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  1. - Top - End - #211
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    Underneath every "is the inclusion of a gay character necessary?" is the assumption that their inclusion is unnecessary unless there is a special reason for them to be there.

    If anything, I find it more offensive than overt homophobia, because it is the same thing but trying to put on a mask of sweet reasonableness.

    The fact that it's still considered a semi-valid argument to say that "you can't include a gay character just because, there has to be reason" shows that there is a still a very good reason to include gay characters deliberately.
    Incorrect analysis. Including a gay character is fine and I have no issue with its exposition as a part of characterization or as a part of the storyline. It is the non-central character who shows up, displays his 'Gay Pride' flag, and vanishes from the story that I object to. Inclusiveness for the sake of meeting a quota is my objection, not inclusiveness to generate a diverse cast of characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    On the day when it is considered acceptable by practically everyone to include a gay character "just because" as a fact of their character, and not needing some nebulous, unspecified "special reason for them to be there," a mighty victory will have been achieved by justice, equality, and humanism.
    This is my position almost exactly. It should be a fact of the character, not an opportunity to wave the flag taken by an otherwise irrelevant character.

    Example: Scene in a diner, waitress approaches the main characters.

    "I'm Becky, I'll be your server today, are you ready to order?"
    (This character could be played by anyone.)

    "I'm Bec-kay, and I'm gonna serve you good. What do you like?"
    (This character is played by a black man in drag.)

    The second example is offensive. It may have been that the producer thought he was being funny, or that he thought it was a way to be inclusive, but he has only served to inflame the people who might otherwise have sympathized with a transgendered black person. This is the inevitable result of tokenism, intended or not.

    And to get back to my original point: why is the gender or sexual orientation of the server important in the first place? How does it add to the story? It would be far more relevant to have one of the diners being served be the transgendered black person if that is a necessary element of the story.

    Again, I advocate for diversity in characterization. I oppose tokenism or quotas.

  2. - Top - End - #212
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    I would argue that even "tokenism" and "quotas" have their place. They may be shoehorned in oddly, but they still serve the overall purpose of normalizing something that should, well, be considered as normal as anything else.

    "Fake it til you make it" kind of applies here. Even someone who clumsily includes a single token non-white/gay/woman/etc. is still including one of these characters, and thus contributing, however imperfectly, to the wider acceptance of diversity. At least contributing more than they would by not including the character at all.

    Furthermore, tokenism and quotas have a whiff of the "deus ex machina" label about them. They are hard to define and are frequently quite subjective. Used together, they can be used to devalue any inclusion of a minority.

    Include 1 gay: "Ha! Mere tokenism, what a hack!"
    Include multiple gays: "Ha! Filling a quota, I see! What a hack!"

    You can see how there's no right answer to certain people just by perusing this thread. We have people stating there are too many gays because their percentage is higher than the putative percentage in the United States. So these people would prefer to see one at most because of a supposed regard for "realism." But then, just having one would become "tokenism." And once two or more are included, it becomes a "quota."

    {Scrubbed}

    Setting up some kind of circular tag-team "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing with tokenism and quotas simply creates a situation where no inclusion of a gay is considered satisfactory, since it cannot possibly pass this Scylla and Charybdis test. And we're back to square one where gays aren't included at all, and it isn't considered legitimate to include them.

    Pairing "tokenism" and "quotas" is a way to argue for the exclusion of gay characters, period,
    no matter how many times the person says they're in favor of diversity or whatever.

    I would also like to see a cogent reason presented by someone as to why it is unnecessary to include a gay character. And also why it is deemed "necessary" to include a straight character. Is this drive to include straight characters some kind of tokenism? Or is it an attempt to fill up a quota, one wonders?
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2014-11-01 at 10:21 PM.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by oppyu View Post
    Lee is an amazing character although I probably shouldn't have led with 'he killed the dude who slept with his wife' but your insults against him will still not be- Not the point.

    Question B then, characters who just happen to be gay without it tying much into their characters. Happy Endings, there's a chubby (TV chubby, not real life chubby) manchild who mooches off his parents, watches sports and plays video games, and likes penis. Good, bad, neutral, tokenism, inclusion, etc?
    Another program I don't watch, so I know nothing about it. However, from your description it seems this is a character trait meant to flesh out the character, and not something included just to stereotype homosexuals as moochers. (Moochers can be of any sexual orientation, so far as I know.)

