What Will The Outside World Think?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

It occurred to me today that I have a burnt circuit.  I do not care what people on the outside think about the things I love.
This is partially from Magic’s recent #crackgate, wherein a douche went around photographing fat people’s ass-cracks at a Magic tournament, and partially from fandom’s reaction to Jonathan Ross being rejected as the Hugo nominee.  Both precipitated hand-flutterings from people – “Man, this makes us look bad to Those People.”  Those People, of course, are the millions of folks not really invested in the Hugo or Magic or whatever, to whom this ugly introduction may make us look bad.
I don’t give a shit about Those People.
And maybe that’s not fair.  But I got bullied a lot by people who looked like Those People, and at some point a switch cut off: I really don’t care what Those People think, ever.  My hobbies were always weird, like walking lead figurines around a pencilled dungeon and pretending to be a wizard, and so I gave up on the concept of legitimacy.
I love what I love.  People may think it’s funny – will think it’s funny, in fact.  They may paint me as an asocial nerd, or some fat dude with an asscrack, or whatever, as they have since I was twelve.  And I spent a lot of time trying to convince people that “No, my crazy hobby isn’t that way!” before shrugging and moving on.
Because the truth is, what I do is a little weird.  And if you’re not inclined to like it, well, it’s pretty easy to make fun of.  And if you want to do that…
…fuck it.  Do it.  I mean, it’d be nice if the entire world thought of Magic players as well-groomed smart guys going on adventures (for many of them are!), or science fiction fandom as a vanguard of approaching world culture, but… it’s not necessary to me.  I’ve given up seeking approval from random groups of people – many of whom are just looking for an excuse to laugh at strangers anyway.
Which is not to say I don’t worry about being inviting.  If Magic’s full of mouth-breathing douches who constantly make jokes about women and gays, well, I’m concerned, because if someone wants to play Magic I think they should feel welcomed here.  I’ll work to muffle those dorks best I can.  And if some idiot is walking around with a camera at a tournament with the specific intent of mocking people there, then that makes the people at the tournament feel bad, and so fuck him, kick that douche out, he’s hurting my people.
But in general, I don’t care if we’re presenting a good or a bad image to the world at large.  I’m a man of ridiculous endeavors – polyamory seems bizarre to people, science fiction seems bizarre to people, Magic seems bizarre to people, and hell, even my love of fireplay is pretty damned weird.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time as an ambassador to the mainland from the Archipelago Of Marginal Pastimes, pressing the flesh and trying to convince them that this is a perfectly lovely thing to do.
No.  Either you get it instinctively.  Or you’re open-minded enough that you try it and love it.  If you’re the sort of person who’s going to slot me into a pre-fitted box, I’m not going to spend time engaging with you, I’m going to walk in and out of the goddamned box at will to show you that it’s a mime’s construction made of thin air and intent.
Some of my hobbies have gone mainstream – hey, I can play Dragon Age on my XBox and have that be perfectly okay for a middle-aged man, mostly! – and that’s great.  But I don’t think that happened because videogames made a conscious effort to dress up nice and be cool – videogames stayed videogames, and eventually enough people played them that force of sheer numbers bowled them over into the “mostly acceptable” column.
Maybe that’ll happen with Magic.  Maybe it won’t.
Either way, I’ll still be playing.

1 Comment

  1. Brad
    Mar 13, 2014

    Not on twitter, but isn’t crack shaming about making tournaments more inviting? I’ve had to walk past smelly magicians, and sit a row behind the pants-impaired at tournaments and understand people not wanting to repeat that experience.
    Numerous articles about hygiene haven’t eliminated the smell problem, but they’ve made it rarer so I’m ok with mostly anonymously shaming people into buying a belt and a shirt that fits. A stranger isn’t going to recognize you from the back of your head and your asscrack and if you fail at pants like that, your friends have probably already seen your ass- all the internet does is force them to confront you about it like they should have months or years ago.

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