Well, it was sure to flare up again.
As you may or may not have seen in amidst all the excitement from Blizzcon, there was a decidedly sour note hit at the end of the convention. As fanboy favorite L90ETC hit the stage, they gave a big ol shout-out to the author of this lovely diatribe.
(Despite what you may have heard, this was not bleeped in any way at the con.)
Now, this was presented in typical fratboy "lol-wuz-dat-funny-Billy-Bob-yeah-dat-was-Cleetus-hurr-hurr" kind of way. But, as has been noticed by a few sharp citizens, Blizzard themselves didn’t really seem to mind that our nasty little friend1 was a homophobic bozo. And in fact they didn’t even make a statement about it until people made a fuss on the forums, at which point Bashiok, CM to the Gods2, laid this out there.
If it offended you I genuinely apologize.
"IF it offended you, I apolgize" Weaksauce. There is no apology here. Blizzard isn’t owning this. They’re saying YOU’RE the problem. If YOU are offended, they’re sorry. If you’re not, have a beer, you’re fucking awesome.
It was there because we thought it was funny – it was for fun. We didn’t take it seriously,
"WE think it’s funny. We don’t take things like ‘feelings’ seriously."
it just happened to be a relevant intro for Corpsegrinder as he came out to sing(?) with the ‘horde’ themed LVL80ETC.
"Listen, we needed a relevant video that showed his finer points. I’m sure you’ll agree, we captured that pretty well."
I actually don’t think we’ve ever seen an uncensored version.
"Our PR department was too drunk to float us an uncensored copy or raise any red flags, and in ALL OUR YEARS OF ADMIRING THIS GUY, we never noticed that his jib was cut that way."
I don’t want to continue belaboring the point, but in the video Corpsegrinder (after his remarks) laughs and says "It’s just a game." He’s joking. Granted the joke uses profanity, but there’s no intent behind it.
"Listen, I’m tired of trying to appease you whiners. I’m sorry you don’t like profanity, but he’s not smart enough to find a substitute word for ‘fag’."
Well golly. I guess we should take our little sensitive selves and go play with our dolls. Weaksauce!
The blogging community has been far less apathetic.
So far, Piercing Shots sounded the call; I Like Pancakes meetoo’d and flew the colors proudly. Ratshag weighed his considerable self in on the matter. Vid has a lovely post on the subject. Even Big Bear Butt had something to say, albeit unwittingly ahead of the bruhaha itself3. As I type this, more add their voices, faster than I can keep up4. To this I add my voice.
I stand with them, and with every one among us that has suffered at the hands of the fratboys and their sycophants. Anyone that has felt they had to hide their religion, gender identity, political party, geek clan affiliation5. Anyone that has had to endure a the hands of bullies because of race, gender, or other deviation from what a bunch of Biffs and Buffys have determined to be "normal."
I don’t care if you were born that way, made a choice, or ended up there after a series of amazing coincidences. It doesn’t matter to me how it happened6. All that matters to me is who you are and how you feel around all this hostility towards yourself.
I remember the feelings. 98 pounds, five-foot-four, surrounded by jocks and rednecks. Getting my ass rolled year after year on the way to and from school. It was hell being a nearsighted underweight geek as a kid, and there are moments of shame I will never live down.
That’s nothing compared to what a gay man or trans woman might experience day in and day out. I was able to leave my childhood behind7, but someone of non-white ethnicity, non-traditional religion, or LGBT – that’s for life, every day, and it has to be pretty damned scary to have to know that there is no end in sight, and even if you have the temerity to speak up in your own defense, you’re told it’s all just a joke and you should just get over yourself.
In the name of a joke, a bunch of inconsiderate louts made the environment around Blizzard HQ – and all it stands for – hostile to people that don’t fit a narrowly defined template of ‘normal’. The message is clear: "be like us, or wipe your faggoty eyes and go kill yourself like like a good <insert thing here>."
No. Not only NO, but HELLS TO THE NO.
Right now we’re playing a little game. How much bullshit are we willing to take from Blizzard before we kick them to the curb? Why is it so hard for them to act like, yanno, people?
But it’s coming to a tipping point. Eventually I’ll be looking at my email, get a reminder that my time card is about to expire, see something like this, and think "Not another dollar, assholes. Not until you own your shit and make things right."
For a company that has its hand out to us in the hope that we’ll plunk down over a C-note for a years’ subscription, they’re sure sending an odd message. One might think they’d be more eager to at least pander to what appears to be a large segment of their customers, instead of making fun of them and going "Ha ha, j/k!" when called on it.
There are plenty of other games out there to play. Plenty of them don’t make people feel marginalized about who they are. And, no, WoW doesn’t actually do that in-game (unless you run into this guy now), but Blizzcon is very much a part of the WoW experience, and it just got tainted, badly, by a bunch of jerks, their fanboys, and their inability to handle it gracefully.
Ball’s in your court, Blizzard. Grow the hell up.
Two final points.
Firstly, a lot of people have gotten the whole horde-vs-alliance thing mixed up in all this. That’s a red herring. I don’t give a shit, really, if you’re that into being Horde. I might feel sorry for ya, bro, but you go right on ahead and pretend it matters. What this post is about, which you should realize if you’re read this far, is that they’re using speech that is hateful to a large segment of the community in the process of trying to denigrate a game faction. Not cool. If it helps, substitute "Niggers"8 for "Fags" and see how comfortable you feel about it.
Secondly, I opened with "it was sure to flare up again". In a way, this isn’t just about LGBT discrimination. This is about mutual respect of your fellow gamer, of your fellow human beings. If what you do is founded on putting someone down, you will eventually lose your footing. Last time, which I referred to obliquely, was around the topic of feminism and the disrespect of females in-game and out that Blizzard has inadvertantly supported. To that, add gay-bashing.
That this recurs is the problem. Blizzard, again, needs to own its shit and clean up its act. Until that happens, this will happen again.
See you back at this particular soapbox in a few months.
- Yes, they admire this guy and his band so much that they put an NPC in-game way back in WOTLK. [↩]
- May not be actually true. [↩]
- Good timing, bro. [↩]
- And I thereby apologize for not including everyone in the interest of getting this done and out there before Panderia goes live. [↩]
- More important than you might at first think. [↩]
- I am not discounting the "born versus choice" debate or whatever it’s formally called. It’s an important topic. But, as Alton might say, "that’s another show." [↩]
- My wife may disagree on that point. [↩]
- Yeah, I’ll look that one in the eye, but feel free to pretend it doesn’t exist if that makes life easier. [↩]