    Exposition of character traits = good. Stereotypes for the sake of token inclusion = bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by oppyu View Post
    ... but your insults against him will still not be- ...
    I don't understand this quote. What insults did I make regarding this character?

  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    I find the "characters should be shown to be different from the norm only when it serves narrative purpose" stance incredibly problematic. Double so when "white straight cisgender man" is taken as the norm. And I say it as one.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Some intriguing questions, to my mind at any rate:

    1. What "narrative purpose" is needed before it is allowed for a character to be gay? What is the "narrative purpose" of homosexuality?

    2. Conversely, what "narrative purpose" is needed for a character to be straight?

    3. If no narrative purpose is needed for straightness, why? Why is a narrative purpose needed for gayness?

    4. Why is the proposition "This character is gay because they are gay" NOT considered to be sufficient narrative purpose?

    5. Why is being gay the only personality trait or individual characteristic that requires a special "narrative purpose" before it is allowed to be included without criticism?

    6. Why do people never say "Roy is snarky, what is the narrative purpose served by his snarkiness? Do we really need a snarky character in here? I want to be inclusive, but just adding in a snarky character without a specific purpose for that seems to be pushing support for snark just a little too far."*

    *Disclaimer: I am not comparing being gay to being snarky, the latter of which could be considered a slightly negative personality trait. I simply wanted a clear example and was, perhaps, feeling slightly snarky myself.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

  6. - Top - End - #216
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    I would argue that even "tokenism" and "quotas" have their place. They may be shoehorned in oddly, but they still serve the overall purpose of normalizing something that should, well, be considered as normal as anything else.

    "Fake it til you make it" kind of applies here. Even someone who clumsily includes a single token non-white/gay/woman/etc. is still including one of these characters, and thus contributing, however imperfectly, to the wider acceptance of diversity. At least contributing more than they would by not including the character at all.

    Furthermore, tokenism and quotas have a whiff of the "deus ex machina" label about them. They are hard to define and are frequently quite subjective. Used together, they can be used to devalue any inclusion of a minority.

    Include 1 gay: "Ha! Mere tokenism, what a hack!"
    Include multiple gays: "Ha! Filling a quota, I see! What a hack!"

    You can see how there's no right answer to certain people just by perusing this thread. We have people stating there are too many gays because their percentage is higher than the putative percentage in the United States. So these people would prefer to see one at most because of a supposed regard for "realism." But then, just having one would become "tokenism." And once two or more are included, it becomes a "quota."

    Pardon me, but I detect a strong whiff of bovine fecal matter about these arguments. They are so broad and vague as to be utterly subjective, or utterly specious. And if being forty years old is worth anything other than a sore back and more disappointments than I would have liked to have had, it's a nose in good working order for the detection of BS.

    Setting up some kind of circular tag-team "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing with tokenism and quotas simply creates a situation where no inclusion of a gay is considered satisfactory, since it cannot possibly pass this Scylla and Charybdis test. And we're back to square one where gays aren't included at all, and it isn't considered legitimate to include them.

    Pairing "tokenism" and "quotas" is a way to argue for the exclusion of gay characters, period,
    no matter how many times the person says they're in favor of diversity or whatever.

    I would also like to see a cogent reason presented by someone as to why it is unnecessary to include a gay character. And also why it is deemed "necessary" to include a straight character. Is this drive to include straight characters some kind of tokenism? Or is it an attempt to fill up a quota, one wonders?
    This argument was heavily endorsed in the Civil Rights struggle, and it has universally been demonstrated to be more harmful than helpful. We don't need exposure for the sake of exposure, we need exposure of positive role models.

    I think I see a case of projection here in which, no matter what position anyone takes, you will project a negative image on it. This may be your worldview. Or it may be a case of strongly defending your beliefs.

    Non-inclusion of tokens does not preclude inclusion of diverse characters whose character is important to the story. Non-inclusion of tokens does not equate to exclusion of anything. There is a middle ground.

