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Author Topic: R. Sean Borgstrom: Ryan or Rebecca?  (Read 8364 times)

The Yann Waters

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« Reply #60 on: July 23, 2008, 02:59:28 pm »
Quote from: Spike;227541
... THey'd point out that when you mix two likes (yang and yang, or yin and yin) you get... the same thing.  Thus, there IS no ancient chinese taoist alchemy for homosexual relationships (of EITHER flavor) because as far as yin/yang mixing go, they are a wash.
Because the principles of yin and yang complement each other, yes, which is why same-sex pairings couldn't produce the same results. The alternate Loresheets acknowledge that. However, since Taoism has a history of addressing homosexuality in these terms, for the purposes of a game in which those beliefs are demonstrably true and backed by the mechanics you'd either have to pronounce such affairs objectively wrong... or develop more acceptable options still rooted in the same material. Hence, the full range of the three techniques.
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« Reply #61 on: July 23, 2008, 03:24:15 pm »
Quote from: GrimGent;227547
Because the principles of yin and yang complement each other, yes, which is why same-sex pairings couldn't produce the same results. The alternate Loresheets acknowledge that. However, since Taoism has a history of addressing homosexuality in these terms, for the purposes of a game in which those beliefs are demonstrably true and backed by the mechanics you'd either have to pronounce such affairs objectively wrong... or develop more acceptable options still rooted in the same material. Hence, the full range of the three techniques.


Please, o Taoist Master, provide us references to these real world ancient Taoist teachings about homosexuality.

See: like a chef, an alchemist would be fully versant that if you add a glass of milk (yin) to a second glass of milk (more yin) you still have milk (yin), in fact enough to fill two glasses (the two empty glasses you just mixed together) with all the milk (yin) they just contributed to the mix.

No alchemy or cooking need apply. If they HONESTLY needed to devote massive amounts of lore to the study of mixing milk (yin) with milk (yin) without making a mess, then the ancient chinese Taoist alchemists were at least twice as stupid as the christian apologists who jump through eight shades of hoops to explain the trinity.
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The Yann Waters

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« Reply #62 on: July 23, 2008, 03:51:07 pm »
Quote from: Spike;227555
Please, o Taoist Master, provide us references to these real world ancient Taoist teachings about homosexuality.

Did I say anything about elaborate "teachings"? Historical Taoism dismissed homosexuality as inherently unproductive, as something incapable of the natural yin/yang fluctuation between men and women, and therefore to be discouraged. In a modern fictional setting where that view is a concrete reality, the author must somehow come to terms with how the metaphysics will seem to readers with different sensibilities (and who might be gay themselves). In WotG, this is done through the additional techniques in the Loresheets, which open up alternate avenues of manipulating the principles.
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« Reply #63 on: July 23, 2008, 05:18:07 pm »
Quote from: GrimGent;227560
Did I say anything about elaborate "teachings"? Historical Taoism dismissed homosexuality as inherently unproductive, as something incapable of the natural yin/yang fluctuation between men and women, and therefore to be discouraged. In a modern fictional setting where that view is a concrete reality, the author must somehow come to terms with how the metaphysics will seem to readers with different sensibilities (and who might be gay themselves). In WotG, this is done through the additional techniques in the Loresheets, which open up alternate avenues of manipulating the principles.


So: when confronted with an unpleasant, or rather personally unpalatable truth of reality, any number of justifications may be undertaken to support the personal beliefs of the author in direct contravention of that reality, and only when called upon to provide direct, incontrovertable proof of the Author's presentation of facts do the justification change from 'this is really real' to 'we dasn't want to offend nobady'.

As always the correct answer is not to 'pimp' a lifestyle or behavioral pattern to support a minority but to simply not to disallow it.   And once again, the author's personal bias (if rumor is to be believed) has prevented the sensible, even 'marketable' choice in favor of pandering to like minded minority views.

