readers (players, moviegoers) and authors, the western fantasy with its western cultural roots is just the natural base to start from.

Using Chinese or Middle Eastern settings in a fantasy world is by no means a try to include anything about real China or the real Middle East.
It is a try to include what we like about the "Orient" in our heads, as a source of great stories (in our culture), i.e. about stereotypes.


We want to include the thief of Bagdad in our fantasy world, not Netayjahu.

We want to bring the mysteries of China to life - the fairytale that we made up in our heads, which is largely bsed in 18th century Sinophily.
We want ninjas that can jump 30 feet high and Samurai who can cut a person in half with one stroke. We are not intereseted in any real world facts that would disturb this images. The real oriental names, all the little pieces of real Oriental history, are there to help the fictional ones work better, to set the tone for the stereotypes.

The stereotypes are the motives that we want in fantasy literature, the real facts are just there to support them.

Now when we take a look on Japan, they have a flowering modern fantasy genre of thier own. Everybody who loves comics or computer games knows how happily they use pieces of western history and mythology and how they totally butcher these without a second thought, often with great narrative results. I, as an European, can be offended, can be indifferent, or evenlike it and be a little proud. But at the end of the day, I can do nothing about it, because this is how literature works.
Last edited by Big Bene on Thursday December 14th, 2017 4:35am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Big Bene » Thursday December 14th, 2017 1:33am

mitchiemasha wrote:Away but did anyone watch the video i linked. I know we don't as i often don't myself but seriously, it's worth it. Watch the video.

I'm going to have to start by pointing out that the perceived problem is much greater than the actual problem.


I see this a lot and it's the bit in the video I referenced earlier. Usually what happens is we get a group, 1 side debating between themselves about the other group, creating a much worse picture of the other side than what actually exists.

I watched it and spent half the night watching the videos of this guy.
Have a look ;)


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Big Bene » Thursday December 14th, 2017 1:53am

Anderas wrote:Howards, when he wrote those Conan stories, was bathing in the everyday racism of his days. He shows a pict ( some white skinned native American living in the woods of the north of his fantasy country) and two pages later an Orang-Utan. Conan kills picts without even thinking twice, but tries and succeeds to communicate with the Ape insofar that they don't fight but leave each other alone.

What's wrong abut this? The pict was a known enemy that would have slain Conen the same way if he had the chance. He could be an enemy because he was human.
The Orang was an unknown, possibly half intelligent animal, so observation and a try for peaceful interction was in place.
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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Anderas » Thursday December 14th, 2017 3:16am

Maybe I didn't express this. He puts other human races and ape races on the same level, very distinctively. In every second story Conan encounters an evolutionary sideline of humanity, and the Orang for him is just another one.
But as said, he does so without bad thoughts. That was just his picture of the world, that he translated into exaggerated fiction. I loved the books for that more than for Conan himself.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Big Bene » Thursday December 14th, 2017 4:27am

Well, I love the books, too, and have read most of them. I am aware of all those races that have evolved to "human" level, devolved back into "apes", re-evolved back again into humans etc. pp. Conan has met those in every possible step of evolution.
That's why I wrote "possibly half intelligent" - because Conan has met ape-men before, and couldn't be sure on what level of "humanity" an unknown primate was.

But again, i can't see anything wrong with this on Howard's side. No need to excuse his good intentions.
Introducing ficional sidelines of human evolution who are more on the "ape" side is not racist and has nothing to do with the treatment of the "fully human" races. All modern races are present in the hyborean world, and, while some people are more advanced technicaly or cultural, no race is more capable by nature than others.
Racist slurs occur in the stories, from protagonists as well as from antagonists, but they are equally used by people of all races against the respective others. I remember a dark skinned character calling Conan's lighter complexion "fish belly skin" (meanig to insult him). It gives the world more realism - racism will appear in a world that is not ethnically uniform - but it doesn't make the author racist.
Even the races belonging to a fictional evolutionary sideline are not less worthwile than others just because they have just barely climbed back their way to true humanity. The Picts are a negative example, but the Cimmerians, including Conan himself, are also of this kind.
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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Daedalus » Saturday March 24th, 2018 7:36pm

torilen wrote:. . . Can someone move this thread to the Pub? I swear I
clicked on the Pub, and somehow this ended up in the Lobby.
Thanks
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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby torilen » Saturday March 24th, 2018 9:13pm

Thanks Daedalus. I hate to be one of "those" folks...sometimes, when I'm tired, I end up clicking the wrong
buttons and all...which is quite often. Three kids and work and all, you know.

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