    Dr. Huxtable and his wife Claire were examples in the 1990's of a rich black family. It broke all stereotypes at the time, and created more of a normalizing effect on TV than all the previous black stereotypes combined. Because of the 'Cosby Show' the idea of a black family that doesn't live in the projects with an abusive or absent husband became normal, and because of the 'Cosby Show' the idea of a black family that isn't involved in drugs, thuggery, or crime became normal. The 'Cosby Show wasn't about being black, it was the story of a family which happened to be black. It was a normal family, doing normal family things, and being black was simply a part of it.

    This didn't happen when 'Good Times' was the TV show with a black family, or 'That's My Momma', or even 'The Jeffersons', (which was about as stereotypical as a black family could be while being rich.) There is a reason for this. Stereotyping drives the average viewer away, and it offends the culture being stereotyped. Tokenism cannot happen without stereotyping; otherwise, how do you manage to get the idea across in the amount of time allotted to the token?

    For the normalization of LGBT in media you don't want tokens. It's hurtful to the ones being tokenized. You want normalization. If the story is about a person dealing with an issue and the person or issue happens to be LGBT related, then by all means expound on this. It makes compelling entertainment to see characters of diverse backgrounds driving the story forward. If, on the other hand, the only reason you include a character who is LGB or T is so that character can be your token flag waver, then you distract from the story. A better story would be one in which, instead of a flag waver, you have a main character who simply is, as a part of that character's basic identity.

    I am reminded of two men I knew in my youth, one vaguely and peripherally, and one as a member of the church I attended. The first man stood on a wooden box with a bullhorn in downtown New Orleans every day reading from his bible. People passed him by, ignoring him, or occasionally yelling over his bullhorn for him to shut up. Mr. Lee, on the other hand, seldom spoke in scripture quotes outside of Sunday School. Instead he lived the life. My brothers and I failed to count the number of people who attended Mr. Lee's funeral, but my number was 800. There was standing room only in the church, and it took half a day for the procession past his casket at the grave site.

    A hundred tokens cannot make the impact of a single, true, character. A single token can insult the very audience it is intended to appease, and mislead the rest of the audience into thinking, "That is normal for those people". If you truly want the normalization of the people you claim to represent, then you too want to end tokenism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    I would also like to see a cogent reason presented by someone as to why it is unnecessary to include a gay character. And also why it is deemed "necessary" to include a straight character. Is this drive to include straight characters some kind of tokenism? Or is it an attempt to fill up a quota, one wonders?
    I cannot answer that because this has never been my belief nor have I ever expressed this as my viewpoint. I advocate the inclusion of characters of all types. If the character is gay because it is a trait of the character, then by all means bring it up in a story-relevant way.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2014-11-01 at 08:54 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    See, I think everyone here can agree that having characters based off of negative stereotypes is a bad thing. The problem is that you're lumping it together with this whole "narrative relevance" argument. Unless you're trying to say that any non-WSM character whose non-WSMness isn't relevant to the story is automatically a negative stereotype - which would be beyond nonsensical - then you still need to address Bulldog Psion's (and others') questions: why is it that gay characters have to justify their sexuality as relevant to the story when straight characters don't? Because as I've said a couple of times, I've never, ever, ever seen someone say "Why did the narrative have to establish Bob as straight when it's not actually necessary of the story? What a tokenistic, pandering waste of time that was!"
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    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.


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  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Wow, ninja ahoy! Sorry, folks, I type and think slowly, so I'll be a while catching up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    Some intriguing questions, to my mind at any rate:

    1. What "narrative purpose" is needed before it is allowed for a character to be gay? What is the "narrative purpose" of homosexuality?

    2. Conversely, what "narrative purpose" is needed for a character to be straight?

    3. If no narrative purpose is needed for straightness, why? Why is a narrative purpose needed for gayness?

    4. Why is the proposition "This character is gay because they are gay" NOT considered to be sufficient narrative purpose?

    5. Why is being gay the only personality trait or individual characteristic that requires a special "narrative purpose" before it is allowed to be included without criticism?

