Friday, July 1, 2022

The Proof.

Here in year three of legal purgatory, new evidence keeps coming in and turning up and it proves what I've been saying is true. I'll be posting more whenever I have time.

This first one is pretty simple.

Mandy has repeatedly claimed she has never been given a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Those exact words.

A pretty simple claim and not too hard to check:


Here's a letter from one of the many mental health professionals Mandy has seen over the years, you can click to enlarge it or just read the excerpt below:

The doctor says Mandy was diagnosed and was treated for Borderline Personality Disorder (aka BPD) for "more than a year".  

And how did Mandy describe her own mental health and diagnosis back in the day, before she decided to make up all these accusations? Here's every page of a handwritten journal entry from her sketchbook:

In case you missed it:


And what did the people who knew her best think? Here's Mandy's closest confidant, her sister, in text messages with me from April 19, 2019--happily texting me two months after Mandy made her accusations online--click to enlarge:


Was she misdiagnosed? Maybe, I'm not a doctor, I didn't even know what BPD was until she told me she had it--when we met. The point is:
  • Mandy had severe mental health problems since long before she met me.
  • Her close friends and family all knew this.
  • Mandy doesn't tell the truth. Even under oath.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

DriveThruRPG basically has banned every RPG book

 Here are the guidelines for DTRPG, the most important online RPG book store:

Neither your Work, description, nor any promotional material, including blog posts or press releases, may contain racist, homophobic, discriminatory, or other repugnant views; overt political agendas or views; depictions or descriptions of criminal violence against children; rape or other acts of criminal perversion; or other obscene material without the express written permission of OneBookShelf.

Racist and homophobic views are bad, there are lots of arguments against obscene content in various private commercial contexts, but what's super wildcat here is this:

...overt political agendas or views...

According to their own guidelines, DriveThruRPG says you cannot have your work on the site if you have blog posts with your overt political views on them.

Now since all public social media communications by RPG creators is (as many have admitted) de facto promotion of their work and Facebook, Twitter et al are blogging/microblogging platforms and basically every single RPG creator has expressed at least one overt political opinion on one of said platforms and, so far as I know, none of them have asked for the "express written permission" of DTRPG, that means pretty much every single RPG book on their is banned.

Please begin reporting creators to DTRPG.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Joker, World's Greatest Art Critic

I listen to a lot of comics podcasts--here's a paradox you're always hearing on there, from the savvy comics-reading grown-ups.

Them: "So tired of the same shit on a different day. Why isn't anything new? We want something new! So excited when someone's trying something new!"

Also them: "So I picked up so-and-so's new (Spider-Man/Superman/X-Men/None of those) and, come onnn, who wants to read this? I mean, on page one (something that seems maybe weird but benign to me happens). Lol. They don't have a handle on the character at all!"

Wait.

Do people really want the same thing over and over? Or do they want something different?

Whenever something is popular we always see one of these two completely opposite explanations: people like it because its the same old shit and people are idiots, or people like it because its showing them something they never saw before and they want something new.

--

While the question goes far beyond comics, I found the most cogent answer in an issue of Batman.

Writer James Tynion IV has given The Joker (who is still, 70 years on, fighting Batman) a daringly oblique scheme to fuck with the Caped Crusader's head:

He will make the citizens of Gotham City all watch The Mark of Zorro, the movie the Wayne family was on its way out of when Bruce Wayne's parents were killed.

Afterwards he makes them into nano-zombies or something I can't remember but Jorge Jimenez drew it so it's all lovely and I don't care that I can't remember but at one point halfway through some hapless NPC says something about the movie and the Joker answers:

And that's it right there.

He's totally right--that's what all this is about isn't it?

You read something, see something, play something as a child and it's compelling. And it keeps being compelling, even when you grow older and think you can see right through it and don't want it to be compelling.

And when you go back to it you want to strip back a layer and learn why it was compelling--and you want to be able to experience it all over again without it feeling repetitive because that peeling back and learning makes it new. It ceases to be nostalgic at that point.

This is what all the D&D bloggers and RPG bloggers and alternate-take RPGs were always doing: trying to do it all over again, but this time with a layer peeled back, to keep the grown-ups interested.

Consider each variation on the theme of Gary and Dave's game you see in the indie RPG sphere as that: as trying to do it again with a layer stripped away, with something previously immanent now made explicit, with some part of the subtext made text.

These games are compelling: you shouldn't be playing them, it's hard to get people together to play, every classic game is dripping with countermodern impulses, WOTC has an unbreakable monopoly on the game stores, the game community itself is shit, the games take far too much time and yet and yet...

People are compelled, all in different ways.

Next time you see someone propose yet another hip new spin on the what-RPGs-could-be wheel, ask yourself what part were they trying to pull back and look beneath?
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Friday, April 29, 2022

Your Pick

I'll be finishing up the series about the goons soon.

