I've been remiss this week in not posting here, as my online campaign has been going sensationally, full of intrigue and puzzling events, plus a few moments of raw terror. There's a part of me that thinks if I'm writing here, I'm not answering questions and presenting the next scene there, which seems wrong somehow. For example, I could be carrying forth the campaign right now.
And running D&D is sort of the point of it all, isn't it?
Still, I have a few things on my mind and I thought I'd address them. Yesterday I remade an acquaintance with an old film, one that is probably in my top fifty: not the sort of thing that usually appeals to nerds, but if you simply like a very good story, you can find Kind Hearts and Coronets here in its entirety. The film, while utterly ignored by the Oscars on account of being British and unsavory, brilliantly displays what a genius Alec Guinness was, and goes that first step for the uninitiated towards explaining why he detested the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi so much. If the gentle reader has already seen The Man in the White Suit, The Horse's Mouth, The Lavender Hill Mob, Last Holiday, Tunes of Glory and the Bridge on the River Kwai - along with at least ten other very worthy films - you're well aware of the man's impressive range, and why he quite probably before-the-fact viewed Kenobi as "phoning it in" for the cash. God knows why Guinness needed it at that time, but from all reports he regretted it for the rest of his life.
But then Star Wars is a piece of cinematic shit that took advantage of some new technology and an old, popular set of plot devices that have always served to amuse the groundlings, as Shakespeare called them. When I was twelve and first saw the film, I thought it was brilliant. When I was twenty and saw it again, I realized that growing up develops one's discrimination.
I say this full well knowing the number of man-boy nerds who will stamp their feet and pout and go around in another big circle about how I am full of myself and all, and don't appreciate 'fun' and blah blah blah. It is incomprehensible to many that a person simply could not like Star Wars because it is a bad movie, abounding with overused plot tropes and stock wooden characters who do not, any more, 'speak' to my view of life. To put it another way, it isn't 'fun' for me because it is terribly, awfully simple-minded. Visually it looks like a lot of people in really obvious costumes walking around on really obvious set pieces carrying bits of plastic and pointing them at each other like ten-year-old children. At ten, these things were fun of course, but I've long since come to a place where I need more than plastic toys to fire my imagination.
I'd also like to say that there's been time now to talk to the people who put forth the $100 to get a subscription to my game designs, and everyone seems very happy. I have no proof of this, of course, since this is the internet, and I'm not exposing people who don't want to be seen ... but I must comment on others who have made a great stomping, pouting show about how much money it is and what a pompous ass I am for daring to suggest that someone might spend one hundred dollars on whatever I happen to have created. This mind-boggling impossibility is without question measured against the money most people spend during a Friday night at the local bar or tavern, food and drinks included, or the thousands of people right now who are laying hundred dollar bets that a red jack and a seven will beat whatever's in the dealer's hand. Because obviously a hundred dollars is SO much money that data representing twenty years of work could never be its equal.
I don't know. The stomping and the pouting is such an important part of the internet, it's hard not to look at it once in awhile from a purely sociological point of view. A few weeks ago I called quite a number of people on this blog 'idiots,' capitalizing the letters for emphasis, which created a small trickle of other people cleverly capitalizing the word on other blogs while pointedly not using my name or defining the source. But naturally, everyone knew who was being talked about. I wonder if any of these people can understand how spectacular that is for me, to know that there are so many people who read this blog that an oblique reference to something I've written here can be ascribed and understood by others because they've read it here. Not that it makes any difference, mind, to anything except my ego. The world is the same world. The things we like are the same things. I go on making my world, my way, and other people buy it and enjoy it their way, and other people scoff and then move on with their little lives, and so on and so forth.
It is as though all of this doesn't make very much difference at all. It is as though it is all just a lot of strutting and fretting hours upon the stage, by IDIOTS, full of sound and fury ... well, you ought to know the rest of the quote. The Star Wars people can look it up on the internet.
Viewed from that angle, with little else to prop up the existence of some people, I am not surprised that blogging becomes a soul-destroying prospect, driving the blogger to despair and ultimately the decision to stop strutting and fretting altogether, and return to prospects in life that may offer gratification that is somewhat less than immediate and fleeting.
If I blogged only for the effect I could cause, I could quit now, having cheerfully proved what puppets some people are and how easy it is to get under their skin.
But that's not enough for me. That it is believed by some to be my whole purpose is not very surprising, given that people can only surmise the aspirations of others from their own limited imaginations. And given that their imaginations extend to the belief that Star Wars is a good film, I'm not surprised they miss me and my purpose by at least 12 parsecs (which is a distance, and not a measure of time).
I must explain what does make it for me. It isn't the arguments, that must be made for the sake of those who find themselves caught in so much dreck and wish for something better. It isn't the numbers on this blog, that climb steadily from month to month. It isn't the laughable attempts to evicerate me elsewhere that prove my influence. It isn't racking up another blog post here, although 755 is a nice, tidy sum to have already written.
It is, to wit, the frank creation of life and events going on over there on the other blog, the campaign the players assure me is full of fun and excitement. It is the powerful sense of achievement that comes from constructing another map, or from overcoming another obstacle in the creation of algorithms for the purpose of deepening my world, or from feeling just generally that art is in itself a marvelous means of achieving self-satisfaction.
I stop every once in awhile, upon having a really good day, and realize just how happy I am.