    6. Why do people never say "Roy is snarky, what is the narrative purpose served by his snarkiness? Do we really need a snarky character in here? I want to be inclusive, but just adding in a snarky character without a specific purpose for that seems to be pushing support for snark just a little too far."*

    *Disclaimer: I am not comparing being gay to being snarky, the latter of which could be considered a slightly negative personality trait. I simply wanted a clear example and was, perhaps, feeling slightly snarky myself.
    1. Narrative purpose is ambiguous and could mean many things. However, I will try to deal with the issue. If the character is essential to the plot then having him fleshed out as a character is good. If the character is non-essential to the plot then we don't.

    The Bus Driver character could be gay, straight, white, Hispanic, or Martian. It doesn't matter. When the protagonist gets on the bus the story is side-tracked by an exposition of Bus Driver's sexual preferences or identity.

    The question should be, "Is Bus Driver's character essential to the story in any way?" If his only role is to drive the bus from point A to point B, then expounding on his character is unnecessary. If, on the other hand, the story is about the protagonist's sexual appeal to a certain gender identity, then having Bus Driver make a pass at the protagonist may well be a valid characterization of Bus Driver.

    2. If there is no rational need to be aware of the character's sexual identity then there is no need to impose 'straightness' on him. Or male/female, for that matter. Does it matter if Bus Driver is male or female, gay or straight? Only when it is relevant to characterization or the plot of the story should the issue even be broached. Assumption of straightness is just that. For all you know Bus Driver's actor throws a mean curve ball. Why is it relevant to the story?

    3. I disagree with the premise of the questions. A narrative purpose is needed for exposition of sexuality of any kind. If it is not relevant to character development or plot advancement it is a side issue. Side issues distract from the main point of the work, which is the plot itself and the characters who advance it.

    4. It is considered sufficient narrative purpose if the character is in any way important enough to need development of personality. It is when a character is not important enough to the story to develop his character, and yet his character is demonstrated to be of a particular sexual orientation for no other reason than to have a person of that sexual orientation in the work that is the issue. "Hi, I'm Jeff, your gay bus driver, climb on board!" Really? Why do we care if Bus Driver is gay?

    5. Again, I disagree with the premise of the question. Any exposition of sexual preferences for any character should be relevant to the character and the needs of the story. Straight characters don't need to have that expressed any more than any other character. Assumption that all otherwise non-disclosed characters are straight is just an assumption on your part.

    6. Characterization is an essential part of helping the audience to understand the characters and why they act as they do. Snarkiness, or any other trait, including LGBT traits, are valid inclusions in a character exposition for a main character whose acts will shape the plot of the story. It is totally relevant to bring it up. Snarkiness is also a valid trait for Polearm Salesman to have. However, sexual identity is not a valid trait to expound upon because it is not a relevant detail for the purposes of that character in the story. (Well, there is that mustache ...)

    Bulldog, you and I both agree that gender identity, sexual preferences, or any other character trait should be included when it is relevant. Where we disagree is in tokenism. You claim that any inclusion is good, and I claim that tokensim and stereotyping are harmful to the cause you espouse. I can't say it enough: watch 'The Hollywood Shuffle'. You will see what I mean in the first ten minutes of the movie.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    See, I think everyone here can agree that having characters based off of negative stereotypes is a bad thing. The problem is that you're lumping it together with this whole "narrative relevance" argument. Unless you're trying to say that any non-WSM character whose non-WSMness isn't relevant to the story is automatically a negative stereotype - which would be beyond nonsensical - then you still need to address Bulldog Psion's (and others') questions: why is it that gay characters have to justify their sexuality as relevant to the story when straight characters don't? Because as I've said a couple of times, I've never, ever, ever seen someone say "Why did the narrative have to establish Bob as straight when it's not actually necessary of the story? What a tokenistic, pandering waste of time that was!"
    All character traits must be justified as relevant to the story in one way or another. Bringing up a character's straightness is irrelevant if the character never has to face any issues devolving from that aspect of his character. And if I had a talk show you would have seen me go off on several rants about sexualization for the sake of titillation. It is a cheap trick employed by hacks who can't sell their work based on the merits of the work. At least 'Girls gone Wild' is honest about their product and its artistic merits.

    I happened to see an episode of Donald Trump's show once. The contestants were asked to go out and sell chocolate bars. The one who sold the most chocolate bars was a girl who showed her tits to anyone who bought a bar. She got back only to find out Mr. Trump was angry. She wasn't selling chocolate bars, she was selling her tits and giving his chocolate to her customers.