See: That wasn't hard at all.  To return to my point at the start of this day's posts: Settembrini had, for once, something reasonable and sensible to say: Understanding the lens by which an author views the world is often useful in judging the works said author produces.

Nothing more, nothing less.
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The Yann Waters

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« Reply #64 on: July 23, 2008, 05:48:46 pm »
Quote from: Spike;227581
So: when confronted with an unpleasant, or rather personally unpalatable truth of reality, any number of justifications may be undertaken to support the personal beliefs of the author in direct contravention of that reality, and only when called upon to provide direct, incontrovertable proof of the Author's presentation of facts do the justification change from 'this is really real' to 'we dasn't want to offend nobady'.
The existence of fundamental male and female energies qualifies as "truth of reality" now? Keep in mind that the game's set in a fantasy world inspired by Chinese history, legends and beliefs, after all, not in any past period that ever was. While it may treat the metaphysics of Taoism as a starting point, it's under no obligation to develop them into familiar directions. It never swears by historical accuracy.

Quote
To return to my point at the start of this day's posts: Settembrini had, for once, something reasonable and sensible to say: Understanding the lens by which an author views the world is often useful in judging the works said author produces.
If it's literary analysis that you are after, then yes, although personally I'm far more interested in games themselves than the people behind the games. Unless a designer's views directly impact actual play through built-in mechanics or unalterable setting conventions, they will have next to no effect on how I run my sessions. Under normal circumstances I'd certainly never start wondering whether, say, including werewolves or other shapeshifters in a horror setting could be construed a sign of a writer's body issues.
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« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2008, 02:11:31 pm »
Quote from: GrimGent;227591
The existence of fundamental male and female energies qualifies as "truth of reality" now? Keep in mind that the game's set in a fantasy world inspired by Chinese history, legends and beliefs, after all, not in any past period that ever was. While it may treat the metaphysics of Taoism as a starting point, it's under no obligation to develop them into familiar directions. It never swears by historical accuracy.


Smoke and mirror arguement, deliberately miscasting what I actually said. You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel here, Grimgent.  

You claimed that chinese alchemy had developed specific techniques to adjust for yang/yang and yin/yin sexual pairings.
I refuted that.
Now you try to recast that refutation as an acceptance of yin/yang as 'truth of reality'... when you know damn well that the 'truth of reality' I referred to was the utter lack of evidence for your defense of this borgstromosity.

Quote
If it's literary analysis that you are after, then yes, although personally I'm far more interested in games themselves than the people behind the games. Unless a designer's views directly impact actual play through built-in mechanics or unalterable setting conventions, they will have next to no effect on how I run my sessions. Under normal circumstances I'd certainly never start wondering whether, say, including werewolves or other shapeshifters in a horror setting could be construed a sign of a writer's body issues



You have that backwards. Not surprising, since that's the only way what you're trying to say makes sense.  

If I pick up a book by some random individual, of whom I know nothing, I can read it without concern for their issues. In fact, if I find 'issues' coming up in the course of reading it, I can only guess at what I'm reading.

If, on the other hand, I read the author's bio on the back of the book (worked in vegas, look at the pretty picture of the author, yadda yadda) then read the blurb (set in vegas, character looks just like author, plot reads like shitty fan-fic) I can safely assume that the book is crap wish fulfilment.

If I know, to bring this back to the topic, that an author has what might be termed SEVERE body and identity issues, and I read their C.V. involves a number of works that focus on trancending the limits of flesh (etc), I can make a reasonable assumption on wether or not that author appeals to me.

Knowledge of the author can inform the reader about the relative merits of their work, for good or ill.  If, for example, I had body and indentity issues I might be more comfortable with the works of a Transgendered author, as we would share a perspective.  I would be more comfortable reading a book about military fiction if I knew the author was a former soldier than I would if the author turned out to be a dirty hippie pacifist.
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

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The Yann Waters

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« Reply #66 on: July 24, 2008, 06:04:04 pm »
Quote from: Spike;227819
You claimed that chinese alchemy had developed specific techniques to adjust for yang/yang and yin/yin sexual pairings.
And where, exactly, did I claim anything of the sort? I stated earlier that "WotG's system is based on the transference of male and female energies exactly like the historical practices of Taoist alchemy", and that in order to render historical Taoism's condemnation of homosexuality more palatable to the sensibilities of the readers in our modern societies, the game extended the range of those rites while keeping them rooted in the same metaphysics and the interaction between yin and yang.