As for what's next on here, it's up to you, I'm giving you three options--

  • A) More of the research about the Goons.
  • B) The research on the Old School gamers who joined the mob.
  • C) Fuck the mob, I want more Cube World
  • D) Wait I was hoping you would write about  ___(fill in theblank)___, tell me
Whichever gets the most votes wins. If D wins then I will pick from the responses.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Freyja Erlings (Goons on Trial pt 4)

 Part one here - Part two here - Part three here

If you want more in this series don't forget to vote by leaving a comment up there in Part One.


"A REAL SAD EXAMPLE"


Freyja Erlings (aka Freyja Katra aka Freyja Catra aka Freyja Erlingsdottir aka other names back in the day) is the most aggressive harasser and conspiracy theorist in the online tabletop world period. She spreads antisemitic propaganda, she's racist as fuck, and--unusually for a goon--she's so shitty that major industry figures have actually shouted her out specifically. They remember her name.


There’s probably no better example of the double-standard at play in goon thinking that Freyja gets to be part of their club despite all the harm she's done to the community. 

  • Monte Cook called her a “real sad example of humanity”.
  • Bleeding Cool called her statements about other gamers “slanderous” and “libellous”.
  • Ryan Dancey, former president of D&D, sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening to sue her (which worked—she backed off) for trademark infringement.
  • On top of all that, Freyja singlehandedly started the Mike Mearls conspiracy theory literally only because after years of trolling Mike Mearls blocked her on Twitter:


Freyja needs me, a blogger, being in a position to "order" the creative head of D&D around to explain why someone would block her on Twitter?


Given all she's done, why would anyone, anywhere in any position, with any politics, with anything resembling a functioning value system, much less the head of the game she's constantly trashing not block Freyja on Twitter?


I don’t know, but there are a lot of people (unless they’re Nora Reed’s bots) who not only don’t block her but actually like and retweet her.





RACISM


All those bullet-pointed things happened long before Freyja transitioned or expressed any desire to do so publicly (so you can't say Monte, Ryan, Bleeding Cool, etc are just being transphobic) and they also happened before Freyja went full-tilt and explicitly racist:


In addition to apparently being the patient-zero antisemite who invented the conspiracy theory that I have a trust fund*, Freyja has been complaining about flaws in D&D up-to-and-including crimes the game has supposedly committed against humanity itself for over a decade. Unlike the majority of the civilized world, she can’t bring herself to just not play it


It's one thing to come across a niche cultural product that you feel, rightly or wrongly, powerfully conflicts with your values, talk about it and move on. It's quite another to do that and then hang around in the niche for ten years afterward.


Freyja, an Icelandic woman as white as you'd expect, is basically the center of another hobby within the niche hobby dedicated to inventing conspiracy theories that D&D is bad for people of color, despite:


...many D&D players of color giving thoughtful interviews and writing eloquent essays about how D&D might interact with race which contradict every word of what Freyja says,


...Freyja having been online during the same time the original creators of D&D posted on forums in the zeroes, and therefore in a position to have engaged the creators in a conversation about this,


...Freyja sharing the online space with massive numbers of D&D players of color who she therefore could have engaged in a serious conversation about this,


...Freyja herself steadily harassing women of color in the hobby for years, very much including Michelle Ford (aka Connie) of D&D With Pornstars,


...Freyja never having had a real-life conversation with any player of color about D&D,


...and Freyja never having even played a real-life game with anyone who wasn’t white, so far as I am aware.


There’s a name for white people who propose elaborate ideas about what is and isn’t good for other people without meaningfully asking said people what they might have to say about it: racists.


This is all, of course, in addition to promoting the big conspiracy theory about me--a conspiracy theory which assumes that when a white woman disagrees with multiple women of color about basic facts then the women of color must be lying. Morever, this is a conspiracy theory which I successfully sued Freyja's RPG writing partner Ettin / Paul Matijevic over.


This didn't stop Freyja. The case proves she's wrong, the case proves there are real consequences to being wrong, and yet she just can't stop herself.



POSSIBLE DIAGNOSIS


Many years ago Freyja was spewing some racist shit and I pointed out it was racist and, lord knows why, Freyja agreed to have a private conversation with me about the messages she was putting out in the game-o-sphere.


So we're going back and forth for a while (brusquely, but talking) and I asked an obvious and very basic question that literally any white person who might think of themselves as a social justice advocate should have considered long before ever opening their mouths:

What position do you, a white wannabe activist, take when the exact same piece of media is held up as being important, good, progressive and helpful by a large group of marginalized people and the exact same piece of media is simultaneously held up as being pernicious, evil, and retrograde by another large group from the same marginalized identity? For the same reasons?

Needless to say, Freyja dodged the question.


But the way Freyja dodged it was super weird: she wrote in ALL CAPS that I needed to google intersectionality theory and not bother her with such questions. I pointed out googling doesn't give me her answer to the question I asked. She said the same thing again and then she asked what my other questions were.