    Well, what are we selling here? A story or a culture? If the goal is to be inclusive, then be inclusive in the main cast. Make the choice to be inclusive relevant to the story. Don't make it a sideshow that distracts from, or even overshadows, the story.

  10. - Top - End - #220
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Brian, something I notice you seem to neglect is worldbuilding. In your posts you seem to be treating background characters as props, and while that is unavoidable to an extent in most media, a background character is still a character. Bringing it back to OOTS for a moment, would you consider the inclusion of the two lesbian paladins mentioned earlier in the thread tokenism because they aren't part of the main cast? If your answer is yes, then how would you suggest including a minority character beyond the main cast without it being tokenism?
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    All character traits must be justified as relevant to the story in one way or another. Bringing up a character's straightness is irrelevant if the character never has to face any issues devolving from that aspect of his character.
    But again, do we need a justification beyond "This character is X?" Is it even possible for there to be a justification for the character being what they are other than being what they are?

    Is there a complex justification for Belkar being a halfling and not a dwarf or a human or an elf or a gnome or a half-orc? Is there a justification for Haley being attracted to Elan's good-hearted innocence? Is there a justification for Roy's mother having a Spanish lover in the afterlife? Is there a justification for Sabine being attracted to Nale?

    How are character traits "justified as being relevant to the story," anyway? Isn't that putting the cart before the horse? The story develops out of the characters' traits. For example, Tarquin's megalomania and tyranny isn't "justified as relevant" -- it is relevant because his personality shapes the story's direction, and not the other way around.

    The assertion that inclusion of a gay character needs to be "justified" suggests as its corollary that adding a gay character simply as a gay character is somehow "unjustified." Which, in turn, suggests that being gay is unjustified in this view.

    I haven't seen "justification" for any of the heterosexual characters being heterosexual. They just are. Why isn't that enough for a gay character?

    At this point, I don't get it.
    Last edited by Bulldog Psion; 2014-11-01 at 10:16 PM.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    The question "Is the bus driver's sexuality/race/gender identity important to the story or their character?" is flawed, especially if you're arguing from a conservation of detail stance. If the bus drivers appearance and personality and character aren't important to the story or your characters, why are you even including them at all? If your protagonist has to get on a bus, it's assumed there will be a bus driver. No need to bring them up at all?

    But if you want to put them there, because conservation of detail is overrated, then you need to remember that every character is a character. Every detail and trait will tell you who they are. It will tell you who your other characters are for how they react to it. It will tell you what the world is like for how they exist in it. If you populate your story with real people, even if it's just a bus driver, you get a real story set in a real world. Even if it's obviously not real.

    Also, representation is important enough by itself. Literally just seeing people like yourself is huge. Why not make that bus driver gay? Why not make your main character intersex? Why not populate your world with people who look and act differently just because?
    Last edited by The Extinguisher; 2014-11-01 at 10:18 PM.
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Before we continue this conversation, I think there needs to be some clarity shed. Brian seems to be talking specifically about highlighting an aspect of a character, rather than including it at all. To that extent, he is correct. I absolutely do not care enough about that bus driver to want to have it explicitly announced that they are gay. But they can be gay without announcing it as such. Say a main character is doing something that gets them appreciative looks from people attracted to them, including the bus driver, and the bus driver happens to be the same gender as they are. The camera isn't focusing on the bus driver, but they aren't hidden either. We can see it, our attention just isn't drawn to it. Would you consider that bad Brian?
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    I'm not sure where this thing with the bus driver is even coming from. No one is really talking about random incidental characters being gay; as people have pointed out, there were already a number of those in OOTS.
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    Also, as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself defending your inalienable right to make someone else feel like garbage, you're on the wrong side of the argument.
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    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.


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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Brian, something I notice you seem to neglect is worldbuilding. In your posts you seem to be treating background characters as props, and while that is unavoidable to an extent in most media, a background character is still a character. Bringing it back to OOTS for a moment, would you consider the inclusion of the two lesbian paladins mentioned earlier in the thread tokenism because they aren't part of the main cast? If your answer is yes, then how would you suggest including a minority character beyond the main cast without it being tokenism?
    The specific characters were introduced as a foil upon which Miko's character could be expounded. They were relevant for that purpose, and as much or as little characterization as the author thought necessary to drive the characterization of Miko was completely justifiable.