Quote
Knowledge of the author can inform the reader about the relative merits of their work, for good or ill.  If, for example, I had body and indentity issues I might be more comfortable with the works of a Transgendered author, as we would share a perspective.
But even the fact of a game designer being transgendered still wouldn't inevitably make those games about TG issues any more than the novels by a gay author would automatically be about homosexuality, although information about these factors may affect subjective interpretions of the works in question. Highlighting gender in fiction shouldn't require contrived justifications: attention can be drawn to those topics without having them turn into a semiotic black hole that sucks in everything else in the text. And the transformation of the body is a motif which in one form or another appears in just about every work of fantasy ever written.
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« Reply #67 on: July 24, 2008, 07:11:19 pm »
Quote from: GrimGent;227920
And where, exactly, did I claim anything of the sort?


However, since Taoism has a history of addressing homosexuality in these terms, for the purposes of a game in which those beliefs are demonstrably true and backed by the mechanics you'd either have to pronounce such affairs objectively wrong...


I dunno, Grimmy... that reads, given the context in which it was stated, like a pretty strong indication that Taoist Alchemists had seperate taoist techniques for straight sex, male homosexual sex and female homosexual sex...

But I only had to go up half a dozen posts for that... let me know if that's too much work for you and I'll even exerpt from above that to reinforce that context.

Quote
I stated earlier that "WotG's system is based on the transference of male and female energies exactly like the historical practices of Taoist alchemy", and that in order to render historical Taoism's condemnation of homosexuality more palatable to the sensibilities of the readers in our modern societies, the game extended the range of those rites while keeping them rooted in the same metaphysics and the interaction between yin and yang.


Evasion and goal posting. Seriously man...  There is no need for 'taoist alchemy' to cover/govern/illustrate homosexuality, either to cover a gap in real taoist alchemy or to redress some perceived ancient prejudice that is utterly non-important to 99.9% of all gamers interested in a game about four color kung fu shit.  Unless by 'Weapon' you mean 'Pecker' and by 'Gods' you mean 'Player Characters'... in which case we have a serious case of false advertising.   It is only slightly facetious to point out that the 'Weapons of the Gods' that the entire game is named from got roughly the same about of ink as the various sexual lores...  Loss of focus, anyone?

Quote
But even the fact of a game designer being transgendered still wouldn't inevitably make those games about TG issues any more than the novels by a gay author would automatically be about homosexuality, although information about these factors may affect subjective interpretions of the works in question. Highlighting gender in fiction shouldn't require contrived justifications: attention can be drawn to those topics without having them turn into a semiotic black hole that sucks in everything else in the text. And the transformation of the body is a motif which in one form or another appears in just about every work of fantasy ever written.


True. The worst offenders for 'gay novels' I've read came from a straight woman (Poppy Z. Brite).  Just as reading a book written by a woman from Vegas, set in Vegas, doesn't necessarily have to be the worst sort of fan-fiction tripe. However, when you see an author writing from a somewhat monotopical point of view and it turns out said author may, in fact, be hip deep in that point of view in their own life then it is justifiable to draw the conclusion that their future works will continue to express a similar worldview.

Just because a Transgendered author CAN write 'normal' works does not automatically mean that THIS transgendered author (again, if true.  Speaking of... I am geographically nearby, this strikes me as fairly easy to research in person, given my contacts in the local GLBT community, and given open acknowledgement of all of RSB's legal names) is in fact doing so.  

