Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wandery Wednesday: "Nofriendo"

The Nintendo Treehouse parted ways with Alison Rapp today. If you're not a gamer, that doesn't mean anything to you. It does to me. I wouldn't call her a friend--just one of hundreds of people I follow on Twitter. I don't agree with a lot of her political and social views. But I like hearing them. 

GooberGate (not going to dignify them with what they call themselves)--the gaming equivalent of Donald Trump--don't like Alison Rapp. Among other things, they blame her for the "failed localization" of several recent games. Despite the fact that she didn't have anything to do with those games. So they decided it would be a grand jape to get her fired.

The main piece of ammo was an essay Rapp wrote in college, involving Japanese sexual norms, free speech, and the depiction of pre-adult sexuality. Out of context, some portions of the essay seem to be defending pedophilia. Except for, you know, the portion of the essay that blatantly says "pedophilia be bad, yo." There's a lot more nuance to the essay than that. But you get the drift. The main takeaway might boil down to the fact that Lolita isn't condoning pedophilia, and by the same token, other works depicting pre-adult sexuality are NOT NECESSARILY condoning pedophilia, and shouldn't be treated as such. I don't agree with a large portion of her essay. But it's thoughtful and well-researched, and that's more than many essays can say. 

Unfortunately, an essay like that, selectively misquoted, makes for pretty terrible PR for a major company like Nintendo. So Alison's been fired. Yet another women fired/driven out of games by GoombaGate. Yay. It's like they WANT the games industry to be testosterone-filled and pimply, so they can complain about no girls liking videogames. 

What bugs me the most is, I've written about incestual themes in Hamlet. The essay is on this blog. If I worked for Nintendo, and GopherGate didn't like me, would they use that to get me fired? Would Nintendo cave? I've written poems about murder and suicide and depression. 

I'd like to see games deal with sensitive topics in a mature manner, to become a literature. But that's a heck of a lot easier if there are people in the industry who have a history of at least THINKING about those topics, even if their thoughts are not necessarily thoughts I agree with. Cthulhu wept...