On Being Very Wrong

 I don't want to write this, not really. It requires me to admit I've been stupid and mean, and I'm not a huge fan of being those ways. AND I have definitely been stupid and/or mean in the past, and have come to recognize that these feelings of discomfort are indicators I may be learning something new, perhaps even something vital, by looking hard and honestly in neglected parts of my behavior. With work, I might even be able to fail better in the future instead of making the same harmful mistake with someone else. 

I'm trying to be not be humorous or flippant as I write, since this is a serious matter and the numbing avoidance of self-deprecation is an escape attempt. 

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Okay, so, I fucked up. 

I wrote some words to publicly fume about how important context is (it's very important!), while not having all the context I would need to understand the situation. The bits at the end of the post are still spot on -I'm not going to be taking down the paper trail, as it were, because records and accountability are important- though what spurred me to write them out was a misguided perception.

I responded to an emotional appeal about a type of abuse I have been on the other end of, and which at the time I had very much not processed in a thorough way. That it is a hallmark of that pattern of abuse that an abuser will accuse one of doing to them what they are in fact doing to you.... well, I couldn't see it at the time. But then Zak started putting uncomfortable, previously private moments up for us all to see. That's when I knew I'd been mistaken, and had acted poorly from that mistake.

Still, I didn't say anything.   

The majority of other humans on the internet and the algorithms they have written (you may have noticed) want few things more than for us to care about what they care about. We should be, they will assert, as invested and knowledgeable and active-in-combatting their concerns as we are about our own. The fact of the matter is that I don't care about everything, and less willing to be convinced that your (yes, you, conveniently non-specific straw person on the internet) personal awareness campaign or pet issue needs my involved action. I have my limitations of intelligence and resources and opportunity; so when I have a rare moment of (even potentially) being effective in the arenas I do care about, I want my focus not pulled hither and yon by the seething demands of humanity entire. By better focusing my breaths and heartbeats that way, some amazingly positive changes have come about in my behavior -including being able to navigate the recent death of a loved one without hardening or lashing out- and I like those results.

The main reason this blog has gone fallow: that after things blew up with Nearly Everyone vs. Zak I was disappointed in the online rpg scene to such an extent that... I just drifted away. And happily!  I came to find out that, really, most of the content I was running across was... not worth the time invested in keeping up with it. After a certain point I've seen the same wheel reinvented by enough people that I ceased being interested in their different tread patterns, if you will, and noticed I have more that enough wheels already to get anywhere I want to go. There are probably more rpg resources and games now than ever before, yet it's rare that anything really expands my understanding of games: why I play them, how to get consistently good group fun out of them, or how to consider them in an hugely different way. Instead of progressive growth, I see mostly lateral movement and lazy reskinning for niche appeal. 

But actions have consequences, and effects compound: observe (some limited glimpse) the detritus of a life-- the detritus from an explosion that many people -myself included- pitched in to fuel. Many of us are small voices, in a niche environment, but small rocks still add up to an avalanche if you have enough of them, and a small "social area" requires fewer rocks to bury someone. 

I am ashamed that my contribution to this, whatever the size, occurred. In retrospect (perhaps the most useful, painful kind of seeing) I find it hard to swallow how a whole lot of us piled on -each acting from our own reasons for accepting the same scanty evidence- and managed to diminish (thankfully not entirely remove) one of the most hard-working, hard-thinking writers in the business. I find it hard to accept not because this is in any way surprising human behavior, but rather because I lessened the output of one of the creators who willingly and consistently pushed the bounds about how I think about rpgs while at the same time complexifying my understanding of history or art or narrative or....whatever he happened to be focusing his apophenia on in a given post. That I could be so easily swayed by an emotional appeal to my own unresolved pain to be part of why that happened; that's what's hard to swallow. I foresee I will be chewing on it a long, long time before I can swallow it (if ever), and it will probably still be a very bitter pill even then. 

However, even though I'm only one obscure asshole.... just like many small rocks make an avalanche, perhaps one idiot modeling better internet behavior can inspire others to try the same? 

Maybe, maybe not-- I don't know. What I do know: hoping alone is not enough for things to improve, action (and maybe some sacrifice) is required.