If this were on Twitter, that performance might not seem so bizarre, but remember: this was a private conversation that she agreed to have. There was nobody watching, there was no gallery of goons to impress with the force of her rage.


Why would someone voluntarily get into a conversation just to say something that the only person who can hear them could not possibly receive as persuasive?


It was like that scene in Kundun where Mao takes the Dalai Lama aside to quickly explain that Buddhism isn't a real thing. And seems sincerely to think: that'll just about do it. 


Even as an atheist, you just walk away going "Chairman are you ok?"


When the psychologist helping with this project looked over this (and everything else we've collected about Freyja so far) they said...


Nowadays, when patients, members of the general public, or even some students call someone else a "narcissist" it's just a fancier way of saying "crazy"--it's a catch-all for claiming that the other person did something they disapprove of. In cases like this I might ask a student: is there any kind of negative thing this "narcissist" would not do? Are there behaviors the label can't explain? When a non-mental-health professional uses the word that answer is usually "No" so it's a fairly unhelpful and dismissive way to use the label. Everyone has some kind of motive, even a narcissist, and empathy requires being able to describe motives and be curious about motives even it you can't agree with them.


In Freyja's case, though, there are signs that might indicate genuine Narcissistic Personality Disorder, even if we ignore the several DSM criteria for NPD that could be implied by statements Freyja might make just to try to sell her work online.

Specifically, narcissists often behave as if they've authentically forgot the person they're talking to has their own needs, point-of-view, or motives that differ from their own. They can be impatient with explaining themselves because they're not fully convinced of the others' need for explanation is based in anything real. In contrast to someone with anxiety, your insistence on interacting rather than just listening to her talking wouldn't necessarily even make her upset, it might not even occur to her that it meant anything. Narcissists are typically not curious about why anyone might differ from them. An important thing to remember is the narcissist is not only imposing their will on others, they often don't seem to remember that others they interact with even have a will. 

Some kinds of mental health problems make it hard for a patient to recognize rules or norms, but a key trait of a narcissist is acknowledging--and possibly even approving of--rules but somehow not realizing the rules apply to them. Criterion 5 in the DSM is "an unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment".

NPD would account for many of Freyja's specific quirks including the expectation (if it's sincere) that Mike Mearls would treat her differently than other trolls after all her public bad behavior, Freyja engaging in activist behavior while failing to seek guidance from the communities she's trying to represent, her apparently sincere assumption of automatic compliance, Freyja's continuing to engage in a behavior long after a close business partner was successfully sued for identical behavior, her inability to take questions as read, as well as her other reactions in that private conversation.


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*Though I am not sure if she's responsible for the additional antisemitic lie that my dad's a lawyer--which detail is extra weird because both of these tend to be spread by people who also claim my legal briefs were not prepared by, like, lawyers. But then internet conspiracy theorists are not exactly known for logical consistency and the game community isn't exactly known for asking for it.



Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Some New Demon City Stuff

Albequerque, New Mexico. Long story. Anyway I was there.

I was walking through what I take to be some outskirt of some part of the center of some part of town. Like 2pm. Dust, rust. Broken car. Everything yellow.

Homeless guy: "Spare a torchlight?"

I carry a lighter, not for me, but for people who need a lighter-- "All yours."

He lights up a lightbulb pipe, something blue collected in the bottom, breathes meth or crack smoke.

"You look like a man in a hurry," he says.

I'm super not. Especially these days. Lawyers aren't even awake in half the time zones I'm dealing with.

I'm waiting for final versions of Demon City pages to come in for proofreading and every other thing, so I figured I'd make a few new pictures to illustrate action rounds while I wait. Here are a few of the batch that I like best:




Thanks to the girls for modelling. More on the goons soon, for those waiting on that.


Monday, March 14, 2022

"Get up. The war has started" Interview from Kyiv


Kyiv.

Hey all, like I promised Friday, here's an interview with a gamer in Kyiv, as the bombs are dropping.

How did this happen? Anton from the metal band Kauan is a fan of my game stuff and Anatoly is also in his band. 

We all want to know what's going down there, so here's an interview. The first thing I asked is who he was, what games he was into, and what's going on. The interview begins with what he said, via Telegram (click to enlarge if it's hard to read):

Imagine paying for Kingdom Death and then having to leave


Territorial Defense Forces, Ukraine



How much debris would it stop?




William T Vollmann, a real nice guy who introduced me to getting shot at in Eastern Europe

Disco Elysium


Vladimir Putin's favorite band

Did you see that? Of course I saw it.

Ok, that's that. If you're interested in the perspective of Russian gamers I am also working on an interview with one of those guys as we speak--hopefully it'll be ready and up within the week.

And for those of you who are like "Yeah yeah international events are very exciting but when are you going to get back to telling us about what you learned from suing Something Awful trolls while suing people?" Well if you're interested in that--don't forget to vote!
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