"The third thing, which really set me free - and I think Steve my husband would say has really made me somewhat dangerous - is kind of a new philosophy about criticism, which is this: if you're not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback."
Brené Brown, Why Your Critics Aren't the Ones Who Count
See. I'm not alone.
This isn't going to be a rant. I'm not going to go after my critics. I am going to try to explain what criticism is and what defines "getting your ass kicked." Criticism first.
At some point soon, don't know if I'm up to it today or not, I'll be tackling the tech 14 post. That post has four 'technologies' or developments that I mean to add to those developments that have gone before: Nationalism, Divine Right, Paper and the Printing Press.
As I have said before, the introduction of these is not to suggest that peoples living in tech levels 5-13 don't know what a printing press is or wouldn't recognize one if they see it. It does mean, however, that printing presses aren't available on a daily, regular basis in any region that is tech 13 or less. To understand this, the reader should consider that in the 1930s many parts of the United States didn't have electrical power. It isn't that electricity didn't exist in the world - it did, and had for more than 50 years. It's only that to have electricity requires infrastructure, that parts of America like Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma didn't have.
It is somewhat like the way we still see theater today. Virtually every small town has some kind of theater - but when we think of plays being launched for the very first time, we recognize that a new play being put up in Bloomington, Illinois, isn't anything like the sort of standard achieved in New York. They make films in Macon, Georgia, but they're not the kind of films that get widespread distribution like those made in Hollywood. The fact that I have to mention the state in regards to Bloomington and Macon, and not in New York and Hollywood, is a clue.
So let me be clear. I'm saying, yes, some sizeable town in a tech 13 state will have a printing press in a back room somewhere, purchased and set up so that it can be made to reproduce work. I'm also saying, however, that the content and amount of reproduction going on with that press has as much importance and social effect as an action flick made in Moscow, Idaho, with money raised by Moscow Idaho artists. In terms of the world of film, none. Not worth addressing.
Where social relevance is concerned, we are speaking about more than the presence of a given technology - we are speaking about its influence. When critics bark that presence is enough, it's a clear sign that only half the thinking has been done.
The error is in supposing that any criticism that originates with the critic has merit. We have a tendency to think that 'opinion' is all that's needed. "In my opinion, based entirely on my feeling about the principles of technology, this doesn't make sense." That's because the critic hasn't taken the time to consider examples from the real world where it does make sense and the critic hasn't approached the matter with a concrete, well-referenced example.
Examples are information. They are matters that have been studied, examined, researched and vetted by other people, beyond those in the room. Here's a qualifier: if the reader has just come up with an argument that the reader can't remember having read written somewhere by someone else, then that argument is shit. Note I don't say probably shit. I mean it is exactly shit.
Yes, I am saying that my entire tech system concept is shit - but don't get bogged down in that just now. Put it on a shelf. We'll get to that in a minute.
In a world where hundreds of thousands of people are paid to do nothing but think stuff up and teach it to others, we must accept a few things about ideas. If we've had that idea, someone else has had it. More than that, they've told others. Others who are experts in the field. Who were smart enough, long before you or I had the idea, to already define it as shit. We are way, way, way behind the curve here. It only sounds like a good idea to us because a) we've never heard it before and b) there's no one around to tell us it is shit.
But it is shit, believe it. Because we haven't heard of it before. And because we're not an expert in the field. How much do I really know about printing presses and their distribution in Europe or the rest of the world? Not that much. Therefore, how accurate is my depiction of the presence of printing presses in given regions of my world - or the influence and effect of those presses? Not at all.
Here is the thing, however. Unless the critic here quotes an expert, or speaks directly about a source I haven't read - and can direct me to that source so that I can read it and form my own opinions - then the critic's opinion is exactly the same level of shit as my own. Basically, then, I'm being asked to exchange my shit with the critics shit entirely on the argument that the critic thinks his or her shit is better. Just because.
I'm never going to do that. Why would I? The critic isn't going to be building this system, isn't going to be running this system and won't be at the table with the players encounter this system. The critic's only value to the framework is in pointing out something someone who's not talking shit has said about some particular aspect of the system.
Which, as is usual on the internet, isn't happening.
Here's a very important point about things we think up on our own, when we do that. Assume it's shit. Because it is. This tech idea, for all the wonderful praise it is getting - and thank you - has absolutely no merit whatsoever until it proves itself in a game. Which it hasn't had a chance to do. In a few months it may be nothing but shit on the blog, ditched, ignored and not part of my world. I am very self-aware regarding that likelihood. I have tried things before that got loads of praise and went nowhere.
I'm not nearly as impressed with the system as others seem to be.
I'll tackle getting your ass kicked on another post.