    As for background scenery: a LGBT couple, (or group,) kissing in the background at the stroke of midnight at the New Year's Eve Party would have been relevant had The Giant decided to include it.

    The only time it's 'bad' is when it is forced or contrived, and not relevant to the story. The world around the characters is relevant. Having a random character show up for no other purpose than to 'be the gay guy' is what I consider irrelevant tokenism. Having a character who is gay as part of his character is completely relevant and should be included when exposition of that character trait becomes necessary to advance the story or to set the stage upon which the story plays out.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Before we continue this conversation, I think there needs to be some clarity shed. Brian seems to be talking specifically about highlighting an aspect of a character, rather than including it at all. To that extent, he is correct. I absolutely do not care enough about that bus driver to want to have it explicitly announced that they are gay. But they can be gay without announcing it as such. Say a main character is doing something that gets them appreciative looks from people attracted to them, including the bus driver, and the bus driver happens to be the same gender as they are. The camera isn't focusing on the bus driver, but they aren't hidden either. We can see it, our attention just isn't drawn to it. Would you consider that bad Brian?
    I would consider that good. I even included that as a possibility on the argument in which I proposed Bus Driver's existence. But it wouldn't be an issue of bringing up Bus Driver's gender identity or preference so much as an issue of reinforcing the protagonist's attractiveness. Thus, we are driving the characterization of the protagonist in this case; the bus driver remains largely irrelevant.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    I'm not sure where this thing with the bus driver is even coming from. No one is really talking about random incidental characters being gay; as people have pointed out, there were already a number of those in OOTS.
    Then it shouldn't ever matter if it's about important characters. You don't need to justify anything about them. They just are. That they exist and it's how they exist that drive the narrative. If one of your major characters are gay, then it doesn't matter if that particular trait never advances the story. It's a part of who they are, and it's what makes them a real person. Real people have sexuality. Real people have race and gender and favourite colours and embarrassing childhood memories and that one song you really like but never tell anyone about.

    Not that you're saying they aren't. It was just the most convenient quote to jump off of.
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by The Extinguisher View Post
    It's a part of who they are, and it's what makes them a real person. Real people have sexuality. Real people have race and gender and favourite colours and embarrassing childhood memories and that one song you really like but never tell anyone about.
    But fictional people aren't real. You can write a 300-page backstory for a bus driver, but if his entire presence in the story is something like this
    Jane handed the bus driver his fare and made for the first open seat.
    then that backstory may as well not exist.

    That's actually tangential to my original point - that, while it's good if bit players represent a wide variety of sexualities, it's still doesn't really make up for all of the main characters being straight - but it kind of jumped out at me. If a fact about a fictional character isn't actually established "on screen", it's not really a fact.

    Also, oppyu, I'd kind of like to sig that last post.
    Last edited by ti'esar; 2014-11-01 at 10:54 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Also, as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself defending your inalienable right to make someone else feel like garbage, you're on the wrong side of the argument.
    Quote Originally Posted by oppyu View Post
    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.


    Check this game out! Or at least give it a thumbs up.
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Well, if anything has been demonstrated by this thread, IMO, it is that there are no solid arguments why gay characters should not be included, just improbable, highly contrived scenarios wherein the character would be disruptive in some way.

    If the best anti-gay argument is that having random waiters and stevedores in the background suddenly yell "I'm gay!" and behave like a negative gay stereotype, then there isn't an anti-gay argument. Creating a non-existent problem and then attacking it is pretty much a dictionary definition of a straw man.

    Thread conclusion: there is no reason to exclude gay characters except that certain people are illogically offended by them.

    But of course, that was pretty much self-evident before a word was written by anyone.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    But fictional people aren't real. You can write a 300-page backstory for a bus driver, but if his entire presence in the story is something like this

    then that backstory may as well not exist.

    That's actually tangential to my original point - that, while it's good if bit players represent a wide variety of sexualities, it's still doesn't really make up for all of the main characters being straight - but it kind of jumped out at me. If a fact about a fictional character isn't actually established "on screen", it's not really a fact.

