Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Forty Years Wasted? The Essay Continues

First seen in a hotel stairwell in 1976

This will be a continuation of the previous two posts; and really does have something to do with gaming - at least, with my gaming...

First, the transportation news: The van had an electrical fault, and once again the guys at Fixt-Rite solved the problem with a couple of deft strokes with a crescent wrench. We get the van back tomorrow morning, if all goes well (knock wood!), the rental Jeep goes back to Enterprise, and we get the new car - the aforementioned VW Beetle - as a holiday present as funding has come through from a very unexpected source.

I was chatting with some old friends over dinner this past weekend when the latest episode in the "Star Wars" saga came up. Haven't seen any of these in quite a while, actually, and I was thinking about seeing this one when other influences intruded. Specifically, an article in the local daily paper about how politically correct this latest film is for having several strong female characters.

Well, all right. I can understand that. The saga has always had pretty powerful women in it. Yes, I know that Princess Leia's metal bikini is now considered to be Very Politically Incorrect, but when we saw the movie when it came out we all - both the men and women in our theater-going party - instantly knew that whomever or whatever idiot had put her in that outfit was going to suffer a nasty death at her hands in pretty short order. And so it happened; Jabba gets strangled with the chain, and we all cheered. The women on our party felt particularly empowered (to use a current word) as the chain went tight.

These days, we'd all have been tarred and feathered for having Politically Incorrect Thoughts. I'd probably be at the top of The List Of Those First Up Against The Wall When The Revolution Comes because I have to specifically stop and remember that that Lando was played by a black actor. It just didn't register with me; I was way too intent on following his character's problems and solutions to them.

As I've mentioned before on this blog, our definition of inclusiveness in gaming was "Anyone who wants to play, gets to play."

These days, forty years on since those days at Coffman Union and The Little Tin Soldier Shoppe, I don't feel particularly welcome in gaming. I am not au courant with the latest and hottest games on the market, I play with (Gasp!) miniatures in role-playing games, and I don't specifically select games, miniatures, and players according to their political correctness. I go with what provides people the most fun, and what provides me the most enjoyment for my hobby dollar.

I spent some sixty bucks a while back on some figures, and I thought that - at the suggestion of my daughter-in-residence - that it would be fun to paint them in hair colors suitable for the subject matter. She worked out the statistical distribution of hair colors in the human population in the given setting, and I had a lot of fun further refining the paint schemes to give more diversity; a number of my very diverse co-workers had an equal amount of fun 'posing' for their skin tones to appear on the figures, and we were able to match everyone pretty easily.

I was very proud of these figures, at least until I showed them to my daughter's then-current game group. I was, to paraphrase the conversation, taken to task for being a white male painting female figures in racially diverse skin tones; I had, apparently, no right to do so.

Oh.

The figures never got finished; they are about 80% done and - in my opinion and that of others who have seen them - look pretty good as my paint jobs seem to improve with the amount of fun I'm having with the figures. The 'magic' / 'fun' / whatever you want to call it has now been drained from this particular project, and I fear I've wasted the Missus' money.

Going forward, I'm looking at this as the proverbial 'learning experience'. In the future, as we'll talk about in the next essay, I'll be building things and doing projects that I like, and which may not be approved by other people. There's also some changes coming to the Rules of Engagement to reflect this, too.

More to come, and thanks again for your time.