So now I am thinking about hate.
Someone spent hours duplicating this site and getting it on blogger - same title, same fonts, same layout and so on, as close as they could manage. They created a duplicate nick to my own and even included images of my person ripped from my youtube vlog, photoshopped to fit their purpose. They did their best to paint me as a sobbing, petulant moron. It was mocking hate, pure and simple.
Once I found out about it, it took blogger an hour to take it down. Which is lovely. Thank you blogger.
The main theme of this hatred was, once again, that I had dared to write 10,000 words about something. The post has been up for less than two weeks, but it is already the 6th most popular post I have ever written. So why is it making people angry?
Several of the commenters on this blog have already put forth their opinions, and there were a couple of flame wars about it last week ... which were no doubt responsible for the slander that I stumbled across last night. The strongest consensus seems to be that in some way I am "trying to push one right way" of playing. But I don't think that's really it. That's a convenient meme, but it doesn't ring true. If you turn to a channel where a fellow is making furniture - someone who's name you don't know - you don't start shouting at the TV that there's no right way. The same goes for cooking, or auto mechanics, or really anything. You wouldn't go up to a coach at a baseball diamond teaching kids and start shouting about what does he know, the kids should just be allowed to play however they feel.
No, this is a convenient explanation, but I don't think it is the explanation. Which, of course, will no doubt beg the argument, "You're trying to say there's only one explanation for things! How dare you set yourself up as god?"
Let's call it a hypothesis.
The truth, I believe, is to be found in the level of insistence that the game is "fun" and that it isn't complicated. Not the question of whether those things are true (about which I've written) ... but rather, the degree of emotional import attached to the matter.
I've been a recent, momentary casualty of an emotional response ... in fact, a hatred that I can only view as hysterical. How else does one describe taking such the effort to attack a stranger?
I wouldn't say that one example proves hysteria. But many of us have seen YDIS. We've seen flamewars. We've read the comments and statements describing persecution, as trolls scream in all caps, increasing in their level of incomprehensibility. The net's been around two decades. We have plenty of experience.
Why hysteria, then? About this in particular. Why does it need to be repeated as though it were dogma. Why does most every blog dedicate a post, or posts, to the insistence that the game is about fun. Isn't that fairly obvious? Isn't that the reason we began playing, because we preferred it to other fun things? What is really being argued here?
I suspect its fear. Hysteria always descends from fear. Most other things do, too, since biology demands a flight or fight response to every sort of doubt or unknown. Hysteria is just an unusually strong reaction. Whatever people are saying, when matters cease to be polite, there's anger and there's fear.
So what am I afraid of? I'm as guilty as anyone. I shout, rail, rant, scream, humiliate and flame toe-to-toe ... I'm not immune to my biology. What am I afraid of?
I think, like any nerd, it has to come back to elementary school gym. I mean, it was elementary school everything, but specifically it was gym. Gym was the dangerous place. In the classroom, there was no physical contact. In the hall, you could use your experience and eyes to watch out for yourself. You avoided hallways where the more retarded, stronger apes clustered. You could time your interactions with them to coincide with the presence of bigger, watchful teachers.
Gym, however, was the place where you were forced to interact physically with the apes. I was naturally short and light in those days, and hopelessly clumsy. I'm a lot bigger now (still clumsy), but in those days I was vulnerable. Worse, like any nerd, I was a target. For a lot of the apes, not doing well in school, humiliated by questions they couldn't answer, homework they couldn't do, any person who was not scholastically challenged was a target. The smarter you were, the bigger the target. Moreover, this did not limit itself to dodgeball. Me and my equally small friends were, regularly, subjected to punches, pile ons, broken bones and concussions. I remember being run over by a fellow twice my size during a game of basketball, his open hand pushing my chest so that I hit the floor and slid into one of the wooden benches. I blacked out, woke up in the principle's office (this was 1976; there was no nurse's office in my school).
Hm. Haven't thought about that in ages.
Naturally, this set up an us-and-them relationship. And we knew perfectly well what this relationship was based upon. Intelligence. Whoever had more, won where it counted to us - books, knowledge, right and wrong, etc. Whoever had less, if they had size and speed, won where it counted to them - sports and physical abuse.
So we abused them mentally, and they abused us physically. This builds up a pattern of behavior, until you find yourself abusing people not just because they happen to be jocks; there are all kinds of stupid people in the world. It seems, as you get older, they creep in from everywhere. You find yourself abusing them because they're stupid - that just seems to be the way. It's a habit. If you give into that habit ... if you're smart, and you practice, you get good at it.
The fellow (I'd be very surprised to learn it wasn't a 'fellow') who created his little mockery of me isn't stupid. But he's so misdirected as a person he might as well be.
I sit here and basically I wage the same war I did when I was nine. This is unacceptable to many. This says, I never grew up. Still screaming on the playground at 48? Pathetic.
Well, it would be if I hadn't noticed all around me that there are people shooting guns at one another, physically abusing one another, entering wars, committing rape, imprisoning innocents, persecuting races and so on and so forth. I would be terribly, terribly ashamed except that I've noticed that this seems largely to be the behavior of extraordinarily stupid people. I mean, I was pretty appalled at nine when a fellow beat up my friend Andrew for no good reason ... but that is nothing when I consider my country was involved in a war commenced for purely selfish reasons.
As near as I can tell, stupidity is the worst bane this planet has. The principle cure for stupidity is education. Education trounces stupidity as clearly as rock smashes scissors. But something else I've noticed all this time is that stupid people are habitually resistant to education. In fact, so resistant that I had to choose my metaphor carefully. Education can enfold stupidity like a paper folding rock ... but most times, it's really necessary to smash.
Now and then, if I get some smart listeners, I can get down with scissors cutting paper. But most stupid people have to be smashed.
What am I afraid of? That the stupid people will win.
Now, I'm going to make an assumption here. I'm going to posit that anyone who screams that "too many words" is a bad thing is ... well ... stupid. This probably won't seem obvious to a stupid person. But, well, that's basically just because they're stupid. A smart person will read the text and notice that if you take out some of the "too many words," the concepts being discussed seem to make less sense. It's only when words don't make any sense anyway that they seem disposable. And words only don't make sense to stupid people.
So what are the stupid people afraid of?
The obvious answer would seem to be that they're afraid that smart people will win. But no, you'd be wrong. Even a stupid person knows the smart people already have. That's what is so galling. You know, deep down, that you are stupid. You know this because, deep down, you don't really understand what is being said. You're reading this long winded crap and you're bored or bothered or generally unable to access it to your hard drive and you know how annoying that is. It's the same feeling you had when the teacher asked that question about the Vietnam War and you sat there feeling inadequate. You looked down at your fists, your arms ... you knew you were able to throw a football a thousand miles, that on the field you were a god and that girls feel on their knees and worshipped you in large numbers ... but here you are in this stupid fucking boring classroom with this wimpy fucking teacher who couldn't pick up a football, much less throw it, waiting for an answer you don't have while everyone stares at you. Everyone. Staring at you. Knowing that you're not a god, not here. Not in this fucking place.
What happens when the whole world gets like that? What happens when you're getting older and you can't prove what a god you are anywhere? What happens when that shitty feeling you had in your classroom is the feeling you have at your job, every day, all day? What then?
And what happens when these fucking smart fuckers start fucking around with the game you really like to play? What if someone reads all this fucking smart stuff and starts rubbing in your face? What if they start talking about it, all the time, and what if they ask you what you think?
What the fuck are you going to do then?