    Also, oppyu, I'd kind of like to sig that last post.
    I guess. But if that's all your gonna do with a character, why put them in at all. I mean, I would probably write it more like
    Jane quickly got on the bus, and made for the nearest open seat he could find.
    Just cut out the background scenery, make it more about the character.
    But that's just me I guess.
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by The Extinguisher View Post
    I guess. But if that's all your gonna do with a character, why put them in at all. I mean, I would probably write it more like

    Just cut out the background scenery, make it more about the character.
    But that's just me I guess.
    Well, I am speaking as someone who puts basically no stock in conservation of detail as it's commonly defined. I think I said as much already.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Also, as a rule of thumb, if you find yourself defending your inalienable right to make someone else feel like garbage, you're on the wrong side of the argument.
    Quote Originally Posted by oppyu View Post
    There is nothing more emblematic of this forum than three or four pages of debate between people who, as it turns out, pretty much agree with each other.


    Check this game out! Or at least give it a thumbs up.
    Why "because the plot said so" is not a good answer.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    But again, do we need a justification beyond "This character is X?" Is it even possible for there to be a justification for the character being what they are other than being what they are?

    Is there a complex justification for Belkar being a halfling and not a dwarf or a human or an elf or a gnome or a half-orc? Is there a justification for Haley being attracted to Elan's good-hearted innocence? Is there a justification for Roy's mother having a Spanish lover in the afterlife? Is there a justification for Sabine being attracted to Nale?

    How are character traits "justified as being relevant to the story," anyway? Isn't that putting the cart before the horse? The story develops out of the characters' traits. For example, Tarquin's megalomania and tyranny isn't "justified as relevant" -- it is relevant because his personality shapes the story's direction, and not the other way around.

    The assertion that inclusion of a gay character needs to be "justified" suggests as its corollary that adding a gay character simply as a gay character is somehow "unjustified." Which, in turn, suggests that being gay is unjustified in this view.

    I haven't seen "justification" for any of the heterosexual characters being heterosexual. They just are. Why isn't that enough for a gay character?

    At this point, I don't get it.
    I think you are taking too hard a line with the word 'Justification'. In the context of what is included when telling a story, the word is less than perfect. Justification means simply that there is a reason for it.

    There is a halfling, dwarf, elf, rogue, bard, and fighter in the story because this is a typical adventuring party in a D&D-like setting. In such a setting one would have to justify the lack of inclusion of such characters.

    Character traits too are fully justified in their revelation because depth of character is an important part of learning to empathize with and even identify with a character. It gives them verisimilitude, or the feeling of being real when we know they are not.

    Tarquin's megalomania shapes the story, and is a vital part of his characterization. His treatment of women is a part of that characterization: they exist to serve his desires and nothing more. By this we know he is a scumbag. A heterosexual one, but a scumbag nevertheless. (If he were attracted to men and treated them the same way would it have the same impact? Why?)

    Now we apply that very logic to the exposition of any character's sexual preferences. Durkon's preferences weren't important and weren't expressed until Hilgya came along. Roy's preferences weren't expressed until Celia came along. Haley's preferences weren't expressed until Elan 'turned invisible'. Vaarsuvius' preferences were never expressed even though we have met V's spouse and children. So, we have the issue of relevance to the story in every case. These traits were mentioned because they were a part of the story, and if we had never had a Hilgya there would never have been a need to go into Durkon's sexual identity because it would not have been relevant.

    I'm not saying, and have never intended it to be read, that I believe any character, (or person,) must have an excuse or a justification to be LGBT. I'm saying that for it to be brought up in the context of a story it must be a relevant detail. For all we know, Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D is gay. It has never mattered in any of the stories I've seen him in. Bringing it up would be beside the point.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    I will not be responding any further to your posts, as I am placing you on ignore. Good day to you, sir.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
    Man's battle-cry and the guns' reply
    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    Well, I am speaking as someone who puts basically no stock in conservation of detail as it's commonly defined. I think I said as much already.
    Fair enough. I've never been a huge fan of conservation of detail, but I guess I tend to write with it in mind. I dunno.

