badness, goodness, life

ATTENTION ONLINE GAMING MALES: Losing at combat is not the equivalent of rape. Obviously.

I used to play an iPhone game called Clash of Clans.  It’s a combat strategy (resource-gathering, town building/raiding) time sink that I played for months and months until I finally had to just delete it off my phone cold-turkey.  There was really no way to make any significant progress in the game without spending real money, which I refuse to do because that’s insane.  My clan was cool at first, but started to become a little bro-tastic.  I found myself feeling discouraged from participating in the chat since much of what was said was the kind of shit I would expect to hear in a high school locker room; weirdly explicit talk about sex, using ‘rape’ to describe something other than violent sexual assault and torture, a few instances of homophobic slurs like ‘faggot’,etc.  I would point these things out as childish and backwards, and get promptly shut down: “I can say whatever I want, if you don’t like it, don’t read it,” I was told, as if I could distinguish hateful language from normal, inoffensive language without reading it.  Those same idiots would then proceed to complain about how our clan wasn’t active enough in the chat.  I told them I would participate more if they stopped pretending like the whole clan was male.  I was not the only female in the clan.  They could not have given less of a shit.

I was pretty disappointed by the whole atmosphere until one interaction where one of the adult, male clan members used the word rape to describe how his town could not withstand attacks by other players.  I was especially surprised to hear that kind of rhetoric from him since he had just confided in us not a week prior about how he and his girlfriend had pulled into a parking lot to find a woman (a friend of his girlfriend, actually) who had just been raped.  They found her passed out and beaten in a state of partial undress.  They called the cops and stayed with her until they came.  He sounded pretty shaken up at the time, so imagine my surprise when he started dropping ‘rape’ like it was the equivalent of having his little imaginary villiage adorably knocked over by little imaginary dragons and hot air balloons.

As usual, I spoke up, and was shocked when a third clan member jumped in:

P: supercell needs to lower the cost of shit or give us more gold mines or collectors
P: this game is made for people to spend money
P: fucking bullshit
K: dude this game is for rich people
Toph (me): yeah, im approahing the point where ill have to either put in $ or stop playing.
P: me too Toph
P: like fuck
P: its impossible and i get raped in every damn battle
P: and its hard to 3 star
P: like its not fun if i can barley play…
T: raped? really?
P: Toph… its an expression.
T: …of sexual assault. was it you or S who found a rape victim recently?
T: because that’s what women picture when dudes throw that word around.
P: Toph. i did.
P: im a big boy. i dont need to be corrected.
G: P, Toph has had a bad experience in the past, who knows.
G: But you should show some respect because you really dont know.
G: has maby had a bad exsperience*
P: dude i just found a girl ik raped. i of all people know bro.
P: i show respect
G: I know, and im sorry fo rher and those effected by it, but its not A bug deal to not mention a word if it potentially upsets
G: someone
P: gotcha

So.  Wow.  Words of kindness from a dude in the clan.  Pretty amazing.  What’s more, if memory serves, this guy’s handle was something like Guntotinredneck, lol.  I never thanked him since there wasn’t any way to send private messages, and no way to tell who was online at the time.  I wish I could have thanked him.  I almost cried when I read this.  Thanks, Guntotinredneck, wherever you are.  Maybe next time it won’t take a man’s voice reiterating my point for the message to be heard.

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goodness

Neutral journalism: I found some

A local paper in Jones County, Mississippi, published a front-page story entitled “Historic Wedding” about a lesbian couple in the local community who were recently married.  Naturally, the paper got a ton of feedback (mostly negative) from its local readership, which both saddened and infuriated me.  The owner of the paper, Jim Cegielski, wrote a response entitled “Doing Our Job” that contains a few gems of journalistic wisdom:

weddingThe job of a community newspaper is not pretending something didn’t take place or ignoring it because it will upset people.

Most of the complaints seem to revolve around our headline, “Historic Wedding” and the fact that we chose to put the story on the first page. My answer…is pretty simple. You don’t have to like something for it to be historic. The holocaust, bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Black Sox scandal are all historic…whether you liked the story or not, the first known gay wedding to take place in Jones County is still historic.

Many of the calls received had the caller stating something to the effect, “I don’t need my children to read this.” Ugh. We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying “I don’t need my child reading this.” Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children.

You have every right to cancel your subscription…But you have no right to berate and belittle anyone on our staff.

Color me amazed.  I didn’t want the people working at this paper getting only negative feedback, so I wrote an encouraging email to the editor, and the following exchange did not disappoint.  Warning: Beware of feels.

Hi there,
I recently read a story about the headline you ran regarding a “Historic Marriage” and the following backlash your paper and its staff received from the local community.  I also read about Mr. Cegielski’s response to said complaints.
I was very impressed by Mr. Cegielski’s statement in defense of this story’s publication.  The points he made about the lack of negative response regarding stories about murder, rape, molestation, etc., and the fact that “historical” are not always pleasant were both right on the money.  I am so pleased with this public statement in defense of journalistic integrity and the staff who work at the paper.  Well done.
I live in Los Angeles, but I’ve bookmarked your newspaper’s website and will visit it often to increase traffic to your site.  I hope your paper continues to uphold the same high standards of journalistic integrity in the future.

Thank you, [tigerlilytoph] … I can’t wait to pass on your kind words to our staff. It will mean a lot after so much hate-filled criticism.
I appreciate you for taking the time to write!
Mark  
_____
Then I heard from Jim, the owner of the paper who wrote the op ed in defense of running the story.
_____
Hi [tigerlilytoph]:

Mark forwarded your email onto me and I just wanted to add my gratitude and thanks for your kind message.
Warmest Regards,
Jim Cegielski
Laurel Leader-Call
_____
So I wrote a probably-too-long email back:
_____
Hi Jim,
It was my pleasure, and well deserved.  An impartial news source is not easy to find, so I was delighted that your response to all the negative feedback you got was to point out that the job of a news organization is to report just that: the news.  Not what people want to hear, or a political opinion on current events, just facts.

Although I’m a strong supporter of equal rights for all, I’m glad you didn’t cite any personal bias (no matter what it might be) on that topic as your reasoning for reporting that story.  The fact is, if I wanted to read individuals’ opinions of current events, I’d look to blogs instead of news outlets.
Please give my warmest wishes to your staff.  I know how it is dealing with wrankled customers: it sucks out loud.  They have all my support (and the support of all the friends and family whom I’ve told about your experience).  I hope they keep a good sense of humor while dealing with this and any future backlash for doing their jobs right.
In friendship,
[tigerlilytoph]
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