In short: Your argument applied to shovels:  A shovel doesn't necessarily have to be used to move dirt.  Some are painted gold and shoved into display cases.

True, but THIS shovel in fact moves dirt.
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

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The Yann Waters

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« Reply #68 on: July 24, 2008, 08:27:15 pm »
Quote from: Spike;227930
I dunno, Grimmy... that reads, given the context in which it was stated, like a pretty strong indication that Taoist Alchemists had seperate taoist techniques for straight sex, male homosexual sex and female homosexual sex...
And that would be another example of reading your own expectations into the text. In the quoted paragraph, I was talking about how Taoism addressed homosexuality in terms of yin and yang, which served as their rationale for dismissing it as unproductive. In fact, in this entire thread I've only referred to the assumed metaphysical basis behind the historical practices, specifically avoiding statements about what those practices might involve. The three techniques I've only ever mentioned in relation to the fictional setting of the game.

Quote
In short: Your argument applied to shovels:  A shovel doesn't necessarily have to be used to move dirt.  Some are painted gold and shoved into display cases.

True, but THIS shovel in fact moves dirt.
So... If I were to say that a straight writer's fiction doesn't necessarily deal with heterosexuality's relationship to sexual minorities, would you feel obligated to point at, say, Stephen King and pronounce that his does? Because right there you are effectively declaring victory without textual support for anything beyond a personal opinion. This theme of "transcending the flesh" and challenging gender roles which you may perceive in Nobilis can quite as easily be found in Unknown Armies, for instance; perhaps more so, because Nobilis explicitly revolves around concepts made flesh, which strikes me as the opposite of what you suggest. The Fair Folk in Exalted? Borgstrom didn't create them, or even write the sections on their society: she contributed the rules for their Charms, shaping combat and artifact creation, just as she worked on Sidereals, Outcaste, Games of Divinity, and Sorcerer & Savant for the same line, all of which you are perfectly welcome to inspect for signs of suspicious LGBT propaganda. The alternate sexual techniques in WotG? Logical extensions of the original alchemical theories, as said, in response to questions that will arise if yin and yang retain their feminine and masculine qualities.

Seriously, your argument boils down to "the gender of writers might not affect their work, except when I say so", with a hint of "games ought not to deal with sexuality, so something's amiss when they do."

(EDIT: Going over your three examples, by way of postscript... "Playing a 'transgendered' Noble is presumptively easy, if not assumed to be a default possibility," you wrote. It is in fact precisely as easy as declaring that you are going to play a TG PC in any modern or science fiction game in which such a change is made possible by technology, or any fantasy game in which magic can serve the same purpose. To claim that an unmentioned but technically feasible possibility of physical transformation in itself constitutes a symptom of sexual wish fulfilment cannot help but open up any RPG to the same criticism: by the same token, the existence of the Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity in D&D could be interpreted as a much more explicit indication of a sexual agenda, and that would sound equally far-fetched... or nearly so, since in the case of the Girdle the actual text would at least provide some support to the theory. Moving on to Exhibit B, the Fair Folk, the raksha in their natural state are nebulous energy patterns or sentient stories which have more in common with Yog-Sothoth than anything else ("indescribable congeries of passions and the elements of dream, coagulating around the five fixed positions of self that keep them from dissolution"), without any shape, human or not, androgynous or otherwise. They don't "transcend the flesh", having never been bodily beings like the inhabitants of Creation: they only wear it for a while whenever they happen to feel like it. So basically, what you are left with is that WotG describes one man turning into a woman. If you still consider that solid evidence for any extended hypothesis, I could point you towards the body-warping Epideromancers and the avatars of the Mystic Hermaphrodite in Unknown Armies so that you can then start investigating Stolze and Tynes. Yes, the sexuality of authors and game designers alike can affect their works, and even speculation about the topic can certainly affect the interpretations of those works, as your replies here amply demonstrate. But I'm afraid that your conclusions have little support in these three particular examples.)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 06:29:04 am by The Yann Waters »
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