    Either way, I definitely thought we were talking more about a minor character who we have a conversation with and less about a prop disguised as a person.
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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by The Extinguisher View Post
    The question "Is the bus driver's sexuality/race/gender identity important to the story or their character?" is flawed, especially if you're arguing from a conservation of detail stance. If the bus drivers appearance and personality and character aren't important to the story or your characters, why are you even including them at all? If your protagonist has to get on a bus, it's assumed there will be a bus driver. No need to bring them up at all?

    But if you want to put them there, because conservation of detail is overrated, then you need to remember that every character is a character. Every detail and trait will tell you who they are. It will tell you who your other characters are for how they react to it. It will tell you what the world is like for how they exist in it. If you populate your story with real people, even if it's just a bus driver, you get a real story set in a real world. Even if it's obviously not real.

    Also, representation is important enough by itself. Literally just seeing people like yourself is huge. Why not make that bus driver gay? Why not make your main character intersex? Why not populate your world with people who look and act differently just because?
    The only reason I would mention the bus driver is to further the story in some way. Perhaps the bus driver informs the protagonist, "This bus only goes to 39'th Street," when he wants to go to 45th. Or whatever the case may be. Otherwise, the bus driver is background to the story. How exactly would one characterize such a background character as LGBT without resorting to stereotypes, if the bus driver has no other role than to get the protagonist from point A to point B?

    I agree that seeing people like yourself is important. This was the whole point of Robert Townsend's 'Meteor Man', a movie about a black superhero. When asked why he made the film he answered, "Growing up all of the superheroes I ever saw were white. Black kids need a black hero they can emulate." (Paraphrase, it's been many years since I heard the actual quote.) I agree that LGBT people need representation in media. But I disagree that that representation should be based on tokens, quotas, and stereotypes. Make them real people with real people problems and solutions to them, please. Don't make every transgendered person into RuPaul. (Please.)

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    OOtS is not about gender or sexual orientation, so why is that message even a part of the consideration for the story? It's like having a story about Dungeons and Dragons and then making it a point to discuss Farm Labor issues. We're adding 2+Blue here.
    You're right. We shouldn't make the story about Elan's sexual orientation. He never should have gotten with Haley and forced his heterosexuality to become a major plot point

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    Well, if anything has been demonstrated by this thread, IMO, it is that there are no solid arguments why gay characters should not be included, just improbable, highly contrived scenarios wherein the character would be disruptive in some way.

    If the best anti-gay argument is that having random waiters and stevedores in the background suddenly yell "I'm gay!" and behave like a negative gay stereotype, then there isn't an anti-gay argument. Creating a non-existent problem and then attacking it is pretty much a dictionary definition of a straw man.

    Thread conclusion: there is no reason to exclude gay characters except that certain people are illogically offended by them.

    But of course, that was pretty much self-evident before a word was written by anyone.
    I have never argued that gay characters should not be included, and I have argued in favor of diverse characters. It is the very existence of the argument that you call a straw man that I have been arguing against. In fact, you are correct in that there is no reason to exclude LGBT persons and a lot of reasons to include them.

    However, doing so in response to pressure to achieve a quota of LGBT persons is harmful, and that is my point. Instead of having non-essential characters 'represent' have the main characters be humans who are also LGBT. This is a much better way and it leads to constructive dialogue about LGBT issues, whereas stereotypes included for the sake of 'diversity' are harmful and insulting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog Psion View Post
    I will not be responding any further to your posts, as I am placing you on ignore. Good day to you, sir.
    I feel this is an unjustified response to the issue.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    You're right. We shouldn't make the story about Elan's sexual orientation. He never should have gotten with Haley and forced his heterosexuality to become a major plot point
    Assume Haley was Hal. The story could be exactly the same. Characterization is perfectly fine when it furthers the story being told. The interrelations of the characters in the story are important to the story and add depth to the characters.

    My objection is solely to the inclusion of LGBT characters whose sole purpose is to have an LGBT character in the story for the purpose of waving the flag. I oppose tokenism and stereotyping.

    I don't oppose LGBT characters in stories or LGBT people in real life. I challenge any reader to find where that may have been implied by anything I have said anywhere at any time.

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    Default Re: On the topic of recent tweets sent out by the Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    Also, oppyu, I'd kind of like to sig that last post.
    You're more than welcome to it if you want it.

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